Posts Tagged ‘contrasts’

healthy, wealthy and wise?

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Just this past week I was anglin’ on
a saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin:

“Early to bed and early to rise
makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

So what ever happened to healthy, wealthy and wise being
sought after like some sort of ultimate prize?

It seems that lately these virtues are cries that
so many people hold as Evil in their eyes.

If you’re healthy, there’s a crowd that’s heard whining and
ascribing your good health to something genetic

while their own habits of sedentry and over-dining have
led them to a condition that’s truly pathetic.

When it comes to wealth the assessment’s even worse; your
frugality and good choices are reviled as a Curse.

And when you try to pass along any of that Wisdom you’re
heard as the purveyor of yet another conundrum.

So instead of health we race toward illness and morbidity and
in place of wealth we get more lack and want.

In lieu of wisdom we’ve accrued ignorance and stupidity. Now
these New “virtues” are all that’s left to vaunt.

blue sky rambling

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

So, what about that big blue sky and those withering palms
and how about those wet days and sultry nights aloft

What gives with the shuffling crowds at the Sunday market
and all those guys in shorts on such a cold day in December.

Have you seen the long noses on those fake-oldde street lights
and all those signs on peoples’ lawns selling their bank’s assets

And all those items that have reached their pull dates intact
with the samples and bargain prices when you do the checking yourself?

Its a cold day in the desert and all those crazy ideas are floating around
catching in the skimmer and rolling off the roof into the yard-waste can

While everyone else is shivering and huddling or fighting and killing
and gathering for the armageddon or the put-off elections or some party

To which no one is invited but all must attend in their finest raiments
of blood and fiber, swelling the ranks of the downtrodden and faint

While the rest of us sing on in solitary bliss with the dishwasher growling
as we pass on the rest of yesterday’s lunch to some who really needs it.

So, what about that blue sky — is it lifting you up and filling your sails
or taking you down to the depths of entropy without any help?

This discordant nonsense is all we’ve got — more mundane anarchy:
Its up to us to make it into a song and dance to it lightly, right or wrong.

You may not see this a verse but, who really gives a damn so let it be –
anything and nothing but a scrambled bunch of words to feel and see.

Yeh, what about that big blue sky and those withering palms
can you make it a party — or only something else to make it through.

forked tongue speaks of two-sided coin

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

I’ve always prided myself in my affinity to differing camps
the intellectual and the down and dirty normality
to the enjoyment of drink and drug, the rewarding joy of physical labor
to the engaging discussions of rhyme and reason, of art and taste;
to the endurance of agonizing pain and demoralizing realizations;
to the lofty exhilaration of conceptual discoveries and spiritual quests
along with the defeats and losses that seem to recur without end.

I love the raw expression of joy and anger, of winning and defeat
the stultifying numbness of boring repetition and the thrill of revenge
the finding of friends and the gifts of lonely pursuits
the open discussions of inner most fears and the quiet reflections
on secrets closely held and never admitted.

But where does this leave me or is it carrying me
into the continuing maelstrom of this scattered and shattered existence
seeking a roost, a place of comfort amidst my refusals to accept it
along with my desires to fly past anything resembling a cage
into which a solace may be found but lost in this continuing turmoil
that I find so orgasmic in its chaos and juxtaposing energies
that to my properly addled mind offers a unity of life and death.

The two-headed angel speaks with a long and forked tongue
of the two-sided coin, the double entendre and the double-barreled gun
of the one-for-all and the all-for-one
becoming the one-as-all and the all-is-one
in the place where all roads lead to none
and the waning moon is the setting son.

So go fuck yourself and leave me alone
to find my own way past this overdue swoon
where the high-blooded hipster is bad-to-the-bone
and the struggling loser is a man-in-the-moon.

self esteem

Friday, February 5th, 2010

The height of self esteem is buying yourself
a 93 million dollar statue.

The value is not the piece of art but the buyers ego.

