Sunday, December 30, 2012

Teenage Rebel - A Magpie Tale

image by R.A.D. Stainforth offered on Tess Kincaid's The Mag.

Teenage Rebel

The terrazzo floor,
gritty on my feet, the smoke
gritty in my mouth,
the sharp hitch breathing
past my swollen voice husking
forty-two today,
Newports are my faves
but I have to steal over
half of all I smoke.

I sit in the old
maroon leather chair, daring
my dad to come in
and throw my ass out
of the house once and for all.
Then he did just that.

December 30,2012 6:02 AM

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Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Not Too Late

Oddly enough, considering yesterday's post of a new poem, this one from a couple years back has something of the same images, but it's winter now and was summer then...

Here I think of the way salmon might pair up and hang motionless.

Not Too Late

I came to rest on
the bottom, on the cool sand,
watched the bubbles rise,
small glimmering lights
reaching for the sun above
the ripples flashing
as I waved to hold
my place next to you, to your
still form, to my life.

July 14, 2010 4:56 PM

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

At A Disadvantage

This picture was shared today on Facebook by my friend George Breed. George resides in Flagstaff, Arizona. Please click on the picture to get the full effect. The other source of tonight's poem was the beginning of Mary Ruefle's poem Elegy For A Game. You can find the poem HERE. The beginning went

"Once I was on earth
and I liked it.
I got to look at my toes
underwater. They looked bigger
than they were in real life."

But in fact, the real point is her whole poem which I highly recommend. It moved me enough to reply in my own darker way.

At A Disadvantage

Was I really pushed
under the edge of it all
as if in the pond
you found, ducks in place,
others coming fast across
the flat thicker ice?
It may freeze over
in a few days and then what?
Then oh me sinking,
pleading for my last
breath, just one more from the hole
with little duck feet.

December 26, 2012 6:25 PM

The darkness in this poem is actually about how I may never be a real poet (reference Pinocchio's wish to be a real boy) if Mary is my measure. Rest assured I understand that my own critique of my work may mean very little if I refuse to let my "harsh" (of course I would say, realistic) judgement stop me. So far I have continued no matter what, certain this whole thing is in the mainstream of my destiny.

Oh yes... that last line? Carl Sandburg's poem Fog which goes

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

I am shameless...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Where We Stand

Where We Stand

I stand in the green
spongy mass of growing things
near the falls. The ledge
on which I stand lies
north of my care and my hope
for you and for your
lenses, for the gift
that brought you here, then gave me
leave to follow you.

That you should show me
a vision is natural
to the shape of things
as they are these days.
The osprey flies far above
calling to us both.

July 12, 2010 9:11 AM

This doesn't have much to do with Christmas. My life doesn't either. I did have a Christmas dinner I attended, put on by a local AA group. We tend put on a pretty good pot luck spread. That's about my speed. There aren't many people left in my family. This is the nature of aging, what it does. The year 2001 pretty well stripped me clean, while the tumble cycle of the nineties took my expectations and flushed them with the rinse. I am now grateful that understanding my destiny is not a requirement. I presume I am on track but really I have no idea.

At year's end, I am still puzzling over the same conundrums I was at this time last year. Where we stand - in enigma.

Monday, December 24, 2012

If You Meet Him On The Road - Reprise

I have a little problem with authority. The bumper sticker, years old, was made for me: Question Authority

There is an old Buddhist saying that comes from the heart of the teaching. Most of that saying is the title of this poem and the poem is a story that describes the last two words of the title. This also I like very much. Buddhism insists that in the most basic analysis, I am to be my own authority even to this point, that before I actually achieve my highest potential, I will have to kill all residual forms of devotion to any master or any belief, any dogma and any rule, because they will at the last be hindrances. They will stand in my way.

Thus, even though I must accept guidance and community along my way, because there is utterly no hope of my journey's success without that, and even though because I must accept guidance and community, there must be authorities, I am called also to remember that these are all TEMPORARY and they cannot take dogmatic position in my life if my journey is truly spiritual. If I meet the Buddha on the road, at the last I must kill him.

This is the spiritualizing of a human tendency to fail, a shortcoming. The shortcoming is a failure in the maturation of the adolescent in us all. It is natural for adolescents to rebel against authority. In the spirit life this rebelliousness transforms rather than disappears. That is the point. To outgrow adolescent rebelliousness as most societies prefer is to lose something divine. But to stay in that rebellion is to fall far short of the divine. To transform adolescent rebelliousness first into self-actualized, socialized, other centered living, and then to lift that socialized being into the spirit realms is the purpose of all true religion. If that path is lacking, if the religion cannot act as the mother does letting the adolescent go into adulthood, letting the child truly go, letting the spiritual traveler move beyond the childhood home, then it cannot be a true religion.

