Posts Tagged ‘friends’


Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

The yellow barking of a hand saw,
the swirl of rubber on pavement
the squawk of the electric drill
over the riffs of Coleman Hawkins

The eternal running of those with wheels
searching for peace and a piece
that passes them with no understanding
but satiates for a moment their greeds.

Winds in the cords of dreams and memories
strum at the fibers in her neck and twitch
at her crotch while humming in her right ear
come back and move on in relief, sweet relief.

Settling in to the cacophony of dirigibles
slanted toward the pane onto the yard below
harmonizing in delight at the sound of birds
and the sight of squirrels hiding their faces.

Minds can think and even realize
but never recreate the realities that have passed
into oblivion and memory with scents of myrrh
and old fish trembling in ecstasy’s blight.

Lonely sounds bring comfort to the bridge
as airplanes and telescopes bend toward the night
into which pours the candles and blocks
that burn out of sight and darken our world.

But, the dawn brings a replay of echoes
over and under each other that weave into a piece
that plays its symphony to bears and doves alike
while the dreams for the other subside and fade.

Keep paddling and pushing, planting and burning
as the willow spurns the turtle, so does the swan
swim in the air that wraps its tendrils around us
bringing home that longed for effervescence of life.

making a mess

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Up in the morning and turn on the box
to see what the world is doing
and if anyone cares about my opinion
or what I myself am doing or at least
whether I’ve paid my due this time or not.

As usual mostly stuff
I don’t need or want
except for the blog of a former colleague
taking off on a sabbatical
to photograph National Parks in HDR.

Barry is a talented painter and a gifted teacher
who loves life and lives love
all in his own special way
some are put off by his boldness and candor
but it encloses a brilliant calm and warmth.

He mentions another colleague who
is losing a battle with cancer and
I wonder who that may be, as yet another falls.
This is something to get used to
as I approach my own autumn.

I feel like my words are such fumbling and yearn to express
the void that fills each day with wonder and bliss
as I move into each moment skipping and laughing
and making a mess of all that I touch.

where the hearts are

Monday, September 14th, 2009

A little out of breath but pumped
from a strenuous bike ride – all systems
go with the well oxygenated blood flowing
through newly established pathways

mind crackling with delight with endorphins
and thoughts of days and events past
and yet to happen in my dreams I now
bring to the fore to bask in the grayness
of a Seattle morning in mid-September.

The wind of a fan feels cool on my back
as sweat runs into my mouth in salty bursts
and the soul feels the freest when the body
is primed for flight and fanciful deeds at least
once more in perpetuity defensible in the courts
of wisdom and the grit of factories and smelters
running in my blood to make that fit in any world.

Phrases are to be more than turned and twisted
but rather woven and tangled to offer a challenge
that may yield an experience yet unfelt regardless
of the minds bend or disposition which is why I find
it compelling to be able to abide in any camp unnoticed
to take on the raiment of brotherhood true and speak
from the well of experience with an unusual light
from the glow of other camps shunned by the present

I have fallen with drunkards and toasted the rich
and labored in sweat and soot while studying the arts
counseled the corporate and painted the unseen
while mastering selling and driving for days
assembled the engines and gears in cars and trucks
and written soft love songs straight from the heart
been a trained killer and marched for others’ rights
taught in colleges and burger joints where pigeons eat
the refuse of us all to be able to fit in any crowd and see
what it looks like from there inside, where the hearts are.

to my cousins

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I can’t think of a group of people
whom I may have less in common with
than my twenty-some cousins
just because

My maternal grandparents had six children
(my father was an only child)
and those aunts and uncles had from two to six
of their own, my cousins

We’ve all gone very separate ways
as our parents have
just because

One family were loggers another
in manufacturing and ice cream
and one in the military while mine
was varied from photography to physical therapy
while two others worked in newspapers

We’ve never all been in the same place at once
though we’ve come close on Christmas eves
and our grandma’s ninetieth

So what would a meeting of all be like
with our most common thread being genetic
surely there are other similarities
that will be interesting if not inspiring
and offer some insights we all can profit from
in our own individual ways

Let’s get together and see the full range
of our experiences and lives’ paths
before our eyes and validate the connection
we all have to one another in our differences
just because

We may wonder at our relation to some
while feeling more than akin to others
and that I think will be the beauty
that will provide us with inspiration and insight
as we see the differences in our common bond.

