Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making Progress

Progress is a great reward
Watching a building rise
Filling the chinks the skyline.
Reviewing a list with the “to-dos” done
Drawing a satisfying line through
Mow the lawn
Or make bank deposit
We pay these tributes
To the clock and calendar
To our work ethic
All of which build up our self-esteem
Our sense of worth.
It is a subtle slavery
Which many join willingly
And celebrate triumphantly
On the day we progress to retirement...
With a gold watch.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Was It the Balloon?

It makes me sweat just thinking about it.
An origami of the spirit
Determines the way that we unfold,
And sitting still at the ravine today
I failed once again
To root it out
To see it clearly
An so then to become clear
Of the moment when thing went astray.
Was it the yellow balloon,
When the string slipped and burned,
Loosened from my faltering grip
And so did irretrievably fly
And shook my childish view
Of how thing are,
Shocked that here it is and then it’s gone
At no clear fault that I can find?
It vanished slowly into the vaulted sky
And played so merrily on the wind while
I traced it helplessly as it rose
And held my breath to save the memory
Of the joy of its buoyancy and its golden shine,
Until it joined into the sun
Until my eyes did tear then cry
For things such as these
We cannot keep
Except as anguish held so deep.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Human Stonehenge

The soft waves of matted grass
With stems now re-greening in the April sun
Invited us to come close, be near
To stretch out our human flesh if we cared.
A circle was formed, hand to hand facing in
Then we sat, removed our shoes and socks
And reclined
Forming a toe to toe, hand by hand
Linked circle
We were paper dolls smiling in reflection
A human Stonehenge
Living batteries
Charged by the connection between
Earth and sun.
The rays warmed our bodies
And blessed our bellies
Down deep in our gut-brains
Where the sun shines brightest
Connecting us
And correcting us.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Five Feet Somethings

Dry as the Mohave
Foreman Red turns to me
As I was reaching high to drop the shade curtain
At the greenhouse where I had an after school job,
And with a twinkle said “You know, you’d be a lot taller
If your legs weren’t bent-over at the bottom.”
And the rusted oval links
Looped like the anchor chain on a tramp scow
About ankles bare and burdened
Moored her feet to a world of pathos.
The blast ripped and tore
Dashing dreams of rehearsals at the bar
And nights upon the stage…
Leaving lonely one shoe
While scaring all souls.
Your feet are too little!
You balance perilously on the brink of daily disaster
Your purchase is too tenuous for the burden it bears
Your ballast has shifted it seems
As gravity plays with your other extremes
And yet you step forth to the beat of your song
And lithely dance-on the whole day long.
As if you never knew another way.
Fetishes aside…
I love your feet
Down at the south pole of your legs
Those impossible little ducklings
Darlings that waddle then proudly stride
As you swaddle them up in cotton and wool
They are definitely dressed for sock-cess,
And the toes painted harlot-red
Do so shine with a light
(With barely dab
On the littlest piggy)
Wiggling and twinkling
Like a newly discovered constellation.





Friday, April 26, 2013


~Raucous and intense noise
Drumming on my roof this early morning
~Wetting and touching every recess
A trickle is a flood to someone
~Some heavenly ovations will engender randomness
Especially if you have left your umbrella behind
~Reality, an inspired nuance.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

