alone in the sea

alone in the sea.   what’s that mean.

not so single-minded as might seem.   here, in this cove, he’s the only one, only harbor seal.   head above the water.   yet birds, generous company.   and an ocean full of seals, seals and fish.   so who’s alone.

me, I’m being some slow right now.   no poem yet in a crib.   yet I feel some responsibility, not leaving you alone, untended to.   maybe thinking, does he care?   he does.   I do.   so here, these sea flowers for you.
MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
please visit and/or support the Monterey Bay Aquarium.   
they make the ocean more alive.   us too.

please do enlarge the header image.   else miss seeing what’s to see.


the pursuit of happiness

in the midst of thinking, is this the end of me, trying not to be dour about it all, not be afraid, this mystery whispered to me, said, remember happiness.
     can I make room on the bench for this companion.

Maneki Neko – Japanese Lucky Cat.   Kind of in thought, the notion why obtain more “stuff” if I’m not going to be around.   Not a bad notion in general anyway, however I had considerable energy on NOT adding more stuff.   But looking at this whimsical creature, it became a statement for me,
     I am here and there’s still room in my life for a Lucky Cat.

I know it can be hard (for many of us) when life seems an endurance test.
Sometimes “letting go” seems a reasonable choice.   I understand.   I do.
However, this existence is full with wonder of all sorts.   Every moment, every thing, every person – precious, and I want to stay.   Discomfort is less than the beauty of being here.   I want this life given me.   I remain as I may.
     That’s what a lucky cat means to me.   Lucky me.

     As Kurt Vonnegut declared, Lucky Mud.

In Japanese culture (not Western) the upright paw indicates a beckoning gesture (not to be mistaken for a wave as Western eyes might see).   The original white color is to get good luck and overall good fortune, while black is to ward off evil, red is for good health, yellow or gold is for wealth, and pink is for romance.

     Maneki Neko will enlarge to a rather lovely big size if you so ask of it.

        the pursuit of happiness

        packing for mars seems the perfect thing to do,
        more than over the moon, a fortnight at least away,
        a perfect disunity letting the garden go to seed

        turn your back and everything goes to rain,
        falling deeds, erosion’s hoe, blankets scattering
        soft sleep on a hard carpet floor

        the preface, it fills one person’s looks,
        meaning not what but how they see, you see?
        riverbed pebbles being merely consequential history

        we eat the world, a long long thread of it,
        no body an island, yet water all around is the root,
        real truth just as sprouting from an open palm

        a hand sewn meal rising and tucking back
        inside water’s shoreline face, constellations
        we name as memories dot for dash

        so we’ll lay in sweet socks and brimming full
        only those delicate memories of no consequence,
        just ripe for unknown harvesting arms

        a bottle of breath, a loaf of shoes, a comb for
        remembrance, an empty bowl for sleep, two hats
        for heading east, pen and paper, words to map

        come to my bedside at the end of all things
        and I’ll tell you, unashamed, how it was to drink
        and pass the cup, lips to lips, satisfied
        leave the window open for me, please


we touch another planet

James Web Space Telescope measures the temperature of an exoplanet.

when we think on this it becomes, yes, a pretty big deal going forward from here.   I know we’ve learned to see more and more, however, now this feels different.   for us, temperature means touch.
click on the image to link to the full esa website announcement.


what’s the big deal about being true



      the truth, the whole truth, and Nothing but the truth
      is there another choice

my tongue, yea, made from stars
but what we deem consciousness
that’s the same as the space between the stars
meaning, the greater breath of the universe.

maybe Father’s hat.

I’ve looked at my screen of perception and
thought, what am I looking at, or, that’s a cow
driving a bus, what, oh no, a boy on roller-skates.

she wrote, In the late fall, the oyster mushrooms
look like lilies from a distance.

suppose that’s what iceberg sailors thought.

so how does the universe seem, from way out here.
       behind your eyes.

remember, no question marks.   why.   because.
maybe because everything is a question, because
I’d rather you see them for yourselves.
in youth I labored to find the one true answer.
bright in the dark.   but look, one nature of this universe
       is illumination.
older I get the harder to choose just one thing.

sailor beware.   what star casts judgment rather than
       simply Light.

surrender being-wrong.   remember, no more sin.
choose.   which bubble are you.   now
was that choice or observation.

image:   “Contemplation”, part of the collection, Tidelands
                 Maureen J Haldeman, MJH Fine Art Photography
image used with her kind permission.   and my sincere appreciation.   one might ask which comes first, image or text?   sometimes it’s more like two strangers meeting in a room and a relationship comes to be.

                 please give her fine creative website a visit.

somehow I think that old exclamation, it’s full of stars, applies right here.   amazing universe in every detail.