There is about 20 dollars of metal, a few hundred in casting fees
and transportation plus

the artists other amortized expenses, though the artist is dead.

Its value comes as a competitive number in an auction
which is just another pissing contest for the wealthy.

The piece itself is not so special, really.

Buy a country, buy a statue, be the biggest.
the ultimate in self esteem.

Why not rescue a country
suffering from devastation, hunger and strife.

Too realistic, too mundane or soft.

Buying something ephemeral has way more ego value
in its intangibility

though the piece itself looks like a starving human.
The depths of self esteem.


Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Hooligans and flies flit about
and wonder at the color and size
of things that float above them
not knowing why or if it even matters.

Flowers and cars careen
in colors bent on swinging
while puffs of flour and sand
melt into the gathering dusk.

“Its time for lunch” said one
while another shouted “dinner!”
Who knows what may come up
after a breakfast of leaves.

If the podium of ranting
carries the font of knowledge
into the hearts and hearses
that surround our halls

Its high time that someone salutes
and bids welcome to the grunt
that heralds the fainting of the shrewd
in the temple of the curiously sane.

But why not wonder at the light
that passes over the soft hills and shelves
that hide the pleasant from the cool
and picks up the shadows of sins

Held deeply within the folds of tissue
that surround our nest and issue forth
a scent of cinnamon and creosote
on the greening of the sands.

Come forth now into the darkness
and feel the cold wind of rebirth
and wallow in its soft and comforting
blast of invigorating fire. Hold forth.

For the fourth time, come forward
and force the foreskin formulary of flint
into a furnace of fuming fallacy
and fall into glorious failure faintly.

mind find grind

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

I’m not asking for much
just to be in touch
with the voice inside
who lately’s chosen to hide.

I watch others clever inventions
and artfully gravelly voices
make my soul seek its intentions
while they seem to have real choices.

Where are those words that once seemed to float
in torrents that gave me such pleasure
the ones that could make the word “goat”
just right to fit with my newfound leisure.

Do I really have to take things in my own hands
and force it if you will
or does it simply come from one of those glands
that feed the longing skill.

Its forced and I know it, it just doesn’t feel right
it hasn’t that ring all poignant and warm
if it doesn’t just flow on its own, out of sight
and then, reeling back with such wonderful form.

Where are you oh welcome stranger whose left me stranded
on the distant shores of wanting and vacuous flight
feeling not just wordless but wain and wrong handed
Come back and please, just help me write

Flowing words and catchy phrases
that lift the soul and tickle the inner orchestra
with thoughts and sights that spur praises
at the insanity of meaning and acoustic aphasia.

Does it matter what’s said and what we read?
Of course you fool, and you’d best take heed
To force the muse you will certainly strangle
whatever little thoughts it started to wrangle

And leave this sitting all dazed and confused
when all you wanted was to re-meet the muse.
There’s something inside but it just needs to bubble
in its own time to yield without all this trouble

as it cries for silence to surround its shell
or at least the end of such irrelevant chatter and din
but from which must arise at last and as well
the pieces of trash that make it ring deep within.

Om mani padme hum
the mantra rings still in the temple of my mind.
It takes a fossil fueled ‘varoom’
and makes it into a beloved ‘bump and grind’

Out of the clatter comes a song
if only the rhythm you can find
and see that really, all along,
its all just part of the presence of mind.

circle of fire

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

I was in the US Army
so that makes me a veteran

It was during the Vietnam War
so that makes me a Vietnam Era veteran

I was trained in rifle, carbine, pistol and machine gun
and qualified as an expert shooter

I was taught the sprit of the bayonet (to kill)
and how to kill hand-to-hand.

to survive gas attacks and render first aid
for sucking chest wounds and gushing blood

to inject atropine and splint the breaks
and take the dog tags from those who’ve fallen

to crawl under fire and run through explosions
and all of the targets were silhouettes of men

to lie in ambush and snipe from afar
whether day or night and shave without water.

turned into a machine responding to commands
first left then right — to bring death with my hands

my head was shaved and my reflexes sharp
starched and stiff and ready to kill

but unlike most of my unlucky peers
I was a reservist and would stay in the rear

not seeing war face-to-face as they
nor returning battle-weary and spent

spoiled by death and blood if living at all
and none the richer for facing their own end

I cowardly felt no duty nor desire
to place myself in anyone’s line of fire

I am both proud and amazed that I served
as a soldier in waiting and still,

held my antiwar position as well
as the brotherhood of warriors I’ve known.

