may you smile.
     Lightness is always good when plowing language.
What and how to say and be?
Maybe   here    is the best I can do.

Maybe my expectations don’t fit simple truth. Do my intentions really matter as a step ahead? Do I even, honestly, get to prescribe how my intentions reach to ground? Or should I simply look at them as shadow stitched onto my feet? Abundant self-criticisms. Moment inside moment. No quaking earth, but one foot in front of the other. What about all of those thousand thousand steps? Arrogant to criticize myself for placing the fork to the left or right of the plate? What other sins?

Does the cat crossing the street lament self-doubts? The birds embracing the limbs they rest upon? The window, the door? What storms intrude that make any difference to the feast? Cross the street. That’s enough.

Breathe.   Observe.   Participate.   Appreciate.
When I was rather young it was joy that frightened me more than pain.
However.   Cobblestones.   I’ve been in the river a long time now.
dear Charles.  Remembering, a present tense verb. Two footprints in the sand. Do you hear the village cleansing bells? Men lift and persuade the loadsome bell platform down the narrow village street. Homes, the sliding doors open wide. Families, they move the doors. Rooms open with sky. Purity of regard. The way that breathing moves the chest, moves the sky.

Once you asked, what could you do to make me feel safe with you? Anything. Anything, you said. (Who says and means something like that!) My silence was impermeable. Meaning, no, nothing to give. I was afraid. Now, in a new tropic dream, you enter the circle, you ask again, come with me, and now this time, I do. Did you see?

Blessings chimed.   Expunge broken things.   Lift.   Move the bell.   Repeat.

Ten-ish I gather my daily regimen of pills. Then drizzle them onto tongue. Some water. Then swallow. Do I hate taking pills? I used to say, well, think, I hated these exotic shells of chemistry that keep my blood intact. These days I favor not using that word, not what I really mean – too violent. Language makes difference. Besides, emotionally the moment that most confronts my attention are the simple actions moving pills from their bottles into my attendant cup. That’s when resistance happens loud for me.


I am probably mistaken much of the time. However this gathering of me is all I have to offer – except for having you. And yes, no matter distance, your living colors into mine. A matter of choice.

At my best, and that is only a fraction of me, I want to know who you are and I want you to see who I am. To know and be known.

Beloved.   More than a word.
     the simple breath that kept him alive.
          Naomi Shihab Nye
A recent post I read brought to question relevance. So what if I have cancer? How mundane. Some people have cats, some have dogs, some, nothing to eat. Although honestly, so often now I color my thoughts with a myriad of not-yets possible. Far from any semblance of enlightenment. No, not a thought about why me, nor even how do I escape the fate of life.
          But where is the grace in my heart?

          Times in the morning early
          when it rained and the long grey
          buildings came forward from darkness
          offering their windows for light

     William Stafford, from Some Things the World Gave
generosity is an expression of gratitude.

said another way.   generosity is the root verb of gratitude.

said another way.   it is gratitude in motion.
May my life be received like fresh baked bread.
Poems.   A late life arrival but here for the duration. I said I would – write – but sometimes it’s shaky ground. More than desire it takes the guise, do I have anything worth saying? No escape. Bonded companions perhaps – write and doubt. Mutual regard?   But what if.

What if language grows opaque and rigid for me? Memory is a real question that way. Experience seems trustable, but words? For that I need a good hammer and nails. What to write if words get thin?
          I don’t have an answer.

I have a possible obsession with the question – are poems real? Are they merely ink on paper? Do they harvest some difference in more than just a busy life with a bag of marbles to collect? I suspect they do. I hope they do. I think a poem can carry a breath. And one breath can begin Anything. And Everything. Participation is what makes a difference.
          This is an unexpected universe.

Write a poem that heals.   Isn’t that real? Possible? Once upon a time I gave this response, Read this poem aloud. Me, I don’t think it met the challenge, not in a conventional poem manner. Yet the title itself, that invitation to “read aloud”, that carries engagement in a real human sense.   Voice.
          That realization is within easy reach.
                 excerpt from Story Time

          Bring me a new one, maybe with a dog
          that trots along side, and a desert with a hidden
          river no one else finds, but you go there
          and pray and a great voice comes.
                 And everything listens.

                 William Stafford
This journal posting goes maybe one step more near. First and last lines. Keep them but toss the rest as you wish. Touch. Touch and motion is how I measure truth. Connection is only realized in twos. Given by one, received by another. Relationship, by another name. Smile.
          Message delivered.

