Friday, December 28, 2012

Bathrobe Enlightenment, 3 am

They say it's hatred
of yourself but
it feels like love
of emptiness

I don't get depressed
compared to
the old days,
younger foolish days,
drinking days
waking up in hell days

I have no reason to
I have friends now
Love, sobriety, better habits, so
I have no reason to

The person who calls himself
by my name
has no reason to
after all
he has a story out soon

I have people who know
many sides of me
My friends & people
who are sleeping now

It's probably only
existential, hour
of the wolf stuff

I'm calm, in my bathrobe,
looking for a sliver
of light in the block
of black ice continents
& centuries thick

Out the window white
dots in the block,
stars & planes
satellite maybe
brand new or burned out
move across the sky,
far ones slow,
near ones faster,
somebody in them
driving somewhere
at this deep hour
in the dark sky
keeping me company

I have no reason
It's only been a few days
I don't even wonder if I
should be concerned

Everything is smooth
on the surface
everything is smoother
smoother the deeper
you go

There's nothing wrong
with feeling
sorry for yourself
once in a while

I am looking
for the compassionate one
is dreaming of brushing his hair
the compassionate one

It will pass
one way or the other
dots in the black sky
someone driving
someone not

I am all right but
there are times when
you face your fears
and there is
nothing there after all
the plainest of enlightenment
oh, hmm, so
can surprise be still
as the clock ticks,
the dots pass silently
all night & morning
comes & I'll find this
& wonder what
I was talking about
wonder what
I meant, thinking
now of the pancake place
where I may look
deeper in the eyes
of someone to see
what I've been missing

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Spiritual Update & the Unformed Parts of a Story.

By Spiritual I mean intuitive, human, vision, voice,
psychology, psychic, empathy, insight, wisdom, love,
and so on.

By Update I mean the growth that an individual undergoes
every day. The man I am yesterday is not the man I am
today. I see more, slightly yes, but when I look into
the work today I see things I didn’t see yesterday,
some things are clear and simple suddenly, what to
put in, what to take out.

By Unformed Parts I mean those scenes or chapters where
you know what you want in general and have written some
of it down, but the whole is not clear, neither are
the specifics, the thing is blurry, you’re on the surface.
The layers are thin and watery, it hasn’t gelled, etc.

By Story I mean story, novel, etc.

So the main idea is that these unformed parts I see
as a "problem." But they are no more a problem than
a patch of weedy ground I'm looking at from above
and beginning to imagine a garden, vegetable, zen,
cactus, rose garden, but I haven’t entered it yet,
I’m looking still from above, from outside.

Spiritual is to enter, to swim within, to be
the pure animal that belongs in that ecology.
Brer Rabbit in the briar patch.

When I think of these unformed parts I subconsciously,
or habitually is probably a better word, I habitually
shy away from them, put them off, fear them slightly,
just enough, suspect that I won’t be able to grow them
as I have grown such unformed parts hundreds and hundreds
of times before. But the old mind kicks in, the old
mind whose job it is to doubt.

But I don’t want to overcome the doubt, waste time
and energy wrestling it, battling, nor do I want
to build false confidence, unnecessary confidence
that becomes itself a burden, a weight.

I want neither doubt nor confidence. I want the middle
ground, the broad highway of many choices and opportunities,
where the fitting path for this particular unformed scene,
or conversation, in the case of the particular thing I
happen to be thinking of, is laid out.

A conversation between two realms, as a matter of fact.
Characters from two realms, and it is outlandish, between
a man and the ghost of a woman, and so that causes me
to doubt and want to rely on my confidence to blot out
the doubt, but to do so is to doubt the story, the
characters, this bridge or plain or crossing in the story
that these two have been led to by all that has come

I want to be free even of confidence in joining with
the story to bring forth this scene, this conversation
between unlikelys. Confidence is the flipside to doubt,
it cannot be relied upon to find the truth any more than
doubt can be relied upon to find lies.