Aggression is one thing, defense another
and unfortunately the distinction gets muddied

by those who prosper and are in command
of those who serve our once proud land.

I am a veteran only in name, for only those
who fight and die deserve that proud name.

It would seem that if we could live without them
our world would be at peace but the reality is

that warriors are the outer edge that holds
our civility inside its defining circle of fire.

how its supposed to be

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

My partner Jane has a favorite faucet
which she has mounted on our bathroom basin
it is one of those with a raised and arching spout
a small version of what one would see in
a doctor’s office.

She loves it because its great for washing her hair
and I’m pleased that she has the knowledge and skill
to have mounted it herself though
she placed its base backwards and as a result
the faucets turn the reverse of what would be expected.

Though its been several years like that
each morning as I shave and wash there
I still fumble with their turning directions and feel
that something just isn’t as its supposed to be.

We had noticed an occasional dripping
slowly in our absence and hard to detect
and finally I decided to deal with that
and take the so-called washerless faucets apart.

Washerless faucets are supposed to be better
than their washered predecessors but I wonder
as I pay ten times as much for the delicate spring
and flimsy plastic sleeve that serve in the washers place.

In completing the repair I realized an opportunity
to correct the turning direction of the faucets
to how they are supposed to be and did just that
so simple after all these years.

Now each morning I find myself still trying to turn them
the wrong way rather than how they are supposed to be
and wonder at my conditioning and reconditioning
only to find my condition not how its supposed to be

They were wrong and now they are right and now
I am fumbling with their rightness just as I did
with their wrongness.

Is anything ever what its supposed to be?
Thankfully not — and that’s how its supposed to be.

what was it

Monday, July 20th, 2009

what rakish and daring exploit was I going to write about?
it seems to have totally slipped out of my mind this morning
as I settle in to my studio moving the four bicycles I have there
to accommodate my sitting to attack the keyboard which records
my inner wanderings and thoughts into its virtual library.

I try to fight off the distractions of others’ noises in pursuit
of their own agendas and mysteries on this fine and sunny
summer Monday morning just past the hour of nine.

This is the time I’ve determined is the best if one has to
travel about on errands — Most who start at nine are there
and those that started earlier are taking their first break
so the roads are quieter now after the rush while everyone
seems to have gotten out of my way just for me and a few
others who also have this figured out — aah, ain’t life great.

But I’ve still not recalled the event I wanted to chronicle
perhaps a diversion into something else is in order
it was something I know so well and can recall every detail
but at the moment its gone just beneath that surface film
that can more than cloud these memories in some shadows
cast by what I don’t know.


So after a diversion I still can’t recall so will be on my way
to return later when that thought returns for real. so long for now.


It was around 1967 when I shared a painting studio
in the abandoned Collins building downtown
in Seattle’s skid road

I built a small car out of cardboard boxes
to look like a child’s drawing of a car — boxy

it was covered with large pieces of newsprint
I’d gotten from my uncle who worked at the Times

and painted bright pink with black lines
and in the driver’s side window

was pasted a print of Ruben’s Child
and of course there were wheels and bumpers and lights

I took it down onto the street below
and set it into a parking space and paid the meter

We watched from our fourth floor window
as cars stopped to park then seeing it — drove on

This must be street theater we thought
so ventured out into other neighborhoods

In the U-District we again parked the bright little boxy car
and sat in a restaurant across the street to watch

