To bleach away the magic
from man and nature
is to turn clay into stone,
yet even the pressure of death
turning life black as coal
can bring forth light.
Then too, given time,
the philosopher’s stone man appear and
under gifted hand and finest tools
the clay shall then have the magic
to break the light into colors,
and form the colors into a light
that shall drive back the shadows
and draw out the truth from the darkness.
published in American Collegiate Poets, Spring, 1979.
Just a quick comment of “Vanity Presses”. I imagine this does sort of count as a publication, it is in my portfolio towards the back. I do not think of it as a particularly good poem, but it is gathering dust on some library shelf someplace and will never see the light of day again. The company that published it, International Publications, out of LA, CA expects to make money off of people buying this volume to give to friends and relatives, that sort of thing. I doubt that anybody else in the academic or literary community has ever seen it. This is not a publication that is going to get a writer any exposure.
We are coming up to the 4th of July weekend, and we are in the 6th month of the Donald Trump administration of the USA’s government. I have never watched the “Apprentice”, it always struck me as distasteful teaching people to exploit misery to make money. Let’s face it, real estate happens for the same reason lawyers and doctors are needed, somebody is in trouble legally or medically. People need to sell real estate because they need the money. Humans do not have a whole bunch of redeeming qualities when they smell money.
There is a school in modern witchcraft that believes karma comes back in your own lifetime. It does go against the vein of thought in traditional beliefs of karma. It does not allow for closure in a single life time. Human scale is not cosmic scale. Still, I have been waiting for Donald Trump to get his comeuppance for quite some time, since the 1990s probably. It amazes me that the IRS has not called him to the carpet for some of this stuff. Do they really audit him and report suspicious action to the Justice Department or FBI for investigation? I always thought they did, maybe none of us have to worry about legal karma in the USA if Donald Trump is an example. Perhaps this is why there are so many supporters of Donald Trump. They all want to grow up to be tasteless hogs like him. There are no consequences if you have enough money.
This is probably one of the worst qualities of human society: the rich lording it over the poor. They have the money to make the rules, and they have the money to buy the gilded cage we all work in for their pleasure. Not that the concept of property owned by society works any better. The scum always rises to the top. Most of us are too worried about our own daily lives to pay much attention. It is work to pay attention. It is work just to push that rock up the hill and watch it slide back down again on the other side. Our masters are good at convincing us that the rock really needs to be up there; it is our moral imperative. The rock must be up there no matter what. God wants that rock to be up there, and I am only telling you this for your own good, or the greater good if that self-interest does not work to keep you pushing.
Independence Day, the American Revolution . . . all that blood, sweat and tears for people who never played liar’s dice. They never sat across a table, drunk or sober, and learned to call bullshit. They never learned to read the byline on a newspaper, let alone on an internet address. They never grew up to realize that sometimes the people you trust the most can be wrong. They never learned that the best you can hope for is a job you can tolerant that pays enough to live. If you do not like it, find another one. No matter what you do, nobody gets out alive. Your immortal soul is between you and God (She, he, it, they) not the Federal, State, County, City, or church of your choice. In the “real” West, Trump would never have made it out of his twenties. Somebody with a gun would have called him out in the street, but he would have run.
Nobody likes the Federal government, but it is a necessary evil because there are State governments, and nobody likes State governments, but again necessary because of City governments. Nobody likes governments much in general, but all I have learned over the last sixty-two years is they are necessary because of people. They just are no damn good, and even the good ones do not have the wisdom to leave well enough alone. Again, it is up to your God to judge, not you. I do not care what your priests, ministers, mullahs, shamans tell you. Wait, shamans have enough sense to know they are ignorant and that if you truly think you know God’s mind, you are deluded or lying. God only likes equal partners, not sheep.
