Sunday, November 27, 2011


(Pre-Script: This poem is best served up as the songs, "The Other Side Of The World," #32 on the playlist, then "Arms," #29 on the playlist, play in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on those songs in that order, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Your meal was savored succulence; I
tasted salt, I tasted sweet, I tasted
cohesive blends of waterfowl.
I was satiated, I wanted more.
I was full and happy and nappy and then
the table was cleared, utensils washed, put away
full cupboards wiped down and closed
the table bore not a crumb
the peasant ate pheasant and all
was not satisfied, she wondered,
so many things did she wonder.
(and if you are ever serving again, she will
order off of the menu, straight off of the bone)


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shells and stones and ancient bones

(Pre-Script: This post best read as the song, " The Scientist," #42 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Shells and stones and ancient bones
are scattered at my feet;
A whispered roar of memory
from deep within the deep;
Once inside a body strong
that navigated waves,
and calculated distant shores,
and thought of me as brave.
The water numbs, then chills the soul,
all murky down below.
The sun, too bright to look upon,
still blinding in it's glow,
reflects off of her surfaces;
bakes sand midafternoon;
that burns the barefoot bottom feet,
and then is gone too soon.
While all around, the stones of bones,
their stories left to chance,
dried out, washed clean, these shells of our
haphazard remembrance.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Human Nature

(Pre-Script: This poem should be read as the song "Good Intentions," #38 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

It is human nature to be drawn to something because
it looks from a distance like what we are looking for,
and when we pick it up and realize that it is not what we thought,
it is human nature to sometimes hold it and put in in our pocket, anyway,
making an exception because we
are so tired of looking and waiting.
Sometimes this works, and we find that we have gained
a treasure different than we'd thought we wanted,
but none the less satisfying,
and maybe comforting, even,
in it's own way.
and sometimes it starts to feel heavy in our pocket,
the thing that is not the exact thing,
so we have to toss it out, and take the time to feel the emptiness of
an empty pocket for awhile,
but the unexpected lightness of it, too.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Terry and The Man

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Superman," #2 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

I am once again driving home from work while listening to NPR. I listen to NPR because I enjoy talk radio, and also because my singing-along-at-the-top-of-my-lungs-like-I-am-the-superstar-and-the-actual-singer-is-just-my-backup stations are all playing commercials or songs I dislike. Terry Gross's guest on "Fresh Air" is an Astrophysicist. (The last interview I heard of hers was with one of the cast members of Saturday Night Live. ) This man has won a Nobel award of some sort, because apparently, he studies supernovas that have exploded. This is, according to him, a tricky thing to study, because you need very special telescopes, and because the nature of the supernova is that there is no way of predicting when one will explode, so I guess you sort have to watch and find one by chance when you are looking at the sky through your super lens at the exact right time. The thing that the Really Smart Man has told Terry, and that she has regurgitated for us, her listening audience, is that "The universe is gradually getting larger."

Well Duh. (I could have told her that...)
(...only I don't have the degree to back up my claims; just children, by whom the entire universe is measured.)

What is bothering me about this conversation is that Astrophysicist Man can tell Terry Gross anything, anything at all, and Terry, and all of us, the listening public, will just listen and nod like we believe what he was saying, even if we don't understand it, because he is the one with the title and the degree, and because we have not studied it ourselves, nor do we care to do so, anytime soon.

Therefore, we have no way to disprove any of it.
Astrophysicist:"The universe is getting larger."
Listening audience: nod nod
Astrophysicist: "I study exploding supernovas because I can see them through this very specialized equipment I own and know how to properly operate."
Listening Audience: nod nod
Astrophysicist: "I am careful to only operate this highly technicalogical machinery when I am absolutely sober and have had a good night's sleep."

Listening Audience: nod nod
Astrophysicist: "Last night, I saw rainbows exploding into actual Skittles, only they did not land on earth, they landed on Pluto, which you know is no longer a planet, it is now a star or a comet or a figment of the collective imagination of the entire intergalactic wing of NASA. We just like to add a little blue dot on the map of the planets sometimes when we get bored."
Listening Audience: nod nod


Friday, November 4, 2011


(Pre-Script: This poem goes best as the song, "Wherever you will go," #42 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

The flash flood hit me sideways,
a reminder to clean out the storm drain,
clear the leaves from the thing that grew last season,
then let go of what had dried up and died.
(When you were small, you were golden,
and I marveled at your colors-
white blond on olive tan-
all the things that I am not, birthed through me,
me at my most creative.)
There was no time to steel myself
against the thing that was knocking me off of my feet.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Any Other Tuesday

