Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Ravens Call

A Raven

John Daido Loori
"The problem is that people don't understand what enlightenment is. People see it as something other than who they are. They're looking for some kind of perfection that's almost dehumanized. The Buddha was very much a real person, a living person. Sometimes he did things that were not very enlightened, like not initially ordaining women. The perfection is to be found in the ability to keep working at it, and keep correcting yourself when you go astray. Keep returning to what it means to be human.

We have human qualities that are amazing. We have such things as integrity, and persistence, and dedication, and honor and love. There are also things like anger and delusion, separation and so on. These are also human qualities. Practice is about learning how to discern them. It doesn't mean that an enlightened person never gets angry. What happens is that over a period of time anger becomes less self-centered. It's more like the anger of a mother who has just yanked her child off a busy road. That kind of anger is for the benefit of the child. That's why they say the other side of anger is wisdom." - John Daido Loori

The Ravens Call

A friend, more than friends,
ravens cry the world into
being, shot with light,
unearthly halo
of rainbow light, wisdom spread
clear across the sweep
of this universe
that holds you and me upright
and breathing after
all's said and all done.

December 22, 2009 5:08 PM

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Pressure Is The Same

"Love lays siege to each being and seeks to discover an opening, a path leading into the heart, by means of which love can permeate everywhere. The difference between the sinner and the saint is that the sinner closes his heart to love while the saint opens himself to this same love. In both cases the love is the same and the pressure is the same." - Lev Gillet, The Burning Bush

Louis "Lev" Gillett was born in 1893 in Saint-Marcellin (Isère, France). After studies of philosophy in Paris, he was mobilised during the First World War, taken prisoner in 1914 and spent three years in captivity, where he was attracted by the spirit and the spirituality of the Russian prisoners. He studied mathematics and psychology in Geneva and joined the Benedictines of Clairvaux in 1919. Attracted by Eastern Christianity, he became acquainted with Metropolitan Andriy Sheptytsky of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Galicia and pronounced his final vows in 1925 at the Studite monastery of Univ Lavra in Galicia.

Disappointed by the attitude of the Roman Catholic Church towards Orthodoxy, Gillet was received in the Orthodox Church in Paris in May 1928 and, in November 1928, he became rector of the parish of Sainte-Geneviève-de-Paris, the first French-speaking Orthodox parish. In 1938 he left Paris to settle in London, within the framework of the Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius, an ecumenical organization dedicated to the bringing together of the Anglican and Orthodox churches. He remained in England until his death in 1980, going on many journeys abroad, in particular to France, Switzerland and Lebanon, where he took part in the spiritual revival of Antiochian Orthodoxy.

The Pressure Is The Same

Sinner...or the saint
of holding the way things lay...
the sinner steals things
of course, or commits
fraud, or otherwise does ill
and the saint holds things,
holds the way things lay,
even though pressure builds on
them both just alike,
the swell of God's heat.

September 28, 2011 8:41 PM

Love As Nausea

This week's words by Thom at 3 Word Wednesday: click here
Cherish, guarantee, nausea

Click on the link and see what the others did with this triangle...

Love As Nausea

I know I promised.
Cherish you, that's what you asked
of me as if you
had the holy right
to ask a true guarantee
standing like oak trees
year after year, dry
dusty green with mistletoe
high up in branches.

I drank your strange tea
steeped with unknowns. Odd half truths
like gunpowder pills
revealed gobs of goo
hidden within their thin shells.
Now I must vomit.

written September 28, 2011 5:08 AM

Author's note: this is a story and does not point fingers at your or anyone else, okay?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Not How I Like It

There is a big difference between having the stones for clandestine love and actually liking it. I have done my time more than once. In my youth I fell in love with a woman who was in the last of her marriage to a young man who thought he was going to hit in a rock and roll band. We connected and for the most part she was careful and did not allow us to actually make love much. It was not a secret though. He knew I was trying to take his wife. He knew she would leave him in any case, with me or no. She was older than him, older than me too by a little bit. She had tried for a ride on the rock and roll train. That one was a couple years long until my life blew up in a wholly different way that tore me out of it and on to another universe. At that same time she finally found the energy to sever her ties with that sad young man, who had lost his rock and roll dream and his wife to boot. That all finished in 1972. Rod Stewart was singing Maggie May at the time. I would sing it to her just to watch her temper flare. She was a little sensitive about her age.

"...the sun in your face really shows your age -
that don't bother me none, to me you're everything!"

From 1972 to 1999 - married and a career begun, moving to another state and moving twice more within that state following work - illness and divorce and financial distress - and then after more than a dozen dry years I met my lady of the moon and she swept me into orbit around the possibility of miracle. But really because of my long ago experience and many other eye openers, I knew we would not last but also that if I was to experience the gift it would have to be whole hearted and beyond that even. So that is where I went. She too was married. She too was divorcing. But in this case there was a secret and so were we also very low profile. This was necessarily clandestine, and with some help it remained that way. My dozen dry years came to an end and I returned to a vibrancy I had forgotten for longer than those dozen years. She was the third of my adult romances and in her way yet further confirmation that my heart doesn't choose all that well. Along with so many of us, I have what some call a broken picker.

