Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Language Barrier birthday party #2

Life goes on, in spite of terrible disasters, in spite of friends and family writing me off ... when it seems better, when it seems worse ... no matter what, time and life dance on ... and today, for me, is a good day. It's the two year anniversary of the Language Barrier, my asylum outpost border crossing. It's lonely out here as usual but at least one old friend dropped by to celebrate with me today and that's one more than I expected. And outside my window, the crows in the bird park are enjoying a feast of big, black grapes and tasty peanuts. Plus, I submitted more poetry today, this time to Poetry Motel in Kailua-Kona. I love the name and had to send something to them. I've been mailing out submissions for a while now and am eagerly awaiting at least a damn rejection letter but so far no replies. Okay, off to the post office then a bike ride to the river.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Spirit Barrier

Spirit Barrier

I remember it all
the human flood
the empty chair
the calf crying
before a growling wind
lost histories leaking
through the spirit barrier
a delta of pain
draining into
a bayou of suffering.

I awake beneath
the magpie'’s beak
see it reach
for my eye
see the world
turn red and black
and white and fade.
This is not death
these quills
brushing against my breast.
I am smudged and washed
and swaddled
in the stiffening sheen
of my own blood
and readied for flight.


I wrote this poem last spring. At the time I was disturbed by the some of its images but left them in because the poem insisted on it. The drawing is an excerpt from something I also did about the same time. The imagery in both is violent, but necessarily so, as they describe the time when light must find us because we cannot find it. In the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita it no longer seems exaggerated.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Thermodynamics, winners and losers


As Albert put it, "Thermodynamics is the only physical theory of universal content which, within the framework of the applicability of its basic concepts, I am convinced will never be overthrown." Albert Einstein

In case you're wondering, here's the simple version of the three laws of thermodynamics:
  • You can't win.
  • You can't break even.
  • You can't get out of the game.

I'm still thinking about karma and the laws of thermodynamics. They are both forms of applied science, just expressed by different cultures in different millennium. We may be a bit less subtle these days but we produce a lot of cool stuff. Anyway, my point is neither depends on faith. If I hold my hand in fire, I will get burned. It's a reaction to an action. Yes. There are fire walkers who, well, walk on fire, but I'm making a simple point. The three laws also apply to behavior. Even the Christian bible talks about karma. "As you sow, so shall you reap".

Then there are the so-called religious leaders, like Pat Robertson and all the warlord Ayatollahs, who tell their fanatic followers that all you have to do is "do it for god" and you're spared the reaction. They call it "salvation" and "forgiveness". Great for gamblers, thugs and desperate people.

Terrorists love the idea of salvation. Take Bush & Co. for example. So far they have gotten away with murder, mayhem and fabulous riches so... why stop now? The Muslim extremists are no different. Get them at any cost before they get us. Except Bush doesn't really care about getting them as much as getting their oil. In the meantime, the whole bunch has created the very situation they are fighting against. Together they have spun a collapsing maze and dragged the rest of us into it with them.

But the house always wins, and contrary to popular opinion, is not run by anyone's personal savior. I only hope it plays its trump sooner than later. For that to happen I believe we, the civilians in all this, must speak up. Simple. Just not easy.

"...if your theory is found to be against the Second Law of Thermodynamics I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humiliation." Sir Arthur Eddington

Impeachment ticket source

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Pat Robertson - voice of the Moral "High" Ground

At the end of 2003, after several days of prayer, the Rev. Pat Robertson declared that God had told him President Bush would win re-election in a landslide. That was not God; it was Karl Rove. (But hey! What's the difference?)

He said earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor would strike Orlando, Florida, because Disney World planned to celebrate Gay Pride Month.

He said feminists, gays and abortionists were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

He said that feminism "encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

And, in an appearance on ABC's "This Week" last spring, he said that liberal judges are a more serious threat to the nation than "a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."
-editorial from "The Republican"

These days Pat and his medicated flock are praying for the death of all those terrible liberal Supreme Court judges and calling for the murder of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez. I guess he knows better than hippy Jesus who called for "brotherly love". After all, times have changed. The politics of Mammon are IN, they are what's happening, and the "Eternal" Doctrine has just got to keep pace. Who better than the Right can lead us onward?

But Pat Robertson is more than just a kook extremist. He is a leading spokesman for the Christian right and a member of Bush's most intimate inner circle. These are the people that claim to be on the moral high ground. Bush & Co. excrete a scandal a day. When is it going to catch up with them? Here in the good old US of A, where people are fat, drugged, and plugged-in to TV like robots at a recharging station, it's easy to think never.

But there are laws above and beyond the ones being broken by these thugs. For one, karmic laws, i.e., the law of cause and effect as in every cause has an effect. Remember that one? Bush and his buddies have gotten away with outrageous lies, crimes and failures but the effects must, in some way, come back to haunt them. Cause and effect are inseparable.

