Sunday, January 18, 2015

 keep rewriting this, but the idea's the same
I have an idea of living out in some small valley in the coast range, surrounded by the beauty of nature, living simply, doing a lot of gardening, and living in proximity to many friends. I would have a place with a wood floor to teach yoga, tai chi, kempo, karate, aikido, if the instructor is good. Me and anyone who wanted to would play music or do art.
People would stop by from far-off places, and there would be great discussions in rooms fueled by wood fires, and mellow parties with music on special occasions, but music would be happening all of the time, as would art of all kinds. We would all be living in close proximity, so we could bicycle or walk everywhere. This would be in a valley in the coast range, and would not be any sort of cult, because people would live there voluntarily, and there would be no conflict with the laws and policies of the local government, for the most part. Those of us that wanted to spend a lot of time gardening could do so. Privacy and space would be respected, but there would be a constant social environment with good conversation and good things happening, to take part in or not, and hopefully some good writing would result from it. Sort of like the next step up from the famous parties at Ken Kesey's place in La Honda that Jerry Garcia and the Dead attended. It would be a similar beautiful environment, but a step forward from the drugs and chaos of the past, to an environment where we could talk about the kind of world this should be. And safer in terms of keeping control of excessive drug use, in some way.
I know there are such hippies hiding out in the coast range already (definitely know that now!), but maybe we could take it to the next level, beyond where it is now. Many people live out there at peace with themselves and surrounded by beauty, but in my mind, the interactions of people living there and people visiting can have a real effect on the course of events and negotiations in the real world of wars and politics.
I always hoped to live in a place where good social interactions occurred on a daily basis.
This type of thing already happens every year in the form of the Oregon Country Fair, but I was thinking of a permanent community with many visitors and no sense of stress...and much time to live in a quiet way in tune with nature. Quiet would be a big part of it. I’d like to live in a quiet place and work on gardening more than now.
Tell me if you want to be untagged, but it seems like a good idea, right?
Good discussions would be nice. It's like that Henry James story where he and certain people greet each other and acknowledge that they were both at a place, hosted by somebody, where great, or substantive in some way, discussions took place. Collin's the only guy who remembers those Berkeley days, but those days weren't all great, that's for sure.
Here's a little aside about yoga and karate:
Doing a lot more yoga would be great. It's a very important aspect, in that it sorts out the connections and strengths in the body, and yoga people understand those ideas and go beyond what we know in karate, because although we stretch, most of the class is movement, some of it fast. Still, doing the forms in karate is, like tai chi, meditation in movement, or they can be done that way. People are put off karate because they see strength and anger and fighting, but in our style it's affectionate anger. We always shake hands after a

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Highland Reaper  (mostly but not all borrowed from a Wordsworth poem.  However, some of the words are based on my experiences, that's for sure)

   C                F           
behold her, single in the field, 
   C                 G
scattered highland reaper,,
  c               F
alone she cuts and binds the grain
 g          C
and sings a melacholy strain

will no one tell me what she sings

perhaps of plaintive far off things

or some more humbe pain

which may be or be again

dm              em               
she wears a coat of blue
f                  g
oh too deep,  oh too true
dm              em

 f                 g
more than I can find    

F C 
she sang her song as it had no ending
as when she cut and binds the grain

and I listened motionless and still
as the song came through the hills

when I think over those days
through the earth’s fire and flame

the music echoing tthrough the trees

and the song came through the hills

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Song the Idiot Sings

They don’t bother about me.  They let me be.
They say, “Nothing can happen.”
That’s good.
Nothing can happen.  It all comes and wheels 
steadily around the Holy Ghost,
always around that same Ghost (you know)-
that’s good.

No, of course not, one mustn’t think any danger
could come in that way.
Of course the blood exists.
Blood is the heaviest.  Blood is heavy
Sometimes I think I’ve had too much.
(That’s good.)

Oh, isn’t that a wonderful ball!
round and red as nothing at all.
Good things that you created it.
But will it come if you call?

How strangely this whole thing behaves,
into each other driving, out of each other swimming,
friendly, a touch uncertain.
That’s good.