After two years of romance and clandestine discipline she pushed me away. She could do nothing else. I have never condemned her.

Not How I Like It

You said I like it
naughty and I do but not
so far out of sight
nor sneaking around
nor having to tell stories
of staying home when
I've been doing her,
not that sort of thing, don't like
that at all, no ma'am.

December 20, 2009 7:11 PM

Monday, September 26, 2011


In honor of those faster than light neutrinos who give some scientists pause. In honor of scientists I read of today who have pointed out that placental mammal genes governing the gestation of fetuses internally are a complex of relationships which entered the evolving stream all at once somehow. Something big is on the horizon now that the tags of earlier human migrations (not us but our earlier, older relatives) figure deeply in the experience of all of southeast asia, reaching all the way into Australia, but not universally, in a patchwork. Some here but not there, and all of that not the newer Asian strains of humanity that are the present inheritors of China and Japan, Korea and Mongolia. The southern migration path is definite now, and it met with Denisovan man and interbred. Denisovans left Africa much earlier even than the early homo sapien migration, and the men who became modern Asians in a later second migration from Africa. Something is stirring and we are learning ever more quickly what the state of our plight is.

I have begun in recent years a prayer discipline that touches on this in a personal way. I hope you will too.


Einstein’s desk released
the muse from the cage Newton
built of gravity.
This computer screen
has taken light speed to its
limit and reversed
the thrust of tachyons,
tearing spacetime’s thin fabric
in my bright fierce love.

December 19, 2009 11:25 PM

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How We Are These Days

A few weeks back Tess posted a picture that featured a red umbrella. This picture of a woman in the rain that Tess has posted seems to tie to that one. I immediately knew I would speak from the avian perspective. For links to the offerings of my talented friends I invite you to go to Magpie Tales, Mag 84. You can do so by clicking on this link if you don't already have another easy way.

I live my life in many worlds. The world of dream and fantasy is near to me and my path meanders there. The world of magic calls to me from somewhere inside the boundaries of my person. Sometimes I am sure I can evoke a glamour. I am an engineer and technician by training and career, as well as a psychologist and philosopher by education and experience. I live with the Denisovans and with the Neanderthal genes within me (2-1/2% I am lately told) and also in the playgrounds of bosons and fermions and the quarks beneath. Just this week I traveled 20 parts in a million times faster than the speed of light with neutrinos, and did so 15000 times. That's a big but preliminary announcement coming from Italian researchers connected with CERN. I travel to the limits of things and ponder the dark matter and dark energy there (and here) that is 95% of everything. I live alone, though a cat visits me daily. Most days I meet with a varying crowd of people in a venue where we often share intimacies we would not tell our families. On the down side, I know the people who support me medically rather too well and I have very little reason to visit with my bankers. Oh yes, and you are in my life.

How We Are These Days

You speak of leaving
behind the red umbrella
I gave you last year.
You show me your form
beneath the rainy cling
of your thinning garb.

You seem to wear less
these days as if pressed to strip -
as if the global
warming was a fact
and current or else as if
you have those flashes.

I am better by
your side in a smaller shape,
your crow familiar.

written today, September 25, 2011 9:51 AM

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Alternative

I am struggling with energy after a full work week. This has gotten ordinary for me. I understand why some guys my age retire, and I have only two months before my "legal" retirement age of 66. I have physical conditions. I have a large pharmacy in my home meaning a good many foreign chemicals in my body to control blood pressure, cholesterol, blood clots, diabetic issues, water retention and prostate issues. That pharma has to affect me. Furthermore, I have absolutely nothing to prove out there on the planet any more. By the end of any work day I am fairly spent. By weeks end I am more than that and feel rather desperate. I am not looking for sympathy. I have absolutely "earned" every bit of this, including the fact that I cannot financially seriously consider retirement. Whatever. My condition is still basically middle class, though at the low end of it and not even that if I was trying to support more than myself. That is not true for so many. There is no question that the middle class is disappearing as the world returns to the way things always have been. It is not natural for people who have much to think even a little about the great majority of people who have little. This is not even reprehensible it is so natural, but it is a matter for great grief. If we actually try to force the issue as the idealist communists did, we only succeed in creating great institutional evil. Coercion of any sort in any situation almost never works permanently.

The Alternative

Solitude's magic
is my delight - far from drab
days spent as I must
at corporate desks
beneath the florescent glare
of ordinary
tasks for gray old pay.
In solitude's song I fly,
gone to other worlds.

