Sunday, October 18, 2015


Rose, you majesty-once, to the ancients
  you were
just a calyx with the simplest of rims.
But for us, you are the full, the numberless flower,
the inexhaustible countenance.

In your wealth you seem to be wearing
  gown upon gown
upon a body of nothing but light;
yet each separatae petal is at the same time
  the negation
of all clothing and the refusal of it.

Your fragrance has been calling its
  sweetest names
in our direction, for hundreds of years;
suddenly it hangs in the air like fame.

Even so, we have never know what to call
  it; we guess...
And memory is filled with it unawares
which we prayed for from hours that
  belong to us.
-Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Thursday, October 08, 2015


lean out of the window,
I heard 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, Chamber Music

Wednesday, October 07, 2015


  Life is hard to find and once found is hard to do anything with, so a glimpse of people caught in a similar strain of circumstances is certainly a bit different.  In any case, it's that kind of tears that are still there to see that make you wonder if what you thought was true was so.  Every year we go through these manifestations and every year it's different but much the same as always.  So you wonder, you walk around on the pavement late at night, not paying attention to where you are going, spending more money than you have in the account, and thinking of one person somewhere in a building full of equipment.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Sharon the mushroom girl

Sharon the mushroom girl
with a little parasol that's a big mushroom

got it up by the sky, waiting
for rain.

I was of two minds like
Sharon the mushroom girl
and her mushroom.

the blue parasol
near the sky, waiting

Monday, September 21, 2015

Green Grow the Rushes...

Green grow the rashes, O
green grow the rashes, O
the sweetest hours that e'er I spend,
Are spent amang the lasses, O

There's naught but care on every han'
In every hour that passes, O;
What signifies the life o' man,
An 'twere na for the lasses, O?

The warl'ly race may riches chase,
An' riches still may fly them, O;
An' though at last they catch them fast,
Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them, O.

But gi'e me a canny hour at e'en,
My arms about my dearie, O,
An' warl'ly cares an' warl'ly men
May a' gae tapsalteerie, O!

For you sae douce, ye sneer at this,
Ye're nought but senseless asses, O;
The wisest man the warl' e'er saw,
He dearly loved the lasses, O.

Auld Nature swears the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O;
Her 'prentice han' she tried on man,
An' then she made the lasses, O.

-Robert Burns

Saturday, September 19, 2015

the hands wind around

Coffee cups on the edge
and each prescient work,
finding itself dislodged
makes another waste of the land demonic
set round on the edge
ticking of the clocks
we make up our minds
and find our sister stations.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

here's another entry

This blog entry is to prove that everything is just dull and boring like usual.  I'm trying to survive on iced tea and tortillas, but beyond that, things could be a lot worse.  One problem is I tend to have an erratic mind that shoots one way and then another, unpredictably.  That's just the way of it, I have to make sense, it seems.

As for today, it's time to head back to the house, maybe try to play a song or two.

I remember handing a big jar of lime and water with some ice in it from one place to another.

My fingers feel too heavy to type.  The days pass without variation.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

WILL arise and go now, and go to Innisfree, 
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made; 
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee, 
      And live alone in the bee-loud glade. 
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,         5
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings; 
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow, 
      And evening full of the linnet's wings. 
I will arise and go now, for always night and day 
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;  10
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray, 
      I hear it in the deep heart's core. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


So we really did this, this really happened just like I wrote it.  O stands for Otto Markkanen.  We used to go drink at the bars after karate, back when I was an alcoholic.

Just Another Day in Paradise

BY Chris Farrell

We finish with karate, an easy class, thoroughly enjoying the warm spring weather and the green grass in the park outside the gym. It was not a very difficult class, full of much talking, but worth the effort. We line up to close, bow, and I notice D is talking to R, caught up in some earnest discussion. I go over there to listen and he says, ?Oh, I split up with D. I am living at home.? So they are breaking up. I look over toward the parking lot and O is standing there.

?Fancy seeing you here.?

?I wonder how you would be for coming over for a drink."

"Well, I have no money, but probably can do it."

