being the middle child

one million poems, number two

you know what I mean, being the middle child, even if you were an only child, you know what middle means.

half so much of everything is still, everything.   what?   no matter what.

       don’t wait for an echo.   everything ain’t coming back.

no matter how many times paired, half remains everything.
if it isn’t, then it was never everything to start with.   this is recursive
truth.   the truth inside truth.   what’s so – is a less intimidating way to
say the same thing.
so in all the universe, this morning was the morning I got what love really means.   how it lands, how it looks.

when I give myself to love – that means I get everything – happiness, sorrow, desire, fear – everything.   it does not mean only happy times.   it means all times, all feelings, all thoughts.   we become transparent.

       is this how it feels to be a window?

       pardon my generous paraphrase.     (thanks Ren)

resistance is a kind of love; it is.   acceptance is also a kind of love.
we struggle, flailing, bouncing between the two.   then a moment comes,
we see we are the middle.

we are the river.   like water,

we are where the light flows.   we all, all of us, we are light.

how’s that for gospel?
what’s this all mean?   I’m not sure, but I’m sure it must mean
something, sometime, somehow.
maybe the smallest particle that makes existence exist is intention.

       what do we intend?    one million and two, counting.


This post is about poems, not mine nor poems rooted in language, but rather in directly pure and visceral experience within our physical reality.   Might then seem “about” waves or the art of big wave surfing, but no, rather about the relationship, human with elemental energy, which takes this stage to express itself.

So why such a posting on a poetry blog?   Fair question, but not hard to understand from several points of my personal compass here.   Life itself in whole can be viewed as poetic.   And all the more when performed to an exceptional degree of devotion and ability.   But more is more personal.

When originally posted my writing had become distressingly banal and mundane, frustrating enough to make any experience of peace elusive.   Add a bouquet of other on-going changes and the gradient got steeper still.   Not much “poeming” was one result.

Then by kind fortune I chanced upon a book, “The Wave” by Susan Casey, in part her shared experience of the lives of several big wave surfers, Laird Hamilton in particular.   I was most surprised, never an interest of mine – but now it was, renewing a passion I’d long thought vacant, beaten out of me.

      Big wave surfing, as background reference, means riding waves in the 30 to 40 foot range to begin and advancing onto 60 or 70 feet, with rare waves of towering 80 feet or more.   This is not an environment suited to any but the most skilled and respectful of wave surfers.
      “Watermen” (or women) they like to call themselves.   This is not a situation of “man vs nature”, as the elemental energy of these waves can easily crush and ruin the life of any person who does not well understand the nature and personality of this monumental water in motion.

Laird Hamilton, whose real eloquence becomes most visible on the waves, has said that big wave surfing requires sincere devotion, that mostly taking the form of “waiting”, being in a supreme state of readiness physically and mentally, and then awaiting the opportunity to apply that on the waves when conditions are just right to generate the truly largest waves.

Susan Casey does a superb job of describing these people and the waves they ride.   However here I’d simply like to visually present some of the most illuminating videos, to allow you to “see” for yourselves.
Offered these two (video) poems here.

Laird riding an amazing wave at Teahupoo in Tahiti.

       ☆     ☆     ☆     ☆     ☆
True Poetry-in-motion, Oxbow team riders Laird Hamilton, Kai Lenny and Jason Polakow using jet-ski tow assisted surfing at “Jaws in Hawaii”.   (slow motion video)   please expand to fullest enlargement
       ☆     ☆     ☆     ☆     ☆

      Tow surfing is a modern technique required to ride the very largest of waves which move too fast for conventional surfing to “catch” a wave. The jet-ski allows proper insertion onto a wave, then also serves to recover or rescue a surfer after their wave ride in the turbulent waters. This video clip beautifully lets you see the “process in whole” wave after wave continuously!

Revised from the original posting January 2012 on the blog, bearly audible.

because someone asked, when I said I’d come back next life as a surfer, and she asked why.   thank you Heather.


I refuse

one million poems, number one

       Earl blowing bubbles with Harry

introduction says.   something to say before I say what I mean.
it goes like this.

one million poems.   I like this because I know, I know right now, no doubts,
I will not cross that line.   there is a certain peace in knowing that.   a comfort of sorts.   wrote a group of poems previously, thirty of them.   for a while felt unsure if I’d finish, before, you know what.   but I did.   so now what?
       make a poem for me.     he said, she said.

you could break my heart with your poem, but I refuse

I understand, I do, but I refuse

no doubt about confusion, harm and pain, I know

but I refuse, because we are bigger than life is, really we are

even when it eats us alive.   I refuse to be smaller
than my thoughts.
maybe there’ll be pictures.   maybe not.   you know me.
so yea, pictures it is.
maybe we’ll talk about a mother.
the father who left.   the mother, she stayed.   the boy,
he fell into a crack.   no, he was the crack.

but then god said, please, stop doing that.   so,
he did.

healing always happens from the side before the cut.

imagine it’s day two

wouldn’t that be nice.   we made it, made it this far.
together, ain’t no time like tomorrow is.

imagine a slow piano riff.   go ahead.   we can do this.

might even be a million and one.   for all we know.

       do you recognize the smile?     I do.

asymmetrical.   ain’t that sweet.   just like the universe.

home.   it’s not where we’re going.   it’s where we’re coming from.

       do you feel the difference.   that certain pulse, resonate.
that Buddha head beneath the lamp.  the singing bowl from an ocean town.   a small purple glass dog with a metal collar my mother liked.
a ceramic leafed Christian cross, because it reminds me of you.
       you know.   I swear you do.

yea, maybe jazz was right after all.   look.   Sun’s coming up.

