Friday, March 23, 2007


i once read in a novel that "i write now so that later i will have something to read." then later, i myself wrote the same thing. it was such a powerful thought that i kept it and believed it for so long. then one day i looked at the same novel again and in the ending it reads, "trust me, i'm telling you stories."

so i've been lying to myself. i don't write now so that i may have something to read later. i write now so that others may read it. others might even like what they read. but how odd is that when you are writing something that is so overwelmingly indulgent? what audience? am i thinking of an audience when i'm writing? hell no.

i have no audience because this is not a book for publication. this is a safe place for me to say whatever i want to say and there are a handful of people who look at it. and that is okay. it is okay because i trust them enough to say whatever i want.

so is this a story? am i telling you stories? good question. what does the masthead of this blog say? hah!

but there is a story here as all words contain some sort of stories, it is just sometimes we don't really want to know it so we don't pay enough attention. other times, we don't really want to know the real story so we pay the wrong kind of attention. perhaps this is how myths are created, quality assurance in storytelling. skin out the ugly stuff and leave the tasty, meaty stuff behind –– devoid of connective tissue. is that a little like the person who loves chicken but won't eat it off the bone? perhaps they ought to be vegetarians. perhaps they ought to just eat hamburger and nothing else. heh, i like that thought. perhaps i ought to press that on to someone!

so back to the story. i'm sure there is a story here but i doubt i'll start at the beginning. perhaps the fourth or fifth section of the book because if i start at the beginning none of the later parts will make any difference. it would be like having a nice dinner and being obsessed with whether the dessert you ordered is really going to go with the courses that are being served.

well, i lied. well not really. i just mean i'm not really to tell the story yet but there is one. just wait, you will just have to wait.

trust me, i'm telling stories.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

random crossings: Easter, 1916

i had thought of this poem in a long time. years ago, i chose it to recite for a storytelling class in which i was being videotaped. looking back, i must have been so nervous the emotional content of the poem was lost in the reading. but today, years later when i came across something relating to Yeats i went searching for it and read it again slowly. it was so vivid in feeling that i could taste and smell the words; the sentiment and the pain...

and i realized it speaks volumes to what is going on with me personally and in the world we are racing in – this crazy world of beauty and violence, sadness and laughter. so here it is:

Easter, 1916

I HAVE met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our winged horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road.
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute by minute they live:
The stone’s in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse -
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

tuesday night's dream: the gauntlet

i was in sf or the east bay, but i think it started in north beach.

i was doing something with christine and david.

unusual cause the two of us have not done anything together for almost ten years. we met and went out to eat and hung out at cafes. when it was time to go home, for some reason that is not clear, christine was not going home and was leaving her car to me to drive to her place to crash.

i said ok but went somewhere else with david and andrea instead.

it was a little restaurant, kind of ship-shack but cute. it had little wooden tables for four people with small vases of flowers and simple but well placed settings on all of them. we walked into an oblong room with windows on the right wall and on the far wall. there was a view, it looked out over water.

i also have memories of a carnival somewhere along out there.

i don't know how long we stayed there but when we left david turned out that he was driving my old toyota from my art center days. we joked that it probably needed a new registration tag and a new headlamp so he'd better be careful.

he took me to wherever christine was living. i knocked on the door and a young woman answered. she was obviously woken up and dressed for sleep. i explained who i was and what i was doing there and she must have known who i was so she let me in. she showed me to christine's room. it was a spartan but comfortable looking place. all the furniture were made of wood. the bed was unmade.

the girl left me and i undressed and went to bed right away.

next thing i knew was that i woke up to voices or giggles, i opened my eyes to faces peeking through the bedroom door. they shut the door as soon as i sat up in bed. confused, i got up and wrapped something around me and walked towards the door. i pushed the door open and walked through to the adjacent room and was met with a sight that stopped me in my tracks.

it was a narrow long room with rows of beds just like the one i slept in. again, all the furniture here were wooden. the thing that made me stopped was there were about twenty young women sitting there staring at me and giggling to themselves.

there were "ooh's" and "ah's." it obvious i was not supposed to be here or this rarely happened. i felt not embarrassed as much as vulnerable or out of place. i started to walk towards the bathroom on the other end of the room. it felt like i was walking through a visual gauntlet. i remember whispers of mutterings of things like "ooh it's a man" and "whose is he?"

that last comment made me dash for the bathroom and close the door.

that is when i woke up.


he put his hands in his pocket
felt a spine and a curl

pulled out an ancient amulet
the crook of a tail wrapped

around his finger; hinting,
he looked down at his feet,

saw dirt, not sand, dry not wet
no need for a seamount

so far away from home.
he put the seahorse in a bottle

of seawater, promising
one day, they will both go home.

feb 2007

(bonsai) bent

for suttonhoo
in response to a photo on her blog of an old bonsai

tiny branches from
giant roots bent,
bearing the weight
of heaven to appease
human desires

mar 1, 2007


won't you tell me a little?
tell me the whispers between
the twiggy little branches;
the pale harsh light that
lives between dark trunks
too young to bear the full
weight of a thousand uttered
secrets of a fading kingdom

feb 2007


condensation on the inside of the window
indicates how cold it is on the other side
the still air in between clear layers

discusses the distance between two minds
discusses the discordance of given identity
against chosen integrity; oil and water;

fire and water; though in human terms
there is no self balancing mechanism;
homeostasis was not a lesson learned

in childhood nor in learned books
those who understand it hide it
like the air between layers in plain sight

mar 6, 2007

sotto voce

it is late and her voice;
her voice is lisping but
rolls in like lazy rows
of endless waves.
waves like the lazy
touch of a sleepy
lover rolling over my
restless cheeks; waiting
for some once promised
kiss; waiting for some
bouquet of blue irises
she said she'd send;
i roll over like dew on
the touch of dawn;
i roll over like a kitten
with vulnerable chin;
i lay stretched waiting
for my love, my fate
i lay waiting for her
to wake my affection
so i can touch the pale
light in her precious eyes

feb 2007

broken glass, swallowed

sometimes long sequences of delight and joy are followed by shadows of disappointment.

not from the same source of your joy but from other sources of your love or loved ones.

it is the nature of those who care for each other or feel obliged to care for each not by choice but by circumstance. it is the nature of mutual resentment, perhaps. what happens when for whatever reasons we can't clearly communicate to each other; years of misunderstanding; years of deception; years of whatever.

after a long time, it almost feels like the reasons don't matter anymore.

all that matters is you have this feeling inside of you that feels like swallowed broken glass and it causes this warm mellow almost blissful pain; and you don't really know what to do about it anymore except to experience it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

eastern light

morning comes with a cool breeze rising with the sun. in the midst of these hills the sun is lazy, staying behind chapparal and boulder strewn summits well past eight o'clock.

the westward view is hazy, trying to decide if it will linger or fly away to sea with the wind.

i walked the dog up the hill, breaking into sunlight; breaking into a movement of atmosphere cold enough to pull up my hood. birds chirped, not quite singing. they displayed their mustard yellows plumes like starlets in hollywood; brightly and briefly.

it is the setting for some difficult things i have to do.

to acknowledge disappointment i cause in others; to acknowledge i am just a person and to find a place for being ok within myself.