Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kind Eyes, Life Force

Here are two more visions of love. Hindus say Namaste, I believe in South India, Namaskar. Both mean roughly, "I salute the Divine within you". (In Sanskrit namah is "salute" in this way, as you might God. We on the other side of the Indo-European divide have names, that would seem to be in the original, divine salutes.)That's a whole 'nother post - that when I am named, something in me is acknowledged as divine.

When I truly fall in love, there are always two of you, the earth woman and the goddess. Just as the earth woman has many complexities, so does the goddess. Jung called out four primary goddesses(archetypes), Priestess/Prostitute, Virgin, Crone, Mother, but there are more, as the Greeks knew, and all are present, but rarely all at once.

The danger arises when a man such as I am confuses the divine and the human. The danger can arise, that I love the goddess but not really the woman. It may be that I hunger for the goddess so much that I accept the woman, try not to see the parts I don't really want. Or I may impose too much, call her out too soon, perhaps call something I see that she can never see, much less be. There is so much more. And if reciprocated in just this way, oh my! Heaven and hell can arive in the space of minutes. Every day. Because earth marries earth and gods marry goddesses.

When I married, I stayed away from all that. I married a woman I could and did love who did not call to me from the divine. I am sure that was true for her too. This lasted over twenty years, but the truth is it should not have lasted over five.

Kind Eyes

I feel solar wind
Blasting past my earthen soul
With bright songs fading.

I journey beyond my life
To search every corner
As long as it takes.

I seek the kind eyes
Of the one who left me here.
This reminds poem is not an original vision but comes from a song I used to sing, before it was made famous. Chet Powers wrote it in 1963 and I was singing it, got it from a coffee house performer named Paul Zeigler in 1964...the second verse:

Some will come and some will go,
We will surely pass,
Til the One who left us here
Returns for us at last.
We are but a moment's sunlight
Fadin on the grass.

This is one of the truer descriptions of our living situation as I see it. Why would not my lover in her goddess aspect be the One? And here I am. She is gone. I am bright but I fade.

And this poem shows something of what it is when she is here in my life.

Life Force

The girl ensouls me
With her eyes, her heart awake
Within my own heart,
The moon of tides within me
Rising with my heat, my breath.

I accept her bright stars.
I love the rich fragrant hues
Of her shining ways.

Ohhh, this is going to hurt! Hell yes, it's going to hurt. Probably won't last. So what. I do not dare miss it...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ouch, Signs Of You

I don't take suggestions well. Some suggestions are like this....well, son, we are here in this airplane, the door is open, you got the gear on. I suggest when you go through that door that on the way down you pull the rip that. It really doesn't matter where I go, there I am. I have the same trouble. Here's one version.


I bumped my noggin.
I was among the wee folk
On my last project.

We were building with bluestone
Aligning earth with heaven.

They told me to wear
Mercury's gold winged helmet
But I was too proud.

I really am a sap. Don't really care. I fall in love across the room routinely, just have learned not to do anything. But I love the idea of being in love, and I also like writing from that place, from reaching into the places in me that come to the surface when the goddess is in my life. I can smell her there, just behind that door. I can hear the song she sings under her breath while she gets ready for what comes next.

Signs Of You

Being short sighted
I don't see you as you come
From the far corner
In the mirror of my mind.

I am blind sided by love
When you caress me,
Fondle my dreams with such care,
Leave me signs of you.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Singularity, Eating Prayers

I have no idea where these poems came from. The outer form was a photo of a tree standing alone, and one of a seashore.

There are doorways to somewhere in the dark down deep places of me. For years now, probably sixteen years, many of the doors have been open. When I write, for example, when I improvise on the keyboard for another, it's my job to get the session started, then stuff happens and it becomes my job to keep up with it. It seems more like riding a skateboard, more a matter of balance than of creating.

In my poetry, I have a chance, because it holds still, to go back and edit. That means usually either a complete delete - no good - or the change of a word or two, sometimes a line. I am forced to delete or skip posting no more than one in ten. I have no idea how the form comes, but I do know that I don't decide before I start. I write quickly, as if the poem is another kind of music I play.

When I improvise on keyboard, I am held back by my level of competence, but within that I have no idea where I'll go or how I'll come back, just that I have the confidence to usually accept the "wrong" notes and the changes they force, and that when it's time or I need to I can find the way home. A couple posts back I wrote that I don't get lost too easily. That's true in the music too.

Now I should come clean that these prose spots are heavily edited and added and subtracted, not at all the same experience as the poetry.

These poems speak entirely for themselves.


This tree grows right here,
Nowhere else, but others grow
All around the world.

If I were to tell you this,
Try to make you say so too,
I would start to fade
Despite my true driving
Dream of unity.

Eating Prayers

Embodied knowledge-
Never less than two wide views,
Colored vistas, skew.

I swim very well
Among the rocks, wade the bars
Seeking shells of life.

Then I return home,
Brush away the gritty sand
And eat my prayers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Present, Love's Long Lake

As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, when I was posting the most finished of my older poetry, I had a lover/muse once. That was over in 2001. I have over a hundred poems from that time, all love poems and it is still easy for me to write them when I have the right inner space. Now I write to the lover in my heart since I do not have one and haven't for a few years. The two I post here are those kind of poems, and they arose I suppose out of nostalgia.

I think of myself as a married man. I married one time, was married over twenty years, would still be married were that possible. The thing about living single, I wish for the companionship of one woman but know that all my women have had the same complaint at one point or another, that they don't know why I love them. I am too singular and self contained, and they are confused, not understanding where they fit in. So I refuse to rush in. I have found no one that seems possible and I have begun to think I probably won't.

But my power is lessened in some way.


You bestow on me
This moment, this chance to love,
This pure white blossom
Of heart and song, tone and rhyme.

I also bestow on you
My few gifts, too few
For my liking and too poor,
Yet I'm here, my love.

Love's Long Lake

I wish I knew you
Like I know the stones I pick,
The sidearm skimmers
That dance across the water
In the play of light and waves,
Then happy to sink
At last into the deeper
Heart of love's long lake.

I believe I was gazing at a photo of a flower, a white rose probably, in relation to that first poem. The second arose out of a wilderness photo of a lakeshore.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Corkscrew, In Between

This first poem really is three poems that relate to each other but come from different places. First, the Man of the Northern Wall is a mage and power behind the throne of a queen, much as Merlin was behind Arthur. That is the sense of the Magic. There are limits even at the best of times because the age of true magic is in the Golden Age of archetype, or the Dream Time of the Australian aborigines, or the before times of any cultures. In other words, full power magic was in the world prior to the world of history. Even the most powerful mage is limited in historical time.

Then there is Coyote, one of my favorite gods, almost not a god, he is such a screw up. Often he is hilarious, sometimes stupid, sometimes brilliant. He has a kind but self centered heart and can be cruel, even mean it. In short he is as tangled up as we are.

The last verse goes from a touchy task to the fact that we can all fall from high enough to hurt, and this at any time.

And I mean it. There is something in me that is so arrogant that I think I can save the world.


If I were Magic
And Magic was as I dream
Then so much would change.

Coyote is the teacher,
Shows the corkscrew way of things.

To thread the needle
Takes courage, wit, hollow bones,
Or else you fall, break.


Yesterday over at mole Dale posted a prose poem about being stretched between the dock of desire and heaven's boat, how that might cause you to fall into the water. I replied that in AA we often say, "if you have one foot in yesterday and one foot in tomorrow, you're pissing all over today". Here's another in between.

In Between

Between the stony
Walls, so close, I find the tree,
Twisted ancient tree.
It lives as if all is sane.

It lives as if I love you.

I too live between
My stony heart, my rock hard
Mind, in this long day.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Bird Dog Like Cunning, Effective Prayer

This next poem is a true story of my early years, not even first grade. I have never been lost on the planet even though men can screw the directions up in cities. But Berkeley, California around the university was in the nineteen-forties laid out in a logical grid.

One day I wandered off following my favorite neighbor dog, an Irish setter as I recall, who led me on a day long wander through the city before outpacing me somehow. I was in a part of town south of the university I had never been before and pretty far from home for a five year old, but I could say to myself, "hills, university, town" and I knew where those were. I knew I lived partway up the hills.

So I just walked home looking for something familiar. I never found anything familiar, and I finally came to rest in the hills. I sat on one of the concrete benches placed for pedestrians to rest on. It was already full dark. I was now really close to lost but don't remember panicking. My mom came up the sidewalk steps looking for me, just out of her mind. I had been gone perhaps eight hours by then. When she appeared through the hedge I said, "Momma, I've found you!"

It turned out I was two blocks from home but up the hill. I had nearly found my way back just using my sense of direction.

Bird Dog Like Cunning

Bird dog like cunning
My Momma said of me then,
So small wandering

Anywhere, free in the hills
Of Berkeley, on the campus,
Down Strawberry Creek.

