2 naps, one pile of leaves

I’ve been dipping back into depression and in there I find that I most deeply miss writing, miss the creative conversation I have with myself, the one that reminds me – without waiting for anyone else to say something – that I’ve checked out a bit, and gently supports my arm whilst I get a grip.

It’s been too many years since I practiced – I could still blame this on people and jobs and the rigged world, which asks other priorities of me. That’s a dug in lie, that’s a shallow well, that’s a shunning – there are reasons, yes and the world and the jobs and the people of interest are a part of it. But abdication of responsibility for taking care of this part of self – is slacking. plain, simple, serious infarction.

I’ve done so little today / but taken great joy in it:

2 naps, curled with the cat’s chin in the cup of my palm/dozing openended

plumed the crocosmia plant into a pompadour / raked one pile of leaves

halfassedly turned the compost / fed myself twice

felt sadness and for once didn’t investigate it.

Fires across the northern woods, all day the light here is tinged in pink.

The heat didn’t reach through the haze / such corrupt gratitude

to be glad of the respite even as the larger world is burning.




It’s been an angry Spring.

Actually, if I trace it back, this relationship with anger has always been contentious – harmony and grace are much easier friendships to cultivate, more alluring and seemingly worth the attention.

But sometimes anger finds me, and camps out on the front porch waiting to play, again, like when we were kids and a full raging yahoo was not yet unseemly or inappropriate. Put a cape on that kid and the anger swirls worthy  of a superhero’s crusade – it rises, expresses and defends, then morphs into giggles. Simple as that.

These days, anger emails, or texts, in polite missives, it presents persistent sublimation opportunities, using professional language. It never gets to the giggling. Anger is the friend I still want to ditch – I don’t know how to be seen in public with this bright fierceness, blaring embarrassing tendencies, acting out. I judge, and I shut it down.

I’ve developed this whole control thing – which is all well and good for the rest of you, but it means that I’m often fighting with myself, fighting myself, fighting this friend which everybody can see in me anyways, holding it down just beneath the surface as if to drown the fire in a puddle. It feels like no fun.

A friend posted a poem/musing by David Whyte today, saying she’d like to hear it read to her around a campfire, and nominated me to do it. There is a burn ban on since the West is currently going up in smoke, so I spoke the words into a field mic to save them for later.

I needed to read it out loud – I needed to get beyond the “stamping out the brush fire” zone and into the illumination which comes of loving the world and its people, and feeling raw enough grow into that love: All of it – not just the part that is under control.

Nettle Ritual

Listen – how to ask the plants for good medicine.

Oh, this time of year – it gets a bit primeval in the forest where i live – as the blackberries have been stealthily snaking through the underbrush and arcing over the tops of barelimbed branches. Blackberries can take down trees, I’ve seen it. The snow is still visiting in flurries, but the first buds of green are doing their thing, flirting, and the nettles are popping up, kinda saucy-like, from the moss and dank of the forest floor.P1000006

Does the forest text? It calls me. It needs not an extended phone call but a short missive to convince me out, this time of year, even in the unrelenting rain, even in the darkening evening. The forest checks in on my timing and I answer – On My Way.

Does the forest Sext? A friend asked: yep. those flirty buds, those saucy nettles, the fungi familiar and foreign, the moss laced arms of trees. Allurement, all of it.

And there is an ancient habit, rising in my chest, going to meet the call. I bring snippers, gloves, my wide open eyes, and a heart that needs spring right now, right now.

solstice 2013

Clift’s Notes on the summer solstice 2013

~ Doors are closing, other doors are opening

-> this will require immediate attention to properly manage

+ emotions are super ^ right now

” Do not let the unpredictable currents wash away all that has been built.”