   Poem by Rilke translated by Robert Bly, from German (but you knew that alread)

So, the reason I can do all this academic stuff and spell words correctly is because I went to the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated.  Then I went on to deliver a lot of pizzas.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


I stood tiptoe upon a little hill,

The air was cooling, and so very still, 
That the sweet buds which with a modest pride
Pull droopingly, in slanting curve aside,
Their scantly leaved, and finely tapering stems,
Had not yet lost those starrry diadems
Caught from the early sobbing of the morn

highland reaper

The Solitary Reaper
BEHOLD her, single in the field,
  Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
  Stop here, or gently pass!
Alone she cuts and binds the grain,         5
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No Nightingale did ever chaunt
  More welcome notes to weary bands  10
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
  Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas  15
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?—
  Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
  And battles long ago:  20
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again?
Whate'er the theme, the Maiden sang  25
  As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
  And o'er the sickle bending;—
I listen'd, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,  30
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

I used parts of this poem and wrote a new song based on it recently.  Here it is:

Highland Reaper

   C                F           
behold her, single in the field, 
   C                 G
scattered highland reaper,,
  c               F
alone she cuts and binds the grain
 g          C
and sings a melacholy strain

will no one tell me what she sings

perhaps of plaintive far off things

or some more humble pain

which may be or be again

dm              em               
she wears a coat of blue
f                  g
oh too deep,  oh too true
dm              em

 f                 g
more than I can find    

F C 
she sang her song as it had no ending
as when she cut and binds the grain

and I listened motionless and still
as the song came through the hills

when I think over those days
through the earth’s fire and flame

the music echoing tthrough the trees
and the song came through the hills

It's gonna be a huge hit.  (well, that would actually be a drag because I'd get accosted by fans....)


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

a copse in winter

Shades tho yere leafless save the bramble spear
Whose weather beaten leaves of purple stain
In hardy stubbornness cling all the year
To their old thorns till spring buds new again
Shades still I love ye better then the plain
For here I find the earliest flowers that blow
While on the bear blea bank does yet remain
Old winter traces little heaps of snow
Beneath your ashen roots primroses grow
From dead grass tufts and matted moss once more
Sweet beds of vi’lets dare again be seen
In their deep purple pride and sweet displayd
The crow flowers creeping from the naked green
Adds early beautys to thy sheltering shade
-john clare

Thursday, November 21, 2013

another day coming up

It is early in the morning.  Maybe I should go for a walk.  I guess I could walk down to sheris...get a coffee..

I think I will do that.

Monday, March 25, 2013

mi corazón, por pablo neruda

mi corazón, es tarde y sin orillas,
el día, come un pobre mantel puesto a secar
oscila rodeado de seres y extensión,
de cada ser viviente hay algo en la atmosféra,
mirando mucho el aire parecerían mendigos,
abogados, bandidos, carteros, costureras,
un poco de cada oficio, un resto humillado,
quiere trabajar su parte en nuestro interior,
yo busco desde antaño, yo examino sin arrogancia,
conquistado, sin dudo, por lo vespertino.

My heart, it is late and without shores,
day, like a poor tablecloth put to dry,
sways, surrounded by beings and extent,
there is something from every living being in the atmosphere,
lawyers, bandits, mailmen, seamstresses,
and a little of each occupation, a humbled remnant
wants to perform its own work within us.
I have been searching for a long time, I examine in all modesty.
ovecome, without doubt, by evening.
-pablo neruda, ....un hombre chileano\

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

another day

the refrigerator sits full of juices in the corner
the wooden chairs gleam in the light
the sober reflections of mentalist ways through our changes
the birds sit down, and the cats fly across the grass
We all feel as if they are stand up men somewhere, editing themselves
the houses sink down in the moonlight.
it's the winter, the edge of things, the changing light
it's all dark in the head, we would have thought, and we change
somnabulent criticism, edited detail, and the marks of honor
we come home through the breezes
we tell black women to stop staring, they start yelling
we slice through the edges of our emotions and the edges of actions
the fast energy of a mentality, cutting through the conscious,
the reality of positivity, guitarists with sweet lyrics,
all the emotion, all the energy, all our ambition
suddenly gone through cookie-cutter lights.
-chris farrell

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

patsy and other poems by me...

Some words on Patsy

Patsy Todd was born in Compton, California, on August 3, 1929.  She moved to Oregon in ’37 during the depression, picked fruit, and her father bought a farm and sold it in ’47, moved to the coast, built a motel, called the “Miles Motel”, went to Chemeketa, learned to weld, worked at Wade’s manufacturing plant.  Mother did rations, worked for a millionaire, the father building fences, mothing taking something, moved father out to St. Helens and rioting started.  Worked at Smokecraft in the ‘70’s, linen mills in Jefferson, talked about Burt Reynolds.  Smacked her because she liked Bob Hope, not Burt Reynolds.  Joined the union and quit, kind of fraudulent run in Salem, bring my grandchildren. Can’t see after wreck, living with man, worked in restaurant “Chilibowl”, early shift, met guy, snow started, guy came over, started the affair, died of a heartache.  Clarence came home smelling of gasoline, left, after six years

-Chris Farrell

The following are more poems that I wrote:

