el camino

*el camino translated to english means “The Way” – more than a vehicle.

EL CAMINO

Out in the wilds

in my rusted 1969 El Camino

pulled off the side of a desert road

the only light

a cigarettes glowing ember end

the stars my only friends

“Buenos Noches From A Lonely Room”

on the radio

quiet like

listening outside to inside conversations

yet here I am alone

staring off into the night at

a glow

far off on the horizon

the site of an alien invasion?

just another boring city

that never sleeps

I decide to NOT “go toward the light”

comfortable under the shadowy blanket of night

resting in my inspired darkness

sitting in the bed of

El Camino

Cocoon

mobius faith · COCOON

I am in a personal, creative, social,
emotional and professional cocoon.
Once a caterpillar,
I thought I understood life.
Now it feels like time has passed me by
and I no longer understand or
recognize the world I live in:
irrelevant, voiceless, useless.
I can’t move.
Wrapped in blankets on a bed.
Cocooned in my cotton chrysalis.
I peer out through fuzzy threads
and see people moving about,
attempts at normalcy.
But, I have no desire.
I am weak and sickly;
left to the shadows of a previous life.
I have neither the will nor the strength.
I’m left to wonder if I will emerge from this cocoon
to a new life,
a new type of existence
or if I will die in my encasement.
Will I be able to break free and
enjoy new life?
A new existence?
Better Health?
Feeling “at one” with the world around me?
Or will this shell become my abattoir
slaughtered in silence.
Perhaps I will emerge an avatar
able to engage, teach, foster and encourage the souls who remain?
“If you live long enough and hang in long enough
the world will learn to love you again” (*)
So, now is the time of waiting
and hanging in there
waiting for the metamorphosis to complete
as I wonder….

Will I be a butterfly or a moth?
Will I dine on the sweet nectar of milkweed?
Will I flit and flutter toward the light of my undoing?
In the end the question is not “how?” but “when?”
Even butterflies can die in their cocoon.

* quote by Toya Willcox in the liner notes to her new boxed set.

Escaping One's Own Shadow

ESCAPING ONE’S OWN SHADOW

poem to the world

We Did It Our Way (6/14/2020)

For all those around the world
who have have been sickened and harmed by
America’s bigotry
America’s duplicity
America’s meddling
into your lives, your governments, your countries
this legacy of self-interest

“I don’t think there are any Russians
and there ain’t no Yanks
Just corporate criminals
Playin’ with tanks”
“The child of hatred comes of age…
The sad neglect will surely take its toll…
Violent times”(*)

For all those around the world
who have prayed
prayed in earnest and
prayed continually
“A plague upon America.”
“Death to America!”
or cried out “when will it end?”

God has heard you and
God has answered

I can tell you
with more coronavirus cases
and deaths
than any other country in the world
with social unrest
caused by a pandemic, racism, inconsistent values,
police brutality and failed leadership

I can tell you
that you may feel confident
you did not have to lift a finger
you did not need to attack us
God has heard your prayers
and like the tower of Babel
Our “language” has become confused

like the walls of Jericho
all you had to do was blow your horns
we have come crashing down
the modern Rome is falling
you did not have to lift a finger
you did not need to attack us
let the ruin be a lesson

We did it our way
We did it to ourselves

* 2nd stanza quotes taken from The Call’s eerily prescient album MODERN ROMANS (1983)

“I can’t breathe” (a poem)

“I CAN’T BREATHE!”

