Monday, February 28, 2011


The sense that you are
the awareness
of awareness
is the only pardon,
simple amness.

There are no true
confessions, no
true stories, ever.
All narrative is innately
inficted. Forgive

the transforming,
constant movement
of matter, forgive

the constant want,
the yearning, forgive

the frustration
of owned, enculturated mind,
of endless mental
modeling, noodling,

the addiction to fiction,
the fantasy of willing
the world other, forgive

and be aware of
being aware of being,

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Yesterday was weird.
There are those days
when surrendering

is both the only
sensible option
and itself exhausting.

The particulars--
having to do
with corroded plumbing,

senseless bureaucracy,
alarming financial threats,
and so forth,

each issue unrelated
to every other, except
perhaps in the realm

of the gods and little
fishes who control us--
don't really matter.

But the insomnia
that resulted,
that matters,

that matters in every
muscle and mental
effort made today,

and the only recompense
the staggering brain
can remember

is a bleary-eyed view
across the blankets
of mother and child

head to head
in dreamy profiles
in pale grey morning light.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Weirdness of Today

Perhaps the veil
is thinning, Sarah
said. We can only

hope so when
everything goes
wonky at once.

What malicious
fairy or office
worker needs

and burnt offerings
for the weirdness of today?

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Truth about the Poem

Who wants to peruse
a text without a story?
Not even the forensic
philologist who disinters
the revenants of words
can resist gently padding
stories around the bare bones.

And that's what you get
once you've cleared away
the cobwebs of the busy
story weavers: the bare bones
of the poem, of the yearning
and its ending, nothing else.
And yet, and yet, sorrow

such as it is, will insist,
will seep in and stain
the cleanest remains,
stories or story or none.
Is there anything then
to be written or said,
leaving bare bones alone?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Nota Bene

Some days, (some,
there's that smoothest,
blandest, easiest
of all words to compose
with, some), some days
are mere placeholders
for all the real days, sharp

and broken and particular
that crop up later, like teeth
erupting, like frost-heaved stones
from the muck and loam
of boggy fields of memory:
those few days, the clear
hard, sharp, special,

eventful, episodic
datable days to remember.
Nonetheless, I'm reminded,
on some of these some days,
that most days are some days
and need to be loved,
even if only some.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Roan Horses in Soft Rocks

There are places
I pass by
on long hauls

where I never stop
but still feel a kinship
almost, a familiarity,

and for which I invent
my own names
such as "Soft Rocks"

for a spot in the bend
of Highway 6 descending
from Soldier Summit

where the rubble
of boulders encroaches
from the shoulder

onto the pavement
and the cliffs are full
of sagging cave mouths

the canyon toothy
with tottering piles
of eroding columns

the whole landscape
melting in transformation,
sweet naked geology, soft

half-compacted soil
raised into short-lived
mountains of crumbling

curves, and sometimes
a little magic to be glimpsed
up the narrow defile

in passing, streamers
of flood waterfalls, festoons
of carnivalesque winter ice

or, as today,
two exquisite roan
horses, wandering

free of reins or saddles
or any visible humans,
under one golden eagle,

and then I'm
past and I'm
gone and they're

gone and
the rocks
melt on.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Transformation, the Yearning, and the Awareness

These three remain,

being, living, knowing

the ongoing of everything
the innumerable localized hungers
the finite flecks of infinite stillness

the motion that is everywhere
the motivation within motion that is rare
the notion that motion is endless and motivations must end

the continual changing from and into
the restless hankering for
the observation of

what is, always coming and going at once
what is not, always wanted and never here
what is nothing but is, never not already both here and gone

matter, life, spirit,
things, flesh, soul,
the transformation, the yearning, the awareness

take away the story
and only the poetry remains

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Wild Pigs of Castle Valley

Every day we
toss our scraps--
seeds, fruits, nuts,

crumbs, peels, old
bits of meat,
the odd spud

for the wild
pigs we know
are not there.

We don't care.
There are no
bears near here,

and these birds,
the odd fox,
all the small

things that live
in the scrub
near the Rim,

come to us
for the few
months we're here.

Is it wrong
to try to
feed wild things?

Aren't we all
wild, wild things--
True, False, Dreamed?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Silliness of All Signifying

My body is
what I make
of the world.

The world is
what I make
of my body.

My body is
the world I am.

The world is
the body I am.

I am embodied world.
The world is bodily awareness.
Awareness is world
is body is awareness. . . .

Friday, February 18, 2011

Perfection of a Friday

If a day can
be perfectly grey,
today is a perfectly,
sublimely grey day.

Sarah works
at the kitchen table
making jolly owls
of felt for our owlet,

while dozens of juncos,
dark-headed save one
snowy reverse of the rest,
gather and chatter

and scatter and re-gather
outside our windows
collecting every last seed
from the cracks of our flagstones,

and occasionally a fox circles,
running by on swift and wary
lightfoot patrol from the pines
as ravens and jays loudly monitor.