Down in Reno
some seedy hotel
two fat people
amused by a rubber dinosaur

was down at the circle k
a bum looking for a cup of coffee
grizzled and disturbed
had encountered an old black man with a cane
had been here and there with a backpack
learned an odd sort of kung-fu
demonstrated in the misty grass
needed a ribbon to tie back the hair
needed a sleeping bag on a cement floor
asked me for a dime later
walking around with an indian
lighting up cigarettes in Starbuck's.

grass outside waving in the wind
wood bench on the large porch
Ann coughing in her large hair
cars whizzing by
notes of hope and worry
and tunes of bruce and jerry
the fourth string in need of tightening
the module coming out in rapid haste
and more trouble and worry
and the thought of the ant
and the poke-weed and parturience
and limitless are the leaves
stiff or drooping in the fields
portraying a frightening eschatology
and sense of the smart-ass

When I am in my room
I see again
the thousand daffodils laughing in the wind
and think again
of her long hair and green eyes.

So, when it comes to locating the precise measure of things
and leading to a preoccupation with the word
of where all this came from
who are active and residing on an earthly level
as one who is a doubter by practice
and tends to by longing reach the other side
who keep such a disconnectedness
that it is impossible to know what is rational, as
the lady that goes on about airplanes
the smoke trails are giving her signals
by sign language she communicates with them
by sign language she is in touch;
to sullen doubter she says
"well, buck-o, what do you know?"
and with wanton excitement will explain
how they follow her around

On Mary's Peak the rain came down
out the foggy windows the huge trees
I drove out a side road
far hills covered with green
electric poles cutting down the hill
a little creek ran by
in which I washed my feet, and drank
blackberries and thimbleberries here and there
failing heavy force of that which remains...
unsaid, and yet pervades all things
from this eye of the world
nature and its quiet rain

Monday, February 04, 2013

thoughts and Neitzsche

Thinking of my life, and how it has been going the last three months or so...I've been pretty stressed, seeing things that I didn't like, seeing people that seemed dangerous around town, and did the impression I have match with reality?  I'm going to assume that it did.  I've met a lot of people, a lot of good people, or people that have good qualities, and that is in some kind of contrast with the nastier people in the world...but the fact is, does what is going on in my mind really correspond to the world and how it is?  I think it does, because I get feedback from real people, who value my judgements and observations, but maybe haven't gone through precisely what I have gone through.  On the other hand, I think a lot of people, older people, have gone through getting stressed out like me, from who knows what.  I don't want to go into the details, and it is hard to see what about me would appear that interesting.  I guess a quality of me that is pretty interesting is that, for one thing, I'm kind of in my own little world, and on my own schedule, and for another, I'm not really seemingly connected with an identifiable group of peers.  But I got to where I am through some painful processes, through trying hard to make it in the working world, through having to go into the mental hospital at various times...the first time being back in Berkeley, when nothing seemed to make sense, but I did have friends that cared what happened to me, and I appreciate that....and over the years, slowly gaining some self confidence, finding some groups outside karate..finding people that meant something to me, that also might have been having issues, and trying to make sense through the personalities, and through trying to do the right thing and get through the hard points, to get to a place that makes sense.
  And as of now, I theoretically need to go out and get a job.  I guess I will volunteer at stone soup again, and at the homeless drop-in center, because I'm familiar with those.  Somehow shelving books at the library doesn't appeal to me.  I went over to the co-op to try to see about volunteering, and I mentioned stone soup, and the lady seemed to get really agitated with me, like she was making some unfortunate assumptions about me just because I'm working in programs that help the homeless.  People making judgements about me who don't really know me are kind of annoying.  For one thing, I don't have much to feel guilty about, having tried hard my whole life to improve as a person.  And furthermore "ye who has no sin on his hands, cast the first stone" as bob weir said.
  It's good I have one roommate who seems to be doing well.  The other seems to be moving out.

Nietzsche, from "Thus Spake Zarathustra", "On Scholars": I am too hot and burned by my own thoughts, often it nearly takes my breath away.  Then I must go out into the open and away from all dusty rooms.  But they (scholars) sit cool in the cool shade: in everything they want to be mere spectators, and they beware of sitting where the suns burns on the steps....

I think of the above line when I think about why I'd rather do actual creative writing than try to write academic papers, or teach.  I never enjoyed teaching, whether it was trying to teach english, or karate,....that's about it ..but I seem to write stuff.


Thursday, January 31, 2013


I dreaded that first robin so,
But he is mastered now,
And I'm accustomed to him grown,--
He hurts a little, though.

I thought if I could only live
till that first shout got by
Not all the pianos in the woods
had power to mangle me.

I wished the grass would hurry,
So when 't was time to see,
He'd be too tall, the tallest one
Could stretch to look at me.