I never get lost, not in


Back in the late sixties, when I was a Hippie, I was convinced that if a certain number of us experienced an Awakening, the world would change. I was sure that the saving of the world was going to be an inside job, a change in spirit, and that we human critters were in over our heads in a tangle of our own devising. I was rooting for that change to take place.

To me, the impulse toward Awakening seemed to be under all the political protests and the psychedelic ones too. It was about saving the world in a spiritual way. A revival... How American can you get? We hold revivals regularly. I believe the sixties were a kind of revival movement too, but a "pagan" one. However it should be remembered about this revival, that the kids who were Hippies came from Christian families, lived in a Christian culture, and our instincts were Christian instincts, even if we toyed with alternative forms of spiritual living. Hedonism is a spiritual trip too and had formal expression in ancient Greek culture. The educated Greek culture is the other heritage along with the Hebrew informing the spirit of Christendom.

Effective Prayer

The music draws me
Into the dance where you are
And gifts me with form.

So we twine, complicated
Shapes. We draw others to us.

Dozens, hundreds, more
Until we reach that moment.
Then God moves the world.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Alone, Life In The Fast Lane

We are rapidly melting now, but the ridges of shoved aside snow at the intersections are killer. Because I dug the driveway out, the piles alongside are three feet deep still, after two days of melt. I hope that I will be able to drive okay tomorrow. I am tired of depending on the good will of others, though I know that allowing people the chance to do something for me may be a gift to them. So I was taught in AA, by experience on both sides of that issue.

So imagine a summer landscape, a cross country hike, reaching a hill with a solitary tree. Imagine how it must be to be so alone, year after year.


Singular fierce tree
Once one seedling, a small grove,
Only this one left
In the thirsty land atop
This windswept dry yellow hill.

Long ago old grief
For lost sisters is now deep
Roots in older rocks.


Here is another journey in the imagination. This is the man I could have been had Ann not stared me down one day and said I had to change. Well, not this guy but just as empty, just as lost and broken, with ashes in my mouth, the taste of an empty life realized.

Ann was trying to save her life too. This confrontation point was her latest move at that time, January, 1983, in trying to get me to be the man she needed. I responded every time she pushed but couldn't seem to ever really change toward her way. That's a whole other story.

Life In The Fast Lane

I was born to run
Away, away from myself,
From you, forever
Running on knotted sore feet,
Bleeding, using broke down knees.
I'm ever looking
For an easy soft green land
Where I can stop, rest.
I'm ever looking
For someone to really trust,
For the real me, you.
Not much left of me.
Running on empty, no breath
To pray for true peace.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I have no poems directly relating to Christmas. What I can say is this. In the last several days the Portland Metro has been dumped on with record amounts of snow and ice. Becuause we are so temperate, the cities and counties cannot justify the fleets of heavy equipment, the manpower and supplies that dealing with this emergency requires. In other parts of our nation, much worse happens routinely, and so it is a given that civic responsibility demands the investments in the essentials to keep the city and county commerce flowing. Here the story is otherwise. It has forced the gathering of communities. I belong to AA, and the presence of that fellowship in my life has proved a God sent blessing at this time. The few times I have needed to get out and about, there has been someone with a better suited vehicle to provide my transport.

I am so well supplied by my good habits of keeping a home that all the essentials are currently at hand. It is primarily my connections with others in my life that I might lack without the transportation. And so even though the ice ruts are so high that my car couldn't pass even if I had chains at certain locations, I still get to connect with people that I love. All is well.

Tomorrow we will gather in feasting and fellowship in the fellowship hall next to the room where my home group AA meeting is held. The church will not be using the space, but AA meets every day of the year and especially on these days, which pose special difficulty in lives devastated by alcohol and dope. We huddle for warmth and love. The church that we use has allowed AA to be there for over a decade now, 365 days a year. On our part, we are self supporting, and pay an honest rent. When we do these special things, we pay extra rent, and we police ourselves as well, cleaning as we go. This might not seem like much but organizing alcoholics is very much like herding cats.

Even though I am an orphan due to the natural consequence of aging, my life is full and good. I hope that my new found friends here in the blog universe will find themselves as blessed as I have found myself.

May you all experience the peace and love that is the promise of the season.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Musician, Shaman

As a musician, I am undisciplined in some of the critical ways. I know how to read all the musical symbols, can even use a program called PrintMusic to write or transcribe a musical score. I cannot to save my life actually read music, what they call "sight read". It's a bit of an embarrassment because I function musically at what I call a professional level both on guitar and on keyboard, but with severe shortcomings in so many areas.

But when I set at the keyboard and let go, accepting the limitations and using discipline to stay within them, then the music I make is just as good as anyone's. I know this, but I am so freaking weird about my limitations and fearful of your judgments. Those attitudes are in themselves a serious lack of discipline.


When I sit at my keys
And let these hands go as if
They belonged to her

I feel her breath. It soothes me.
I choose a voice to reach her.

I know she listens.
I feel the catch in her breath.
My music shines, shines.


There is always a price to pay. The path to power is especially sacrificial. The Native American Sun Dance does not surprise me in its harshness and lies far beyond my capacity. I have known one man personally who has taken the piercings and hung in the sun.

The modern scientific world puts strong positive energy into denying the possiblity of shamanic power, much to the diminishment of mankind. It forces some of us into byways, cracks, crevices, onto the edges of things. We must do this even though we may have talent, and even calling for shamanic roles. The shamanic roles are traditional ones, protectors of the tribe and healers of its members, but not from mundane trouble. There is a spirit realm too. It is this realm that counts.

If the shamanic roles are traditional, ancient, it follows clearly that some of us are born for these roles, and have the talent for them. Now of course people like this if exposed in unfortunate ways are thought quite ill.

The spiritual realm is denied by so many now. That denial adds a special discipline because defensiveness saps shamanic power even as social stigma does. And as ever, the presence of manipulators who pretend to power for personal gain gives the forces of denial a strong place to stand. Who can argue with protecting the social milieu against charlatans and superstition?


I go to those woods
Seeking strength and purity
As you told me to.

In the glade I found, I lie
Crucified by memory.
I take shallow breaths.

Pierced, bleeding, the price: my life
To become myself.

Birds In The Dogwood

These are two of the dozen or so goldfinches who are hanging around my sunflower seed feeder.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Acceptance, Look Past Me

Why do I have the spider theme? I have no idea. There was something going on in the blogs I follow though.

Today was a remarkable snow day which put the Portland Metro area weather into third place for the most accumulation of snow and ice ever in its own history. This is clearly not the stuff that Maine is made of, or Chicago, but it paralyzes us because it is so rare. We didn't have any last year. I spent my morning digging out so I could maybe go somewhere.

Actually, I thought that perhaps I could get to a Les Schwab and get chains so I could go to work. But they shut work down for the rest of the year or until we really thaw out. What was happening, the snow was coming down the whole time, so five hours of digging and I was complete, except there was an inch of fresh snow trailing behind me. By the end of the day it didn't really look like I had dug out. I had to take two naps to recover.


Yarn spinner, small one,
Spider master tale teller.
It is your nature.

I bow, I bow. This
Is my nature, to accept
You and your fine silk.

It is how we are, good friend.
Now it's time for golden tea.

Look Past Me

Look past me, good friend.
Follow my sight line within.
Become transparent.

Walk through the misty curtain.
Feel the wake of your passage.

Then cherish your light
As if it were delicate,
A fragrant white rose.

Indeed, I am convinced that the problem of world peace is individual and requires fundamental changes of inner state. I would call that inner state "consciousness" except that I truly think that feelings, willfulness, sense of power, and many other things that might not actually require consciousness in any normal sense are involved. One friend of mine said his theology is "we either ALL go to heaven or we don't". I really like that, sort of a country western way of expressing the Bodhisattva ideal.

Bodhisattva is a buddha who lives the vow that he or she will not leave the planet until all sentient creatures can go too. A great many Buddhists take that vow as part of their practice.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Spinning, Encounter

It has been a difficult day, the first day of winter, with snow, then freezing rain, then snow, and now another layer of freezing rain. There is 8" of frozen stuff on the ground. There will be more before morning.

Why do I write? It is certainly an inner space that I uncover. I do not know what I am going to say at the start. I get some idea, these days, usually the first line or something that becomes the first line...then the rest develops somehow. Thus, the stories I tell I tell to myself first.

I have an old friend Christine who said that early American artists were limners. They line and illumine. Thus in this next poem "line" is not like a coat lining (unless you like that better) but line as in drawing lines.


The stories I tell,
Only I really listen.

I see you spin yarns
Like me. We are small spiders
With long silver silken threads.

We line the blue sky.
We line the wide horizon.
Yes! We line ourselves.


I am a stubborn obstreperous man sometimes, and especially when I was younger. And a know-it-all besides. I'm amazed that anybody likes me...well, I've been working on it...


So I stood glaring,
Staring him down if I could.

Square in the wide eyes
I sent my steely cold gaze.

I found no end to him, none.
I could not quite breathe.

He touched me then. They pierced me,
His unblinking eyes.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Did Not Die, The Plea

I am a spiritual man, live a serious life. I was taught that I, as a recovering alcoholic man, do not have a choice. Sometimes my poetry will reflect this.