If I Were You

If I were you
I’d explore your bends and folds
I’d ride you like a new bike,
And then I would feel your strength
Muscle, bone, and soul
And shed a tear for all the pain and sorrow
You have silently born
Even on the days I thought I knew you so.
I’d try out your smile again and again
Then laugh until I was wild and flush with heat
And as I caught your breath I’d realize life
From within your skin.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Some Say
She smokes like a chimney
And belches at the most inappropriate moments
Her blackened tears rain down
Mixed within showers of golden threads
Paving her pauhoehoe path
Through forest and town
Scorching and entombing
Those who were foolish enough
To stand in her way
And when aroused she fills the skies
With a voggy haze that burns the eyes
And chokes the throat…
But in her brusque way
She has gifted us (those who see and know)
With the land that yields life
The aina
And so we care and revere and respect her ways
And live malama aina.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Please close the gates after you pass through
The cows may wander too far from water
The horses may try to cross the river
And there is danger there
Please close the gates
It gives the passers-by a moment
To pause from their journey
Their one way day
Offering a chance to see and then reflect
Upon their home and their destination
Please close the gates
And even though you think and know
That you will be returning soon
That may not be so
And so the future is in your hands
Please close the gate
And as you do you
You bind an island for a moment in time
You hold secure
In this temporal world a place
Of safety
Define by both here and there
Of hello and goodbye
Of goodbye and hello.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013

Darting out of the morning glare
She pirouetted about the main stem of the Uluhe fern
A circus-like flying feat
One of a hundred done in the course of a few minutes
Feats that have taken millions of years to develop and refine.
Swinging off in one continuous motion onto the frond
Picking and poking about
She looks for an unfortunate aphid or spider
That has not yet evolved to win this game of hide and seek.
And in the time it has taken me
To raise my cup and sip
She has likely eaten one or two
And sipped from her cup several drops of morning dew.
She does not, at distant inspection
Flash color or easily identifiable characteristics
Found in the field guides;
She is an LBJ bird
A little brown job.
Her beauty is found more subtly in her
Behavior and her adaptations,
Which are treasures only discovered
Through a bit of learning
And some casual observation.
And for what little is really known of her,
Most of her life will be a secret
To you and me,
But these few moments and all the rest
Are golden gifts which
On this Earth Day are revered
And loved.


Sunday, April 21, 2013


Marvelous machines
Connecting the dots of islands
One thing we humans sometimes do well
We move
Land and air and water...
And so the bow
On temperate times
Allows us to peer into the near future
Perhaps at a distant coastline unknown
Drawing itself on the horizon,
And loosely of our choosing
Raw in potential perhaps
Challenging, unknown
Testing both our will and our suppleness
Islands of dark matter and unheard songs
And then from the stern
The ferry churns the sea and for a brief moment
We can see a path unspooled and trace
The trail of choices and influences and how we have steered
Perhaps we picked a safe course by buoy and lighthouse
Perhaps we ventured cautiously or  tempest tossed-hell bent
We went that way,
And you my friend
Were part of that
You swayed my way as I have done
To you, for you
The foam and bubbles
Settle in the distance.
A dolphin surfs among the ripples and swells
And plays the tide as it turns
The sun rises above a swath of clouds and just for a moment
Glints and beacons off his dorsal fin
And then he dips below into
The great greyness of this sea.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

1, 2, 3 ...

I count.
Turns of the crank to open the window wide, 17
Push-ups, 35
Steps trough the meadow up to the main house, 785
Shovels of gravel into the wheelbarrow, 14.
Sometimes I just count, but don’t do the sum:
The number of birds on the line
Paces between telephone poles
During a country stroll
Chops to dice six carrots
The running total since I last time I …
Seems like the counting is often up,
Enumerating and accumulating some sort of wealth;
Like the number of whales I have seen or
The women I have loved.
Seldom do I count down,
Days until done…
Seconds until launch
Biscuits left in the bowl.
But mostly it is a habit;
Keeping a rhythm, a pace
Noting the pulsing of my metronome
Secretly reckoning my moments
Computing the comings and goings.
I wonder if I move my lips
Or even whisper aloud
And give away my tally?
I wonder if there are others
Perhaps too numerous to score
Keeping their own secret ledgers?








