Friday, May 22, 2009

Title Unknown.

My body’s been everywhere I have—

when I ate worms when I was 8

My body witnessed it, shouted NO DON’T DO IT!

Last summer brother John and I cleared the yard of its dead weeds

My spine bent over the dirt and shovel.

We radiated heat and red—

we were dry sponges.


These cracked lips need water.

The shriveling process has started

inside I’ve become an old woman

as my skin tries to catch up with its

aging organs

lungs and liver blackening

skin shrinking to surround my heart and eye sockets.

They are most tender.

But I am not old yet.


When we are golden old

I will make us scrambled eggs

and thick black coffee

that makes our chest hair grow.

I will listen to public radio

Dancing in the fresh cut grass

catching fireflies

till my skin falls from my frame. 

Thursday, May 21, 2009


As of late, I have been detoxifying my dead brain by indulging in poetry of the late 40's through to the 60's. Basically, the beatniks. Beat Generation poetry led the way into the hippie era, but attempted to do it at a more hedonistic, intellectual level...infused with LSD. Beautiful but self-aware work. I can't judge. 

Gary Snyder, one of the beats and friends of Kerouac and Ginsberg, is coming to Seattle to speak at Benaroya this coming week. Kerouac based Japhy Rider, the main character of The Dharma Bums off Snyder. I've been checking out some of his poetry:

Smokey the Bear Sutra

Once in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago,
the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite
Void gave a Discourse to all the assembled elements
and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings,
the flying beings, and the sitting beings -- even grasses,
to the number of thirteen billion, each one born from a
seed, assembled there: a Discourse concerning
Enlightenment on the planet Earth. 

"In some future time, there will be a continent called
America. It will have great centers of power called
such as Pyramid Lake, Walden Pond, Mt. Rainier, Big Sur,
Everglades, and so forth; and powerful nerves and channels
such as Columbia River, Mississippi River, and Grand Canyon
The human race in that era will get into troubles all over
its head, and practically wreck everything in spite of
its own strong intelligent Buddha-nature." 

"The twisting strata of the great mountains and the pulsings
of volcanoes are my love burning deep in the earth.
My obstinate compassion is schist and basalt and
granite, to be mountains, to bring down the rain. In that
future American Era I shall enter a new form; to cure
the world of loveless knowledge that seeks with blind hunger:
and mindless rage eating food that will not fill it." 

And he showed himself in his true form of


  • A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and

  • Bearing in his right paw the Shovel that digs to the truth beneath appearances; cuts the roots of useless
    attachments, and flings damp sand on the fires of greed and war;

  • His left paw in the Mudra of Comradely Display -- indicating that all creatures have the full right to live to their limits and that deer, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, dandelions, and lizards all grow in the realm of the Dharma;

  • Wearing the blue work overalls symbolic of slaves and laborers, the countless men oppressed by a
    civilization that claims to save but often destroys;

  • Wearing the broad-brimmed hat of the West, symbolic of the forces that guard the Wilderness, which is the Natural State of the Dharma and the True Path of man on earth: all true paths lead through mountains --

  • With a halo of smoke and flame behind, the forest fires of the kali-yuga, fires caused by the stupidity of
    those who think things can be gained and lost whereas in truth all is contained vast and free in the Blue Sky and Green Earth of One Mind;

  • Round-bellied to show his kind nature and that the great earth has food enough for everyone who loves her and trusts her;

  • Trampling underfoot wasteful freeways and needless suburbs; smashing the worms of capitalism and

  • Indicating the Task: his followers, becoming free of cars, houses, canned foods, universities, and shoes;
    master the Three Mysteries of their own Body, Speech, and Mind; and fearlessly chop down the rotten
    trees and prune out the sick limbs of this country America and then burn the leftover trash.

Wrathful but Calm. Austere but Comic. Smokey the Bear will
Illuminate those who would help him; but for those who would hinder or
slander him,


Thus his great Mantra:

Namah samanta vajranam chanda maharoshana
Sphataya hum traka ham nam


And he will protect those who love woods and rivers,
Gods and animals, hobos and madmen, prisoners and sick
people, musicians, playful women, and hopeful children: 

And if anyone is threatened by advertising, air pollution, television,
or the police, they should chant SMOKEY THE BEAR'S WAR SPELL:


And SMOKEY THE BEAR will surely appear to put the enemy out
with his vajra-shovel.

  • Now those who recite this Sutra and then try to put it in practice will accumulate merit as countless as the sands of Arizona and Nevada.

  • Will help save the planet Earth from total oil slick.

  • Will enter the age of harmony of man and nature.

  • Will win the tender love and caresses of men, women, and beasts.

  • Will always have ripe blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at.


    thus have we heard. 

    (may be reproduced free forever)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

REM Line.

We grasp at vagueries and wisps of color and faces.
And what was once so real
now is a hazy fog.
Nothing but hazy fog.
I was a mother.
I was a night terror.
I was a demon.
I traveled round the room
frightening children.
But it wasn't real.

In this other world
We were a family in a silent film
hiking up mountains
an orchestra speaking our words.
Charlie Chaplain was my father
who smelled a bear
that galloped down the hillside and
danced with me
a dance of death.
Round the trees we go.
Hide and seek.

Stabbing the bear
I keep my dream
going onward perilous onward yes
the dream train traveling on the REM line
through the forest till morning.
I've lit my house on fire,
seen death and chase scenes.
I speak French
and Hindi.
I feel warm blood.
a mermaid--
a pirate--
a gypsy--
don't. wake. me. up.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Bus 13.

Today I took the 13 with a friend, which never fails to surprise me with its encounters. There was a man reeking of booze at the bus stop. My friend and I were sharing his bag of licorice between the two of us. Rain came down on the clear awning, the wind swirling over his feet and sweeping up my jackets around me.

"Can I have a piece of that?" The man pointed slowly with his tan, weathered hand, the other one holding a paper sack and a bottle of soda. "Sure," was my friend's response, offering the licorice out to him. "But it's pretty stale, just to warn you." 

He took a piece of licorice as he replied, "aw, it doesn't matter." He chewed on the very stale red licorice till finally it gave in and broke. "Yeahhh," he drawled, laying his head back against the wall, closing his eyes. "This is good." 

Communism occasionally appeals to me...ironically this means me using things they are alright with me borrowing. Fancy that. But then this was a situation where a stranger man enjoyed a stale and chewy perfect piece of rope that my friend gave to him. He gave it more appreciation than most would. He wasn't jaded.

I like it when people allow something small to be appreciated over their whole body. That's all I have to say about that.