I go into the dressing room, and J is there, a brown belt who moved to Salem. "D is looking pretty good."

"Pound for pound, one of the strongest."

We go outside and D is standing with J and K.

"I tan easily, in fact, have to tan because of a skin condition I have. Tanning helps it go away."

"I have only burned a couple of times," J says.

K is talking about her first year of school, how she is getting average grades..

D works nights laying tile, so after some discussion, he takes off, and O and I make our way across the grass to where he lives, a cool apartment full of mementos of his woodworking prowess. We cross the railroad tracks, and I think of Thoreau's verse:" What is a railroad to me/but a place to set the blackberries growing." Surely a verse in favor of taking one's own path. We watch the end of a movie, listen to his parrot talk, and venture out to rent another movie. On the way back, pausing for a cigarette, O notices, that J and K are still in the parking lot talking, nearly an hour later.

"There must be something going on here," says O, which reminds me of that Dylan phrase: "There is something going on here, and you don't know what it is. Do you, Mr. Jones."

"This is how it starts, long conversations"

So we walk over there, drinks in hang. J is talking about how they were painting his last name under the "stop" in stop signs. I say this is probably because he is the jock/intellectual seventeen-year-old genius karate maniac that he is, and he seems to agree. We all wonder how he is going to be as he heads off to college.

O gives a longwinded (in his typical manner) speech to J about how he may never know when he may crack. This seems to be a way of putting across the dangers of drugs without being too obvious.

We stroll back across the lawn and after pausing for another rum-and-coke, decide to head on down to the bars to see what is happening. Luckily O lives only blocks from downtown. We stroll down the sidewalks enjoying the new green and warm weather and small breezes of late spring.

Down at the Peacock there are four cop cars, lights flashing, and a few young guys getting handcuffed. O sits down next to one car, lighting and cigarette, and does nothing.

"We might get cited for loitering," I say. having been hassled many times by the cops.

"I don't think so."

We stroll over to the bar window. The band is playing Hendrix and sounds pretty good, the guitarist a grizzled guy who can hit all the right notes with his long and finely defined arm.

There is a girl standing by the window that O seems to know.

"So there was a fight here? What started it?"

"A girl punched some girl about some boyfriend thing, some jealousy thing, and then the guys started in...about one hour ago."

She had large eyes and was quite petite.

"So you may go to Singapore?" says O.

"Yeah, I'm thinking about it."

"Why would you go there?"
"I work for a sanitation company, and we would be setting up a plant."
"That sounds like a good opportunity. Do go and then I'll have something to congratulate you on when you get back," says O, "and if you don't go, you may look back on it as a missed opportunity."
"I heard you can't chew gum in Singapore."
"It's illegal."
"Well, good luck." says O and we walk off, a few blocks to Tommy's, a cool little cozy lounge. There is an older guy with a huge black beard, tough looking, with tattoos, that O says hi to. He was a bouncer for years at another bar, and looks the part.
We sit down, sipping on separators.
Heartbreak hotel comes on.
"Nothing like Elvis. The father of rock and roll."
"He was groundbreaking."
Another song comes on.
"This was written by Lennon and McCartney for another band, under pseudonyms, but it still went to number one. That says something. They did that with fourteen or so of their songs."
"Yes, indeed."
We leave and head down to China D, the bar open latest. When the Peacock closes, all the intoxicated and otherwise bizarre people stroll in here for a last drink. Gary is on duty, twitchy and unpredictable as usual, high on cocaine.
We go outside for a smoke.
"Do you know the Spinney family?" a pudgy woman asked O.
"Can't say that I do.
She dismisses him with a look and goes inside.
The crowd is thinning out, the bar is closing, and we are talking to two women who are leaning on what appears to be their VW bus. On girl has a dachshund, and puts him inside, safe and sound.
"They get angry at us, for not defining ourselves, gay or bi, but we prefer not to, just leave it undefined." says one girl who has tight braids and a cap.
"I see you work at S, and Great Plant before that" I say to the other. She has that sleepy look; perhaps it is only her eyes that make her appear extremely stoned. She always wears clothes with many patches and holes.
"That's right, the first job I got before moving here from Connecticut."
The girl with tight braids keeps talking. "We have a responsibility to summarize the meaning of our generation for future generations."
That sounds like an idea.
Suddenly she reaches out and gives me a kiss and a hug. (Not on the lip, but still...) I am thoroughly surprised and wonder about the meaning of this.
We walk back to O's and watch a bit of Dylan singing "Forever Young" before calling it a night.

