Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Going Deep

It’s the icy plunge
Without the caution of a toe in first
It’s the view from the plane
As it taxies away
It is cresting a ridge
Knowing that there is not enough light
To get back today
It is reading aloud your secret thoughts
As your smiling lips tremble
It is packing your bag
Accepting your fate
-It is going deep-
Knowing the irretrievable
Dreaming the irresistible
Sounding your untold self






Sunday, December 18, 2011

The New Tide

It was the day when the tide
Both came in and
Went out simultaneously.
The sea kissed with its greedy tongue
And teased the shore with gifts from
Foreign lands and deep down places
While it also drew with grasping gulps
Of magnetic water translucent
Drawing off those that had stood for such certain time
On the high shores
And above the roar
Now raptured to a watery destiny
Perhaps tossed again far off
Perhaps swept relentlessly into the womb of return.
How could this be
-Such thirst and avarice
Such greatness and generosity-
Parallels that have strayed
From realities unfaltering course,
How could this be…?
It will take time, incalculable
To know this or forget
To bear up or abandon,
No simple shrug
No easy weave and comfort fit,
It will take some time
Harsh yet generous,
Ruthless and truthful in its way.










Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lost Shoe

"No need for alarm..."
(Which surely sends a chill
in a world fraught with peril)
So,
No need for alarm,
But,
I have lost a shoe,
One that I wear frequently,
And although it is a big wide wonderful world
I can rule out most of it
And limit my search to somewhere near
The shoe that I still have.
It is the right one,
So possibly it has run away
No longer able to tolerate its proximity
With the Left?

I do live with a ferret.
He eats cat kibble
But when he is loose
He porpoises around
Randomly attacking small objects
And dragging them away to his secret lair
Which is usually under the bathroom sink
Or behind the toilet.
(I've tried baiting him with the remaining shoe
to see where he takes it.)
No luck.
And it will likely take some time
Before he is done with the first one.

So it makes me wonder,
What am I missing in my search,
A clue to this puzzle?
A need to think outside the shoebox?
This is a curious riddle
And either I solve it
Or
Admit to the possibility
That I am losing my mind,
One shoe at a time,
But,
No need for alarm.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just No Way


I had 10 squirrels at the feeder today,
Dapper in their gray and brown business suits;
Busily eating sunflower seeds.
They seem like 4 year old boys
Cute and intent
on what they want.
Selfish and charming
sitting on their haunches
tails tightly coiled
dark black eyes glinting
Energetic and yet
so vulnerable.
I buried one yesterday
who died likely crossing my street
for the same irresistible seeds.
There is no way to teach them
or even explain
or offer to hold their hands.
Paul A

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

And You Wish

When you love there is
Never a letting go,
No free and clear, oh no.
Circle round
And round again
Like a dark tattoo
It will fade
But not dissipate.
And the promise of pain
That connected you to love
On that first day
Will be there to the last.
It is what you get with the strong
It is what you get with the light.
It will buckle your knees
And suck out your breath,
And you’ll wish you had never…
Never had to let go.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Sleep

I sleep most every night,
And you?
How odd and yet familiar:
A trip to a spa nocturnal
Heavenly or quite Infernal  
To meet up with that secret you
And randomly adventure too
Nonsensical
Yet essential
Somewhat frightening
Or so enlightening
It’s somatic and dramatic
REM inducing and seducing  
Sexing and perplexing.
So are we doing a review or some
Overture preview?
Of a parallel existence
Or of death oh so persistent
And brother,
Which side of the bubble are we on?
Which side of the bubble are we on?


Friday, November 4, 2011

Manifested in Moments

She only knew me as a poet
No back story
No sidebar
No in way of explanation
Just the words of my mouth
And the meditations of my heart
And we both found that acceptable

I only knew her as a skier
And the strong hand that I held
And the knees with the scars
And the wind still in her hair
And a mountain out there
Where she had been so
Alive, and now so early deprived

We sat in the dull roar
With the ocean below
And watched a movie together
Without earphones
Adding the dialog
Making our own story
Offering our own interpretation

And then we let go
At the beginning of the end
A phone call or two
Did not satisfy
We both realized
It had only manifested in moments fleeting, flying
A half-life of an encounter
Very real
But now evaporated somewhere
High over the Pacific.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I Was There

I was there at the beginning of it
Or maybe I was the beginning of it.
It seemed to have begun on the day that I thought  
I could float to class,
Something of a lemony sensation on the soles of my feet.
I had seen in the rooms nearby,
Art materializing,
Creations that required no responsibility or justification
Were happening, absolutely
Without explanation or prelude,
All manner of expressions where welling and birthing  
They needed no reason,
And were accepted with the muted voice of a nod and smile.
But implicit in the creation was an implied danger and newness
Magma flowing to the surface, hot and radiant
Coursing down mountainsides
Filling valleys  
Sparking new land and fire.
There was a woman who told me that she had epilepsy
But that she did not take medication
Because her seizures gave her such vivid images
And she used them as her muse.
I loved her for this fearless wantonness
And feared her for it too.
There were streams of uncertainties,
There were seismic shiftings to catch like the next wave,
There were parchments upon which I could
Write the next line.
I was there.
I was.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Meet Michael Mapleleaf