So I’m thinking, fearing, that I can’t do it. But I know
I can and will. But I want to learn something now about
that state, not write the scene, although this will free
me up anyway to do so.

The reason that I feel, fear, that I won’t be able to do
it is because I cannot do it. Not at once anyway. Not in
one day, no matter if I worked 16 hours on it. This is me.
Because it requires spiritual growth, and spiritual growth
happens from day to day, slowly and surely, often upon waking,
from sleep, from dreams, when they are rich and effective.

That's the most important part of writing—-the spiritual growth
that happens in the writing of a story, the spiritual waking
that's clarified and expressed in the writing.

This is evident when, on waking, I look upon a scene, or
paragraph, sentence, line of dialogue, piece of story
I'd looked on many times before, but now it is clear
and simple and undeniable how it is supposed to be,
what is supposed to be put in and what needs to be taken
out. The change from day to day, from going to sleep and
waking up, is subtle, but it is there, and cumulative, a
gathering meant to be spent.

We grow day by day, and writing is the way to see this.

No, I cannot write this important conversation today,
perhaps, but it is being written anyway, by the many selves
that approach it day by day, understanding more myself,
the characters, the work, the ecology of the scene, and
this is the effortless way, because I know it is meant to be
effortless, at its best, writing, at its sweetest, at its most

So the conversation will come, but layer by layer, and
patch by patch, line by line, connection by tightening by
loosening, and so on.

Writing is the way to grow, and growing is the way to write.

Forgive me if this is obvious or vague or mad.
I’m writing it to be a more free writer, enjoy writing
more, in new ways, and may it help others do the same.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

A man, a white hat on his face

naps on the hill alongside
the freeway, a patch
of sun lighting him
like a sign, one knee up.
Bright winter grass springs
all around him three days
after the rains.

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Friday, November 2, 2012


In Rusty Barnes' Fried Chicken and Coffee...

I Inherited a Mixed Animal, Chapter the First

My Uncle Leonard was a her­mit who lived alone in the Uncon­scious For­est his entire life. Unc had a sack of money stashed away, and when he went to meet his Maker he left every penny to my lit­tle sis­ter Shane. He left me, a full grown man, a rusty bicy­cle and a busted set of drums. I don’t mean he left me a full grown man, I mean I am a full grown man. So why would he leave me a load of child­ish junk instead of cold hard adult cash?...

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

JUST SIT (2 ways to meditate).

There are a million ways
but I find I use two

First, of course, I sit


1. I let my mind go where it wants,
where it will
It journeys many many places
big & small
& then
after ten minutes
or so, it returns & goes,
"Oh, that was nice,
here I am"

2. I use a technique, say, focusing
on my breathing,
to corral my thoughts by controlling
my body
& then
after ten minutes or so
the technique relaxes
by itself & goes
"Here you are"

Whichever way I choose for that morning
either freedom from technique
(unless freedom is a technique)
or technique

I find myself
after ten minutes
or so
in the same exact place
of peace, gatheredness, quiet,
stillness, clearness


So, it must be the sitting

Just sit

Kafka said something about
if you just stay in one place
just sit
the whole world will come to your door
will pass by

I believe meditation is like that
& one day
I will pass me by
& go "Hi"
& nod

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Monday, October 1, 2012

I wish I could be as innocent a writer now as I was in the beginning...

...but I can't

Which doesn't mean I have no innocence

only that it's hiding from my wisdom
from my experience, my knowledge
my skills, my certainty...

I wonder if there's a way...

First comes the urge to write the story
A hook emotional & spiritual
that snags me
gets my blood going
wakes my soul

It moves me & it matters

I get enough down to see
a living blueprint
ragged, messy, wild tangled shape

It's entered the world
more unformed than formed
but breathing

It's a freak

I tell myself
I know this freak
I know where it needs to go
to be a good fine story
to represent me well

Don't be so sure of what i am
says the story
what i mean
what i want
where i'm going
why these people have come together
you are my writer
but the mystery belongs to me

Then something gets stuck
goes dry, dull, dead
on the page

Don't force me
says the story
i will help you...