Does a life have purpose being here? Is purpose attractive (not pretty, but attracting)? A pebble like a tree like an afternoon wind like the sound of a voice, these too apply their purpose being here.
          Genuine acceptance is thus defined.
Is my life not poem enough?
may your face smile when you think of me.

must be elephants

the thing about making things hidden is to put them right in front of your nose.  that’s said by experience.  literal.  figurative.

if I’m kind, I’ll give attention as observational, rather than judgmentally.  habit wiggles its ears, entering the room.  tonight I think, I’d rather not even observe with a mind to correct.  would that be ungenerous to simple honest seeing sight?

there was a point, young-time, and specifically so, when I changed.  long recognized as pivotal, yet equally so, untouchable.

a black cowboy hat with white trim, a sheriffs badge, (and sorry, but) a holster and toy gun.  no boots, just shoes.  I was a walking talking dream on my sleeves.  but costumes are symbols for water running deeper than common sight – props are just props, but past wet roots is an answer to the question of not what – not about furniture – but who.

I remember the day.  I was young.  suppose no one yet had ever said an unkind word to me.  thus ill prepared, another kid said something to invalidate my fantastical view of life.  just now the feeling – what was damaged was my sense of the poetry of myself, my life in whole.  and yea, my choice, feeling smaller, feeling judgmentally curbed.

how did it really feel?  my happiness went to sleep.

alright, no discussion heals history.  neither is that why I am here.  what I always left tabled when remembering was & is who was I before my path went another and half-hearted, blinds pulled down sort of way.

when I looked I looked no further than the point of change!

anger has had more appeal than a wondering thirsty sight.  is it about vibration?  confusing calm versus a loud noise?  even today I notice some second glances when confrontation’s in the neighborhood.  but it’s the traditional ice that once sank a boat.  mostly underwater.

I’ve both fondness and faith in free-association.  reasons might render understanding, but no illumination.  it is more than embarrassing to forget so thought-fully, so shadowless.  maybe a notion in palm of simple kindness?  do I wonder what that child would think of me now?  but more my place to hold the sugar here in place?  forgiveness.  generosity.
looking is not a passive process.
what you bring becomes a lens.
there’s a notion that much of our sense of self is rope-bound onto place and people.  change those two and history takes a break.  I never did that intentionally but by circumstance.  moving home, arriving seven hundred miles from my life time geography, a different me came into the light.  what was discomfort was now nourishing.

maybe enough, saying hello to a ghost?

say something

as an antidote to fear of death I eat the stars
      Maria Popova
too many words.  too few spoken aloud.  stumble is good.

my child, you are beautiful.  I feel pain saying that to myself.

I used to think myself innocent because I didn’t inflict myself outwardly.  that was the justified story.  but no, merely subterfuge to have my way.

speak.  stumble.  be seen.  be known, be known.

when I hear secular, I wanna say sacred.  yea, sometimes I’m amused being contrary-wise.  yet one-side is always a parse of the whole.  tell me how we see two of anything.  are secular & sacred mirror imprints of our existing?  unified.  two hands, is that a clue?

no, most churches wouldn’t much care for me.  I agree.

The essential quality of the infinite is its subtlety, its intangibility.  This quality is conveyed in the word spirit, whose root meaning is ‘wind or breath’.  That which is truly alive is the energy of spirit, and this is never born and never dies.

      David Bohm, physicist 01
I take this truth to be self-revealing.

what is, is.  what isn’t, isn’t.
yet there’s a lurking sense of humor.  everything.  everything includes everything that is and everything that isn’t.  that’s by nature, by essence.  by secular logic too.  does that feel right?  your choice, you know.

these notions sit quietly in the corner of my head and don’t seem to want leaving.  so this breath is how I see trees that move and wind on my skin and water on my feet.

put it this way.  I see sacred in secular.  said either way.  no exclusions.
isn’t that love?
defining love.

my one time teacher had lots to say.  about existence, about everything.  I think we were aligned.  how all this came to be, why it is the way it is.  all that stuff.  but I had an exception left feral outside on the doorstep.

what is, is.  yep, no problem.  but he included more.  affection.
I did not.  it didn’t seem a necessity.  but that was my hidden disguise of pain, of fear, me thinking myself alone.  he had better eyes, better heart.

I was wrong.

he loved me.  I wouldn’t love him.  too discomforting to see, to say.
what proof?  be kind, be generous.  the proof is unconditional choice.  and we can’t give it away, only demonstrate.

some say love doesn’t even belong to us.  no more than we own wind.
defining intimacy.

do we say, a genuine open willingness?  yet often palliative solutions abound.  ain’t that normal?  saved for only one?  withheld for only one?  does intimacy mean you gotta live with some only-one, love only-one, bind for all time?  I discovered one-day that I could feel intimacy for even one-moment, and it was as rich as a thousand years might pretend.

does sky breathe for only one of us?  choose.
long way to say, that’s how I want my writing to be.  me too.

I fail a lot.  I think too much.  say words that are only thoughts.  easy habit.  common habit.  shared habit.  lies I’m unwilling to break?  visceral feelings have better moments to explore.
free association.  a downhill stream.  trust is required.  trust is the reward.  say blue, what comes next?  the answer you get is the answer you get.  a certain lack of effort, struggle, except in letting go.  there’s that sense of humor again.  rivers don’t laugh, but they do smile.
this time of year our garden abounds with spiderwebs.  foggy mornings witness their thirsty tapestries.  I appreciate their companionship.  about writing, I’d like to cast good threads.  it is less about what I say than what you discover of your own relationship with experience.  that’s you more than me!