Monday, June 22, 2015

treetop flyer

so I’m just kind of waiting for the internet to get working, but don’t know too much about …I fly low, I’m in high demand, go fifteen feet over the rio grande …seldom seen especially when I land….treetop the point of the matter is that we forgot what to say from the beg

there are things I am, and things I'm not, flying fool, especially when I get hot...ain't going to die, ain't going to get caught so we wait for the incredibly slow internet to go somewhere, and when it doesn't you can't figure out where you are going.

Aside from the volleyball going on across through that sense of things, to think you can live in Alsea and make cider....who'da thunk?  Walk and stroll and suzy q...

do that hand jive one more time.  So it's kind of got a few facets to it, the small town that this is, or where one might see fit to protect ..

Thursday, June 11, 2015



Friday, May 29, 2015

Old stone

Old stone pits all with ivy overhung
Rude crooked brooks oer which is idly flung
A rail and plank that bends beneath the tread
Old narrow lanes where trees meet over head
And gaps through bramble hedges where we spy
A steeple peeping in the stretching sky
And heaths oer spread with furze blooms sunny shine
Where praise in wonderment exclaims divine
Old ponds dim shadowed with a broken tree
These are the picturesque of taste to me
While the wild wind to make compleat the scene
In rich confusion mingles every green
Waving her sketchy pencil in her hand
That tints the moving scene

-John Clare

Friday, May 15, 2015

My Mary

Who lives where Beggars rarley speed?
And leads a humdrum life indeed
As none besides 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 sunday 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 day and night in short
At all catch jobs of every sort

For tho in stature mightly small
And near as thick as thou art tall
That hand made thee that made us all
  My Mary.

-John Clare, Major Works, Oxford's World Classics.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Crazy Albany house

  I went to a karate class in Salem a few months ago.   Much sweating was done, and the ache and tiredness of the muscles was staying with me as I drove back to Corvallis.  The fog was rising up on the fields, and a I felt a thick and heavy spirit coming through the air.  Something in the air was tugging at me, telling me to not go directly home, but to make a stop off in Albany, a more working class town near the freeway.
  Albany is a place much different than Corvallis.  There is no university, and so there is no stream of young students.  There are manufacturing jobs and mill jobs, and there is very little interest in higher education.  It is a place that is not international, and not concerned about being more than what it is.
  I cut left on Independence highway and over the rolling fields to the town.  My brain was scattered.  The bar that I knew of was closed, the bar where I had come to see bluegrass music and young people drinking quality beer.  A dude on the street pointed me down the blocks to another bar, the "Linger Longer", that was, supposedly, open later, but it was closed too.  The 7-11 was open, and I bought a bottle of wine and parked the car, and started drinking, watching the activity around me, knowing that I was being watched.  House lights, the motion-sensitive kind, would flick on and off here and there, even though I could not detect any movement.  People were coming in and out of a large house in my field of vision, climbing up and down the stairs.
  I was beginning to feel drunk when I noticed a strange thin man walking up the street toward me.  I got out of the car, thinking that he was someone to talk to and said, "who are you?"
  He said, "I do laundry" and that seemed interesting to me.  I found out his name was Tracy and he worked at a cleaners, and he had many children.  Something fascinated me about working at making white things whiter.  There seemed to be something fundamental, and perhaps heavy about that activity.  I offered to buy him a coffee and we wandered over to the convenience store, and for lack of anything more to do, we drove over and met his sister.  I remember her standing there, heavy, large, radiating an intense vibration.  She said nothing, and we went to another house.  This new house was filled with stacks of all sorts of thing, and a man named "River John" appeared to live there.  A small kitten played on a pile of intricately patterned clothes.  It was dark.  They were smoking weed, and the atmosphere seemed otherworldly and surreal.   I might have gotten a hit, but it was hard to say.  It didn't appear to further damage my mental state.
  Tracy appeared to want to take off.  I let him drive.  We drove in circles, it seemed, here and there, and it was cold out, and very late at night.  We stopped somewhere, near a house where he knew people.  He got out to see if they were up, came back, and we both got out and walked down a pathway, through a door, and into a trashed room with a torn up couch, the windows covered with plywood, on which was sitting a girl in her thirties, pregnant, and not all that remarkable.  Her name was Sheila, and as we talked she created an impression that there was some kind of determination there beyond what I could expect.  I told her that I thought she really was a remarkable person, and she thanked me. She was complaining because she could not pay the bill on her ultrasound and the collectors were going to start coming after her....
  I think I was there the whole night, sitting on the couch, staring at the walls, watching people of mysterious origins and intentions come in and out, through the main room to the other rooms.  I may have drifted off at some point.  Her "sister", Lisa lived in the back room with her boyfriend.  Lisa would come out occasionally and start yelling, sometimes at her dog.  Sheila was doing laundry in the kitchen, and the machine was vibrating, or maybe it was the nervous look in her eyes that appeared to be a vibration.