The long long night in America
violence, hatred & anger
200+ years overdue if you ask me
and not in the least surprising

“I can’t breathe,” “I can’t breathe!”
The fires of protest burn brightly
and the media focuses on the event
not the root that caused this burning bush to grow

Another black man dies
in police custody
“I can’t breathe,” “I can’t breathe!”
each word like bullets fired from a gun
verbal shots ring out
while 3 cops pin a black man down
one brutally kneeling on the neck
and a 4th stands by complicit

It isn’t enough to suppress the black and brown man
his black and blue soul suffering
under the weight of white oppression
and the poison goes to the very top Mr. President

racism given a badge
There is no honor here
It’s not courage that carries a gun and uses force
only a white coward dresses in blue
and cynically claims
“I’m only doing my job”
when they crush the life
out of a black man already subdued
“I can’t breathe,” “ I can’t breathe”

If we are surprised by the violence
we should be ashamed
If we are shocked by the brutality
we shouldn’t be

If we do nothing
We are complicit
“Please, please, please,
I can’t breathe, please man.”

And another black mans soul
ascends to heaven to early.
“Please, please, please,
I can’t breathe, please man.”

I wrote the above poem in reaction to the brutal killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and the nationwide protests and violence that followed 5/31/2020. 

4 essential tracks for this time in America:
The Last Poets – HANDS OFF!


Gil Scott-Heron – HOME IS WHERE THE HATRED IS

The Last Poets – RAIN OF TERROR

War – SLIPPIN’ INTO DARKNESS

Bonus Track – From the film SLAM starring contemporary poet Saul Williams.

 

we are the people

Well Iggy Pop has done it again.   Like Bowie and Dylan he just keeps surprising us and gets better and better.   His newest album (2019), FREE, is a real breakaway from previous efforts – jazz textures abound.   His primary collaborators are soundscape guitarist Noveller and jazz trumpeter Leron Thomas.   Pop only co-wrote 3 of the 10 tracks.    As he wrote in the liner notes he “…wanted an album in which other artists speak for me, but I lend my voice.”  And what a voice it is.   In addition to the three tracks he co-wrote he sings/speaks the words of Leron Thomas, Lou Reed and Dylan Thomas.

I find myself repeatedly listening to this album.  I find it deeply moving. Here are a quartet of tracks.

Starting with the title track FREE which Pop co-wrote with Leron Thomas

Next is the poem WE ARE THE PEOPLE, written by Lou Reed and was published post-humously.

We are the people without land
We are the people without tradition
We are the people
Who do not know how to die peacefully and at ease
We are the thoughts of sorrows
Endings of tomorrows
We are the wisps of rulers
And the jokers of kings
We are the people without right
We are the people who have known only lies and desperation
We are the people without a country, a voice, or a mirror
We are the crystal gaze
Returned through the density and immensity of a berserk nation
We are the victims of the untold manifesto of the lack of depth
Of full and heavy emptiness
We are the people without sorrow
Who have moved beyond national pride and indifference
To a parody of instinct
We are the people who are desperate
Beyond emotion because it defies thought
We are the people
Who conceive our destruction and carry it out lawfully
We are the insects of someone else’s thought
A casualty of daytime, nighttime, space, and God
Without race, nationality, or religion
We are the people, and the people, the people

And now for something a little lighter – JAMES BOND, written by Leron Thomas. I nominate Iggy to do the theme song for the next James Bond film. What do you think?

And to round out this post here is a classic poem by Dylan Thomas,
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT.

And do not go gentle into that good night
Old age should burn and rave at close of day
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
Though wise men at their end know dark is right
Because their words had forked no lightning
They do not go gentle into that good night
Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight
And learn too late, they grieved it on its way
Do not go gentle into that good night
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay
Rage, rage against the dying of the light
And you, my father, there on the sad height
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray
Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light

3 Good Friday haiku

Winter’s dying gasp
Before Easter’s rising dawn
Good Friday’s snowfall

this morning out my window 2

This morning out my window #2

Snow falls on Friday
A Savior rises Sunday
Spring surprises all

this morning out my window 1

This morning out my window #1

April morning snow
Quiet soft burial melting
to resurrection

 

It may be Friday – but Sunday’s on the way!