I’ll miss spiderwebs when I’m not here to see.

I’ll miss the imprint of a maple leaf in wet, now solid, concrete.
and while my thoughts and feelings spiral about a breath, consider who we are.  mostly hydrogen, mostly water, mother sea, mother star and mostly only slightly occupied space.  David Bohm suggested when gazing into the heavens, rather than empty lifeless space, see the fabric of energetic spirit, a matrix filling everything and here and there bubbles of matter afloat in that sea.

so then, walking down the street, the wonder of galaxies whose faces I briefly meet.  maybe fall in love.  do stars too, love all the light they see?

now too the doctors say, here take this pill.  do this for so long as your life takes balance.  when they said cancer, years ago, fear was never a companion for me.  life wiggles a little differently is all.  but now, third time’s a charm, it is the financial side that says distress.  never was my charm.  it has no mass but it does have weight in thought.

writing I think, I feel, will be the better of medicines.
01  Infinite Potential, The Life & Ideas of David Bohm (YouTube video)

the thing in my head

NOT BEING A POEM  or just treading water?
A Voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
      Marcel Proust
what do you do when you look in the mirror and no one looks back?
no, not writer’s block, more pervasive.  red blood knows.
room for rent
you’d of thought I’d heard, remembered remembering, wouldn’t you?  if someone says, oh yea, there’s a thing in your head.  memorable?  but I didn’t, even as local knowledge says otherwise.  meningioma, they said.  like a distressing thumb pressing home.  less memory, less balance.  less.  what to do?  take it away, they say to me.  they do.
yet another uninvited uncle remains, just won’t leave.  it has a tail like a question does.  but words say nothing of experience.  being me.
3 AM.  my sugar is low and I’m feeling it.  some sweetness and soon I’m mended right.  go out to the balcony.  wandering rain is washing the Washington fire smoke away.  some, but only some.  a Puget Sound fog horn makes its low slow song out in the dark.  sailors beware.  I am comforted, made right again.
the horn is like my writing is.  finding home is water I don’t know.  two poems, first in few.  one about the companionship of snails and a white butterfly in this pandemic haze, another day in paradise.  and the other, this one here, the thing in my head.  literal story telling.
not really a poem.  just something to say.
better wisdom recently sown says, what isn’t a poem?  I don’t know.
What is human existence?  It turns out it’s pretty simple:
We are dead stars, looking back up at the sky.

      Dr. Michelle Thaller
what star ever dreamed of becoming me?
me, I like to say heart rather than think.  heart is visceral.  is that me?  thoughts some folk think they should eschew, but nothing wrong.  thoughts are how we make peanut butter and jam sandwiches.  a very useful skill.  left hand, right hand.  but ask, what comes before the thought is a thought?  is that also radiant of my body and head?
I’m tired of being woken up from sleeping.
three in the morning, but not the same as before.  I am feeling afraid.
I have a spinal tap due later this day.  I feel afraid of the pain.  and pain has been a frequent companion these last several weeks.  that sense has made some memories.  but are they feelings or actually “thoughts”?
fear I suspect is me not listening.
I am being too loud.  three in the morning is both shadow & whispering.  I go stand on the balcony.  I hear the many wheels of a train moving by four blocks down toward the water from me.  but I’m more loud than the train.  the lady across the street isn’t awake watching television now.  I rather like the changing colors visible through her front window there.
then I remember my first spiritual teacher.  why say “spiritual”?  his whole life was how he taught real living.  then I touch the memory of his dying and he didn’t want to go.  seemed almost counter clockwise at the time, but no, he was “perfectly” human.  one of us.  what grace is given me?
I loved the man and I was afraid of the man.  he once said to me, tell me what you need of me and that’s how I will be for you, allowing you to come close with me.  who says something like that to another human being all genuine as he was?  no pretense.  authentic.  I never answered him!  I was that measure not open to our lives.  seems impossible, but silently, I said nothing, meaning – no.  I don’t talk about that.
When I dream at night, they save a place for me, no matter how small, somewhere by the fire.
      William Stafford
home.  more you than any other meaning.  remind me please.
between head surgery and an intense pain at the base of my spine my recovery healing surprises most everyone.  mostly I feel unattached to fear.  that surprises me more than the other.
all this is inside my head.  more thoughts than stars.
as I begin to understand the words, I miss the concept, I miss the experience.  to remove something I often put a mask over it.  lost in my remembering story.
at his funeral I thought, alright lesson made, time to rise and show us all.  that thought repeated from chapel to graveside.  then the final layer of mortar to seal the door.  the lesson would have no excuse of miracle aside from us to carry home.
I am my own gravity.  fear.  loving.  choose.
me and other blinking stars.
the reality of all your shapes is here, resident within my head.
and one white butterfly where the garden breathes.  this too.