Thursday, June 30, 2011

I went out wandering today, walking across a dry hillside where a few common cactus clusters are gracing an otherwise ordinary place with uncommon flowers.

The Gustav Stickley dining room at the San Diego Museum of Art

Very strange day... The electricity was off in our area for most of the day... no TV... amazing world with no electricity, no Internet, no phone service, no TV. Beautiful world, actually! ...even if I am a day late posting the daily photographs.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Would you believe that beautiful, peaceful Point Loma near where I took these pictures is where some of our nation's war machines are kept... As the kids say, "Go figure."

                                         War happens for no purpose.
                                         other than to make life hard
                                                   or impossible
                                                   for somebody.

                                           Nobody says about war
                        except maybe those who make war machines,
                                “Oh, what a wonderful thing it is.”

                                  What strange creatures they are
                                               who insist on it

Monday, June 27, 2011

I am trying
as hard as I can
to imagine that first nanosecond
when the universe began
with a bang

but I can’t
picture it at all

so I give up and turn to the roses
bursting out of
except sticks and thorns and dew

and oh how delightful
shiny green leaves

Sunday, June 26, 2011


                Taking into account all of the unfathomable universe
                             beyond the farthest imaginable star,
                               worlds defying comprehension,
                                      there is only one of him.
                                             He is unique,
                              an aggregate of uncommon parts,
                                 molecules and dancing atoms,
                                             one of a kind.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I found these magnolia blossoms close enough to the ground for close-up photographs. I was reminded of something I read a couple of days ago. Have you ever heard of “the magnolia myth”? The myth is based on an outrageous idea that slaves were happy, well-fed, and better off than their descendants are in twenty-first century America. Most of us southerners know better.

These beautiful flowers deserve better than to be the symbols of a great lie that the South before the Civil War was a place mainly of columned plantation houses with white women happily perched on pedestals being served gladly by carefree field hands and devoted house slaves.

Friday, June 24, 2011

In Praise of Bricks

Though I may be impressed
     by cassocks and golden chalices
     ornamenting deep-throated
     luminaries of the church
     and robes and powdered wigs
     of legal lions in the court,

Bricks are another thing:
     the common elements
     of villages and roads
     in river towns and palaces
     that hold up walls
     and pave the places
     where we have to walk.

I shall sing first my praise always
     for the ordinary people
     who prepare the coffee
     and mend my shirts
     and tell me every morning
     who I am.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yogurt, Yoga, Zen, and Artichoke's gone to seed have nothing that I can think of to do with each other, but sometimes that's just the way it is. I did the writing in a flight of fancy and later I couldn't resist the artichokes on Ed's hillside.

Making Yogurt

I was going to say
I guess because of the sound of it
that making yogurt is a yoga thing
but the more I consider it
I’m thinking it’s more zen
than yoga but either one
will do and actually one
is the appropriate noun or
should I say pronoun
something I should know
and probably did one time
when I taught English
to put bread on the table
and what a living it was
nothing to regret there
but back to one before
getting back to yogurt
I can say with confidence
that one is both noun
and pronoun now that
I think about it which
definitely isn’t necessary
to get across what I mean
by yogurt making being zen
and the importance of one
and I’m going to stop myself
right there before I get going
on and on and on and on
do you notice in passing as I did
that on is just one letter short
of one which gets me thinking
that one and one and one
aren’t one at all so there
you have it the way a mind works
when it’s in the middle of watching
the thermometer to make sure
the milk doesn’t actually boil
and then watching again to see
when it cools down to 110 degrees
so you can put the starter in
and by the way I’m not anymore
embarrassed to end a line with in
now don’t get me started about
why it is that an English teacher
retired still notices that with
and in can be two words or
one which is where we were
back up a bunch of lines ago
If you have any questions
about making yogurt just call me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Squatting out there in front of us waiting smug and silent
Fate has a thing or two to do to you and me before we’re finished...
Waiting to rub our noses in it and tell us that we were forewarned
not to rely too much on promises made in better times.

How do we learn to stop short of full commitment,
or at least to hesitate and look around
before turning up our faces like happy puppies
shamelessly expecting to be gratified
because we had assumed our existence
means to others as much as it does to us.

In spite of everything there is hope for us.
In relationship we find out who we are
and what it means that we were born.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Black isn’t a color, she said, and I didn’t want to argue;
but I could have said colors are emotional elements,
not the only ones, mind you, but emotional for sure;
and black for certain is a highly emotional element...
ask anyone who has been in mourning for awhile.

And black isn’t just about sadness and emotional loss.
I like the deep black that’s the color of damp midnight
in a cypress swamp though I’ve only been there once
and even then it was only in a very special dream...
but dreams and wild imaginings definitely are real
because if they’re not real what have you got left...
so trade the memories of stuff that happened once,
things you didn’t want to happen and trade them
at very little cost if any at all for wild wet warm dreams.

Now you take yellow, any yellow, dark, or bright light
and you’ve got emotion exploding all over the place,
so nobody is going to argue about whether it’s a color...
and red, has anybody every doubted the power of red?
And when you mix them together side by side and cheek
by jowl or if you wish cheek by cheek you’ve got stuff
of dreams and memories that spring right back up at you
if you see them together as you cross the street.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Garcinia mangostanais fruit is known in Southeast Asia as mangosteen. It grows on a tropical evergreen tree that probably developed first in the Moluccas of indonesia. Everybody who tries it likes mangosteen, unlike the durian, that other Southeast Asian fruit which people either like very much and crave when they can’t get it or dislike so much that they turn away especially from the smell.