Bush said recently that he's merely having a little PR problem lately, referring to his staggering disapproval ratings. He trusts Karl can fix anything but Rove's game of smoke and mirrors will only stretch so far. Plus he's having a little problem with Plamegate at the moment. It might take thirty years. It might take a hundred but the truth will come out. On the other hand, our Prozac Nation might just wake up, smell the bullshit and do something about Bush before the bastard leaves office. Stranger things have happened. How sweet that would be!

photo from Pushin Daisies

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Crow though my window screen,
another point of view.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Pat Robertson


Christian extremists talk through their asses.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Mad Alex and my right arm

Poor Alex! He has gone mad because his owner Big Fat Del (my neighbor) never lets him out of his cage any more. I took care of Alex last week when Big Fat Del the drunk was out of town. Alex strikes as soon as anyone gets near his cage. I could barely get his bowls out to clean and refill them. He did manage to draw blood once when I, sentimental fool, hand feed him some peanuts. I thought he would instinctively understand that I am his friend. He understands all right. For all the mushy love ya's, Alex knows which side of the bars I'm on, Big Fat Del's and no smiles or peanuts change that.

These days, besides being in a boiling rage, Alex is now also bulimic. He eats then makes himself vomit. I keep telling Big Fat Drunk Del's wife that Alex should go to a sanctuary. She nods and says pathetic things like, "Well, Del used to let Alex out". I say send Alex to a sanctuary and put Big Fat Del in the cage with no booze. Fair is fair.

Oh well. The world will have to take care of itself for a few days. I'm off to Reno to talk to the doctor who will be doing the surgery on my neck and elbow this Thursday. He is going to remove the bone spurs on the worst of the 3 ruptured disks in my neck and re-route the nerve in my elbow as the pressure on it is beginning to cause some permanent damage. I am, after all, rather fond of my right arm.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ann Coulter, like any butcher, will someday hunger for kindness.

Reality gap messes with Texas


Shooter Larry Mattlage's truck

Larry Mattlage doesn't want Cindy Sheehan and her supporters protesting the war on Iraq in his neighborhood so he menaced them with his shotgun. When a reported asked him why he did it he said, "figure it out for yourself". He told police that he was "just gettin' ready fer dove season, officer".

Then Larry Northern attached a steel bar to the back of his pickup truck and plowed over the flags and roadside crosses, crushing the names of American soldiers killed in Iraq into the dirt. What do you want to bet he's one of those guys who rattles off "ga bless 'merica"at the drop of a cowboy hat?

I doubt many of these glib "patriots" have kids in Iraq. Bush certainly doesn't but he has no problem recommending other parents encourage their children to join the military. He should insist that his drunken daughters to do a stint in Iraq. They could use a taste of reality.

Too bad Dubya doesn't have time to meet with Cindy but he says he needs to ride his bike. After all, he is on vacation, again. Even Lance Armstrong dropped by the estate. And besides... you know how Bush is. He can't take much reality.

Mission accomplished?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pool Party

I held a pool party at the bird park the other day. Everyone had a great time...

and keep coming back for more!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Another revolting development

Village Voice

"Last week, however, Comey announced he was leaving the Justice Department to become the general counsel of the defense contractor Lockheed Martin. In his absence, Associate Attorney General Robert McCallum is the most likely choice to be named as the acting deputy attorney general, and thus the man overseeing special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's work. But McCallum has been a close personal friend of President Bush. Justice Department officials are once more grappling as to how to best assure independence for investigators. And Democrats on Capitol Hill are unlikely not to question any role in the leak probe by McCallum."

If you're at all conscious, you have at least heard of Plamegate. You get extra credit for knowing that Fitzgerald is the prosecutor in the case. He's investigating the administration's outing of CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame. Now with McCallum's appointment, Rove has direct control over the prosecutor investigating him. Too bad for truth and justice. No surprise though. These days it's either "truth and justice" or the "American way". Can't have both. With the radical right, they are mutually exclusive. McCallum will do whatever Karl tells him to do, which is exonerate him and the rest of the administration's treasonist nazi bastards. Revolting.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Road's end

At first I rode aimlessly around town, then at last came upon the intriguing and lovely Gasoline Alley. Naturally I took it, enjoying its 10 foot hollyhocks and weathered shacks. It was a wonderful distraction but unfortunately, very short. However, in another few blocks and I found myself near the cemetery, a place I'd been meaning to visit ever since we moved here four years ago. I generally feel peaceful in graveyards. It's one of the few places outside the fray. So in I went.