So I will take it on myself to initiate this invitation
and seek from our midst others to share in this effort
to bring us all together somewhere soon
just because

Just be, cuz.

just be cuz

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Yesterday I spent some time with some cousins
whom I hadn’t seen in years and it was on the occasion
of their dear mother’s death – someone else I hadn’t seen enough
and wish I had since she was so very very sweet and warm

love never fails to amaze me with its power to transcend
just about everything – make that everything.

I can see my aunt and uncle’s love in my cousins
and want to get to know all of them better – I have
sixteen or seventeen of them all totaled – from my mother’s
five siblings and wonder why I feel so compelled

Maybe its curiosity about what we have in common
and what our differences are and what might we have done
if living in a more tribal culture where we might be
more interdependent and what part of the larger
tribal milieu we might have filled with our talents

or maybe what we might yet do in some fashion
to enhance each other’s dreams and aspirations
before its too late

Our culture and upbringing has made us independent
and that has been a real asset and also perhaps
a limitation in its division as we have moved on
figuratively and geographically to separate lives
from our siblings and friends that leaves a cloudy hole

Might there be a missing piece we’ve yet to discover?

In the last ten years I’ve reconnected with several other cousins
and it feels good to just now they are there living their lives
in so many different ways

Yesterday on discussing a cousin’s reunion involving us all
my long lost (to me anyway) cousin Sandra replied ” Just be cuz”
and it hit a chord with me since word play is something
I love and often obsess over for fun – just because –

justBcuz – I love it!

A pun, a name for a movement, a rallying cry to our clan
Let’s reunite just for fun and see what we learn of life and love
and what we’ve missed of each other over these years
since we once ran around on Christmas eve’s and thanksgivings past
with our Grandma and Grandpa Stiles looking on.

We’ve spread far and wide and our means may vary
but I think we can find a place and time to meet that will work for us all
where we might blow off the dust of time and circumstance
to discover who we are and what our commons bonds have
to offer

Just because.


Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Last evening I noticed the andirons standing guard
the same kind that as a child I thought were called
end-irons since they were for the ends of the wood to rest on
guarding the entrance to our fireplace which is rarely
used since we have converted our basement into
an apartment and the smoke from our fireplace
when arising from the chimney often goes back down
the chimney for the basement fireplace, getting a smoky
smell in that apartment even though the fireplace down there
has been boarded over so tenants won’t do anything stupid
that might lead to our house burning down or something.

There appeared to be nothing of much value to be guarding
except for the rusty and ash-covered cast iron fire basket
and the set of mismatched tools that include a small shovel
and a poker and a wooden stick with a burnt end that have stoked
many a fire when we used to use it for evening warmth and smores
during some of our winter dinners on the floor in front of it
which no longer occur since we now spend our winters in the desert
deserting our home for the sun and light we now crave and feel
like we can’t live without in the short days and damp drizzle
of the great northwest where I was born and my friends dying
and my children and theirs are growing and blooming.

The crooked screen over that fireplace shows signs of its
fifty-five years of service and bumbling repair attempts of its
original owner armed with some gold spray paint trying to cover
their accidental smoke stains of carbons black and in the process
over-spraying onto the roman bricks that make up its mid-century
modern face in spite of the fact that it is now so well guarded
by those andirons behind it in its gaping mouth that seems
to be hungry for a fire and so I guess somewhere there must be a fire
seeking this fireplace and its ancillary woodpile that lie rotting
just outside our garage awaiting some future winter residency
in need of its warming glow and friendly smells again.

