Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Summer of 1971 - Three Word Wednesday

Left to right: Me, my mother who was starting ministerial training, and her friend from Australia, doing the same, on the grounds of Unity School of Christianity in Unity Village, a village 15 miles south of Kansas City, Mo. and just north of Lees Summit. I was not starting ministerial training. But in 1972, I was already leaving the dope world behind. The winter of '71-'72 proved to be vicious for me.

This is a memory. The summer of 1971. I had a reason to go to Goshen, south of Eugene, a girl friend to see and try to convince. I also had a friend, a former roommate in Creswell, quite a bit further south. That friend had been a partner with another guy and they got a boat. They were successful smugglers. I muled for them one time from Los Angeles. Then my friend went to Oregon and quit most of that, marrying his lady. For the record, the other guy got a sailboat and started travelling that way. He successfully retired but I don't know what happened next.

On this journey, I was carrying a couple gift kilos of pot up to my friend in Creswell. I didn't have a car. I had another friend who did have a car and stuff to do in Portland. I rode with him. He knew he was carrying for me but this was no big deal in those days. He didn't smoke or use much. I got my visiting done and another girl friend who had been up in Seattle came by to pick me up from Goshen and take me back to San Jose. That lady had been living in my room earlier that summer while taking a class at San Jose State. She was a teacher in Gilroy at the time, a little too far from town. It was hot in Goshen. We hung around nude, two young women and skinny young me but we got dressed before the other girl and her girlfriend arrived to pick me up. The summer of '71.

Goshen, Eugene, Creswell and Portland are all in Oregon. San Jose State is now California State University at San Jose, a reorganization that had just happened in 1971. I lived on S. 12th St. in what they call a dope house now. But we didn't then. We were students in good standing and thus were a bit camouflaged by education even though sometimes we had a basement full of pot. The Doobie Brothers had a rehearsal house a couple blocks north of us on S, 12th. We heard them quite often when they cranked things up. That same year in spring one roommate put on a performance art project in our yard. We had a hundred people come.

Acrid; Dramatic; Quarantine

Reds - downers
An Unpleasant Surprise

That cap came apart
in my mouth as we drove up
from San Jose State
to outside Eugene.
Acrid shit brown all over
my tongue and I did
Whites- some kind of
amphetamine, usually meth
by 1971
my best not to puke.
Not to be all overblown,
not all dramatic,
but I had to keep
it down, that bad Seconal
(we called that stuff "Reds"
because of the caps)
but after so many whites
already, it was
time to quarantine
all the barking dogs tearing
at my tweaked out brain.

‎April ‎30, ‎2014 2:14 PM

Written for Three Word Wednesday

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bad Moon Rising

What If You Told Me

If you told me that,
I would have to build a cage
to contain it all,
all feathers, all fluffed
up, willing to scream and peck
out my eyes in love,
the strange love of pain
contained in hidden bloody
words scrawled in the air.

September 13, 2010 9:20 PM

Monday, April 28, 2014


The wild blue essence
tangles with your hair today
as if you rode it,
as you have ridden
so many deep fantasies
in your tenure here.

Oh my Queen, my liege,
allow me to speak of you
at the blue conclave
beneath the blue moon,
the next that solemnly comes,
gathering great souls
who'll hear and praise you
and then dance the minuet
for you and for me.

September 13, 2010 8:05 AM

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My Dog Loves Me

Photo provided by Tess for Mag 217

Wordle 158 provided by Brenda Warren for The Sunday Whirl

My Dog Loves Me

One day I'll be gone,
maybe today though you still
care for me, don't you?
You said you would speak
for me, release this beastly
feeling, chew on bones
for me, never cheat.
We've become beading on long
strings and oh I'm good
for nothing much now.

This damn cancer has me cold.

I channel demons
who claim awful dark
lessons are the deepest truths
I will ever find on
this branch of the stream.
But you will never leave me
not in this lifetime.

And I believe you.

‎April ‎27, ‎2014 12:12 PM

Working note. Cancer came from the wordle. I do not have cancer. I do however live on this planet and I have friends and relatives. My dad died of bone cancer and my aunt of lung cancer that went to her brain.

