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Where is it written and
where have I heard the tale
that, in the beginning, we are all given a song,
forgotten as we tumble to earth-
that thunderous journey,
crossing safe border from womb to world
to spend our days searching
for how our own notes fit together.
Perhaps a simple melody
as we listen intently over the days.
A humming prelude, growing,
forming chords and scales,
adding sweet harmony at times.
Some days are sharps and flats.
Still, different verses are written
and our chorus repeats. Our song
giving us rhythm, finding the beat,
starting to move in time with
the tempo. Fluid and natural.
Your own secret and special composition
given, forgotten and found again-
the soundtrack for your life.
Turn up the volume, dance
it with your whole body.
Move, clap, stomp, and shake.
Whirl in dizzy circles with arms outstretched.
A doomsday prophet proclaims
the end of the world is coming,
and I think yes, but not yet.
Of course the evolution
of earth’s lifetime will result
in destruction, still – not yet.
I haven’t filled my dance card,
kissed enough toads,
or journeyed into a mystical
afterlife some religions promise.
Of course the end will come,
quietly or forcefully.
We are just not privy
to its timeline or method.
Even those in their last moments
are thinking not yet, but maybe soon.
We are all somewhere
along the meanwhile
waiting to find out
what it’s like
in another universe.
They lean in silent watchfulness
Three Cypress trees whose skyward longing
Was crafted by prevailing winds.
They rest now boughs on graveyard walls
And stand as sentinels to the few souls
Who choose the ground near Fox’s Pulpit
To reside, in the lingering aura
Of his three hours of passion
Before a gathered throng
A thousand strong
His revelation this: that we each need not
Seek the authority of God beyond
The boundary of our skin
Yet outside the common mind,
But with attentive heart.
His pulpit like a stony eye
Pushes out above a grassy knoll
Motionless before the open space
Serene with changing light and form
Here he stood atop where now sheep
Come keep vigil and spoke of
The Source within the ever present silence
That conveys the power to awaken souls.
The whole cosmos is my body
I am waking up to every birth without exception every scale of magnitude and environs
every death I will be dying today
in the shifting tides of the orderings disorderings through all particulate matters the organic tapestries
in sickness and celestial adversities
I attend the neighborhood crows
warblers and woodpeckers as Dawn spreads her wings AlphaXOmega
the shock of breathing in/out draws close her hymns
of gathering strength and
I am enclosed in the yellow marrow of the pine arising unto the eastern burning sky
above the crawling silences
aching now for my friends known and unknown as I might find them helpfully
containing what is uncontainable
and everything we now love
is as we know eternally changing cloud masses rushing
over all our faces imaginable
with the newsfeed electrons and these holy places exactly as they are
the Earth is spinning faster
the Sun appears as a single star providing
for us living things we are
Night slipped in under the door
pouring across the floor
rising to the ceiling.
With the dark came the fear
also rising beneath my feet
into my heart and gut.
It struck me there, curled in bed
under the sheets
wrapped in blankets
pillows over my ears.
Praying I would not
hear the in bound fist as it made a
flash of light
inside my head.
Bonded to sorrow
filled with pain.
What did I do?
Where can I go?
Sailing off to the edge of time
Written January 7, 2017
A good night’s sleep
as a few microbial induced
having had solid closures
but none of those images
are coming back to me
thus in good health waking
I am with the Sun
Beholding this moment
the electrified news of Thursday
with all the atrocities and
horrors of the kosmos that I cannot bear
and beauties too beyond all reckoning
choruses of woodpeckers in the tall pines
along with the finches and other little birds I cannot name
Meditation-in-communication this is
my praxis in phases
of receptivity and transmitting
I feel the archaic factors in my life
of swirling galaxies
embodiments and signals continuously
arriving from the remotest edges
of knowable experience
I feel What-Is-Not-Yet becoming
the unknown and unknowable
Glancing at the backs of my hands
fingers flitting across the keyboard
I think I’m ready almost
to press the send button
and then to make breakfast thanks giving
and proceed with sculptural blendings
of the specific gravities and spectra
the various modalities of timeliness
that I have to work with
through and through at all scales too
the ingredients of my death and the dyings
of all who are dearly departing
in the verses of these very instants
and for all living beings who have and ever will
come to live and must taste death
I pray without ceasing
And with all that endures of these
Dawn ever-presently arises
praxis of today
In Memorium: Bennett White (~25 October 2017)
Into the wind.
That’s the way I remember him.