.....the day is warm and I just got back from driving to Portland...I seem to have no tolerance for the traffic, or much interest in hanging out up there these days...and I feel dead from all the sitting in the car.  However, the day is peaceful and there's things to look forward to...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Story I wrote about visiting my brother in dc a few years ago

I stepped out of the taxi and into the rain, relieved to be moving after a day either sitting around or in traffic.  I had actually wanted to get out a block earlier, as the car was stuck in traffic, but the driver, an African that was driving me crazy with a long rambling dialogue to his wife in a language consisting of some English words that he would only describe as an "African dialect" or "pidgin", said that it was a very violent neighborhood and I should stay in the car, so since it was only another block to my brother's house, I acquiesced.
  I took a moment to admire the solid brick of the house that somehow gives that feeling of lasting sturdiness and a classic sense of history.  It reminded me of an elaborate painting of a building on the wall of a co-op I had lived in as a student.  Every brick was painted with painstaking detail.

  brick and mortar
  a sure and even hand

  Those rowhouses were build between 1890 and 1905, and were not in danger of falling down.  The door was an old deadbolt that I opened with a square key and carefully locked behind me.  Depositing my excess baggage, I headed out rapidly again down the street, bound for Dupont circle.  Many of the streets in DC run at a 45 degree angle, which makes for some very bizarre intersections.  I walked warily for a few blocks, and failed to detect much danger other than the traffic.  The street was quiet, and although the Howard University area was not much to look at, it was a calm street and things gradually improved as I walked.  North of Dupont was clearly a high rent area, and to the right the land rose slightly and looked as if it got even pricier.  I headed south and enjoyed the hustle of an uban district, but continued west toward Georgetown University.  I hardly know what to expect, but after crossing the parkway and admiring the trees wet with rain, the sidewalk turned to brick and the houses were beautiful.

  walking out in the dew
  the trees
  the drops of rain

  The university buldings were phenomenal, many looking European in age.  The library was a new and bland structure, and I had little hope of getting in, not being a student, but was admitted after showing a picture identification.  To my surprise, they did have a number of books in Japanese, so I went to look them up.  They were on a quiet floor, students sitting around with laptops.  An old card catalog was near the wall, but may have been there just for nostalgia.  The stacks were those kind that move when a button is pushed as a space-saving technique.  I keep imaging the headlines: "Scholar crushed to death by moving bookshelf", but I figured them out and after much hassle photocopied a couple of stories.  By that time I was starving and headed out of there eating a ham sandwich.  Flocks of students hung around outside on their cellphones, looking well-heeled and preppie.  I passed therough the commercial district again, but elected to head back to Dupont, where I figured there would be an older crowd in the cafes.  The light was dimming by the time I got to a cafe.  I ordered my coffee.
  I sat and read the paper, watching the busy people walking by.

  people on their cellphones
  The walk back involved a gourmet grocery store and a sideways street filled with cars and a man stumbling around on burgundy wine.
  The next day I came upon a nice little Japanese import store full of those amazing ceramics.  They had some of the strange and wonderful Japanese candies.  A book called "A Zen Wave", on Zen and Basho, contained a quote saying essentially that meditation can bring one to where anything can bring the joy of enlightenment, perhaps the "divinely superfluous beauty" mentioned by Robinson Jeffers.  There was a book of essays by R.H. Blythe, a scholar who wrote what is still the most amazing set of books on haiku.  I walked out of there and considered the day a success, having seen many things not seen in my everyday small town existence.
  a car passes by
  a foot reaches out
  the curb drops
  the foot lands

  I think we went out and saw some show by Sterolab after that, some French group that did not have a whole lot going for them.  I continued to have to endure the taxi driver who would not get off his phoen.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

two poems...

I cannot live with you-
It would be life-
And life is over there-
behind the shelf

The sexton keeps the key to
Putting up
Our life-his porcelain
Like a cup

Discarded of the housewife
Quaint-or broke
A newer sevres pleases
Old ones crack..

I could not die-with you
For one must wait
To shut the Other's gaze down
You-could not

And I-could I stand by
And see you-freeze
Without my right of frost-
Death's privilege?

Nor could I rise-with you,
Because your face...
would put out the sign..
that new grace..

Glow plain-and foreign
on my homesick Eye
Except that you than he
Shone closer by-

Wow, I don't understand half of Dickinson...and this poem in particular is tricky to figure out.  She's done some other great ones...many great ones.

Lean out the window,
I hear you singing
A merry air.

My book was closed.
I read no more.
Watching the fire dance
On the floor.

I have left my book,
I have left my room,
For I heard you singing
Through the gloom.