My dad had his second family close around him. My aunt was attended at the last by her youngest daughter and my niece, my sister's child. My niece came out from Montana to help if she could. I was there earlier but had gone home to rest.

I have friends in my larger circle who have encountered the cancer in one or another shape, and one of them is dying for sure, sooner rather than later. A daughter of a friend, a beautiful young lady and mother of her own child beat her leukemia. My friend is gone now and it could easily be argued he gave his life for his daughter. He was certainly willing and he died young and apparently healthy.

This world of ours is remarkable for giving us beauty square in the middle of the pain.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Salt Spray

I saw you on edge,
at the shoreline breathing out
your words to the sky,
the distant day sky,
while the surf's cold spray bruised me
with my failures, my
unwilling changes,
my compulsion to gather
your words, to know you.

September 11, 2010 11:10 AM

Friday, April 25, 2014

This Gray Day

I have been calling,
calling to you from silence
broken winged as if
I was the bird hit
the window that hard, stupid
now for the impact,
never to fly, not
anymore, sorry
for you locked away in that
house of gray gray pain.

September 12, 2010 4:09 AM

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Phone Call From Ohio

When I got the call
the world dropped from beneath me
and I had to take
flight to survive it.

She said she found you beside
your bed all curled up,
the far side, hidden
from her at your door, from her
hopes for you. She had
hopes for you.

At least
you got your wish for release
though I bet it hurt.

September 11, 2010 3:06 PM

One week ago it was Annie Sheekley's birthday. April 17. In the fall of 2001, Annie Sheekley died. September 11, 2001 was of course the day many things changed. Annie lived in Ohio at the end, brought home by her sister who hoped as I hoped that somehow Annie would find it possible to thrive. She developed an infection in her kidneys and while she complained of it she was not successful at convincing the doctors to pay close attention, this because she wsa medically a constant challenge to us all. She died of the infection as I describe alone in the apartment she could no longer afford, her money all gone and she no closer to being able to work. Ouch.

It was her sister Betsy who found her. She had done all she could as I had done all I could as so many had done all they could for this woman. I am guessing the doctors felt that way too.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Sorcerer's Apprentice - 3 Word Wednesday

The Sorcerer's Apprentice
On His Own

Look past the trappings,
the isolation cloaking
so much confusion,
and see the adept
standing awkward in the glen
all on his own stake,
his edible gift
of sacrificial outlets.

He oozes viscous
spells uttered in heat.
See how they glow in the dark,
a weird sick pale green
that weave in and out
his enrobed legs, his strip wrapped
calves, his barely shod
hooves, half changed is he.
That spell failed near the bad end
and could not bounce free.

‎April ‎23, ‎2014 6:39 AM
Written for Three Word Wednesday

Adept; Edible; Viscous.

Or if you want the original

Monday, April 21, 2014

What Holds Me Here

They called me fossil
and got the chorus singing
the old mossy song -
not yet a specter
not yet dead fish to flush down
the lead pipes of Rome.

The whirlwind cometh,
so they say. Sent with an SASE,
I will return soon,
mountain flesh in shroud,
having remembered how to
pun on buffalo
water or famine,
keeping glue or some white paste -
what a tragedy
I've become today.

The streetlamp dims and throws light
all across the floor
in the colors held
in reserve for flags of states
of hope and prayer.

Saplings love pirates
beyond the sound of clawing
and the marks of scales,
the bruises in deer
eyed stares, emptiness or God
or magnolia
brush, the chromosomes
all aligned today, my boy.

The mountain tree,
one single green leaf,
the hot air balloon, they all
conspire to hold me,
even wildflowers
will wind around my left foot
if given a chance.

‎April ‎21, ‎2014 11:32 AM

Written for We Write Poems "We Wordle, #15"
All 33 words are present in the poem.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Spring Outing

Image offered by Tess for this week's Mag 216,
painting by George F. Mobley, Finland, 1968

A Spring Outing

My water was twice
stolen, taken from the bridge,
both to seed sharp clouds
and flush the steel sink.

My sway aches more than my bones.