Hi, Michael Mapleleaf here.        
I lived for a while in your backyard.
Didn’t notice me? 
Ya, third branch up, way out toward the end…whoa, what a view…
But anyhow I’m down here now, which isn’t so bad
‘Cause it’s Fall
And well, I fell.
And so, about the color thing,
Did ya notice?
I changed!  My spĂ©cialitĂ©!
Excuse me, I am blushing…J
I’m not a chameleon, no
Although they are pretty spectacular too.
My color is all about being a leaf
A deciduous leaf, to be specific.
Back in the spring, my buddies and I popped out of our
Tree’s branches,
Rookies and a bit green,
But as the summer came on we soaked up the sunlight
And got a good layer of chlorophyll going,
It’s a gift…
We do it because it’s how we help our tree make sugar and grow
And survive the winter.
Remember last year and all of that cold and snow?!  Whew!
Any hoo…
We were going great green
But as the summer wore on
And the daylight hours began to shorten
(Just about the time I saw you hopping back on the school bus)
I began to feel a little faint,
A little faded,
A lot phooey.
Just couldn’t keep up with the green scene,
And so my chlorophyll coat weakened and wore out…
Nothing left to show for it…
Except my other true color!
Red!
Rockin’ the ruby, yes I am!
Pardon my science, but what you are seeing is
Anthocyanin, a pigment that we maples are so
Proud of it makes me flush.
So, that’s the story,
Colorful, no?
But I got to go now,
Fall is almost over and
I seem to have developed a few handsome spots of brown,
And a curiosity to learn more about
What earthworms do…


Friday, October 21, 2011

Jam

Don’t call on me
I’ve gone to bed
I’ll close my eyes
And just see what it means.
No… no it’s all
To close to the bone
I’ve left that door wide open, damn
And so they rush right in, and fill the void
Plaguing me with stones
And stories that I have been
And places that I’ve been told.
No...no you know where the truth is
And it’s not my secret pearl today
For I have shared it with you.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Feathers

"Crow(s) may communicate to you through leaving feathers for you to find.
These serve as a reminder of your connection to spirit or that it is time for you to be still to enable a message from spirit to come through" ...Anon

Friday, September 16, 2011

Waking Up Strange

Sometimes I am a stranger to myself,
In my home, in my place, in:
This body, it seems so familiar, how do I know you?
The sun, does it always feel like this, hot like solstice?
The wind, do I recognize that sound in the tree tops
It seems too loud as it curves from branch to ground.
And my friends, who once seemed so well defined now
Bear the off look, slightly foreign and out of focus,
As they have carried on so famously while I have
Over slept, missed the bus, or forgot the key.
Is it them or is it me?
Like Watson, the computer
Who won on Jeopardy, but didn’t get
The Joke
Who was grandly intelligent yet lacked the nuance
Of what it means to be human ?
These things that might be learned but not easily granted
And need random renewal, without any certain date stamped upon
The card, the expired password, the plaintive expression
Which seems to crumble into desert dust.
Random renewal, but constant.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Drop Off, Pick Up

Why do you leave your feathers for me?
Such seduction garners a bit of suspicion…
And although I enjoy these flirtations
All downy, all stiff and zippered together
All scaly neo-dinosaurian,
Iridescent or buff and shadowy gray,
I still wonder as I bend to retrieve them
Left on the trail side right where
I cannot but help myself,
And so I touch and wonder
And place behind an ear to ponder
Such generous offerings,
Gifts given by friendly but secret strangers
Because I know you only in the moments
As you stop to claim a seed
Or drum on a dead oak in the spring
Or hoot and coo outside my window just last night.
Thank you, I am not ungrateful.
Free, just dropped off
Now picked up
Your feathered beauty beguiles
And serves for a moment to release me with a smile from
My ever-days
And carries me lightly
To your side.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Dream

I dreamed I was to write the story of my life
On three sheets:

The first was a page of notebook paper
Wide rule
And I wrote my history, full of the
5 Ws
And moments poignant.

The second sheet appeared the same
But try as I may to tell the tale of contemporary years
I could not make the words adhere
Except in the side columns
Along the edges,
And so my current days seem disjointed and squeezed
Off to the periphery.

And finally the third sheet allowed no words
To hold at all
Although I tried to bring it
To bear,
And so my future remains unwritten
And as of yet untold.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It All Depends upon the Sun

It all depends upon the sun.
The ancients knew this wisdom
And kept their eyes upon it
And their hearts open
To the fortunes and misfortunes
That shone their way.
It depends where you were born under it
And to whom, for sure
For its blessed beauty
Can spin and turn into the worst of curses
And callously take away
The given gifts,
But then, just as soon as later
It can shower wealth, and peace
And hope.

It all depends on the sun
And how you stand beneath it,
Strong in salutation
Or stooped by the likely tyrannies
That come to us and sort
The mettle of our souls.
Each day begins dependably
Glimmering, teasing, provoking
Taunting, and even torturing.
We cannot change its course
Although we can sometimes change ours.

It all depends upon the sun
And how we choose to shine.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Scraping and Digging

I’d like to get a handle
On this door to my demise
And to step across that threshold
And to find to my surprise
That there is no lasting comfort
In the skin that I am in
And to be so self-inflicted
Seems the ultimate of sins.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Shade Below

You sang me this tune oh so long ago
The meaning of which I just need to know
The words were scribbled on a bar receipt
The ink has faded now it’s incomplete

Strumming on the chords of so long ago
Strumming out a tune just a shade below
Flippin’ all the switches turnin’ all the dials
Wanderin’ back for the smiles.

