looking from here

here, this path you may dare navigate, then by chance grant bare fallow reach

face to face, sacred poem dares

dare you risk your wooden boat past certain seas, not knowing what comes next beneath your furrowed gaze, new Worlds or the edge of Everything?
maybe words unshaped by wind and risk.   maybe meanings unlike meant yesterday?   does your voice pronounce unkempt reason here?
you don’t know what you don’t know.    poems are bigger than.
            by nose or tail as is your like, so engage (another) self.

go.   sit outdoors, blindfolded.   for a time listen, feel, taste the air.
then, unmasked, write what landed on you.

close your eyes.   draw a circle with your pen.   is it round?   does it connect?
now put three words inside.   then one more, a cousin, outside the line.

rub hands together like starting a fire.   by your hands, give that heat to your face your eyes your ears.   write how that arrives and leaves.

meditate on a single breath.   now, write that.

small mirror in hand, write only what you see behind yourself.   dare you also walk that path?

make your space too dark to see.   now write.   worry not about following lines, rather how do the words want to shape themselves.

observe a garden bird for so long as it wants to be seen.   disinterest disallowed.   what difference betwixt flight and land?   say what you see.

write a poem left-handed – or whichsoever is reversed.   give attention to how thoughts ride and reside with the words given onto the page.   what difference granted space?
            let sleeping dogs lie.
what makes them sacred?   your heart & hand, your fingers like morning bells.

this is how you learn to play the violin.


in many ways I’d rather be here than someplace else.   what difference I make, makes no difference here.   fish will find me familiar fare.
becalmed means staying in place.   water says, please.
not so easy, speaking truth.   so I tell myself, the world still shines like heaven does.   no, don’t think it is diminished even an atom’s worth.   but me?   I feel excluded.   that’s not possible.   same water, same ocean, same sky even.   
there’s the lie.   familiar, I should admit.   a perfect world with an imperfect me.   my logic ain’t even dependable.   memory is shy.   like I used to be.   now there’s fog between me and my eyes.   I used to adore the fog.   now I just feel confused.

for a time I thought the thread was linear, one after another you understand.   thinking my share of life growing short, though that coming with a certain peace.   then, less dire, being focused on more lively attitude – just because.    maybe that was more-right I felt.   then, was it next, realizing my attitude made absolutely no difference in how the soup would result.   my body a ship, me a passenger.   now they seem a matter of simply holding hands, all attitudes available all the time.   choose.

the medical teams did their chore, fixing me – well, better than before.   and a second now is testing my chemistry – so far so good – or – too early to say.   maybe I feel better.   maybe physically.   but there’s another ring to wear.   how do I feel?   I mean, how do I feel being me?   not an easy question to answer right now, today.

the queen is dead, long live the king.

seems appropriate to say, even if I can’t say why.

maybe it’s arrogance or defensiveness, why I hold myself apart – worse, not better, is still apart and a manner of crown if you understand.   ungenerous of me.   the answer to pain is love.   with another once upon a time, we said that.   does not say what pain qualifies.   and I did say I would never lie about the truth of being here.   if it seems something less, then that’s a statement about myself, not about the world of life.   you understand?
perhaps the best spoonfuls of this whole post are the two pictures of Monterey Bay in the morning fog.   the rest, the text, your forberance is asked.   but still feel I owe you something of me, no matter the glamor or no.

I’ll work on a better attitude.

            please fully enlarge images for best views

MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.   please support the Monterey Bay Aquarium

young fossil feet

some future day will some creature, someone not us, find this relic this remembrance this sign of our passing, some folk they say, who made their own rock and here these traces of the world inhabited then.   

certainly the memory of a fallen leaf.   maybe even a shoe.

here, see, how we look

how we look is how we understand.

there was a young woman who wondered how her sight said what she saw.
what other ways might there be?   so she went walking her city streets in company with other eyes, other noses, other feet.

a child, a toddler, who sees everything from three feet tall and six inch feet.   a dog who sees with his nose, who’s been here, who passed along,
who left some message for other scents to know and recognize.   a doctor, a modern medicine man, who looked to see what people said with their bodies, their balanced walk, even the scent of their breath, how it was, their health inside their hidden lives.   a stone mason man who knew every texture and face and quality of stone throughout the region and what had been used to build and sheath each structure along the path.   a master of font and print who could read the history of each building saying who and from where their history was made by their style of alphabet.

what about the relics of our own lives?   who was I at five years old, what broken toys, what old shoes, how worn the soles, what scribbles in chalk or crayon on paper to please a parent?   who was I at ten years old, with a new camera Christmas present, my very first photography, and Uncle Lou, please step to one side while I imagine the flowering plant in black and white, and please, people only confuse the idea for me.   who at twelve or at fifteen, wearing a first graduation suit so out of reality, looking like someone I was not and never would be, not even close.   where was any reality of me, a modern life, wife with blonde hair, a white picket fence around the house?   did anyone see the doubt and insecurity?
wasn’t I obvious?

near everything I saw wasn’t really there.

rules for seeing more

be blessed with the ability to admire the unlovely.

explore by surfaces by textures, by finger by toe by tongue.   by taste.

forget what’s uninteresting.   the bottom of a chair, what’s behind a drawer, people’s knees.

gaze at something long enough and it may become odd, unfamiliar.   try.

