Thursday, December 31, 2009

Blue Moon New Year

The photo is from Beaver Dam Wash. We don't go there anymore. The one road in washed out. Only the moon goes there now.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mexico revisited

I needed a graphic today

Street vendor

and ended up going through my photos for hours.
After that, I felt pretty useless.

Three of Cups

Three of Cups, reversed.

Street shrine

Maybe I'd feel better about myself

Escritorio publico

if I were an Escritorio Publico

M. Lee & Don Plata

but my customers would have to speak English.

Street dog, shadow, blue

Mexico is a beautiful but sad country.

Pink wall

On this particular trip, M. Lee drove 10,000 hard miles

Inexplicably mannequins

and I took 10,000, mostly blurry, photos.

From the cafe window

The rest of this batch is at flickr.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Ladies and Gentlemen, and children of all ages.....

Meet Robohamster from ekai on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Here on earth

The gulp of magpies just left after a quick breakfast of peanuts and cookie crumbs. We picked out the chocolate. Bad for birds. They came late this morning, after the longest night. The regulars will return throughout the day. The rest go I don't know where, wherever magpies go on their winter foraging route. The way they shoot up from the east at day break like a fighter squadron, I like to think the Bird Park is their first stop.

Writing is a tough job. For me. Seems words prefer a different part of my brain than that part I use when writing them down. Writing makes me self-conscious. Critical. I have given it up ten million times ten million times. Still the words want out so I write again and the process repeats itself. At this moment, I loathe myself for being so analytical. Welcome to my morning.

It is a lack of faith. Not religious faith. Screw that crap. No need to explain further. After all, this is, for the most part, a time lapse conversation with myself and I already know what I mean.

I wrote one poem while in Costa Rica and plan to submit it to The Midwest Quarterly. Their listing in Poet's Market states they are looking for poems that use "intense, vivid, concrete, and/or surrealistic images to explore the mysterious and surprising interactions fo the natural and inner human worlds." We shall see.

I hope your morning/day/night is going well. The winter solstice is among my favorite times of year. End and beginning. Darkest night. It is not just a moment but a season. It's message this year? Lighten up.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Maybe the Moment with voice

I have been a fan of Ken Nordine, master of Word Jazz, since high school. Anyway, at 89 he is still doing wonderful things like this video which he posted on youtube last spring. It is not only funny, strange, poetic and lateral as always, it is actually poetry, and not because it is rhymed. It is poetry because, well, it is a poem, a rare bird these days.

Maybe the Moment with voice

And speaking of birds, hawks and eagles are beginning to arrive in the Carson Valley which is a wintering ground and nursery. One pretty little hawk has taken to hanging out at the Bird Park but he's a real party pooper. Everybody takes off the minute he arrives. The neighborhood cats also hunt here, fat bastards. The magpie alerts me when they show up, lots of squawking, but they don't have much to say about the hawk. So it goes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Magpie Snow Day Breakfast

Dawn and competition is high for toast and peanuts at the Bird Park this morning. There are not as many birds as it seems. They stock pile food around the yard to eat later. Good luck finding it in the snow, fellas. No wonder "gulp" is one of the names for a group of magpies.

Other than this, I've been going in circles for days. Terrible feeling. Must_clean_office_must_dig_my_way_out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Issa and Thoreau on compassion

No human being, past the thoughtless age
of boyhood, will wantonly murder any
creature, which holds its life by the
same tenure he does. The hare in its
extremity cries like a child.
...............................- Henry David Thoreau

All the while
I pray to Buddha
I keep on killing
...................- Issa
The squirrel that you kill in jest, dies in earnest..- Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Local news at 9:14

Pothole in Costa Rica

I posted a couple of poems at annasadhorse, if you're interested in that kind of thing. Otherwise, just move along. Watch out for the potholes.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Local news at 10:42

We're home. When we left for Costa Rica, I was unimpressed by the Paul Tzanetopoulos pylon light display, and the US in general, dirty politics, the Christian Talivangicals, Wall Street, our gross consumption, all the bullshit but returning I glimpsed how, to the world, we still hold out hope. In spite of it all, the US is still a very cool place. I even liked Tzanetopoulos' lights.

Anyway, we are leaving for Oregon this morning to spend the holiday with family. The details of our trip are quickly fading but I do want to write a bit about the crazy BnB we stayed at but for all the ups and downs, when we left, everyone came out to wave good-bye, along with two of the very sweet street dogs I'd been feeding. It was very nearly tearful.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Giant moth.
Costa Rica

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Morning conversation

Now or never, squawk the parrots flying over the house. I yell back, then never!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thinking into midnight

Eye over Costa Rica

What happens when things change, when a part of you, or your life, breaks off, slips away? I don't mean the big things that rearrange the world into Before and After. I mean the little things that quietly remind us of where we are, where we have been, that make us unique to one another. Time changes or deepens those things in it's course but what happens if you do it to yourself, out of sequence, and you need to talk about it with someone and you realize that, other than family, and thank the gods for them, you have spent a lifetime parsing out bits of yourself, that you never told anyone the whole story, that you haven't allowed friendships to flourish, that you have lots of acquaintances but, when you need someone to talk to, there is no one you are willing to call because you'd have to catch them up first, or you'd have to leave parts out, or you just don't call because, well, really it isn't that bad yet, is it? What do you do? Wait it out? This too shall pass? What the hell is the matter with me?

