what to throw into the volcano

in honor of the Big Island of Hawaii

a lack of wonderment

shoddy habits

broken tools


things that don’t fit

legions of reckless doubt

a felony of spirit unspent

things that refuse to float

sore thumbs




hearts that turn babies away

meanings unmeant

memories that are untrue



faithless love

blindness in the face of heaven

intestinal distress

words I don’t know how to spell


stubbed toes
incandescent Pelé heal these broken limbs

      (observation)   years past during the last Hawaiian volcanic activity I recall seeing a community meeting.   The non-native residents were
      asking, what can we do to control the eruption, redirecting where the lava flows?   (man over nature, again.   understanding done backwards.)
      Then a native Hawaiian spoke simply in praise of Pelé, god of the fire earth, accepting how life is honored by this expression of earth & fire.   What a difference in stance.

      I recall old-time movies where sight of a volcano meant find a virgin to sacrifice.   Ouch!   What a misdirected waste.   Keep the virgins.   But what else might we offer to a god of fire instead?   A worthwhile question to pose.   So, you got some ideas yourself?

      Well now, 2022, Pelé brings back this poem one more time.

      Still applies.


originally posted 2018

so the Big Island of Hawaii is busy making more of itself.   a challenge and hardship for some, yet also undeniably awesome to witness.   I am of good heart to hear genuine Hawaiians and some other residents too who are willing to accept what Pelé wants to do.   in that spirit the question arrived, how to appreciate what is given us?   one answer, here.   a little whimsical and some not.

also, no small thanks to local Hawaiian tour guide, Scott, (somewhat out of work for the moment) who has shared his experience living there and with this newer lava fountain of a neighbor.  his YouTube videos have given me a personal appreciation for the beauty of life on the Big Island.


counting pebble skies

thirty-eight birds on a wire.
clear bright spotless blue otherwise.
shadow limb roosted leaves unmoved
in summer middle-day heat.   silent green.

slumbered earthen white truck beneath
claws itself awake, clears its’ throat.
unexpected growl.   startled all
into flight.

feathers leap into elliptic waves all
in less space than one random thought.
become a broken road round river


oddly enough, fifty-three return.

one is white.

prompt:   write a poem about something that takes place in a near instant (say five seconds or less), and keep your observations attentively direct without consideration toward meanings.

and oddly, birds on my mind.   so this.

She wears one mask

She wears one mask,
and beneath blue sky’s face, hers
is more calm, a pacific tide dressing
waves that siphon sand from under
my feet.
She wears one mask,
contours her face embosses in the air,
with veiled smile, easy affection, like
some curtain drawn in warm embrace.
Eyes that linger do arrive.
She wears one mask,
and in the twinkle of her eye,
my gaze given way, she lets go
the chrysalis gauze, desire thus
draped, now undone silk by
silken breath.

She wears one mask,
lips like leaves she stirs the wind,
tucks me within hushed embrace,
till begins this apple bloomed,

       Am I leaf or wind?

And behind each mask unmade,
the one who wears us both,


thirteen ways to ride a ferryboat

it’s the bottom of a bowl
where things tend to congregate
like boats and water and people
and gravity, going over across the way.

you stand ashore, near the beach,
near the ferryboat dock, you watch, you be sure,
you see them come see them go, make sure
they’re for real.

secure the ropes, pretend your floating feet
resemble land. although you’ll never quite
cease from walking up-hill.
fish feet first is the rule.

there’s a long wide thread, invisible,
but you can see its’ shadow in the water
scuffed right astern your ferryboat shoes.
it’s where you’ve been but are no more.

surely… someone… on the other side wants
your company.   isn’t that one thought when
you trade your coins at the gate?

water is blue, but no, it’s pale sun green
turning to veiled face.   ferry is mostly white
but partly it is busting rusting orange.

when it’s really calm your ghost
looks more real looking back at you.

dogs hang heads out car windows.
humans gather on the paws of boats.
tales wagging.

pull that string tight.   speak loudly
into the tin-man can.   it’s important for
stories to reach the far shore.

it matters to know the name of your boat.
it’s a mistake to feign indifference.   else if
you get lost at sea, how will you make yourself
found again?

a ferryboat is where water and sky
used to be.   but they keep changing
their minds about where.

ferryboats float on grace,
which is another word for displacement
you see.

ferryboats understand flowers
the way snow understands moss.
in a former life I was a ferryboat.