It was beautiful to observe this child-styled artwork
in its contrast with the mundane surroundings

and to witness others’ amusement and wonder
at what and why this anomaly was

In a moment when our attention was diverted
by our conversation or coffee

we suddenly noticed the car had been removed
and was headed up the street in a meter maid’s cart

By the time we got out onto the street it was nowhere in sight
so, dejected we walked back to our car just up the block

As we passed by a small City storefront office we stopped
because there just inside on the floor

was our little pink child-styled car offering yet another contrast
that caused us to laugh and thrill at this circumstance

We entered immediately and inquired as to what it was doing there
since we had indeed paid our fare at the meter

and exclaimed that just because our car was so different
was no reason it should be impounded without notice

I wish this tale had a more exciting ending
like a day in court or perhaps some media coverage but alas

We were sent on our way without prosecution
since after all it was only art — hummph.

And this is the kind of thing that made Andy Warhol
and others famous while we trudge on in obscurity

Having fun and creating anomalies whenever and wherever
we can leaving no footprints and packing out our wastes.

the moon

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

I look up and see the moon with its ancient features
as the sounds of the birds herald its waning today
I feel the peace that surrounds me and the pulse
of mankind throbbing in natures bed

I look up and see the same moon as I emerge
from my cave to witness the ravaging of the giant beasts
which may leave me some sustenance if I’m lucky
enough to survive the night near my fires warmth

I look up and see the moon while my eyes behold
the silohuettes of soldiers and their spears marching
across the dunes to carry the seeds of dogmatic obsession
through the bloody path of horrific evangelism

I look up and see the moon as its crescent shines down
on my pilgrimage to the shrine where my soul is drawn
by the incessant pull of some inner voice of love and hope
with the throngs of fellow travelers alight in its glow

I look up and see the moon as we boldly set sail
for the unknown edge of the world on the surrounding sea
of discovery and risk it all for fortune and power
to quench yet another set of insatiable thirst and hunger

I look up and see the moon as my head is being lowered
in its last homage to my innocence while others set about
my beheading as a symbol of their justice dealt
as the lunar reflections inscribe the blade with fear

I look up and see the moon’s textures aglow with awe
as it inspires me to sing and dance in its spell that binds
us in the ecstatic whirl of its ancient and persistent presence
marking seasons and tides as constant as the air

I look up and see the moon as I discover natures path
to healing and wonders that emerge from my studies
and leave the laboratory as medicinal knights to conquer
plague and pestilence that mankind may survive

I look up and see the moon over the fields of cotton
in which I am enslaved as I toil only to dream of freedom
from this prison of pride and gluttony that holds my divided
family’s fate in its grip that refuses to open for any

I look up and see the moon on the wall of bricks that surround
my entire country and protect it from the hordes that would
invade our homes and we sleep in silence and peace
behind its wrapping arms of our emperor’s reach

I look up and see the moon as I give birth to my first child
and thnk of this moment of light that is engulfing me
in this wonderful splash of love and light that spans
time and that overwhelming sense of roundness

I look up and see the moon as I invade Poland
and set off to carry the blight of aryan pride and death
to the unlucky different or slitheringly evasive
in my quest for dominance and power over all

I look up and see the moon as I weave the cloth
of my raiment as my forebears have for centuries
as a symbolic gesture of peace and the value of returning
to the simplicity that brings a knowing understanding

I look up and see the moon approaching as we land
on it to take man’s first steps there and leave our footprints
in its glowing dust for others to find and wonder from whence
these traces of our wisdom and ingenuity came

I look up and see the same moon in Seattle as in LA
the same as in Rome and Beijing and Lisbon and LQ
in its ancient glow that reminds me of our oneness
in time and place, in essence and breath

I look up and see the moon and its track that seems
to never end but know that it too is merely a passing
that we have become accustomed to all these millenia
and pray for our continued blessing with its light