   a wave of wind
   the grass outside
   washing machine is humming
   Sheila shoving clothes
                into the washer
   She can't think about anything else
   dishes are piled on the counter
   a pit bull exits
                the rear room
   somebody yells something

  Another woman in the far room would come out at various point and appeared to be gripped by demons.  She was contorting herself in some kind of dance, and I could have no clue for why this was possibly going on, or what could be wrong with her.
  I left and came back at some point, and Sheila was "at her mom's"..Upstairs, prostitutes were servicing one of the less palatable residents of the house, an idiot.   Lisa, Sheila's "sister" was heating a crack or some other drug pipe on the stove.  She was completely silent, or there was some kind of silent consciousness there that I had not seem before.
  Sheila’s mom came over.  She sat in a chair, heavily lined and wiry old woman, lacking most teeth.  She just stared at me, and got up and left.
  Some point in the evening, large numbers of strange people started coming over to the house, and the situation deteriorated into hard core drug use, not that I really perceived that at the time.  I was sitting on the couch, in some sort of a trance, and a short guy comes in in wrecked clothing, parks his bike, and starts scraping the floor with some sort of scraping instrument.  It is as if he has no clue I was in the room, or perhaps he was used to having unknown people sitting on the couch in that room.  I found out later he ran the house, as much as anyone ran that house.  Later I recall seeing him sitting in a sort of zen position, unmoving for what seemed like hours.  He must have been on heroin or some other drug of course.  I don't know what other likely explanation there would be for that kind of  behavior.  I didn't really realize at all what a hard core drug house that was, and why there was really no real reason to be there.  Everyone has good characteristics though, or at least almost everyone does.
  There was a guy there who was explaining camera stuff to me, and he showed me his yellow tinted glasses.  They were the same prescription as me, and he said "stuff is brighter,right? But that yellow is still yellow and white is still white, right?"  He said he had been a marine, in Vietnam, and broken over fifty bones over the years in accidents.  What was unanswered was the question of what he was doing there.
At some point that evening I felt paniced, and jumped up and said, 'what the hell can I do, what's wrong?" because I really didn't know, and the camera guy said something about my car, which had been stolen, and I said "fuck my fucking car" and walked out, at four in the morning.  I walked up over the tracks and came to the railroad crossing sign.  It looked and felt satanic in the predawn cold, and I felt an evil sort of energy.  Down the street, past some trailer parks of the wrecked variety, and the "King Kone", weird-ass fast food shack, I came upon an old and twisted white church.  A cat was sitting in front of it, as if waiting for me.  I stopped, and them passed by.  The street felt more and more threatening, and a strange looking fat guy came out of a wrecked trailer.  There was evil looking detritus strewn out all over the front of that trailer.  He said "I can't see who it is!", maybe at me, or maybe at someone else.  Trucks were rushing by, all the same make and model all in perfect condition, all zooming their engines.  I started thinking I was going to get shot there, but there was a girl my age looking at me. We talked,   and she gave me a brownie and some chocolate milk, and blew her whistle at the trucks, called them weak, and said she was just waiting to go to church with her aunt.   She said we are all sons and daughters of hippies, and she was getting nervous.  I was too.  There was a white truck just down the way, revving its engine.  I thought I was trapped at that point by some demonic force that was completely foreign to me. We sat down next to a building, and a long-haired type guy came by on a strange long bicycle that looked as if it was custom made and then covered in dirt and grime.  He sat down.  He said he was going to get propane.

