September 2010


Working in the suburbs one day shortly before the second invasion of Iraq (2003), I experienced a feeling of dread. I had been active in the SGI-USA (Buddhist) Victory Over Violence campaign, visiting kids down at the Youth Detention Center. I thought about what the Reverend there had said about the government cutting services. I got to read this poem and a couple others for some of the kids. I think I read “Seattle Rain” and/or “Diggle Rhyme”. They kinda looked at me like I was crazy but you never know what’s going to get through to somebody.

I had been journaling a lot and had gotten so much out of it, including the muse for poetry. I had become more articulate; I thought of new original ideas concepts of my own; and I actually had something to say. Wow. That was a good feeling.

I suggested that they try their hand at journaling, too.

*
*

quiet down at juvy
things are quiet nowdays
down at juvenile hall
“they’re giving ’em more little nice things to do, but even so…
they’re cutting down on the numbers
cutting down on funding”

“you can feel the quiet”
what does it mean?

war;  the horror!
is it locked in
like a laser-guided missile?

Do you have to ask?
All that money!
All those lives!

it’s all about to come down
like heavy dope on the street

people around the world are saying “No!”

and civil disobedience  – people are going to jail
“I don’t agree with your war!”

at the White House, Laura Bush cancels poets
because what’s going on is
“a violation of the most sacred values
of poets through the ages”

out in the suburbs
even a crow chatters its complaint
but things are quiet down in juvy

amazing    muzzled    drizzled  drain

corner kin-der  kinder game

<

builder  brother   bother  brew

flounder  flither  falderoo

>

heedless headless needless  haunt

ready  hollow  farther font

^

pexy  poxy  pesty stew

whining windy weather  who

.

anxious nexus nervous stand

broken brittle candied yam

*

sparkle speckled flowered flow

ancient pining winding tow

.

sliding sailing laughing friend

another poem that just won’t end

*

*

stream of consciousnes / word association / word-sound

was  wiz
……waved   wove

………rave  roamed
…………..have    home
……………..heart    smart
………………heave   ho
……………..clinging  clang
…………..bring brang
…….passion please
dance  dove

Duck Buys!

A proud man, my friend
A fine, proud papa,
man!

By-products  by-products
Buy my products!
Prod my bi-ducts

the general’s gleaming
stars groaning
dollars hearkening

billboards /cross-hair
hungry lung
stumblebum

industrial flood
rain forest goo
ogre meat!

schoolyard controversy
pro-life killer
die-cast reckoning

reverent aura
northern lights
burning fire
raucous zoo

holy war
ethnic cleansing
starving warlord
–pass the hat!

binary triple-pass
hairy canary
coal mine   dust bin
coin toss, star cross

run-down byways
Viking drive-pods
driven bipeds

drive-by    bye-byes
Bye-Bye,  drive-bys!

pride dies
drip-dries

************
(1994?)   Stream of consciousness / word association / current events

roses on a trellis – (april)

a little chilly still, but the breeze promisin’ sunshine
sweet smell of
blossoms    grass    green things,   the earth
breeze blowin’
– gently,  promisin’  warmth
and long awaited happy sunny smiles or such
love you smiles, understanding

partners
joined with soft touch
–your touch
fragrant skin

secret fond thoughts known by those who know
lazy slow day
safe with the one you love

Hi honey
Love you, miss you
Thinkin’ of you
Want you by me
happy
Got the blues
Don’t know where you’re at
find you never
________________________________________________________________________

hey it’s over              start a new thing
hey it’s over           yes  I’m sorry
wish I were dead
go on seein’ the same people
-staring at me
-staring at you
go on just thinking about you
craving email love    phone calls    bed talk
now I ask you, is that any way to live?
thinking about you
afraid
crying       don’t want to stop
always loving you

**********************************

Kind of painful even just to read, isn’t it? It’s the flip side of love poem.
You might also title it “love addiction”.

I don’t indulge myself in these kind of sentiments anymore, and wouldn’t recommend it. In fact, if you have these kind of feelings – get help. Please! The world will smile on you again.

I wrote this down somewhere and later stumbled back over it.

I went to see someone’s crazy graffiti-inspired artwork being displayed at a bar. I loved it and wished I could’ve bought one or two. It inspired me to write this poem.

_______________________________________________________

I sat in the kitchen typing noislessly, communicating with no one
can’t construe my thoughts
wondering wordlessly; the why, the wuh –
sinking in abandon, wondering wuh?

the cat napping lazily
endlessly catnapping,
the coffee kept me up
at least the cat can sleep

cause I was so tired, and no energy
two cups too late
now it is too late
it’s so late, it’s early

worked hard   – and after,
when you’re done, there’s nothin’ left
the pride of a job well done
and sometimes you can’t sleep
’cause you’re too tired

back aching    – it’s sensitive
– lets you know when you
need to make a change
and after all, I still had something to do

So now here I sit
wondering about the art, the big art I saw
on display the other day
I felt so free
it unblocked me
there was big art and so much of it
all together in one place, in one space
you could tell they had it together

Oh, it was just too easy, and I liked it
cause it was all there, right where it was supposed to be
it was starting to come together
and I wanted some, wanted one, wanted something

cause it had possibilities
and I’m tired of looking at the same
old four walls
It’s making me crazy!

