fully formed

she’s making this up as she goes along.

she’ll make it half a block, then decide.

where she’s going comes into play.

it’s the great unknown they speak about.

catechism never predicted what she found.
this time she heard response from strangers.

she was by all accounts, surprised.
it was counting rocks and measuring water

that revealed the most to her.   unexpectedly.

she said, I speak with them as human beings.

she realized, as is music as are sciences,

she needn’t tighten the strings to appreciate.

just as god doesn’t paint every dawn one by one

a thousand thousand times.
dawn knows what to do.
she observed, we get what we’re ready to receive.

along with birds and rocks, we are god’s agents

here.   beingness is a function of willingness.

openness to possible.
the thing about the ocean is, constant motion.

likewise, she is never only just one person alone.

she is everything touching her.

no borderlines.   wet.
dawn and dusk are one coin.

all that ever was, all that is or will be, emerges here.

the grasp of fingers intertwined.

landing from a sky inside.   we arrive.
while dawn makes day makes dusk makes night,

each interact yet each carries its own table of truths.

plates and knives and spoons and forks.    placed by hand.

the great grand theory of everything is simply

there is not one.   there are many.
we are.
a pleasure when feet find their way.


seventy-five years in one place

gathered here

I’m past obscuring that ruckus fact.

I might even think, how many places?

where have I been, a self-measurement.
a church bell rings.   but not here.

there, two birds in a bush.   maybe three.

I wait.   patiently.   but the cat makes no noise.

neither does it want my gaze.

is that water?   too far I think.   or maybe rain.

geese are not shy of being heard.   they make

mark a certain time of day.   then depart.

or the ferry whistle competing with the fog.

OK, that’s rain.   no doubt this time.

crickets get the last word.

fingers and toes

twenty one days and counting, but only twenty fingers and toes

one day out of reach?   like poems, I never know.

how much you figure, I can fill my own bowl.   wrote about bowls often enough, but now?   one more thing I don’t know.   does my understanding thus decrease?   I look, like a jigsaw puzzle, pieces all seem present, reasonable.   but when I ask, what does it feel like being me?   why like this, being me?   I don’t know.

thunder this morning outside the open door.   loud.   pleasing to me.   I am still in the world and the world in me.   some measure of trade.   rain, it also landed hard, joyed for the thunder I suppose.   didn’t last long.   I wish for more.   more thunder.   more anything.

gone my California blood.   clear by eleven latest.   blue following.

now cool, even cold, pleases me.   and rain?   welcome any day.   love the scent, love that it means staying inside home, where I’d be anyway.   I appreciate the reason why.

I like that bowl.   love?   a classic beauty.   I remember the Japantown shop where we first met and I said, come with me.   I remember where everything came from, the where, the why.   Palo Alto, Monterey, San Jose, Los Altos, Edmonds, the Renaissance Faire at Black Point.   Most of the artists too.   never seemed too much.   but now?   one more spoon I don’t know.

and we’ll not talk about books.   not yet anyway.

it’s an act of faith when I buy a book right now.   twice.

how tedious to elaborate all this personal history.   but then, maybe this is my coin.   when I was this-much-tall I grew up in a small farming town.   large Sunsweet plums-into-prunes processing plant right across the street.   great sport off season when closed down.   dangerous stuff just like small boys adore.   and an abandoned house next to that, that inside smelled of over powering old sweet honey.   a mystery.   half-block west, the main road & highway for that part of the world.   not big.   east, one block, the railroad tracks and beyond, plum orchards all the way to the low eastern valley hills.   their brown summer curves looking like a woman laying down.

how’s that bowl doing?   getting full?

        how do you give your life away?

like ground water seeping up through the foundation, I have this wondering.   all these years, well, I don’t think in years, maybe seasons, days, moments, colors, scents, faces, choices, sometimes lips, touch, feet on gravity’s ground – all of this.   what a history lost when one of us goes away.   such sweetness, such pain.   my new favored phrase – is my life not poem enough?   not meaning only me, certainly, but this is where I feel it by natural course.   details.   which side of the bowl do you place your spoon?  no matter at all.   yet true, it matters.   when was the last cat that sat in your lap?   that image matters to me.

we are the rounded arc of our earth.   one in millions.   but take one away and nothing is the same.   not wrong, put your spoon where you wish, but yea, not the same.   two hands is always how we face any truth.   this and that.