Singing and singing
A merry air,
Lean out of the window,
--james joyce

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

poem 12, Sonnets to Orpheus, Ranier Maria Rilke

Hail to the spirit that can unite us;
for we live really in figures.  Always
go the clocks with little strides
along with our intrinsic days.

Without knowing our proper place,
we act as if from true relations.
The antennae feel their sister-stations,
and the emptiness of space

bore...pure tension.  O music of forces!
Aren't the interruptions turned away
by the indulgent affairs of the day?

However the peasant works and sows,
he never reaches those deep sources
where seeds turn into summer.  Earth bestows.

-translated by C.F. MacIntyre, University of Berkeley press, 1960.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Solitary Reaper-wordsworth

Behold her, single in the field,
Yon solitary Highland Lass!
Reaping and singing by herself;
Stop here, or gently pass!

Alone she cuts and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain;
O listen! for the Vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.

No Nightingale did ever chaunt
More welcome notes to weary bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands:
A voice so thrilling ne'er was heard
In spring-time from the Cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.

Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy, far-off things,
And battles long ago:
Or is it some more huble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain
That has been, or may be again?

Whate'er the them, the Maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending;-
I listened, motionless and still;
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Patty, by John Clare

Ye swampy fall of pasture ground,
And rushy spreading greens;
Ye risings swells of brambles bound,
 And freedom's wilder'd scenes;
I've trod ye oft, and love ye dear,
  And kind was fate to let me;
On you I found my all, for here
'Twas first my Patty met me.

Flow on, thou gently plashing stream,
O'er weed-beds wild and rank;
Delighted I've enjoy'd my dream
Upon thy mossy bank:
Bemoistening many a weedy stem,
I've watch'd thee wind so clearly;
And on thy bank I found the gem
That makes me love thee dearly.

Thou wilderness, so rudely gay;
 Oft as I seek thy plain,
Oft as I wend my steps away,
And meet my joys again,
And brush the weaving branches by
Of brairs and thorns so matty;
So oft reflection warms a sigh,
Here first I met my Patty...

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Even as a handy sheet of paper
sometimes catches a genuine master-stroke,
so, often into themselves the mirrors
take the one blessed smile of girls who awoke

and tried out the morning, alone-
or in the attendant lights' glitter
and where the breath of their real faces shone
there falls but a mere reflection, later

What have eyes once seen in the blackening coals
slowly cooling upon the hearth?
Glimpses of life, forever lost.

Ah, who knows the losses of the earth?
Only one, who praises nevertheless,
Can sing the heart born into the whole.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Mary

Who lives where Beggars rarely speed?
And leads a humdrum life indeed
As none beside herself would lead
     My Mary

Who lives where noises never cease?
And what wi' hogs and ducks and geese
Can never have a minutes peace
    My Mary

Who nearly battl'd to her chin
Bangs down the yard thro thick and thin?
Nor picks a road nor cares a pin
    My Mary

Who (save in sundad bib and tuck)
Goes daily (waddling like a duck)
Oer head and ears in grease and muck
    My Mary

Unus'd to pattins or to clogs
Who takes the swill to serve the hogs?
And steals the milk for cats and dogs
    My Mary

Who frost and Snow as hard as nails
Stands out o' doors and never fails
To wash up things and scour the pails
    My Mary

Who bussles night and day in short
At all catch jobs of every sort
And gains her mistress' favor for't
    My Mary

And who is oft repaid wi praise?
In doing what her mistress says
And yielding her wimmy ways
   my mary, etc...