You wandered away, seems like yesterday
The story I know but it’s not ok
You made it a case of just do or die
Tears wells up but only the seagulls cry

Strumming on the chords of so long ago
Strumming out a tune just a shade below
Flippin’ al the switches turnin’ all the dials
Wanderin’ back for the smiles.

You found me lurking on the internet
A friend recommended me on a bet
You saw my picture and just had to know
Has it been good or just a shade below?

Strumming on the chords of so long ago
Strumming out a tune just a shade below
Flippin’ al the switches turnin’ all the dials
Wanderin’ back for the smiles.

Would You like a Receipt?

October 9th
1999
At 8:58 AM
I bought this notebook.
It cost $1.69
(plus 10 cents tax)
Shopping at the Colonial Market
(now defunct)
In Niantic, Connecticut
(still funct)
I was handed 21 cents in change.
(apparently)
This poem serves
As the return
On that investment.

Monday, July 25, 2011

No Harm

I am not a threat to you
And I mean you no harm,
So put down your weapons
Please.
It is not much I ask of you
And although we differ
I will listen to you
And I will know your part,
I will listen:
I am not a threat to you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Metrics of These Moments

Summer is still with us
Sticking slug-like to the fingers
But the parable is reaching its midpoint
Deceptively
As the pages flutter in the hot breeze
Through the monthly chapters
And almost imperceptivity
The metrics of these moments
Are appearing.

I love them dearly
As they tell their old time tales
But still as they unspool and unwind
They pace this story
And so such glory
Compels a feeble grasp
A finger to mark this place
Then finally a chuckle and a smile.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Road Trip

It was 103 degrees when we left Kansas City. Jack was squinting over the steering wheel, already miles down the road, as Regina looked sideways and north up the Missouri River, chin on hand, elbow on the open window.

It was cooking hot and the day was just coming on. The car’s tires were sticking to the cement pavement like a three day old bandage.

As we eased onto I-70 towards Denver, heat was refracting in waves off the interstate. Mirages and the last of the hash induced a stupor in me, maybe giving me a last look over my shoulder, blearily reflecting back on the year I had spent in KCMO.

One year exactly, and then I just crawled across the finish line.

The three of us were all a bit lost, hoping that Rand McNally could show us a new way.

For me, it had been a year that had slowly come unraveled, starting as a soldier in the “War on Poverty” and ending as a refuge, somehow both abandoned by and a deserted from that cause.

It was a year that had begun with ambitious hope and eager allies and then had drifted and derailed in the haze that was 1970, and finally and essentially ending in the stark cold-steel-barred realities.

I had been stupid then.

Now all I really had left was the fact that I had made the one year mark, one year in misguided service, and perhaps the thickheaded comfort in knowing that I had kept a promise. That, an army surplus duffel bag stuffed with my life’s belongings, and a couple hundred dollars cash.

We headed west into the glow, poaching in the four-door Rambler American. Jack eased off the exit ramp onto the Kansas state highway, and in a moment we were walking into the tepid waters of a public beach, not bothering to strip-off our cutoff jeans and t-shirts. The indifferent water offered only partial relief from the heat. The local folk, families and kids, stared in shocked disbelief at the sight of three long haired hippies bathing in their waters.

“Well look-a there, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” a maintenance worker howled to his buddy across the parking lot.

We quickly found our way back to the highway.

Somewhere further down the road a thunder-squall doused the road, bringing water across the prairie sky and onto the ground, and then evaporating again almost as quickly as it coated the bending wheat fields.

The rain yielded little satisfaction, vapor rising, water cycling; only offering the soprano songs of four wheels, as they dragged and drew us through the breadbasket and into cattle country.

It was then that I saw my first tumbleweeds, hot-footing their way across the singed Colorado side roads, and heading west and north, seeking the mountains and their mighty swaths of sage and shade.

We will meet again I thought, drifting.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stray Reflections

6/27
Stray
M
Pit Bull, brown + white, adult.
Available to adopt on 7/5.
~
Who are you boy, and where have you been?
I ask, but may not want to know.
Your story is certainly sad
(For there you are)
But otherwise uncertain
Given your reputation.
Your fate is there, the writing is on the wall
Scribed in the cruel truth of abuse
And etched in the hang-dog expression on your face
Puzzled with no sure solution; waiting.
Is your flickering light so dimmed
By the unkindness of my kind?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Full Bore

A small wind crossed from ankle to knee
Before it dissipated into the stillness
Of your arrival.
I could see that you were driven
On a cautious quest for the seed
Just one small germ; the universe.
And frozen still, but doubtlessly moving
Your chin trembled
You tried vainly to place me
Tried to sense your situation
Cautiously curiously seeking meaning from this quandary
And ultimately you chose to ante up, all in
And melted in that interstice from
Frozen fear to the only real alternative,
Life full bore.
I wanted to tell you in our moment about cats
Those striking sphinxes
And coiled rat snakes whose
Fuse you might ignite.
It seemed only fair
Such a trade
After the things you have given to me.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Be a Poet

To be a poet,
You need the nerve to call yourself a poet.
Don’t listen to those voices from without
(Find a friendly reader)
Or within
(Be kind, but firmly dismiss that inner critic, bye-bye)

Get a pencil without an eraser
(Don’t erase –cross out if you must- your “mistakes” and trials might just go somewhere, someday)
Visit them often, and while you are there, read them aloud, let them roll off your tongue
And play on the wind)
And a pad of paper, or a notebook, better yet. That fits in your pocket.
You never know when the muse will strike, like at the grocery store
While your selecting canned beans
And likely you will
Want to write,
Then and there.
(It’s OK to practice your quick draw, like the word-slinger you are,
Right in front of the hall mirror)

Listen to the narrator, the one doing the play-by-play
Silently in your head
Listen to the color commentator too.
Jot down some of these thoughts.
Dig it, and dig through this,
It’s the mother lode.
Check ‘em out. Write down others you think might give them company.