We tend to not understand.

If You Meet Him On The Road

Why is it like this?
I see some serious man
Have his earnest say,
Speak as deeply as
He knows, perhaps deeper than
I ever would go,
Demonstrate his grace,
His position in God's world
If not in my own,
And what do I do?
Sling snowballs, or mud
Right between his hazel eyes,
Down his gray suede coat.

Written December 17, 2008 10:14 AM
First Posted March 28, 2009

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Breaking Trail

Breaking Trail

Bush whacking my way
through the long winded day's work
wishing for a trail.

I look left, then right,
spy the blue ribbon hanging
off a slant dry branch,
the ribbon you left
last season when you flew down
on the winds of change.

You announced you would
leave sign for me in odd ways
and I guess you did.

June 30, 2010 12:56 PM

Thursday, December 20, 2012

I Would Do This

I Would Do This

If I was really
the magician I intend
I would weave such spells
that all around us
the fragrant vines of true love
would match my good work,
weaving shapes for us,
giving my youth back to me
and chasing your pain
so far far away
that you could not help but turn
and accept my life.
I would give my life.

July 8, 2010 7:39 PM

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The First Snows - 3WW

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

To link up with this week's Three Word Wednesday *click here*

This week's words:

Echo; Hardship; Softly

The First Snows

Your echo persists
despite the baffles hardship
erects around me.
I thought I mattered
to you. How softly you spoke
to me as you said
things like flakes of snow
falling on my red tipped ears,
secrets I must keep
even though I know
others can hear the whispers
you have left behind.

December 19, 2012 4:42 AM

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Initiation - Reprise

I read the Bible a long time ago. Frankly it was hard for me, and not much I read applied to my life as I saw it then. However, I came across in a few places how dangerous it was to see God, just see Him, and I thought, Uh huh.

The Greeks had that attitude too, with some demonic divinities turning people to stone if the people who encountered them did not use some trick. The gods and goddesses were known to visit the planet for a variety of reasons, often because they were attracted to someone extraordinary among the mortals. Most gods and goddesses came to the planet in disguise. I would assume the gods and goddesses took on disguises not just to be incognito, but further because many mortals would be at least injured by the sight of Divinity, so unprepared to encounter a god they would be.

In the Eastern approaches to Divinity disciples are expected to enter a practice under guidance of a master. Through long training and disciplines of living and spiritual work they may actually arrive in the Divine Presence. In the mideast there are the Jewish and Muslim sacrificial practices and the dances of joyful sacrifice such as the Sufis do.

There are the sacrificial practices of so many spiritual walks.

All this points to the trouble that might come to someone unprepared, the trouble of an "accidental meeting". The most common practices of those desiring to "see God" found all across the world entail most probably a long period of rigorous living and perhaps also a sacrifice of something dear. Perhaps the sacrifice is as dear as one's own son. Or as Christians assert, the Son of God Himself, the source of salvation and protection for all believers who wish to approach God safely at some point.

Thus the accomplishment of spiritual freedom is quite like the freedom to play that musicians gain through all those hours of practice and discipline, like the freedom gained in any sufficiently complex endeavor we may contemplate. They say we require something like ten thousand hours of practice, and the only question may be how compressed the actual hours of practice are in the longer spans of living. Two hours a week? Two hours a day? More hours a day? Even then we may need God's protection on top of it all.

Or here is another meeting that can cause trouble. Let us say that a person is somehow essential to God's plan or otherwise extraordinarily worth saving from the Divine point of view. God has to come near to effect this work. It would be accidental on the human side if not on the Divine side. "See the face of God and die". Wow - here there is no preparation at all. This is something like a triage, a rough and ready intervention with the materials at hand to change one's life in a radical way. Even God is limited in this case, if you or I are unprepared. What would be the aftermath of this kind of encounter?

This poem takes place in that neighborhood.


When you touched me so,
Changed that single wild moment
To a timeless one,
I had to somehow
Accommodate your presence
In my aimless life.

Do you realize how close
Terror is to joy, despair?

Ever since, I'm tasked
With somehow measuring up
To you this moment.
But first I fell far,
Landed hard, had to pick up
All my damn marbles.

Written December 12, 2008
First published March 3, 2009
Major expansions of the introduction today.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Desert Moment - Reprise

A Desert Moment

I notice this man
Plunging where he should not go
Between bird and snake,
Separate them so
No harm, but foul as I see
The competition.
And yet the mercy
Is exquisite, the outcome
A wise peace indeed.