On Inishmor, on the way home from Dun Aengus,
the old fort perched on the cliff behind us
soon our backs bent, leaning over the handlebars, turning
pedals, exertion carrying us, warming us to Kilronan, the harbor
and a small ship ferrying our band to Rossaveal, to the limestone
spiral, to Slievenagasha, the hazel wood, and helix bowls of the Burren
We followed the middle way to Mainistir, island on an island,
and paused in the presence of Dara, priest and peregrine
of the waves, his body and face all craggy, angled, rock
above the shore, touching the wake, his hands to the sky,
open to the world’s wounds, and to the lure beyond. This silence
a beauty, and spell, broken only by the sound of our goodbyes
and the noise as three of us alighted our bicycles, friends
leaving in horse drawn carriages and the odd taxi,
the slight chill settling in our bodies didn’t matter,
Paul, Bennett, and I took the northern road, idling east,
muscles take over, the cranks, chainrings turn ‘round.
As the weather shifts, rain comes down a little harder, soaks
through clothes, our little accelerations small comfort
as cold stiffens our bodies, slows the tour to a slog, until Bennett
launches his bike, moves fast and away, disappears off the front,
into the drizzle, so we go too, flying after him, but he was gone
until we found his bike outside the American Bar, himself inside
the warm pub, and David meeting us with a tray of hot whiskies,
the room a mess of mystics in conversations with rock
and clouds and cliff, the sheer drop to the sea, spray, and salt.
Into the wind, Bennett far ahead, and now around this table
Beth in his arms, a great smile as he rises,
greets Paul and me, and claps us on our backs.
“Good one, Mates!” he says, “Something warm to drink?”
That’s the way I remember him.
She became aware of the music first,
a faraway tickle of notes
dancing upon the spring-like air
rising and falling as if from
a songbird’s feathered throat.
She felt herself lean into the sound
just the smallest hope in her hips
unfelt longing in her toes
and she turned with a faint smile on her lips
as if to join in the chorus.
Warmth came next
the soothing cloak of sunlight
caressing her firm arms
a radiant hug welcoming her
to this unfamiliar place.
The heat kissed her limbs
and she looked down in amazement
to see tanned legs emerge from a
swishy white skirt dancing lightly
on her youthful waist.
Pleased, she twisted
left then right
and back again
the swirl of skirt a fabric response to
the musical notes that now
vibrated around her.
Up on her perky toes she went
a quirky kick
moved her in joyful circles
arms flowing and waving
embracing the air as if
she were in love.
Childlike she danced
in this dream so far from
the stale hospital air
where she took her last breath.
She danced in this dream
with all her heart
and knew she had
I sleep in unfamiliar beds,
Cousins hold the place
that once held my sister and brother.
Aunts and uncles
provide a movable home
until Mommy and I can get
Somewhere to call our own.
Mom leaves me,
I don’t know for how long.
I stay a whole year at Grandma and Grandpa’s,
My first year of school.
I feel motherless and fatherless.
I have a teenage aunt, Muriel.
Uncle Norris gives me kisses
that taste of whiskey.
I sleep in the sun room,
go to church every Sunday.
I find my own way alone a lot,
I am not sure where I belong.
I hear music and laughter
in the next room.
I lie in my crib, long to be held,
to be where the music plays.
I cry, long and lusty,
Wanting someone to carry me out
to where the fun is happening.
I am full of sadness,
since no one comes to hold me.
Soon my eyes are heavy with sleep,
Lulled by the music out there,
which becomes my very own
Sunlight trickled through the trees
tumbled lightly onto me
caressed my cheek with warmth
dappled my thoughts and senses
Awakened sparks in dewy moisture
left behind by sprinkler’s grace
and in steamy tears on my face
Remnants of joy’s expression
tattooing the cheeks
And, all the while, my spirit soared
in dabs and shifts
until tickled trees dance
The poet dissolved
The New York Times
in a tub of warm warm water
the book reviews.
Fluting across water boundaries
into the air and out the window.
Trying to explain in his sweating head
why, oh why he keeps on writing
words on paper.
Or more honestly
typing on the key board
the rules of living
and ex – pec – ta – tion.
My mouth is wide open
But I cannot swallow.
In the beginning I needed a life of
excitement and danger
A colored light moving
on a rippling wall
A man tearing at my heart
All was needed to wake me
from the cold stone
I was carved from.
A run-down walk-up apartment
Where I woke to see guys
pawing through my stuff
Going up to the roof
To look for my favorite dope addict
All of it
Was just a search
to feel alive.
Those exciting friends are already gone,
taking the midnight taxi ride
Through Central Park
Up into the blackness of the sky.
My mouth floats in space
But I cannot swallow.
I stopped shooting drugs
but fifty years later
a blood test
there is still a price to pay.
The taste of love
I thought I knew it.
I rode the horse wildly
Those exciting lovers left me long ago,
putting me in the taxi to heartbreak
where the radio plays death’s lullaby.
In the afterlife Anubis
weighs my heart.
What, he asks, is the disease?
What the cure?
I drop my accusations
And the pointing finger of blame.
Fate is like a gun barrel.
dancing down its silvery length
I watch the movie of my life repeat.
In the silence I heard the scratching of the pen
writing the prescription.
Stillness is the medicine.