I Did Not Die

Why do you chase me?
All I did, not important.

Walk among the groves
As I do, catch the bronze sun
Rays dancing through God's green leaves.

Do not feed me. I am past,
Solemn, ancient, an antique.
See my long gray beard.


How many of us have asked God to show Himself? I know that many alcoholics on the edge of getting sober will demand that God do something. The stories of what happens next are various. God either does or does not show Himself and yet how that happens leads these people to get sober long enough to tell their stories.

Sometimes I am sure that I don't really write these poems but instead transcribe them, channel them. I am not sure why it used to take me at least several hours to write poems and now often only fifteen minutes, even less, like they already have been written and only need be remembered.

The Plea

Oh God! Show Yourself!
But who am I to ask this?
I stand isolate.

Beneath the crest of this hill
I kneel and raise gnarly arms
As if a stripped tree,
As if a long cloudy sky,
As if no longer.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Reading, Spoken For

Tarot cards...I have cycled near and far for decades and have mostly settled down in the distance. When I engage in spiritual matters, I usually find my practice is a daily thing, at least for some length of time. It was my experience with Tarot that the space of the cards got spooky in daily practice. I do not mean that they would get spooky for you or some other person, but that they did for me was a strong signal that Tarot is not my metaphysical system. It is basically closed to me. Yet Tarot would not have touched me like that without power coming from somewhere.


I lay the cards down
Cruciform and quadriform
And pray my question
Will pass the gate of tempests
And demons commanding, "Halt."

This way is razor's
Edge. It calls for purity
And the jazzman's grace.


I do love a good fantasy. I love worlds formed with different rules. Indeed. What is the matter with a bird who can land in your brain, a bird who was once the brocade on a magic robe? This poem was the first in this current poetry cycle (begun last August) to really break from my current haiku form into something else, though the lines are all 5 and 7 syllables long still.

Spoken For

The bird who landed
In my brain was an omen.

Bright clad, noisy, smug,
Outspoken, big beaked, smelly,
A notably sacred bird.

That bird was brocade
On the robe of a master
Before he found me,
Ate through my skull, and nested.

His voice changed my soul.

He flew away to proclaim
My presence. I train.
Smelly bird indeed. The hole
Was drafty inside.
Be careful of a master's
Power robe. I am.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Grail, Accepting Grace

I grew up a couple blocks from Glen Seaborg in his early years, long before he became the federal government scientist in charge of the nuclear facilities, head I think of the Atomic Energy Commission. He was a scientist and professor at Cal Berkeley and I was a wee bit older than his son. So we played, I guess. My Mom was a speech teacher at Cal also, knew Glen in that way. I don't remember all that much, but I do remember Dr. Seaborg.

I was also (third grade) already reading science fiction that my dad had around the house, and that same year there was a comic book classic that came out teaching about atomic energy so I learned about that in third grade too - mid fifties this was. In school I did well in math and science too. So with all that, I am not only trained in engineering (applied science) but in the theoretical as well - except I utterly failed to get past basic calculus, the math of inexactitude. That fried my brain. So I don't have the math for quantum physics, even though I can "talk" it.

On the other side of my brain, I am this hopeless poet, beieve in magic, love fantasy worlds, actually secretly believe I come from one when the moon is right...and seriously follow theology, as well as I am committed to live a spiritual life.

The Grail

There is a secret to be found,
The first truest principle,
Born in the first instant
Along with the whole,
All the possibilities
Of all the worlds.

This principle is so
That no particular application
Of it is possible.

...poeticism after George Polya


Accepting Grace

Grace showed me herself
A day ago? I forget when.

Hard remembering
The silken flow, her ghost light,
The whole caress of her breath
On my tired frame.

I was not ready for her.
But I never am.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Practice, Aeons

My maternal grandfather, Hartog Phillipus Noordwal (HP), was a mining engineer who participated in the Alaska gold rush, an ink drafter, a calligrapher, a one time cadet of the Dutch Military Academy, an alcoholic, a difficult husband to his alcoholic wife, a man fond of the classics, a Mason who hated Catholics. He named his children Phillipus, Hypatia, Penelope. He married an English lady, one Millicent Dunton. For a time they were on the road in Vaudeville, Millie had a voice. He lost his hearing in a swimming accident and subsequent infection. That is why he was never an officer in the Dutch military. When I knew him I was fascinated with his calligraphy. He would walk around the house saying under his breath "Oh brother brother brother brother" which would come out due to his Dutch accent, "Oh Budda budda budda budda".


A quiet old man
At his desk picks a quill pen
And makes a bold stroke.

Using his vermilion ink,
He writes a single true word.
He scatters sand, sighs.
Patiently, he waits, listens.

Birdsong through windows.


As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am sensitive to the Chinese influences that have been in my life, a student of I Ching. Practice takes a little of that flavor (or if you like of the Japanese). So does the next poem.


I came from one stone,
Egg of holy mother earth.
I rose mountainous.

I lived in the misty clouds
Above pandas and bamboo.

I left long ago,
Changed countries, shrank and split open,
Two stones, side by side.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ch'i, Memory

The Chinese speak of Ch'i. Hindus have a variety of names. A very large portion of the planet, including the Celtic peoples considered lines of force in the body, in the world. Kirlian photography is cited as a way to see auras, which are in some sense visible manifestations of these lines of force. I don't really care if it is true or not. Mainstream science doesn't seem to care either, mainly I think because no one can figure out what to do with it even if it is true in a scientific sense. Yet in what Jung called archetypes, in that place, there is no doubt that lines of force are embedded in the archetypal experience, and that it is universal in human inner space.

And of course the fields of electromagnetism are physical analogues of this inner experience. I read somewhere in the philosophy of science that all the basic scientific theories are based on visions and experiences that arise out of intimate human experience - that we will never have the capacity to break out beyond that.

This includes in a deep sense even quantum mechanics. There is no way that we really have an objective view. We have methodologically and mathematically controlled intersubjective self consistent views. There really is a big difference.

There is a first principle behind all this, that we can actually trust our sensory experience, when it is controlled by logic, rationality, and mathematics to be an adequately correctible map of objective territory. The feedback of our procedures has been tremendous continual success. It is almost certainly so that we can trust this process, but an ever smaller jury is by the nature of the process still out and will probably continue to be.

Ch'i is inner experience of inner space, and not a proper scientific subject because of that.


I nest within you
Never outside you, never
Beyond your sweet glow.

I feel the rising rhythm
Of your song all around me.

This is like fish in
Warm blue alpine lakes, birds in
Green summer breezes.


The next poem is a true story, a moment in my life that changed my life. My parents never knew. They were aiming for behavior modification and they got it. I guess they felt a certain success. I never burdened them with the truth.

The truth was that they taught me to hate. I had never had occasion to hate before that. My behavior modified not because of their techniques but because I had to withold my true emotion at great risk if I did not. Even in fourth grade I knew enough to know that hatred of Mom and Dad was very private experience, not to be shared. There was a kind of "uh-oh", a kind of being on the edge of a cliff. I have never had fear of heights but I have always respected them.

In my teen years of course, that hatred started hormonally slipping out sideways and my parents paid the price. I too paid the price. My separation was not pretty, full of rebellion and deliberate refusal to grow up. Then drugs. I am an alcoholic man. At nearly 26 years sober I know the first turning point was fourth grade.


I remember me
Then, standing in lonely doors
Staring at my Mom
Who was hoping my Dad knew
Who was hoping my Mom knew
And me hoping too.

In fourth grade I learned to hate.
It broke my young heart.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Attracting Trolls, Planetary Dream

I just received a very kind comment on my last post saying that I am improving. I am not sure that Julie meant it quite like that, but since these poems are being posted chronologically, each new poem appearing is a result of daily writing, and also the interaction that I have with the other sites I visit. There are some terrific poets out there. This proves the situation with poets is similar to that with musicians. Truly fine musicians and poets are not necessarily well known.

Attracting Trolls

Maybe in deep cover -
Undercover quiet trolls,
Special agent trolls,

Trolls as spies, as sneaks, as mean
Underhanded rotten jerks.

Oh no, I'm not one,
Not like that, not me, no no!
I try to be nice.

I don't know how many others have had the experience of suffering someone sure he or she knows what is best. There always seems to be someone lurking who is willing to have a strong opinion about that. One can only pray that person has also learned that most people resent being told what to do. If that person is often right, well, then only if I am unusually mature in that encounter do I escape getting even more angry about it. I know I not the only one. In AA, filled as it is with a high concentration of people allergic to receiving good advice, especially unsolicited, there is constant training offered in "mind your own business", though it is said, "take your own inventory." That is because it is remarkably common that those allergic to receiving are quite often happy to be giving great advice.

Planetary Dream

I am not lost, no.
How dare you say so?
I choose aimlessness!

To wander in large circles
Is a special joy for me.