Except the bird hurts,
Permanently changed by this
And snake still hungers.

All for unborn chicks
Bird and man have saved.

December 13, 2008 9:17 AM
First posted March 20, 2009

Sunday, December 16, 2012

It's Happened Again - A Magpie Tale

It's Happened Again

Today I've come to
in the back seat with papers
rattling and the clinks
of all the empties,
bouncing with the country road
you are taking now.

My gummy out breath
slides past my sad grimed up teeth
and the sores and lumps
I feel... last night's clothes
do not improve things, I'll say
that for damn all sure.
And worse, you are bright
and sunny, singing out as if
no cares in the world.

December 16, 2012 8:16 AM

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Clay Heart - Reprise

Clay Heart

I swim in shallows,
Know it when I hear from you
The story, the truth
Of the deep of things,

The dusty clay heart of things.

The smell of the dung
Of the mule who kicked
Her face is still strong and good.
Yet I shrink from it.

Written December 13, 2008 10:10 AM
First posted March 21, 2009

Song of the Mountains is a show on public television that broadcasts around here at three in the morning. I am up at that time quite often. The music is wonderful. Thanks to this strange world I live in, that I find my comfort where I can.

Thursday, December 13, 2012



On the light I ride
I come, I pierce the sinewed
shape you hold before
my intent and still
I touch the outer reaches
of your realm, push past
the rubble found there-
old wars- still coming, aiming
the hot shot laser,
green ruby laser,
aiming at your red red heart,
doing what I must.

July 5, 2010 7:18 PM

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Tremulous Troll - 3WW

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

To link up with this week's Three Word Wednesday *click here*

This week's words:

Abnormal; Dangle; Lavish
A Tremulous Troll

So, notwithstanding
the dewlaps and other things
that dangle like suds
often do on glass,
notwithstanding abnormal
sounds arising in
the background, heavy
clanks and robust brassy bongs,
lavish hair assaults
and other signals,
no, these don't really matter.
What matters is how
I know you love me,
even though I am a weird
and tremulous troll.

Written 12/12/12 4:47 AM

How do such things happen?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How Can I Be More Kind

Here is one of the bravest questions. Hafiz asks it of us, asks if we have the courage to ask such a thing. Should I accept this position with you I would be instantly moved up the mountainside, near the treeline. Oh my Lord, give me strength - give me wings - give me voice and notes, rhythm and melody and give to us the counterpoint and chords.

How Can I Be More Kind

On my knees, I ask
and you bend down to whisper
in my ear. The warmth
of your breath quickens
that of me can ride your song.

Then I look high up
in the clean branches
of this winter's birch, looking
for the last and best
of us, ornamental scrolls
announcing high tide.

‎December ‎10, ‎2012 1:10 PM

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Storm - Reprise

Pretending to be larger than life is an ancient mammalian ploy. Its original purpose, still in use today all across the species, is to save the species through convincing the females to accept a lover or to save the self from uneven contests. If the critter poses in the right way he may avoid a fight entirely and win the maiden too. Posing can be borrowed and used out of the original context. That shift of the arena happens quite naturally.

In the human arena, this kind of thing was probably quite useful between clans and tribes before the onset of nation states and empires but it has been problematic since agriculture has allowed for the complexities to it all, giving us a certain freedom from the hunter gatherer lifestyle. That freedom became the possibility of organized warfare at least four thousand years ago. Then the nation state or empire exaggerated posture became highly dangerous. Still, in the local neighborhood, just as with our four footed friends we often find the boast and threat a useful way of backing out of direct conflict.

Posing in spiritual matters actually reverses the field. It is so out of place as to endanger the spirit, damage the soul. Where posing may be required in the field of ordinary affairs, posing is a failure of humility in spiritual matters. Humility is one of the primary distinctions between white and black magic. That need for humility is what we learn in the deep myths or even vapid spiritual tales, such as Star Wars.

The Storm

Balance within storms,
Tornadoes, cyclones, strange eyes
Within, I am tossed
Above clouds looking
Down into deep dark shadows,
Lampblack paintings spread
Across the dim lands
Of your lost hopes, my lost dreams,
Still I hold balance.

Meanwhile the storm master's song,
Thunder rolls in the distance.

Written November 29, 2008 11:07 AM
Poem first posted March 2, 2009
Opening paragraphs modified, Image added December 9, 2012

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Carrying The World - A Magpie Tale

Offered by Tess for inspiration on this day, two days after the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, a day which will live in infamy, and one day after John Lennon was shot and killed.

Carrying The World

You are now adorned,
Africa low on your back,
the rest wrapped around
you, a tight embrace.
You hope for better timing
as you dance toward
the brighter star shine
far from the cold dead despots
of the bad old days.