Play; by all means play with these words.
Sculpt them into a phrase
Listen to the sounds and rhythms of the words
Do the bounce and dance?
Do they take a chance?

Rhyme is fun, but it seems to only work
On even days of the week
And/or months with the letter “r”
(Check your calendar)

Prose is user friendly and you can
Break the
Lines wherever you
Want.

Don’t get married to what you write or how.
A steamy affair might just serve you better.
And know this.
Sometimes all of this just doesn’t work.
So have a sense of humor
And be patient.
Even the great Mickey Mantle (his parents were poets in his naming!)
Only got a hit 3 out of 10 times.
(You are likely to do better, with your pencil and paper)

Read some poetry
Find an author you like,
Don’t worry about what it “means”
If it is good poetry, for you,
You’ll know.

Try a metaphor, look it up if you’re not sure
They’ll help to convey ideas when
Words alone fail
That’s what they are
For,
Symbolically speaking,
And similes will make you smile
Like a Cheshire cat.
So find a quiet place,
Oh did I mention that?

And call yourself a poet
By all means.
Your first year’s dues are paid in full
(You can thank me later.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Solstice

The morning light weaves through the tree top leaves
As if it was impatient and anxious to reach out over the millions of mile
And warmly embrace the Earth, our flesh
Sharing its life giving strength patiently and constantly
On this longest of days
Which begins with the chatter of birds
Effusing like long lost friends once separated by the dark of night
Now reunited for a daylong merriment
And ends with fireflies blinking their joyfully devious signals
Across the dew covered lawns of June.
And so like so many before
Will you dance with your shadow?
Will you circle with the Sun
Madly spinning
And marvel at the wonder of it all?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Visitors

Things that go bump in the night:
Four in the morning
Three adorable raccoons
Two of which could barely toddle
One family
Working the night shift
Prowling in the shadows on my back porch
Munching sunflower seeds
And sipping humming bird nectar.
A brief moment at the center of the universe.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Australian Fly-About

Yvonne Sanderson’s latest collection of Australian aerial landscapes once again proves her photographic talent in knowing just when to push the shutter, a gift many aspire to but few achieve.


Her series, Australian Fly-About imaged in the Outback, has created a mesmerizing tour of ancient lands, dry and barren, interspersed with recent anachronistic floods. In this robust series of images she has blurred the edges of reality by distancing herself and rising above ground level point of view just enough to allow the mind’s eye to question the abstraction, while leaving the connecting forms of geology, water, air, distance and light to challenge the sensations of those things almost familiar.

Yvonne’s pallet of color, texture and shape satisfies and rewards the viewer’s eye, yet pleasantly creates the dissonances of distant dreams. The universal reality of these photographs lie somewhere between far-flung galaxies, measured in distance light years and the infinite beauty of a single simple cell.

Good on ya, mate!


See her photos at:
 http://www.focal-plane.com/imagefolder/Web_AUflyaboutGallery/AUflyaboutGallery/index.html

Monday, June 6, 2011

Play with It

Ingestation.
In do time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hometown

I like to check the box scores in the morning
With coffee and something toasted,
See how players
I don’t know
In games I didn’t see
In cities I’ve once visited long ago
Fared:
An offensive rebound here
An extra base hit…
Secretly rooting for a win streak
Or a playoff berth
Or at least a good showing.
I’m a fan of the hometown teams
From a hometown far away in time and place.
I cheer for the smaller players,
The ones with a sense of humor and a modicum
Of modesty,
No tattoos, no arrests, no handlers and entourage,
Just ones who like the sound of sneakers on gym floors
Or the smell of a leather mitt,
Players who quietly root for some other team
In a hometown or place
Where they once cheered too.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Drifting Judgementally

The poplar seeds, airborne fluff
Descend from an unidentified source
Intermittent fuzz, blowing on eddies and streams of air
Drop down loosely and then lift again briefly
As if they were destined both to procreate and predisposed to amuse.
In the near distance a four-cycle engine snarls to life, interrupting the sanctuary of my reverie.
A friend of my neighbor drives the mowing machine through the backyard.
Moments before I saw him unload it off the trailer hooked to his truck. I think he is a fire department buddy. A younger guy, he has stopped by on colder occasions to help move snow.
A nice guy. A nice gesture. A nice narrative.
I wondered if he gets paid, allowing myself snooping privileges. A beer, a twenty?
His first pass around the yard yields mixed results: The dandelions are downed but only “a bit off the top” for the rest.
“Lower your blade,” I hear myself mumble, critically.
It will be my turn to mow soon enough and I want him to cut deep to delay my need to mow.
My mower is an electric push device, and it is not much fun to run. That’s the push part.
Dragging long snakes of extension cord. That’s the pull part.
Good for the environment, no exhaust fume, I thought, back-patting.
Get a bit of exercise; I rationalized, belly-patting.
Gad! I realize, pity-patting.
Nothing much good will come of all this, I thought, again waxing judgmentally,
Beginning to feel the drawdown of this familiar process
Fraught with self-criticism and burdened with the irony of drifting once again into
The oncoming lane of judgment. Here comes the judge! Here comes the judge!
Gad.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Damn It, I Was Led to Believe