4 haiku on death by suicide

Living, one’s own terms
no judgement for suicide
Dying, ones own terms

********************

Sweet Sweet Suicide
The last exit from life’s stage
Stigmata of choice

********************

On a high blue bridge
She jumps, flying toward the earth
Releasing all cares

********************

It takes great courage
To take the reigns of death
There’s no mortal sin

yet 3 more haiku on death & dying

No more dreams to live
Heart stops, brain ceases, life ends
A cold grave welcomes

*********************

Freedom on the wind
A bird will fall from the sky
Its heart beats no more

*********************

And when the end comes
Can there be beauty in death?
Flowers in the snow

3 more haiku on death & dying

Ending transitions
Matter to anti-matter
Life turns into death

********************

Flesh will decay fast
When life is present no more
Bones will decay slow

********************

Circumstance unknown
I know neither time nor place
When death comes for me

3 haiku on death & dying

When death comes to call
Alone I will fade and fail
remembered no more

************************

When the body dies
Software will be deleted
And hardware destroyed

************************

Autumn to Winter
All life has been drained away
Dry leaves in the fire

even more haiku on lightning, rain & thunder

Weathers town crier
Thunders crashing box of rocks
announces the rain.

*******

The pink noise of rain
With distant lightnings white noise
A cool breeze for sleep

*******

Music in the night
This ambient symphony
A chorus of rain

3 more haiku on lightning & storms

Restless dreams at night
Toss’d ’bout on flashes of light
Ships on stormy seas

*******

A thunder not heard
The storm can’t hide its approach
Bright lightning flashes

*******

The quiet of night
Static on the radio
The rain comes lightly

coastal haiku

gulls flight in the night
coastal lights guiding their slumber
humans haunting sounds

————————————–

seagulls on the prowl
dive-bombing at lunch in hand
McDonald’s french fries

From The Coast

knowing when to make someone’s day

knowing when to
“make someone’s day”
means not being selfish
like knowing when to give
when not to give
being sensitive about what you say
when you say it
and when not to say it
knowing when to do nothing

knowing that to
“make someones day”
means knowing when
to leave them alone
alone to their own devices
alone in their misery
no matter how much it
bothers you to do so
there are just some things
people need to work out for themselves

Knowing that if
you don’t leave them alone
you may make their misery worse
knowing that if you help
help them figure things out
they are being forced
to deal with their problems
in a way that may be unnatural to them

knowing that “being there”
may be all they need
your presence is enough
your gift is your silence
your gift is not the answer given
but the question shared
your gift is the answer
discovered together in their time

knowing when to
“make someone’s day”
means that sometimes
the less you do
is the most you can do
the best thing to do
and that’s okay

knowing that sometimes
we have this wisdom
sometimes we don’t
and it all depends on
how “invested” we are
in any given situation

imagination and practical reality

Imagination And Practical Reality
(6/11/19)

Where are the words
that have escaped me?
All I find is an empty wire cage
I hear the fluttering of wings
in the darkened corners of the room
Yet I see nothing clearly
vague inferences and impressions
opaqued shapes
undulating slowly
in a heavy pre-dawn fog
Yet I am happy

And once the sun rises
and the fog is burned away
all will be made clear
Without mystery
Without inspiration
Forgotten worlds
Like the man who looks in a mirror(*)
and when he turns away
immediately forgets what he looks like
Left to wander
groping in the clarity of
the harsh light of day
Lost in the multi-sensory overload
Writing without understanding
the words on the page
And I am sad once more.

 

*  James 1:24

What Happened To My Country? (this messy slam poem)

What Happened To My Country?

