Thursday, December 18, 2014


We call upon the gods
in our darker times
To send us hope
of one more sun
A day whose zenith rises
standing for a moment more
before the cold and dark
drives us inward to find a lesser fire
a warmth that must suffice
found perhaps in some reserve
dug deeper
kindled closer
until those memories
green and rising
among our dreams instinctual
turn and turn and turn again
and give us light
transient but fail safe
a gift of hope renewed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


There was a moment of silence,
After a bit of chat and news
About places and problems,
An ongoing story that I am familiar with...
It wasn't an awkward pause,
I was with you in important ways
Talking privately from the heart,
But it was also incomplete;
I could not see the faint pulse
Rising in the soft chords of your neck,
I could not fold my hand in yours
In your moment of disappointment
In your frustration
That you mask so well with
Patience and determination;
I know these things were there.
Pressing my eyes closed
I can conjure them across time and distance,
But my hand was on the cold indifference of the phone
And it is not the same.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Other Side

Whatever you have been told
or think that you have learned
about humankind,
about the way things are
or the way things should be,
Pause and look in the other direction
Look on the other side,
let the pendulum swing, then
linger and consider:
Some truth surely lies there.

I Think

My body has a mind of its own,
I think.
And as much as I love me
and sometimes don't,
I feel like I am waiting
for some cracked door to swing open:
Come in, join me, I've been waiting for you.

A dear astrologer friend observed that
I had my head in the air
Having been born a Libra.
The rest of me having been liberated
from that realm
of though
of connectedness
of unity.

So as children sometimes say
"I am the boss of me."
And so, child-like, I need to plumb that unity:
  the pulse of my heart, the scratch on my leg,
  the ache in my back, the swirl in my mind...
that I might find my way
to being so self-immersed and newly rejoined,
And so to healing.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


I must get up today, and early, I must.
I have beans to plant
they need my help, just a little and
they will open their secrets
(add soil and water)
they will reveal their wisdom
(in the light of the sun)

and it is mine to watch,
perhaps to fathom,
perchance to know their miracle;
how they grow green
how they leaf and flower and bean
and wither and die
and then do it again,
rise to the new day...
and I wonder,
wonder and ask why?

I must get up and hold them tight
in my left hand;
can I feel their beauty
can I learn their way?
I must get up this morning,
I must get up
and try.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Denver Dawn

If I ever smoked
I would have been smoking then…
Sitting on the curb,
Newly scuffed Fry boots
Resting on the pavement seam
Where the asphalt didn’t quiet cover the
Parquetted bricks.
Where there cobbles below?
Helixes of tobacco smoke drifting
Not so sacredly.
And later the glowing butt
Gently burns the fingertips.
At the distant corner
Mongrels cross sniffing in the gutter.
I raise my head and offer a dry whistle
As they scurry just ahead of a
Streetcar sparking to a stop.
I reel back my reality
Just a bit
And count the bills folded and tucked
Into the cellophane of the pack of smokes;
Three dollars
And three fags left
Between now and the Denver dawn.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In between?

I am thinking that someday
You will find your way
To my way of thinking.
I understand you are thinking the same for me?
Perhaps someday we will meet
In that pleasant morning meadow
That lies somewhere in between?

Thursday, August 7, 2014


The squirrels are working
They play so casually and fluid,
Trunk to branch to stem
Nipping leaves at the twig
Loosing green walnuts
 In a random cascade to the earth below
These green gifts
Dropping like flakes and meteors
Falling to rise again
Passing through space and time,
Perhaps a prelude to winter?
The unspooling of the seasons,
Maybe a kind reminder
That these are cherished moments
Rich and slow
With light still high in the sky,
Warm on bare shoulders,
No need to shrug and cover, yet.
Seeds and nuts are gathered and planted
So sensibly and easily
They do the right things,
So it seems.
I wonder what I have planted in the human way:
A word, a kindness, a kiss?
What have I brought down
And then raised up again?
I watch and wait
And wonder upwards
For the messages that are sent.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hic Sunt Dracones, i.e., "The Dragons Are Here"

I have known you since the time of dragons,
When you quested after them
Brave and barefoot.
You were unsullied, elfin
A child with an old soul.
Some say that dragons are sages
And that they offer wisdom for those who seek it
Others say that they are evil, devils
And so must be confronted and conquered.
Perhaps they could be these things…
And complicated, they could be more.
They are like the choices that we all face
So it seems:
To learn how to gain wisdom and peace
While confronting the devils in our paths.
I have faith in you Aidan
In your strength, your wit, and your beauty
Which will serve you well
In these,
The time of dragons.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014