Once I have a good little chunk of it on the page
my best ally,
most powerful, clear, knowing
ruthlessly loyal ally
is the story itself

but it's asleep in its own skin
talking to me in its sleep

All it cares about
is itself
It doesn't care about me

The only thing in the universe it wants
is to get itself told
clear & true

it can't write itself, can't tell itself
it needs me

whereas I have all kinds of nonsense
desires & reasons
to satisfy
that are laughably meaningless
to the story

I go to the story
& read it as if somebody else, a stranger
was writing it

How many clues & hints & turns in it
I had never noticed before

Why, it's a living thing

Who wrote this?

I slow down to no speed

The more sure I am
that I know all about the story
the more the story
will hide & be too shy
& sullen to help me

It doesn't tell me
it doesn't like what I'm doing
It just clams up

It doesn't care about respect
it only knows when I relax & listen & see
& then my best ally
will help me

I read it
as if I just found it on a seat on the bus
& I trust the unknown writer implicitly

as if she knew exactly what she was doing
& hid perfect clues in plain sight
where to go from there, where
to make connections

but had to leave it behind for me

not clues to what the story means,
but where it means
to go & who
it's about & what
they must do

She has left me this story, the stranger who
got off the bus before I got on,
who I know nothing about
& don't need to know

I'm not the one who started the story
but a new one, carrying the torch

& now it's mine
as long as I observe with abandon
love its frightening
dull & dead & lost spots
as true as the original fiery urge

Its secret course is a light under water, strange
guiding light I must get in the water
& go under to follow
& lose myself or lose
the story

Writing the story
is breathing underwater
following deeper than I can go
the faith-like light

If it works
I won't not forget it

If this is working
you won't have to remember it

If the story is working
you'll know when something is wrong

Just because something feels wrong
doesn't mean it's wrong

I'm not afraid to discuss the story
with the story
I used to think I would lose the story
that way but that's the way
the story sheds me
& becomes itself

I need to work on the story
at different times of the day
and night in order to keep up
with the strange guiding light

I am writing a story
& a relationship, against my will
keeps not changing
not getting better or worse

I think I am trying to make
some point of how you have to get out
of a bad relationship
or make it better

but finally I was trying to go to sleep

frustrated, restless, petulant
about the misbehaving story

when it shyly entered my dream
like a monster in a tutu
unself-conscious, pollen & ESP-laden

& let me know
stop resisting
that it was about the other relationship
the friends
not the lovers

i don't love you
i'm your friend, your ally
it said

because the lovers will love
& then not love or love
& there's nothing you can do

but the friends that hated each other
that had no respect
each other
they are the ones
i am about

Well damn

Who will care about that?

i don't care if they care
says the monster, chewing its fingernails
that's what i'm about
why i am
i gotta go

The entire story

& I really didn't have to change much of anything
except relax & disappear & perceive

It was there all along, writing itself
under my best intentions

I think I know where I am in my life
where I'm going
& I think I know where the story is going

but I am almost always going somewhere else
& the story is almost always
going somewhere else
I can force it, break it
or I can listen to it
& care more about the story
than myself or anybody else
who might happen to read it

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Take no pride in your writing.

Don't prove anything.

Don't win anything.

Pride is beautiful static, a backpack
full of beautiful bricks.

Write as if it is impossible to be ashamed
of being as honest & square as a child.

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Dark Humor vs. Black Humor...

Dark humor laughs with the darkness;
black humor laughs at the light.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: A Completely Objective Review.

I had heard two things that people are saying about this book, one about content and one about the writing itself, the style, quality, etc.

The content is about sex, people had said, and the detail that I had heard was that it involved somebody being tied up, or somebody tying somebody up, and what proceeds from there.

About the style I had heard that it was not very good, that it was poorly written in some way or other.