December 19, 2009 11:02 PM

Thursday, September 22, 2011

In The Stones And Sand

The rain in the distance never comes near

Yesterday it came up again. Once before someone asked, "shouldn't your poems stand alone? Why would you try to tell the reader what to do, how to understand?" Yet musicians and writers and dramatists and painters actually do this in subtle and not so subtle ways all the time. I don't think a work stands alone ever. There is always a context. My new friend asked me why I included the word definitions and in that post the answer is very simple, because it was easier to copy Thom's Three Word Wednesday list than to rewrite it. I don't worry about things like that. My blog form is usually some kind of prose to compare and contrast with the poem. Most often these days the prose is not really that much mine but belongs to the anonymous Wiki contributor or some other remarkable web site. I don't intend this site to be solely poetry. I do hope that there is connection between the prose and the poem if only in a meander but this time maybe not.

I lived in West Texas in the second grade. I have a few strong memories, the impetigo I caught, the horny toads I killed (shame), the ants and desert scrub of the native yard out back, the trailer we lived in, the chinchilla cages my grandfather used, but oddly not the chinchillas he raised, the cab of the truck on the day I visited the construction site because mom said I could if dad said and dad said I could if mom said so I said they both said...I got in trouble for that one, when I caught the inside of my left leg near the knee and tore a big flap of skin open (I still have the scar), some drawings I did, how happy I was to go back to California, though we stayed in Gardena before coming all the way back to Berkeley, Ca where we started from. We moved into the back apartment in the house next door to the upstairs apartment in the house we had moved out from. In our new kitchen was a cooler made of wire mesh to the outside on the bottom and a door to close like any other cubboard, but down low to the floor of course.

In The Stones And Sand

The dry ache of things
on this slope I walk, stumble
over hidden stones
beneath the drab sand
looking for signs of life, you.

No stone is unturned
in this search of mine,
no stone left to sit as is
except those too big
like the stone I have
in my torn and sandy heart,
in my arid soul.

December 18, 2009 7:55 PM

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Why I Wrote This Poem

Salmon Migration
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true. Salmon live along the coasts of both the North Atlantic (one migratory species Salmo salar) and Pacific Oceans (approximately a dozen species of the genus Oncorhynchus), and have also been introduced into the Great Lakes of North America. Salmon are intensively produced in aquaculture in many parts of the world.

Typically, salmon are anadromous: they are born in fresh water, migrate to the ocean, then return to fresh water to reproduce. However, there are populations of several species that are restricted to fresh water through their life. Folklore has it that the fish return to the exact spot where they were born to spawn; tracking studies have shown this to be true, and this homing behavior has been shown to depend on olfactory memory.

Over at Three Word Wednesday (click on the link to see the other offerings) Thom offered
Dull; adjective: Lacking interest or excitement; lacking brightness, vividness, or sheen; (of a person) slow to understand; stupid; verb: Make or become dull or less intense.

Race; noun: A competition between runners, horses, vehicles, boats, etc., to see which is the fastest in covering a set course; each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics; verb: Compete with another or others to see who is fastest at covering a set course or achieving an objective; move or progress swiftly or at full speed.

Yawn; verb: involuntarily open one's mouth wide and inhale deeply due to tiredness or boredom; noun: A reflex act of opening one's mouth wide and inhaling deeply due to tiredness or boredom.

This poem insisted on going its own way. I did not write this one. It wrote itself. Every significant word and frame choice of mine was scratched and replaced, some more than once before I was permitted to complete the work.

Why I Wrote This Poem

Words are fish. Now I
need to learn to surf your love.

Words migrate upstream.
They race against time
and then with wild leaps they flash
past dull stone meaning
passing into realms
of verve and élan and weave
all bright around me.

Then even my yawn
turns incandescent within
your love’s tidal bore.

September 21, 2011 12:48 PM

1000 poems

I have just noticed that the number of poems listed in my "posted" directory has topped one thousand. Since I have been reprising earlier poems for some time I am certain it is accurate to say that I have posted over one thousand poems. Blogger says that I have 946 posts - 947 counting this one. In the early days I was posting two poems daily. I have 405 poems in the queue. :D This might be a life work. Found it. Find yours.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Changing For The Better

Your Bright Eyes

Metamorphosis is a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal's body structure through cell growth and differentiation. Some insects, amphibians, molluscs, crustaceans, Cnidarians, echinoderms and tunicates undergo metamorphosis, which is usually accompanied by a change of habitat or behavior.

Scientific usage of the term is exclusive, and is not applied to general aspects of cell growth, including rapid growth spurts. References to "metamorphosis" in mammals are imprecise and only colloquial, but historically idealist ideas of transformation and monadology, as in Goethe's Metamorphosis of Plants, influenced the development of ideas of evolution.

Sometimes changes really are radical. Some of us know this to be fact. Metamorphosis may be emotionally precise to the nearly overnight change that can happen to the human heart.

The love of one drunk for another is like this sometimes.

Changing For The Better

In reaching to scratch
the itch on my blade I felt
the seam's sudden split
and it spilled out new.

I am born of this young wing,
born of wind and love,
born of yearning breath,
of voice and of your bright eyes,
the way you touch me.