It is raining hard.
The air is rocking.
It's all open to my mess
and many wee folk
perch on the lowest
limb of the freaked out birch tree
so I shiver bricks.

‎April ‎20, ‎2014 6:58 AM

Written as a Magpie Tale
Also written to include the 13 words in Wordle 157

Wordle 157 by Brenda Warren

Saturday, April 19, 2014

In Your Orbit

In Your Orbit

I look back on times
like the way we cooked chicken
from scratch, killing them,
plucking them, cutting
them all up in choice pieces,
then frying them in
the gold green sweet oil
pressed from our own plump olives.
That was another
lifetime, not this one.
You chose that time for us both.
I agreed of course.

Now you like the way
I love as if we were new.
It's our tenth return,
at least. I can tell
that's true from the time scented
trace you leave on things.

‎April ‎4, ‎2014 2:47 PM

Written in collaboration. See Irene's Orange Is A Fruit

Friday, April 18, 2014

Two Meter Chickens

Never ever piss off the giant chickens...

News Item: dateline Friday 13 December 2013. Maoba Village, Qingchuan County, Sichuan Province, China. "A prompt evacuation when the nature of the sinkhole was realized prevented any loss of human life, though a large number of Chickens are believed to have been swallowed by the hole inside the farm buildings."

Two Meter Chickens

I am no longer
too sure which side possibly
could hold me up now.

If I could get me
some giant chickens I would
ride into the void,
or some bland sunset
before I hear what comes next.
Got to get this sand
out of my damn ears
where the grit roughens my lobes.

In it all, there's you
grinning away on
demon heels sinking straight on
past my cataract.

April 8, 2014 1:00 PM

In collaboration with Irene's "call of the wild"

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Annie And Me

Annie Sheekley, aka Mother FUF, ca. 1967. Annie looked quite like this when I met her in January of 1972.

In January of 1972 I was kicked out of my previous life in a very serious way. I hunkered down at the Hotel Ste. Claire, in San Jose, California, where I briefly found a graveyard shift job that included a room. Soon I met a girl who worked the front desk on day shift. Things happened and I shortly lost that job but got the girl. I wasn't in the hotel workers' union and it was a union house. The boss thought that as a college student doing part time I was exempt but the boys thought otherwise. I needed somewhere. She took me home.

I got another graveyard job and started a new life. When she found out that Portland State University accepted her in the Social Work graduate program, I decided the right thing for me was to back her play as best I could. That's how the rest of my life started. This was scary for us both. That was 1973. Two years later, I had started my life's career in engineering design, she was an MSW social worker working for the state, and we had my mother who was a bonified minister marry us seven days after my birthday, Nov. 21, 1975.

Eventually we did all the things that families do except we both agreed that we would not have children. Annie was in child welfare work and she raised kids for a living, involved in the lives of several from very early until college and in a couple cases beyond that.

The nineties were a horror for us. I took a bad hit in my career and she broke apart after struggling with health issues from the mid eighties. We divorced in the mid 90s trying to save lives. She became so ill that when the century turned and then 9-11 happened in 2001, she died. We did not save her life. We did save mine.

Annie Sheekley, I miss you and keep a piece of you near me still. This is your birthday. You would have been 67. I too love you all the way to Dougie Peeple's house and back.

Death On My Shoulder

I'm waiting for death.
It seems like that though maybe
not exactly that.

Carlos found his guy,
a brujo, or desert mage.
Don Juan told Carlos,
"Carry death, your friend
on your shoulder to whisper"
and I heard Caesar
wanted trusted men
to tap him, "You are mortal!"
I sometimes still growl
defiance and grin.
But I have been practicing
for decades now.
This is my merry way.

‎April ‎17, ‎2014 1:36 PM

My thanks and undying gratitude to her younger sister Betsy, ever my friend whom I love with a big love.

Written as part of a collaboration with Irene, see her orange is a fruit

Death is not my enemy, though pain, misery, and inconvenience still frost my corn flakes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Passover - Three Word Wednesday

This image is of the Passover Seder I attended at the home of my friends. I am at the upper right corner. I am told this is only half the family and that this will be the last Seder in Oregon for my friends. They intend to move to Hawaii.

