Journey to the Center of the Sun

 

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.

 

Campus Images

 

I

 

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.

 

II

 

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.

 

III

 

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.

 

IV

 

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!

Axe Heads

 

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:

no hazard.

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

of all.

 

first posted on triod.com, 2015, taken from “Some Notes on 21st Century Sorcery”.

Postharvest Preservation of Perishables via Temporal Suspension

 

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,

no mechanisms,

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”.

 

DSCN0409

Holidays in Garbage

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”.

 

Poetic Forms

 

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

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.

 

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.

 

Peripheral Vision

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.

Knowledge fails

with peripheral sight.

 

first published on Triod.com, 2015: taken from “Some notes on 21st Century Sorcery”.

 

Open Source vs. Classified

 

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.

 

A Dehydrated Box of Potatoes

 

Garbage is my life.

In this our day, this our time,

the year of somebody’s lord two

thousand and three, I find hope

in a box-top with the expiration date

of two thousand and six.

America’s capitalist vision has told me

there are at least three more years.

On cardboard, in a throwaway society,

I find hope.

 

first published through Triod.com: taken from “Some Notes on 21st Century Sorcery”.

 

Unseen

 

Five days a week I drive the garbage out of town. I know the price of higher education in a small town, it is a million plus pounds of solid waste a year dragged out to the transfer station. It is thrown on a concrete floor, scrapped into truck trailers with a front-end loader, and driven away South to Oregon to be buried in the ground. It has become somebody else’s problem, but the problem has not gone away. The problem has just changed form, become hidden.

Summer heat, winter cold, spring light, growing old, I pass the graveyard almost every day. What people believe is hidden is not always the truth about what is hidden. The questions bubble up in a bored mind as the motions become just that: motions, not actions. Just when you think the mind has become numb and you can stop worrying about the ticking years to retirement and death, the reality of going nowhere over and over again returns in some flash of a sight that makes you question truth as opposed to reality, or is it reality as opposed to truth?

Sculpted by the night of winter storms, gray head-stones have become lines of cameos. Relief figures in snow by some unknown lapidary of ice. Pictures of who has been buried without a face or voice of their own. The tilt of earth has made the sun more distant than summer, but cold has made it bright in reflected light of snow. These markers become sundials by their shadows all pointing in one direction. The stones up, the shadows through the arch of the dial’s circumference, as the world moves through its own.

The head-stones are the fingers pointing up, up away from the buried, away from the not seen. Yet the buried always comes back to haunt you, no matter how many times you have driven it away. The world does not make you forget, let you forget: people do. They have need to make action, which becomes motion. The rock does not want to stay on the top of the hill; Sisyphus knows this. But if you shovel enough dirt on it, it will go way.

Right?

 

taken from “Some Notes on 21st Century Sorcery”.