I like this so much,
This elfin spin of time, earth,
I'll do it again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Textual Intercourse, Force

The snow has fallen lightly but steadily all day. I had stuff to do here, didn't go anywhere today. Untangled the computer. Learned more about my novice digital camera. Did this and that. Let my cat stay house warm (instead of open garage warm). Learned a little more about Blogger.

I believe in words, even perhaps spells. I would be careful with that, though. I make my living as an engineer, am trained in science and mathematics. If I say I am a shaman, I might mean something a little different than someone without that training might mean.

Textual Intercourse

I roll in the hay
Of your mind and my words spread
Fragrance far and wide.

Gracious words reach deep, transform
The waste into starry hope.

Then we come awake,
Shining starlit eyes display
Love, strength, deeper truth.

I am not an idealist either, though I prefer dreams and visions and fantasy. I don't follow Plato. But I love stories. Then I turn to the people in my life and they save me, bring me back.


I wield a strong sword
With all the force of my dreams.
It cuts my own heart.

You appear, see the fresh wound
And sew it closed with new thread.

This is how you save
An odd old man from acting
As an odd old troll.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Holding Still, Crooked House

Looking hard at really cold weather for this neck of the woods. Was just out in it and can feel it coming. I think it's going to be colder than any time last year. This first poem goes back to the marigolds still in bloom this year. I have wild marigolds. They reseed every year and come up across my front yard. I am happy with that, even with the tiny wild pansies that still survive from years ago when I had several nursery pansies planted. They seeded too. What comes up looks nothing like the nursery pansies.

Holding Still

I hold still for you,
So still that flowers speed by,
Marigolds racing.

I hold so still that my cat
Forgets me and goes her way.

Even more still, I
Forget me and leave my mind
To find your true heart.


I saw a crooked birdhouse and thought what it would be like to live there.

Crooked House

I am at a loss.
Why is our house so crooked?
I've tried to be nice.

Stepping outside is awkward
With so long a drop right there.

I pick at itches
Under my feathers and pray
You will come back home.

Perhaps I am wrong, but it is my experience that women don't put up with just anything...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Nine Bee Lines, Centrist

I have completed the layout of the Ritz packaging line. This is a complicated process which takes a semi regular scattering of crackers and gathers them into the wrapped columns that are found in each box, and then the boxes are gathered into cases and wrapped for shipping. This process takes several machines and quite a bit of floor space used carefully to allow for the interactions of humans with machines that are required at certain critical points. I didn't really have the long and skinny space that works best, and so I had to shoehorn stuff in. I think it is a credible layout. I am a worker bee.

Nine Bee Lines

It's hexagonal,
A six sided agony
Of plan and effort.

Life in the flight path
Makes my wing muscles sting, ache
With the heat of work.

I am not suited
For the apian disguise.
I am too heavy.


Back in 1966 the guy who got me high on acid the first time strongly suggested to me that Taoism was important to the likes of me. He was right, but what was more right was one of the ancient Chinese classics, I Ching. I actually parlayed my intensive study of I Ching into part of my college degree. I established that this Chinese classic presented a metaphysical system as well as a psychological one and as such was a legitimate college level study. This worked and contributed to my getting the degree. The next poem works with a Taoist image.


I'm wound up, spiral
Incarnate, stripped of foggy
Central illusions.

The old master said
The wheel's main utility
Is the axle hole.

I look within me
Past the swoop of spiral shape -
Holy Nobody,

Or Everyone,
All wondrous life appearing.
All are shining holes.

So you see how Haiku can be played with and turned into another poetic form. I am using Haiku structure, but these poems are not Haiku.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crayon Love, The Carved Block

Wow. What a day. At work I am trying to lay out a whole new Ritz packaging line and I really don't have enough room but maybe with enough clever twisting and innovative thinking I can get close enough to a working layout that my boss will see a way. Our first try didn't work. This one is much harder...

And a new internet friend was worried that she didn't understand what I had been trying to say. Then after I explained she said, "Oh I get it, you're a pacifist. That's totally okay with me." Well it's okay with me that people might think that because I really am close to that, but I am really not a pacifist, not with all the implications of that political stance.

Hmmm. What am I? Well perhaps that is what these poems are about. I choose to post two at a time because I write two or more of them a day. This started in August and I am riding this horse until it quits. I am about 200 poems ahead of myself, and I am posting oldest first. This way my internet friends who have seen them before may not remember them very well. I am writing from the cracks and edges of me, looking for an out. Or maybe I am writing from the core of me, looking for a way in. Maybe there is no difference in these assertions.

Crayon Love

If the door opens
Into sketches in crayon
Colors, who comes out?

Or shall I walk in never
To be seen by you again?

I nearly lost me
In rainy chaos coming
To these odd questions.


The truth of that particular day was I really did nearly wreck on the road because of a hard rain.


So on this same day I felt pinched by my own realities. I don't think I'm the only one. My life has turned out entirely different from what it looked like it would.

I was once married over twenty years, had every expectation that we would have retired as a couple in just a couple years from now, having lived a "dink" life, and having a "dink" retirement.

Instead my wife fell into a complex of illnesses and trumped my alcoholism in spades when she started to drink to die. She wiped out all of the retirement, and while I kept the house, on the way there were two refinancings to master the debt that kept overwhelming our budget. And so when we finally divorced, there was nothing left for my future, and she lived on the retirement money until it ran out, then died in her fifties back in 2001.

She died alone in an apartment in Columbus Ohio that she was no longer going to be able to pay for, was not found by her sister for a couple days, was found in the fetal position on the far side of the bed from the bedroom door, not easy to see. The autopsy called it kidney failure. It was actually depression and alcoholism perhaps the most lethal of addictions, and a sloooow way to go. Well, actually eight years of dying is rather quick as alcoholism goes.

Her sister tells me that she loved me to her dying day. Me her too.

So my life is unrecognizable by me.

The Carved Block

I am carved beyond
All reason, all hope, return
To you impossible.
Once this was all right with me.

Today autumn rain told me
To reconsider.

I shall take my leave, admit
To eyes slightly damp.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Decapitation, Trap Door

I was just asked to clarify myself in matters of crime, punishment, justice. This is so very difficult. Mostly I stay with mercy and love. My experience is that justice is seldom achieved on the planet, at least not as meted out by men. Not on fields of honor, not in the courts, certainly not on the battlefield.

I saw an internet video of a snake head, bodiless, a viper, who was still trying to defend itself as it died not so quickly. It broke something inside me.


If I was a snake
With just my head left because
Evil took the rest,

I would snap and snap, fading,
Hating, calling on my God.

I would possibly
Ask for vengeance, possibly
For peace, forgiveness.


We are all condemned. Life is a sentence of death. Yet it is not only that.

Trap Door

In the last long time
Before, condemned, I drop through
The final trap door,

I recall all the answers
I've ever given, lies, truth.

But I ask you now
In gentle light, in true love,
And asking saves me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I am sometimes as old as the hills, older. Not wiser. The first time I understood the "long body" concept, it was through Maurice Nicoll in his book Living Time. If you gather all time and observe the solar system from beginning to end it looks very different from the pictures we see in books. It looks different even from the way it looks with the addition of the third dimension to the picture. This is because the planets move in time as well as space. The sun itself moves in a path. The lines of this travel through time and space describe the long body. You could say the same thing of every life, that there is a long body from birth to death.

The Long Body

In my long body
Twining through stony old time
I gain a vision.

I hear the songs of mountains
As they rise in harmony.

They witness and grieve
The slow grinding sliding slope-
Steep crags to low hills.


Sometimes I am scattered. Even so things tend to work out.

Heart Moon

Like rooms in a house,
I walk through gray tender thoughts
Of my long chased dreams.

Under the porch lie the strays
That rattle like angry snakes.

In my daylight hills
God moves, and coyotes move too.
My heart moon rises.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Climbing The Mountain, Dragon Dreams

In the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of I Ching at one point Richard Wilhelm points out that there is something joyless and ponderous about the self taught, one of the risks of not learning in public or at least in tandem. I have some experience with this challenge and tend to agree.

Climbing The Mountain

I was self taught, then
Found the good friends who changed me.
I am much lighter.

As I have climbed the mountain,
I too have earned a small grace

Which I wear close cropped
As the beard on my face, as
The joy in my heart.


I do play well with others. I know it so. Still I need much time to myself, more I am sure than most. I was an only child and learned solitary pursuits at quite a young age. So I tend to be a loner. I have finally in the last couple years lived alone, well not quite since I have a cat, and my backyard studio is rented by a friend of twenty years. I am not lonely, even in the nooks and crannies of my secret soul. This is okay.

It has crossed my mind that dragons are mostly loners too.

Dragon Dreams

If my backbone rose
Into thin air, was snowy
And stiff with such age,
I would have smoky breath too.

Instead I am mild mannered,
With secret desires.

I wish a set of long claws,
And green glowing scales.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Free Tunes, Harsh Times

What - nine lines? Oh... three linked haikus. They can stand alone. They don't, but it is a strange story. By the way, is the Recluse actually a spider?

Free Tunes

I have a coupon.
It was stashed in my old boot
Next to the Recluse.