 Mirror, mirror…
Some days I like you better than others,
As if I were stepping outside of myself
And leaning in on the other me,
The one I think you know
The one I think you like
So he’s the one I like too.
And once I get by that other me
It is easy to please you,
So it seems…

Is it so wrong to do it that way?
-Well, if you have to ask the question
I mean who’s fooling who?-
Cause when it is just me
Listening to my own greatest hits
I’m not the me I like best
Too critical
Too unforgiving
Too judgmental
So I turn the mirror to the wall,
And try to turn the volume way down low.
And for the moment it is easier that way.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

I Will Be Free

I will be free
I will break the bonds that tie
And be my own man
And meet life on my own terms
I will let go
And be unfettered
And kick up my heels

I will look back
And wonder how things are
And pine for a moment
About the things I left behind
And worry that I can
No longer protect them
Nor embrace them

I shall return
And close the circle
With stories of adventure
And new horizons
And while I am with you
I shall gather in
All the things we
Said and did
I shall love you
once again
for the first time...

It may be as close to eternity
As I shall ever come.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Stand Tall

I find myself walking through a couple lovely pastures several times per day. What great fortune. When I do I try to remember to do the following: Smile.  Stand up straight and walk tall; head high, shoulders back. I pull my stomach in a little. I feel my body in relationship to the rest of the environment.
Then I stop and take note of something along the way.  It might be a cloud, the ocean, or a small tuft of sheep wool, a blade of grass, a drop of water...  There are plenty of things to notice, if I give it my attention.  All of this helps settle and reset my mind.  If I am "down"  I come up. If I am "up" I have joy.  It quiets me and at the same time fills me with riches.
I think this could be done by anyone, anywhere.  Walking through the city, across a room, by the ocean, in a parking lot.
It takes but a moment.
Give it a try and tell me what you experienced.
Paul  A

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Homage to a Spider

To the spider, whose web I knocked down while
Walking to the outside shower:
I know it is a hardship for you,
All your labor for naught.
And if by this innocent act I harmed you
Stole your very life
I offer my poor apology.

It has come to my attention that I have likely
Bungled my way through many of my days
Creating some significant measure
Of pain, of sorrow,
In the flailing attempt at my own life,
To those weaker, smaller and so perhaps
Less fortunate
Undeserving of their fates.

I seek forgiveness from the universe and find
Small solace in that fact that it has created me
Brutish and yet self-aware
With some sort of purpose for each
Spider and man.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

One Good Thing

Take everything you have
All of your life
The wealth that you have accumulated
Gifted down to you through the ages
The brilliance of your creation
Transcended from the beginning of the universe
All that has created you and sustains you
All that you know and all that you know you will never know
And use it to do one good thing of your own choosing.

A spider taught that to me this morning.
I saw the sun shine on and define its singular creation
An orb of web, the brilliance of which might take me a lifetime to understand,
The beauty of which took only a moment to recognize.
It is the spider’s one thing,
Its contribution to this day.
It is one good thing,
Maybe two...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Into the Misty Vapor

Staring across the pasture,
I wonder at the rain sweeping up the mountain
And the fog laminating the forest in the distance,
Bending the view
So that the trees become bleary specters,
So that their green and gray spirits might come out to play and display,
A show that is free for the seeing, from this vantage.
A winding path leads me out,
Familiar to my step and eye
And yet new, wildly wet and blown
On this day of apparitions.
And then I see it, as it sees me,
In a frozen moment,
Both of us somewhat disbelieving,
Each struggling to make sense of this newly broken reality.
It is hunkered down low on the ground
A puddle of white and barred brown,
Wings braced, leaning into the driving gusts.
And then too suddenly it takes flight,
And so with it my eyes and heart,
Lifted to a new place
That I will willfully follow long after
The owl has disappeared over the tree line
And into the misty vapor.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

