Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Elephant's Room

It's ten before midnight.
December's in twilight.
The cards face their falling
in an unfinished drawing
near the end of this year.

It's ten before midnight.
December's in twilight.
The book is recycling
as the tree pens the writing
near the end of this year

It's ten before midnight.
December's in twilight.
Time is kept swaying
by a waltz that's been playing
near the end of this year.

It's ten before midnight.
December's in twilight.
The cat knows who's hiding.
The doves know who's flying
near the end of this year.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Chapter Six (The Flood)

images images images
pages in the book
tried to press them together
to keep them dry
they flew apart
into the blue which is sky
into the sky which is whole


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Few Stars Are Out Tonight

She turns in twilight sleep
hair and gown long and stirring about
cresting round the moon.
The trees whisper to one another.
The broad trunks flute low
and sound the ocean sound.
It is the wind.

Who was it tugged on her dreams
causing her to notice we are here?
Branches lift and crawl.
It is the wind.

It is only a matter of time
before she awakens fully,
her attention upon us deeper
as she turns earthward
laughing, always laughing.
The long grasses whistle high
and sound the raptor sound.
It is the wind.

Soon earth and sky
will be one tonight
boiling in her spin.
It is the wind.

Few stars are out tonight.
It is the wind.

Whose heart is lifted?
Whose is afraid?

It is just the wind.


Monday, November 5, 2012

On the Eve of Day

A storm's coming
and it's useless
to escape while the whole world spins.

It caught me running
threw me weightless
into the madness of its torrid winds.


Without A Word

time left my side
took with it my day
gave it to another
when I looked away


Monday, September 17, 2012

Orb Weaver

in the warmth of the sun...
her silks unbound
 each thread spun 
from yesterday's words
to catch them twisting
round and round
to catch them flying
down and down
to catch them lying

...she waits


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fall Leaves And Berries

I've lost many things,
my way unfound,
but never far from hand
that which I love.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Our House

In front of the door 
sits a large grey cat with topaz eyes.
It has no intentions of moving.

Behind the cat 
stands a small white house
with a door the color of jade
guarded by the large grey cat.

In front of the house 
grows a tall tree. 
At its feet 
lay the amber leaves of Fall.

Inside the house 
before the smoldering hearth 
with ruby coals
sleeps a brindle dog with eyes of onyx.

Beside the dog 
a spinning wheel rests
wound with flaxen thread
twisted in vermeil.

Behind the house 
the sun sets in a sapphire sky 
streaked in turquoise, copper, 
and an unearthly rose.

Beneath the window 
before the sky
sits a bed piled with pillows 
covered in dreams
topped by the large grey cat
with topaz eyes.

Outside the window
in a garden of peridot green
grow potatoes, pearls of the earth.

In this garden perches the lapis jay
watched by those topaz eyes.

Beyond all this
upon the sea
flows a shimmering path of gold.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Man And His Mud

"More water." said the man as he stirred the muddy hole in the ground at his feet. "Where's that stupid boy? Where's he gone to now? Always disappearing when I need him. Useless."
He lifted the shovel and slung a large splash of grey mud onto the tall mound before him. 

"Almost finished. Another soldier." He dropped the shovel and began smoothing the damp sludge across the front of his statue. He carefully stroked the mud as it dried, creating half-closed eyelids on the statue's face. 

"Almost finished. It's a good likeness. I see life in this one." The man kneeled down and scooped up mud with both hands. He stood and slapped his hands downward on each side of his statue, evening out the shoulders.  "I feel life," he announced. He surveyed his ordered rows of mud pillars. "Too many to count," was his dismissal of those crumbling off into the distance. "Ah the fruits of my toil. Thick as trunks in a forest." He smiled. "If they were trees, by next year they'd be growing."

As he turned back to his work in progress, the statue lifted one arm, then another. "I've done it. It moves. It is alive." the man whispered then repeated his revelation as a command. 

The statue lifted one leg, then another and began walking away from the man, the hole, and the resultant legion of mud doppelgangers. "Come back, come back!" The man called out as he stumbled and fell. 

"Stupid man." said the boy as he wiped the mud from his eyes and kept walking. "If they were trees, they'd be stumps." 