December 18, 2009 8:42 AM

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Last Heard From

The Snake Charmer, Henri Rousseau, 1907
When I was a young man, having returned from a two year drug induced exile in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), I started back to school at university in San Jose, California. The year was 1969. Things were popping and people were interested in changing the world in ways fresh and new then but familiar to us all now. I began in a rooming house but soon met my friend down the street. It was not long before I moved in there when the old dining room became available as a bed room. This was the quintessential college dope house. The students were serious enough that people were going to graduate and they did, though I did not. When I left this third run at a college education behind it was not bad grades that stopped me. My friend was serious about funding his schooling and he chose to deal to do it. So did I, both on my own and also with him. He hooked up with a guy back from Viet Nam, a veteran who decided to get even more serious. That was my friend's main partner. My friend and this guy had the capital to buy a boat and started to smuggle in pot from the Mexican groups but before that we were transporting their dope up from LA.

The way to make any money in those days, you had to move volume because otherwise you would party up all the profit. Also, you had to do it with elaborate protection schemes of the kind the Vet had devised for himself. He was virtually inaccessible without an invitation and from a bar, which was a successful out of town music venue he supplied parts of the San Francisco music scene. He lived in the Santa Cruz mountains, more than fifty miles from the city. This was of course the hey day of that whole scene. Or if you did not protect yourself that way you got in and got out and then stopped for unpredictable lengths of time. When the vet was last heard from he had retired and bought his sea going sail boat. It is not true that no one succeeded at the business. His goal had been to sail the world. My friend had much less elaborate goals. He succeeded too.

Many years before him, Henri Rousseau painted scenes like the one above. Wiki says:
Henri Julien Félix Rousseau (May 21, 1844 – September 2, 1910) was a French Post-Impressionist painter in the Naive or Primitive manner. He was also known as Le Douanier (the customs officer), a humorous description of his occupation as a tax collector. Ridiculed during his life, he came to be recognized as a self-taught genius whose works are of high artistic quality.

His best known paintings depict jungle scenes, even though he never left France or saw a jungle. Stories spread by admirers that his army service included the French expeditionary force to Mexico are unfounded. His inspiration came from illustrated books and the botanical gardens in Paris, as well as tableaux of taxidermied wild animals. He had also met soldiers, during his term of service, who had survived the French expedition to Mexico and listened to their stories of the subtropical country they had encountered. To the critic Arsène Alexandre, he described his frequent visits to the Jardin des Plantes: "When I go into the glass houses and I see the strange plants of exotic lands, it seems to me that I enter into a dream."

Last Heard From

It is my lagoon
after all, the big reward
of all those risky
times, tree top fliers
and blue gray cigarette boats
all leading to me
here, naked with flute,
black from days at sea and sun
surrounded by snakes
that have slithered out
of my apocalyptic
drug run memories.

September 18, 2011 9:30 AM

Written for Magpie Tales Mag 83 of this date Visit there and delight.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Naked To The Day

I Ching calls the north and east the realm of solitude, appropriate to contemplation, meditation and rest.

This poem was written on an anniversary of my stepfather's birthday.

My Mother and My Step-Father before they
were married, ca. 1951
Robert Henry Hileman, in his youth known as Stormy, was a Marine in WWII, just old enough to get in at the last, landed in Okinawa and was headed to invasion of the main islands when the bomb stopped it all. When Stormy Hileman (he was a football hero on the Cal Rosebowl team of 48 I think it was; then he tried for, almost made a professional slot on the 49ers) got serious about marrying Mom, what tipped it was when I asked if he would be my Daddy. What had happened, my real father had stopped coming to visit when he saw that another man was hanging around. Before then my father would come on Sundays and spend the day with me.

I have no idea what really happened in that two year marriage in which I arrived on the planet. It was my mother's second(...she annulled her first. She also annulled her fourth, and was married five times. She always said she had affinity with Liz Taylor, knew just what Liz was about. If you're going to lay them, you have to marry them.) Near the end of my real father's life we were in contact. I made a small remark about Mom divorcing him and got quite a letter back. His wound after nearly fifty years was still fresh.

My Mother and my Step-Father's Wedding
Picture, 1951
I was a childhood asthmatic and really was pretty sick. This man Stormy married us anyway, what was to be an eighteen year marriage. At the end, I found myself in an awkward position. I was absolutely one of my mother's supports as they divorced. For the first part of it I was her only support, because of our circumstances. I did well enough, I think, but I had to be diplomatic because I completely understood and agreed with my step dad's need to get out.

My step father Stormy was built like the center-linebacker he was and he was a red head, handsome only as some red heads can be, unusually hirsute all over except he was noticeably balding at the age of seventeen. He was born on December 18 in Perry, Oklahoma, and his family came to the Ventura area of California to settle, coming out of the dust bowl, genuine Okies. His mother, Ruth Spurlock, divorced his father, Charles Hileman, who settled into West Texas, there to become a contractor in the oil fields, a man who raised chinchillas at home. Stormy had an older brother, Jack, who became a college professor of chemistry and who had a cabin in Northern California on the Klamath River, I believe it was. One of my step dad's friends and team mates on that Cal championship team was Jackie Jensen, who later had a great career as a Right Fielder with the Boston Red Sox. Another was Leo Nomellini who made it to the 49ers offensive line. Stormy's working life was in the school systems of California and overseas, first as a teacher, then as a school administrator, but he ran afoul of the teacher education system and never got his doctorate. He tried several times. At the end he was a serious computer buff. He died painfully of bone cancer in the early summer of 2001. He has a daughter Caroline and through her two grandchildren, all coming from the family he formed after leaving my mother.