So happy Independence Day to the people of the world! Get a little R&R this weekend. Come next week, because tyranny is expensive and bloody exhausting, humanity has to go back into the trenches so our children’s children may make it off this rock and finally learn to tell the difference between truth and lies, and if they do not know, do not react as if they do. Wisdom is sometimes learning to do nothing about something that is not that big of a problem. All Trump knows how to do is borrow money, default, and borrow money to pay it off. So I guess he fits right in with government in general.
It was a short journey;
the preparation work took the longest.
The last epoch was a wink of Ra’s eye;
Verne and Goddard, Wells and von Braun, Steam Punk and NASA,
they did most of the heavy lifting.
Communication was lost in the corona.
first posted through triod.com, 2015.
Through the maples, red and green,
the early morning light intrudes
into sprinklers and onto lawn beneath
with color of hazy milk or semen
escaping into the swirl of bath water,
mist in the channel of beams.
The cube of lawn is bordered by
concrete walks, and the walks by
red brick buildings: some recent, some not.
Each summer it is the same.
Everything is maintained in motion.
Between the Spring and the Autumn,
new learning and old, there is
the geometry of intersection.
Black cat on freshy cut lawn,
feral and short haired,
watching and listening with tilted head
to the sounds and motion of the bunch grass
and foxtail hiding pleasure and pray.
The breeze moves both weeds and fur.
Grey and black asphalt streets,
smeared oblongs of checkerboards
from trenches and patches.
Autumn and Spring bring fresh
bue, white, and yellow parking
lines for parents and children.
Winter blurs them.
Surplus items: severed and stuffed heads,
we did not kill them and have them preserved,
but somebody did. Somebody donated them,
was it a naturalist or a hunter?
We just inherited them in some move.
Bear and caribou, reindeer and elk,
skulls and hides, teeth and feathers
gathering dust in the corner,
too creepy to keep,
too sensitive to sell.
These four pieces were originally published on triod.com in about 2015. They are separate pieces, but as an experiment I decided to see if the four of them could become a gestalt. Let me know if it works, thanks for reading!
dedicated to Gary Snyder
The branch broke off weeks ago,
in lightning, wind, and thunder.
I pulled it out of the road with the help
of an old Boy Scout hatchet.
I could only cut the smallest parts.
It is still in the yard,
a foot thick at its widest.
Across the highway,
they have already repaired
the billboard torn in two.
The cars can move:
Still, it is in the yard.
Chainsaws scare me, and
there is no crosscut in the house.
I’ve and old axe head,
the handle broken and gone
many houses ago.
It has been sitting there
on my kitchen table for a week.
Axe handle . . . . “Axe Handles”,
didn’t somebody write a poem?
It’s on the shelf, and autographed
over a decade ago.
I read it again this morning.
A thousand years plus
of axe handles . . . . and axes.
The limb still needs to be moved.
Write a note for a handle,
right after “stamps”.
Paper in pocket for things today.
Barter some paper
trade some work for
moving things around.
I wrote the note on the back
of a daily calendar sheet.
Axe heads were trade items
once upon a time.
The Iceman had a copper one
as the snows fell and the glacier
weighted him down.
He was walking that pass,
a path between neolithic and bronze.
I’ve a chert hand axe found
in a tool workshop outside
of Jhelum over a quarter century ago.
Neither one will move
the branch in my yard.
Sun is coming up hot
again tomorrow. In cool
evening light I can meld
wood to iron: wedge tight.
It takes time to make a good tool.
Dawn is cool for chopping.
As woodchips fly,
the world shapes slowly,
and some days it seems
people are shaped slowest
first posted on triod.com, 2015, taken from “Some Notes on 21st Century Sorcery”.
stop time and nothing rots
Picture a box,
not a cardboard box or a metal box or a wooden box:
a box of white lines on a green chalkboard,
and imaginary box of three dimensions.
In this box there isn’t a cat,
or a sheep,
wind, rain or sky,
matter or energy,
particles or waves,
there isn’t anything: nothing.