Come back, come back, be with me, be mine..." the sinking man incanted over and over again from the hole where he had fallen, until the mud drowned him out. 

The boy kept on walking. "I already was yours. I am your son."


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Elephant Dung Paper

This is an ink drawing on elephant dung paper of Libbs and her three chickens and me making rosewater. I love drawing with ink and old bendy nibs on elephant dung paper. It is impossible to assume control and each hand made sheet is so individual and subtly beautiful it feels almost superfluous to draw on even though it asks to be touched.  Most of all - it makes me laugh at the silliness of taking one's small self oh so seriously whilst next to the noble elephant and its dung. Far too much seriousness lately. As quick as can do and without thinking...

crazy legs
wispy arms
caverns are always dark

turtle eggs
frost that harms
icicles stick up and bark

soups hot
butter's cold
lettuce wilted 
now I'm old

surprise surprise
it's a party day
tomorrow will also go away

creatures get comfort
the sky is bold
i am blue when i am cold

resurgence is dignified
lying sucks
i am broke without any bucks

lottie is fat
jack is mean
percy's a poet
a bean can be green

this is silly
no it's not
what is silly
is to sit and rot

the world is crazy
maybe it's alway been
when the way of the world
is the way of men

if you go to the store
with an unkept look
the clerks will follow you
like you are a crook

if you have no money
and struggle to pay
you will forget to look
at the sky each day

if you don't laugh
and forget to play
a miserable life
will come your way

when will you laugh
at the people who snoop
in other's business
because theirs is poop

if you obsess over
liars and cheats
you'll end up bitter
they'll get all the sweets

meditate on the divine
burn incense and precious oils
say this is mine
leave the trashy to their spoils

stay free of the critic
and wary of the leach
be they idiot or psychic
they do well in speech

tell the universe
you are stuck, uninspired
you've lost your purse 
in the sludge you are mired

know this is temporary
there's no ghost to give
talk to a fairy
wake up and live

it is better to try
and end with a mess
than to sit and to cry
over somebody else's mess. basically.

it is now late in the day
and early in the evening
what's better than a play
to set the bells ringing

ring ring ring ring
take a trolley to the park
ding dang dung ding
sing a song in the dark

the end

and now to click on the 'publish' button and don't look at this till tomorrow. But wait, here's a link (which must be copied and pasted) to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center. Click on the 'Process'  tab at the top to see how elephant paper is made:


Saturday, June 16, 2012


Slip sightless into time's true entrance...

Be with time, alone in time.
It is an art
 this journey with time
the companion who has translated
 everything we have known
into earthly form.  

Even so, time is only one way to travel.
There are others. Like fallen leaves
they littered the land before it became
flat then round then flat again
 as we nailed down the ends of the world
called it civilization and came to recognize
 only those thoughts
which followed one after the other
and were easily translated into words.

...this is only difficult when I search for a beginning
when I search for a time
when this was not so.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Blooming Colors

Oops. Lost the text. The photo of the flowers from my garden 
remained. Almost lost the blog. Technical difficulties. 
Timely though for I have but one or two more poems and drawings 
that belong in this picture book and then Judy Sevens
will be concluded. After that, I will either continue here 
or provide a link to my new URL.

Today, June 1st, I found the lost text that belongs with the photo of flowers:

Today's news from Space Weather - there is a new sunspot 'hurling plumes of plasma off the stellar surface'

The past few months have seen a succession of rainy days. Then the sun comes out and like everyone else I drop everything and go outside because each sunny day might be the last for weeks. Pictures, I'd rather take them than draw them. Writing, I'd rather be outside barefoot and barehanded. 

The climbing rose has gone crazy with blooming.  As soon as the sun warms the garden, we are outside gathering roses. I dug out my old stovetop hyddro-still. The baffles and gaskets are still intact and Libbs and I made rosewater. The first gurgle of hydrosol out the copper spigot spills the scent of roses throughout the kitchen and we make plans to distill the lemon verbena and rose geranium. They too are lush this year. But for now, it's all roses. I've ground up dried petals in the spice mill. Luckily the spices last ground they were those used in perfumery as well as for cooking. The resultant scented powder smells like exotic incense. I'm making Gulkand, a rose preserve by layering fresh rose petals and sugar in a glass jar then sealing it tightly. The climbing rose continues to bloom.