       I confess, she’s singing.
It’s not the pale moon that excites me…   it’s just the nearness of you.
I don’t know where this is going next.   I don’t.   but it’s gotta

begin somewhere.   this is that it.

we begin.

living inside a word

       an epic poem in few words

       contraindicated some poets say
not what a word means, but who means it.

made friends with a few brick walls learning that.

who loves me?   raise your hands.

OK.   no hands.   let me explain.

there is a bowl.   two hands cupped.   see.

they nourish me when they can.   when they’re full.

but the thing about nourishment, obvious isn’t it,

what nourishes is something anything outside myself.

If Wishes Were Horses, she said it first.   me next.

used to be, I was a grump about being likable.

collective likable.   you know, like I write from heart,

maybe I work for hours, finding rightmost words for you.

then not even the word, but an empty box, liked?
you understand – don’t mean much to me.

blah blah blah.   me speaking historically.

then this writer rider I deeply admired, she’d like me.

it was not the same.   one finger touch, can move a world.

the right finger.   who it’s connected to.

now that’s also what I mean.   me.   sincere.   meaning

I’ve been here.   with you.

I don’t do moods

I want soup.   maybe crackers too.

or maybe I don’t.   these are the decisions

I face, alone is not an answer

even when I lie to myself

a pleasant diversion.   see?   another lie.

but no, really, I’d like some soup

crackers too.   and a spoon.
what isn’t soup, you can keep.

I had soup.

now I’m going to sleep.

so there.

are stars doing it right?

first off, yes, I think so.   I do.   is that an act of faith?

when you’re as small as me, maybe faith is prudent.

and someday sometime one star will say – enough.

and that will be that.
am I an octopus?   or even just like an octopus.

imagine.   would that be so bad?   maybe, beautiful.

maybe we are.

maybe we are, beautiful.
still looking for the best words to say to you.

you let me know when I get it right.
yes, I know it’s the same.   but that’s what it wanted to do.   don’t blame me.

memories, an audio recording

do you feel?

believe what you see.

an empty path.   no one there.

it winds down.   away.   out of sight.

I watch for hours.

I never stop.

you’ll need a coat.

no, not that color.   more blue.

it’s all echoes.   isn’t it?

I didn’t think it would be like this.

it isn’t.

can we have a dog?

I like going for walks when no one sees.

yet here you are.   seeing me.

there are no echoes here.

why do you keep saying that?

we fear everything we don’t understand.

everything we recognize, we love.

she took my hand.

everything changed.

what do you mean by that?

she didn’t say.

we had a child.

I know.   we called it Dare.

humans always speak in riddles.

not riddles.   threads.


was it a mistake, I’m wondering

was it a mistake that we learned to speak?

I know, I know, look at all the loving things we can express

but some others too, not so kindly meant.   both, you know.

I observe the critters, a living sea through which we stride,

see how they approach, how they greet with nuzzle and paw.

this is not a solution offered.   it is an observation.

one I might prefer from the inside, looking out.

maybe I’ll just curl up in your lap.

double dog dare you

        alright, my lyric here is more imagination than historic
        but so gimme a little forgetful memory break.     OK?

do the Hokey Pokey, OK begin

put your big foot in
take your big foot out

put your big foot in
and you shake it all about

you turn yourself around

that’s what it’s all about.

put your whole self in
take your whole self out

put your whole self in
and you shake it all about

you turn yourself around

that’s what it’s all about.
OK, still with us here?   are you smiling yet?

life gets different, but no better than this.
       time to dance, and oh yea, a bonus too

image:   Bryan Ledgard, Wikipedia
   PS.   how’s this for a loud noise?

make a loud noise like this

do you hear the plates move?

no, not the ones where you put your food,

the earthen plates underneath your feet.

do you hear the magma cracking rock

moving toward the beach.   here and

there, it wants to take a peek at you.

do you hear the waves when they speak.

they don’t always.   are you there when

they do, despite the ruckus storm.

do you hear the Sun when it shines,

it does you know.   fire makes noise.

do you hear the rain when it rushes

past, teasing your feet to go its way.

do you hear the hillside scrub painting

the air.   do you put it in a jar, then

bring it home with you.   do you?

open the lid.   let it loose.