by John Clare

-John Clare

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

story by me...1994

My trip down to Berkeley was a drag. Eight hours down there, and when I got thee, I went straight to Yoko’s house, straight up University and left of Shattuck, and then up to Grizzly Peak. I had to put the car in first to make it up the slope, it was so steep. Up there on the hill, I got out for a second to check out the situation and to stretch my legs, and I could see the bay and the San Francisco skyline and the sun rising behind it. Neil Young’s Mirrorball was playing on my tape player, a loud album he made with Pearl Jam, featuring a lot of heavy guitar chords. It was chilly with the morning dew hanging in the air. I backed the car up into the driveway, thinking that I would stay there and sleep until she woke up, but the driveway was so steep that I knew that I couldn’t possibly sleep at that angle, so I backed the car up, and the engine made so much moise, and the squeeze was so tight that I could hardly get back out. I drove over into Tilden Park to sleep the rest of the night, and I found a nice dark little enclosure that was hidden from the road by a small building, and so I lay down to sleep, but there was a little cart rolling around the field close to me, and I realized it was a golf cart doing someing, puring the bushes or something, and I watched it rolling around for a while, wondering if I should go elsewhere, but finally I decided to forget about it and just sleep, but I woke up to the sound of a van pulling up next to me. Whoever it was got out immediately and went into the building. I lay there and looked over at the golfers who were looking at their shots and contemplating the angles that they wanted to shoot at. They were dressed up in golf gear, and looked so Californian, in the kind of silly shallow sense that outsiders think of Californians as being, that I wondered how they could stand it. How could they stand there and not laugh at themselves? I got back in the drivers seat, and got out of there. The person in the building turned out to be a girl, and I was a little embarrassed to be seen sleeping in my car. She was there to clean the bathrooms, it seems, for that is what they were. Driving out of Tilden Park, I was watching all of the bikers in the bikers shorts, and close-fitting clothes, riding along on the light little bikes that they tend to gravitate towards. I was thinking to myself all of the time that this is in fact California, and I was wondering what the heck I was doing there. But I drove back to Yoko’s because there was nothing else for me to do. I was tired and dirty, and there was nowhere else that I could possibly stay, so I parked and went to her door, thinking that I really should hve called before I left to make sure that it was all right to come. I had called her number, but only left a message. I knocked on her door, and I heard noise within. Yoko opened the door. She was old (compared to me at that time), between forty and fifty, with more than a passing resemblance to a witch, or at least the thought had occurred to me before. She had little lines on her face, and her straight black hair was drawn back tight into a knot. She was short and thin, and she didn’t look happy. “Hi Yoko. Can I stay with you for a couple of days?” I said in a tone that was not all that hopeful, and kind of guilty, because I knew I shouldn’t have showed up without getting her approval beforehand, but it had to be said, so I said it. I could tell be the expression on her face that she was not happy and perhaps even a bit fearful of me. “No, you can’t stay here. You can’t stay here while my children are not here, and this is a very important time for me. I need to be able to concentrate, and this time is very special to me. I need this time to think about my work. No, you can’t stay. You can’t stay. Why didn’t you call? You should have called. I heard your messages on the phone when I got back, and I was out very late, and then I got back and heard your messages, and I just couldn’t sleep. I woke up at four in the morning, when you said that you were supposed to get here, and I couldn’t go gack to sleep, and just lay there until now. No, you can’t stay. Why didn’t you call?” “I am sorry. I should have called first, I admit it, and there is no excuse, and I’ll go now. I can stay somewhere else. Sorry for worrying you so much.” I said and started to turn away, and frowned because I was so tired and dirty by this point that that is not what I wanted to hear. It doesn’t look good from the outside to have a 26 year old guy staying in the same house as a woman in her forties who is married but her children and hustand are in Japan. I could tell that she was worried about the neighbors talking, but she had said on the phone earlier that it would be okay if I stayed there for a while before I left. I just thought that here she is with this huge house, and she is the only person living in it, so urely she can spare a room for me, but apparently that line of thought was a bit of an oversimplification, and so shww was telling me to go somewhere else. It was a drag, but what could I do? “Come in then, and we can talk.” She said, beckoning me inside with her hand, and she made it sound like she was about to inform me of my death. We went inside through the living room, and she went into the kitchen and starting puttering around. I was standing in the living room feeling very beaten down, and listening to her making noise in the kitchen, waiting for her to invite me into the kitchen. There was a curtain across the doorway, hung from the top of the frame, in the Japanese style, and I could only see her feet moving around from the place where I was standing. I could see the nice wood table in the kitchen, and see far over Berkely, over the bay, and the bay bridge, and I could see the San Francisco skyline and the fog rolling in off the sea. I could see the clouds hanging heavy over the tope of the misty hills, and the great stretch of the sea, its straight line between the sky and sthe sea stratching endlessly and seeming to continue forever in a line that could only be seen as a symbol of the great space separating east from west., both in the consciousness and in the cultures of the division. I went into the kitchen and sat down, and she walked to and fro, not really looking at me, and started opening a bread bad. She took out several slices and put them in the toaster. This whole process took a long time. “No, you can’t stay here. Why didn’t you call?” “Okay. I am sorry. Don’t worry about it. I won’t stay here. I can stay with my aunt. We may as well change the subject. It doesn’t matter anyway . I should have called first. It’s all my fault.” She puttered around some more, not really looking at me, and I stared at the fine gas wstove and the fine wood floor, varnished perfectly, and it seemed something of a novelty, because I was used to damage and warp. This floor was more or less perfectly smooth. Her wooden chairs, or at least the one that I was staring at, situated between me, who was sitting next to the windown and the doorway, and her, who was tanding over by the counter, was wrapped in little cloths, like little sandals, each one wrapped around the bottom of each leg. I remember looked at that and seeing an over-fastidiousness. “So how are you doing? How are things in Oregon” “Not so good. I quit my stupid job three weeks ago, and I have been doing almost nothing since then. I really can’t see the poin in doing anything. Everything seems tupid to me. I hated my job, and I wasn’t getting along with any of the