That was last week. For three days now we've been back to the skies of gloom. The syrupy coating on the rose petals has re-crystalized into a cold, hardened lump. To make Gulkand, one must set the jar in the sun every day for weeks, so much for that. I saw not a single bee today. When bees are deprived of ultraviolet light, they remain in their hive, are no longer attracted to flowers, stop gathering pollen - much as people behave who are deprived of the sun. Lethargy. Depressed. Sulking? Still, the ever present greyness Marley and I walked out into this morning gave up to color amidst the varying greens of ferns, sorrel, and grass. Roygbiv is well represented out in the garden, sun or no sun. It didn't take long to gather up a bouquet.

Inside the house and without the dominant green surrounding each, the colors are overwhelming and their brightness suggests artificial pigment, impossibly unnatural or supernatural? The intensity produces something akin to visceral anxiety and the subdued lighting of the above photo provides relief by making the blooms appear more real, or I should say - natural. What or why this should be, I've no idea. And this is just by viewing the spectrum the human eye can see, generally speaking of course.  Somewhere amongst the flowers are the Forbidden Colors - the green that is red, the yellow that is blue - and the bee's ultraviolet and probable other spectrums. If we could see into the spectrums not visible, would the colors be even more overwhelming, nearly blinding, or would they merge with those which were heretofore  visible and present us with an altogether different hue?

In light of the colors blooming and the generally unseen, this is how this morning's world media news reads to me - gloom plus doom. I think I'll stick to the news of the sky to begin my day until the sun comes out again. 

The indigo eye opens to the spectacle before it. 

The true voice which is blue hides
in the shadows of many trees,
a small blue lily 
that shrinks from the sun.

The verdant field with its creatures of song 
pines for song's return
from its last fearless course
into the face of wonder.

Below the field a river like all rivers
empties into the sea,
upon its back the reflection
of eagle's yellow eye as it circles
high above this hollow earth.

and the bright orange poppy
that colors the field with its silken petals
has pulled into a knot
unopened by the sun.

At the beginning is the red dragon. 
When the wondrous poppy was called upon 
to heal the increasing pain
dragon fell sleeping 
within its orange petals.

The indigo eye sighs 
gazes upward
and waits
deep into the purple night.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Voice In Song

In this moment that I know of
songs are sung
in every language spoken
and those long gone.

In this moment that I hear of
voices stilled.
No more would we be hearing
the songs they sang.

In this moment that I sit in
I don't sing.
I listen for the echoes 
of songs once sung.

In this moment that I hope for
songs are sung
by all the voices with us
for those now gone.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Mohini Dancing

From behind the ring of fire
made when the moon
covers the sun,
she's danced out of hiding
to earth attuned
her veil undone.

Wearing earth on her body
clay on her face
mud in her hair,
shells dangle from flowers
twined round her waist,
her feet are bare.

She moves her hips
her right arm twirls
the sun's ring round
her wrist aloft,
making scent and sound
of stars a crossed
this tambourine earth.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Binky, Boo, And Beetle Too

Binky and Boo were related somehow. Beetle was too. Everyone knew that.

They did not live in the same house. Binky's house was in the east. Boo's house was in the south. Beetle's house was as far west as a house could be without falling into that ocean.

They did not look the same. Binky's hair was straight. Boo's hair was curly. Beetle's hair had hardly grown in.

They did not like the same food. Binky spit out anything red. Boo would eat nothing green. Beetle put everything he found in his mouth.

But they all shared one same thing, Grandma's smile. When Binky, or Boo, or Beetle smiled, everyone would say, "There's that smile, Grandma's smile."

Binky, Boo, and Beetle did not see each other every day. On certain days they would go to Grandma and Grandpa's house in the north and Grandma would smile and tell everyone, "My angels are here." Grandpa would chuckle to himself, "Here comes the wrecking crew."

For at that house they were not angels. They were together and together they made more ruckus than ten hundred indomitable boys. Everyone knew that. When everyone saw Binky, Boo, and Beetle too all together at that house, they whispered, "Those boys are together again." and tightly shut their doors and windows.