Baby Bird herself, ten weeks
old exactly this morning
has been napping for hours
after discovering her hands

can connect her eyes to her
felt toys, and Sarah and I talk,
about whatever we like,
say, the music on the web,

stories from school
and childhood and characters
we knew, articles we read
aloud to each other,

and even the sun, soft
behind mother-of-pearl
seems inclined to move slowly
and quietly, muffled, perfectly grey.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Late Thoughts in a Dry Garden

We are games
and stories but

both the games
and the stories

are nothing
of the everything

we are not or
are only connected

to by everything
other than games

and stories and
what benefits us

from all the rules
and play and narrative

seems more
and more to me

as if the tree

of knowledge
of rules and cheating

of good people and
sore losers were

really after all
a serpentine bargain

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Mysterious Self-Awareness of Matter in Motion

Motion is being,
and motivated
motion is living

and the mysterious
capacity of motivation
to reflexively be aware

of being motivated
is consciousness,
and as for soul

and spirit, these
are real enough,
but as actions,

as behaviors, not
as substance, neither
material nor ethereal,

and the richer, the more
heightened the awareness,
the greater the spirit,

the more soulful
the motivated motion
of being becomes.

We perform our souls,
and they too are motivated
motions, and what we could

call, metaphorically,
our inner energy is
literally the behavior

that is spirit, mysterious
self-awareness of matter
in motivated motion.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


How you take me

by continuous surprise!

The more I know you,

the less I know what's next

for us, what sunrise

will reopen my half-hooded eyes,

what sunset we might

catch undressing on the rocks,

what plans will spin askew

and lurch us into something new,

what suggestion gone awry

will prove our fates more sly

than any fox confessor

we might choose to listen to

to further our adventures

when the starlight glistens

over yet another place

I never dreamed of dreaming,

one more amazing grace

of dimpled magic gleaming

better than the hoped for

thing we somehow missed,

each minor mourning turned to morning,

each dark mist lit by unexpected bliss,

and where did you come

from anyway and why

did you pick me to love

and how do you manage

to always turn the devilish twisting

of the endless human wishing

that haunts our hungry minds

into something near divine?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bound to Melt Your Heart

The last note

I got from you

arrived three

years ago today

on Valentine's day

when you were

eighty something

and I was lost

between lives

and I was

surprised and


at the time

more melancholy

than grateful

for that rare

note of sentiment

from my only mother

not knowing

not knowing for years

that a few weeks

later just as I was

to be launched into fresh

serendipitous adventures

you would be marooned

in an impenetrable

fog around your present

moment never

to think clearly of me

or my lives

with pride or disappointment

or anything inbetween


Sunday, February 13, 2011


I love you now. More

and more, in growing

space that shapes

my inner universe

to accommodate

the great tree

of love, the one

that centers the rest

of the garden, the one

that the creator

and the tempter

both forgot to wrestle

away from us,

greater than

the tree of knowledge,

grander even than

the tree of life itself,

this tangled, endless

mysterious bewonderment,

something more

than tangible but

never less than physical,

more than real but

never less than dreams,

root and branch and seed

embracing soil and stars,

and all manner of notions--

this great tree

that must be

beyond boundaries

grows in me.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hardly Here at Any Moment, Hardly Ever Here at All

"There are no

mistakes in life;"

there is only

life, and life

begins and ends in

all individuals,

all organisms, and

in all their bits

and pieces before

them, during them,

but not to their

awareness, not fully.

And you were not

here for your birth,

and you will not

be here for your death.

All you will

ever know of either

is the lapse of consciousness

that comes with sleep,

and even that

you only swallow

in retrospect, oblivion

as a nightly gap

in being you, you

who comes and goes

but is always only here,

and alive, when here at all.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Befuddled Daddy

Now that I am

finally, a first-time

father, in late

middle-age no

less, life

baffles me more

than ever: everything

about life, beginning

with why

life at all, what

creates the real boundary

between rocks and germs,

what is death, exactly,

to a life form, to a life,

to an awareness,

(and why is awareness

sometimes and not

all the time, in life)

and why should

any suffering be

involved, after all,

why should we

need to learn

to love what is,

what life is, whatever

is this life, more or

other than mere being?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bad Dream

I'm ashamed

of my behavior

in my dreams--

no, not the obvious,

not the sex and the

violins--the attitude.

I'm always turning

up smug or worse,

cowardly, conniving,

boastful, in denial

and in my own

damn dreams.