(5/2019)
What happened to my country?
I feel like an alien in my own land
where everything old is new again
old arguments
new context
the earth is flat
we never landed on the moon
the return of nazism returns and
white supremacy, nationalism, dictators
abortion rights
suppression of the press
the end of free speech
power of the gun
more walls fewer bridges
tiki torches over electricity
more bombast less wisdom
voter suppression
denial, deny everything
forcing yes by saying no
lie, lie, lie like there’s no tomorrow
the holocaust never happened
domestic terrorism rules the day
a normality of school shootings
armed teachers
corporate kings keep half of America
addicted to opioids
never once asking if they should
they knew they could earn a ton of dough
from the drug trade
so they would
act now apologize later
Is this the death of America or just democracy?
the all-you-can-eat
brimstone and treacle buffet

Every moral notion I’ve EVER had
is being crushed by
the people who taught me
everyone has their religion but no one believes
religion is politicized, weaponized and bastardized
everyone is talking
no one is listening
technology moves forward
while humanity falls
faster backward

Where are the lovers the haters have killed?
we pray for ourselves by cursing others
we pray for our kind and curse differences
as if only we matter
sameness perpetuates division
diversity has become a word
to bring attention to our differences
not the things that unite us

Everyone wants to be Goliath
the bigger the better
determined to change history
but they forgot David won the war
believing they can turn back the clock
moving forward in the delusion of progress
taking a life synonymous with birth
the rights of the living aborted for
the rights of the unborn, the nonhuman,
the corporate, the government, the powerful
the dog serves its master
the worm serves the fish
and the pigs shit everywhere

America, where is your
o, beautiful for spacious skies?
when did the battle hymn of the republic change?
Now we only trample through the vineyard
where we grow our own grapes of wrath
and prepare to loose the lightning
of our own swift sword
beating the drum to war
unnecessarily we forgot the
beauty of the lilies and
Christ irrelevant born
forget about his glory transfiguration
it’s just you and me

(sung) Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
glory, glory hallelujah
only the lie is marching on

America America
God shed his
onward christian soldiers
white privilege freedom thieves
now crown your good
white brotherhood
from sea to shining sea
and Jesus doesn’t love the children
all the children of the world
red and yellow, black and white
white are precious in his sight
that’s not the way the fucking songs go!

Hopefully artificial intelligence
will be ‘cause actual intelligence
seems to be the victim of extinction
let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with
someone else

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!
God will not intervene!
even God wouldn’t deny the freewill
that humanity denies each other
God knows no borders
yet the rich and powerful use God
to force crisis borne of political expediency,
build walls and wage wars

Protect the money
grow the money
protect the money
grow the money
say it with me
protect the money, grow the money!

there is no happy ending here
man may have been made in the image of God but
God is still an extra-terrestrial alien creator
killed by its own creation
just as humanity will be killed by technology
the thing it creates
there is no rapture
the second coming came and went
it’s hard to imagine heaven
when all we create is hell
God damned humanity and
only humanity can save itself

I’m sorry if you were hoping for
words of encouragement
words of hope
words of inspiration
this vessel has been emptied and
washed clean
ready for a new beginning
let it begin
let the day begin!

On second thought
I think I’ll leave it empty for awhile

The Players Song

Players Song

what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

the end has come
lights gone down
crowds are gone
strides across
this sawdust clown

baggy pants
dirty shirt
worn out shoes
treading through
another broken town

hotel room
lonely bulb
peeling paint
dingy and dank
inhabited mold drown

what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

the naked man
in the bathtub
smokes a cigar
wearing the painted
face of a clown

milky surface
soapy water
shimmers like diamonds
one deep breath
he’s sliding down
what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

warm wet meditation
wraps up the man
mind quiet, at peace
distant thunder smoking
cigar lifeline

rising up
paint-stained flesh
reveals the man
washed renewed naked
suffering reality frown

what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

I don’t remember when I wrote this – possibly 2013-2014. But I only recorded it recently.

poem on silence (or lack of)

Silence Reaching (2013)

in the modern era
silence exists

a decision
a punishment

noisy with appeals
recognizes the imperative
goes on speaking anyway

an intention
an expectation

perforated by sound
enriching emptiness
a resonating eloquent silence

je pe deges parmi le solitude*
horizon
discovery
and formulation

never has less advanced itself as
more

soliciting total attention
strenuous modesty
actual debility
cleansed non-interfering vision
certifying the absence

long silences become almost palpable
spiritual nausea
harsh despair
perverse apocalypse
deployed with systematic irony

blood-tide of decadence
the approaching end
post political electronically connected cosmopolis checked by despair
leaves one without
any
breath
at
all

(*translation – I’m a lonely one)

I actually recorded this one. I always think poetry needs to be spoken/read out loud. Enjoy.