long beard waving in the wind
strange long and silent bicycle
down the dark streets
going across town
looking for some propane.

  I walked back to the house.  They were all awake.  I got tired and went back to Corvallis.
  Suspicions known and suspicions thought, finding the right part and the right fit, through the temperaments and angles, suspicions and senses of sense, to understand, what it is that matters in the few days of this vain life through which we pass like a shadow? Macaroni with margarine, a dog who reacts to music, rolling of cigarettes, and who's to say, who of us has been here at the start of things, and who of us knows what we should be doing, in the few days, as the rains fall, and the drops of dew settle on the trailers, the frost on the grass? Is this a worse world, or maybe just the place where the few perceptive know, that this is life lived at the essential matter, to see, that who of us can lay out the skies? And who can number the drops of dew?
  I went back to that house a few weeks later.  Sheila was gone and Lisa was in the back room with her man, Curtis.  The entire house was freezing except their room, that had a space heater.  Lisa complained about the freeloaders.  She would occasionally open the door and scream at them.  She was continually smoking cigarettes and drinking lite beer, and taking her cute pit bull on walks.  I found out that Curtis was from Colorado, the son of a preacher.  He had previously worked laying cement, and had had a previous girlfriend who had died of brain cancer.
  The TV was always on in their room, and daytime TV, the worst.  Lisa was watching a show about some kind of fashion accessories, and how they were doing a "makeover" to some poor person.  I asked her if she didn't find it degrading.  And she said, "No, I think it is nice that they would give anything to us poor people."  Lisa was going to the local store to get their left over corn dogs and other crap before they threw them out, because she had no food.  I asked her if she didn't apply for food stamps, but she said she coulnd't because she had no i.d., no social security card, or birth certificate.  She was barely able to read, and learning disabled in some way.  A really strange and unusual person.
  Curtis was helping me out, fixing my door.  We went down to a junkyard and with much cursing got the right part.  We drove home and he was freezing his hands trying to get the door apart and the thing fixed.  Lisa went and made a bunch of beans, and all the non rent paying people went and got a bunch of beans like they were entitled to it.  She makes them food even though she is yelling at them to leave the other half of the time.
    Lisa was watching some daytime tv, about Tyra Banks giving some low-class family housewife a "makeover" and I asked her "doesn't this depress you, seeing all this wealth?" and Lisa said "no, it's nice, they are giving something to us less fortunate" so Lisa thinks of herself as in the underclass, and that's all she's ever known.  She said she dropped out of school to raise her brothers, and although i think she can read some, she obviously doesn't read much.  I told her she could get food stamps, and she said she had no id, and couldn't get a birth certificate.  She could do all this stuff if she tried, and it would be worth it, but she said there is a huge water bill, and if it doesn't get paid they'll turn off the water, and all this shit.  She was making food for everybody, but all the freeloaders living there, sleeping on the couches in the living room, ate the food, and she was complaining about that, so she was going out picking up bottles and cans to turn them in.  She was going to get food at the convenience store, because they gave away all their crappy hotdogs and such after nine, but we went down there and they had already all sold at half price.  It was depressing, and I was explaining that it didn't have to be this way.....but it's like she didn't want to leave her little neighborhoo or something.  She said her parents lived a few blocks down in the "felony flats", an even worse looking area that is trashed looking trailers.  At least Lisa is living in a wood house.  Still, there is something positive about her, in that she is trying to help the people around her, and her dog is very well behaved,
  There's like three other guys that just sit around and sleep on chairs and stare at the tv.  One guy was fixing a vacuum cleaner.  Apparently the only safe place to stow stuff is in Lisa and Curtis's room, because one guy keeps his stuff in there and sleeps on the couch in the living room.  So I really hope I don't see any heavy drug use there, because then I will have to leave.
reason for that to happen.  Lisa and Curtis stick to lite beer.
  Sheila's parents are on disability and her dad "got shot in the face" and is a jerk, so that doesn't sound too good.  They live in a wrecked tiny home a half block over from Lisa's.  I slept in and was depressed about the whole situation, wondering and questioning at what my motives where for hanging out with this crowd, so I decided I would just go over to her parent's and knock on the door and ask for Sheila.  I parked my car a ways away and walked through the neighborhood, which is quite interesting in a lot of ways: train tracks, some orderly house, some wrecked houses with shit piled everywhere.  Sheila's parent's house is one of the moss covered decaying type of houses.  There was one functional trunk up front, and four decaying ancient vehicles behind that.  The house was tiny and rotting.  I knocked on the door and a dog started barking.  I was a bit nervous as you can imagine.  Sheila's mom put her head out the door, and basically said "Sheila's not here.  She's with a friend.  She'll get hold of you when and if she wants to." which is reasonable.