T-shirt Issues

What do you do
When you put your t-shirt on backwards?
Of all the times you’ve done such a common act,
It’s bound to happen
It’s a random occurrence
And though practice makes perfect
Errors do take place.
Don’t feel bad.
Some great things have happened randomly
Maybe even you or me
Check with mom and dad…
So even after checking for the tag
To orient front and back, sometimes
Some of you may be like me
A slight feeling of panic setting in
Neck in noose claustrophobia
Like a necktie (which makes me also wonder, why?)
So with the t on back-ass-ward
What do you do?
A little shimmy
A bit of twist and shout
It all works out.
So don’t let it put the first dent in your day,
Don’t see it as a moment of portent
But rather a moment for a wise
Course correction:
Better to laugh early at the folly.
Step in from to the mirror
Hit the reset button
Smile and repeat after me:
Really?  Really!
Sometimes I just crack me up!
Now about those miss-matched socks…



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting vs. Being

Sometimes waiting
Is fraught with peril
And is measured in increments of bad news:
Dollars to the fix
At the auto repair shop…
Hours, days, years of pain
So second guesses the doctor
(On a scale of 1 to 10
How much pain do you have?
Really, isn’t that kind of personal?)
Can’t I just drive on forever?
Can’t I just live pain free,
But as this universe spools out
So too our immediate reality is finite,
And is meted out in doable doses
Real, both in its generous randomness
Of pain and joy,
Suffering and celebrating each
In its own way,

Both in their given moment

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beyond Chocolate

Beyond chocolate
There is what comes next:
The post-play
The Candy crash
Goodness gone
Swan song…
Of course there could be more chocolate (brilliant!)
With all its dark
Creamy smoky endorphin drenched goodness,
Soaked in such singular self-satisfaction
Like a little secret between good friends.
Or later,
After the after glow
When all that tongue and nose chemistry
Has faded
(Although much belated)
When it is gone,
It is really gone.
What was that song?
Is that all there is?
That IS all there is! (Sigh!)
And the happy high
Leaves us,
Leaves us with just
The sad sniffing
Of the empty bag.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New Day

The moon is full and shining brightly in the west,
Making friends with the mountain peaks
Illuminating the fields high with grass,
And nodding ferns
Their shadows dancing towards the nearby forest,
Still dark and quiet. 
The Big Dipper,
And Cassiopeia
Are hanging in the north and east,
Blinking stoically,
Watching over us.  
A distant dog barks without much conviction.  
Roosters are crowing their farewells to the night
And calling the dawn. 
It is a new day.
Good morning.



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

To Stem the Tides

Sometimes the world is too much
For the likes of you and me,
Though I admire those who can breathe deep
And live large,
Who can attempt to stem the tides of outrage and sorrow,
The same tides that would surely
Sweep me out to sea.

No I need blinders. 
I need small sandcastles on the seashore where
I can only see the gloom in small doses,
(Even as sweet as Barbara Kingsolver may make it.) 
I need things doled out,
The tsunami cup by cup,
Ideas and goals and dreams
Are best ingested in doses simple and small (for small Paul). 
I need them to be beautiful and right.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Enough already,
Had enough,
Enough is enough?!
Forming ramparts, bulwarks
May help, in the very short run
But it is a one-sided affair
Here in the materials world
 If you go that way…
And really aren’t we in this
Together, in the end?
To the end?
And enough of what?
What stuff
Will make your day better
Change the outdoor weather
Keep you alive
One more hour, one more day
In any appreciable way?
Enough said?


Monday, April 7, 2014

Taro Nods

Taro nods in prayerful thanks
Eastward in salutation
Towards the warm rays of this new day.
I touch her broad and earth green leaf
And so by such communion
Rejoin man to plant
Plant to man,
And hear the hush whispering
From the steady flow of
The stream in which we all stand.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dear Poet

Dear Poet,
It is your job to mirror
The elegance of the universe
Which needs no real help
In this regard.

And of special note
The mud clods that you offer
Tracked across the freshly
Mopped floor;
You couldn’t do more?


Can we talk?
Can we find a way
To meet in the somewhat rare
I know not where
Into thin air
Can we talk?!
I ask because it seems the only way
To make a save.
We are so late to the game
And so
Shocked by the score
Could I have done more?
Should I shake you?
Or kiss you?
I just don’t know…
Perhaps we can dance
But who leads
And who holds whose hand?
All I know is if we sit this one out
The band may no longer play.
Can we talk?
Because the room continues to grow warmer
And warmer.

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 un- embraceable…
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.



