Lines Past Death

I sat with my Uncle all day the day he died. That was Saturday, February 1, 1992. These poems greeted me when I brought his ashes home to Southern Oregon a few days later. He had mailed them to me from Portland the day before he died, Friday, January 31. In the accompanying letter he  wrote, “All I need is a chance at a new peace”. He died the next evening with me sitting by his side, our faces touching, breathing together. I’ve taken the liberty of calling this collection, “LINES PAST DEATH”.


The two were dressed in black, in what seemed like rented clothes.  They went to the man in the next stall, be still, is all I could do.  The man had died.  They took him away on a palette covered with a royal maroon cover and deposited him in a long station wagon.  So he passed his time, in a setting of principles.  No more to be seen.  Only the rented costume comes to mind as I write.  THAT was a fancy way to leave his guest.  Like a disappearance. 


evergreen and birch trees and a small bed of roses…low evergreen shrubs and a lawn on either side of an entrance walk.  Crows scan the higher branches and frighten other birds.  The distance cold alerts one and the winter sun tries to subdue the body’s alarm.  Still, it is day, and we have the whole affect of nature to subdues us    and bring peace.


A stalwart, winter day,
seen through the vibran
escapade of voices,
leaves me to wonder at the meaning left behind.
enlivening the shadow of this,
puts the mind at ease.
Where the January sun causes
steam to rise from the grass,
enfeebling cold fingers more.
To move is a mundane project
of prospects made whole
by the failing man seeking
to encase the situation
into something respective to itself.
Cold out, he said and felt in his pocket for the next phrase.
Only metal sounds and the body thrusts viably to taste the cold air
circulating on its tattered edge.


sit well – and sleep well,
‘til all these things stand still.
The existentialist needs somewhere to go.
incidental to the truth.  how depressing =
stay. and see if you like yourself.
cold are the winds of January.
grey, dull forces of winter, cleansing of the topical mind;
male and female appear to take away the body of summer.
You go – I’ll stay, adrift are crows, caw-ing in the twilight.


After some few weeks of silence, I long to show the contour of such meanings as could survive a hallway of elders and a nursing home; lunch.  The fittest apothegm means to be oneself elsewhere, and neglect to conclude what this does.

Leave the tray a while.

Why eat all the time

~John Chance, 1992

Note: The word "vibran" is Haitian creole for "stirring".


:))) Project Swami. :)))

Me & Swami in Beijing

Since he was stolen by a pickpocket disappeared at Angkor Wat, I am searching the world for just the right person, someone who can make another Swami. I hear there are people who are very adept at reconstructing legacy dolls etc. so I have compiled photos of him and have his dimensions for just that purpose. If you happen to know, or hear of such a person, I would be extremely grateful. Thank you in advance.


Here and gone

Lots of action in the Bird Park these days but now we have to leave again, though this time only for a week. I put out a bunch of apples for the interim. This batch wasn't very good but somebody will eat them.

Since we've been back, I've spent a good deal of my time fiddling around with matting photos. Cutting a mat is a simple formula but, as I'm just getting started, the entire process has turned out to be very time consuming. I've had to assemble the tools, deal with enlargements and touch-up, find suitable frames. I bought a pair of interesting 12 x 14 frames at a second hand store but, being new to all this, I didn't realize what a pain in the ass they'd turn out to be because that is a non-standard size. Anyway, it's a work in progress and now, once again, I've gotta go.

Cambodia - monk making his morning rounds
Monk on morning alms walk

But before I do, just to brighten up the page, I've included a photo from our time at Angkor Wat, well actually from the town of Siem Reap. That's where everyone stays when visiting Angkor Wat. The monks make their daily rounds. They stand in front of a shop for a few minutes and generally the shopkeeper comes out and gives them alms. It's a sweet deal both ways, a practice in humility for the monk and an opportunity to make a little good karma for the shopkeeper.


Squirrel Appreciation Day Eve

Hey! Buddy!

Tomorrow is Squirrel Appreciation Day! When you're at the grocery store tonight, pick up some special goodies will ya? Peanut butter sandwiches are great but, you know, so everyday. Come on. Sky's the limit. Go for it. Feed me.


Then and Now

The photo is from an album my mother wanted with her on her death bed. She is the girl sitting on the dock. I wrote this poem for her. Today is the 35th anniversary of her death.


Note on arriving home

Just wanted to note that we got home last night from what was essentially a nine month trip, save for the couple of weeks in the fall when we stopped by to repack for Asia. Naturally, the first thing I did was fill the bird feeders, scatter some seed for the quail and leave a few peanuts on the table for the Seven O'clock Magpie, figuring it would take a couple of days for her to realize that I was home. She showed up this morning. That's my girl. Didn't miss a beat.


Saturday parade

It's Saturday. Time to crank this thing forward. It is the new year after all. Here's a photo from a recent Saturday in Thailand. This wasn't purely a Buddhist parade, but the students were in it along with marching bands and whatever. This is one on the many photos I've posted to flickr groups lately. It's fun growing the stats.


Recipe for a Winter's Day

I repost this Marvel Meal recipe every winter but it's good all year round. It's cheap, easy and fun to make and birds love it. Give it a try.

Marvel Meal - homemade bird suet

1 cup peanut butter (crunchy or plain  BUT NOT SALTED*)
1 cup vegetable shortening
4 cups cornmeal (yellow is higher in vitamin A)
1 cup white flour (nor self-rising)

sunflower seeds, chopped peanuts and other nuts, chicken scratch, apple bits, dried fruits, sugar, bird seed etc.

  • Mix peanut butter and shortening. (It helps to melt them first in microwave.)
  • Combine cornmeal, flour and any optional ingredients and stir into peanut  butter/shortening mix.
  • Form into shapes that fit your feeders
  • Store remainder in refrigerator or freezer
  • Feed the birds

After a long hiatus, I've been spending a lot of time on flickr lately. I have so many photos and have rediscovered flickr groups. Panoramio is just not that interesting anymore. It's fun posting photos to Google Earth, but that's about it.

We left Portland this morning and are slowly working our way south. It was great seeing everyone. The grand kids are heartbreaking sweet and growing up way too fast so we have visit again soon. We're in southern Oregon for the next few days and planning to drive back to Nevada on Sunday.

M. Lee's mom has been doing some serious estate planning since we saw her at Christmas. She hit us with it all as soon as we arrived this evening. She's in good health and spirits but decided it's time to get her affairs in order. I still haven't done that. This year. I've got to do it. It's a must.


2014, day two

We're in Oregon now, with the family. It's great to be home. As usual, I'm on the run. Here's a great article titled, How to Beat Procrastination. I've read half of part 2 and finishing it is definitely somewhere near the very top of the 2014 To Do List.

source: Tim Urban

Happy New Year.