I shook my boot out.
The Recluse scuttled away
To my other boot.

The coupon says, “Free
Tunes are yours for the asking!”
So now I’m asking.

This one is a true story, a rude event, a sad heart. There are many squirrels in our neighborhood and generally they are way too clever to have any trouble even though there are many cats in the neighborhood as well. I am happy to have squirrels who are not vermin in my world, since I have nothing that they bother. Even the birdfood I put out. They can't get there.

Harsh Times

At the garage door
Displayed full length, headless squirrel
Bathed in autumn sun.

Not my cat, she's way too old.
A gift from some visitor.

My heart breaks at times -
Thinking from the squirrel's view
Of fangs sinking in.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bewildered By Fate, In The Meantime

Poetry is not always serious, in fact you might make the case it seldom is, no matter how serious it sounds. I grew up in fantasy and science fiction, and while I am not really a reader now, have not read it since I can't remember, I still have the mind for it. I am just as happy in the world Ursula LeGuin created in Left Hand of Darkness and Frank Herbert created in Dune. So sometimes I let my poetry fly to places other than here...

Bewildered By Fate

Bewildered, I gaze
All about, consider fate,
Worry that I might fall.

I am yellow, no really,
And somewhat weird, fuzzy too.

I am shaken, stirred,
And stranded atop granite.
Sometimes worlds are hard.
What if I were a rubber duckie fuzzed up and yellow, sitting on a boulder somewhere in the wilderness? The thing is, it is not original but from a photo the Starfish of Motel Zero posted. So who is weirder, the guy who writes a poem like this or the guy who takes the photo...

Here's another thing can happen. I'm a nice guy. I believe I am honest and straight up. I go to work and my boss is a guy I have known since 1983, working in the same company together or for him in his own company for most of that time. We hold key cards that admits us into corporate America as symbiotes, small fleas on the belly of the beast. We give engineering, design and construction service to the industrial bakery that employs us. But I wasn't always straight up, though I was always kind of nice, and honest in my way. I do however possess a criminal mind. It is very good that I get to express it sometimes.

In The Meantime We do Mean Time

Ho! so quick, so frayed,
I sneak behind you and steal
Your holy beads of time.
I have a small withered heart.

And no empathy, no care.
I race off to stash
Your precious time in holes
Then I forget where.
There was a squirrel in my dogwood tree with a mouthful of unshelled walnut. He knew I was outside, close by, watching, but he really had no choice. There is something about a mouthful of walnut that forces things. It is really awkward. So I watched him climb down the tree and stop right beneath it. He dug a hole and stashed that nut right in front of me. Then he took off across the sidewalk, paused, then dashed across the street, up the pole and off down the telephone wire highway. Me, I knew he was going to forget he did that. Maybe she. There was too much going on at the time. No walnut seedling has appeared, so maybe the squirrel did remember. Anyway, the image of stashing my loot in holes is courtesy of that squirrel.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Primordial Soup, Only The Driver Hears

There is a back story, no? There is truth even where there are not facts. If I can turn into pig iron it is certainly no difficult feat to remember the

Primordial Soup

Primordial soup,
Essential goo, slippery
Fluid smearing me.

I've been squeezed hard. I recall.
I've been whacked. I gasp, I breathe.

I give such a squall.
It breaks bonds of memory
And I lose my home.
But as I wrote, the memories from before the soup are another matter entirely.

In Zen there are these conundrums called koans. So I thought one up and realized something.

Only The Driver Hears

The horse is not me.
The cart is also not me.
Driver in thin air.

Or the horse is really me.
And the cart is really me.

Unknown, forgotten -
I am the smaller third lost
In dreams of wholeness.

If I recall correctly this image came from reading about Gurdjieff on the day I wrote the poem, and the horse and driver are his images.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Perspective, Pig Iron

This day was a happy day for me. It was the day I realized I could play with the outer form and keep the inner structure, the 5 and 7 syllable lines. I am fascinated with the way word choices lengthen and shorten lines. I can do all this because I am not after all really writing haiku, just using the form for my own devices.

I need to write of Lynn Redgrave Cat, who has lived with me most of her life. She is a part Siamese who once had a longhaired sister, also part of our family until she passed years ago. Lynn is 17 now. She had a house brother, Philip Berrigan Cat (Berr) who passed at 18 a year ago. Their elder house brother Raggedy Blue died a bit earlier at 23. When an old cat appears in my poetry, it is the youngster Lynn I refer to.

I still had mycology in mind when I wrote Perspective. Pig Iron speaks for itself.


The soles of my feet
Warm where the many white threads
Of God attach me
To the Holy ground of Life.

I wear the crown He gave me.
The old cat who lives
With me is indifferent
To my ancient ties.


Pig Iron

Staring between bars,
My knothead keeps getting stuck.
Wanting to be free,
Over and over I try.

Then he comes, tells me, "Become
The cage, little friend."
Turning into pig iron,
I begin rusting.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Calling Crow, Obedience

The next two poems are interspecies. What if I were a crow? What if I were of all things a mushroom? Not like "I must be a mushroom 'cause they keep me in the dark and feed me bullshit". Not like that. Crows have inner lives. That's obvious. This particular mushroom I wrote about/turned into does too. There is a mushroom in the midwest and one in Oregon also. Each are huge, but not much shows. They both are nearly all underground. There are estimates of age too. These guys are ancient. How long does it take for mushrooms to achieve depth of soul? Never? I don't believe that.

Calling Crow

In the black and white
Of my world, remember red
And yellow and blue.

I am a crow on sand alone,
Pinched and hunched, and raggedy.

I have called before.
My soul returns to me my
Lemon memories.



Oh Lord, I am here.
Palest flesh, big intentions,
Uncounted children.

I really am so hidden.
Nearly nothing of me shows.

In the dim damp light
I have blossomed just for You.
I'm at Your service.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Illusion, The Bottom fell Out

Sometimes, I get all caught up. I don't think I'm the only one. Sometimes it feels like a forest fire or something, the way I simply have to react. Sometimes if I look around, there will be some sign that it might be me that's on fire. This time it was the crows.


Leave this world behind!
Get away, it's burning up!
Too hot to think, scream.

Must run as fast as the wind.
The burning chases me on.

My escape is all,
But look! The crows will not flee.
They sit motionless.


It is possible that disasters are not so bad. Just this evening, I listened to a man cry for the joy of getting his family back because he reached out after finding out he had terminal cancer. It was not only that. The story is complicated and not really mine to tell, but this part is real. I witnessed him be wide open about it. His daughter came to him after twenty years apart. He met his granddaughter for the first time. She is fourteen. Maybe later the fact of his cancer will crush him but right now he is overwhelmed with joy.

The Bottom Fell Out

Now I speak the truth,
Now that the bottom fell out.
The flame comes swiftly.

I glow more than ever now
And sprout egret's snowy wings.

Filled with holy heat
And lifting off this old earth
I will fly and fly.

I wrote this poem a couple months back, and it came up in normal rotation for posting today. A serendipity.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sad Light, Archery Lesson

Do you remember that special love? Can you be at peace within the memory?

Sad Light

The hole in my heart
She left me sometimes erupts
In spears of sad light.

Beauty’s grief rises, a gift-
A gentle burst of warm rain.

Within God’s Vision,
Within Love’s sweet pain I rise-
God calls. I walk on.

I think of Eros (Cupid). I cross that with the Zen master.

Archery Lesson

An arrow, fletched with soul
In true flight, like the bird flies
To her winter home.

Place it on my bow of love.
Pull the string to my left ear.

Hear my song within
The still archer's holding stance.
Let this dart fly free.

I have had more than one opportunity to love large. Oddly these were not the ones I married. I would have. There is something in me that propels me toward unattainable partners, even though I succeed for a time. Four times I chased the impossible ones, three as a young man, the fourth after a 20 year marriage ended. When I chose to marry there was something very practical about it. 23 years together and the last 20 married. I loved solid. I did not love large with wide open heart. I hope there will be another, but I don't chase.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Journey, Cleansing

The fact is, I am blind. Not that I don't have eyes, but I know the world can be seen in another way, more true than I can see. I know because I once saw that way. Now all I have is memory of memory. I call seeing that way "seeing through God's Eyes". There is such a complication surrounding all that. I have never been able to do justice to the whole story. Still, the fact is, I am blind, but I have a memory of a memory of seeing.


Tapping cane, I'm blind,
Insistent, I'm going home.
I still know the way.

The voices tell me, "Stay!Stay!"
Chatter in many dim shades.

I tell them, "Shut up!"
Such a stir I cause - fades.
Now I hear the road.

If you are blind, other senses can get more acute. I walk around my house in the dark for practice. I want to sit loosely in my senses, be able to slide around in them, have hearing matter more, or the tactile senses. Actually hearing does matter more, and the written word entering through sight is a weak sister to the spoken word heard with open ears.