Most important, there is no time.
You can’t open the box.
You can’t look in the box.
but we made the box,
and we know there is no time.
My math isn’t very good.
I can add and subtract
with a little bit of effort:
multiply and divide.
So I can’t come up
with the elaborate formula
to measure the lack of time.
The only thing I have to measure it with
is my imagination.
first posted on triod.com, 2015, taken from “Some Notes on 21st Century Sorcery”.
The trickle-down theory is how I can tell holidays in my world. I work in the solid waste industry. I pick up the garbage produced from a small university. Each new season brings new blossoms. New Years brings empty champaign bottles, heavy glass and plastic corks; Valentine’s Day we find the crumpled paper hearts. Saint Patrick’s Day gives us green beer and shiny clovers that never saw and early spring field: come Easter, the baskets and egg shells of pastel colors. Monet would be so proud.
May Day is filled with broken construction paper chains in lots of different colors. Sometimes they are stapled; sometimes they are joined by paste, puncture wounds versus paper cuts. And the week after Memorial Day, a dump-truck pours out the flowers from the cemetery on to the transfer station floor.
The Fourth of July, Independence Day gives us the smell of burned out fireworks and sour barbecued chicken added to the mingling of garbage juice in the bottom of dumpsters. If hunting season is not a holiday, we at least know it has happened by the dead game pieces in the blue dumpsters: Halloween, old costumes and crushed or melting pumpkins.
Thanksgiving is filled with bones, turkey bones rotting on the top of the pile. Then comes Christmas with old toys the week before and then all the pretty wrapping paper, mixed with the rest of the garbage. The dead pine trees are a bonus.
These are the high water marks that happen each cycle of the year. Every day in garbage is a holiday, because garbage never takes a holiday.
first published through Triod.com: taken from “Some Notes on 21st Century Sorcery”.
The first poem that I ever published in my long and futile “career” as a writer was in my high school (LAS) literary magazine in 1972. That was in Lahore, and the magazine was called “Angles of Vision”. It went like this.
Never With One
The dark black sky lay above,
lit by countless worlds of light.
The soft cool earth beneath,
with countless worlds of darkness.
A man lay in between,
one with both though never with one.
Breezes of the night cannot still this troubled
Life can solve it perhaps in time
and death will solve it when the time comes.
And he waits, never with one, always in between.
As time passes men will see
that this is the way it has to be.
As he waits, never with one, always in between.
This was written when I was 17 years old. I graduated from high school and went off to college. One of the requirements for freshmen at WSU was English 101, basic writing and reading skills. I needed all the help I could get, and I probably still do. Anyway, to make a short story long, we had to write an introductory page about ourselves; I like to think of it as a “What did I do over my summer vacation” paper. I think everybody gets one of those in their life. In the reality of teaching, it was probably just for the teacher to assess what each student needed to be addressed to get them through college. Well, at least try.
This popped into my head and I wrote it down.
The dark black sky lay above, lit by countless worlds of light. The soft cool earth beneath, with countless worlds of darkness. A man lay in between, one with both though never with one. Breezes of the night cannot still this troubled brain.
Life can solve it perhaps in time and death will solve it when the time comes. And he waits, never with one, always in between. As time passes men will see that this is the way it has to be. As he waits, never with one, always in between.
It is the same poem, in a different form.
The teacher’s comment was something like “Ah, a prose poem.” I did very well in that class, probably because I liked what I was doing. But I had never heard of a prose poem. I did not get back to that form until I took a poetry class in the early 80s. I was introduced to many forms that I had not seen before, or at least had not realized that they were that type of poem. I have done much experimenting since then.
I guess this story is my advice to young writers everywhere: experiment! Do not settle into one form, or genre too soon. You never know where life’s journey is going to take you. At the beginning of my senior year of high school, I was going to be an artist. Then I figured out that I cannot draw. But with a typewriter, and brain, a lone human should be able to earn a living. That was before the personal computer, and again I was naïve. Hundreds of paper submissions through the mail, hundreds of rejection slips. There are probably many publications in my portfolio, but nothing that made a publisher notice. I have held down “wage-slave” jobs all my life. Funny thing life.