"Perhaps we all carry an immemorial wound, an infinite loss, a self-exile we perpetrate on ourselves. It turns us into isolated entities stalking the earth in search of what we think we need—the temporary stays against ennui, despair, loss, and terror. But sooner or later, the wound can carry us toward its own remedy, if we only let it."
—Henry Shukman, Beautiful Storm

Perhaps then what divides us is not so much how poorly or well placed we are on the planet but instead within ourselves. However, it is always possible that I know far too little to write such things.

My friend had never told me he was Jewish. Attending Seder was a first for me, and further. I had no idea I would ever attend one, and mostly no idea there was such a thing, so far am I from Jewish traditional practices. It was a family affair, and they obviously enjoyed themselves. One of the participants was a pro musician, tatooed and pierced, just to add some variation to it. He performed after the ceremony was complete. We truncated the ceremony a bit. It still lasted over two hours, and the feast was great. I always welcome well prepared lamb, whether Paschal (sacrificial) or not.

animate; impassioned; pervert.
Three Word Wednesday


I would not call you
that, not pervert. I would not
impassioned demand
of you submission.
Nor would I then celebrate
with the Lamb of God
killed fresh and layed out
on some animate altar
before the servings
are cut loose for us.
But I will drape my gold plate
with fine woven cloth
and then dance naked
as did the king in his love,
as I will in mine.

‎April ‎16, ‎2014 2:05 PM

Tuesday, April 15, 2014



What would I say to
your face? I am so used to
speaking behind you,
then sneaking away
to discuss you further with
like minded gossips.

Yellow Jacket
You look like Hornets
do to me, ready to strike,
ready to take my
meat right off my plate.

September 10, 2010 8:02 PM

Late summer evening picnics can be a pain in this part of the planet. Around here there are many Hornets, carnivorous and somewhat nasty critters who live under rocks, in patches of ivy or under bamboo thickets, or in piles of junk. I have found colonies in all those places. They have excellent skill at following scent trails in the air and better than average sight for insects too. They also seem not to care at all who is around.

It does not take long for the first one to appear near a plate, especially one that has some savory meat on it. If you let them they will land and begin serious work at dismantling some edge they find the right shape to work on. If you walk away at that point you will get a crowd of Hornets.

Or are they Yellow Jackets? My cursory research, even though I wrote Hornet in the poem, I believe I am describing Yellow Jackets because Hornets don't eat meat it seems. They are virtually indistinguishable as per the images I have posted. Also, it is Yellow Jackets who are always found in colonies.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Peace Within The Storm


Peace Within The Storm

Back in whenever
bee cee a guy they called Job
found himself in dutch,
dumped in a tough shit
test and exposed in a book
to show what is true
in the way of things.

Sometimes I wonder what gives
with all the people
who think after all
it is a matter of mind
set straight rights the wrongs
that lay siege to life
as if there's no thing outside
us with another
flipping agenda,
or inside either, by God.

Be grateful for breaks
in the hard weather
that may come to us or not
under the long sun.
Accept the changes
in the soft weather as well.

No news is good news.

April 14, 2014 3:57 PM

written in collaboration with Irene. See Orange Is A Fruit

Now to be fair and balanced, this picture offered through the Book of Job is not the only view of life that registers, either in the Bible or beyond it. I find these pictures of life on the planet are not exclusive even though they seem so in the draft of them. There are more positive views (positive is not the right word, really) and also even more negative views.

This is the realm of philosophy, even though in the biblical sense things are more religious than philosophical. But these pictures are not exclusive. If you are a minority person in Nazi Germany and you are sent to a death camp, the Book of Job may seem too kind. On the other hand, if you grow up in upper middle class North America, then that same vision may seem unduly harsh. It is possible on the planet that people with both experiences are living out their philosophies on the same day. They will both be correct. The world is very much bigger than we are and contains these contradictions easily. I am sure that "positive thinking" is not a livable posture for me. That does not mean it is not the way you can and perhaps must live.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The King Of Cats

Offered by Tess as a Magpie Tales writing prompt.