White Supremacy?

White Supremacy

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand
Leprous hand
White as snow
You sound like help and look like death

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
your heart is too close to the skin
you cannot see what I see
Your deformity prevents you
from feeling the pain you cause

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
I see the disease you bring
Hidden among your so-called gifts
Your virtues tainted by
The supremacy of your unclean hand

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
The diseased heart has spread to the hand
You build your gated communities, armed fortresses
Of wealth, leper colonies, prisons of your own making
Separating you from a whole world of wonder

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
You seek to unify YOUR family
By separating ours… mine
You burn bridges and build walls
Usurper of truth, teller of lies

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
The lesions of your thinking
Discolored by the deafening roar of hatred, intolerance & FEAR
I could feel sorry for you
If it were not for the swift kick
Of your Jackboot and the Searing heat of your tiki torch

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
The prophesy has foretold
You will starve, you will lose all you had,
You will die by your own white hand
And when there is no more white
Who will be left to dig your grave?

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand
Leprous hand
White as snow.

haiku’s on fog

O beautiful morn

shrouded and clouded in mist

fogged o’er secret Spring

Links to the Pond smlr

wake up now dear Spring

shed the blanket of morning

wipe the fog away

Secret Gatherings

Where, oh morn are you?

Where are your budding flowers?

Even birds whisper

Behind the Fence Line smlr

 

haiku on birds 2

regal, pompous
purple martins majesty
live in mansions

******************

run, run away
a honking, snapping terror
the goose is loose

******************

blue heron
fishes in reflections
one stiff leg

haiku on birds

flock of pigeons
flying over — blue skies
poop on my head

*****************

feeding time
excited sparrows chirp ’round
flower box

*****************

egg adopted
screech owl hatches wood duck
one family

A tree dreams of branches

A Tree Dreams Of Branches

 

A TREE DREAMS OF BRANCHES

 

One broken limb

splintered and

disconnected from its roots

frozen in time

a tree locked in its icy reverie

dreams of branches

becoming whole once more

veins growing outward

with the hope of leaves

only cracks in reality

Springs slow thaw

 

 

 

whissspers

WHISSSPERS

You whisssper in my ear
your palpable smile
some mystery
or a secret that only I am privileged to know,
some master plan,
some wisdom or
some knowledge
or just “I love you.”

The warmth of your breath
softly radiates
entering by hearing
and “hearing by the word of god.

Familiar as a breeze
rustling the leaves
on a humid Summer’s day
under the shade tree.

These whissspering waves
ripple through my body
steadily quickening
the beat of my heart.

My pulse registers . . . . .
excitement, a cherished connection
words and meaning lost in anticipation
virtue swirls into sweet sin
tingle of unending hope
inspiring passions aplenty
I dream of grabbing you and
holding you closer
than my own skin.

3 haiku on spring

Feels sooooo good!
First warm day of Spring
Steps lightly

======================

Shining Bright
Birds sing in mid-flight
Spring sunshine

======================

Looking clearly
A glass wall separates me
from Spring outside

 

4 haiku on aging

Daily progress
with pain in every step
These “golden years”

+++++++++++++++++++

Unable to sit
Unease prevents stillness
My restless legs

+++++++++++++++++++

Time goes faster
Losing track of days
One more bare limb

+++++++++++++++++++

Once, clarity
of a happy, sad youth –
memory fades