I seek certain wisdom, solace, direction, refuge
From the ancient knowledge of nature
Scientific, spiritual, mystical yet practical,
But it is changing/rearranging
Too fast damn it,
“The new normal is constantly evolving”-she said.
Maybe this is not necessarily new,
(How we so easily forget or deny or ignore)
But there is an imperative to it, this new:
New seasons, drier and wetter
Things seen out our doors and
Moments thus far unimaginable
Colder and hotter, all clamoring about me at
A new speed, histories re-written
And complicit
I now need,
It necessitates a new discovery by me
Of the old wisdom
That has always been obtainable:
That
Of how to evolve and change
“So this is how it is now…”-she says.
There is hardly a moment
To catch your breath
On this new day.
I say.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Conventional Wisdom

Since it will rain
The conventional wisdom is
To respond in green frogs.
Frogs and their fish friends
Know what a pond means
And demonstrate, free of charge
To those who care to look and learn
How exactly one goes about making the best
Of a wet situation.
Lemons to lemonade, sure
But there is nothing sweeter
Than water.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

On the Verge

I was on the verge of a nap
(Can one be next to a verge, behind one, or under it?)
Drifting in thought, eyes closed,
Caught somewhere between a semblance of conscious-control
And the more gentle autocracy of the mind,
Where tales are loosely spun and
Things whimsically come undone
As reality slips through the fingers,
Nearly sleeping.
Such safe keeping.
Been there,
Done that?
It’s not so bad,
A refuge from the harsh tyranny of reality,
Which flaunts with its beauty
And taunts with its pains.
Why then is it so hard to do, give it up these realities
And retreat into the convoluted creases of my mind bearing brain?
Is there some agenda that needs attention
Some soup to stir
Some consequential conquest?
I think I need to inquire of a child:
What is the real difference between math class
(Do the even questions on page 189)
And recess?
Perhaps I am on the verge of a discovery?
Or at least the first step to recovery?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It Was Mono

It was mono.
~
For a while they trifled with the idea
Of something more deadly,
Played with it really.
(What a sadly beautiful thing
He was so young
He had his life ahead of him
But no)
But no, just dog sick, a kiss of near death,
Sent to my room, shades drawn, to sweat it out in
A delirium of fever.
Time passed, days blinked into lifetimes
And all that was reality in its previous manifestation
Faded, dissipated, disassociated
Old school, like the last shrinking light of a switched off TV.
~
And at the next opening of my eyes
The sun seemed to have found
A new position in the sky, beyond the window
A new light, silent,
Spotlighting motes, drifting defiantly, galactically.
That light signaled some new season
It taunted more than illuminated
Aching with the long yellow rays of
Marigolds and beams of golden umber.
A path was set alight, cleared
So that I could rise and walk weakly
Some 20 steps
Into the light and the future of that moment
And finally
Into the presence of this one
Where my certain time
My life after my averted death
Had stone-skipped forward
Catapulted
Through the past of many possible moments
In which I lay half awake, still feverish
Into this instant
So clearly unfamiliar even
To its creator.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

When Good Enough Was Good

When I first heard the term
“Renaissance man” I exhaled
A long muffled sigh,
For I then had a life destination
A rationale
A fraternity that I might join.
The son of a semi-illiterate gifted mechanic
I had failed in the world of trade talent
I had failed at age 14 to turn a screw to affix
A wire to a lamp.
Lefty-loosey...
Was so foreign
To a lefty in a
Righty-tighty world.
Yes, a dabble of mechanics
A bar of music
Or an inning on the sandlot
I could do passably,
Enough to not draw unwanted attention.
I could hold the flashlight,
Find the 5/8s box wrench.
No real definable talent, yet
No real gift, then
But not being the last picked for dodge ball
Was good enough.
I wonder sometimes if
Young DaVinci felt the same?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Juices

I know where to find you,
Or at least,
I know where to look.
I reach towards my dreams
But that secret realm is a dry
Outback
No roiling clouds redden the sky
No blossoms springing from their nests of thorns, no.
I search for the juices
Don’t you?
Rich, sticky
The sap of bent stem
The hope of amber and secret treasures
Oozing and acrid
That tang the tongue?
Dowsers we are
With crooked sticks we seek the spot where we dig
Hoping for gushers
But still satisfied with cool moss-backed seeps.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 23

The clever can use
While the genius copy.
A handful of umber ovoids
Splitting red at the seams
Bridled long enough
Under shrouds of duff and aching ice
Now reach in yogic posture
Grounding deep and grasping towards
Their heaven
And dreaming of the possibilities
In unimaginable days and dawns
Only predictable by looking back for wisdom
Only attainable by living on in hope.