Wiki says: "In 1921 Mitsou, a book which included forty drawings by Balthus, was published. It depicted the story of a young boy and his cat, with a preface by Balthus's mentor, the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke who at the time was Balthus' mother's lover. The theme of the story foreshadowed his lifelong fascination with cats, which resurfaced with his self-portrait as The King of Cats (1935)."

No other cat king has such long legs. However, there are many other kings of cats. I am one as well.

Wordle 156 offered by Brenda as a Sunday Whirl writing prompt.

How I Got To Be
The King Of Cats
At Age Five

My mother made love
to poems way back in the day
but outgrew that hook
and chose a football.
I was raised by a football
who transformed into
a high school admin
from teaching mathematics.
He dreamed of goal posts.

I often will chant
as I sit with my call backs
and then tumble down
off the porcelain
which is what I get thinking
how a football raised
me. The papers prove
it though. I swear it. Briefly
in limbo which turns
my wrists, I cover
my humming with hot water
feeling deeply at
a loss, and gaudy
too, even though Mom would love
all my moonlit dreams.
I think. She's gone now
you know and the football's flat,
at peace in the grass.

‎April ‎13, ‎2014 3:51 PM

Friday, April 11, 2014

Posting Along

Posting Along

I ride an old horse
as best I can warmer days
as I watch the road
crack open beneath
the clip clop of trotting hooves.

Day is done, sun gone
down, the afterglow
is just beginning to fade.
This is fine with me.
My work too is done.
I am laying down last words.
That is what I do.

I call on people,
hold them close for no reason.
I smile at the moon
with no plans at all.
The goddesses give me songs.
Daddy god conducts.

‎April ‎11, ‎2014 2:09 PM

Written in part as a reply to Irene's Not Your Body

I spent a summer at a camp in the hills east of Santa Cruz, California. This was the summer of 1958. I was headed into eighth grade, my sister into sixth and mom and dad were earning our presence in this camp by being counselors there. We were moving after that summer to Santa Clara where my dad was going to be a brand new Vice Principle in a high school and my mom was going to teach English in another high school nearby.

It was at that summer camp I had my introduction to horses and learned to ride. That's why posting is part of my vocabulary. We rode English saddle, mostly but Western saddle as well. They were training us as broadly as an eight week experience would permit. I loved being able to join with the horse in his, or more usually for me, her rhythm. I remember I had a favorite horse, Nugget. They wouldn't let me ride her all that much because part of the training was to become familiar with many different horses and learn many different gaits.

Since I never rode again in my life, I guess the training was not very important as a skill set overall. However, I remember horses very well and I remember very little else from that camp experience. I go into my memory and find there I love Nugget as much as any cat I have ever known and more than most people too. It is easier to love the four footed. They are less conflicted.

That camp is still going strong but perhaps is not the same as it was then. Here is Kennolyn Camps, Soquel, Ca.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring Cherry, The Girl Who Broke Free

This picture is part of the display of a google+ user who names herself Haru Sakura.

Haru Sakura

I got a good job
voice acting your latest part,
the one you wrote for
Spring Cherry, the girl
who broke free of winter ice
by her own power.

I stand on the side
with a screen between my voice
and the microphone
and speak falsetto
as comes easy as ever
and I don't allow
any more pictures.

Haru Sakura can't be
a bearded fat man
of sixty damn eight!

‎April ‎10, ‎2014 9:58 PM

Written in reply to Irene's "Spring"
Not a chicken anywhere. Also in response to We Write Poems

Voice acting is an actual job and people build lifetime resumes in the work. There are commercials, announcements, phone answering services, and of course acting jobs, in radio style drama and comedy and in cartoons. This poem references Japanese Anime. A person can get really busy if they are good at the work.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

They Aren't Chickens - for We Write Poems

They Aren't Chickens

Is coastal shame worse
or embryonic in its
jagged roots borrowed
and unseen even
though the fighter calls pine songs
of the sap foot turtle?

The hatching of snakes
is an emerald color,
a snapshot record
I would hope to keep.