I have not read the book in its full entirety, to be candid, but I am sure that it is about sex, and that it does indeed involve somebody being tied up and somebody doing the tying, which may or may not be the same person (I don't want to give away any more spoilers than I must, in case you haven't read it and plan to).

I am also sure that it is not written as badly as some people are saying. Perhaps these critics have been unduly influenced by its popularity, for it has sold untold hundreds and hundreds of books.

Some people simply assume that any popular book is not well written, but there are many popular books about which that is simply not true, as we all know.

On the other hand, there are books which are indeed poorly written, and they may have sold hundreds of copies, and those sales are certainly not because it is not well written, but because it has likely tapped into the zeitgeist of the time, which Fifty Shades of Grey appears to have done.

It is certainly written well enough to be understood by its multitude of readers, for they have bought it and I have not heard of crowds of hundreds of people pounding on bookstores to return the book because they could not understand it.

So we can say that much.

And I have not heard anybody who liked the book saying that they liked it because it was poorly written. I think I remember one person who liked it saying something about "Maybe it's not War and Peace, but I haven't read War and Peace."

As I say, I have not read too much of the book, but that it has tapped into the zeitgeist is clear.

Having not read the entire book, it is difficult for me to say what part of the zeitgeist it has tapped into, but it either may have something to do with the sexual aspect of the book, or something to do with the many things that underlie sex or a book about sex, such as communication, social conflict, power relationships, gender questions, childhood issues, or many other related or even unrelated issues.

It is the strangest of times that we live in, so it is likely that anything that is extremely popular taps into that strangeness, either as a means for people to enter more deeply into that strangeness, or as a way, perhaps, to avoid that basic strangeness by entering into another parallel or non-parallel strangeness.

That there is nothing wrong or bad about sex is one thing that perhaps the book has tapped into, even sex of what was once considered a questionable variety, behind closed doors or not. That facet of the book's popularity is neither good nor bad itself, but merely the way that it is, although we ought to keep an open mind even about that.

Sex is almost always interesting, but there has to be something about this particular book which reaches beyond even the general popularity of the topic. There is almost always a moral aspect of books about sex, or perhaps all books, so that this book may tap into that, but in a way that is not obvious but rather subtly suggests morality as a consideration, or transcends it by immersing it in the characters' non-consideration of it.

So, it cannot be as badly written as some say, and it is about sex, and it is extremely popular among those who bought it and like it, and it taps into something about the zeitgeist of our time and place---we can safely say all these things about it, with complete objectivity.

As I say, I have not personally read it, or bought it, or even seen it laying around on a table, but I wonder about the title. It doesn't sound like a book about sex, or if it does, I would think it would treat the subject with moroseness, from the title. It conjures up somebody on an ocean liner in the fog, having had tied-up sex and then perhaps jumping or falling off the ship, accidentally, in the afterglow perhaps.

However, I have not heard anybody say that it is morose, or anything about any scenario akin to the above ship scene. I'm sure that the title makes much more sense once a person reads the book, which I, unfortunately, have not.

If I did see it laying around on a table, I would certainly pick it up and look into it and see for myself, which I always like to do, rather than take anybody else's word for anything, especially with that title. There are many many books about sex, and about tied-up sex, I would imagine, but which of them has accomplished what this book has accomplished?

Therefore, I think it is the strange and mysterious title that is the secret behind the book's popularity and success. If it had been called "Fifty Shades of Tied-Up Sex," or "Zeitgeist Sex," or "Fifty Shades of Orange," I don't believe it would have achieved what it has achieved.

As I have stated, I have not read a word of the book itself, not by choice but by circumstances, for I read very little to start with, although I have nothing against sex or even tied-up sex, per se, but the title is certainly well-written and evocative, in and of itself, and suggests something profound about the spirit of our age and time. Whether the book attached to the title lives up to that title, I cannot objectively say, from what I have heard.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

"Please stop being mean please."