One certain day Binky, Boo, and Beetle played loud, louder, loudest ever! Grandpa was deep in a book and deaf to the world.  Grandma stopped smiling, held onto her head to prevent it from flying off, and shouted, "Quiet! I must have quiet! Go to that other room! Quietly! Sit down in there and keep quiet!"

"Here we go again." Said Binky to Boo.

"Oh no, not again." Said Boo to Binky.

Beetle cast himself upon the floor and had to be carried to that other room. Once there, they became quiet, very quiet.

"Let's go somewhere Grandma can't find us. " They conspired.

"Yes, let's trick Grandma and make her laugh." They plotted.

"We will turn into little sneaks and crawl out the window." They agreed.

Binky snuck out the window. Boo snuck out the window. Beetle snuck out the window too.

"My, how quiet they are." Grandma said. She was not accustomed to hearing herself think and it had taken some time for the quiet to be perceived by Grandma.  "I wonder what they look like when they are being quiet?"  She tiptoed to that other room and peered through the crack in the doorway. She did not see them.

She opened the door widely. She still did not see them. "But, they're not here." She worried.

She looked in all the house. "I cannot find them." She fretted.

"They're gone." She gasped.

Grandma ran out of the house, down the street, back up the street, calling out all the while, "They're gone! They're gone! Someone has stolen my boys!"

And everyone whispered behind their tightly shut windows and doors, "Who would steal Binky, Boo, and Beetle too?"

The three little sneaks were so tickled with their trick, they laughed and turned back into people. Laughter was their magic word. Grandma, who was running by on her way back down the street saw Binky, she saw Boo. And, she saw Beetle too, sitting outside the window, together, all laughing.

Grandma became indignant, causing her red hair to shoot sparks. Binky was impressed. Boo was impressed. Beetle sat down immediately and practiced looking innocent.

"Grandma's not laughing." Said Binky to Boo.

"Let's climb back in the window."  Said Boo to Beetle.

Beetle pointed at the window. There stood Grandpa, not saying anything.

Now, on this certain day, Grandpa had finished reading his book and was no longer deaf to the world. It had occurred to Grandpa that the world inside the house was silent. This unusual discovery intrigued Grandpa and had sent him looking. He had looked in that other room and had seen the window was open. He had looked out the window and had seen the three little sneaks turn back into little boys. And, he had seen Grandma sparking indignantly. Grandpa had seen it all.

"What's going on?" Grandpa asked, knowing trickery full well when he saw it.

Binky said nothing. Boo said nothing. Beetle did not say nothing, Beetle said his first word.

"Food." Said Beetle.

"Beetle talked." Said Binky.

"He did." Said Boo.

"Oh my" Said Grandma.

"What's for dinner? " Asked Grandpa. "I'm hungry too."

Beetle had already climbed back in the window and was sitting at the table, ready to eat. And eat they did.

"What angels they are."  Grandma said and smiled her smile at Grandpa after Binky, Boo, and Beetle were asleep.

"What?" Asked Grandpa, deep in another book. But Grandpa was smiling too.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Perigee Moon and the Camellia

This cousin to the camellia which gives us tea, came to full bloom
 in the garden on May 5th, under a Wesak moon.
It takes well to that same soil that gives us the redwoods and
rhododendrons here on the Pacific north coast. Some people have made tea
from its leaves and say it contains more caffeine. I've never tried it.

I took this photo with the eastern sky and the rising moon behind me.
When I looked at the picture, I was surprised to see a tiny moon
 above the tip of a petal noting the day.

That so translucent a bloom
without scent 
would be reminiscent of 
 a simple cup of tea
in the dusky morning,
who would have thought 
what that would one day signify
on a perigee moon
on the fifth of May


Thursday, May 3, 2012

This Wooden Drum

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water
here am I your long lost daughter.
To ocean’s sand and mountain’s loam
I have returned I have come home.

I wandered off a little child
into a storm, a tempest wild.
No wind no rain did fuel this storm
its tumult was of mortals born.

Earth, Air Fire, and Water
Here am I your weary daughter.    
I've traveled far through dimming skies 
and stumbled long with blinded eyes.

Pray let me sleep and dream awhile
on lily petals by the Nile.
Or I could curl up in a bower 
atop the tallest redwood tower.

