blue water

    I could happily move into
    this imagining right here,
              be a bird,
    I’d have my choice, or
    perhaps a fish, sight
    unseen.   either way as the
    water moves, so move I.
    more than fair enough rain
    or blue above or cold or warm.
    below it would all be the same
    to me.   blue paradise amid
    the kelp.   otters will come,
    talk with me.   roll inside
    my shelter embrace.   me and
    crabs and starfish too.   
            most of me,
            you won’t see.

    but then, about the same as
    right now.

 
 
 
MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
 
 
 
 

talk to the poem


talk to the poem, not to me.

talk to the empty air, not to me.

talk to the birds, they might care.

those are three lies if you hadn’t guessed.

everything that was true at the beginning,
remains the truth.   go ask.

politely sincerely genuinely from your heart.
        ask.

but you have to listen first.
 
 
some meals last as long as a life.

God said, let them see I love them all,
that’s your job.   go write.

no parent wants to be unknown to
their child.   same same, God with us.

ask.   answers land in front of you.

just like a bird.
 
 
 
 
 

how to measure a life


how many breaths?   roughly you know, over 600 million by the clock.

how many years sleeping?   20 perhaps, not counting when awake.

how many marriages?   one, just one.

divorces?   yea, one and we saw that coming.

how many homes?   more than ten.   shallow remembering.

gone to SF North Beach on a bus?   yea, Ferlingetti wasn’t home.

lost my cat?   don’t talk about that.

gone mostly bald?   once yea, but it took months to realize.

what I rather do than eat?   write.

children?   no.   none.   decided early on in life.   too early probably.

parents?   that’s biology.   but only mom stuck around.

how many times in school?   six, counting kindergarten.

how many women one way or another?   six as well.   coincidence?

how many times in Boston?   once.   to visit Dan.

how many times reincarnated?   only one that I know about.

how many times I saw dad?   none.

times I was offered paradise?   once.   care to guess my choice?

how many poems written?   five hundred and counting.

how many years writing, for real?   14 more or less.

number of women I’ve lived with?   two and a half.   no, won’t explain.

how often I wanted to live in Monterey?   endlessly.

visits from pneumonia?   twice.   I lived.

diseases wanting to be the end of me?   two.   we’ll see.

times I refused to kill when asked?   once.   forever.

times we let the spinnaker out?   a few.   like being on glass.

times I lost my keys?   maybe twice.   always, always they go same pocket.

times depressed?   years, many years.   but I gave it up for Lent.

changed my name?   yea, middle to first.   good idea.

jobs?   none that counted much.   except for this one here, my last.

             writing you.
 
 
 
 
 

what to do with life

    when the universe was
    born, so were you.  implied.

    after that

    dust the shelves.  OK then
    do it again.  endlessly.  then
    listen too.  listen carefully.
    someone might be speaking
    to you.  some voices are not
    loud.  likewise look.  look at
    the sky the birds the spiders
    too.  might be marbles at
    your feet.  they are not
    always as close as you could
    wish.  if not, wish better,
    closer.  fish will listen to you
    but don’t expect response.
    they’re too busy figuring
    out what water is.  eat
    something good.  do that a
    lot.  life is short.  oh yea,
    learn to cook then go and
    make friends with a dog.
    really, be polite.  they only
    have nice things to say
    about you.  feed a cat.
    they’ll think happy things
    about you too.  unless you
    are really really honest and
    sincere leave the lions and
    jaguars alone.  sharp teeth
    have been known to be
    disagreeable.  so well done
    starting up.  that’s animals.
    now time for humans.  we
    count too but require more
    carefully monitored regard.
    unpredictable is a word
    we’ll use.  if disappointed
    don’t be surprised.  it can
    take weeks to master
    relationship.  brush your
    teeth.  don’t bite your
    friends.  remember what
    your mother said.  clean
    underwear always counts.
    comb your hair.  don’t spit
    on sidewalks.  gross.  pick
    up after yourself.  put your
    tools away as soon as you
    are done with them.  make
    something with wood.  folks
    will like you more.  paint a
    picture.  don’t forget, pet
    the cat.  tell a friend how
    you feel.  write a poem.
    don’t have to be good.
    play with pencils.  draw.
    read a book.  read two.
    call a friend on the phone.
    reason why is just because.
    talk.  talk more.  say some
    things you’re afraid to say.
    take a ride in a boat.  water
    is good for you.  the ocean
    especially.  sing yourself a
    lullaby.  peace.

 
 
 
 

Floating Peace Lantern Ceremony

Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembrance Day
and Floating Peace Lantern Ceremony

Saturday August 6th 2022 evening at the Lovers Point Park beach in Pacific Grove California.

To honor all who suffered and still suffer from the August 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
Photo above: Margret Maria Cordts

peace is not simply the abscence of war, it is a state of our heart
 
 
 
 

would you like a lullaby?

 
here, my hand
holding what?

there’s a secret on your nose

my sweet boy
I tell myself

do we fit inside a spoon?
room enough for another cat?

what words are sweet?
please, tell me some

problem with most sleepy songs
someone dies or looses an ear

in this story, well
no one dies

not yet anyway, not yet

meanwhile there’s your belly to rub
to whisper delicious curves
 
 
 
 

Monterey Bay for real






water poem

 
a not untypical Summer time view of the southern reach of Monterey Bay.   mystic fog, yes some of that.   common sights include Cormorants, Brown pelicans and Western gulls.   harbor seals sometimes haul out onto the rocks although in still photographs they can be hard to see.
 
MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
 
Monterey Bay Aquarium is located in Monterey California housed in a former sardine Cannery Row factory and includes both interior ocean aquatic life forms and a superb exterior view of the bay itself.   This live bay cam view is principally of the shoreline just West of the aquarium and extending to the Hopkins Marine Station run by Stanford University.   This stretch of shoreline is protected space for the local marine life to use without concern for human intervention.   Please use the links above to visit both the MBA website and specific Bay live camera view.   Please consider a visit or donation to support their marine ecological work.
 
 
and yes Virginia, there’s more.   when you go to the MBA live cam, included is 24 hour audio of the bay meeting the shore.   beautiful.   good for your heart.   good for you.
 
 
 

a small touch of history

 
Cannery Row was the one time residence of Ed Ricketts, an early marine biologist, friend to John Steinbeck and mythologist Joseph Campbell, and author of Between Pacific Tides, considered a classic in marine ecology.
 
 
 
 

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.
 
 
 
 

when we both had bare feet


 

open hands

 
here, it glitters
sun, no sun, it glitters

we call it shard
a randomized collaboration

all things broken
found by hand

I never stopped loving you

fingertips gathering
blood by blood

bare touch
bonding two

beloved face
name submerged

here, it glitters
and I am home

with you, with you
 
 
 
 

bare feet

 
dusty skin
back to back

talcum earth
no question posed

second house
east of me

seedling there
blossom inside

beside a hill
like summer does

first love
is always first

no one else had that grace

then your dad said
moving away

 
 
 
 

me, 14 billion years ago


 
a poet who might be sad, but feels something else instead.
 
 
was I just another twinkle in some universal eye?    implied.
 
 
14 billion years ago, as flies the crow, nobody cared about what I wrote.   of course, no me, not yet, not for a very very very long time.   nobody was disturbed about that.   patient I suppose.   they assuredly could hold their breath.

and I should note, all this was perfectly fine with me too.   silently waiting, well, not waiting actually at all, and was one of my better talents then.   less so now, if you asked.

hadn’t even been to Disneyland yet.

someone just yelled out in the night.   not too far away.   never seems to happen when there’s sunlight around.

nobody is ever that young, not for very long.

The heart is an instrument, once broken, never repairs the same.   (Kevin Kling)   Odd, but I haven’t been thinking that way.   I remember instead how once broken, shattered, pieces can come back together, reassembled, purposed anew as mosaic.   like gravity when I first encountered that notion about broken things.

or maybe that’s just what I want to think?

desperate.   there’s a word I’ve become more familiar with.   am I that little kitten peeking from behind a single grape leaf, so small that one kernel of rice was a mouthful to chew.   grandmother Janet, she lured it out bite by eager bite on her outreached fingertip.   good life, good life, that was her wish.   sincerely turned to action in her hands taking on the softest shape of a kitten, now her new best rescued friend.

a difference of size, but she held me just the same.   unreservedly.

a wild life come to roost?   write more.   show more.   reluctance is not worth the weight.   so more words, close to daily now.   are they more dumb, a lure bobbing on the water’s face.    nibbles?   never was much good at fishing, maybe still.   then again, there’s that prayer answered with a single word – write.   who am I not to respond?   maybe we’ll call that faith.   an act of trust within an untrustworthy life?   maybe I don’t get too many more, although it’s not like I’m gonna use them up.   just me chasing a perfect word in a perfect poem?   good luck with that.   there is no easy simple sum of all the breaths I’ve taken.   time now to give some back?

of course conversation is communion too.   me, I can only do one half.   I am in your hands.   as we all are in each others.   in some circles it is said, the true nature of existence is love.   what’s that mean?   we should say simply, love is the unconditional granting of beingness, one to another.   nothing else.   no fairy tales.   yet, unconditional, isn’t that everything being exactly as it is.   no mean notion at all if you honestly look.

          how often found?    you answer that.

thus said, love is the space in which each atom each molecule each loaf of bread, each all of everything here exists.   not like it belongs to us, not like we can give or withhold.   most we can ever do is attempt to block it from expressing itself.
          as they say, get out of the way!

Somebody said, Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don’t do anything to make it impossible.   (Ron Padgett)   there are good hearted people in our world.   never lie about that.

show more.   so my walls my shelves have some objects of others expression I’ve come to appreciate.   but what good less you come to visit me in my room?   none at all.   so included here are many I hold dear for their generosity of expression.   maybe I find a little something to say along with each even if the connection requires a certain willingness to bend the fork.

so express what I can by word or by image.   day by day.

            when I talk to me

when I talk to myself, language adopts a gentle tone, addressing caressing the child of my name.   this living listens.   ears like songs.   or maybe rub my belly, small rounding circles like B. used to say, buddha belly, good fortune to touch.   she was the only one.   appreciation is a better gift.   leave history aside, you already lived those parts.   here child, take my hand.

and then one day, not unexpectedly, I went home.