It's just embarrassing

to wake up in the dark and know

my deep self is an ass.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Pleasures of Merely Maintaining

Life, for lack of

a better word,

is maintenance,

resistance, acquisition,

healing, recovery,

discovery, repair,

or, all in all,

the constant need

for refueling

and rebuilding

and cleaning up

or running away

from the results--

as our house ran

out of fuel

last night,

and this morning Sarah

loaded baby Sequoia

into the blue truck

and tracked down

the propane man

in his white truck

making rounds

down in the valley

and demanded

he come up to our cold

dark home on the Rim,

and so he did,

very helpfully

and with apologies

and a bill

for the landlords

to swallow in

their own profound

set of resources,

beyond our ken.

But before he did

I'd built a great fire

against the frost

and scattered fistfuls

of birdseed about

outside for jays and juncos

and runty chipmunks

and scruffy mule deer

and maybe our resident

couple of denning foxes

to squabble over in the old

blue snow, then sat

down to pay

a slew of bills

from doctors

and storage units

and government agencies

with the resources

that currently dwindle

in our bank's tank

of imaginary coinage

and invisible credits,

all the while nibbling

stale organic oatmeal

and raisin vegan

cookies for breakfast

with strong black tea

heated on resourceful

Sarah's miniature

camp stove,

my own nibbling and

scratching just keeping

up with the juncos, those

black-capped fluffballs

of busy, busy, busy,

always competing

for refueling, for

keeping systems

running, hopping, flying,

maintaining, maintaining

for one more

February day

at least, at least today,

each little victory,

each little renewal earned

in each scattered little feast.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Remotely Normal


normal at a distance

normal but

emotionally reserved

something approaching

normal but not closely

not too closely

not nearly closely enough

almost good

leaning toward good

a rumor of normality

normally withdrawn

or interesting

not too ordinary

I wonder

I heard

a friend refer

to Moab, Utah

as remotely normal

and I liked it

living for now

as we do

at a half-hour drive

alongside the Colorado

down through the crumbling

canyons a half hour's remove

from remotely normal

Monday, February 7, 2011

One Life

I suspect
The Gaia concept
Of being too correct.

There is only
One life, truly,
And we are slowly

Living it out in bits
Whose fitness
Is secondary to its.

Life never dies, never
Stops getting better,
More efficient, more clever.

While we are all Isaacs
On its silly altars of sex
And food and death.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Dialogue of Self and Soul

Soul to Self

When you find

where you want

to be found, and

believe I'd find

you happy

there myself

and myself

happy there, too,

let me know.

Otherwise, I'll

keep wandering

around within you.

Self to Soul

What am I if

not these thoughts?

The thoughts reply

I am nothing.

And yet they remain

in love with the thought

of nothing themselves.

Shy, mysterious, dark nothing,

changeling among the myriad

of thoughts that know,

collectively, how I

is merely a patchwork

cobbled together, tattered

dressing, sorely lacking,

supremely desirous

fiction of fundamentally

shambling mess, a story

that wears too many beginnings

and endings added,

the tatty borrowed

accessories of memories.

Ah, but there, thoughts

see, maybe, on this happy

desert afternoon

among their weddings

of fragmented selfhood,

their tootings at my Sunday

bath, little Nothing,

the secret of it all,

which is of course you,

Nothing at all,

the romantic thought

of no thought.

Now what am I

to do with you

who aren't at all?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why Is It So Hard To Wake Up?

The nightmare wraps

within the ordinary

dreams of night,

which in turn appear

wrapped in the dream

of waking, filled

with the silt

of endless daydreams

and ho-hum anxieties

with which we manage

to terrorize ourselves.

No one wakes up fully,

but the dream of fully

waking can make

a temporary buddha

of anyone sane enough

to realize the dream

of not really

dreaming any

more than necessary



Friday, February 4, 2011

Madonna and Headlamp

Dateline Castle Valley

Utah, 5am:

we're lucky here.

Stars radiate

at eye level

from our mattress,

filling our solid wall

of bedroom window

with (choose your own trope)

diamonds on black velvet,

the princely diadem of night,

black feather headdress of gods,

all the gifts a high desert sky

can offer grubby human eyes,

and I watch

for hours

while my loves

lie snoring softly,

mother and infant daughter,

until that infant daughter

snorts and cries,

just as the lavender

slips into the house of stars,

the fox of morning stealing

the tiny bright eggs of night,

and my wife, broody,

sits up, statuesque shadow,

hunched up among the stars,

and pulls on a small

headlamp for camping,

switches on its white dot

of light like a low star

shining from her forehead,

picks up our grumbling daughter,

whose round head rises

full moon like

in the white light

of the lamp,

and curls her motherly shadow

around the little pool

of lights, our local dreaming,

in this lavender morning,

to nurse

hope back

to sleep.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


No greater pleasure

than surplus

of a fine resource--

excess hot water

for my steaming bath

so I can open

a window onto winter

and feel the luscious blast

on soaking soapy skin--

ah, what a wonderful

thing it is to waste

too much of anything

skimming it off,

slopping it over,

giving it grandly away--

better, when it goes

that it's just all gone,

the whole shebang.