Friday, April 22, 2011

April 22

I like people who like me, don’t you? 
Even one’s who like me for the “wrong” reasons
Such as:
They like me for reasons that are not good for me or
They like me for reasons that are not good for them.
Sound familiar? Ah the heartache…
Regardless, it get’s the juices flowing
And that’s what it’s all about,
The juices
Getting the right peptides locked into the appropriate receptors.
(OK, that actually sounds dirty doesn’t it? But true, either way!)
I once had a student, slightly spelling-challenged, who left a love note
That fell into my hands, plaintively asking,
“Do you lick me?”
Hmmm?
Cutting right to the chase, or perhaps a Freudian slip?
Or at least a petticoat.
And despite the consequences, he will likely go a long way,
With a passing grade for chutzpa if not for spelling.
Being beings of largely juice, water mostly,
Requiring procreation,
Effrontery is essential
In order to keep the sap flowing
And even without our active knowing
We are living out our sweet design
And isn’t it just so divine?
~
Thanks for reading.
I hope you liked my poem, and if you did
I likely like you.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

April 20

You have nicked me more than once
Drawn blood,
But I was careless and so deserving
On better days
We peeled bark from an Aspen stick and roasted
The best meal over an open fire
You were always there
To help
To rescue
To serve when needed
And to stay in reserve
Red, sharp and ready.
You unscrewed corks
Popped tops and opened cans,
And cut, long before the Veg-o-matic.
And until today we traveled
Maine to Colorado
Newfoundland and Mexico
Cracking lobsters, slicing limes
Trimming nails and a thousand more mundane moments
Until today when TSA took you away
From me
For the first time in some forty years.
I lament your loss friend,
For I am now just a bit more alone.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

April 17

Peace

Peace

Peace

(Peace)

Peace

“Peace”

Peace

peace

Peace

Peace

Peace

Peace

Peace
  • Peace
Peace

Peace

Peace

Peace

Peace

Peace x 2

Peace
Peace
Peace

Peace

Peace

Peace?

Peace
Peace!
Peace

Peace.

Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15

spring has drawn a curtain such
that i cannot see long or deep
into the woods
and even though in february
i long for her to unfurl
the leaves and vines
of renewal
i secretly hold dear the moments
on cold trails or searching (leering) through frosted glass
peering past the rows of rough bark
and gnarly branch hoping
to find
seeking to know
the secret of the hills
and boulders
caressing their broad shoulders
and thighs
loving them and knowing that
they will soon drop behind the green curtain
finding their flirtatious privacy
in the company of the growing chaos of the forest

Thursday, April 14, 2011

April 14

There you are (or so it seems)
A bit remote, a disconnect
From me and where
 I
Am
Today.
It is a pity.
You come across quite Madam Tussauds,
Buffed and glossed,
Quite rain repellant, no doubt
And tear repellant too.
I wonder what might sprout
From your earbuds,
A flower that might welcome pollination?
Or some sadly sterile fruit
Genetically engineered
That will not bruise so easily
During this transit?

Monday, April 11, 2011

April 11

I am pretty sure that I don’t know
What is right for you
What is right for all of you?
I do know that I am like you
And so
We have common causes and concerns
We have been given noble needs
And have evolved eventually to meet them.
And there is change that challenges all of this.
There is always change.
I just know what feels right for me,
My way.
It is simple, I think,
Although things do get complicated,
But when they do I test them against
An idea or two
A feeling or two,
And then if I am wise
I bend like a lithe willow
Swept by the driven rain
And grow on.

Friday, April 8, 2011

April 8

He was tired,
Heart sick really.
Raised a scientist
Rational, empirical…
The data was startling, jarring:
There is big change coming the data said,
And it will be bad, worse than bad,
Calamitous, Catastrophic.
We can kid, or ignore or deny
We can avoid, place blame, deny blame.
It doesn’t really matter,
For nothing will likely change the course;
Positive climate feedback, academically
Apocalyptic, in reality.
~
But raised and awakened in the Sixties
He also carried a flame
Kindled in passion
Which ran parallel to,
Not necessarily counter to what seemed
Obvious and apparent.
The flame was hope.
Hope immeasurable but highly observable,
Hope for the future,
Hope that hardship, fear, and uncertain change
However challenging, however frightening
Could be mitigated through good works
Could become the new world
Different but also beautiful
A strange new age of Aquarius
Adaptive and unifying
Where one love, with such great power,
Crossing borders and oceans,
Could still find a way.
~
And then he heard the voices of
A thousand-thousand
Singing their songs of hope,
Singing his song too.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

April 7

Sitting by the compost pile on
Buddha’s birthday.
No sweet rain or blossoms
No swooping dragons like on that day
Just a moldering orange peel
Brown leaves and memories,
And deep down
Fungi and earthworms,
Turning and turning
The world in motion
The world in this moment,
Change that the Buddha would recognize
And regard as right.

April 6

They are tiny time machines,
Some flat, some round and wrinkled
Some so small that they might lodge under
My fingernails.
They remind of the summer past
And their time as ova and pollen
Blossoming and then drying.
Or perhaps hidden deep within
A fruit ripe
Tempting a bite from a passing jay or doe or gardener.
Now coiled within
Poised
They are the future
Certain that some will fall
To the soil
And bear the winter to
Bear the secret of millennia past
And hold the brilliant hope of another season.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April 5

It is not complicated
Being a little man
Do the plan, drink the Kool-Aid
Avoid confrontation and dissonance
Be the cog
Avoid cognition
Live and love the tyranny of the mind
Flinch when dharma is revealed
Cringe and cry at dukkha
Be little
And wear the right shoes
No one will notice
If you play by the rules
And don’t go big,
Don’t even think about it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

April 4

I knocked on your door
And
Stepped into the slip stream of your
Energy
It required me to shift gears, mind and body
More than once
Required me to dig into my bag of Acme devices
Coyote-like
To catch you Roadrunner
Allured
I wallowed in your footsteps dreamlike
Bemused
Knowing that you had slowed,
Teasing
Then pleasing.
Somehow, we have learned to do this dance.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April 3