Who I am
My mouth floats in space
And when I swallow
I taste the bittersweet wine
Of blood and tears and
Though the bottle seems to be
The taste lingers
On my tongue.
Grandpa prays before every meal,
Reads his large print Bible
One full chapter out loud
followed by a hymn.
Every Sunday early we go to church,
We sit in the front pew.
One Sunday I felt sick,
but Grandpa made me stay.
I threw up over the railing
right in front of the Pastor…
I did tell him I was sick!
Grandpa said there was a pile of
freshly cut grass on which to play.
I laid out a house plan
with neat little rooms.
I sat in my little grass kitchen
making pretend lunch.
Nobody joined me
So I ate alone.
sits me down on his lap,
rubs his bristly chin
against my cheek.
It stings my face red
and I don’t care.
She shows her love with what she does,
not so much with words.
Her home is neat and clean,
the pantry full
Jars of many colors,
raspberry sauce, green beans,
pickles, relishes, rhubarb.
She bakes biscuits, bread, coffee cake.
Bread dough rises under a white towel
smelling of olden days.
To fill me out
Grandma gives me rice mush with raisins,
sugar and top cream, rich and sweet.
I feel myself growing.
Home made doughnuts sizzle into perfection.
Grandma never sits down to eat.
She has a high stool.
When she does sit down,
she braids rag rugs or sews.
She made me a dress without a pattern.
Reaching out to a daffodil
On Sunday when the sky flew
My thoughts created raindrops
“What do you want?” I said
“I’ll give it to you then”
You know what I mean
So if you want this
Do you want it retail or wholesale?
No returns permitted
But if you don’t
I will understand
Time travel is now. a real responsibility. as in. here I am. through the bliss. of jet-powered flight. freshly transmuted. from the 20th century. and eager for conversation
Night is become day. and day is night. now. in the cinemaesthetic. trance. how weirdly it plays. the divine. nature. in each of us. yes the meaning is. each and all the many. billions of us. one by one
Bringing forth the old garments. the home-cooked food the drinks. we shall ignite. everything we have come to understand. could be medicine.could be poison. from mouth to breath. breath to speech. speech to singing. we could choose an old hymn
Finding the portal. the entry. the Arcadia community in Kingsport. the getting onward. getting off and getting out. place and boatyard. to which this time-travelerreturneth.yetagain
I am thinking about how the green grass. all over town needs cutting. in November nearly Thanksgiving. and my heart skips several beats
It was a peaceful childhood. the whole wilderness of the world. more alive than alive in the uphill alley. to Sevier Terrace between Elmwood. and Mt Ida Place. birds singing galore in the dandelion summertime. then the fire flaming rustling leaves. their russet fragrance comes to me. our winter sled-run eating icicles. the many secret hiding places. soul spots for children
Beneath the mighty Elm. Tree of Life. standing steadfast and faithfully still.
in the McCurry’s front yard
A strange and palpable thing it is. to stand here on the Great Warrior’s Path.
and feel the endemic planetary fear. the raging rage. of the whole wide world
of national and international weirdness. as it is today
When I was a Tennessee child I wondered. if I could ever or ever would.
navigate to this neighborhood. from far far beyond the beyond. and trace my first steps again. in their cosmic. celestial.plenitude
How it could be that something. anything might for ever remain. the remains of the beloved. the beloved remains. I could cry now real tears. as I could in those. white clover honeybee. stingingdays
And I stand here now. on the pinnacle of present consciousness. working with. what is recognizable. and what is not. going to be
Daniel Boone followed this very stream. by this old house on West Sullivan Street. this is the very truth. behind the crumbling asphalt car dealership.
behind the old Coca-Cola Bottling Company. but I figure Ol’ Dan’l was a very smart feller. and just naturally recognized. the primordial buffalo trails here.
not yet to mention. the paths indigenous.did Daniel. where I can remember riding a red bicycle. in the new light of blazing day gazing. up the exploration-al side of the Reedy Creek bridge. vast vast vast. the frontier it was. how little we did know. and how limitless
But it’s okay Johnny. you’ve not missed out completely. the backyard lightning bugs. have turned into these. instantaneously worldwide. communication bits. sharing the flashing global. resonance just now. this spheric resonancethat is very strange. and so little understood. in the fullness of time
My New York New York friend Judy.just wrote me. a late autumn in Mannahatta. a hard place to live and a hard place to leave. as she says.