"He was mean first, why don't you tell him to
stop being mean. I wasn't being mean anyway, I
was just telling it like it is. You must think
being honest is mean. Besides, it's a mean world
and it sounds like you're too sensitive for
your own good. In fact, you're being mean by
accusing me of being mean. Who asked you anyway.
It's not only mean but rude to just butt in where
you weren't invited and give somebody unwanted
advice on how they should behave. Maybe you ought
to try moving to Russia, if you think I'm mean,
because they could show you a thing or two when
the secret police drag you into a basement. Is this
America or not? Is there a new law that I haven't
heard about where it's illegal to be honest and not
sugarcoat things when you're forced to deal with a
bunch of idiots and imbeciles? Since you're so big
on telling people what to do and how to live, let
me tell you to grow a thicker skin and stop being a
baby riding around in a waaaaambulance. If you don't
like the kitchen, find a cooler place to hawk your
wares, Goody Two-Shoes. So just grow up and stop
acting like a spoiled brat king that thinks they run
the world, Miss Manners. Besides, it was just a joke,
so you might want to find a sense of humor."

"Please stop being mean please."

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Monday, June 4, 2012

There are only Two Questions in the world:

What's going on up there?


What's going on down there?

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Homeless Guy

left the cul-de-sac where he'd been camping
for a couple nights. He had 3 or 4 suitcases.
He left behind a bunch of paper trash, a nail
clipper, 26 cents (a quarter and a penny), and
about a dozen assorted varieties of writing pens
scattered in the dust.

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There are only two reasons to write.

A. To save the world.
B. To enjoy yourself.

You must choose,
you must choose now,
and you can only choose both.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Forget Everything You Ever Knew About Writing. (1)

(Any treasure will survive the forgetting.)

1. The biggest myth about writing a story is this business
about beginning, middle, and end. Do not worry about those.
There are no such things. It is all right if somebody wants
to go on pretending that there are such things, but we know
the truth now.

Simply write a scene. That's all. If you can't picture a scene,
you're not ready to write the story. If you can picture a scene,
write the scene. Forget about the story. There is no story.

The "story" and its "beginning, middle, and end" will take care
of themselves, like the organs inside of your body. To help the
organs in your body, go for a walk. To "write" a "story", simply
write the scene you are thinking of right now, just like you were
taking a walk, but instead you're sitting there. Then wait until
another scene suggests itself to you, and write that. Then one
day you will have a bunch of scenes. When you have enough, then
you can begin to arrange them in a fun way that will convince you,
and perhaps others, that there is a beginning, middle, and end,
and that there is a story.

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How To Meditate

It is not possible to meditate

Please give it up now

There is no way to meditate ever anywhere

in this world which is made

for not meditating

Have you given it up yet

Have you abandoned all hope of meditating

Have you lost all idea of meditating

Has the very word meditating

become a strange garden of nothing

tangled on a foreign planet an infinity

of light years away


now you

are meditating

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

"I hate it! I wouldn’t represent awful trash like that if it was the only book in the solar system! Next!” -Anka Siv

A small backwards village in the Northern Woods
region, Hillbottom hosted the first and only
Hillbottom Great American Novella Retreat/Conference
some years back. It was the first and only because
the lady and gentleman couple who put it on,
Anton and Anka Siv, were arrested and sent back
to Norway for defrauding I and 11 other would-be
writers out of our money and two weeks of our lives,
plus several typewriters that we never got back
and I suspect were put into a car-grinder at a junk
yard that relatives of the Sivs operated down the
street from the conference hall.

If I wasn’t so embarrassed I wouldn’t even be able
to report this account, which I have never before
because of the confidentiality agreement I had
to sign to get my pants back, but I don’t care
anymore and have to express myself come hell nor high water.


The whole package was $1000. Cash only, no checks or
credit cards. There were cheaper packages that included
sleeping in the woods, outdoors latrine, food stamps, etc.,
but I’d saved up for a long time and went for the whole fish.