Munching on almonds
and marshmallows, books
unread and half lame,
toothpicks torn apart, slivered,
I'm leaf and earlobes
concerning fatness
hoping ripples at sea's edge
will keep lemon rind.

The microscope hums
a homing tune, dissecting
my cotton stockings
while I'm unwrapping
the gassy eggs left
by the grunts of beady eyed
sharp beaked sad old birds.

We did think they were chickens.
I feel foolish saying so.

‎April ‎7, ‎2014 11:50 PM

Written for We Write Poems, Wordle 13

The last dodo was sighted before 1700 and the dodo was doubtless extinct by 1715. The bird lived on the island of Mauritius, an island found east of Madagascar. Flightless and fearless of man, nonetheless it is unclear exactly what happened. The sailors who landed there were not in the habit of recording everything. However, it seems they may not have been that good to eat. Apparently there were many non-native animals introduced who may have competed directly with the dodo for their food supply and other things may have happened too.

Each of the following words of Wordle 13 can be found in my poem.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Back Tattoo

Suspended In The Garden

I noticed hand prints
beside the tat on your back,
darker markings on
the smooth lighter planes
I know so well, twenty years
of real touch and go.

I thought I might stray
at that but instead I dig
up tubers looking
for sign that all's well
and at least there is no mold
turning our food black.

The moist mounds of mulch
that once were mature plantings
I leave, signs for you.

‎April ‎3, ‎2014 4:53 PM
Modified to match the image April 7, 2014

In collaboration with Irene's poem Peonies

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Change Of Scene

Image by Kelsey Hannah,
provided by Tess for Magpie Tales Mag 214

Wordle 155
provided by Brenda Warren for The Sunday Whirl

A Change Of Scene

Talking to the tide again
like talking to air
or to the blue moon,
courting tough chicken power
and then you suspend
the zip detail strap
in the waterfall to wash
away the feathers
of all the dead birds,
a barrier found, a pleat
in the swing of things.

A diamond stream,
your hand raised as a true sign
of the hope you've gained
while the sun's unit
of bright starts to trace your hair.

‎April ‎6, ‎2014 2:09 PM

Also written in collaboration, see Irene's Orange Is A Fruit where the flipping chickens come from. To be fair, I started the chickens a few poems back but dead chickens seem to hang around somehow. And to be fair to me, the image of killing chickens has been with me ever since I heard a woman I have loved tell the story of killing over one hundred chickens to process them in one day and what that did to her hands.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Dealing With Tigers

Moving Right Along

It's all so feudal,
this change of my livery
and I guess yours too,
as if you could just
tell the tiger to change his spots.

I heard some guy say
(trying to stay dry)
he could hold his finger up
a tiger's ass for
one damn day. I doubt
he really meant to try
such a stupid thing.

And yes what of ghosts
and goddesses for all that?
What of mud and wind
and the winnowing
of souls? You are not guileless.
That's far from your shape,
not in the hills nor
down here in the fertile loam,
nor the final sea.

‎April 1, ‎2014 10:15 PM

See Irene's Orange Is A Fruit

Friday, April 4, 2014

Nibbled Half To Death By Geese

Snow Geese Flock

It's Always Like This

The geese took me down
then nibbled my edges off,
all of them on me
as if I was some rock
or pile of mud packing worms.

Off a ways, there's you
dancing without care
as if it's all the same thing
rain or shine, moon, sun
haloes of rainbows
and pots of wee folk spun gold.

Not a single strain
to separate us
this music of geese and dance
and twirling discord
but I've no more bread
for geese - and just words for you,
dancer in the day.

I'm far too smelly,
in need of a wash. Those geese
were not ready for
this no more bread shit.

‎April ‎1, ‎2014 2:55 PM

See Irene's Orange Is A Fruit

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Walking The Fat Rabbit

I saw you approach
with our rabbit in harness
and three cats trying
to figure what that
fat white hopping thing could be.
They circled around
you both and came close
one by one only to go
out of range again.
I could see their thoughts
in their twitching tails and eyes
and I thought, we are
like this, dealing with
this new creature between us
even in harness.

‎March ‎31, ‎2014 3:50 PM

See Orange Is A Fruit

Get Your Own Visitor Map!