I’ve assumed I’m doing this wrong

        was I wrong.
for a long breath of life.   living like
nothing matters.   especially the root,
        meaning me.

what compass bearing is that choice.
some say first question really is.
        eyes closed.   eyes open.
clouds broken, language shapes itself.
I am not a question of pretty, not pretty.
I am not a question of smart, not smart.
is this good heart.   not soundlessly asleep.

not a matter of wise, not wise.
yellow daffodils begin to bloom in the garden.
but it got cold again, so now they’re hesitant.
        blossoms aren’t about time.

        blossoms are about, here I am.   this is me.
        see the difference.

how much is language a raft.   what’s connecting.
        generosity, acceptance, compassion, hunger,
        thirst.   leaning the other way from indifference.
        expression, a place to roost any day of the week.

like otters in the sea.   being afloat.
being companion.   grace arrives.

in all the universe nothing matches the sense of touching you,
nothing.   kin of a thousand choices.   you move with my
        fingertips.   life, it’s true.
I’ve thought to be wise about not being here.
I mean, what we call alive.   no rules apply.

one might make for greater ease.   let go.

consider.   maybe dead is still some thing.
does a rock feel any the less for being a rock.
imagine we’re both wrong.
imagine there’s another life.
        side by side, past, future, whensoever.
        you choose.
imagine this is that one speaking to you.


that’s the message.   is that enough.
nothing has just one answer anymore.
if I have to choose, I choose everything.

    yet in ending there is one shadow kept,
    this measure a mystery, one shy ounce thus
    make tomorrow more bright than regret.


breathing water

low tide means the entire bay is lower.      imagine that.
                 that’s a lot more than me.
like salmon do, I’m spawning for home.
MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
please visit and/or support the Monterey Bay Aquarium.   
they make the ocean more alive.   us too.

please do enlarge the header image.


my morning window

if I had one place to be forever, this is that place.     yes, just like this.
I may be seven hundred miles measured reach away these days, but if you asked me please, quietly, whisper in my ear, what place is first home for my heart.   this is what you’d hear.   every salty wave, every scrap of seaweed riding blue swells, every distant cloud, every grey sky, every critter swimming to my eye, every morning truck climbing up the hill afore the town awakes, except for me.   I made it through the dark to be here inside first Light.

I’ve no desire to leave.   my only wish would be having you beside me here.

no such thing as too much.
MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
please visit and/or support the Monterey Bay Aquarium.   
they make the ocean more alive.   us too.

please do enlarge the header image.



journal that wanted to be a poem.   maybe it is.

when was it true.   where.   why say it, when I mean me.

an easy search.   one greyhound bus ride away.

over the low bowed western brow, to coastal plains.   artichokes by the bucket.   Fort Odd, when moms and dads come to visit sons in their basic training.   two colors only.   olive green for people.   somber yellow buildings.
all dressed the same, marching, shooting guns, leaving poison in the sand for their children to find.   insane.

freedom.   released.   that greyhound steps foot into a small coastal town.
a corner shop selling magazines and candy, and yea, where the busses stop.   end of the line.
       I thought it was the beginning.

driver opens the belly, gets out a suitcase, maybe two.   oh that smell of diesel fuel.   says, come away with me.   taxi rolls us and baggage downhill to Lovers Point, mere smattering of blocks, part vertical.   Borg’s Motel, as close to water & rocks as one could get.   a room, second floor.
       settle quickly, children have no time to waste.

cross the street hugging the coastline edge.   a lawn, some swings, cinderblock public restroom, plants so content they mended themselves through the seasons.   air, wet ocean breath.   twisted coastal pines, the older, the more inspired, beautiful.   couples, families, children, tourists, some bring food to picnic tables and fire pits.   ground squirrels keep close watch, gulls too.   the pathway is hard sand.   here’s the choice.