people, so I just quit. I came down here hoping that maybe things would bet better or I would find something to excite me about life, because I haven’t been feeling that excited. I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. Oregon is so boring, and I have no friends. It is hard to be interested in life. I just read books and sleep. That is all that I can think of to do. I don’t get along with my roommates and I don’t get along with anyone selse at all. So I don’t know what to do. I feel pwerless to change anything, and time just passes and there is no hope that I can see.” “You should be in school, you know, you should find a graduate school that you like and go there. You are sensitive, and you like to read, so you should go to graduate school, don’t you think? Will your parents support you? Then you should go, I think.” I didn’t say anything for a while,. I wasn’t at all sure that my parents would support me, and I was a bit contemptuous of people in graduate school. I was most interested in literature, but writing about it was a drag, I thought. I never read an ananlysis that I really enjoyed reading. What I liked reading were creative works, of fiction, and those things were generally not composed in classes or in deconstructionist theory seminars, but they just have to come out of you. I felt that reading on my own was just as beneficial as being in school, potentially. “School is tiresome. People writing papers on subjects that nobody wants to read about for no good reason. There is noprogress being made. I don’t have much interest in being a teacher so there is no point in getting a degree. These people aren’t taking what they are studying seriously, but they are just using it as a means to an end, just a way to stay amonthe the beautiful people, and talk about how much more sophisticated and how much more valuable they are than people that don’t have much education, but they are mostly just deluded.” Whenever I started thinking about graduate school and scholars, I thought of Nietzsche’s quote in Thus Spake Zarathustra, a book that I ahd been reading and rereading over the year, trying to find words to correspond with my anxiety, and finding some there. In the section entitled “On Scholars” he writes: “I am too hot and burned by my own thoughts; often it nearly takes my breath away. Then I must go out into the open…but they (scholars) sit cool in the cool shade. In everything they want to be mere spectators.” I thought this was true, that who is to judge or sum anything up when nothing is really comprehensible. Everything must be taken into account, and it seemed that graduate school and the people in them were simply foolding themselves as much as anybody, or they were there simply as a way to kill time. I often thought of a line from Whitman, “By God! I will accept nothing which any and all cannot have as a counterpart on their own terms.” “I can’t think of a good subject to study. I am interested in philosophy and poetry now. I was in Japanese, and I liked studying that, but I don’t want to go to graduate school in East Asian Languages, so I just don’t know.” I said in my typically gravelly voice. “Yes, East Asian Languages would not be good, I think.” The toast was done, and she was applying the butter with a knife, and she stacked the two slices of toast on a plate and put them in front of me. It was too early in the morning for me to feel hungry. “Have you eaten yet?” “Yes I did, or not….uh…well, I will have one slice then.” I said, and picked up the slice of bread unexcitedly. It was dark with when berries, and I was kind of hesitant, but I took a bite. “You should study katakamuna, “ she said. Katakamuna was a kind of system of astrology that apparently had ancient roots in Japan like the I Ching, but older, according to her. She had also told me that her husband, Hideo, was a medium for the spirits of the katakamuna, and he had written pages and pages of transmissions from the gods relating to this. It was all somewhat obscure to me, because the books were all in Japanese and my ability was not all that great. She ahd told me on the phone that Kazu had got a transmission from the gods that my future would brighten perciptibley if I was to ivolve myself in the study of this ancient system. It was impossible for me to determine how flaky this thing really was- was it like crystals in the States, or was it more like Indian spiritual beliefs? I couldn’t determine that from my marginal ability to read Japanese. “We…yeah, I might be interested in doing some research on the katakamuna. I don’t know…” “Hideo told me that he saw a treasure in front of you, if you could only see it, and that it is in the study of katakamuna.” “Well, there may be a treaure out there, but I can’t see it, I can agree with that.” “So how hard it it to get into graduate school? What do you need?” “A few recommendations.” “What is the deadline for admission?” “March, I think.” “So it is not so hard. You can do it, can’t you?” “Yeah…I guess..I don’t know.” That seemed to be my theme. But the fact is, I couldn’t see the value of it. I had been reading Leaves of Grass, and it seemed to me that Whitman didn’t write something like that by typing away at literary analysis. I couldn’t think of a response to here, so I just aid that I really wasn’t too sure about what I was going to do. She sat down and began eating a piece of the toast. Then I looked out of the indown. Her back lawn seems to be quite nicely taken care of. The trees waved in the breeze. I remember that she had said to me on the phone that the weather up on the hill was always cold, and the clouds from the sea were always haning straight overhead, and so It was kind of dark and cold with very few exceptions. A carpenter was at work on the next house, doing something on the roof. “Would you like a cup of coffee?” she said, and I didn’t say no. Lately I had the haboti of drinking coffee all day until my nerves were so fried I couldn’t drink any more. Just being away from coffee for the eight hours it took to drive down there and the four hours or so that I had been asleep in my car made me anxious to have another cup. She took the pot off the stove and filled it with water from the sink, and then turned the gas on under the pot. It was a beautiful little blue flame that came out of the burner. When the water heated up, she poured it through the strainer and into a cup and gave it to me. “Thank You.” “So what will you do now that you are down here?” she adked. “Well, you know that I used tolive down here, so I thought that maybe I would go down to Telegraph and look at all the people, and go to the cafes that I used to go to, and see a couple of movies. You know I have a lot of memories that come back to me when I go back here. I had a lot of fun when I was a young kid in college. Now things are different.” She laughed when I when I said that I was going to the movies. I don’t know why she laughed. Myabe she thought that it was just kind of a sad thing to say, so that laughting was the only response that she could think of. It is strange how people laugh at something that is not funny, as though they don’t know what else to do and want to dispel the silence. I drank my coffee. It was good, brewed pretty strong. “Would you like any sugar or milk?” she asked. “I like it strong, I don’t know about you.” “I like it strong.” I said, which was really an understatement. She took out a cigarette. I began to think about leaving, but I thought I would give myself five minutes and then go. “I have been so busy, driving my children everywhere, to their friends place, to ballet, to school.” “