Naked To The Day

And I will join the feast of love,
standing on the brink of things,
feathers catching northeast wind
while my old skin tightens in the air
of this new morning's chill.

December 18, 2009 8:05 AM

Friday, September 16, 2011

All Agree, Free At Last

The Meeting
© 2002-2011 Brian Stewart, Minneapolis, MN

Brian writes: "The Meeting - Minneapolis is blessed with a strong and active sobriety community. It has many good AA Meeting Houses to choose from with meetings most anytime someone needs one. The meeting house I painted here is in South Minneapolis and features the usual cast of characters sharing their experience, strength and hope. The painting portrays the giving of a medallion for another year of sobriety, a very special event in the life of a recovering person."

All Agree, Free At Last
(Oregon City, Oregon)

The round faced short haired
guy at the head table celebrates
ten years sober on this day.

I didn't shake or spill my tea.

The fresh faced short haired
guy across from me is crying
openly because he is going

to jail in less than three hours.

The guy in the corner learned
he can say God and fuck right here
in the same sentence.

He chose to speak of that today.

I will let the wild women
tell their secrets on themselves.
if they want.  They were here too,

and so were other healed and broken hearts.

‎September ‎16, ‎2011 5:17 PM

"I Have a Dream" is a 17-minute public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. The speech, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. Delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters, the speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address.

This speech concluded, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" which almost certainly referenced the Negro Spiritual:

Free at last, free at last
I thank God I'm free at last
Free at last, free at last
I thank God I'm free at last

Thursday, September 15, 2011

What We Saw Out There

One of the sets of prints in Mungo National Park

From The Sydney Morning Herald

Revealed: the runners of 20,000BC

HUNDREDS of human footprints dating back to about 20,000BC - the oldest in Australia and the largest collection of its kind in the world - have been discovered in Mungo National Park in western NSW.

They were left by children, adolescents and adults at the height of the last ice age as they ran and walked across a moist clay area near the Willandra Lakes.

Some people appear to have been hunting, with one very tall man sprinting at about 20kmh.

The first footprint was spotted by Mary Pappin Junior, of the Mutthi Mutthi people, two years ago and more than 450 more have been uncovered by a team led by Steve Webb of Bond University.

Professor Webb said the find provided a unique glimpse into the lives of those who lived in the arid inland. "It brings these people to life in a way no other archaeological evidence can. You can see how the mud squelched between their toes."

From CNN World

Ancient footprints: Earliest signs of modern feet

February 26, 2009

Ancient footprints discovered in northern Kenya are believed to be the oldest sign that early humans had feet like ours.

The footprints were found in two sedimentary layers, 1.5 million years old, near Ileret in the eastern African nation.

"These rarest of impressions yielded information about soft tissue form and structure not normally accessible in fossilized bones. The Ileret footprints constitute the oldest evidence of an essentially modern human-like foot anatomy," according to a team of anthropologists who detailed the discovery in the February 27 issue of the journal Science. The team, led by anthropologist Professor John W.K. Harris and an international group of colleagues, excavated the site between 2006 and 2008.

Harris, who teaches at Rutgers University and the State University of New Jersey, is a member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies and directs the Koobi Fora Field Project. The ongoing excavation project is run by Rutgers in collaboration with the National Museums of Kenya.

Koobi Fora refers to a region around Koobi Fora Ridge, located on the eastern shore of Lake Turkana. The area has been a rich resource for excavations.

According to the authors of the journal article, there were three footprint trails in the upper sediment layer. Five meters deeper, another sediment surface preserved one trail of two prints and a single, smaller print, likely from a child.

"In these specimens, the big toe is parallel to the other toes, unlike that of apes where it is separated in a grasping configuration useful in the trees. The footprints show a pronounced human-like arch and short toes, typically associated with an upright bipedal stance," the scientists said.

"The size, spacing and depth of the impressions were the basis of estimates of weight, stride and gait, all found to be within the range of modern humans."

The size and other characteristics of the prints led the authors to conclude the prints belonged to the hominid Homo ergaster, or early Homo erectus. This is the first hominid to have had the same body proportions -- longer legs and shorter arms -- as modern Homo sapiens.

Other hominid fossil footprints dating to 3.6 million years ago were discovered in 1978 by Mary Leakey at Laetoli, Tanzania.

"These are attributed to the less advanced Australopithecus afarensis, a possible ancestral hominid. The smaller, older Laetoli prints show indications of upright bipedal posture, but possess a shallower arch and a more ape-like, divergent big toe," the authors said.