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water
here am I your beloved daughter.  
This wooden drum is all I own
my hands upon it brought me home.

Photograph by ©Brian Allison

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

the streaking rain

the rain was 
for twenty seven days
stopped for two then
began again

within those two days
which should have stepped clear
in the sun
nothing stood
nothing shone
that wasn't sodden

when those two days ended
the rain streaked through
making burrows
for our dreams
like druming and strumming
make dwellings
for our song


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Firefly and the Egg

Lila was stuck in a series of doubtful moods. The night sky was backlit by an unseen moon. There was not one star to play with, to stare at through her eyelashes until it offered her a golden strand to swing upon to the face of the star then back again to earth. Swing out and away then home again free, freed from doubtful moods.
She saw this night’s sky as a grey dome covering her in the opaque shell of an egg. Lila pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them. She was beginning to feel like an egg, contained within her own dense shell, thinking when she would rather be dreaming, sitting when she would rather be flying.
“There are fireflies, and then again, there are eggs.” Said the large grey cat sitting beside her on the porch.
“What do you mean?” Lila asked.
“I mean, if you are an Egg, you do not long to fly.” Answered the cat.
“The cat is speaking, again.” Sighed the brindle dog sitting at Lila’s other side.
Lila patted the dog’s head and was silent for a while. Then, she said, “Well I still miss the stars, and I still feel like an egg.”
The dog leaned against Lila. He stared at the cold overcast sky. He turned his head and stared at the doorway behind them that led into the warm house. Then, he stared meaningfully into Lila’s eyes. Lila stood and turned towards the door.
“I knew a firefly who tried to be an egg.” Said the cat.
“Oh?” Lila asked. She turned away from the door.
“Yes said the cat. “It all started because, well, eggs can be attracted to fireflies.”
“Really?” Lila asked. She sat back down between the large grey cat and the brindle dog, propped her elbows on her knees and rested her chin on her hands.
“And now it begins.” Sighed the dog. He curled into a round ball. “The cat’s speaking, and Lila’s listening. We’ll not be going inside, not now.” He sighed once more and closed his eyes.
“Yes, eggs can be attracted to fireflies.” Continued the cat. “Fireflies are pretty and very unlike the egg. This catches the egg’s eye.”
“Then what happens?”’ Lila asked.
“The egg charms the firefly into becoming the egg’s pet. But, the egg requires that the firefly must contain itself and flare in a predictable manner.”
“Why would a firefly do that?” Lila asked.
“Eggs are clean and handsomely smooth and they glow warmly when they reflect the light of the firefly. Sometimes a firefly is attracted by this glow and is pleased that the egg shows interest. So, to please the egg, the firefly cuts down on its glowing and stops flying. It does not realize the glow is its own reflection on the surface of the egg.”
“The firefly tries to please the egg?” Lila asked.
“Sometimes. And when a firefly tries to please an egg by insulating itself from sudden flares,  after a while it looses its spark it becomes tired all the time. Fireflies should never try to please an egg. It turns them into fuzzwads.”
“Yes. Fuzzy dull grey wads with no light, unable to fly.  A firefly is always cold when it turns into a fuzzwad. It huddles quietly next to the formerly glowing egg trying to get warm. This pleases the egg. It is pleased that under its influence the firefly is learning to evolve into its true form as an egg. You see, the egg is so dense it thinks the fuzzwad is a rudimentary egg.
“Is the firefly happy when the egg is pleased?” Lila asked.
“Happy?” Asked the cat in reply. “Remember, Lila, the firefly is now a fuzzwad. It could even be said that a fuzzwad is a dying firefly.”
Lila looked at the cat and said nothing.
The dog opened his eyes, then closed them when the cat began speaking again.
“The fuzzwad is content for a while to be in the company of the egg. Eggs are very convincing. They have convinced everyone that the egg was here first and is therefore the center of the universe. Thusly, the fuzzwad feels fortunate to have the egg for a friend. Eggs take themselves very seriously.”
“Do eggs ever laugh?” Lila asked.
