Cold rain falls in the river, flows down to the sea, gets into the skyline, circles endlessly. Same old rain on the wind, same old pain in my soul.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


When she was smaller
Or younger
Not really sure which

She would run to me

Little warning
Beyond its own surety
She would sail
On the springboard of love
And trust and God,
How she'd fly!

The only word, "up!"
And her legs would tie my hips
And her arms would fasten
My neck
And then the squeeze
Of nothing left over

Even when she grew bigger
Or older
Can't say which

I would expect the "up!"
And it came without fail
Til one day
I wobbled
Ever so slightly
And the springboard broke
And a hug was waggled
In the compromise


Monday, September 27, 2010


When first I met him, Ken was sixty-eight I believe. We were driving back roads looking for a house to rent, saw him in his yard and stopped. It was that simple and random.
Talk turned to coffee and coffee to stories. He and his wife Norma had moved to Kentucky from Alaska and like many of us, couldn't really remember a good reason for doing so. In his yard he had sled dogs with thick coats that seemed out of place in the hot southern sun, but I loved seeing them anyway.
He showed us the buildings he had constructed, their garden and other projects of great ambition, or at least to me. We became friends immediately.
Even at sixty-eight, Ken was a strong and solid man standing six foot-five, with a small pony tail that seemed strange to his conservative ways but perfect nonetheless. His mind was whip smart though he pretended otherwise and his humour was slow and smooth.

He had made his living overseeing the state park system in Oregon. Norma, the same age, was and still is, a great beauty- tall, smart and graceful with gorgeous red hair. They had been high school sweethearts but Norma's parents never approved and did all they could to firebomb the relationship. Only problem was, Neptune in all his glory with Apollo as side-kick would stand no chance in overthrowing them, and married they were.
They raised children, lots of them. Twenty-three, I believe, and a few of them were even of their own lovemaking.
They told us stories of state parks, young love, adoption, foster children and Alaska. And as I lived briefly in Alaska and held a deep affection for it, I hung on every word.

There was the time in the deep bush when there were no less than eight of them living in a tent while they constructed a small cabin. The children were mostly ethnic minorities that had come from bad inner city experiences.
I've since had the pleasure to meet several of them and they seem much better for the wear.

Ken's not much for sitting still. His way is to find a place full of nothing, build it up to something, then move on.
Alaska to Kentucky, Kentucky to Alaska, Alaska to Oregon, Oregon to California, then back to Kentucky. All in the seven years since I've known him. They now live one mile from the nothing they built up the first time and sold for loss. And once again, just a piece of grass not fit for mowing has barns and gardens and fences and animals and porches and much beauty.
I would go there and Ken would always have either a post hole digger gripped sweaty and dirty or a hammer that would never miss its mark.
I would implore him.
"Ken, you're not that young anymore, why don't you take it easy, maybe three posts a day, and contract out for that addition"
His only response was to look at me like he didn't understand the question

Why, just in this past year, they've considered another move, back to Alaska.
Where he is now is complete, so to him, there's no reason to stay. They even had the place on the market for another loss but times ain't what they were and a bargain's only a bargain if you have the money to make it so. He called real estate people "up there" and scoured the Internet. His eyes would light as he showed me pictures and dreams of possibilities out of nothing.
I don't really know if Norma wanted to move but she liked to see his passion and that made her willing.
But seven years is seven years and seventy-five isn't sixty-eight. This I'm learning.

The changes were somewhat subtle at first, more bewildering later.

He came to our house for his birthday. We sang happy birthday and he sang and laughed childlike, just a little too much so, and we all felt awkward as he clapped his hands to the candles going out.
He didn't get up as early either. The post hole digger learned rust. His jaw hung just a little too loose and Norma took over his sentences a little too often.
I now remember the headaches of two winters ago and wonder. But little matter, Ken finally went to the doctor.
Funny thing is, he knows but he doesn't. The doctors say with good drugs the next two years shouldn't be too bad.
He mostly just sits now and the place don't look as nice. Norma's worry of the days ahead is evident in new lines and gray as she takes over the care of the hobby farm. Geese, pot bellied pigs, goats, chickens, dogs, cats and now Ken.
There won't be another move, not one that Ken knows, anyway. And it won't be Alaska.
The man who all his life only knew how to build and care for, be it children or land is becoming a child who will need great care and can never be rebuilt. And it's painful to watch. Just ask Norma.