Lennon's dead, you sigh.
I know where to go to find
young Morrison's grave
among the poets
and I'll grieve with them all. Now
John and Jim are gone
too soon, and with them
the others at the world's edge,
red floods of spilled blood.

December 9, 2012 11:29 AM

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Sea Stars and Hustler - A Reprise

I believe quite deeply in serendipity. My experiences of serendipity are actually a little tarnished but definitely are key moments in the way my life works. I feel that my life path has had little to do with any plans I ever made. Instead there are these "long shots" that change everything. I claim that I tend to have "sloppy good luck". It is good luck because things turn out so well. It is sloppy because I often pay a price, so I cannot claim to "get away clean".

Sea Stars

I'm a lucky man.
Life won't give me more than that.
I want smart, brave, strong.
But I get lucky,

The stars fell into the sea
And came up river.

I was on the bank
At the right time to catch one
And I've brought it home.

December 6, 2008 8:29 AM

But on the other hand:


I am sliced and diced
In the sun, coming apart
At the seams. My heart
Is open just this way
And the sun comes into me
Through these openings.

I am filled with light,
A flood of beams brighten me.
I stand here aglow.
If I could make sense
Of that, of how the sun is
Inside of me now,

I could freakin make a million!

December 6, 2008 8:54 AM

Two poems written quite close together and they illumine this luck thing from two directions, not quite the same. I took a look at the original post and could not see how to separate the poems. Catching a star that fell into the sea and came up river is not the same as being sliced and diced in the sun. That sounds like it hurts. The sun is of course yet another star, a day star.

The two poems were originally published with different discussion on March 9, 2009.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Gnome's Declaration

What would you do for love? I know what I have done.

The Gnome's Declaration

I would walk on air,
on water for the one chance
that you would arise
from your dim damp dream
and cease your yawns and mumbles
bound in twisted strings
of thin pain, thin pain.

I would not mind appearing
completely stupid
adrift above ground,
me who mole like lives below,
under the litter
beneath the dead woods
if it would serve you, my love,
if I could change things.

July 5, 2010 3:26 PM

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Have No Idea - 3WW

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

To link up with this week's Three Word Wednesday *click here*

This week's words:

Battle; Fluid; Harvest

I Have No Idea

All the time off to
do battle, you claim and if
I believe this I shall
worry my bones off.
The fluid songs birds leave in
branches above us
trickle down and drip
off my frayed collar. About
your harvest of souls
I've no idea
not today, nor tomorrow,
for all it matters.

December 5, 2012 4:50 AM

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Magician's Intent

Whatever...there is something to the laying on of hands, and as some advanced massage therapists assert, there is something to making passes near but not touching a person. A discipline of this nature informs Reiki. The use of the hands to approach and enter the energetic fields near someone was seriously accepted by the early hypnotists, but of course they were passing on the shamanic legacy of the old ways. Without some care and persistence we may lose all this. The yearning for this lore is further from the mainstream now than it was when I was young, not that long ago. Or is that only me? Heh.

The Magician's Intent

I shall reach behind
your heart, behind your presence
in my dream of you.

I shall lift you out.

When you stand thus before me
I shall run my hands
just beyond your self
and touch the ruby red light
in the rainbow that
surrounds your sweet face
and I shall awaken your
hope with my kindness.

June 25, 2010 3:44 PM

What I Found

Bob Wright took this close up of a falcon at Peckforton Castle, Cheshire, on June 24, 2009.

Heh. What's the chance of this? The photo taken on the exact same day one year earlier than I wrote the poem. I didn't notice this until just now. Is it odd, or is it God? I googled the phrase "the glint in your eye and found this photo on Flicker. The photo is captioned, "I Can See The Glint In Your Eye".

What I Found

I scaled the trellis,
climbing the big vines planted
five years past the moon.
Looking for your camp
beneath the solemn sun's ghost,
or the memory
in the lost locket
of God once found in the crack
between all the worlds,
what I found instead
was your secret witchy name,
the glint in your eye.

June 24, 2010 7:37 PM

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Something Happened - A Magpie Tale

Photo offered by Tess Kincaid of an art object created by Man Ray, done in 1923, originally titled "Object of Destruction"

In 1932 a second version, also called Object To Be Destroyed, was published in the avant-garde journal This Quarter, edited by André Breton. This version featured an ink drawing of the object to be destroyed with the following instructions;
Cut out the eye from a photograph of one who has been loved but is seen no more. Attach the eye to the pendulum of a metronome and regulate the weight to suit the tempo desired. Keep going to the limit of endurance. With a hammer well-aimed, try to destroy the whole at a single blow.