the outer doors were a backyard and the shovels lined up in even rows
houses down the alley, shopping cart by the railroad
four old cars rusting and shining and moss-covered
and the barking of a dog
and the outer truck in working order
tiny house in gravel walls and barking
across the street a trailer
dudes working on a wrecked car
stars in the skies
the river close by
the trains running by in different tracks
and the heavy feels
and the animals and the grass
littering sideways on the road
even in the hand of the mind
the deep ditch running through the mind
and when she opens the door
pained and lined and suspicious
not far from the felony flats
near a few old trucks.

Friday, April 03, 2015

My Mary

Who lives where Beggars rarley speed?
And leads a humdrum life indeed
As none besides 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 sunday 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 day and night in short
At all catch jobs of every sort.

-John Clare, Major Works, Oxford's World Classics.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

ripening barberries

Already the ripening barberries are red,

and the old asters hardly breathe in their beds.

The man who is not rich now as summer goes

will wait and wait and never be himself.

The man who cannot quietly close his eyes,

certain that there is vision after vision

inside, simply waiting until nighttime

to rise all around him in the darkness-

it's all over for him, he's like an old man.

Nothing else will come; no more days will open,

and everything that does happen will cheat him,

Even you, like a stone,

draws him deeper into the depths.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


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 tnesion.  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.

-rilke, sonnets to orpheus.

Friday, March 13, 2015

felony flats

the outer doors were a backyard and the shovels lined up in even rows
houses down the alley, shopping cart by the railroad
four old cars rusting and shining and moss-covered
and the barking of a dog
and the outer truck in working order
tiny house in gravel walls and barking
across the street a trailer
dudes working on a wrecked car
stars in the skies
the river close by
the trains running by in different tracks
and the heavy feels
and the animals and the grass
littering sideways on the road
even in the hand of the mind
the deep ditch running through the mind
and when she opens the door
pained and lined and suspicious
not far from the felony flats
near a few old trucks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