Have something that might be of interest to you. on the Himalaya and Appalachian mountain building.I am thinking of the Ordovician snails.
sealed in calcite limestone on the Hogohechee riverbank.beside the sacred island of the People
Yes. so it goes. this time. traveling. Remembrance. this hope. I surrender
(notes on waking up in Kingsport Tennessee November 14, 2017)
A miraculous family convergence last night. right here. beloved two living sisters brother-in-law. beloved nieces and great-niece. the necessary laments and ritual shakings of heads. thanks be with redeeming laughter. the self-perpetuating rhythms of West Sullivan Street. and dark paths of the ever-present ancient ancestors
A photograph was unearthed just a little musty. oval-frame with convex glass in the style. as it hung over Grampaw’s bed down in the country. almost forever. it is the image of my great-grandfather. John Calvin Dotson. after whom I am named.
with his first or probably second wife. I know where their graves are. all three of them side by side. at Bradshaw’s Chapel in the valley. I have further business with this photograph
I slept well enough with some wrangling. material tasks required in the dreamwork. naturally enough as you can imagine
Then came the morning light. and familiar sound of the CSX locomotive.
whistle in the primordial industrial distance. those tracks. and now the geese flying throughthe traffic sounds of Kingsport. fully activating. on Fort Patrick Henry Drive. while I am slowly coming to. the full reality of my birthplace and blood-soaked. native soil as it was and is beginning again. at my ripe old age of 67. a peculiar figure. in Arabic numbers such as I first learned them. in the classroom at Andrew Jackson Elementary School
My awakening mind as always. appears torn to pieces left and right. ripping apart here as much or maybe more. and no less than any other place in this world. relentless polarities of This and That. in our times of terrifying overwhelming. incomprehensible deluge
I am taken again to the advanced psychology. of Marie-Louise von Franz.
and CG Jung Answer to Job
God is a coincidentia oppositorum…
The inner instability of Yahweh…
is the prime cause not only of the creation of the world but also
of the drama for which humankind serves as a tragic chorus.
and I take some solace that these instabilities. of my early consciousness are not. merely the result. of a solitary lifetime of disjointed efforts no. not only my own personal doing and undoing. lordy mercy. as if I could ultimately save my own soul
But rather this is the reality of my predicament. so very deeply rooted here in. historic far. northeastern Tennessee. the hurts and fears of all the years.
and horrors and hopes that are met. in the gathering planetary flood
This prime cause and Mysterium. is the piercing calling of a bird. a screech I have known all my life.and Mother would have known which one. in the oaks that will outlive me. I must get out soon and walk among. I must actually do something. oh Johnny-boy. oh Johnny be good
And return in pilgrimage to the Depot. Main Street. to Broad and Center.
and onward to the streets radiating. from Church Circle. just as it is. just as I am. a plan for the day
The phone rings, not the cell phone, which I keep on the night table near my bed, but the phone, land-line, in the kitchen. I glance at the clock. Seven in the morning on Thanksgiving Day. My Colorado son, Lance, calls to wish me well, discusses his plans to visit friends for dinner in the mountains above Boulder. But most of all, he tells me that his Thanksgiving began Tuesday night. I listen to his description of an impromptu supper put on at his house by his wife. His family is fairly new to the area, sons five and seven years old. Two families are invited to this celebration. One family, next door, affluent, father a pilot, the other family lives in a trailer park about two blocks away. Both have sons who play with the boys. My son continues, “Jenny, (his wife ) made lasagna from scratch, (“except for the noodles,” he inserts) and a salad and we all shared a meal. As we sat down, the man from the trailer park spoke, “The boys tell me you say grace before eating. May I do so?” My son, glad for the offer. And Lance continues, “Mom, he said the best prayer, one of gratitude and joy. Then we all ate together and after dinner the boys played and we, the grownups, talked together as friends”.
With that as my awakening gift, I decide to rise and ready for the dinner I will be sharing with ten at the table this afternoon. I have all at the ready, with additional items to be brought by guests. The turkey and gravy and stuffing need my main attention. I will reread the directions for temperature and timing, and with help of a meat thermometer, I expect all will be fine.
With Lance’s story in my mind, I am well filled with the Thanksgiving spirit. I open the front door to check the morning temperature. On the edge of the welcome mat, a floral offering in a red ceramic flower pot, from Temples of Carmel. I imagine my Florida son sending an arrangement, as he usually does so around Christmas. But then it feels more like summer than winter, and I wonder? When I open the card, I am delighted to find a greeting from a dear friend who is on vacation, who would have been part of my celebration, were he at home.
The day glides into a lovely pace of preparing. As guests arrive, I find myself at ease and not at all tired. Elation and gratitude surround me. Though not everyone knows each other prior to this day, there is instant accord. Age differences melt and we are for those moments “family.”
The afternoon flows into one smooth happening, on automatic pilot. We eat our main meal, then some drift to sit outside in the evening warmth as the sun sets, while others stay inside to visit, conversation lively and thoughtful. Laughter, seasoned at times with a bit of melancholy as we speak of those no longer in this realm. A holiday that turned out well, sparked by early morning kindnesses sent my way.