Friday, April 19, 2013

It Finds Its Way

The madness is maddening
And it finds its way into my day
My very being
My fists clenched
My breath shortened
Where is my safe retreat?
Why can’t I close my eyes
And be transported to
Where reality is soft
A better time
A time naïve
A time of safety and comfort
Where we held each other close
By arms and hearts
And were protected?
I would bring you with me
To that place
No random terror
No fear of the stranger
No place where children knew
Of bombs and guns or
Of the terror
That explodes in all
Our hearts.
These are the things
Of a new reality
A fearful future…
Where do we go to find
The new good
The good news
The new way that
Might yet still save the day?



Thursday, April 18, 2013


People. Somewhat disappointing aren't we?
At times we seem hell-bent on destroying
And the rest of creation with us!
Why so wrong headed use of our opportunities
Our gift
This life
This Earth?
Does fear prevent us from being emboldened
From righting the wrongs?
If you are rich
And by that, I mean if you have
Choices in what you do
Pick a wrong and bend it right
Take that sad song
And DO make it better…
Use your power;
You are so much greater than
You can even imagine.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Morning Shower

The blades of grass and fern fronds
Bow as if in grateful praise
Supplicants of this gift of rain
Which has made its way
Across the sea and onto the land,
Its late arrival has been
Noted in the hard cracked ground
And slumping leaves…
And then the wind rises up
So purposefully and
Shakes the trees
Like great green dogs
And sprays and showers
Even more,
The grand finale of this storm.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Love Poem One

Why is it that most seek peace and tranquility
And yet we are sometimes submerged in
A cauldron of hate and hurt?
There are so many of us
We all have needs
Some great some less...

And if we are blessed
Why is it not our daily custom
To pay kindness forward
To count our blessing
By sharing what we have
Mind and substance
Heart and care?

Do not worry
You do not need to seek them out
You will find them
As they come to you and me
In our daily ways
For they are
You and me.

Monday, April 15, 2013


The brain has a certain plasticity
Or is it just silly putty,
That keeps us young and full of it
Instead of some fuddy-duddy?
So use it or lose it is the cry
And swallow Omega 3
You have a head full of thoughts my friend
Don’t give up your memory.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Your Plate or Mine?

Would you rather have
A full-plate day
Or an empty one?
Both may be your life, your time,
Your chosen avenue.
Both do beck and call.
The first allows for preparation.
Because the dog wags
Your tail tells.
It’s nice to know
With some sense of security
What will come your way.
The other plate permits
The random ramble,
Some time to notice that the dog
Is smiling,
And offers the opportunity to ask
Why do cats purr?
A challenge with the empty plate
Is knowing how to read the menu,
How to move among the courses,
When to go back for seconds,
And when to pat your smiling belly.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Weather or Not

The weather just IS
So don’t take it personally.
Oh no one wants to freeze waiting for the bus
Or get soaked just before the big event
Or sweat too much
Or toast that bald spot on the back
But there isn’t much you can do that isn’t
To some degree just foolish.
You either assume a philosophy
Of play the weather or let it play you.
So brave the storm
Or stay in safe and warm?
A layer of Gore-Tex, 4-wheel drive,
So defy the heat and dry?
Arctic air conditioning
Irrigated lawns
And climate control?

It’s a control thing.
We can channel rivers
And level mountains
Why not wring the sky dry
Or make it snow only at ski resorts?
Render the places where no one should live “livable”
(While rendering the rest of the world UN-livable)

I have a couple barrels that catch water
Which I use for my daily shower
(They used to hold 55 gallons of guava extract
And I think the diluted remains are giving my hair a glorious sheen!)
It is a humbling lesson
Wondering if there will be enough
Wondering if the gods will gift me with a few more gallons…
A lesson much of us need to learn.
We assume, turn the spigot
There is water!
A lesson many more know is not the case
On long walks to get a muddy gallon.

So I am learning not to assume water
Or other life resources
I am not a master of the universe...
And I know storms and droughts do take their toll
But this active control
This need to make the desert bloom
The mountains snow
To fill dry cities full of fountains and flowers?
To live in the eye of hurricanes?
I don’t know if it’s worth the hassle…
Or even very wise…

“Oh the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go
Let it go! Let it go! Let it go!”