          To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.       Paul Valery

compassion emerges from imagining the world alive.

          Alexandra Horowitz

when collecting a pebble, collect one more to keep the first company.   if not keeping it, return it to where it was found, that it not suffer from having been moved from its home.

allow body to speak.   a sweep of hands, a circumference, a shoulder shrug, a loose hillside rock, a turn of head, the next place you will go.

          point first, then speak, say

          look there


more blue

it doesn’t make more sense now, does it?

better should be more blue.   shouldn’t it?   why then,

this this means more confusion.   more ambiguity.   more clamor.
        overcast was an open door.

there, there was a more peaceful quality before becoming more,
        more blue.

not to be mistaken for cormorants, for pelicans.   their flight is
        more tall than me.   more like swimming is.

although, to be honest, at first more blue, more bright, seemed
        like a good idea.   more so than more before.

        I made change my vocabulary.   standing watch.

yet what more me than only the more of me planted here?
        who attends?   where does the circle close?

I am.   I am more enamored, more color-struck, more convinced, more unsure, more afraid, more the same, more unconvinced, more two people inside of one, maybe three, more tranquil.   not surrendered yet.

really, I thought recovery would be something other, something more of less, than this is.
I can only now say what the mystics say.    we’ll see.

        more blue remains.     with or without me, more blue remains.

            please fully enlarge image for best view

MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
please support the Monterey Bay Aquarium

morning water lights

morning lights looking east on Monterey Bay from the southern lip.

a water beacon, close hauled, then far over, Moss Landing, Marina, Seaside.
               is any reason necessary?

patience may bring all that’s needed.    sea lions above and below.    pelicans in imaginary flight.    otters that swim with the seaweed beds, eating and sleeping on their backs.    afloat.    then cold Pacific water finds the shore the rocks the sand, my toes.    I may ask for more at times, but that’s the more I don’t need, being me.

in her French flavored English, genuine, she calls you dear and yes, my sweet when she delivers the food to your table and booth.    maybe she even sits down with you for a bit.    that second floor restaurant right above the beach.    wouldn’t old friends act that way?    maybe she is, exactly that.
another face now.
things change you know.    rowboats moored close ashore, there to reach other boats, deeper away.    a few with motors, most not.    one small blue sailboat with yellow sails. those colors always make my memory smile.    twin gondola boats with swan heads bow and stern.    one long oar to move, fish and crabs and starfish below the glass bottom window pane.
no more, none.

at low tide some gathering of rocks just off the beach.    high enough for dry feet.    but watch the seaweed above the waterline.    slippery.    so bend with care.    abundant small crabs in their shells, sea anemones eager to touch, eager to hold childish fingers, eager to taste.    the rocks remain, but things change.    including me, bigger, more changed, more easy to fall.
                   yet I’m also a rock in that ocean place.
                   you understand?

            please fully enlarge image for best view

MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
please support the Monterey Bay Aquarium

water is

      her face was a river, round.

      her hands and arms, the reach and gathering of tide.

      her two legs the way water begins and ends.

      her hair, the mane of waves in a storm.

      I was there.

      her imagination roams, and now is including me.

      her eyes, lingering, taking a measures worth.

      her lips, oh her lips, sailing, making way to home.

      her voice ever shadows my ears.

      I took comfort there.

      and water, when you look, is all made of threads.

      since the sea was born, till she lays me down,

      I was there.       I still am.

blue water art above by Kerfe.   with permission, thanks.

Uvas canyon fire

Smoke settles low in wrinkled valleys
reluctant to depart the sweet sage cradle
       where first blossom newly arose.
One prayer of oak and brush says,
       take me into blue sky.
Today the creeks folded, and all dreaming
said simply, I have no name in this dawn.
Said, I have found this way and go.
From where the men stood mid-road,
their cars in hesitant rest on the narrow
shoulders of the country road, back
from there, across a small angled bridge,
there, I too became still – and listened.
It was a perfect silence.
It could easily be mistaken for someplace else,
       yet beyond one ridge, maybe another,
       something wonderous was thumping,
       thumping, wanting to come close.
I always liked this poem from the day it was writ.   Completely real.   I was there on those smalltown back country roads, roads that only a local would know.
Common enough, wanting to see a fire, but no, this was our fire in our home countryside.   We could rightly only get just so close because the fire teams wanted clear roads to do their work.
   ◉   Many many years later I met a wood-turner who had fashioned this actual bowl from the partially charred remains of a tree in that very fire.   Now the path has become circular.