The ancient Aryans who settled in India knew that the beginning of the universe was a Sacred Sound. Hmmmm. The Big Bang. Of course that is considered to have been an explosion of and then coalescence of light, yet the suggestion here is that the sound that event made is what is sacred.


Baptism is not only Christian. The idea of washing, purification is universal. Carl Jung built a psychology of depth and placed certain visions in the deeps as connecting features across individuals and cultures, past and present. He called them archetypes. Baptism is one of them. This complex reveals the persistent understanding that ordinary existence is marred by detritus which must and can be removed in order to enter the holy, that there is a barrier between us and God that can be washed away. Say it another way. There is distance between God and me that can be washed away. Baptism is the start of a journey toward intimacy. Immersion. Womb. Gestation. Birth.


May I take one reed?
Here is my heart's last promise.
Hold it in token.

I am due this next cleansing.
I shall lay beneath the wave.

When I become breath
I shall use the reed's passage.
Like mist I shall rise.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Worker's Story, Living Water

A day in the life of a worker. I like the sound of this job better than my own. I must admit, however, my job isn't so bad. I have done it for longer than I care to mention, and while I am the odd duck there, I am pretty much the odd duck anywhere. I get to be creative, the good news when I have enough time somehow, the bad news when I don't. Still, I wouldn't mind the short life of some of the other worker bees on the planet.

A Worker's Story

I sip blackberry
Nectar with my long dark tongue
In a morning dream

Of flying forth as ordered
By the agents of my queen.

My belly fills up
And there's gold dust on my legs
Waiting for flowers.


The water cycle lies at the heart of life - not water itself as much as its passages and transformations. The amazing fact of this cyclic movement of water, driven by chemistry and heat differentials both within and beyond life, deserves worship as far as I am concerned. Lewis Thomas among others taught me long ago that I was best positioned for a chance at real understanding if I got easy in reversing my viewpoint. It is possible perhaps that Creation is made for me, that I am to be steward, in service as royalty is called to service. Yet it can also be quite the other way around, and that I am created in the service of (fill in the blank), in this case the water cycle. My servitude is paid for in the fantasies I am permitted, the illusions of central position and autonomy among them.

Living Water

I seek the quiet
Found in between, in the green
Splashes, falling rain,

In how drops lay on moist grass,
In how morning opens thus.

Later I rise as
Vapor with rising mist soon
To be clouds again.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What, Confusion

I visited Motel Zero. On the day I wrote the following poem there was a whimsical photo that reminded me of trolls and here is what I wrote.


Two plus two equals
Four and a little green troll.
Two what? And two what?

For that matter, from where and
To what end should a troll go?

My head hurts, hard thought.
It's what I get for climbing
This rocky face as if.


Here is a poem written from lover to lover now absent.


I thought I saw you
In the mist of the morning.
The sun floats in it.

Where the sun floats, there beneath -
I thought I saw you smiling.

A trick of the mist,
Of the light in the misty
Morning, of my heart.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Speaking Truth, The Committee

It is common and probably right to think that just as I am I cannot come before the Lord to speak the truth. First I need to know the truth, no small feat. Next I need to become pure in some deep sense that reaches beyond all the petty gains and losses of the day. Finally I need power, not to influence the Lord but to withstand Him, his holy presence, reputed to burn away all lesser substance. This would not be a problem in any measure, if it were not my deeply sensed calling that I am one who is supposed to stand directly in front of the Lord and speak the truth. Of course I have no idea how to accomplish this or when.

Here is a poem envisioning who I have to be, and when such a thing is very close.

Speaking Truth

The dragonfire
Does rise, a tide within me.
I sniff smoky air.

Beside me, the blaze. In my cave
I stir, open golden eyes.

Soon I will depart
And wing to heaven. I will
Speak truth to the Lord.


I am not skinny. My hair is mouse brown. At least I still have most of my hair. In between my ears, I am not alone. I have

The Committee

It's really crowded.
Too many of us in here.
Sweaty, noisy too.

I want to see out my eyes.
There's a brown crowd in the way.

I lose who I am
Sometimes. I become someone
Skinny, with blond hair.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Deep Song, God Grieves

The spiritual life is a dialog. I read a German Christian theologian, Edward Schillebeeckx. He basically said among other things, if I don't have a God who answers, then get a new God. What he meant of course is that in the expanding wisdom of the spiritual life, eventually a person finds his way close enough to understand the dynamic of the inbreath and outbreath. This is a result of the encounter with God. Intimacy is the basic capacity of the spirit. In this tone,

Deep Song

You have found me here.
Your sweet breath is on my neck.
I am not my own.

My heart has opened Your way.
My soul has changed before You.

I practiced so long.
You broke my frozen borders.
We meet in deep song.


Sometimes when I am playing keyboard or guitar, there is a moment like that.

This next one was written last September 11. But it was actually quite a long time ago that I got it that God is also infinite empathy. Thus without question

God Grieves

I am bewildered,
That more than anything else.
That's how I was born.

I saw the far towers fall,
Knew they were still occupied.

It's how I know God's
Eyes, like mine, fill with tears, spill.
God grieves, God still grieves.

The first line speaks of my bewilderment. I am completely sure that bewilderment was my first infantile and emotional response to life.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Open Wider, Hatchling

Sometimes when I write I get overtly spiritual. I went through a period when I felt the right word for what I write is not really "poem" but maybe more like "song" or "psalm". I don't insist. The following poems were written a day apart, so I was in a mood. But so were some others at the time. They touched me and these poems were my response.

This first poem deals with a notion of spiritual life that is actually echoed in at least some of the martial arts. If life is too big, the spirit too warm, the light too bright, the adversary too severe, the pain too intense, then open wider. What happens then is that there is somewhere for the encounter to go. Don't hold back. This is counter-intuitive, though perhaps not to experienced mothers in the middle of giving birth.

Open Wider

Where am I? Empty.
Stripped of form in the holy,
What is left can't hold.

I shall not shut down, not now.
Open wider if I can - yes.

When I return, I'll sing.
I'll step easy in gardens,
And I'll remember.


That remembering is a real problem. How am I to remember an encounter too "large" too "holy" to fit in my form?

Each moment is new. There is a real sense in which the entire whole (holy) thing is created entirely in each instant. This is true of experience in the way the brain works (there are intervals of duration which are too fast, can't be experienced, and so our apprehension of things is literally more like movie frames than we think) with the smooth flow of things a filling in of the gaps. I happen to believe that this is merely a mirror of the cosmic process, though the gapping is very small and quick. I believe that quantum mechanics basically forces this view. It makes a kind of quantum "sense" to know that I am brand new this moment, in truth a


Inhale, exhale, yes.
Breathing the rainbow's glad sound.
I am now fertile.

Long ago I was other
Than I am this golden day.

I hatched under God,
Who melted me, my Mother,
My Father, my Love.

Monday, November 24, 2008

True Fate, I Am Not Sad

Here are two autumn poems, one in the outside aspect, the other more an inside job. Trees came up and so did snakes. The first is in the basic "tea house haiku" style. The second varies it a little.

True Fate

A solemn slow walk
Into the fading of green
That bids me come forth.

I open. I see colors,
The gifts of autumn creatures.

I see my true fate.
Among the gifts of God's time,
My soul's a window.


I Am Not Sad

I shed like a snake
But have no fangs, no poison.
Many lives, long gone.

I slither to the table
And dine in costume as if
I too were real.

I am fantasy, shadow,
God's chosen old fool.


I will only say that I relish this new found ability to enter into costume. You will see that I do this often. I like being a snake, a heron, a kangaroo, a caterpillar. If it is indeed hallucination or foolishness, well eff em if they can't take a joke.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Reply To Mary

Thanks to Sensei for alerting me to Mary Oliver on this day.

I am completely fond of Mary Oliver. She writes at the edge of things. Two more steps and you have to have wings. There is no more ground beneath. Or she writes at the center of things. Open your heart and find life so intimately present that joy is the only sane response. For example,

The Journey
Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

In Reply To Mary

It startled my heart.
My eyes, shocked, opened to you
As you danced for me.
You danced my soul's truth
Even though I know there's more
Than that in this world.

I've been told often
Many other truths that stand
So firmly planted --
More than opinions
But less present in my soul
Than this dance you do.

So I thank you for your grace,
For your beauty, your wild life.

You came not for me
But for the wind, the stones, stars,
For the love of things.
I have come by chance
Or by grace or by design
Not my own, come here

To change through you this moment,
Through this holy gift you give.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Calling Forth My Light, Not This, Not That

I am just enough Celtic in sentiment and lineage that the wee folk are part of my thing. I am happy to invite them into my poesy as well as into my life. Sure, Faerie doesn't REALLY exist. Well... but I want them in my life. Wouldn't mind a few grays also as long as they didn't do weird things to my body. I grew up reading my Dad's (and then my own) F & SF. I WANT life to be strange like this. Anyway, one day the Starfish put up a photo of bell-like flowers and that married with my wish for fairies. Here's the result.

Calling Forth My Light

Fairies ring flowers
Like churchmen ring steeple bells
And dew sprays like sound.