“They chuckle. They occasionally snort. I do not know if they giggle or not. Eggs do not guffaw. They believe too much laughing can get out of control and cause a crack. Containment is of the utmost importance to the egg.” Said the cat.
“Does the egg like the firefly better when it becomes a fuzzwad?” Lila asked.
“Well, a fuzzwad is much more contained than a firefly. This is preferable to the egg, of course. Also fuzzwads make them more comfortable, cushion their nest. Eggs value their comfort. It gives them composure.”
“But the egg liked the pretty firefly.” Lila said.
“Eggs do not truly believe fireflies exist. Since the fuzzwad does not glow and does not fly, the egg tosses off such notions as fantasy. Fireflies are, they believe, a reflection of light on a speck of dust.  The very idea that a fuzzzwad thinks that it was once a flying speck of dust is proof to the egg of the fuzzwad’s incompleteness as an egg.” Said the cat.
“But it it was the firefly’s glowing and flying that caught the egg’s eye. That’s what you said.”
“I said, the firefly is pretty and unlike the egg. That is all the egg noticed.”
“Oh.” Lila said. “Well, does the firefly like being a fuzzwad?”
“Fuzzwads usually feel guilty for not being more egglike, out of loyalty to the generous egg. They can remember flying and glowing, a little bit. Most often, a fuzzwad just thinks it is a dull messy egg and feels unattractive and inferior to the larger, smoothly defined egg. Once a firefly hold down its spark and becomes a fuzzwad, it too acts like the egg is the center of the universe.”
“What do the other fireflies think when one of them becomes a fuzzwad?
“That it spent too much time in the company of eggs. Occasionally they buzz the fuzzwad in they hopes they can spark its memory of being a firefly.”
“Does the fuzzwad remember?” Lila asked.
“Yes, but it uses its spark trying to convince the egg that it used to fly.” Answered the cat.
“Does the egg listen?”
“Oh, the egg’s denseness is vast. They are thoughtful in appearance, but eggs do not really listen. They pat the little fuzzwad and say,  ‘You have no proof.’ and, ‘you don’t really believe such things.’  Then, they sigh heavily to the other eggs and expound upon their belief that fuzzwads are irrational and difficult. Eggs are filled with beliefs. This leaves them little room for thinking.
“What do the other eggs do?”
“They discuss what a problem fuzzwads can be. Then, the eggs all agree what a good egg it is to have been so selfless to allow the disruptive fuzzwad equal time and space without loosing composure. Eggs believe they are very open-minded and kind, especially to their inferiors. “
“Doesn’t this make the fuzzwad angry and want to fly away?” Lila asked.
“Yes. But eggs are convincing, remember? Now the fuzzwad thinks in order to glow and be a firefly again, it must be able to convince the egg this is possible. Yes, the fuzzwad is upset but it is upset that it cannot properly express itself to the wiser egg. In effect, the fuzzwad gets unhappier and unhappier, and dimmer and messier, has a few more unacceptable flares that the egg generously and promptly overlooks. Soon, the fuzzwad will die in the company of an egg.”
“Is the egg sad when the fuzzwad dies?” Lila asked.
“The egg doesn’t notice. Dead fuzzwads harden up. The egg just assumes that the fuzzwad, with patience on the egg’s part has finally learned how to truly be a proper egg. The egg believes it has accomplished a heroic deed.”
Lila sat quietly for a while. Then, she asked, “Is that the end of the story?”
“If you live in eggdom and aspire to become an egg, it is. If you miss being a firefly, there is another possibility.”
“Which is what?” Lila asked.
“A fuzzwad with strong memory and even a tiny fragment of its inner spark has been known to turn back into a firefly.”
“Is it happy again?” Lila asked.
“It is even more than happy. It realizes that its unhappiness did not come from being unable to prove to the egg that it was once a firefly. It was unhappy simply because it no longer flew.
The cat stopped speaking. Lila, the dog, and the cat sat silently beneath the starless sky.
“I’m not an egg.” Said the dog.
“I did not say that you were.” Said the cat.
Lila laughed. She stood and opened the door. The little candle on the table beside the window glowed softly.
“No eggs live in this house. She said. “Not tonight.”
Lila the brindle dog, and the large grey cat went inside. The door closed behind them. Gently, Lila blew out the candle and they each went off to their own warm bed.
The end.