According to the brochure with pictures of dreamy
people swimming in a lake and drinking martinis by
moonlight that I found under my windshield, that $1000 covered
“two weeks of writing bliss with luxurious suites and loving
kid-glove critiques of your writing to take you to the next
higher level of writing skills and extraordinary vision and
voice, all in one stop. Don’t put off no longer the gift of
self-love and advancement in writing success and riches that
only the Hillbottom Great American Novella Retreat/Conference
can deliver. Personal attention to everything you can think
of related to both writing and having a good, fun and
wonderful time in the woods with other like-minded writers
of your personal creative type. Come with a raw box of "crud,"
leave with a finished polished novella, a top-flight agent
that only the best-sellers hope to get, all courtesy of Anton
and Anka Siv, international duo of reknown and friends to
the stars of the glorious world of unmeasured writing success,
fame and big fat contracts that will make your friends blush,
your family spit out their fake teeth, and other writers choke
with envy. Don’t wait, call today!"

As it would turn out that was just a little bit misleading
because supper and utilities turned out to be extra.


"It’s easier to write in two weeks," is all Anka and Anton
would mysteriously say. "The novella is the novel of the future,
and the future is now."


That part was actually pretty good. They locked us in the
basement with a sack of stale crullers and a vat of coffee
that was so bitter it about ate this guy Omar’s hairpiece
that fell in before he could fish it out with a cruller.
The good part is they only let us out after we turned in
10,000 words a day. And like Anka used to say as she was
running her fingernails through my hair, "It’s all about
the writing, isn't it, sonny boy."


This was set up with curtained booths and you sat there
until the "agent" pops in and you give your pitch.

It wasn’t long before I figured out that the supposive
"agents" was none other than Anka and Anton Siv who kept
changing disguises.

All they did was have different wigs and coats and glasses.
One time all Anka changed was to have a patch on her eye.
Finally I got the nerve to speak up. "You’re the same gal
that been in the other booths. All you done there now is
put that pirate patch on. In fact, I think you’re Anka Siv

"How dare you!" she says in a high fake voice. "You’ll never
get a agent with that kind of nasty attitude! Pitch!"

"What’d you call me?"

"I said ‘Pitch!’"

"Oh. OK, there’s this guy and he has a horse, see--"

"I hate it! I wouldn’t represent awful trash like that
if it was the only book in the solar system! Next!"

And she disappeared behind the curtain. I never did get a
agent out of it.


They stacked us in triple-bunk-beds in one room the
size of a laundry room. It fact, it was the laundry
room. Half of them authors snored so bad you’d think they
never slept before in their life. It was like a rusty sawmill.
I was so tired the next day I demanded a room of my own.
“You’ll never become a author with a piss-poor attitude
like that,” says Anka, tossing me a pair of earplugs
made out of damp wine cork.


This was quite fun even if a bit chaotic and pointless
overall. We basically sat in a circle and took turns
reading a couple sentences until Anton hollers,
"Stop! You’re killing me! OK, what does everybody
think about that particular load of drivel!"

At first nobody would say anything. Anton’s face crinkles
up and he sobs sort of homicidally without making any
noise, and Anka starts walking around behind us in sequin
flip flops and terry cloth sweat pants, cracking her knuckles
and hissing writing sayings under her breath like
"If I see one more misplaced comma, somebody ain't going home,"
and "So this is what we get for trying to help a pack of drooling
near-do-wells write the great American novella."

Finally one gal named Herma says, "Ahem, well, I liked the part
where the man looks out his window and sees that old horse outside."

"Oh, you did, did you?" says Anton. "You liked that, eh? Well,
well. How elucidating. That’s just terrific."

"Well, that’s all that happened so far," Herma says. "That’s all
you let him read."

"Oh, I did, did I? Have you ever heard of a little thing we like
to call 'subtext’? Have you heard of that, Herma? Somehow I bet not.
Anybody else have more Herma-type elucidating comments?"