Wiki says: Object to Be Destroyed is a work by American artist Man Ray, originally created in 1923. The work, destroyed in 1957, consisted of a metronome with a photograph of an eye attached to its swinging arm. It was remade in multiple copies in later years, and renamed Indestructible Object. It is considered to be a "readymade", following in the relatively new tradition established by Marcel Duchamp of employing ordinary manufactured objects that usually were modified very little, if at all, in works of art.

Man Ray said: the piece was originally intended as a silent witness in his studio to watch him paint. Later, he appears to have linked the object with the loss of a lover.

There is more. The incident in 1957 was perpetrated by art students. The students invaded the gallery and took the artwork away. They destroyed the object in protest by shooting it to death, dramatically following the artist's earlier instruction concerning it, after which the appreciation of artistic value and the consequent insurance payout funded the creation of a hundred more identical pieces, now named Indestructible Objects. Also, while the art was destroyed, the show in which it had appeared became a resounding success because of the that sensational publicity. Thus an object of performance art became an object of performance art. The recreations are on display in several museums and galleries.

Oh yes, it appears the students were protesting art because they thought poetry far more important. They considered their act not surreal but surely real.

Don't you just love knowing this stuff? (I said shit for stuff but everyone seems to be commenting on that so I removed shit) :D

Something Happened During The Civil War
Or, The Tipping Point

It turns out I am
surely real now, my friend,
and a surreal
moment like this can
hardly be bettered, ever.

Consider my eye,
how it swings impaled.
Doesn't hurt, I assure you.
Turn me on in back
of your studio.
Or take me out and shoot me
in some back alley
and accept your fate
for it all - give your soul to
art for art's damn sake.

December 2, 2012 8:16 AM

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tracking You

The fly in the ointment. In much of Europe the Romans may not have planned some roads. There are certain signs that even older "straight tracks" predated many roads of the Empire, straight tracks that are still seen in remnant archeological alignments. It is certain however that road construction was a Roman invention, and as seen below, it involved concrete of a sort.

Tracking You

I follow the trail
you left for me, headed straight
like old Roman roads,
straight for the day star
of another realm farther
from here than my life,
than the heron's flight.

I tread on the verge of things
recalling your scent.

June 22, 2010 11:48 AM

Friday, November 30, 2012

Getting Past The Crack

There is a gap in things. I first saw it quite long ago now. I was just a young man. It changed my life when I first slipped through the crack. On the other side is - censored - and I will never get there again it seems, because I have tried. Here we go again.

Getting Past The Crack

I need to slim down.

I see the crack but can't go
between the cold walls
in the shape I hold.
If I shift my shape to yours
and take your meaning
as my very own
then maybe I will just fit
and then I will squeeze
the dark out of things.

June 18, 2010 9:17 PM

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Other Side - Reprise

Many spiritual disciplines focus on the idea of getting out of here, or what it is like once you are out of here. There are others with another opinion. The nature religions question why you would want to get out. There are social religions which focus on doing really well here and not worrying too much about what comes next. I feel, for example that Judaism tends to be like that in some of its mainstream manifestations.

I have written many times in a variety of places that while not really Buddhist, I do follow the Bodhisattva ideal, and that means no matter what I really feel about the planet, I vow to remain on the planet life after life. I don't really go anywhere unless we all do and I do whatever I can to facilitate that. Whatever "go anywhere" means. Also whatever such a vow to remain can mean in the face of forces considerably larger than I am. I feel down deep that such a vow is useful for waking up, whatever waking up means. :)

The Other Side Of The Argument

Heat flows back and forth
Within my heart, also yours
Unless you're a saint.
Climbing up the pole,
Sliding back down the same pole,
Toy clockwork monkeys.

I say sorry to God,
Know I should attempt escape,
But I cling tighter.
I guess I'm perverse.
I want to stay here today.
I have work to do.

Written November 30, 2008 9:15 AM
First posted March 3, 2009

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Getting Pushed Around - 3WW

Thom writes:
Each week, I post three words. You write something using the words.

Then come back and post a link to the contribution with Mr. Linky (but please, link to the exact post, not your blog, by clicking on the exact post title and paste it to Mr. Linky below). As always, there's no hard-and-fast rule that you have to post on Wednesday.

To link up with this week's Three Word Wednesday *click here*

This week's words:

Clench; Faint; Prod

Getting Pushed Around

I know I will clench
my jaws all over again.
A faint stench lurks in
the room. The cattle
hate the prod. Me too - better
get outta here, fat man.

November 28, 2012 4:45 AM

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