OK mom.   to wed and bed following the end of a war.   happiness like that ain’t always smart.   dad I think was merchant marine.   mom typed it all up, on and off the boats.   but gambling mattered more to him than mom or me.   leastwise that was her story of one ending to family.   unspoken.   don’t discuss.   too uncomfortable?   better not to feel too much.   my excuse.   I was a child.   I swallowed what was put in front of me.   not my fault.   not hers.   but an awful choice that stayed around for decades of years.   kept my mouth closed when it should have spoke.   passion unexpressed.
         call that sin.   call that unripe.

how many folks not loved as they deserved.   wishing is not loving.

is writing medicine?   no.   but it is the natural life I kept at bay.

your nurturing instincts will expand to many people.   so says the fortune cookie.   so the cookie crumbles.   but yea, that’s one rule, no, one intent of everything I write.   no lies.   no complaints about this greater life.  or if failing that, then acknowledge it is only my misunderstanding of truth.

what’s that mean in the pencil box?   well, this is heaven, literally.   but as we notice it don’t last forever.   use it well.   angels, yea, but not like books pretend, no glowing wings, no halo above their heads.   actually, very ordinary.   simply the right person at precisely the right time and place.   maybe you’re lost.   maybe they do or say the right thing to wake you up.   then walk away never knowing who they were for someone else.
        tell me.   is that hard to swallow?

running out of things to do this night.   menu isn’t big.   yes, slight breeze enough, go lay down in bed.   J. already long asleep.   lay down, she’s right next to me.   close my eyes, breathe.   drifting.   in the shallow cup between J. and my back, there’s a cat, no, a kitten, white with brown.   curled asleep.   J. moves closer, so yea, imagination, not a cat.   her arm her hand glances over my shoulder.   fair trade.   no, better, far better than a cat.   her touch puts me more at ease.   but too slight, that appreciation said by me.   she moves more, a little here a little more pressing firm.   some days some nights are easier, some harder.   this was a harder one.   till now, changed.
         maybe I’m the cat.

maybe I should spell out the specifics?   usually shy about detailing disease.   not important in themselves, but just so you understand my wandering my obsessions.   a heart that’s not moving blood so well.   leaves me often feeling short of breath.   waiting waiting, that’s the twenty-one days, till a procedure to help with that.   lots of pills.   then surviving that, is a blood disease.   kinda rare, kinda dangerous.   more details, really just of interest to me.   reading through some months of these journals here you’ll catch some edges of these issues for me.   I try to learn even now, especially now.   thought I was a good student, but here, here’s a very real personal test.

always a choice.   sit here – silently – say nothing about.   like mom might have done.   but newer kinder better me says be visible.   all the more if my experience here is growing short.   be a flawed open me?   more than mere wish.

trimmed my beard earlier.   close.   it pleases me.

here’s where I’d go have a cigarette.   punctuation.   back when I did.

counting these small epiphanies

I step from my room to the hallway.   eyes turn right toward the front, kitchen then living room then balcony.   where’s the cat?   first thought so swift, no time to consider reality.   then, yes then the places where she used to be.   sad feelings for her being gone?   I did for quite some while.   go, go touch the place on the back of the couch where she’d like to sleep all the while keeping eye on the hallway for one of us to appear.   Gracie liked her perch.   she savored the scratches to neck and head, pushing with all her might into more, yes please, more.   I always tried to satisfy.   there’s a crease still in the top most pillow where she used to roost.   I go touch sometimes.   close as I can get these days.   at first doing that was sad, but irresistible.   now, a memory I rather have than not.
leave aside logic here.   thoughts for a time implied my future well-being was a function of my own willingness to endure.   to continue being me.   that was not always a certain response.   too many days, perhaps, thinking it would be easier just to let go, cross over, whatever that meant.   less discomfort, possibly?   then with a friend newly realized, more than I really thought I’d ever be, I thought instead, yes, I’d like to continue a while more.   was that all it took?   I was thinking yea, maybe so.
now I think myself skipper here.   my boat.   but not really my life.   I go where goes my life.   truth is simple stuff.   still, better that second attitude.   although there’s a certain raw quality I’m unfamiliar with.   besides, can’t live right now as if it were tomorrow’s tomorrow.   Alan Watts used to tell the story of a crab sitting on a rock in San Francisco bay.   someday a gull might land and peck right through that shell – which the crab would certainly hate.   however a simple truth – not yet, not yet.
thank you Alan.   good story told.   I am trying to live that well.
so I’ve thought, in this confluence of health issues, what to do, meaning what to say.   is it somehow better or not better to say right out loud how it is being me.   no, not details, no blow by blow.   but yes, how it does feel – being me.   I don’t have that answer.   but something in me says, why stop, why denigh what I am, what changes are changing.   is it not right I should share.   I’ve lived some years thinking I was wanting more intimacy, more trust, more engagement.   how then is – stop – a right part of vocabulary?
so now I am keeping faith, writing you.

just because

    just because, because a dragon is always wise and right
    and because we should ever be appreciative and polite
    to any creature who goes thump when they walk.

that’s my rule you know.    any creature that doesn’t want
to eat me (especially any creature who could) is my friend.


apple tree

you said.    you asked.    I said, yes.
          didn’t I?

but maybe I am bigger consequence.

turning over every word every stone.
is any of me left to chance?

so oft, says the leaf, I don’t know.
          fair answering.

stay.    what’s that mean?
I want to answer, close to you.

an apple tree.    sweet this time.
but maybe, maybe I already did.

two apples.    one root.

better love.    remains.
Paul Nzalamba, Disagreement above.    overheard from the artists friend, what’s his favorite image of all?   how would you choose a favorite child?
but shhh, yes this one.     back to back leaning on the same tree.