Nobody was even breathing by then so Anka broke out a jug
of some kind of fermented fig juice and made us drink it
and before long everybody begun clamoring to holler things
they didn’t like about everything until some brawl broke out
and I woke up under the bushes outside with writing sayings
written on my body in magic marker such as" "GOAL! MOTIVATION!

Suffice to say that while we learned a lot of lessons
from the Sivs and their retreat/conference, none of those
lessons had anything to do with writing, except for
the word "HELP!" that we wrote in tar on the roof of
the conference hall in case a plane flew over when
the Sivs locked us up there when we ran out of money for
supper and utilities. They finally let us down although
we had to paint their dock to get supper that night.

Nevertheless, it was a pleasant experience all in all,
and I look forward to many more different retreats and
conferences in the future where I will surely meet many
more writers, authors, and other professional literary types,
including agents, publishers, best-sellers, interesting
celebrities, and etc., because I love the writing life and
about everything about it and I just don’t think I can ever
get enough.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

"If freedom isn't about something bigger than freedom,

then freedom is just ... entertainment."

--Sean Penn, The Crossing Guard

I don't think I've ever thought about that before.

How could I have never thought about something
so important and obvious before?

I must have thought about it in other terms.

The quote above, from the film The Crossing Guard,
written by Sean Penn, was spoken by a man who had just
gotten out of prison, after six years, for killing
a child with his car. He was drunk. Not when he said
it, but when he was driving.

So he knew about freedom, or had thought a lot
about it. And now he had it, or had something like
it, that he hadn't had for six years.

But he was still imprisoned by his guilt, by the
memory of what he had done, the young life he had
taken. He was unforgiven, by himself, by the father
of the little girl he killed.

He wasn't saying he didn't have freedom. He was
saying what was he going to do with it, where was
he going to take it. What good was it, when in his
freedom he was incapable, or unwilling, to use his
freedom to choose to live.

Where and what was the thing that was "bigger" than
freedom that freedom was about?

The father of the girl he killed had said he was going
to return to kill the man, the ex-convict, in three days.

So he had 3 days to decide what it was that was bigger
than freedom that freedom was about, that would save
freedom from being ... entertainment.

3 days, after six years of prison.

I know that being sober is the freedom to choose, which
I didn't have when I was drinking, when I was slave to

Of course what I first think about is God, when I think
about what the thing is that is bigger than freedom, that
will save freedom from being entertainment, which is merely
the freedom to choose between most of the little things we choose
between and among every day and night--entertainment.

The man who killed the girl was drunk when he hit her
with his car. "I just felt a bump." Now he almost
welcomes the father coming to kill him. It will
be deliverance, true freedom, freedom from himself.

The little dying girl talks to the man who killed her.
"She was talking to me. She was apologizing to me.
She was apologizing for not having looked both ways."

I hate to tell you this. I hate to tell myself this.
It's not about God. It's about loving the other guy.
You can't love the other guy if you hate yourself. You
can't love the other guy, or yourself, if you're waiting
for them to change, for you to change. God doesn't wait.
God is not waiting. I'm the only one who's waiting.
You're the only one who's waiting. It's not going to
happen one little step at a time. Or it will happen,
one little step at a time, up to a point. And then
it requires the freedom to leap into that something
bigger than freedom. And it comes in a hundred forms
per day.

If I said it any plainer than that it would be taking
away your freedom, my freedom.

You're free to believe me or not.

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Saturday, February 18, 2012

How Much Is a Porchlight On a Cold Country Road at Night?

"The $8.8-billion Webb Space Telescope
promises to provide a glimpse
at the first light in the universe."

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Best Song at Grammys -- Willie Nelson's Chipotle commercial.

Willie's Song/video

Coldplay's haunting classic "The Scientist" is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack of the short film entitled "Back to the Start." The film, by film-maker Johnny Kelly, depicts the life of a farmer as he slowly turns his family farm into an industrial animal factory before seeing the errors of his ways and opting for a more sustainable future. Both the film and the soundtrack were commissioned by Chipotle to emphasize the importance of developing a sustainable food system.