What We Saw Out There

What was once lakeshore
is now stony desert floor
and once these footprints
were fresh in the muck
of reeds and bugs, swamp driven
life, hunters, their prey.

Distant family
gone back home, these old footprints
left as if for us
while we cannot leave
our own in ancient silty
dry and dusty stone.

‎September ‎15, ‎2011   3:09 PM

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Construction Manager's Lament

This week, 3 Word Wednesday offers us demented poets and other story tellers

Backward; adjective: Directed behind or to the rear; (of a person) having learning difficulties; adverb: (Of a movement) away from one's front; in the direction of one's back; toward or into the past.

Ease; noun: Absence of difficulty or effort; absence of rigidity or discomfort; verb: make (something unpleasant, painful, or intense) less serious or severe; move carefully, gradually, or gently.

Omission; noun: Someone or something that has been left out or excluded; the action of excluding or leaving out someone or something; a failure to do something, esp. something that one has a moral or legal obligation to do.

You can find the other offerings by clicking on this link

The Construction Manager's Lament

Could be our errors,
or some kind of omission
(we have insurance,
thank God, for all those.)
We built the bay bridge backward,
arrogance sliding
home with ease, spilling
over elaborate plans,
tumbling down the stairs,
landing in a heap -
never enough time and gelt
to do these things right.

Written September 14, 2011   7:36 AM

I work for a construction manager, but we do this stuff with food processing and handling equipment, material delivery systems and plant structures in an industrial bakery. I literally work in a cracker factory.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kicked Off The Bus

 (by glucken)
glucken found on this website

I have written before of this. I have several stories I tell on myself. They are true in the heart's way, the soul's way. This poem is one of them or at least a slant view of one of them. There was a bus. I was traveling on that bus to some destination. We reached a way station and following the rest of the crowd, I got off here. I got distracted. When I realized what had happened I tried to find that bus. It had already left and I have been waiting for another ever since. I am not where I am supposed to be but instead am stranded in a way station and I make the best of it as I can. I am sad underneath, and bewildered, for I don't understand how such a small oversight has left me so bereft. I have no idea how to call the bus, nor any clear idea why it would not signal or wait for me. Sometimes I think it was deliberate.

This is just a story like a myth is "just a story". It is true to my heart and I know I am not the only one. There are many who feel the true home is somewhere else and that this life is a journey in some form or other. When I discovered Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, Mircea Eliade and many others I learned that there is a universal mythos that points to elsewhere and makes claims for the truer and finer nature of that place. That was a relief to me, that I share this otherness in my bones with so many threads of humanity.

The primary truth of it is that it is so personal. Even though so many of us share this yearning, each of us yearns alone. At least that is how it feels to me.

My mother said of her experience of this feeling that she wondered all her life, "where does an alien go to register?"

Kicked Off The Bus

I shall fall apart
flying through the cold gray air,
landing on the grit
packed down at full speed
by so many who ignore
my daily losses.

I shall separate,
become the drab emptiness,
sad indifference,
lie here raw, exposed
before the weeping lost God
of this dead old world.

December 18, 2009 7:47 AM

Monday, September 12, 2011


Jupiter and Io, ca. 1531

Antonio Allegri da Correggio (August 1489 – March 5, 1534), usually known as Correggio, was the foremost painter of the Parma school of the Italian Renaissance, who was responsible for some of the most vigorous and sensuous works of the 16th century. In his use of dynamic composition, illusionistic perspective and dramatic foreshortening, Correggio prefigured the Rococo art of the 18th century.

Antonio Allegri da Corregio

I will turn to smoke
held to form by will alone
and I will rise up,
twining around you.

Remember the ancient snake
around the laurel
staff, the sage song and
stream of your inner story,
that was me, you know.

December 17, 2009 11:02 PM

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Revenant - for Magpie Tales No. 82

The Revenant, Andrew Wyeth, 1949
Self Portrait
Magpie Tales:Mag 82 
Go to the link to see the other offerings

Wiki says: "A Revenant is a visible ghost or animated corpse that was believed to return from the grave to terrorize the living. The word "revenant" is derived from the Latin word, revenans, "returning", from the verb "revenire"; in French, "revenant" means "coming back", from the verb "revenir", meaning "to come back".

"Belief in revenants lies beneath the universal rituals for propitiating the dead, to keep them in their place. Vivid stories of revenants arose in Western Europe (especially Great Britain, and were later carried by Anglo-Norman invaders to Ireland) during the High Middle Ages. Though later legend and folklore depicts revenants as returning for a specific purpose (e.g., revenge against the deceased's killer), in most Medieval accounts they return to harass their surviving families and neighbours. Revenants share a number of characteristics with folkloric vampires. Many stories were documented by English historians in the Middle Ages. William of Newburgh wrote in the 1190s, "one would not easily believe that corpses come out of their graves and wander around, animated by some evil spirit, to terrorize or harm the living, unless there were many cases in our times, supported by ample testimony".

"Stories of revenants were very personal, always about a specific individual who had recently died (unlike the anonymous zombie depicted in modern popular culture), and had a number of common features.