here’s to another month

spoon on the left side or right of the plate?
how about fingers & toes, how many of those?
no, not in a dream, but wide awake.

write a story a poem a paragraph, one more time.

this time it was you.    you who asked.    and
I’m inclined, saying yes.

there is a tree that lives inside a tree.
so that story goes.    limbs inside limbs.
another snake in a tree.

and you?    another you inside you?
more bigger good grace to smile my friend.

we always knew who that snake really was.
here a nibble, a taste on a flutter of air.

there, there’s that word again.

who imagined it was big as a rock?

stand close with me.    as you do.
not being alone was forever the better

here’s to the coin in our pocket.
image:  Sepia framed art print of “The Temptation of Christ” by Botticelli
               from the Sistine Chapel

C. after we talked.    july 2022


it bears repeating.    maybe I’ve posted this before.    I’m unsure.
no harm a second time.

All This Joy

song written & performed by John Denver
All this joy, all this sorrow
All this promise, all this pain
Such is life, such is being
Such is spirit, such is love

City of joy, city of sorrow
City of promise, city of pain
Such is life, such is being
Such is spirit, such is love

World of joy, world of sorrow
World of promise, world of pain
Such is life, such is being
Such is spirit, such is love

All this joy, all this sorrow
All this promise, all this pain
Such is life, such is being
Such is spirit, such is love

Such is spirit, such is love
This song for me is simple truth without all the clothes to conceal.   I’ve listened countless times.   If you ask me how I feel about being here in the middle of life, well this will do nicely to describe.   Sometimes I view life as a stream of questions awaiting our response.   Maybe Spirit has the questions and we are posed to answer them.   Here is the conversation inside my ear when I’m listening.

        Scribble and pin this to the wall.

love loves difficult things

the answer to joy is life
the answer to sadness is being
the answer to promise is spirit
the answer to pain is love
from the album Annie’s Song, here is John performing All This Joy
thank you John


this could’a been a poem       but it changed its mind
maybe just random thunder, nothing else?
              we will soon pass
first time I really heard this phrase,

you don’t know, what you don’t know,

I was impressed.   I remain impressed.

as big as a universe, as eloquent as forever.
look at the spoon the chair the table the person next to you

nothing     is about space.

what does it mean, this space that resides, that embraces, you, me

                    is space a participant?
space      is the medium through which we   connect   touch   engage
                 can it really be described as inert?
how many years have I asked how we combine this far respect
from one and another one.            why is aloneness in my roots?
how do I come to peace with this unknown measure?
when you sit with it you come to recognize
the word,    nothing    is a lie.   it is contrary to
what it portends.

not its fault.   not ours.   it is
the nature of this beast.

language     symbols     but those define our thoughts
we have no word.   we have no thought.
we have no feeling.   no remembrance.
describing    nothing    at all.
the very word itself, guilty of deception.
see how it references    nothing    as no-thing
by including the only beingness we recognize.

go ahead, describe everything.   at least you
get a running start if no end is in sight.   but
describe no-thing and we’re lost already.
there is no thingness to nothing, none.

we matter to ourselves.   we are matter.
we are stars and hydrogen transfigured
by greater intent.     nothing,  does not.

at least not by what wedon’tknow
yet we are also space itself.   they say
most of matter is the empty space in-between
the bits of dear familiar fluff.

we are more nothing than something.
being blunt.

but really, what does nothing feel like

nothing has a beauty to it when looked at from outside.
of a recent medical procedure I was completely
anesthetized.   later, in recovery arrived
the clearest sense of nothing I’ve ever known.

might say it was peaceful without being broken.
might say it felt wonderful being that way.
but obvious isn’t it…

none of those, not one.   it was nothing.
no joy, no sadness, no fear, no desire, no
direction, no up, no down.

no past, no future.   no care.      no resisting
aside, to be honest, I feel no fear of not being
alive.   I worry some about transitions however.
will the ocean be gentle with me?
it is difficult being me.   no, not just now, although
that’s what I first thought myself.   but difficult
almost always when I breathe inside of me.
I am.   talking to the ocean, wave after wave.
suppose I thought that great presence would
answer me back.   room for my foolishness.

a performance of sorts.   but how genuine?
as you see & read, what’s your relationship
with the spaces here?   not even a second glance?
do you wonder what’s over your shoulder,
               something peripheral?

does     nothing     change what I present & you receive?
this is one part of the early night where
I wander about, bare feet on carpet then hardwood,
colder floor.   gratefully.   dim kitchen lights,
dark toward the front and outdoor balcony.
I’m drawn to it.   green face of ripe leaves
cloaked, but I smell them, their oxygen.
rich     full     embracing

yet fresh air past blood, into my heart is elusive tonight.

is it jealousy, why I’m uncomfortable with this abundance?
          I’m not just defined by what you see.

          I’m also defined by all the things
          you will never see.

               Derek DelGaudio, In & Of Itself
night time is the hardest time for me now.
I don’t know why.

garden in the dark