* Disaster by water (Saturn transits Scorpio)


~ Physical body is tuning ^

-. higher standard of health and heart

-. self-discipline

– purification: mind, physical health, environment

– the immediate purge of the toxic


~ Fear not – learn not to fear the unknown / unaccomplished

-. detox trauma, clear afflictions, resolve karmic debt, remove entanglements, recharge will power


~ The feeling of Drain on emotions and well-being will end

-. renew the deep power (w/in us all)

+ healing energy -. put focus in the beauty

* gratefulness is key: count blessings before hardship


~ mix fire and water: go swimming in the sunshine

-> wash away old neg and raise refresh

= more successful navigation of the changes

* as within, so without

– amysthyst in water

– citrine in sun

– blue kyanite to clear and open the mind




A Jamboree in 3 parts

A Jamboree


next phase

there is no way this might end up –

just love


wheelbarrow full

of rain and leaves

big old pile

of blackberry vines

7 alders

with prayer flags and trellises

laced between them

earth both

scorched and fecund

little thickets

of bamboo


the replacement blanket

the end of a book

spice whiskey sunset

going down past equinoctal

finally. the balance tipping

into action.


The Replacement Blanket

Last August, when the perseids were shooting firecrackers of light across the black bowl, I tucked some friends in at 3am, an act of love made with my favorite brown blanket. They were sleeping sitting up, leaning toward each other on the bench seat from the Yogoman Burning Band’s van, which we’d extricated and placed out on the grass by the merch tent. A Jamboree isn’t complete without an all-nighter, I was reconciled to watch them sleep while I watched the stars. I soon met a man under the meteors who sparked my heart back into life, and we dove into the universal questions. Old friends came by, fresh from the campfires, and we wandered off to greet the dawn – another Joyboree occurring, sharing a cobbled breakfast as the light faded into the forbidden kitchen.

It was glorious, and when I returned to the bench seat the friends were gone, the blanket too. I curled up for two sweet hours of sleep and stumbled into morning just barely. I mourned the loss of my blanket, not enough coffee to shake the shaken feeling. The disappeared friends felt terrible, one of them couldn’t remember in those wee hours, what had become of their shoes, let alone the blanket. The other stopped me, fairly far into the day, when the camps and cars had vanished from the field,

and the recycling bins stood at sentry one after another, full of the weekend’s celebration

and the bags of garbage and the steel poles of the tents dissembled in straight lines

and all of us sun weary and worked out, but still working,

to point out a heap of blanket in the field where the stage was coming down. He retrieved it for me: a handmade patchwork quilt, heavy and damp with the overnight dew. He said: “I thought of you. I prayed that we might find your blanket and I think this might be it.”

I brought it home, strung it out on the line to dry, stared at it as if coming to know a new friend. Trying to understand what I was seeing. All winter the replacement blanket wrapped my lap on the front porch in the rocking chair, we became intimate.

The man I never saw again, the friends I’ve hardly seen since. The blanket and I got cozy and it will stand in for the mysterious loss. The objects that go – stolen or wandered off on their own – they are like pets buried in the side yard of my heart, even when I can barely see them in my mind’s eye they are with me, in spirit.


The Other Shoes

So too it is with shoes, there is a closet in my mind, where my doc martens and Birkenstocks dwell, where the dagger pointed flats and the black converse high tops rest.

So when my trusty steeds, the $2.99 goodwill boots from a MV biker days sale 3 years ago, lost boot footing from heel on the morning of a public event, I mourned the life of them. Then I resolved myself, with that sinking feeling you get when you are called by something you wouldn’t otherwise choose, and I headed to the mall.

I needed to be there anyways, no excuse for cheap china shoes will do, but I did find myself with minutes to spare, and an unwieldy family ahead of me in line at my errand destination, and so the sears clearance spree ensued.

I found two pairs of spiked heel boots, on black one grey, and sized up my ankles in the little bench seat mirrors: definitely weird. All the other options were slipper like, not appropriate for the stool onstage during a panel conversation. I took a deep breath and brought them to the counter, flopping on my broken heel past the jewelry to the front.

I changed shoes during the transaction, oh if mr rogers could see me now, and set about mincing gingerly down the mall hallway in new heels to my original destination. the children’s museum, to retrieve my phone, lost in a bag of food packaging that I’d donated to their market display. oh the mysteries of objects, the way a loss promotes action. the old unsmart phone, untrackable. I’m in the interim now, on track to smart technology, and I still want the object returned – I need the resolution.

By the time the night arrives I am striding in the heels, centered and grounded through the heels, paying attention, getting to know, becoming friendly. A new shape emerges from the shifting – these other shoes call it forth. So life is a dance of loss and the shape the loss takes, and the fire of new burning through that space, emptied out and clear shining, like dawn fading into a room.