I don't yet know what I think about all this. I know I wish he would just die tomorrow while digging a hole or chopping a tree, but it's too late for that. I wish he had died in Alaska, but that chance too has passed.
I almost wish Norma would die to spare her the horror to come.
I think of suicide and how maybe it's not such an easy condemnation; better to fall on the sword than let the enemy take the final cut. I think of my own life and the shortness of days and sunsets unnoticed. I think of much but the answers elude me.
Mostly I marvel at a man among men so cruelly taken down by the worst disease he could know.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Red Light

I don't fear heights
Only falling from heights
The climbers of rock walls
All jangle and chink
They pause now and again
Taking inventory

Their red light

The prayer before a hanging
Grace before the meal
The look before a kiss
All red lights

A place to rest
And take inventory

We try to run them
But we shouldn't
Watch the guy next to you
As he remembers
How sweet it smelled
Between her thighs last night

They don't last long
And too many
In too short a span
Only gather to ambush
The one you need

Too many or too long
And you'll remember
Halfway through the feast
She got her period


Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Where's your ticket?
What do you mean
you haven't got it?
the show starts in twenty

Jeanine was supposed to get it
Yes, quite sure
Damn it

I like her, I really do
But really

Oh yes, this isn't the first time
I swear she thinks only of herself
Why, one time
-and you can ask peter
But no, that wouldn't be right

She loses things too
Yes, but only things she's borrowed
But really she's sweet
Most of the time

She should've called you
I would've
But Jeanine's not me

I heard she might get fired
I don't know, always late I imagine
I think she drinks quite heavily
At home
Or so someone said

Oh look, there she is now
And she has your ticket
Dear Sweet Jeanine

Doesn't she look lovely?
But Don't tell her I said so
it'll go straight to her head
"Hello, Jeanine! over here."

And still fifteen minutes
Til show time


Friday, September 17, 2010


Ever been to a carnival?
Throw the rings, pick the duck
Knock down the milk bottles

Behind the barker
Floating near jupiter
Are the big bears
-The one Mary Ellen wants

Below, on a stained board
Are the chinese trinkets
Mary Ellen would never kiss for

And only the star quarterback
Will get the bear, and Mary Ellen

I'm in the kitchen now
The women are cooking
And telling tales
Of perverted neighbors

I reach up
To tug on their skirts
Not even knowing
What i'd ask for.

No matter,
They don't feel my touch
Nor sense my needs

I go outside
Where a billion stars
Commiserate above
But they're so many
I so one
They so far
I even farther

Right now
I feel so small
To what plays out around me
The thimble
In a box full of bright
Tangled yarn
Not knowing
How it got there
Or when it lost
Its legs


Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Shaman

He looked so wise, so serene
Sitting there naked
Cross legged before his fire

No, that's a lie
He looked pathetic and pompous

I thought his balls would be bigger

He didn't look up,
Just waved his incense
As an orchestra
Of mosquitoes played

Can a dream be overthrown
I asked, without prompt
He hushed

I see
And spit into his fire

Says who?
I hissed in reply

The universe
hmmm, I see, how convenient.
I went to my haunches
And blew smoke through him slowly

Yeah, continued I, well fuck the universe
to which he smiled
And said nothing

Will my dream come true?
I riddled on

Yes, his eyes said

Well, we'll see about that
And I rose,
Surrounding his wisdom
With my human glory

Do you not want the dream?
He cornered

No, I lied

Then why did you desire it?
He delighted

I didn't, I lied

I then passed through
His smoke of wise lavender
And sat cross legged
before him

What makes you so wise?
And I threw my head up at him

Knowing, he said softly
As his eyes drifted back
Into the embers

I put a finger to his arrogant face

Yeah, said I, well
Two and two is four
But that doesn't make me
A mathematician,
Because you see
There is a place where my knowing ends
But the questions continue

That is wisdom, he nodded

Well, I continued, perhaps
Your knowing, along with your wisdom
Ends with my dream

He looked up from his dancing flame
And found my eyes wanting

But the dream was another's ,
He exposed,
Who made it yours
only through your knowing
of its meaning

Then he tilted his head slightly
Why do you resist that which you most desire?