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I've been doing a lot of walking around recently, and actually for many years, through this town, through Portland, Berkeley, and then this town again. I usually stroll down from the Fred Meyer area downhill toward the river, and have decided beyond doubt that Taylor is the nicest street to walk down if you are heading toward the river. Everyone's meticulous with their gardening, their are few cars, and in particular, an assiduous gardener on 12th street always does a perfect job with his little yellow flowers. I would guess he's heavily into fertilizers, but for all I know he's doing all of it completely organically. The flowers come out well, and I've been walking down that street for a few years now so I notice them well. As far as walking across downtown, usually you can go straight down to the river and walk along the path by the river, or another good route would be to walk over on 8th the Jefferson, Jefferson being especially pleasant due the the large trees on each side. Realistically, the clouds of mist intersticing my clouds of dew regain speed with each flock of goats that goes by. They interestingly let out strange bleats and chew on the lengths of weeds that have grown up outside and under the favorite bridges that we all know and love so much. In particular, they follow the sound of bugles, emanating from the misty tides on the confluence and tilth of running water on the beach of the Mary's river. Another goblin sits on the roof, his big dog wandering around with no leash, skateboarding on over the tofu and vines and the coats among the holy avocado feelers down by the changing skies. If you hear a string of beans coming down through any of the garden paths down by crystal lake, change them around and remind them that all the misty houses down by the river as the waters go flowing by remain much the same, coming back through the frolfing fields or strips of green.
In conclusion, I highly recommend the strolling of towns in green tones.
Chris Farrell
Corvallis, Oregon

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

am I too intellectual for my own good? Maybe so, but then again, what the heck. I decided quite a while ago to stop apologizing for my personality. It is what it is, and it's okay. There's some decent points to be made, somewhere in the recesses of my thought patterns, I suppose. So there you go. At least I'm looking on things from a fair angle, and maybe that's the most you can ask.

Sometimes I end up in situations that seem to be exclusively chaotic and negative, but at least I have the sense to extricate myself, or maybe the freedom to extricate myself, I suppose. There's a point to be made that I'm too detached, but I start thinking that and then I get a good conversation with a good friend and think to myself that I'm not too detached, I just have good friends that make sense for me for where I am at right now. That human connection that is so necessary for everyone seems sometimes to be in short supply, but more and more these days it is around and it is there for me to both help and be helped, as everyone is struggling to get through the rough patches of life. I never get caught up in negativity these days, and I hope my good fortune continues, and I need to challenge myself to do better, if I could only figure out exactly what I should be doing differently...There are concrete and achievable goals, for example, in karate, and those give me some mental stability and peace of mind for dealing with chaos when I find it out there,...not that I have it all figured out.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

new idea

simplified and fairly unique
shearing off tension from the problems created
far from me, in all the strivings and trials
trying to sort out how to stay apart from all things
from the tensions that might crawl through me
a thinking man and the sun shining down
magnetic tensions and forces one sees through the day
the music of forces
the trials that come to light
find a way through the tension of a string
and the sheep out in the pen
and all of the little ideas and laughing tensions
which we love to have in the keeping of our ideas
and the points that matter
and to feel the idea of sunlight coming down on the shoulders
just as it does for everyone
wondering if the world can stay good and make sense.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011