“Paco” Francisco Granados Ferro
living in bird land
with St. Veronica
knowledge to all
who will listen
about the war
the civil war
before the last
from the hills of Spain
that lives in pain
across the shore
and out the door
god speed my friend
Turning on all
Rebellion against rebellion itself
The fire angels
Burned in tallow candles
Enumerating the night
By the Ouija Board
And unheard of
Whispers from beyond
In the nude light
Shells of special consciousness
Like evaporating vapors
Plunged into the darkest night
This is a poem that I wrote when I was separating from Holly’s Mother, and I was interested and impressed with how much she had to survive at the very young age of three or four. My younger daughter Holly lost her husband on October 1, to a motorcycle accident. She asked me to post this poem again.
Holly lives amongst the rocks
as only Holly can
down this stream
that grows moss between our toes
her pebble feet covered by
tumbling along the stream
tossed and turned
grey granite self
black sparkle life
down the stream
toward the ocean
Once upon a time
I was a little boy
Who liked lollipops
And Ginger Roses
And now I am old
And it is time to stop.
Even about that, I don’t know
Do I remember what the Ghost
Said to Hamlet?
Am I a straw mouse
In indigo bunting?
Or am I a hummingbird,
Swift upon wings to fly
Farther than the moon,
By the chicanery of time.
The Czech version:
Padl na mne velký smutek,
Jak ten život rychle utek.
The English version:
I got hit by deeply sad and profound feeling
Seeing last few layers of my life now peeling
they were dancing
in the isles in 58
during the “Jazz festival.”
then in 67 for the “Pop festival”
for the first “Blues Festival”
now for the
“International Blues festival”
but what is important is
keep on dancin’
to understand it all
“FLAX” the label on the back
of the white linen nightgown
three bone buttons along
front neckline opening.
Bought ever-so-many years ago
worn regularly during all seasons
washed and sun-dried, weather permitting.
I loved that nightgown
spacious, sturdy, yet lightweight,
this garment, perfect attire, embraced me
to welcome rest into dreamtime.
Yesterday, I notice a tear.
along the neckline.
Ceremoniously, almost piously,
I cut the linen into featherweight
squares, rags, transformed
lovingly into their next service.
I fold, touch each small part
recognize its entirety, even
in change, each holds an essence
of its former existence.
Now, resting in a drawer
next to more sturdy kitchen towels
these servants, recall former use,
nestle comfortably into their companions
Today, I write in appreciation
of warmth afforded me in the past,
the intimacy of shared sleep
in the comfort of white linen
fostering well-cradled dreamtime.
A new nightgown, my companion.
pale satin sheen, holds me well
and likely will for many years.
Maybe for all those nights remaining.
Until I transform into another realm
leave my words as well-worn threads
of comfort for those who held me
during their reveries.
Monstrance is an altar dedicated to the Great Mother in all her aspects.
The image shown is a detail, about 20″X15″ of a sculpture that is nearly 7′ tall, 3′ wide, 2′ deep. The whole piece weighs about 300 lbs.
Your head in the blue sky
your feet in the blue lake
your back at rest against your pack.
You are a mountain
of food for two ants
crawling up your arms.
You are an invisible speck
for the juniper Pine
clinging to the top of the granite cliff.
You feel the cool presences
of ants, lake, pines and cliff
as a single white cloud casts a shadow.
Your own presence
among this plentitude
quite natural and unremarkable.
the lacy curtains sheer and patterned
sometimes rippled outward on
a breath of the sky
through the open window
to the moon high in the branches
of a black leafless silhouette
against a black sky
the little hope of flesh had passed
our bed was quiet
my lover lay asleep
I left the bed
left the room through the curtained window
the curtain kissed my naked flesh once more
I climbed the leafless tree
and watched and watched the sky
until with bright and splashing tears
the moon began to cry.
Past fifty it’s hard to find new sacrificial victims to blame for ones unhappiness. All these years I’ve been waiting for the soulful perfection of others to appear like a magical key and unlock my heart. Then I would be filled with loving-kindness; it would roll in like fog, without effort.
Every day I wake up, and I crawl out of bed,
Waiting for love to make its way
Through the war zone in my head.
Every day I turn away from the glass
where an old woman sits frowning
as wind blasts pages from her calendar.
Every day I wait for the parole board
To decide I no longer need
Every night I stare out into dreams
Ready to fly if only
I could find my hands.
Love is not a word
in search of a definition
Not a matter of grammatology
font style effects
My fingers touch your skin
and the heat transfers
The deeper lava flows
hot as your beating heart
Back and forth I descend
into the wants of your eyes
I feel the rise and fall of your breath
as tears surge out of my face
For each shattered occasion
I missed out on your embrace
And today it is all but too late
and it is never too late
for one more morning alive
for the bliss of the unexpected
Sunbeams ignite the windowpane
Dewdrops like supernovae explode
Holy chaos licks the edges
of this page as I scroll down
There are no ordinary days
Love is not a word
A few miles up from the ocean reached by truck on rugged road
lined with pale pink buckwheat,
and ruby lit Indian Paintbrush,
I sit by an old wooden cabin
feel sun’s beginning seduction.
