Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A DILEMMA: What is the responsible thing to do when someone in the street displays behaviors that clearly indicate that he or she is mentally ill? We offer aid when anyone, stranger or acquaintance, is obviously experiencing physical distress. The man in my pictures was clearly in distress. Perhaps he was high on drugs. He wasn’t drunk. He didn’t ask for money. He begged for cigarettes. He took a rosary from around his neck and stooped to tie it around his ankle. He periodically took a feather from behind each ear and, holding them in his hands in what seemed like practiced ritual, he did a little dance. He didn't laugh or even smile. He reminded me of "Poor Tom," a figure of madness and poverty in King Lear. Dozens of people saw his distress. No one gave him anything. He wandered away... alone. Should I have done something? I would not have let a bleeding person wander away.

It’s clear that we ordinary citizens going about our own business prefer to let other ordinary citizens go about their business without interference; but in our dedication to the idea that “a person has the right to do” whatever he or she wants to do as long as it isn’t illegal and isn’t harmful to others, do we turn away when we should intervene?

Monday, May 30, 2011


Sunday, May 29, 2011

THIS WAS JULIAN'S DAY. Even the San Diego Police Department wanted to pose for a picture with him. A pug bulldog recognized how special he is and brought a ball for him to throw. An Ocean Beach guitarist played a special song for him... And I had the pleasure of his company all afternoon.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Klaas is ninety this week...
Life is a corridor
busy sometimes,
painfully quiet
just before sundown...
then all hell breaks
when people decide
it's time to go

Friday, May 27, 2011

O.K., O.K., O.K., I know! I know! I'm unreasonable when it comes to these epiphyllum blossoms. Our plant has gone nuts. It doesn't know when to stop. Neither do I.

The University of San Diego on Linda Vista Road... looking out on Bayview, Clairemont and a little arm of Mission Bay.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Was he sick or just bone weary...
leaning against the tree by the road?

Perhaps he has a comfortable home
where he could have been resting
but chose to be out in the sun
dozing the way I remember my Grandpa
in a comfortable chair by the fire
late on Sunday afternoons not sleeping
but closing the curtain on the world
ignoring the complications of family.

If he is without a place to sleep,
all of us who rest safe and secure
surrounded by people who love us
must want for him what we have.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

For Taylor Warren, Whom I Don’t Know

I have not known suffering myself,
but have seen and heard it in others
and believe it sometimes goes beyond all reason
even in a universe that apparently
created itself in catastrophe.
It’s one thing to fight and be sorely wounded
in a battle with some enemy
that comes from the deep woods
or the country next door
or even from the far reaches of space;
but when the enemy,
the cutting, slashing, puss inducing,
node infecting enemy
wages war deep inside the body
where it can’t be seen for sure
but can only be inferred
from pain and loss,
it’s too much.
It’s unfair, unreasonable!
There ought to be another way
for Nature or God or Whatever
to put us in our place.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Out on our hillside this afternoon when the sun was sinking low over the Pacific the light was just right for grass and agapanthus and one lone iris to celebrate spring, I remembered E.E. Cummings' poem In Just.

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles  far  and  wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's

when the world is puddle-wonderful

the queer
old balloonman whistles
far  and  wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing

from hop-scotch and jump-rope and



balloonMan whistles