Calling me to devotion,
Fairies lead me to my knees.

They dust me with love
And touch my cheeks, kissing me,
Calling forth my light.


The following is the result of my tendencies toward the Hindu views of things. I am not especially fond of the Western apology for polytheism when the apologists want to point out the superiorities of Hindu philosophy (indeed, Vedanta is a superior analysis of consciousness).

Instead I like the wet and sweaty, meaty and gritty realities of Gods and Goddesses. There is a tendency in me toward that breadth of divinity, not crammed all into one God, which seems stifling to me. I am only writing of my instincts. Philosophically I am conscious of the polytheist, panentheist, monist and monotheist positions and know the Western proclivities that culminate in modern Judaism and Christianity. I know that Islam at least initially, just like Jainism in India are each attempts to gather us into the whole. Bahai also tries for that. In the east, Buddhism pointed out that you can be fully spiritual and dedicated and bypass God entirely. And yet I LIKE to chant to Brahma and Shiva and Durga and Parameshwari and Rama and Ganapati. Once I asked quite sincerely for a new language and was offered Sanskrit. Wow.

"Not this, not that" is the more common translation of the Sanskrit "Neti, Neti," a sacred phrase. You might notice how close "not" and "net*" are. This is no accident. "Net" and "not" are members of the class of Indo-European language family root words, such that at least linguistically the speakers of Sanskrit and most European languages are related to each other. This is so thoroughly mappable beyond all possibilities of chance that specialists in linguistics have confidently created a whole science around these connections and their ramifications.

Not This, Not That

I have no real name.
Born one way, gone another,
No, not this, not that.

I flow windswept and contained
In this waking dream of mine.

I was solid once
But burst in too much warm truth.
I now stream away.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Raise Me Up, Not A Trace

One of my heroes is Jacob Needleman, a fine professor in the Humanities (Philosophy, Religion, liberal dashes of psych and soc) in San Francisco, SF State, I believe. Professor Needleman has guided my thinking over the years. Over at Froth From Walt, Sensei suggests to Walt that it is time to post excerpts of the good doctor's fine work fairly often. This poem came from one of those times.

Raise Me Up

On the sea of worlds
I float, low in the water,
Heavy with my burdens.

I recall life on dry land
In some other warmer realm.

I wish truth from there
To lift me here, raise me up,
That I may be good.

AA says, the whole of the program lies in this phrase, "Trust in God, clean house."
That was on my mind when I wrote this poem.

Not A Trace

Just do it! Keep on!
But my heart fell out back there!
Look, red sprays show where!

Pause, breathe in, hold, let it go.
Amble back and do the work.

Cleaning as I go,
I leave nothing behind me.
Not a trace of mess.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Balance, In Loss I Rise

I have recently discovered the possibilities of shifting my point of view. This first poem is an exploration of just such a shift.


It's question, answer
The air and me, a grand dance
Of love, stance, loft.

On the base, two solid paws,
One long supple tawny tail.

I have landed here
From a great height, puff of dust.
I stand aquiver.


So something happened, I forget what but someone was in grief or in remembrance of grief. I wrote this but was unhappy with it in its original form. I have tried to rework the parts I didn't like. I wrote a few of these 8 liners and several haiku before I caught up with the idea that I should save them off for myself, that something was happening. These poems to me are different from anything I have written before, and I feel a sense of urgency about them. I have no idea why.

In Loss I Rise

When God cries, each tear
Contains an angel - mercy
Descends in this way.

Oh, I have lost all, and more.
I weep and leak, grow lighter.

In loss I rise, meet
Descending angels, embrace.
Angels share their wings.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

One Half Step, Movie

I don't know about you guys but I have a know it all attitude that is hard to shake. I have a story I tell myself about how that came about, and it might even be true. What matters, however, is the arrogance it leads to and the price I pay for that. I have been working on this especially since 1981. Occasionally I get free. More often I can at least apologize. Sometimes I actually successfully make amends.

One Half Step

So my destiny, and yours, is the Way.
And you and I go as we are, we need not quarrel.
The philosopher's knife and glue-
The lover's incense and heart-
But I'm right, I cry,
Exactly one half step ahead
On the million mile journey.


I never know where I might find Him. Surprise is one of His ways. There is a sense of humor here somewhere. He seems to like practical jokes. Oh by the way, here is the "classic" 5-7-5, 7-7, 5-7-5. It seems to me that this form also calls for three thoughts, with the middle linking the first and last.


In the dark empty
Looking for my company,
Finding where to sit.

I sniff the air for popcorn.
I listen, curtain

Fade out, and then in
On pure white, on the iris
Of the eye of God.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Promise, A Modest Sun

I have become enchanted with the haiku form, the 5,7,5 but was not satisfied with the brevity of the three lines. Then I read and came across an old form of haiku that was recited in the tea houses. 5-7-5, 7-7, 5-7-5. This form was apparently used by poets who spoke them back and forth as a form of play, perhaps a challenge or even a kind of duel.

I realized at that point that I did not have to stick tightly to the forms, though I know that there are those who do. I began to play with it in that tea house spirit, where in a sort of way the poems are conversations back and forth. This fitted superbly with what I was doing, finding my own way in the blogs, because I was and still am writing in response to the fine work I find in the blogs that I attend.

I am beginning in this post to resume what I started in my inaugural post. I started following blogs last August. By the end of August I had begun writing poetry as a solution to finding my place in the comments I was offering. This was defensive. I am far too argumentative and far too undisciplined to engage my blogger friends in prose very often. So it was the end of last August when I realized that this style really fits. You will notice that I often deviate the form one way or another but the lines nearly always are either five or seven syllables long.

I love the strong English words, which are most often monosyllabic or bisyllabic. They are also most often etymologically rooted in older English, Germanic, and Norse as distinct from Norman French or Latin. These words make for long lines. They also often show themselves to have ancient heritage in the numbers of different meanings, different senses in which they can be taken. Thus keeping to these words often expands the possible stories compacted within very few words. Just a suggestion.

The Promise

Dazzled by the light
Found in the pack God carried
And left at my door.

I asked Him in but He left
Me again, again with gifts,
And look, a promise.
This hand written note says "Peace."

Oh, I am thirsty!

A Modest Sun

Stretch and reach, further!
Feel the bones, feel the sinew.
How my hot heart beats.
My face turned toward
Early light, a modest sun,
I must wait for noon.

All this hides beneath the green
Ferny surface of my life.

Monday, November 17, 2008

To You My Love This Season

It was year's end, a couple years after my affair with my muse ended, and it had proven true. I had kept the gift of poetry. Even then, having moved on, with a new lover, and she a new muse, even so the fire of words are still in me. After five years we too are no longer together, but are still friends. My last lover gifted me with music, leading to choirs, to solos, both instrumental and vocal, to the repair and return of my 1967 Martin O-18 guitar, to better music all around. Still in 2003 I was able to write this to the Maid of the Deepest Moon who once was everything to me.

To You My Love, This Season

Ever in my heart, I am grateful for what has happened between us.
It is a piece of the soul's story, a flowering of the Beloved, eternal.
When you take me in, even a little, the present tense of the Infinite
Returns and lifts me into Beauty. I say my love, you illumine my sky.

Truly not you as you struggle here and now, no not you like that.
Truly you as you cascade through all time and space, as we all do.
Maid of the Deepest Moon, you shine, you light a symphony of love -
And me, the Man of the Northern Wall, alight for all time through this.

This is what you have given me, what survives chaos and all pain.
This is what I celebrate in my best moments far beyond our dream.
As I travel on, when I can remember, I choose to sing the moon
And stars and the perfume of you lingers near my heart, calling me.

I shall never be lost again, not as I once was. Now I dance
To songs I know to sing. My heart stays open for you and beyond
To others as I must, following the call bigger than you or me
Until we meet at the other end of this time and claim our true home.

(This is why I pray I do not depart ever in the chaos
Of lost love, but if depart we must to keep the truth alive.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Love Is A Timeless Arrow, From The Vial

Here are two poems that were written quite some time ago, part of the second of two readings I gave at the Carnegie Center as part of a poetry program.

Love Is A Timeless Arrow

I go to the center of me and I find you there.
One step at a time. Hold steady, my love.

I look for ways. I travel on the celestial waves.
I pass stars. Everywhere I find love for you.

Love is a timeless arrow loosed to fly to God,
Then falling back unerring to pierce me through.

From The Vial

On this Monday morning
I breathe in the essence of your soul
From the vial I have kept near the picture
I have of your breath as it comes
To me from your kiss.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sacred Snake

In the deep green dark
I say you can't see me now
Winding on my way.

I am coiled inside, awake,
Ready to burst into light.

In the deep green dark
I sway to the beat of God
Calling for true home.

Ancient Amber

They say that as you get older time flies faster.
That is not what is happening for me here.
I am caught like a fossil in ancient amber,
Perfectly preserved, suspended in golden light.
In the deep of passing time, I am frozen in flight.
On view for any who look, I reach for love.
I am caught in the amber of love’s distance.
Time has stopped for me mid flight.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sacred Wings

I sit quietly. I am a monk with a vision before me.
The clouds of my time are departing my foggy heart-
An instant that opens. I accept. Here is my true story
Of timeless space and ageless love. I am two, not one.