Rays closer than usual
probe my skin,
alert my blood to its glory.
An easy surrender.
The sun loves its loving.
Soon heat becomes too strong.
I seek overhanging shelter
bask in slanted shade
to slake arising passion.
On the downward return,
I notice small golden poppies
strong enough to nod at wind,
tie themselves to the earth
before sundown closes their petals.
Carmel Valley, CA
He is smiling sweetly
Talking about his wise love for his sons
And his best friend.
He glances at my neck,
At the crease between my breasts.
Then he looks again.
There is a small scratch on his brown, furry forearm
It’s winking at me.
He has taken my hands
As I speak of the death of my loved friend.
His eyes tear as mine do.
He says I’m pretty.
He wants me to enjoy dessert,
As if I’m a woman who should eat dessert.
And I wonder how late he could stay in the morning.
I am a spy in the house of me. I live in disguise, my metaphoric black fedora slanted across my forehead, my belted trench coat flapping wide as I stride with purpose through dark and stormy nights. Though the streetlamps cast weak spotlights all around me, the black gloom successfully hides the parts of me for which I search.
Before, when I was younger, I avoided this work, not wanting to admit there were cave-like places of deception and fear where drunken addicts and scarred felons allowed what little joy they had left in their dank lives to wither into smoke like the endless cigarettes that burned their stained fingers.
Before, when I was younger, I followed only the lure of the light, believing that happiness only sprang from cool clear water whose shining surface reflected a multitude of sparkling gems. I would reach with sure hands under the surface only when I knew for certain that what would emerge gripped in my dripping palm would be a characteristic worthy of a storybook princess: kindheartedness or generosity or maybe even serenity and peace.
Now that I am older, though, I have felt the urgent need to walk the hidden streets that zig-zag across the map of my life. I shove my feet into scarred shit-kicker boots, grab my hefty police-issue flashlight and head into the unknown as often as I can. I am scared when I do this, I have to admit, but it doesn’t show in the determined set of my jaw or the swagger I pretend as I begin my journey inward. No, I am scared each time because there are so many unforeseen sinkholes and bones of broken dreams that can trip me up and slow me down, and I never know which one will flatten my spirit the way young boys gleefully squash snails and slugs on sunny sidewalks.
I only know that if I don’t go on this quest, if I don’t purposefully turn down dark alleys and rustle through the rusted garbage bins of my basic assumptions that I can never really understand or appreciate this gift of my life. I have to sneak up on myself, take surreptitious pictures of my falsehoods and foibles because otherwise I’d never admit to anything other than sweetness and light. Yes, I am a spy in my own house because I am the only one who can save me.
it was all very
simple until it
Who am I
That death doesn’t desert me
But waits patiently
At my doorstep?
The burning rubble tumbles from the ridge
To valley floors where water once ran clear,
Illuminates a long sustaining bridge
Whose last passage across is growing near.
The omens of an elemental force
Hint toward a shift of global reaching range,
With power to disrupt the current course
And clear space for a fundamental change.
Combustible mythologies collide
With embers of a disillusioned dream.
Cool waters that confront the fiery slide
Transform a stream into creative steam.
The flow may not prevent destruction, now,
But carries reconstructive plans in tow.
When the purple sun is standing
complete against the sky
A glowing white crane starts its flight line
for all mankind to see
Working for a new beginning
holding to the virgin light
Raising flight is gained the prism
giving us the cryptic sight
thoughts in crystal
Sainted waves will touch the wall
glancing up toward the light stone
The prism feeling stands alone
Del Rey Oaks, CA
The roses bloom
in the Spring
In the court yard
full of blooming roses
A blind soldier
talks to me
About going back
to Wyoming tomorrow
Where the ice
Off the ponds
We no longer need
is now melting
Off the ponds
We no longer need
to break through the ice
To water our horses
The scorched brown black
earth telling cinder tales
of just passed fire storms
Lining the road
to the Monastery
In the mountains of the Salinian’s
near the sacred spring
of another tribe
The Buddha chants
the Bells ring.
The stones of the walls
wait on their journey
To the beach sand
by the sea. . .
Del Rey Oaks, CA
“Brush and Bulky Pickup”
It says in a two by eight foot decal
On the side of the truck.
A crew of six inmates
And a deputy sheriff overseer
Load the camps’ debris into the back of the truck
Into the compactor that leads
Into the belly of the truck
The paloverde trees are blooming yellow
With lacy leafy tendrils falling from the branches
The mesquites stand silently
Denise and Gary abandoned their camp
And Vinnie his not long after
But Debby and Ron are here
To rescue a carload
Of what fits into my car
And watch the rest
Including the huge tent
Go into the belly of the truck
The heights can be dizzying
On seeing feet
Light and airy
Or losing control
No longer sustainable
Will the safety net hold?