//

wants-znt upon
a diggle rhyme
o splendle gee
a glonga line

I thought I thunk
a sight I saw
herznt wasn’t
hiznt  mine

– find your mind
in your prime
astral – logic
story line

buzzing bass
face to face
race car
western star

sheet a bustle
must   compete
ringing singing
incomplete

wanna gonna
kinda now
sooner later,
find out how

Before I got on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): seeking to define what I was in search of.

________________________________________________________

feelings, yesterday… like sinking gently down in bliss

ahhhhhhhhhhhhh…….
sliding softly backwards…  inwards…
thoughts dawning over me

those feelings
what were they about; for; of?
feelings felt about what?

so quickly past me, in seconds
leaving no details
only the knowledge and certainty
of having felt them

only the memory
lingering in my brain
– though physical, in impression –
– such a few seconds later –
…lingering…

I want that, more of that…
that is the me that I want to be

I won’t grasp –
I’ll just keep searching
with confidence & perseverance
until I
feeeel those things again
…know again, what I once knew…

feelings:
giving someone something they weren’t really expecting
answering an oh-so-familiar glare with
my gentle gaze
knowing & tender?

seeing things through
different eyes
a sigh
something in my walk
lighter

a feeling of softness
a feeling like sinking
gently giving in
utter and complete immersion in a long drawn-out moment
heaviness gone
– for me, the heaviest, most powerful feeling of all
the weightlessness of a quickly falling elevator                                                                               –     whooossssssshhhhh!!!!

completely natural                                                                                                                     lasting longer,  more intense

forever
this won’t go away
it’s not external
it doesn’t depend on your Science

I believed the lies, once
– it was an illness, a weakness
– something to be ashamed of

now, I’m empowered
now, I know better
now, I’m feeling better

womanly feelings:
what were they about; for; of?
feelings felt about what?

it’s not about anything
feelings,
womanly feelings

(2003)

With a special thanks to Maia, a poet-teacher friend – a muse, even. She suggested that I edit out some harsher self-judgmental words – and leave in some of the ones I was squeamish about. It was a lesson in itself.

I tagged and categorized this under “muse” because it’s a good example of how I sometimes work out my grief/depression/confusion through prose or poetry. It often serves to clarify issues, codify ideas and concepts. Writing gives us time to reflect. We find ways to say things that we might otherwise be unable to express.

I have strong opinions about the romantic notion that art can only be produced  through great suffering.  From my own perspective as a survivor and Buddhist believer in the holiness of life, I came to the conclusion/rule-of-thumb that the art is never more important than the artist.

Which is quite different from saying one who suffers can’t or shouldn’t attempt art – there should be more art in our lives, not less. My love of classic reggae has taught me about that connection. One’s problems are often a great muse, a spark, a great starting point; as long as one doesn’t wallow in it; as long as it doesn’t become the object itself.

I question the wisdom of seeking the derangement of the senses as a muse (a la the popular conception about Rimbaud.) I’ve managed to do quite enough of that, without actually making a point of it. I suggest taking healthy risks as an alternative – like risking an unpopular opinion, or being thought foolish…

I seek for my muse to come from a higher life-condition, from more positive things – kindness and the sanctity of life. Art for me is a spiritual thing – or a function of spirituality.

************************************************************************

Memorial Day

Driving home in my truck
on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, 2006
after a job
risking my neck for something that seems so silly –
Well… money’s not silly!

But for clean windows?

I caught myself, mourning the passing of the oil age
No one’s troubling with the design of new cars, as much…
What’s the point, for an object so soon to be obsolete?
But then, I thought – oh! A return, for us, to god’s green earth
– a chance at regeneration for our much-maligned planet
and thus, humankind’s inadvertent partial redemption

Then, shortly after that, the blues tried to sneak back in on me
oh! They’re so insistent!
What is it this time!?

On my way home – to what?
Loneliness? An awful aloneness, so unconscious of itself…
Another transition in the structure of my day…
Is this what my freedom – being self-employed – gets me?
– Because it will force me to look
– at where in life – my actions have led me…
Yes, alone with my own thoughts – how bleak is that?!

Now, making a detour of one or two blocks
so that I can see the horizon
and have a guess at tomorrow’s weather
I’m lucky to be able to see the western horizon,
so close to home…
There’s so precious few places that one can do that…
A treat for this grizzled old sea-bitch
How long before something so soulful as the horizon is gone?
Replaced by higher buildings – apartments and progress…

Oh, god! Remembering another Memorial Day,
so many years ago, when I was 19
a huge, tacky Iron Cross around my neck
I think it said 1914 on it
painted pink on one side from fingernail polish
catching a bus, downtown
accusing stares, that made me remember what day it was
of which I had been so oblivious…
Ah! I had much to learn!
You pay a price for such youthful folly!…
Oh! The awful uncomfortableness of myself!
The shame I felt, to be in my skin!
And oh! The awful ignorance of that cross, worn in the name of hipness.

Did those German hordes not yearn for glory, too?
Were they so unlike us, today?

*************

footnote: one sign of my spiritual/personal growth/recovery was the day that the loneliness I felt when returning home alone changed into a pleasant realization that my home had actually welcomed me into its warm embrace…

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