13 (twice)
here’s a small secret:

when you’re crossing middle,
looks like you could be going either way.

image: Washington state ferryboat, Puyallup, two miles from my home.

post: a refrain in thanks to Kerfe and her inspired image & poem & music
           post.   beautiful.    Thirteen ways of looking at Living.

random conversations

I asked the world what it meant.   Too many answers to sort it out.

I settle for less.   Spirit broke.   Past or present tense?

I walked across town.   But that was just a little north of the same.

The rising sun.   A mile is farther than it seems.   Breath proceeds me
by a step.

I lived with the poor.   Fished a lost spoon out of the trash.

I had to give it up.   Like creation, it took more than a day.

Dime a dance?   Get real!   It costs more than that!

I write poems.   Who reads?   Who cares?   Good news.
It doesn’t really matter after all.   Liberty.

I’m less flamboyant than you.   Fewer feathers to buy.

I didn’t become bi-sexual.   But I thought about it.

Joan Baez smiled at me.   No, at the grocery.   Yes, sugar’s fine.

I thought about loving you.   I did.   Honestly.   You?

Once counted time for sixty seconds.   The same, afterwards.

Rabbits make lovely stones.   Or rub together to start a fire.

Poppies radiate the summer!   Moles, not so much.

Be generous.   To a fault-line, not too close.

Gastroliths are stones where you don’t expect them to be.
Wearing a bright red dress, that really helps.   Depending of course.

You again?   When you meet that person, you’ve been around.

Does entropy mean stars inside your eyes get closer to me?

Someone raises a glass, laughs.   Someone somewhere dies.
Not a contradiction, just lots and lots of meanings here.

When my car don’t work, the world gets smaller.   Also, more in tune.

When the dead shark washed up, one man was brave enough!
One alone is never enough.   She was right.   And only a child.

Wisdom comes on small padded feet.   Easy to scare away.   Or maybe it lands right on your face!   Either way.

Gathered friends when awake.   Walking the labyrinth alone.

The best way to write a poem is not to write.   Listen.

Hands will do all you ask of them.   Yet they have a mind of their own.

Bees are more friendly than you think.   But purposeful.   You be too.
If you trust a thread, it will find an eye all by itself!

She twirled hidden thoughts like fingertips in the rain.   Sparks came flying out.

After-hours in the park.   Trying not to be discovered.   But why was I the same with you?

Snow would come later, but we were there first.   Warm impressions in the grass.

A smile no pocket could keep.   Burnt holes attest.   My change falls out.
Harvesting seeds from dried flowers.   Many fall to the ground.

Once asked Uncle to step out of the camera’s view.   Things.
Now I can’t stand making peopleless photographs.

Too ill even to finish the soup you made for me.   The best, it was.   You found that hard to believe.   But sincerity finished the bowl.
Your painting is swirling colored vines.   Someone said
my words are just like that.   Not you, but someone did.

Here is an overstuffed grocery bag spilled onto the polished floor.
The red apples roll away with a tumble of delight.   And I discover
the onions I thought I’d forgotten to retrieve.

So says the First Woman to walk on the Sun.

big yellow bus

I’m willing to eat a big yellow bus.     In heavy traffic or light, maybe
like godzilla would, Japanese tourists and all.     Vitamins you know.
Especially the digital cameras, they’re really good.

I’m willing to eat tulips in winter before they’re even sure of themselves,
just a good idea waiting to burst forth on the plate.     A little maple honey
really sets off the colors under the tongue.

I’m willing to eat clear blue sky, bright sun white buffalo with roosters
on the side, clouds squeezing rain, sponge cake whirlwinds with
lightning bolts, perhaps even a little snow.     Sugar of course.

I’m willing to eat self-doubt, frenetic historic tales whispered into
rambunctious sleep, the captain’s first mate, a curry dish, steaming
bowls of salted misconceptions.     Buttered words for dessert.

I’m willing to eat a country mile, where the river elbows close.
Maybe it never happened the way I thought but a windy feast
is as good as a fox in the chicken coop.     Licking lips.

I’m willing to eat the moon.     Would you like a slice?
Can you guess the poem prompt?  Write a poem that begins with the line,
“I’m willing to eat…”.


      Too ripe a pairing, photo to poem, to resist reposting here.  No children on that bus these days, just vegetables from a local grower to the Saturday Farmers Market in town.  Go say hello if you’re in this part of the Edmonds Washington world.   Say you saw them here.


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.