We kept the baby rattlesnake
In an aquarium
In the homemade bookshelf
Made of cinder blocks and wood planks
The baby rattlesnake learned
How to crawl up the side of the aquarium
And to get out
And to hide
In one of the holes in the cinder blocks
That held up the bookshelves
We were always careful
When we went to get a book
Out of those bookshelves
when you approach the lookout
packed tight with people
their hands stretched to heaven
they hold small boxes
they briefly look at them
to rise them again and again
fracking the Grand Canyon
into small fragments
to be deconstructed
into a fuzzy memory
of the magnificent space
you and I cannot hold
because the human eye
blessed and condemned by evolution
cannot see entirety
San Jose, CA
The rich plasma of space and time
flows in infinite waves
through out the cosmos
within no bounds.
On the circle with no beginning
The storms from the south
brought lightning bolt
the swords of Mars
God of War.
Into the peaceful night.
Good or evil
sad or loving
we cannot know.
Caught in the infinite loop
around and around.
Over and under like the sign for Infinity.
Del Rey Oaks, CA
along the road
as crows will do
on the ground
begin to once again
appear from out of the dark
His head up
telling the trees
that the time has come
to shed the night
cast off the dark
so the twitter creatures
can begin to talk
and Orpheus will play his lyre.
Small tremors of love ignite feelings so fresh
decades of living melt into a clear pond
where, upon reflection among ripples
created by thoughts, your life clearly viewed
Lately, my love becomes as though arrow-born,
soars straight, stops at appropriate landing, announces itself,
and returns to its quiver, ready to be dispatched again.
These moments arrive at random, unbidden friends
calling, some frequent visitors, others long ago
messengers enhance my joy of being.
And I wonder, when did I first know love?
Was it when a wet-nurse gave to drink?
When my father held me in the palm of his hand?
When my mother knit while the click of wooden needles
matched well the beat of my small heart?
My children, conceived under the canopy of caring.
I harbor deep love beyond any, for these offsprings
who know how to dance among the tremors of my love.
How can I not love nature? Ever-present beauty calls to me.
Be it mountain or ocean sent, or the path of bee or hummingbird
ever so easily swirling among temporarily perfect blooms.
And I cannot forget those people, who reveal thoughts with ease,
know how to listen with attention laced with trusting caring
to create an intimacy where all involved flourish.
And those tremors of love from beyond, without warning
arrive with superb swiftness to mate with my love within
to create more of splendid, easily shared euphoria.
With Father’s Day nearing, I recall my father’s love
so fully given to each of his three daughters
as each one knew he loved her best!
Sometimes, my father will arrive from beyond,
visit briefly as my need arises and I will sense the scent of his pipe
and touch of his wool sport jacket to know I am tended from afar.
My life does not feel brief. My days add up to many
and when they are spent, I imagine small tremors of love
will be found bouncing about those whom I loved.
Carmel Valley, CA
I used to sprawl in the last pew of the church, the one closest to the double doors at the back of the room, the escape route denied to me during those long practice sessions. In this Methodist edifice, there were long cushions of dark green velvet whose dusty yet comforting softness would cradle me as I lay on my back, one leg hiked across the other knee, or on my sides, legs tucked up, shoes kicked to the floor, the inevitable book held reverently before my youthful face.
Sometimes beams of bright sunlight would shaft into the space, and I would be distracted by the dancing motes and their swirling whirlpools. Sometimes my book would slowly sink to my chest while I gazed at backlit stained glass windows whose stories would come to life so that I too felt the spread of my angel wings or sat stroking soft lamb wool while sitting at the feet of that glowing figure in the white robe.
Sometimes I even tuned in to the music soaring through the cathedral rafters—ethereal notes light as air, pounding marches a call to action, familiar refrains of hymns shared year after year after year. I could identify the padded strike of the organ foot pedals, the thump and scrape as levers were pushed and pulled, the quick flip and crackle as a page was turned—these were the orchestra of my mother’s music.
She would sit on that polished bench, both hands flying across the two tiers of black and white keys, leaning forward or rocking back as the notes dictated, her feet moving independently over the pedals in a dance both beautiful and mystifying to a young girl with no musical talent of her own. The rows of copper pipes standing shoulder to shoulder above the ancient organ would sing their throaty songs, filling the air with a blanket of sound that became the backdrop of my youth.
At that time I often squirmed with the unfairness of being forced to stay there while she practiced, but I know now that those moments of soaring music and imaginative journeys were precious pages written in my story of family love.
Fair Oaks, CA
The deep background for this structure is my childhood in upper eastern Tennessee. There was a door there, and the door is still there. I can freely walk through this door no matter where I am on Earth, no matter how old I am, no matter what drama is unfolding. Through this door, past, present, and future form a threshold—which I can pass through facing one way, let’s say an Alpha direction, or facing the other way, let’s say, an Omega direction. As I continue this life journey through time, and yet free of time, I experience this doorway as a veil comprised of many veils—and one veil. Born in the Milky Way, we all may say. . .