story from a while back

This is the story of Joe Altenburg, of who we know very little. He is a man, lost among the sea of men, and moving about them lost in his own way, subsumed in his mere ability to think as he can, and confused, as the most of us are, or would be, or could be, if we thought enough or didn't think enough.
His alarm went off at six, as it did every morning without fail. Spring was coming on, through the Venetian blinds. He had the blinds closed, because it always seemed as if there was too much light coming through the windows when he was trying to sleep. The sky was mostly cloudy lately, and he looked up at it from time to time, when he took the time to open the blinds. The clock was a blue GE model built in a square shape and antique desing. It must have been about twenty years old because he got it from an old pawn shop for five dollars, and the thing was quite dependable, although its clock radio only picked up AM, so he ended up listening to a whole lot of right wing sound announcers when he woke up. Somehow the clock alarm was timed so that it would turn on just when the news was going off, and today it had something to do with the election. At least it is not the weather, he thought to himself, because the weather had been quite terrible recently, with flooding, and intense cold, and just about everything else, it had seemed. Everything was spread out on his floor, and there was nothing separating his own body from the floor but a mattress. The floor was covered with a red carpet that gave the room a strangely bright and faded look. His books were spread out here and there, and clothes were here and there, piled on the dresser, and piled underneath piles of other clothes.
The first thing that Joe did every morning, upon coming into his conscious mind, was to take one step over to the wall socket, and plug in the white cord that connected to the lamp on the table, so that he could see what he was doing. Sometimes the cord would get caught on something, or the lamp would be turned off at the base, and this would lead to more lurching in the dark. Finally he got it turned on, and then turned back to his bed to look for his glasses, which were usually right off the bed by the side but there were a number of different locations where they could be at different times. They had silver rims, and round frames, and held up well for a number of years, and would hopefully hold up for several more, he thought to himself, with some anxiety. A few days before he had woken up to find one of the lenses to have fallen from the rim, and he had to put it back in again. That was always the first sign that they were starting to go, that the lenses would start to fall out and become loose in the frames. He had bought them over three years ago from an optician in Berkeley with a little black mustache who had said that they looked great, compared with the monstrosities that he had worn before that.
Everything was quiet at this time of the morning, and the air smelled clean and fresh, and there was an aura of tranquility and acceptability about that time of the morning. As he put on his clothing, a sense of the wonder of the sense of things came to him and he looked at himself from space looking down onto the oceans and continents, and there he was, in his room putting on his clothes. "Today I will think of the unity of the way of things, and the universal sense in the part of the actual course of my own activities," he thought to himself, and put on his jacket. "Every action has its significance or insignificance, for in the long view of things, in the infinite course of time, there is no significant actiion or worthy or unworthy goal, or any thing at all but the forces of man struggling in the here and now, the thrashing about. The drift of things..." he went on and on and on, and went down the stairway to the kitchen, and there was the espresso maker, hexagonal, sitting on the stove, and also the coffee pot, and the pan from last night, and the rice cooker with the light on.
There was a scratching at the door. It was Fred, the old cat, who knew when Joe got up, and knew that if he was lucky he could get some attention. But Joe went down to the basement to get his clothes from the dryer, and then back up to the kitchen to sit and wait for the time to be right for him to leave. He never left the house until 6:38, because any earlier and there would be a long wait, and any later and he might miss the bus. He went over to the freezer and cut off a slice of bread and put it in the toaster, and waited for it to heat, still in kind of a daze from the morning. There was a copy of Whitman on the table and he flipped it open and started to read..."did you think these were the words, these lines, dots, swirls, these are not words.....the substantial words are in me, in you." he read slowly.
He took out his key and opened and closed his door on the way out, and the cat stood there looking for him. "Bye cat, I have to go and make some money." he said. The trees were starting to look greener and the sun was making weird patterns over the north hills. His feet pattered on the ground, feeling the pavement carefully through the soles. His pack was light on his back, and the morning was unusually warm, as if the day would certainly be warm. The bus pulled up at the curb and he got on, and recognized most of the people on the bus, including the driver. The lady in front of the seat where he was sitting was talking about macaroni and cheese. "She uses some kind of fancy pants recipe and she puts it in the oven and it turns out quite well" she was saying. "My husband doesn't have a fancy job like yours does." she was saying to the girl beside her. Joe got off downtown and crossed the street to the bus stop where he had to wait for the bus to take him to Beaverton. It wasn't long in coming. There were a bunch of people standing and waiting around already, waiting for the same bus. The cafe in the office building near the stop was crowded and it seemed like it might be nice to go in and have a bit to eat, but there was no time. The bus pulled up, and there they were, having to get on for sure, because it only ran once every thirty minutes, and by that time he would be late for work. He recognized everybody on this bus well, because it ran every day, and it took about twenty minutes to get tohis job, ....

Sunday, March 01, 2015

what the heck is going on?