I have friends who would get mad, or worse, hurt if they read this. What could I say to them? Oh, I didn't mean you, or feelings aren't facts, or I just needed to vent? I should have called you. That's all true so what is true? I'm not alone. I have a wonderful family. I know I'm wallowing. I know everything but how to get through this gracefully.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Message in a bottle

View from inside the front door

I really feel trapped at Casa Lunatic today. The woman who runs the place is kind of sweet and tough but falls into these long monologues about herself. We have heard her whole life story, plus the litany of daily woes, but that doesn't stop her from reciting them again, or trying to. This morning I had to hide in our room to get away from it and, while I was up there taking my "nap", everyone went out, taking all the keys with them. That turned this place into a virtual prison.

Most houses around here are like small fortresses or prisons, depending on how you look at things. I say prisons. I derive little comfort from bars. They are surrounded by towering, spiked iron fences, often topped with razor wire, and/or barbed wire, and/or electric wire, and/or a narrow roof discouraging would-be intruders from getting in and me from getting out. When all the doors and padlocks in this house are locked, it takes three or four keys, depending which combination of gates you choose, to reach the street. It's bad enough that I'm already stir crazy. I only recently started talking little walks around the block, but today there was nothing I wanted to do more. At least there's this.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Why do words vanish when I attempt to write them down? All day they flutter around me like butterflies. They are frolicking in the air when I wake up in the morning. They float nearby when I am eating, walking, driving, working, even at the most unlikely times and places images, ideas, and themes present themselves, promising more to come. But they lie. When I finally pick up a pen or sit at the keyboard... poof silencio nada.

I wanted to tell you about the colony of vultures riding the currents over the canyon, crossing, lifting, diving, swooping. But now I don't know where to start, how to frame it, how to make it worth your time. Now that I am sitting here, all I can think to do is blurt out, "Oh hi. I saw vultures flying over the sad river today". I feel like I'm doing kindergarten show-n-tell. I suppose this is why I write poetry. No matter how hard I try to settle on a point of view, images, words, sounds, ideas, events, thoughts spontaneously rearrange and realign themselves, take on different proximities, shift gravity, turn inside out, take on new meaning or lose meaning entirely. Poetry is the best way I know to reconnect whatever dots are left.

So... while I'm at it, I might as well mention the pandemonium of parrots that fly over the house morning and evening. Perhaps I will take a photo of them tonight. So far I haven't bothered because they are smallish and green, not flaming red, yellow, blue, orange parrots and, being the rainy season, and don't look like much against the drab gray sky. But they are very very loud, all squawking at once and constantly. No wonder pandemonium is the word used to describe them as a group.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Evening recap

We have been without internet for the last 24 hours due to a huge storm yesterday. It's the rainy season anyway but this one seemed worse than usual. I think we are getting the edge of the hurricane near Cabo San Lucas. I swear lightning nearly broke the window. Anyway, we lost power for the day and into the evening and the internet was down until this afternoon. Now it's late. My eyes are blurry, I have a headache, and the urgency to explain why I love Costa Rica has, in the meantime, subsided. It is an interesting place though, and I don't mean because you can zip line through the jungle canopy or raft white water. I love that the Harpy Eagle (still) lives here even though I didn't know anything about them until now.

For the last few days, M. Lee has been reading out lout to me about Costa Rica to me from the Moon Handbook. In case you also didn't know, Harpy Eagles are huge. Their wings are some 200 cm (6 ft, 7 in) across. I'd love one to drop by the Bird Park. Unfortunately, in my enthusiasm at breakfast yesterday, I told Maria, the really nice Nicaraguan cook, that the Harpy Eagle's wings are 20 ft across. That's how I remembered it at the time... BIG WINGS. The internet was down and the book was upstairs so I winged it. Today she asked Lee for their name in Spanish. At that point, it occurred to me that probably I should do a little fact checking myself. I just did and damn. Now tomorrow at breakfast, I get tell Maria how I, um, kind of overstated the size of Harpy Eagles that, in fact, they do not grow to rival the size of small airplanes. What a bummer. Now they seem like puny little sparrows.

Anyway, Costa Rica is wild with life of all shapes and sizes. For example, according to Moon, it is home to over 1,400 species of orchids. I did not know that orchids are such beguiling creatures. "One species even drugs its visitors. Bees clamber into its throat and sip a nectar so intoxicating that they become inebriated, loose their footing, and slip into a small bucket. Escape is offered by a spout - the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. As the drunken insect totters up, it has to wriggle beneath an overhanging rod, which showers its back with pollen." I swear that's a direct quote.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Local news 7:02 AM

Just wanted to say ... I have fallen in love with Costa Rica. I will attempt to explain why later but right now I have to find some breakfast. I am famished.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sarchí and beyond

This photo goes under typical tourist shots. DB's husband insisted on taking it. The cart in the background is the world's largest ox cart (Guinness Book of World Records). His wife's cousin owns the factory where it was produced and so, naturally we had to stop by and see the operation. Actually, it was pretty cool.

The Alfaro factory is a pretty amazing place. They do beautiful woodwork, all with a combination of hand tools and machinery powered by a water wheel.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a good photo of the water wheel. It's pretty amazing. It drives the pulleys that run the saws, sanders, drills and lathes that make the carts, trunks and other carved wooden furnishings the artisans produce there.


Notice the elaborate tool cart.


I love the blue house.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Outtakes 10.10.09

We went with Jim, our host here at the boarding house/B&B, to a farm he has in the hills outside of San Jose and here are a few photos from the afternoon.

Truck stop hooker?

School boys

Another in an ongoing series of out-of-focus photographs shot through the window of a moving vehicle. Fuzzy but something about this image really speaks to me.

El gato de la granja
The farm cat.

Bob - farm manager

About eight months ago Bob was walking along the Rio river when he noticed a burlap sack in the water. He noticed it was wiggling so he fished it out and untied it to see what was inside. Turns out it was...

Little Rio