I sit still here, and yet am far flung into higher glory
There to share with the winged holy ones my flight
Beyond the slower days of solemn monastic time.
Though I am now far beyond me, still I sit, quiet.

You have called me, called me out and I fly.
You have held me by my sacred wings with a song
Of your sacred wind and I sing to you of light.
I sing of my twinned soul soaring into your sky.

I live ever within my sight of you though I sit here in this holy day.
There I weave the song of love, and here I weave as well the way.

A Small And Delicate Thing

Because I am here thinking of you---
I woke with you in my soul again this day.
Sitting with you is where God found me.

Because I am here thinking of you,
I remember the heart of my Vows. Yes.
I mean to walk my walk with you with God
And do the next thing as carefully as if
It were a small and delicate thing
I dare not break.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

At The Edge Of Departing Things

I am poised on the edge of myself gazing at the wind
As it shows in the billowing shape of departing things.
I think of taking the leap, of leaving the husk of myself
As I climb the column of air, holding onto the swirling
Swells, the subtle complex lines of the world I know.

This is what has become of me in my time here.

There were dreams and changes in the dreams,
Changes beyond the dreams and all, all I held
Close, fashioning saddles of the shape of them.
Saddling up, I rode the backs of these smoky beasts.
They turned as they willed, exhausted placed me

Here at the edge where I can touch the outer air.

Listen! The soaring birds call up the wind of my sight.
I have kept them close by sharing my life with them.
I give to them what I can of me, of dreams I have held.
All the while I have sung songs like this one,
Echoes of the music in the beat of my heart.

The sounds of me and of the birds weave a spell
So wild and wondrous, I have never measured up.
(I once heard the reach of Your voice as it called
Me from an early fall, and gifted me with songs
Like this and so I sing in all the holy ways I can.)

I fly with birds. Our weave folds into windy space.

This is what has become of me in my time here,
Here at the edge where I can touch the outer air.
I fly with birds. Yes, I fly with birds.
Our weave folds into windy space.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stealing Stars, What I Have to Say, We Will All Fly

I was really in love when I wrote these poems, back in 2000 or so. I tried the magic of wooing with poetry, and had the time, and so composed hundreds, of which some are actually poetry instead of sketches. This is sort of like photographers who take hundreds of pictures to get a few dozen really good ones. Those sketches worked equally well between us, in our private language. I didn't get the girl in the end but I certainly have most of the poetry and most of the emails they appeared in too. It is probably a very good thing I didn't get the girl. The task we had set ourselves was indeed a success, took two years, but I had to fall completely in love to do it. I knew it wouldn't work in the end. Even so knowing, it is not how I was permitted to act but instead had to behave as if there was a real chance, or else what we were doing would not have worked. And of course that meant I had to believe in the face of knowing it would not work. I lived in conscious denial, saying basically "Surely God, in Your mercy, in the Name of all that is right and good in this world, You will permit me this woman."
Instead I was given the gift of forgiveness.

Stealing Stars

Goddess Moon, shine for me here below.
Shining, oh Moon, let me love you in that light.
I promise you this, a single bright star,
A far star, found beyond the portal of grace
That stands in honor of all the holy loves.

I promise this star because I am the thief
Who stole it long ago that I could keep it
Safe for you. Oh Moon, look at you now. You fly above me.
Look down. See me. I feel you there beyond and above.
Ever farther, I go ever deeper, I burst open, blossom.
Hear me shout my higher joy, I burst wide open.

There is nothing to match your shining being,
Nothing ever in all my crowded crafty lives.

Shine again for me and I will steal
Another star for you and yet another
Til you are graced with heaven's diadems
And blaze above the entire world
The brightest in all of Heaven's glory.

What I Have To Say

Father Sun, Grandmother Sky,
Mother Earth, hear my call.
I am here within You.

This is what I have to say.

I will stand here at the stillness.
I will witness what I see.
I am open to Your Ways.
Give me the tools, give me leave
That I can bend and trim the Tree
Of Life and keep the Deep of Days.

Then I will turn with a gift of love
For the Goddess of the moon and stars
And I will truly touch Her heart.

This is all I have to say.


And this poem came to me in the spring of 2006, having a successful brood of house finches who nested in the old Christmas wreath I had forgotten to take down. That nesting pair prompted me to get a bird feeder, sunflower seeds and a water pan. Mom and Dad never trusted this, but their kids sure do. They have come back and brought friends, and that led to goldfinches and so many finches led to the occasional birds of some other species who will eat sunflower seeds in a pinch. I am really pleased except my car is punished from sitting under the wires nearby... I pay this price willingly.

I believe what I say here.

We Will All Fly

Today a bird sang and amazed, I understood.
My heart birthed so many small white flowers
That the perfume around me was intense, overwhelming.
Each flower seemed perfect but I looked much closer
To discover the small spots, discolored and hopeful-
Not perfect but instead a flowering hopeful perfume.
The bird sang and I understood the hope in her song.
Even this wondrous bird with just one feather broken sings.
That is how I knew the secret was revealed to me.

If ever there is a perfect moment, a time when one
Small thing is actually revealed without blemish to be
What it is in all purity beyond all need of hope
Then gravity will cease in the joy of it and the world
Will end, amen. We will all fly then on singing wings,
God's Permission granted to us at last,
Permission to soar in that holy sky.


It is such a silly question. Why would I ask?
I sit under this late summer tree in the dust
Of autumn coming. I seek you, seeking truth.

I watch for the turning leaves, as if I could see
Green depart and drier colors stay behind,
As if finding that is finding you, or truth.

I call for you to approach, to take me up
As if you would provide spring’s return now.
Can we fly above, skip this winter's coming?

So in this late season’s light I am a holy fool
In love with you, with truth, entranced in song.
I have called for you, called for life beyond.

Yes, a holy, silly question, now that I have asked.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

It Rains In Oregon, It's Always Something, My Heart Will Know

Early this year a friend named Mick organized a poetry reading series in a local art center. This building in Oregon City was once a Carnegie Library donated to Oregon City as were similar buildings donated to smaller towns around the nation by the Carnegie Foundation.

The library moved years ago due to lack of space. A local group interested in the arts took the space over for a year, a grant from the city, and organized a number of activities to utilize the space. Mick talked them into Friday night poetry readings for the spring.

Mick invited me to help, and to read at the first session. The following three poems were part of my program that evening.

It Rains In Oregon

Rain rain rain rain rain rain rain
Oregon January day, not much to fill it.
My heart is damp, growing old.
Ah where are you, oh where are you?
In the sun in the dry in the warm.
Where am I? I am here, oh yes,
Still here, growing cold.

It's Always Something

The small folk are in charge of where things are
In my house. I don't understand the rules.
Where my keys rest, on what surface they should be
Goes according to them, not according to me.

I really try to get along. I really mean this. No, really.

Today I rejoice with wide eyes. Today I found my keys
Right where my best thinking said they would be.

(Now I hope the small folk haven't moved away
In protest of some willful violation of mine-
Perhaps instead I find my keys seemingly unmoved
Where they are through some act of mine they approve.)

The simple blessing of found keys, you would think
Enough, but I was still late for work. Road gremlins.

My windshield is newly cracked in the lower right corner.

My Heart Will Know

Do I like lemon cucumber? Do I? This is Rodney's
Question for me tonight as I last minute trim the unruly
Clematis on the trellis that guards my open door.

There is jasmine there too, and in my heart the spring
Memory of the blooming duel of beauty and perfume
Dances with his question of me. He offers me food.

While I fill the bin with trimmings that go in the morning
To the mulching place the city offers for my shed greens
I think on a neighbor who is kind. Rodney is kind to me.

We settle, Rodney and I on tomatoes. In the gardens
He tends there are armies of tomatoes and I know
I find kindred in the ripening of these fine red soldiers.

I shall eat a squad or two and my soul will fill and my belly will
Fill as well. I am told there is tonic in tomatoes. Oh yes.

And my heart, oh my heart will know I've been invited home.

Surface Tension, The Golden Mean, What Drew Me Out

This inaugurates The View, and I will be posting poetry. This poetry will have appeared often in the comments on other blogs - this site becoming the online archive.

Surface Tension

Man that hurt! I tried
A gainer but landed flat.
My back, oh, my back!

Well no, that never happened
But the fear is ever there.

Stand at the approach
And feel the hole wide open
In my freaking gut!

The Golden Mean

If I ever found
The Golden Mean where you said,
Behind the dogwood
Where that squirrel buried it,
I would stop acting foolish,
Running all around,
Pointing fingers at goblins
I made up from scratch.

What Drew Me Out

I had to climb out,
Packaged like that, broke the seal
Jumped down free but smeared
With the bottle's red contents,
Looking for a bath, looking
For a larger home,
Looking for your constant heart.
That's what drew me out.

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