Medieval stories of revenants have common features. Those who return from the dead are wrongdoers in their lifetime, often described as wicked, vain or unbelievers. Often the revenants are associated with the spreading of disease among the living. The appropriate response is usually exhumation, followed by some form of decapitation, and burning or removal of the heart.

"Several stories imply that sucking of blood has occurred. Because of this, revenants have sometimes been described as "vampires" by a number of authors of popular books about vampire legends, starting with Montague Summers. Medievalists are, however, largely skeptical towards this interpretation, possibly because vampire legends are believed to have originated in Eastern European folklore and became known to the Western public only later through reports coming from the East in the 18th century. Vampires do not appear in Western fiction (with modifications) until the late 18th century and early 19th century, starting with authors such as Robert Southey, Lord Byron and John William Polidori. However, anthropologists and folklorists tend to blur distinctions between the various forms of "walking dead", for which counterparts exist in the myths and legends of nearly every civilization dating back to earliest history."

The Revenant

It is just like you
to think you can wear all white
as if from the dead,
coming back to tell
me what's what on the other
side of the divide.

You sneaking around
setting chairs to their rocking,
squeaking in corners,
all that ghost stuff plumb
wears me out and then you show
right in front of me
and the whispers rise
around us as if there are
crowds of you nearby.

I'm fit to be tied.

Written September 11, 2011   10:54 AM

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tonto Had Something To Say

Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels with
Silver and Scout in the background
The first of 2,956 radio episodes of The Lone Ranger premiered on January 30, 1933 on WXYZ, a radio station serving Detroit, Michigan. Sources disagree on whether station and show owner George W. Trendle or main writer Fran Striker should receive credit for the concept. Elements of the Lone Ranger story had been used in an earlier series Fran Striker wrote for a station in Buffalo, New York. In any case, the show was an immediate success.

Though it was aimed at children, adults made up at least half the audience. It became so popular, it was picked up by the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network, and finally by NBC's "Blue Network", which in time became ABC. The last new episode was broadcast September 3, 1954. Transcribed repeats of the 1952–53 episodes continued to be aired on ABC until June 24, 1955. Then selected repeats appeared on NBC's late-afternoon weekday schedule (5:30–5:55 pm Eastern time) from September 1955 to May 25, 1956.

Each episode was introduced by the announcer as follows: "In the early days of the western United States, a masked man and an Indian rode the plains, searching for truth and justice. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when from out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again!" By the time it was on ABC at 7:30 pm Eastern Time, the introduction, voiced by Brace Beemer, had become "From out of the west with the speed of light and a hearty hi-yo Silver" following "Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear."
A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty ‘Hi-yo, Silver!’, The Lone Ranger!
When I was a small boy I had two 78s,  records I would play over and over, the legend of the Lone Ranger.  I remember the radio show.  On Saturdays, I would go by myself to the movies and among other serials shown would be some adventure of the Lone Ranger designed to bring me back the next Saturday afternoon.  This was 1953 or so, me seven years old, and  the number of TVs on our block only one or two.  My folks were far too poor to have a TV.  It is remarkable that no one thought anything of children wandering alone like that.  The movie house I walked to was at least ten blocks away toward the university where my mother taught and both she and my dad graduated.  Sometimes they would drive me, leave me at the theater alone and pick me up after.

 Tonto Had Something To Say
(overheard when they struck the set on that last Tuesday)

Go to any length
is what you told me as if
I would believe you,
take it to the bank.
When found in trees after that
they mistook me for
some sort of raccoon
up there all riled up, Masked Man,
fringe framed confusion,
old Kimo Sabe,
you the brass Clayton Moore to
my Jay Silverheels.

September 10, 2011 5:44 AM

Friday, September 9, 2011

At The End In Chelsea

Joan Recently

Joan Back In The Day

"Only you and I can help the sun rise each coming morning. If we don't, it may drench itself out in sorrow." - Joan Baez

Joan Chandos-Baez (born January 9, 1941) is an American folk singer, songwriter, muscian and activist.  Baez has a distinctive vocal style, with a strong vibrato. Her recordings include many topical songs and material dealing with social issues.
Baez began her career performing in coffeehouses in Boston and Cambridge, and rose to fame as an unbilled performer at the 1959 Newport Folk Festival. She began her recording career in 1960, and achieved immediate success. Her first three albums, Joan BaezJoan Baez, Vol. 2, and Joan Baez in Concert all achieved gold record status, and stayed on the charts for two years.

at the end of the day Lit. at the time when work or one's waking hours end.  I will have an answer at the end of the day. Will this be finished at the end of the day or before? 
2. Fig. when everything else has been taken into consideration. At the end of the day you will have to decide where you want to live. The committee interviewed many applicants for the post, but at the end of the day made no appointment.

One of my favorite blogger poets, a guy who writes maybe more than I do is Joseph Harker, producer of naming constellations Click on that link to see the poem that inspired this one.