Friday, April 12, 2013

Small Bee

Someone once showed me a Chickadee
And so I stopped to stay
Noticing how unique they were
In their very common way.
So passing by a garden bud
I couldn’t help but see
Purring by a plant in bloom
A very tiny bee.
It flew among the calling flowers
Seeking nectar by the sip
Causing me to think more closely
Of its mouth parts and its tip.
A proboscis that extends and probes
Among the pollen grains
What a wonderful invention
An extension of their brains.

So silently it buzzed about
Then it was on its way
A small but glad encounter with
Our nature on this day.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


I walk through fields of new cut hay
The stubble stems, all matted down,
 Lay cow-licked in their shattered form
Made naked from their recent mow.
Yet like so many times before
From sickle cut or lava flow
They gather strength from seed and root
Washed in waters from rain and storm
And rise again to feel the sun
Leaping between my feet, reborn.



Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Man and the Old Dog

The man and the old dog,
Long stitched together,
Have walked many miles and lived many days,
Their track runs in a parallel
Bonding and building their alliance strong
As dog and man can sometimes do.
She serves him like a living journal,
Where his diaries of joy and sadness
Can be quietly opened
And privately read.
The dog now infirmed and enfeebled,
Ancient now in her dying days,
Has outlived her own usefulness.
She lives out of loyalty now
Knowing or so it seems
That she must bear her final burden
One that dogs can sometimes do,
To be loyal and loving to him
Until her time finally comes.
He out of a sense of desperate respect
Nurses her to one more day
Loyal too as humans do.
He becomes her legs and eyes,
Offering her cool water in a cup
And creature comfort as he may,
A gentle pet behind the ears
To rally spirit, to make delay.
She will part this world sometime soon
And a great sadness will separate these friends,
Her pages will be mournfully closed
Residing now where memories remain
So gently impressed upon his heart
As a dog can sometimes do
To a man.




Sunday, April 7, 2013

Near...and Dear

What do you hold near?
Perhaps it on your bed stand wishing you
Good night, good day
Or on the window sill
Beaconing you to look up and out…
Do you keep it in your pocket?
That you might take a touch 
In moments of joy or need,
Or tucked away in a keepsake box so secretly
That only you can retrieve it?
Is it right outside your kitchen door?
Saluting you as you pass by,
Seeing it as it sees you
Chatting eye to eye.
Or is it on your bumper
Out there proud and provocative?
Might we see it slung around your neck
Pulsing with your beating heart
Or pierced or inked upon your skin
So you will not soon be apart.
And do such things speak to you
And speak for you as well
So found in your hearts registry
And sung aloud in harmony?


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Meet the Flockers

I live in a yurt, but that’s a different story.  To get to my dome home I have to walk across several pastures.  Very pleasant, it’s as bucolic as Bulgaria.

In one pasture a small flock of sheep graze, knee deep in poo and belching enough methane to remove all doubts about the greenhouse effect; they have their charms. 

Being an old hippie, I try to talk to them, flash them the peace sign and chant OM, but they are a cliquish bunch of flockers.  Many say that I have a world class sheep bleat, but then again, who doesn’t?  Must be sooo embarrassing for the sheep, to have a sound that some fool yurtster, a two-leg can duplicate!  But unfortunately, I don’t really know what I am saying to them…perhaps I am cursing or randomly casting aspersions upon their dreadlocks? 

I mean no harm.  I am trying to teach them English, because it seems that they are some of the brighter ruminants. They spend many hours gulping down grass and then lounging about burping them back up, with a healthy whiff of gas, to chew their cud.  They are so liberated.  When I did that back in school, I was banned from the salad bar for a week. 