(Pre-Script: This post should be read as the song, "Paradise," #43 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

So there I was in the middle of my nightmare, just at the part where the two headed sea monster lifts his head out of the middle of the open sea, in which I have unwillingly found myself. I have been having this dream for 17 years, I think. Only this time, I blinked, and it wasn't a dream.

how did I get here?
There are those who say that the ocean is the culmination of all of the worlds tears, and that's why it is so salty. How ironic that the one thing we all need, we have an abundance of, yet in a form that, if we drink it, will kill us. How often have I indulged in my own emotional suicide, simply by taking little sips here and there at my own ocean; so sure it's enticing appearance is what I need to make it through this day. I'm no longer so sure that such self indulgence is a good thing. I used to believe that it was.
It had started out to be a Tuesday. I was going to meet a friend for lunch. Let me interrupt myself here to issue this advice: when making plans to meet a friend for lunch, be sure to remember whether this is one of your sane friends or not. Not only is Joel off center, he is the most insane person I have ever been semi close to. I say semi close because how can one be fully close to someone who is so busy swinging from one extreme to the next, as if on his own internal pendulum? if you get too close you might lose an eye. Still, even not close, Joel and I have always been close. We haven't seen each other in, like, 10 years, but we have always been close. I would do the math for you, but I only just made it through Geometry and Statistics because I was too busy daydreaming and answering my own internal formulas to pay attention in class. So when Joel showed up at the pub, instead of saying "hi," or "how are you," like other people do, the first thing he said was, "There are whales off the coast in Santa Cruz right now!"

Me: "let's go see them!"
Joel: "I'll drive."

Let me interrupt myself here to issue this advice: When making plans to fill in the blank of your own life, be sure to remember whether you are sane or not. I am only semi sane, usually. Why are so many relationships based on the consummation of too many calories, anyway?

We drove off in a car headed towards the end of the land,

the beginning of the water,

the end of where I exist as a solid unit and my subconscious mind take over.

Where the sidewalk ends.

Where the Wild Things Are.

Where the world drops off into liquid fear.

I, like so many sanity seeking folks I know, like to stand back from the edge of that place, and watch from a safe distance. But that was before I had a crazy man driving the car, (ask yourself, why did I agree to strap into the passengers seat of a crazy man's car?) illegally making phone calls to rent a kayak as he drove. He was also calling his cousin to meet us at the kayak place because standing on the shore was not enough for Joel, and he knew it would not be enough for his cousin, either. They both wanted to be out there, where whales were a live happening. They wanted to actually jump off of the kayak and swim with the whales. They wanted to sing songs with the whales and watch their IQ's leap 20 points. I just wanted to make it out of the experience alive enough to actually enjoy whatever IQ I was left with on dry land.

Let me interrupt myself here to issue this advice: Always be sure the people who are accompanying you to your greatest fear at least have a holy reverence for your fear, or at least are not going to go barreling head first into it so you have no chance to do the thing half way, even if you wanted to.
Or be like me, and completely disregard your own advice.

Here's why I agreed to get in the kayak with my crazy friend and his even crazier cousin:

Not because I wanted to do the thing that terrified me, but because I wanted to have done it.

I sat in a kayak with two fearless men who did not slow down as the open ocean approached, but sped up to be a part of it; who, when they saw whales, paddled as fast as they could

directly over where the whales had just gone under. I was the only one who considered the possibility of being swatted by the whale's massive body, of being killed, or worse,




(And then to have to continue living.)

After being swallowed whole by wave upon wave of my own fear, I eventually found that since I had no choice but to be fully in this moment, I let go and found myself on the shores of the peace that passes all understanding. I unclenched myself long enough to realize that a kayak, though tiny compared to the whole of the ocean, practically driftwood against the strength of a humpback whale, is actually fairly stable. Plus we had oars; I had much more control of this moment than I had been willing to believe.

Unexpectedly, the whales, right in front of our kayak, both jumped out of the water headfirst, facing each other.

I think we were 20 feet away from them.

I have never seen anything like that, and neither have you.

It wasn't until I was standing on solid land, the kayak having been securely secured to the top of the car, that I looked down and realized that there were salt deposits all over my arms, legs, and face; the places usually only touched by the salt of my own sweat, my own tears, had been purified from some primitive, deep store where the tears of all of the whole of the world were touching me, and I chose to bear witness. I did not wash it off for at least the rest of the day.