I’m feeding the squirrels.
I used to believe that I was
Feeding sunflower seeds to the birds,
But not so much anymore.
They usually just wait and watch from a nearby branch
The front row seats, filled with Chickadees, bills gaping seedlessly
No concession snacks for the meek.
I swear that the squirrels used to come disguised:
I liked the blue jay outfit.
The faux feathers, tufted crest
Gaudy like turquoise jewelry, or an Ocean City miniature golf course.
Their bad ass attitude would trick you on a snowy morning.
Now they just put on a gluttony show
Hanging upside down
Legs akimbo, a Kama Sutra of dexterity
They Buddha-belly up all day to the all you can eat for one price table.
Their big dewy eyes hardly flinch
When I run out waving a dish towel and yelling.
Eventually they trot off to a nearby tree and watch, smirking.
Hey, they enjoy a show with their meal too.
And they’ll be back for the second show.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April 2

I just couldn’t help myself
As I paused to glimpse at the show:
I’m having your brother’s baby or
The woman you’re dating is really a man…
I only meant to just watch for a moment
Judgementally
To see how preposterous
Ridiculous
But they were having an all day marathon
And it was rainy and cold outside, anyway
And I…
So I took the phone off the hook
And watched all day,
Like I thought I would live forever.
Preposterous.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1

The snow is raking from
April skies
Composed of slate-bottomed texture-less clouds,
It is shearing the morning light with its
Tongue scratching edges
Cast down upon us by some merry prankster
On a less than creative day.
Uninspired
And truly unappreciated,
It neither coats the ground nor
Taunts the frog,
Cratering with silent percussive thuds
Rushing to a splosh
Delighting in a deviously conceived assault
On my selfish vernal dreams,
As if to demand my pointless surrender
And to stipulate a
“Let’s get this over with.”
Before sliding down the hoary horizon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dry Warm Place

Is war all we know?
~
Cat and chicks seek their dry-warm places
On this damp-cool morning.
Cat crawls on a willing lap
Knowing that this sure safe spot
Requires claws to be withdrawn
Simple comfort and safety call for such concession.
The cat is willing, for a peaceful nap.
~
Chicks scuttle and scurry,
Peeps tumbling like little penguins,
Five, maybe three days old,
They already know that the hen
Will spread her wings and sit motionless
Offering the safety of her brood patch
Longer than she might like; she’s hungry…
But driven by some other greater desire
She gives
To save from harm these small lives.
~
Still seated
The lap and cat
Both gaining mutual warmth,
Sharing a quiet moment
Extending a meditation,
Breathing slowly, harmoniously
Watching the chicks and the morning
Unfold,
Perhaps knowing
That peace can happen in every moment.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Three Mugs/The Big Amnesia

Three mugs clutching mugs,
And adequately caffeinated
They prairie dog the trans-Pacific sunrise
And ponder…
Unspoken…
The topic?
The chicken trapped, again, in the have-a-heart cage.
Finally,
After due meditation:
Practitioner One questions, “Can you teach a chicken anything? I mean, can they learn?”
Practitioner Two responds, “You can teach them to forget.”
Practitioner One clarifying: “You mean like amnesia…you mean the big amnesia?”
Three mugs with mugs consider the detrital grounds in the bottom
Of their cups,
And then
Silently walk into the day.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Invisible Man

Why am I at this bowling party? How did I get invited?
I don’t know anyone
Anonymous
I stand,
Too small to use a man’s ball
Damn puberty
Only balls that fit are pink…
The cool guys divide quickly:
Three cool jocks in lane one
Three more with cool hair and muscles in lane two
The five left?
Go figure it out.
I don’t know anyone.
Just dumped out front of the Bowl-o-Rama.

So the first guy writes his name
“All Pro”,
Others do the same.
Pseudonyms
“Can you use your names, I ask? I don’t
Know you…”
Hoping for an alley ally
Ignored,
I put my mark,
Bowler number five in
The loser’s lane, as
*
Anonymously
I sit in the plastic chairs
My skinny legs sticking out of my
Old church pants
I glance up, and when it is my turn
They skip right by me.

I am the invisible man
Incarnate.

*

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Learning to Work with Metal

What will you learn from the metal?
Will you hear how the torch speaks to the cold iron
How the scars of weld heal broken pieces
And makes them new and stronger
Will you see the bend of new shapes
And wonder at their independence
As the metal moves and yields both
On its terms and yours?
Will you learn to temper
Making something new of something old
And will you gain from each?
And what language will you speak and smith?
Will you cut and braze
Temper and render
Weld and wonder.
Are there stories worked
When hard becomes soft
And soft becomes strong?
What will you learn from the metal;
What will it teach you?
-P

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Self-made and Self-discovered Watershed

So when did it become so hard for you?
Looking back
Searching through the times and moments
Was there a moment or era that your heart came crashing down
When the snug secure facade of childhood broke loose and drifted
When it came clear.
Was it when you learned you had to “work”?
Was it when you realized that not all dreams come true?
That there are weakness and disappointments
Can you find it somewhere hidden? Or
Maybe it is right there where it always resides
Just below the surface
Where you abandoned it, left it unattended all these years.
~
And so have you found your watershed
That place in time, that self made reality
That haunts and taunts
That slips into your very workings and says to you most every day:
That there are things that you can do and things you can’t?
Moments of control and times of wild wild chaos
And the reality that reality is too big to touch and embrace?
And that there are limits both self-made and limits beyond our control?
~
Have you found a time
Have you given yourself that gift
Of peaceful self awareness
Where you stop the struggle that renders you impossible
And joyfully recognize and accept that
This is how it works?
And so gracefully, peacefully, without regret
And self-flagellation
Become just who you are and who you should be?
Have you found it?
Have you?
And do you know that it’s ok?