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

"I won't jump."

From a friend's email:

"What is poignant is that this morning
I had read an article in the October 13
edition of the New Yorker titled "Jumpers."
It is about suicides off the Golden Gate.
Anyway, toward the end of the article
the S.F. coroner is quoted about a 1963 suicide
off the bridge. The guy was 31 or 37.
He lived in this sparse little room
and left a note which said,
"I’ll walk to the bridge
and if just some one person smiles,
I won’t jump."

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Darkness Rose from the Night Like a Gown

One side of the torn card read “OOF”
& the other had crude letters
in an alphabet I didn't know, gouged
with a fingernail or coin.

In the perfect silence of outer space
a washing machine sang
& I was comforted.

The cry of a billion keyboards
fell back to earth.

Feel at peace with being

I'm writing this in a rowboat.

Beware: the thing you love most
in a person because it is also in you
may mean to them the very opposite
of what it means to you.

One item we'll never see in an obituary:
"Successful mystic."

It is what it isn't.

Exhaustion came over me like a calling.

Fog & moon & Dexter Gordon

The brain part that processes anxiety
kicks in
in the presence of the ghost,
forcing reason to immediately make sense
& restore order.

Love is more belief than belief.

Why do they call those things silverfish
& why do they live in old books?
Why not call old books water?

Love is for when I'm no good
at love.

Your dark faith, bundled up,
scarf trailing, comfortable with mystery,
sailing through the night.

I love to play
but I hate games.

Can gentleness be fierce?
It can but requires
a new definition. New definitions
cure anything.

Remnants of my dream lay around,
the cut hat, the smoking bridge.

This morning a pale city hawk swept
over the garden, the rush
on my neck like a ghost passing.

(Silence is (humility because
there's no argument in) silence.)

I concede that humility is a virtue
but I am too proud to accept anybody
else's definition of it.

The ghost an alligator in the ceiling,
thrashing, a woman's voice
in the stethoscope, chills like a healing
from my ears to my toes.

Humility is freedom from what others
think, from what I think, from proof
& evidence & justification, from the
definition of humility.

Those girls have thousands of years
of many-armed goddess charmers
wiggling in their blood.

Contempt is cozy, addictive, violent.

The memory of a good book is better
than the book. The memory of a great
book is perfect.

Yes world I'll buy it all but 1st must
go to my room for my cc & won't climb
out the window with my brains into
the woods promise swear.

One day we discovered we had grown
into mountains together. Our laughter
surprised us like thunder & distance
& respect.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

"What a wee little part of a person's life are his acts and his words!

His real life is led in his head
and is known to none but himself.

All day long, and every day,
the mill of his brain is grinding,
and his thoughts (which are but the
mute articulation of his feelings)
are his history.

His acts and his words
are merely the visible thin crust of his world,
with its scattered
snow summits and its vacant wastes of water,
and they are so trifling a part of his bulk!

The mass of him is hidden--
it and its volcanic fires that toss and boil,
and never rest, night nor day.

These are his life, and they are not written,
and cannot be written.

Every day would make a whole book of 80,000 words
three hundred and sixty-five days a year.

Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of a man--
the biography of the man himself cannot be written."

--Mark Twain, Autobiography

This is strangely reassuring to me.
I've long suspected it.
So simple & plain, so obvious.
We are told only our actions count,
everybody says it--
thoughts & words are but thoughts & words,
and only actions matter!

But here is a very different take
on who & what we are
& it rings true as a field of bells.

What do you do with all those thoughts,
how to shape them, guide them, quiet them,
use them, not let them drive you
over the falls?

Write, meditate, listen, pray.

No wonder all this electronic crap
has come along
to take your mind off your own mind!

Thank you, Mark! Thank you, Sam!
Strangely reassuring, comforting,
mysteriously verifying.

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