That little guarding scene is still in exactly the same place
this morning as it was last evening and the last one hundred or so
evenings and days before that gathering dust and standing tall
in its tarnished but still brassy elegance with patina and expression
in its random disarray and pitiful attempts at appearing foreboding
or even secure laughably as it reigns over the multi-colored hearth
on this warming summer day as I recall last night’s dreams of a trip
with my son into some beautifully abstract environs where I awoke
laughing at his finding and mentioning to me a sign that offered
most likely to those willing to endure some sort of sales pitch
a temporary dinner for two which brought to mind a funny sight.

While the andirons were only barely visible in the early light
I rolled over in bed to continue dreaming and see a meticulously
decorated custom old Nissan Z-car with a small diameter roll-cage
and wonderful vinyl padding everywhere all covered with black & white
drawings of skeletal figures done in a mosaic of images so that
a skull was made up of tiny skulls all painted white on a black ground
and obviously topped with a glossy clear coat to compliment similar
imagery on the upholstered elements and this was all adjoined by
just the right amounts of red details to make it truly a work of art
not just another car on the road to some sort of ruin though they all
will end up in a scrap heap one day which is more than we get.

Our fireplace is also quite similar to that in a recently passed friend’s
home she inherited from her parents who were the original owners
and who also left their 1970 Chrysler Newport with only sixty-thousand
miles on it and which has been garaged since new and only used
by her mom to go shopping since her dad had died just after its purchase
which seems to be just another example of the futility of material pursuits
and the collection of so much stuff as we eerily go through her belongings
scavenging what we might find useful in some way but which all reminds
me of her and the nice visits we had just before her death wishing
we had made contact years earlier but time is so insistent in its path
and I can feel her spirit happier than most of her life was and its good.

So maybe those andirons both ours and our late friend’s are guarding
a lot of value in that they are a link to past events and fires and portend
not only future combustion of wood and paper wadded to start it
but are sentinels in the road to discovery that goes beyond the veil
to reveal connections that don’t require a physical presence to be felt
as if the fire was engulfing us in its warmth and actually was us
in a totality that holds everyone in the requisitely mysterious unity
with our individual characteristics intact enjoying the differences
and contrasts as they continue recycling the energy that is what we often
call love and celebrate the realization the we are those andirons all
as well as the ignition and combustibles and warmth in cold brass or flesh.


Friday, May 29th, 2009

Ran into her at a club, had a few dances
and some nice talk that led to swapping numbers
this sister of a close friend’s old girlfriend
was just what my lonely heart needed

a vibrant soul who’s smile and laughter
rang away the longing and left a glow
that ran from my dancing boots all the way
to my blues tinted brain atop my shoulders

which cried out for an embrace and were met
with her beaming eyes and we were off
into a flaming romance that left us later
at a bar, making out incessantly

Neither could get enough of each others touch
and our bodies and minds seemed to link
with a charge that resounded until something
cut us apart and it was of my doing not hers

that we parted ways to become friends that had
been lovers for nearly a year and now some three
decades later after only a few chance encounters
have met again in life’s gloaming to ponder

her soon to be demise at the mercy of cancerous
growths that have taken chunks of her beautiful body
and left her vibrant mind intact along with her laughter
at the wonders of life with something inside her

that beats all the evil cells and shines through all that
bad stuff with that indomitable spirit that caught me first
and has mellowed with the years and leaves her glowing
as she prepares to pass into the open arms of darkness

or light which in her case would be a well deserved surprise
after a life of uncertainty and struggle with demons
both in and out, a respite earned to crown her magical
soul with eternal bliss surrounded in well designed glory.

So, rock on girl and blow away all those on the other side
with your ready wit, laughter and smile, dancing feet
and sparkling mind or whatever they call it out there
where none have returned to this veil to tell for good reason.