At The End Of The Day In Chelsea
I watched you lift off
with your belly leading, you
showing your grand thought
was to sneak right out
us none the wiser for it.
I know what you did.
I stood back and gave
a small secret wave farewell
to the gassy smear
you had now become,
not caring much if you knew,
watching for angels.

Written September 9, 2011   3:30 PM

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Your Departure


Written for Bluebell Books Short Story Slam Week 9

Joseph Brodsky said,
"After all, it is hard to master both life and work equally well. So if you are bound to fake one of them, it had better be life."

"Bad literature is a form of treason."

"For the poet the credo or doctrine is not the point of arrival but is, on the contrary, the point of departure for the metaphysical journey." 

Iosif Aleksandrovich Brodsky (24 May 1940 – 28 January 1996), was a Russian-American poet and essayist. He was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1972 for alleged "social parasitism" and settled in America with the help of W. H. Auden and other supporters. He taught thereafter at universities including those at Yale, Cambridge and Michigan.

Brodsky was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature "for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity". He was appointed American Poet Laureate in 1991.

A movie based on his life has been made, "A Room And A Half", directed by Andrey Khrzhanovsky.

Your Departure

I doubt I can say
what it is you did to me
when taking your leave,
acting the pirate
as if this was a movie
and you a golden
coin with evil eye
upon me striped and flayed, flensed,
my strips left out to
dry.  That good enough?

Written September 8, 2011   10:12 PM

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My Broken Heart - For Three Word Wednesday

The Flaming Heart

Go to Three Word Wednesday for the rest of the gang

Erode; verb: (Of wind, water, or other natural agents) gradually wear away (soil, rock, or land); gradually destroy or be gradually destroyed.

Heart; noun: A hollow muscular organ that pumps the blood through the circulatory system by rhythmic contraction and dilation; one's mood or feeling; the central or innermost part of something; verb: Like very much, love.

Observe; verb: notice or perceive (something) and register it as being significant; watch (someone or something) carefully and attentively; fulfill or comply with (a social, legal, ethical, or religious obligation).

Bleeding Hearts
My Broken Heart

I shall stand apart
as best I can and observe
the heart of matter,
the heart of life's splay
across this thin round surface
of things, and watch as
all things shred, erode.

Oh Reconciliation!
I shall pray for you.

Written September 7, 2011   4:58 AM

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Walking The Ice

Life can be hard, can be cold and hard.  I have friends in the north country where it gets cold and hard and dark for long stretches.  The warm season is short and intense.  I rarely hear them complain of mosquitoes and I think they could.  Life abounds there when it can.  Summer is over for them already while on this day this year we here on the 45th parallel in Oregon State (half way from the Equator to the North Pole) have a summer heat thing going on.  This winter it will get dark quite early even for us.

It might be good to remember what winter is on a ninety plus degree day.

I moved to Oregon from California in 1973, moved some six hundred miles further north.  I have not yet in 2011 gotten used to how dark it gets here in the winter, and how light it remains in the summer.  I have gotten old here but I still have the California seasons of my youth in my bones. Oregon seasons still surprise me.

Looking for the cracks.  I think God appears in the cracks.  I think all the forms of self determination and choices fill up the world but nothing is perfect.  God slips into the world in the cracks between our intentions, from virus on up to the world soul.  It cannot be otherwise or else free will is at least potentially a joke.  I think God has made a pact with creation to refrain from f*cking with free will.  AA taught me you could say God and f*ck in the same sentence.  Blogger and Facebook have taught me that it is kinder to refrain from overt swearing most times.  I could have used other words.  Shame.  But I do refrain from swearing most times.  I guess not this time.

Walking The Ice

The water birds walk
the ice, looking for the cracks
and the flow beneath
the cracks, three of them
out there keeping track, watching
the bank for vixen
as they search as well
for something to eat, something
more than cold dry air.

December 16, 2009   8:06 AM

Monday, September 5, 2011

We Have Been Through Times

Abandoned Farm in Dublin, Ohio

For Magpie Tales, September 4, 2011. Go visit  Mag 81
"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." - Anatole France
Anatole France (16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924), born François-Anatole Thibault, was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament.

We Have Been Through Times

The swollen dusty
cloud left us behind the dunes
right where we landed
quite some time ago
now, not as if we wanted
to be here but look,
buried clear up to
both axles just like wagons
in the dusty bowl,
in the world's middle
ground and drier than deserts,
damned decades of drought.

Written September 5, 2011   7:38 AM

Sunday, September 4, 2011

This Plaid Scarf

This Plaid Scarf

You protected me
from this mudhole, this green slime.
You gave me these shoes,
this coat, this plaid scarf
I drape and tie around me,
around my bare neck.
You told me not to
look, hear, sense the truth of this
Fetid old story.
But you couldn't stop
me for all those gifts, even
now I still know it.

December 15, 2009   8:01 PM

Bonnie Prince Charlie in 2008 at the Highland Games
Prince Charles and I share November 14 as our birthdays, though he is younger by  a year or two.

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