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Man's Body

Growing up as a boy and then as a man
In a world of men
I sometimes wondered
When will I get my
“Man’s” body?
The image of a broad chest
Large biceps
Thick neck
Perhaps a bit of a gut over the belt?
When would that happen
Like it did for many other peers?
Now, past sixty, I know that
What I see is what I got;
Leaning towards the lean
A functional phenotype
No complaints.
I am lucky enough, very in fact
That what I have works
Given the traffic
Given the warranty has long expired.
…old enough to repaint… several times over
So now I am wondering when will I get
My old man’s body?
Some clues:
Grey chin hair, oddly contoured skin
With puckers and spots
Creases like an old cherished love letter.
Character time lines
Pages of personal history.
~
So maybe this time
Maybe in each coming time
I will just be the boy, the man, the old man,
That I am.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

One More

One more pineapple sunshine day
As gentle breezes flow this way,
One more day of puzzles solved
And hopeful futures that evolve,
One more wink of flashing eyes
And laughing smiles as my surprise,
One more stroll in the August rain
And a cheery sparrow’s soft refrain,
One more walk in windblown snow
It’s warm inside now don’t you know?
One more hand and loving touch
That simple gesture means so much,
One more day to spend with you
As each and every one’s so new.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Under the Banyan Tree

The wind kicks up 
As it surely will
The fog will part
It’s been so still,
The chickens scratch to pass the day
And likely grain will come their way,
I sit and ponder each of these
And wonder at the steel gray seas
That rises from near your distance shore,
We wait to breathe and grow
Once more,
For time will come and dance with me
Sitting under the Banyan Tree.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Maybe

Maybe I should write about it
Maybe…
But first I need to know
-What is it?-
What exactly is it?
It is something that I don’t want to deal with
Something that I am afraid of
-The emotional content-
The unresolved
The un-resolvable??
Things that might be best left undisturbed
Things that have settle into a manageable place
Sleeping dogs
Snakes in the grass
Best left alone.
Things that might have been best left undisturbed…
The hope was that these issues were old news
That time has healed.
Silly.
Sadly.
And maybe this has happened
But to what extent
And to what degree is the final
Truth, where things settle out once again,
To what degree is it
Acceptable
Manageable?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Anyway the Wind Blows

I’ve never been very good at long term planning.
More likely I’d be described as planktonic
-Any way the wind blows, doesn’t really matter-
Although truth be know it does matter
Because caring sometimes spawns success
And sometimes pain.
The New Year’s goals, the five year plan
Not so good.
Is this how it is for you?
My life’s achievements
Victories and success have been basically random
Walking in the casino of life, I’ve hit some jackpots,
And I am thankful.
I’d guess you might say that it’s important to be ready for the
Random opportunity
And luck seems to come into play
Flat out dumb luck...
I once got a job and kept it, not because I
Was especially good at it,
But because I had “the bluest eyes…”
Don’t ya know?
So how is it, to set a course?
To invoke willful choices?
Is it always this bumpy of a ride?

-P

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Broken Footed Woman

It is raining this morning.
Like a woman with a broken foot,
The paradiddle on one side drums the tin roof heavily,
While on the other side a bit more lightly
-Crests and troughs-
One and TWO, three and FOUR…
It is as if the torrents were Pele’s legs
Dancing on her lava island
And all us who reside upon it:
Stomp glide, stomp glide, stomp glide…
Abiding this sweet gift of water
We must surely love the way it is given.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

See How It Goes?

See how it goes?
See how beautiful it is?
See how it flows?

See how the evening leads to dawn
And how good is so carefully drawn
From the places dark and uncertain?

See how you find your way
See how it is revealed every day
See how your course will surely play?

See how the road will reveal
And how there is no need to conceal
The love that you are and the way that you feel?

See how it goes?
See how beautiful it is?
See how it flows?

Self-made and Self-discovered Watersheds

So when did it become so hard for you?
Looking back
Searching through the times and moments
Was there a moment or era that your heart came crashing down
When the snug secure facade of childhood broke loose and drifted
When it came clear.
Was it when you learned you had to “work”?
Was it when you realized that not all dreams come true?
That there are weakness and disappointments
Can you find it somewhere hidden? Or
Maybe it is right there where it always resides
Just below the surface
Where you abandoned it, left it un-attended all these years.
~
And so have you found your watershed
That place in time, that self-made reality
That haunts and taunts
That slips into your very workings and says to you most every day:
That there are things that you can do and things you can’t?
Moments of control and times of wild wild chaos
And the reality that reality is too big to touch and embrace?
And that there are limits both self-made and limits beyond our control?
Have you found a time
Have you given yourself that gift
Of peaceful self-awareness
Where you stop the struggle that renders you impossible
And joyfully recognize and accept that
This is how it works?
And so gracefully, peacefully, without regret
And self-flagellation
Become just who you are and who you should be?
Have you found it?
Have you?
And do you know that it’s ok?