Friday, April 4, 2014

Rain Puts Me in My Place

Through the door and across the sodden field
I can see a solitary tree
Springing like a bow released
Recoiled and coiled over again
Flagging on the passage
Of the next rain shower:
Rainfall ahead for the next ten miles.
And then without prelude or
Even a polite introduction
It falls in a common chorus of paradiddles,
Pop-corning drops on the fabric roof,
Teasing like a big brother,
Will it ever crease, or will it met out
In such random measure
Just a bit now, to gently remind
And quite a bit more later
To put me in my place,
Which seems to be
Somewhere damp
And in between
Fish and fowl?



Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Story of the Game

Have I opened your eyes
So only that you may see the painful future
Have I not taught you to know
That there is so little that can be done
Except to brace for the oncoming blow
Have I been the fool
That has made fools out of many
Offering false hopes
Have I done so little good
And stolen so much precious time
Knowing that I might have done more
If not for playing the game so given
The game of fear and weakness and selfishness.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014


I don’t trust the rain
Though I love it
Drumming overhead…
But it seems too much
And again too little
Filling gauges to overflowing
Washing away the dreams
Of gardens and groves
Carving and scarring
It wakes me
But not now filled or satiated
But rather fishing for breath
It has turned mean in this age
Moving us to higher ground
Hills heaped with uncertainty
Changing both mountain and valley
Changing in a new rhythm that
Will make a new dance.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014


If you want to plant a garden
I have some seeds that I can share
Green beans, they will give you strength
As you see them grow emerald
With flowers pale but
Ripe with potential.
Or perhaps some Morning Glories
Ringing their blue bells optimistically?
Maybe you could knit some socks?
I have been collecting tufts of wool
That the sheep volunteer.
Or give a neighbor a ride to town?
Don’t let that empty seat taunt you for
It will surely haunt you.
There is still time to turn your heart and hearth
There is still time to teach and learn.
It is our choice…
The world may forgive us
It is in its nature
And so to ours.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fruit and the Edible Moment

Avocados for instance
-Unless you live in the tropics
Where they grow on trees-
Are store bought as hard as calculus
Piled like some green cairn
On your fools purchase-path
So then set aside to ripen, hopefully
The clock with no hands begins to tick
And as likely as not
When you next attain visiting rights
And press with an expectant finger
They are mush, disappointingly
A midwinter’s slush
And just to be assured of you ill-fated timing
You slice it open, only to be
Eyed by that massive passive seed
That winks at the secret it holds:
Avocados are only perfectly ripe,
Just the moment before they
Go rotten.


Friday, February 14, 2014


Wanderers seldom lose their way
Stepping forward anew each day
The path depending on the wind
How to begin and where to end?
And much to our new found surprise
A moment that inside us lies
A twist that flames from hidden spark
A course when done can only mark
A sojourn then to find again
That unknown home around the bend.




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Laws of Physics

You know what you are doing is wrong...
She’s sitting right there
On your shoulder
In your gut
You hear her voice speaking to you
It is your voice too
And yet you choose to ignore her
to explain away
Or choose not to listen to
Mock, belittle, chide, deny
Cause…cause it’s just too rich
This way, just now, too fun
Too gooood
As you consume
Maybe the last ounce, perhaps the last morsel, surely  the last drop
I’ve got a good reason, you explain
I’ll do better next season, the common refrain
I’ll beg for forgiveness, plead ignorance
Throw myself on the mercy of the jury
Yet all the while we all know that the laws of physics
Are strictly enforced
Every moment, each day
And that greed is the seed
That will bear the bitter fruit
And take away all the misbegotten
And then some.







A Poem

A poem
Attempts to make meaning with
Words which have meaning
Arbitrarily assign from ancient realities
Dusty dictionaries
Do we agree on what each word means
Are we constructing a new reality
Explaining the past
Planning the future
Signing our signatures
Declaring our uniqueness
At the expense of our unity?

Perhaps  even a single word
Is too much
Too big
Too many threads
Woven into some fabric
Tying us back and back
But not connecting
Burdening us with this malicious gift
To make meaning
But not to be it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

When We Were Young

When we were young and not so wise
We put quick sliver in our eyes
We siphoned gas with tube and mouth
And burned coal to ash
Then spread it out
Black lunged miners for us did toiled
We buried trash in earth’s sweet soil
We mixed our waste in water pure
It’s out there still I know for sure
So before we reach that final day
Perhaps we’ll find another way?