Integration at Four O’Clock

Integration at Four O’Clock

Bridge of Shadows

I wonder about the ideal all too often. I wonder if we were ever, as a species, supposed to attain something even close to an ideal. But that doesn’t stop me from wool-gathering, looking at clouds, staring at the darkness in my coffee cup, etc. That doesn’t stop me from questioning, endlessly, the way things are.

How should we raise our kids and ourselves? Because, of course, all the while we think we’re raising them, they’re raising us in a sense, too, and all the things surrounding us shape what we do, and are sometimes shaped by what we do, and so it goes, on and on and on. . . . Read more. “Integration at Four O’Clock”

Out of the darkness, into the light

Out of the darkness, into the light

Are there such things as “generations,” and if there are, can they have a conscience? Can they have voices that represent those consciences?

I’m not sure about the first question, though I have my doubts. Far too many variables and feedback loops. But I’ll say yes for now and posit this: For the young at heart in the 1960s and 1970s, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young certainly qualified, as did Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, Joan Baez, Melanie, Cat Stevens and, of course, the Beatles.

The young, back then, actually looked to songwriters for inspiration, messages, a Way. They actually cared enough about what they said to act physically on the song’s behalf. . . . Read more. “Out of the darkness, into the light”

The Bridge/Part II

The Bridge/Part II

There are degrees
Of course

There are always degrees

So that one can connect
And still not know you

Like the friend who saw your face
Before you were born

Knew that face before it was here
And after it leaves the scene

After it moves on to that place
None of us can return from

Or talk about with the living

So bridges can range in size and strength
From the shaky to the permanent

From the earthly
To something far grander far stranger

Like omni
Like multi

Like a thousand and one
As they used to say

A thousand and one years ago

Far stranger in that
The bridge exists everywhere and nowhere

Which is why the greatest friend
Never has to try

Never has to struggle to be heard
Never has to shout

It just happens like a word
Opening up to the sea

Inside it
Provoked and calmed by it

Seized and released by it

You know it before you cross it
The water

The sky
Time and time again

The time before and the time after
We sail like first mates

We sail like dolphin Brendan hawk Odysseus
From dawn to dusk

The waves

The Bridge

The Bridge

The best writers do more than just
Take you there

They do more than just describe the scene
The village city ocean sky

They bury the dead where you buried yours
They surround you with your own secrets

They sing the song you learned in the womb
And only in the womb

The best writers know you
Even though that’s impossible

Even though that would mean
The walls you thought existed

— between humans plants animals space —

Never existed
Or existed only at times

Or appeared because we falter
And falter

Whenever we’re conscious
Of being conscious

The best writers poets artists musicians
Shatter those walls by unseeing them

By refusing to believe in them
Until they vanish

And that word is a favorite of theirs
Among the most profound

Among a chosen few
And that’s really the key

They choose you
You choose them

There is no other reason
Beyond inevitability

How to Form a “We.”

How to Form a “We.”

The Buddha in the Attic
The Buddha in the Attic, by Julie Otsuka. 2011

In Julie Otsuka’s beautiful novel, The Buddha in the Attic, the narrator is a crowd, an us, a swarm of voices we want to listen to, because it’s truly an Everyone, and the voice is a poem. She speaks for them, as them, as a people, and as individual women who once shared a voyage from Japan to America as mail-order brides soon after WWI. There are shocks and surprises, radical disappointments and disillusionment along the way, but Otsuka’s incantatory prose moves us and moves the book swiftly forward, even though we want to dwell with this new “we” longer. Much longer. . . . Read more. “How to Form a “We.””

Floating in my Tin Can

Floating in my Tin Can


NASA Icebridge Project

Live for today?
This may be among the most pressing
Questions of the era
Given the fires the seas the melting ice caps

Why is it so profoundly important?

Because I said so
That’s why

And because I just said that
You stopped reading
Most likely
Which leads to our next proposal:

Dance sing play the drums
Piano Guitar Bass
Like it’s the End of the World
Like no one is watching

While being cleverly

So that they don’t care
But they do

So that while they’re whirling dervishes
In front of us
Dionysian in front of us
They realize something way down deep

In their guts
In their DNA

We’re just passing through
We’re going to pass on
We’re going to be forgotten
All of us

As a species

Unless we
Unless we sing dance play music
As One as a Species as a People
Who really like four temperate seasons

A Box a Bundle a Triptych of Poems

A Box a Bundle a Triptych of Poems

Slouching Closer to First Sins


She sat on a universal
A universal space and time
Not of her making

It was hers by right
And everyone knew it

Many decades later
Some would call this
Into question


Decades after that
Aggressively and with anger

They would question the universal

They would question the idea
That anyone can really see anything
From anywhere

Without all but nullifying
What they see



The stain of being human

But she was dead
Long dead
And laughed six feet under



The Ghost in the Mirror


The judgment of Paris
Or Detroit
Or Dubai
Is hubris in search of

The tauntingly absurd
In search of
The stunningly tone deaf

As in
The most human thing in the world

We are forever belated
And that endears us to the gods

Just like the dead
The woman from before
The one six feet under

Know this feel this smell this
In all encounters
With a Sapien’s vision of itself
Its vain preoccupations served up

On ice-cold platters

We struggle for acceptance
Based on ideals so new
So precarious
So devoid of sustainability

The winds howl with derision
And call us fickle

I want to find a pre-Freudian
Enclave garden jungle bridge
Where no one has seen us

Secure against further partitions
En solidaritĂ© march on!! . . . Read more. “A Box a Bundle a Triptych of Poems”

An Artistic Life Needs no Explanation

An Artistic Life Needs no Explanation

It’s so clear to me now
Like the crunch of frozen snow
And the cuts it makes
When we don’t wear shoes

It’s so obvious to me now
Like the hurling infrastructure
Of crestfallen waves that seem
Desperate to put us in our place

There can be no direct communication
There can be no epiphany via words

Only images
And sounds
And wounded flesh
Get through to us

And even they struggle
To make a lasting dent
In our move-along minds
Our blithe embodiments

Such were my thoughts
Before she rose from the sea
And walked out of the waves
As if she were a goddess

Helpless baffled frozen
In space
Though the sun pounded down
On all things everywhere

Like the last fire
The whole world aflame

I managed to say
Or let slip
Or mumble
I love you

Context is a poem