Water Study #4

This is an experiment.  Can you click on the link below?  I am experimenting with the intersection of image and text.  My upcoming chapbook, Curious Minutiae, will feature images, but not interspersed with text.  Here is my first attempt.  The piece is supposed to be impressionistic, I suppose.  I need to learn how to actually have the image right here.  Ideas, anyone?



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Curious Minutiae Outtake

I attended a Dan Raphael reading tonight.  He’s an inspiring reader. “Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid” is his latest. Good surrealistic beat pillow talk hybrid. Here’s a poem that will not be in my upcoming chapbook, but it seems worth a read for fun, complete with the image that inspired it.


A Security System the Length of Teeth

The truck bounces between dirt potholes a few working class blocks

east of the 122nd strip. It is the painfully slow end of the route

I am considering how residents feel about the sorry state of the street

When a black and white blur catches my eye to the right

A sizable mutt paces a low roof above two pickups

As if a sentry on the parapet of a military outpost

Defense starts with patrolling the perimeter, being aware.

At home, in the city, sturdy fences, locks, basic alarm systems

Usually suffice. Dogs yapping are a common touch, but this is no lap dog

proclaiming its distaste for all things large.  Atop the dingy house,

torso quivering with energy, paws dancing, fangs bared

The dog seems to call out in his canine tenor

Hey, I’m looking at you, mailman!  Step off!  

I will snap your leg bone, I will eat your heart!  

Barks with exclamation marks

When I pause, questions drop from the trees

Where is the owner?  Why is the dog on the roof?

Is this the norm, and what must the neighbors think?

Does he love his owners that much

Or hate the world that much?

Is something in the home worth defending with ferocity?

Days later, I return with a parcel to deliver

And have to walk directly below the sentry dog.

His eyes are ice blue and malevolent.

His musculature twitches, nails scrabbling on shingles

seemingly primed for a flying tackle.
I grit my teeth, scan the barcode, drop the package, and bail.

The time for questions is long past.

There is a wisdom in honoring certain fears

I respect sharp teeth, continue rolling east

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New Poet Challenge

I’ve been steadily reintroducing myself into the Portland poetry scene in the past year.  It’s sometimes hard working on my craft when I allow myself to try to please too many people. As in music, film, dance, the fashion of the day is ever changing, and my influences are all over the place.  My process is slowing down, as I work pieces for weeks, even month, when I used to buff something out over a few days.  The initial idea is key, and then I’ll pull out some connections, but I can’t forget the language, figurative thinking, and so on.  The craft, as  Virginia Davis would have said.  At heart I just want to make people smile, think deeply, get angry, or even cry. So  I look forward to the New Poet Challenge next week, one of many current reading series in Portland.  I get to invite someone to share the stage with me, as a few other people will also do.  I may or may not read a poem based on the following image.Orange is the New.jpg

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Daredevil in Time Escape Artist

The orange toy car on a wooden mailbox post
sent me through an Einsteinian space time fabric rip
to a jumpsuited hero from tiny person memory
playing Hot Wheels and watching the wide world
of seventies television, especially Evel Knievel’s moto madness

Evel Knievel

A pulmonary fibrosis rocket car launched the man to infinity in 2007.
Now it seems he has finally returned to earth
After a reported 433 broken bones in life
Perhaps the afterlife felt a bit vanilla
Death may not have offered enough pain
to keep him awake and on fire
Even at the apogee, too mellow
Thus he returned even as the memories have faded
of him trying to jump the Snake River

Time bends each of us to the wheel, our task
Losing paint chips, gaining blisters, and learning
That most bravado ultimately fades, and scars never lie

Death shrank his image, morphed into a toy.
Whose landing pad sits atop a lichen crusted mailbox post
Critics may wonder if orange is a worthy color
for a transmigratory ride or if Knievel deserves fanfare
after his myriad failures or asshole brigade moments
“Regrets offer us nothing, move forward,” he says.
My rocket car can leap the river Styx.”

At the edge of the frame, there are pale flickers
Spring birch leaves wind fluttering, or the glow of tiny televisions
in a world of tiny people, children of all ages eager for a new daredevil show
To watch from overstuffed comfort of burnt orange armchairs
So they might escape from the vanilla of their own lives

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Beat That

Just went through a really cool book called Beat, a sort of photo essay by Christopher Felver going through the decades covered the core beat poets and various others, from the Big 3 of Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs to Anne Waldman, Michael McClure, artist Larry Rivers, musician John Cage, City Lights owner Ferlinghetti, and so on.  Lots of amazing artifacts in there, not all of which are legible.  I highly recommend it if you are interested in the Beats.  It got me a bit more motivated as I attempt to submit more work and sustain my recent levels of creativity.  Perhaps it can do that for you too.

“The goal of the artist is to raise the light.”

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Finding Poetry While Driving

I’m revising and organizing some of my old work in anticipation of future submissions and manuscript codification. Here’s a piece I wrote a few years ago. As the title suggests, it’s based on things I saw or heard during one drive.  Thanks for reading.  Comments encouraged.

Finding Poetry While Driving

The radio says
war all the time–
On Thursdays
One road sign says no thru trucks

A license plate says

I say
This is still the road to Damascus
And there are no poems
found in these fields
What if there were?

More signs say
Festival pumpkins
Exit only
For sale: bird dog
and Welcome to Boring

Wait: red and white lights flash
a siren yelps and wails
somewhere a house is burning to its foundation
cars part like the red sea
If slowly (me me me)

What have I said
what have  I done?


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Green Versus Green

Green Shadow SHotWalking on a day
the light has vanished
ambling, eyeballing, noticing nuance
in shades of green
which proliferate, even compete
a game of green versus green
in this world
of moss       grass         leaf
some hues near yellow, some closer to blue
notice density gradations, visual weights
some greens seem to glow
some a pale as absence
or deep as the winter river
every walking glance
shows a new green a new world



minus only the symbolic greens
what pervades the mundane, temporal
the green of cash, greed, envy
thankfully, river air strikes
such corrupting greens from the mental palette
enhances contrast between greens
as fine, as complex as a cedar needle
on a branch standing tall above the river,
across which geese honks echo
off green tinged  draped  shaded
blocky cliffs, green competing against green
and farther up and downstream, more greens
a boat hull     house trim     distance marker
beside and before, behind and beneath, green
creeping ivy, lichen, sword ferns
green this earthview a walking place
a breathing green, a serene green
the color of life, my favorite as a teen
remember eager green eighteen
the color of youth, inexperience
consider nomenclature
a color wheel scavenger hunt
forest neon chartreuse viridian
emerald cyan teal jade
hunter green  india green
leaf, petal, stem, needle, blade
each attracts attention in turn
daily and seasonal shifts
beget an evolving tapestry
the green of life, fertility, growth
a color beyond discrimination or despair
survey the horizon
find the green resembling a smile
what is purest and true
bay algae, liverwort, bracken fern
green a middle name
we forgot we were missing
everywhere I walk
island riverbank field alley
green, green, more green
a color competing with self
topping self





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