Again, I spit upon his fire
And my words hissed upon him
In sparked reply.
Because I wont be ruled
By the chicanery of
Another's indigestion

Now you deny the validity of an equation
Within your knowing,
That is foolishness
He humoured

Yeah, replied I, well last year in a dream I flew around the moon
on a purple moose
Should I now search out
A purple moose with wings
And begin my journey?

He snortled to my query

Not all dreams are alike
-some are prophetic
Some are symbolic
And some are indigestion
The art is in the knowing,
The wisdom in acceptance
Of that knowing

I then stood, kicked his fire closed
and pissed upon his sad balls

Well I sure as fuck ain't ever gonna
Get married in Ohio. You can bank on it.
to which he replied, we'll see about that
And disappeared into the smoke
As I once again found myself
Sitting on my toilet


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Went to a petting zoo cuz the sign said "fun for all ages"
And they had these chickens that could sing and dance-well, dance anyway.
There was one with a tiny white glove on his foot that could do a mean moonwalk.
Another wore a top hat and had a tiny cane duct taped to his claw while he did "singin in the rain" though i think it was the tape that gave him his quick feet.
The point is, though, (yes, there is a point) is that these chickens were trained with just a little corn!
Fuck! Learned behavior.
We're talking an animal that's just as smart without his head as with it.

I saw on TV this guy who had a headless chicken for a pet, called him (it) mike and fed him by stuffing corn down its (his) throat with a pencil.
The damned thing lived years after his (its) head had been lopped off!
The thing either didn't mind or just never noticed. Whatever, Dude!

I once suffered a nasty wisdom tooth for nearly a year before pain finally knocked the shit outta fear.

Another time I had something really bad I had to tell my parents as they were gonna find out anyway, and I moaned like a love sick hound for a month while I drug it out.

Went to court once (had to, the warrant said so) and took the latest date i could. As if the judge was gonna grow old and kindly in a month.
Shit, how i sweated that one!

The point is, (i said there was one-remember?) is this;
Dumber than a chicken
Fucking dumber than headless mike


Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Berheim Forest

There are woods and there are forests. A woods says come in and play. The Sun will always be visible through the soft maples and ash. A forest shivers you with a challenge from a blackened archway leading down to where no Sun dare shine. Such a place is the Berhheim Forest.

it travels deep
and narrow.
long and down.

not the forest
of little children
in jumpers and skips,
but of wayfaring spirits
in search of lost spells.

it is here,
where bogs were born
and hope died
along with maps
and good sense.

it is here,

the wind
pleads brave
but dares
as honour
begets death
in twisted

have angled
and flanked
to avoid the snares
of her invisible darkness
but fall in,
just the same.

no creatures scurry
or bound here,
they hide and creep
and plot
and ghost
in shadowed silence.

if you enter on Monday
and stay so through Wednesday,
your horse,
they’ll auction on Friday.

without black
there is no white
without the Berheim Forest
all we know
is sacred light

and dreamless sleep.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The long Ride

I was ridin in from south fork
The noon sun crackin the dusty clay
Below me, the way too much cold does
A frozen lake

Lady kept her head down
And her thirst fell in gobs
From her bit
While I talked her through
The sage brush

I needed a drink
And buffalo pass held one

Boredom hangs heavy
In august and the stew turns thick
in restless pants

So when the short stocky one left
To fix a wagon
I sat in
Don't rightly know why as
Winnin n losin's all the same to me
but like I said-

I held my own without really tryin
Mostly just sipped the warm beer
And watched townsfolk pass
By out the smoky window

Then the one fella with the torn hat
Got edgy,
as his feed money disappeared.
I shoulda walked
I knowed I should've
But i took another drink and threw in
Same as the rest

Funny thing is,
Blazes to hell,
Is i drew aces full over jacks
Without even carin

As i looked around the sorry table,
I remembered winnin hands from afore.
They never led to no good
And weren't nothing i needed anyhow

So's i slip an ace up my sleeve, see,
Slide down a deuce
easy as a sneeze
And call, just like the rest,
An easy way out i figger

Well sir

Damned if two pair didn't
Sweep the table

I lit a smoke and looked to the window
As my rotten luck laughed
And the others grumbled
And sauntered home to tell lies

I didn't buy a round
No sense encouraging fools,
But i slipped the bar maid with ratty hair
and torn stockings twenty bucks
and went out to find lady quenched
And sleeping

Now here i am

sure as snow in the sierras,
Snake bit in hell's gulch new mexico
With a purse full
Of fool's gold
and Lady spent