The [Pentecost veil] is one component in a larger installation titled [Antechamber]. Veil is 51” x 26” x 3.5.” Antechamber is 77” x 34” x 23.”
Spring will arrive again
as it always has
before and after
then and now.
The scent of it
lain in the mind.
Blossoms poking their heads
above the snow.
Whiteness reflecting color
to the edge of time.
Through halls of memory
down the cascade
of time long gone.
Past the hellish
fire bound sites
that float on the surface
Rolling on and on
grinding the granite
rocks to sand.
Standing at an angle
to the sun.
on the moon.
The journey wanders on.
All of the gods
from all of the lands
have settled into above.
The shallow plain
that protects this earth
holds us all
under a blanket of air
By now we had
On our way to the moon.
Yet cannot believe how small we are
The un-nameable force
that put this rocky globe
right where it is . . .
A hurtling mass
bound through the universe
. . . to who knows where?
Del Rey Oaks, CA
Did you ever see them?
Little orbs of obsidian
Someone dubbed them Apache Tears
You used to find them
At many volcanic sites around the Southwest
Molten glass blown skyward
Falling back as Apache Tears
Luz lays in bed at her son’s
Hooked up to oxygen for her asthma
Blood pressure pills every day
She lies thin and yellow as old paper
She is alone all day
While her son works
Until he comes home to watch television
Her husband was an Apache too
A Marine veteran of World War Two
Older than she and long gone too
Luz hangs on to her life’s thin thread
Perhaps because she is Apache
Perhaps because she is human
How dare the sun shine today
so brilliant and bright
filling her chair with shimmering light.
How dare the mockingbird mock
your sadness about her absence
filling silent space with ecstatic song.
How dare five dying sunflowers beam
across this dark space
edging darkness with glowing gold.
When hungry you eat
when thirsty you drink
when sleepy you sleep
breathing in breathing out
so marvelous so mundane.
San Jose, CA
We live in the light. Mostly.
Our home is a village
Perhaps a city.
Our bodies encased in fabric
Smooth glass against our fingertips
Waxy balm on our lips.
We know that we are not
The whole world.
Although this thought only
Comes to us sporadically.
Looking up from the
Garbage can at night
The stars speak to us.
Crushing a spider
We feel that much safer.
We know the deer at the
Edge of the woods must pass
A watchful night.
And fishes glide under
Tons of salty water
Even darker before the
We are outnumbered
Than bees or ants.
Yet our village, our mirrors
Are the world to us.
Our voices, our songs
Fill the silence
That we never hear.
Our tongues, our throats
Touch the animals that
We tell ourselves that we are not.
The wild place always
Outside, away, apart.
Within we are
Under the glow
Of our many lamps.
Coming to the edge
where it is foggy to the ground
On the table in the kitchen
is a compass.
Can it point the way?
It has been there for months
since we returned
to worship the sun once more.
Will it point the way?
Del Rey Oaks, CA
And many a night
The Knight would rise from his chamber
To stare in to the Void
Yet discerning no thing
A three a m train
Blows its horn
On the main line
South to the Pacific Coast of Mexico
The rolling stock pounds the rails
Sending its tune a mile away
And the whistle blows again
Past the sleepers on the Mexican side of town
The belly must be fed
Apple sauce and pita bread
There is no delicacy here
Just hanging folds of fat
We live in a new world.
A daily fill of images,
surrounded by ads.
A weekly dose of spectacles.
Select a TV show.
Go to Disneyland.
You feel free and in control.
Still there is this bitter taste.
We come from an older world
where images are etched
by wind and water
where spectacles are staged
by light and thunder.
Signs of flash floods tell you,
manging boulders remind you
the shadow behind you whispers
“You are not in control.”
The taste of ancient memories.
When you enter this world
you adapt to its rhythm
you submit when you must.
Except for your pace
your food and your shelter
you control nothing.
Soon the bitter taste is gone.
San Jose, CA
This poem is a bit old, I was walking by the Monterey Library and saw this little plastic shoe with all kinds of bling on it laying in the gutter. I am sending it because I am, to paraphrase a Greek Fisherman, “I am fillered up with politics!”
THE SHINY SILVER SHOE
September 6, 2007- 1:57 pm
the shiny silver shoe
lost its little girl
decided to sit down
in the gutter
by the library
to figure it out
what to do
laying in the litter
beside the road
far from home
and the little girl
with a fancy dress
that always made
look so nice
at the parties
playing pin the tail
on the donkey
drinking cool aid
till it came out of their noses
oh little shoe
I hope you find
your little girl
and dance away
till a new dawn
Del Rey Oaks, CA
it was all very
simple until it
Who am I
That death doesn’t desert me
But waits patiently
At my doorstep?