right, goes down in steps to a beach where moms and youngest children sit and play.   left, all rock, growing out of itself, leaning half on its side, wishes intertwined with salt water feet.   we are arrived.
       narrative here is eyes closed.   I see, no matter what.

take a breath.   one more.   which first.   memory or photograph.   blended.
another truth.   this moment I’ve nothing better to do.
       do I have your ear.
a dull worn red painted bath-house adjoining the public swimming pool.
if you didn’t dare the ocean, you dared here.   above the bath-house a family restaurant.   we ate there from time to time.   owned by this French lady, an accent like just off the boat.   sweetie & dear, common means of familiar address.   maybe she’d come, visiting at the table with you.   it was just that kind of world, and time – and person.

outside and down, a beach hamburger shack.   best salmon burger – ever.
but that was years later.   one more set of steps and sand and beach and the most gentle harbored waves.   stepping in deep dry sand you stagger some.
mothers had no fear of their childrens fate.   water as cold as Aleutian Islands only slightly warmed.   but kids don’t turn blue, only adults.
maybe seven years in age, maybe 1952.   if old enough you know how much time turns its hand.   even the same is not the same.   a thousand details change.   now memory needs be telescopic.   then again, I’ve returned so many times it all looks like this.    mirrors.

    John died here decades more after this.   his song said,

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

       observing with a right kind eye.

if you want to see into dark, then you be darker.   thus
dark becomes Light.   thus the glass bottom gondolas.
draped around your window a dense curtain does the job.
no motor, no disturbance.   clarity invites engagement
below.   fish between seaweed fronds, tall as a tree.
crabs with one big claw.   starfish colors speak out loud.

I’ve decided, more better than a zoo-ish aquarium.
let observer observe, not imprison.   kindness is just
this much intimate.   (sadly we lost our way, allowed
those boats to dissipate.)   gone to dust.

our relation however was tangential.   I rode & looked.
remember now.   this photo is slender hint for you.
       so many desirable things that could be true.
       the point of this is.

better to look at the world through the lens of a glass bottom boat.

       this is.     this isn’t.

what if I am neither.   what’s the third in-between.
grey is not the answer to black and white.   is polar even right attitude.
          or is that, altitude.

          what is, is that.

I tried to pull the water with me when I left.   didn’t work.
I’m here, dry.   no matter how much I wanted to steal one good idea.

a usual course of thought.   this and that.   but water, it is just one thing.
ten fingers make two hands, two arms, one body.   the same.   it’s me.

what’s it mean.   being broken, but connected, continous.   I don’t know.
       is it another lie.
       time changes everything.

more accurately if less poetic, everything changes and we call that time.
                Monterey Historical Society
image:  primary beach, Pacific Grove, 1907 (way before my time).
my time began about 1952, but in a way, I never left since, child or adult.
please keep it to yourself.   a secret.   being born into quiet water with
swan glass bottom gondola boats.   like Light inside the water.

       suspended from the sky, head in the sea.
and yep, still no question marks.   not my taste.   I insist.   but just for me.

John (above) means, John Denver.   good eye.

thanks, about time (she said)

    odd how even so few as three words can be rearranged.

it’s kind of a zoo inside my head.   pardon please doubtless mistakes I’m near bound to make.   but I’d like to think kindly of each and every wild critter here contained.   fair warning though, they might just lick your face.

old adage.   you are what you eat.   I have one, more my own.

       you are who you appreciate.

so that’s big half of what I’m doing here.   neither is that meant figurative.
you, you’re included too.   let’s begin.   join me please.
about relationship.
mother, Virginia.   fair enough starting there.   grandmother, Janet.   great uncle, Louis.   young uncle Robert, we said, Bob.   blood family.
Carolee Bennett.   do what’s different, unexpected, as often as you can.

Ren Powell.   prose is poetry.   she taught me that.   organically.

Laura Bloomsbury.   photography is poetry.   see, she is.

Cindy Knoke.   colors like this woman.   I do too.

Kerfe.   she’s all over the place.   thankfully.
not forgetting, Julie.   she who cares for me.   my life is hers.
have you noticed.   I have.   who you appreciate becomes more beautiful.
again, not figurative.   maybe my eyes just open more, really see in front of my face.   whatsoever the truth, it pleases me.   sincere.

due regard, William Stafford.   he who openned poems to me.  no less, my life.   American poet and pacifist.   Appointed the twentieth Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, 1970.

       Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean.     Stafford
I do.
about writing.
why write.   said before, however.   bottom of an unhappy barrel, I made a prayer, said, what do I do?   commonplace thoughts swarmed round my head.   next day arrived.   no clouds parting.   no face of god overhead.   but more clear than blue sky, one word.   write.   just that, nothing more.

I took it as genuine.   besides, if I posed a prayer, least appreciative response would be, take the answer to good heart.   I did.   what’s that not mean – not write and publish, not a great novel, not even poetry (my choice, that), not write well, not fame or recognition, not one whisper more.   write.

I took it like a father might say to a son, please go mow the lawn.

that’s the gravity beneath my sky.   I feel thirsty when I don’t.   yes, true, I have self-centered thoughts, like anyone and there are issues about what poems have for a result.   sometimes I’ve nearly stopped.   but the boat remains.   now, current has more draw.
not much book schooling on my part, except for those I read myself.
fish in the net.   I try to pay attention.   I work to learn.

I am friends with words with language, with meanings and good faith.

I like poems that talk with themselves.

I like fresh caught words.   not the same porridge every day.   please.

I make my own rules of thumbs.   what works is what works.   nothing else matters more than shoes & socks.

       faith to me means, god never took us out of paradise.

so remember who and where we are.   no lies.

no world traveller.   so write from where I live.   small observations.

free associate.   this process I trust implicitly.   ask, what response comes to mind, trust that it relates.   why.   because it just did relate.   someone wisely once said, in life understanding is the bobby-prize.   accept what you receive.   some call that grace.   me too.

engage.   that’s the part that rubs the most.   writing is a solitary process.   fine.   but later, can we talk, writer to writer, person to person.   curiosity.   (honestly, lonely sometimes).   (don’t play if you’re unwilling to pay the price.)   (but still, you understand.)
some bowls I bring to this feast.   a few more pages wanting me.

poetic minimalism.   big words for small things.   fewer words that shy from contribution given.   more focus laid to active words, old habits require labor to break.   but look, where the meaning rests.   as well, more like real life casual conversation, corners rounded off.

space & form.   these do matter to me.   constantly.   regarded like commas and periods.   like music is, the space in between is how the notes take needed breath.   confess I’m as much visual as audible.   maybe I think they are the same.   can’t help myself.

and a tail I hope forgives me some.   or not.   I consider no-sin to try and fail when the labor is of good heart.   some new path through the briar.   learning smiles more on failure than any otherwise.
last and first, slow drum that it is.

there are issues afoot.   two doctors examine and treat and say, doing well all considered.   yet that’s not how I feel inside myself.   don’t know last pages, not yet I think.   however aggrieved if I move out of sight with no due right thanks given to some ones who’ve been good company.

odd to say, but, explicit serves better fare than implicit, unknowing.

       I want to appreciate being alive.

know this.   to write is one gift.   to read is another gift.

       my gratitude.


a compendium of wondrous wondering

I am in awe of how many wondrous secrets (and not secrets) there are in the world.   big and wide and round.

there is so much to eat.   so much to see, to understand.   to appreciate.
I’m not big enough.   my life’s not big enough.   so I smile as much as possible.
last time I looked, really looked, you were all so beautiful.   not a lie.

          I can’t complain.   I won’t.
It occurs to me now at this elevation in life, toward the ending of my personal portion of life, how disconcerting it is, how this-me, this collective experience (saying simply “memory” is not big enough, full enough) will evaporate, will dissipate when this body ceases to live the way we think as living.   Seems no glamour in being past-tense.   Being unavoidable does not ameliorate.

       why pain, why joy.

the truth is just the truth.

the only reason truth seems elusive is
because we live so much with our lies.

we mistake, thinking truth is just one more lie.
the universe is just the universe.   existence too.

if we ask how do we cope, ask the universe.

the universe does not avert its eyes.

the universe does not go away.

the universe does not sleep.

the universe just is.   is is.

why pain why joy.   because.
no matter what I say, it will not feel like enough.   what about you.

me, I read too slow.   I think too slow.   old tectonic faults.

       I walk slow (just about right I think).
one truth is this.   (reprise)


the Dalai Lama told me so.