The English lessons are only going so-so.  I give them the traditional greeting of a wave of the hand and a raucous version of the Mr. Rogers good morning song.  They eye me suspiciously, as some of us did Mr. Rogers. Well sheep eye everything suspiciously, with those goofy googley eyes, all yellow and slitty like a devil with a wool dress on. 

So after my gracious greeting, they slowly turn their backs, take a few steps and defecate, a luxurious steaming pile of brown jelly bean-like poo.  (No, never did, I know what you’re thinking) or alternatively the squat a little and pee like a racehorse.  Actually, pee like an elephant might be better here…have you ever seen an open fire hydrant!  Whoosh! 

So by process of elimination I have deduced that they are responding to my greeting in a somewhat negative manner.  I may be misreading this gesture, I do not hold any advanced degrees in scatology or waste management (just a BA in sociology) but the gesture seems the same in every language.  I try to walk carefully as to not get it stuck in the Vibram treads of my Keds, but it’s a minefield.  Gene Kelly might likely have learned choreography walking among the sheep.

Demonstrative defecation and urination seem to find its way into human behavior as well.

Once, after the arduous journey to attend a family picnic, my Uncle Tom produced a glass jar filled with urine, and proudly proclaiming that it was produced by my Cousin Tom, age 7.  Now it is widely known that many of my close relatives do in fact have kidneys, bladders, etc., but why was this trophy being shared with delicate children such as me? Maybe he didn’t want to chance pulling the old Studebaker over to the side of the road?

Perhaps he was training his traumatized son to become an over the road trucker, who find stopping to pee in the traditional manner a waste of time.  That’s what those empty 32 ounce soda pop bottles are for; they’re the super deposit bottle for those in a hurry!  Ladies, it’s a guy thing…although I’d be super impressed if you have the knack!

Safety tip; never approach one alongside of the road, swelling in the summer sun.  They are hair-triggered.  Pity the poor state worker running those gang mowers down the median strip. 

Well, please be advised to watch your step.  There are many over fed dogs roaming the country.  And have you seen the size of those Canada Geese, eh?



Friday, April 5, 2013


The handle on the pasture gate
Is loosely chained against the wind
To keep the random wandering sheep
From eating bark and baring flesh
That someday might yet yield forth
The fruit of a sweeter communion shared
With the passersby below.
The gate is strung with silvered drops
Lenses that pendulously hang and droop
Waiting for their neighbors to bond
And trickle down the zinc metal rungs
And find their way so gravity bound
Freed at last from the slate blanketed sky
Where they once loosely did reside
Freed now to weep their way below
Into the pasture’s sodden soil
And puddle for a brief respite
Into the chevrons grooved and cut
By tractor wheels which the afternoon before
Flailed back and forth across the field
While taking down the hay and ferns
Once matted in their wild embrace
And layering out the fine chopped mulch
Already changing olive to brown
From sun tanned jade to faded taupe
Befriended only on their way
By rows of luminescent pearls
Necklaced upon their sweet decay
Whispering secrets of yesterday.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Truth Among the Words

I have no incoming filter
Or so it seems,
And so your words insinuate
They breed and incubate
From their dormancy
And only later on
Some days or years
Through some trick to time and place
Do they come forth, rising on such occasion.
And so I hear you voice in mine
And I stop mid-sentence
Mid-stream in the flow of thought
And surprised and confounded
I must visit with you.
But what your voice has to say
I carefully push away
For I fear the truth
Among the words
Reminding me of things I know
And fearing I’ll disappoint you so.

Arm’s Length

In a day dream
I saw myself as you know me,
Where I held myself off at arm’s length
Slightly out of reach,
Coolly unembraceable…

I don’t know why (though I might try)
The fears roiled and took their toll
They held off your beauty because
It did not match
Or meet the standards I had
So arrogantly set
That foiled both you
And me as well.
It’s a sad refrain
That sent you off
Wondering why (it’s such a shame…)
That widens the chasm
And confounds our hearts
Such is the madness I have made
Such are the things that keep us apart.