July 23rd, 2007

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Good Morning!

There is flooding in Britain.  I think of my book group walking there two years ago and I'm glad we are not trudging through mud this year, but instead are here, reveling in sun.

I spoke with Jane this morning and her poems are wonderful from Squaw.  It is said by some the lack of oxygen sparks and tickles the brain.  Who knows, but I decided to head up there for a few days, so that will be fun.  I'll leave on Wednesday, and see what my brain says to that.

This day so far is one of piddly stuff, and I am open to what now comes.

Happy Monday to All!
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Jane's Poems from Squaw!!

Anticipation waits
like cherry pie cooling on a summer table before it meets the knife
like the heat-struck train waits for the rails the cool.
It was good to take the Zephyr, forestall commitment
while still enjoying forward movement.
One could stay suspended between loss and longing
for an entire continent.
The world shows its backside to a train —
the sugar factory and the fishing club whose burned-out piers
have turned to service as stunted forests for the likes of crows
a pug-nosed tug that slack-tows a homely barge
of junkers heading out to pasture
a ruddy stallion who necks a dappled filly
across the fence that separates them
the locomotive works on Front Street in Sacramento
once proud father of this railroad
a decrepit stockyard vacant but for a single splintery pen
where a dozen cows stand looking like they’re waiting for a train
the empty ice plant in the J.R. Davis yard
the McClellan Park nuclear reactor
At every stop, my own rough, unfinished, unsaid, unheard, unborn, forgotten
get on the train and take the seat beside me.
When will we get there?
Pretty soon.
When will we get there?
Pretty soon.
When will we get there?
When you close eyes and go to sleep and then wake up again.
Whenever it’s suspended the body knows both fall and flying.
Now the train achieves the far side of the bridge.
Land comes to meet my eye.
After a long exhale of brakes
I gather them, all my familiars,
step out into my hunger and desire
where loss and longing join.




When the bureau sent him to Kabul in 2000 without a contact, asked him
to pack a suitcase with ten grand
taken from his own account and told him
he’d need to find a place to live til his replacement came
in eight weeks, maybe ten, or twelve
that’s when the doubts began, like maybe it was time to think about a change.
He’s in the States now and the paper’s sold to Murdoch anyway
and he’s been camping on Craig’s list and living on the kindness of his contacts.
But sometimes the urge just overtakes him, like yesterday.
He’s hops into the beater he’s downsized to, drives to Modesto –
“Worst City in California,” the news bite said –
looking for a story
because in the end it’s what he does.
He finds a funeral parlor with the lights on and the hearse out front
polished up and ready
and Lord knows we all could use a few new friends when it’s our turn.
So he takes a back seat for the service next to a man his age
whose shirt says Department of Corrections and asks,
“So what’s the scoop?’
“Friend of my son, “ the man says. “He’s twenty three. Back from
The latest of 26
Modesto’s given, most of them Latino.
Me I’ve got my son on the path. He’s going into prison work like me.
They won’t touch him there.”
Driving back to his house through the valley heat
wondering who would print it? who would read it?
second year without a job, he’s thinking
real estate.
Couldn’t be that bad.



 - Jane Flint

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My Morning Poem!

Mount Tam


The Mountain does not perturb.

She has quiet days and days where all hours

bring cars and people, noise and talk,

and there she stands, open-armed,

like an octopus

with three hearts.


The mountain has a view and is a view,

stands tall and swoops out

like a maiden in a skirt,

though many see her sleeping, undisturbed.

She offers rest and nests and strokes all being

with her curves.


She requests an audience for her words.


“I am firm with root, wise, with years.

  The Miwok revered me, honored my sacred top

                   by only looking up.

          You build a look-out for the fire you fear,

          move like fleas with ample ease,

          an ease you do not seem to carry within.

          Learn from me.   I teach a slow and easy spin,

          following the earth as it turns.”


I walk up and down her slopes, in and out of ravines,

intend to bring as much peace as any human can,

while the mountain reaches, holds bent knees

and folded hands. 


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My Question for This Day!

 Mount Tam



How now to find the peace of the mountain inside

to line all slopes with her pause

leaning down to sea and bay?


Do I draw the outside,

the Sleeping Maiden, first,

or reach within to feel the core

and move out from there?


Do I tap mountain peace in place

like tobacco in a pipe?


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"But there is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it's better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you're fighting for."

- Paulo Coelho

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A bright moon -

It is a warm night with a bright, shiny moon.  I first typed "bright, shiny mood," which is also appropriate for me tonight.  I am feeling delight.

Ellen reminds me of this poem by Naomi Shahib Nye, Kindness.   It seems Garrison Keillor chose it to read today.  It is one that might change the world.


Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,…

                      - Naomi Shahib Nye