I often ask myself that question when I look or try to look too far into ways that aren't productive or possible for me to figure out, so I usually end up just sticking to the program and trying to screen out the negativity and all around messed up to beyond all belief nature of the question being what in the heck I was wondering of speaking of, but decided I didn't care anyway,

So back to just enjoying the weather and stuff I like doing and keep things to the positive level here.

I think somehow I can't avoid trouble, for some reason.  At least we have this musical gig coming up.  I don't know what the heck I'm doing tomorrow though.  Maybe just the usual, or more of the usual, and maybe something healthy to eat instead of my usual unhealthy diet, or go for a walk.  I sure hope the weather gets a little less cold.  People are funny and unusual and the world seems incredibly messed up really, which is bizarre because I thought I liked the way this town was, but there goes to show that I'm clueless.  Maybe I'd rather stay that way, not that I care anyway.

The point being, I should go back and listen to Obscured By Clouds, the whole album, at least once or twice .....

Friday, February 27, 2015

What the fuck happened to our trailer park?

eating pizza at Blondie's was a big reason to walk down telegraph.  They sold (maybe still do) a lot of slices.  Good pizza.

So, beyond that Telegraph: it had some good coffee shops, populated by students much like myself.  (I didn't start drinking coffee until age 25, but that's another story.)  So, yeah, great bookstore, Cody's books, sold new books, and then the next door shop, Moe's, had five floors of books.  Then there were Shakespeare's, one other cool one, then Shambhala books.    Not that that means much.  Then there was your classic head shop, AnnaPurna.  Couple record stores, ....lots of food.  Yeah, sounds pretty good.  Well, it was easy living because I lived in a dorm and just had to go to class and try to learn stuff, much of which was interesting.  I got my grade ten.
The other thing about Berkeley and Oakland is that, when I was there most, 89-91, walking up Telegraph from Oakland...or is it Shattuck?...was quite a walk, and you'd just be walking gradually uphill .....
nice walk.  the air's worse and the sun is brighter, so it is a trade off.  between Oregon, I mean.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

poem nineteen, sonnets to orpheus

Though the world change as fast
as cloud-shapes manifold,
all things perfected at last
fall back to the very old.

Past flux and vicissitude,
more freely and higher,
still endures your prelude,
god with the lyre.

We do not understand
grief, nor love's phases,
and what death keeps concealed

is not unveiled.
Only song through the land
hallows and praises
-Rilke, Sonnets to Orpheus

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Beginning My Studies

BEGINNING my studies the first step pleas'd me so much,

The mere fact consciousness, these forms, the power of motion

The least insect or animal, the senses, eyesight, love,

The first step I saw awed me and pleas'd me so much,

I have hardly gone and hardly wish'd to go any farther,

But stop and loiter all the time..


Friday, February 13, 2015

steeply sloping hour

My life is not this steeply sloping hour,
in which you see me hurrying.
Much stands behind me; I stand before it like a tree;
I am only one of my many voices,
and at that, the one that will be still the soonest.

I am the rest between two notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because Death's note wants to climb over,
but in the dark interval, reconciled,
they stay there trembling.
               And the song goes on, beautiful.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Expostulation and reply

Why, william, on that old grey stone,
thus for the length of half a day,
why, william, sit you thus alone,
and dream your time away?

"Where are your books?..that light bequeathed
To beings else forlorn and blind.
Up! and drink the spirit breathed
from dead men to their kind.

You look round on your Mother Earth,
as if she for no purpose bore you,
as if you were her first born birth
and none had lived before you!

One morning thus, by Esthwaite lake
when life was sweet, i knew not why,
to me my good friend Matthew spake,
and thus I made reply,

The eye-it cannot choose but see;
we cannot bid the ear be still,
our bodies feel, where'er they be,
against or with our will.

Nor less I deem that there are Powers
which of themselves our minds impress;
that we can feed this mind of ours
in a wise passiveness.

Think you, 'mid all the mighty sum
of things for ever speaking,
that nothing of itself will come,
but we must still be seeking?

-Then ask not wherefore, here, alone
conversing as I may,
I sit upon this old grey stone,
and dream my time away.