Farewell my friend. I am so blessed to have known you
and loved you and felt the warmth of your being penetrate
the dark strands of my own with your wonderful light
that no one can extinguish from even this earthly den.

sam fain

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

a dear neighbor and friend
caught by surprise in the grip
of an ending unexpected but
met with such grand aplomb

with such delight in the wonder
of his own entropy and passing
Sam has struck a chord in all
he touches that will sing on

long after his passing into what
for him should be at least the best
that can be since his grace and love
have shone like the sun in his own nova

I cry from the pain of his leaving
and thank him for his friendship
and wish for some miracle that
we both know can't be but damn it

there's unfinished business and more
to love and laugh about so if its not
too hard, hang on or come back
to fill the void that's now opening

as you align your steps with the oncoming
wave that will carry you surfing
into the essence of light and source
from whence you must have come

I admire your awesome candor
and your unending curiosity in the face
of something we're all powerless to control
and deny its approach even now.

I wish I could be there to share some time
in your hospice my friend I will miss you
sorely and thank you for the time we shared,
will not believe you're gone when you go.

You have met your prayers with your
"cheerfulness amidst growing-pain"
an example for all in your faith and trust

bon voyage Sam and bless you as you
have blessed us all with your love
thank you again for getting closer
and sharing your path.

midspringnight’s dream

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

The muse has returned from its mid-spring night’s dream
of my old friends John and Doug and the band of merry pranksters
from the halcyon days of grass and acid, the second renaissance
that brought about the summer of love reborn last night

as a romp on the hill to the tunes of rock where I sat transfixed
awaiting a breakfast of pancakes on a couch with four girls so young
and promising in their wisdom unfit for their age in bodies to match
that thrilled my heart and loins as I left them to their joy and sisterhood

to return to the building where ensconced at small tables were
old acquaintances chatting of things and sipping espresso in bicas white
while I searched for my friends in my dream last night aside my mate
who life has trained to have everything in a neat little boxes with tags

while mine hangs out not even in bags but strewn with an abandon
that to me makes order like Thelonius Monk and Miles Davis arrangements
to her Bach and Mendlesohn played on the same instruments with
different styles in a place where I can enjoy her music and she but tolerates

the cacophony I crave to her pedantic ordering that makes my heart sing
as the opposites ring like a bell that reverberates to my core in love
that keeps me from the boredom and death of my own cravings met
and this was only a faulty remembering of my mid-spring night’s dream

perhaps brought on by digestion of a most beautiful Brazilian meal
and exposure to some truly amazing tiny folk art images by the cook’s
mother past in a neighbor’s home where love and life are evident
in the very surrounds crafted and assembled with care and skill

in their own special world, the ones we all keep in our big boxes we call
our castles and castles they are for this is where we reign and look out
on the world to see what differences pass and which we like and those
we don’t but put up with to appreciate the differences that bring song

to the streets rather than bullets and rocks, singing and dancing rather
than death and crying through the barking and grinding and roaring
of leaf blowers and trucks, of howling dogs and rats along with cats
and the occasional lizard and fly in this land where you and I live and love.

I only got pieces of that dream the muse left behind in the dust of morning
and the cool of night passing too fast in its ending scene to be caught
in words but left in feeling on the theater seats of my minds arena to be
spread like apple butter on the toast of this verse, lettered only in crumbs.

snot & phlegm

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

i long for a flow of nonsense
that can awaken me from a lethargy
brought on by my body playing
with some cold germs

from an airplane through my partner
because of the past taxing season
at H&R Block ® – go figure
and remember to wear a mask

of amontillado when approaching
a distant relative of the writer of Zoro
especially if there is salmon involved
and catching a virus is not scheduled

on anyone’s itinerary and certainly
not a sought after condition
when weather is turning warmer
and the full heat of desert summer looms

is it any easier to paint than write
when the body is in a funk through no fault
of its owning anything resembling a
good haircut or decent clothing

or even a mind that can think clearly
but then that’s never held me back before
so I should launch into writing from
mucus and phlegm constricted depths

from the post mental drip of old ideas
may sprout some neti fueled clearness
and perhaps a few lucid words but
i want more, much more from this pit

of snot than most would expect because
that’s me, the great expector of miracles
and good from bad and all that stuff so
i’m really disappointed that this is all

i could come up with when i was just
beginning to see something through that
foggy golden glass that separates me
from the figures and their shadows

within that warm and inviting room
where there appears to be a lively discussion
of things immortal and yet so much
of the flesh and i want to engage it