I recognized some of the names. Stodick has a park named after them, the Ruthenstroths a particular part of the valley but I was drawn to a lonely looking white picketed grave in the back corner. It turned out to be the resting place of a boy who died when he was fifty days old. I'm guessing that his parents have since left the valley because the paint was curled, pealing and half gone. I sat nearby and watched the clouds turn from dark gray to pale lavender and finally got centered. After a while I took out my notebook and finished a poem I've been working on for months called "Presence of Mind". It's part of a longer piece that's really perplexing me so making progress was a huge relief.

By this time, the Pine Nut mountains in the east were ghost white beneath a purple sky. Before I left, I strolled around a bit and read some of the tombstones. The saddest was a tiny little grave from the beginning of last century. It was piled with rocks the size of small fruits and measured from the tips of my fingers to the curve of my elbow. It had a cheap aluminum marker the size of a postcard; a pauper's grave. The individual letters were slotted in rather than engraved. The first two, U and n, had fallen out. I looked among the rocks but couldn't find them. The marker simply said "_ _ known Baby Boy".

This evening the clouds were an astounding shade of tangerine. Even the dirt reflected their glow.

Dog days

I'm frazzled from going in circles all day so I'm off for an evening bike ride. Maybe it will help.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Got gas? Got a hundy?

I took this photo in LA a couple of weeks ago. I posted it then as part of an article about the La Brea Tar Pits but I think it's worthy of it's own space. Put it in the Future Nostalgia category.

This particular station was not in the Brentwood area or the Beverly Hills district. It was in a regular neighborhood, as in "previews of coming distractions". Break em in gently, I suppose. While everyone's still discussing the rumor it's already a fact. We'll be happy to buy gas for three dollars a gallon when we see it's on its way to four.

This photo is actually part of the memorabilia of the Bush administration. It's a nostalgic look at cheaper gas, when the nasty elixir was still under $5 a gallon. Don't think that can happen? I just filled up my "fuel efficient" car yesterday and it cost me nearly $30. It used to cost me $10. Before Bush & Co. took over. I can't imagine what people are paying to fill up their ridiculous SUVs. Four, five hundy a month?

I hear Toyota can't keep up with the demand for Prius, their hybrid gas/electric car. We saw several of them when we were in LA. I hear they are particularity desirable because they are hackable. With a few tweaks they can be turned into a fully electric vehicle. Sweet.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Australia's secret shame

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have called a 45-day moratorium on the campaign against mulesing mutilations and live-sheep exports to allow the Australian Wool Growers Association time to reach an agreement with its members. According to AWGA chair Chick Olsson, talks with PETA have established "workable criteria, that will ultimately benefit all, woolgrowers, retailers and consumers as well as animal welfare concerns."

I certainly hope so. Mulesing is the process of cutting flesh from the bodies of unmedicated sheep. It defines barbarism but not if you go by Woolisbest sanitized version of the process. Like most propaganda, their argument is based on fact, but like all propaganda, it squints at reality, obscures the argument and omits crucial facts. PETA offers a far more realistic view of mulesing.

What the industry film omits is the fact that they don't anesthetize the animal first. The sheep and lambs are aware, terrified and in a lot of unnecessary pain. They call their technique "surgical". Big whoop. Nazi "doctors"called their death camp experiments "surgical". They splice in the beatific faces of peaceful lambs hoping we will assume this is how lambs look as they are being hacked.

The agreement also raises the standard of care given sheep while shipping them to the slaughterhouse. Ironic, isn't it? As it stands, after the sheep are no longer profitable to the wool merchants, they are crammed aboard multitiered, open deck, disease ridden ships, with little or no access to food or water and must endure a weeks- or months-long journey through all weather extremes to their awaiting deaths. Along the way, sick and injured sheep are routinely ground up in a mincer while fully aware.

Unfortunately the AWGA does not represent the majority of woolgrowers in Australia who are still opposed to giving up mulesing or medicating the sheep during the process. They'd rather cling to their oh-so-conveniently ignorant past. Old ways die hard. Ask the sheep.

Nugget's hot August night

I can only take so much of even my own ire, the yelling camp to camp, idea clashing against bloody idea, the frenzy of who is right, who is wrong. Like they say, what counts is who is left. Here I have to take the long view. "It" won't go like any of us say, think or feel, right or wrong. Of that I am sure. That's how life is and for me that's a relief.

When I get sick of it all, as I do on a very regular basis, I think about our sun burning out, imploding on itself and becoming ... a dark star? a black hole? an event horizon? ... and I visualize the atoms of our bodies, worlds and "possessions"..... being drawn back into Maha Vishnu's body, perhaps not forever because the idea of forever is a material calculation, but for longer than any of us fussing around in this shit storm can ever have any hope of even beginning to comprehend or respect. It helps me get my perspective back.'s a lovely, peaceful hot August night here in Nevada, and I'm taking a break from it all with my friends Nugget and Delicata. You can join us if you like for Nugget's midnight adventure.