With this new technology, and the web, each person out there is capable of changing the world with their words. It will still be a fight, and there are no guarantees, but if you take the path and keep walking it, never give up; you might be able to get somebody to sit up and take notice. The real battle in everything, is the battle with the self, always. Just keep plugging away at what you like, or need to do. If it is the right path, you will be doing it until the day you die, and if you believe certain schools of thought, far longer.
Thanks for reading and following! I hope this does somebody out there some good.
November fog is almost ice,
frost on trees growing,
not quite ready for winter snow.
Then some flakes and you know
the cold on your face is warranted.
It has come,
the turning toward all
you have learned to understand
as change in seasons.
Until the corner of your eye
reveals the squirrel
above head, his paws scraping
frost off the power-line
into the corner of your eye.
with peripheral sight.
first published on Triod.com, 2015: taken from “Some notes on 21st Century Sorcery”.
I have been trying to fight back against a concerted effort to destroy the USA’s ability to provide a safe haven to fight the kelptocrats bent on keeping a wage-slave servitude class in the world, and an over whelming desire to take away that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that we all strive for. I have been writing my representatives, gathering information, writing up lists for when these people come up for justice. If the USA can not fix its problems, I may have to send it to the Hague when our cracked government is brought up on criminal charges. I still have hopes the people of the USA can straighten this out. It is going to take a long time and there are forces in the USA and the world who are slowing this process down. Still, I want people to know we are still trying.
Senator Risch mentions “open source vs. classified settings” in his letter. But the reality of this is the government at large is hiding much of what they know to prop up the illusion they are doing this all out of the goodness of their hearts and are in control. They do not realize that their hidden secrets and agendas are out there in every word they speak, every gesture, every micro-expression they make. I have not yet tapped into the Akashic record, and cannot call down the lightning for a gentle reminder of people’s bad behavior, but there are ways of seeing around the corners which will eventually bring their crimes to light. It is now up to the criminal investigation to gather the hard evidence for when these men are brought up before the bar of justice.
These two letters were received from my state senator addressing some of my concerns. He appears to be his keeping his head in the sand. Much of the GOP is behaving as if this is government as usual and along with their obstruction of justice, they are trying to do as much damage to sane human responsibility as possible before they loose the House and Senate in the 2018 election. Unless American can make some progress in stopping it, they will cause more death in the world to hide their crimes. Starting a war to distract from internal strife is a classic distraction technique and since the Trump administration has demonstrated no morality, I would not put it past them to try.
My response to Sen. Risch is after these copies.
Thank you for your letters of reply dated May 11 & 12 of this year. They were tagged with JER/cs if that helps you identify them.
As to more Afghan troops, Trump has already delegated responsibility to Sec. Mattis. We will have to wait and see if he can come up with an exit strategy. I have my doubts.
You respond with “I have not seen any evidence in either open source or in classified setting, suggesting the Russians were successful.” Perhaps after you have had a chance to sort through the FBI counter-intelligence investigation, your own committee’s work, the House work, the special counsel’s investigation, NY state’s RICO & FARA investigations, Trump’s tax returns for a consistent pattern of taking money from questionable sources, his cabinet pick’s ties to Russian money’s, his campaign team members financial ties to Russia, his IT support’s ties to Russian hacks, the international intelligence community’s information, and the general crippling and government chaos that has resulted over the last 5 months, you will see it too. I am so hoping that GOP funding gets snapped up in the RICO investigations with the FBI and NY state grand jury.
PS . . . I urge you to think twice, and then twice again before colluding in the current questionable health care bill. Mitch MacConell is under investigation as well, and if he isn’t, he soon will be.