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Bush, vacation king


President Bush is sometimes referred to as King George. And why not? He and his neocon buddies like to think of America as an empire rather than a democracy. Also, Boy George is the vacation king. Since he took office, he has spent nearly a year of that time vacationing just at his estate in Texas. That doesn't take into account the time he spends vacationing elsewhere. His current month plus at the ranch is his 49th vacation . And he was there just prior to the terrorist attack on 9-11. Yes, Mr. Home boy had information that an attack on the US was being planned but he went on vacation anyway.

I just read that George also takes two hour lunch breaks every day and doesn't "do" nights or weekends. Naturally the Republicans do their best to cast a mushy, golden glow over the whole thing. His press secretary Scott McClellan told reporters Bush's latest vacation is "a time, really, for him to shed the coat and tie and meet with folks out in the heartland and hear what's on their minds." Really.

Then why won't Vacation King listen to what's on Cindy Sheehan's mind? Is it possibly because she'd like to see his ass impeached? She's the mother of the National Guardsman recently slain in Iraq. She went to Texas to confront Bush. I guess Cindy hasn't heard that nobody confronts Bush. Nobody!

If his so-called "meetings with the folks" were ever anything more than photo ops with very carefully screened audiences, a meeting with Cindy should be the one. But no. Instead, federal and local law enforcement officials halted her advance toward Bush's 1,600-acre estate.

Bush could hold a town hall meeting. Really. He could shed his coat, radio prompter, and bullet proof vest, roll up his sleeves for real and put his hand out to people, people other than in a hand-picked crowd. But he'll never face people who are angy, hurt or frustrated by the bogus war he started, his support for traitor Karl Rove or any of the other impeachable offenses he's committed. Instead, our self-declared "War President" poses for manly photos of himself chopping wood and driving his truck, pretending to be the all American guy he never was and never will be. We need real leaders, not playboy wannabes, greedy spineless senators, lackey judges or media whores like Robert Novak who are only too happy to support treason for the promise of a buck.

A Newsweek poll released Saturday shows that only 34% of Americans still approve of Bush's handling of the war. These are undoubtedly the idiots that only their news from Fox & company. Folks in the heartland are sick of your bullshit, Mr. Bush, and guess what? The whole country is the heartland, not just your medicated, pie-eyed followers. Since you left for your 5 week vacation, 34 more Americans have died in your war and 27 more have been injured. What are you going to do about that?

Saturday, August 6, 2005

Bush - missing in action

President Bush left Tuesday for his ranch in Crawford, Texas. It's his 49th vacation there since he took over the j_o_b. This time he'll be gone 5 weeks, the longest presidential retreat in 36 years! Retreat is right. Forget about the war, our dead, the world. Since "Mission Accomplished", George Bush is in full retreat from his personal, number one shit tsunami, Treasongate.

Just how much has this clown been "on vacation" during his presidency? First off, it's estimated he's at his ranch 20% of the time. Then there are his frequent visits to other plush hidey-holes like Camp David and his parents' compound in Maine. And for that round the clock protection, he takes mind-numbing drugs to help him keep his cool. All in all, Dubya is out of his office (and mind) what... 25, 45, 75 percent of the time?

But you can bet Treasongate has got Bushy Boy's attention. He absolutely cannot afford to lose Karl Rove. "Turd Blossom", as Bush affectionally calls this criminal master mind, is his "brain". So what does Dubya do? Like always. Duck out and leave matters to Turd Blossom, the dirtiest player to ever run country. Seems nearly everyone in Washington is under Karl's thumb so it's a crap shoot how all this will play out. However, one thing is certain. None of these thugs will look good with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.

Republican Jesus

If you've got nothing better to do, take a coffee break with Republican Jesus.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Submit and then submit again

It's not that I haven't published before. It's just that it's been a long time. Why I stopped is a bit complicated and not a subject I feel like going into at midnight. I have been published. I have been a publisher. I stopped. Now I've started again. For that Bill Cowee, impresario of Ash Canyon Poets, gets a lot of credit. He's very encouraging. So today my yield was one poem and I'm still running on it. Then tomorrow and tomorrow I can do it all over again.

So far my labors have returned a submissions guidelines from Five Fingers Review, a magazine published in San Leandro, CA. They only accept submissions from June 1 to August 30th and require that you send a SASE if you want to know the issue's theme. I'll save you the trouble of writing. This time it's Intersecting Word and Image. Sounds interesting enough. Look em up online if you want to know more. Besides poetry, each issue contains fiction, essays, interviews, translations, and visual art. They're next.

Thursday, August 4, 2005

Off to the post office

Okay, I got one poem off today. For me, that's very good. My tracking system is still evolving and will be for a long time, I'm afraid. I'm experimenting with a couple different approaches. Excel for one and an online database called Writer's Database, which seems really fussy but I'll give it a little time. I'm certainly open to suggestions, if anyone has any. Who knows? I may end up using a little black book.