Photos for Friends

Rounding the bend on spring again, I found a folder I’ve forgotten on my desktop, filled with pictures of friends from a while back through about a year ago. Perfect Revisiting on a saturday morning…

P1020087 buddy wakefield at green frog Tammy Zlotnik Poster basement scene betsy being caitlin and jill edison mud flat walkers fox an little girls Happy face loaf kitchen chaos ladies in shades lopez bathroom map lopez beach bliss lopez dean distance lopez dean smile guitar Lopez friday sunset lopez friends lopez kim tree distance lopez matt camo beach lopez matt grandpa lopez liquor lopez pin closeup lopez post ceremony lopez rainwait lopez sat night lopez sean lookoff lopez shanti sean photo lopez shark reef poem

lopez thru the forest lopez wedding tree   anna and rufus gorge fresh portrait


lydias grin

merlin wing

birthday beachGarlic harvest on one of our first days at Happy Little Farm

and Buddy Wakefield, getting going at the Green Frog.

Tammy Zlotnick, who I met up in Bellingham in the early Oughts, and who passed a few Continue reading Photos for Friends

Propaganda techniques, quick notes

-avoid supporting your opinion with facts at all costs,
Tear Down differers, turn them into adversaries immediately
to ensure the opinion is no longer the point.

-use Glad Words, go big, use Truth, use Values, use
no real meanings, which might be proved or dis.

-place positive symbols near by you in all public opportunities
become the flag, remember the screen is only 2 dimensions
remind your viewers too. Use music, quote, or reference.

-use reference, quotes, or music, and draw conclusions
between similarities. Do not support with facts.

-use people. Big Names. Definitely pay them if you need to
in compliments, cash, credit, some compensation to their ego.

– do the same with ordinary small names, Joe and Mary are good ones.
Same compensation plan applies. America the archetype is powerful.

-slant things, leave things out, omit. This is a gambler’s trick.
You can do it too, with words, create the context for the opinion. Reality is your tool, skew it.

-remember the sheeople lurking in the hearts of man, appeal to them. Use the cool factor from 10th grade, when it is at its most potent.
FOMO and FOBLO are your friends.

-polarize, polarize, polarize. set it up in black & white. only.
this will negate any attempt at common ground.

-take two relatives and blame one. stand back and watch.

-argue long and hard. use your biggest words. include contradictions
within your argument. works best on beginning debaters – stymie effect.

-oversimplify. sift the complex causal network of inter-related
happenstance and choose one thread. one point on a line if
you can swing it. incorporate other tactics to best support.

-run your reasoning on a short leash around and around. refer to the dictionary definitions of Luck, Chance, & Probability for example.

-when pressed, sidestep & change topic. remember to be subtle, follow a thread instead of jumping off for less obvious maneuverings.

-the opposite of the precautionary principle in some ways.be loud about how nothing contradictory can be proven. Use Name calling to disclaim
other opinions, and dismiss whole schools of thought.

-the whole and its parts, treat them interchangeably, apply one to all and all to one.

-also called poisoning the well. explain away all opposition, preferably before it has a chance to form.

-spread gossip and use it later to discredit the person instead of their ideas. slander the soft spots.

-use threats to establish the validity of your claim. use Transfer to back up your message. those riot police are backed by America.

-invoke authority as the last word. yours, or borrow.

-justify a claim on the basis of popularity. use polls, commercials, celebrities. Bandwagon & Plain Folks tactics prevail.

-sob stories work best. partner with False Cause to take down. use with Bandwagon, Appeal to People, and Plain Folks to build.

* these techniques came with a link on fb from Decondition Your Mind’s page, which drifted down in my feed in between my quick scribbled notes and typing them up into a poem. my thanks to whoever originated them.


Lift up the self by the Self / and don’t let the self droop down.

For the Self is the self’s only friend / and the self is the Self’s only foe.

– Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6 verse 5. From the Book of Runes intro, which continues:

The Book of Runes has been written as a handbook for the spiritual warrior. Free of anxiety, radically alone and unattached to outcomes, the spiritual warrior places absolute trust in the struggle for awareness, and is mindful that what matters is to have a true present. It takes a long time to grow in wisdom, to say nothing of the time it takes to learn to think well. Following the warrior way is not for everyone, although it is available to all who are willing to undergo its challenges. To embark on this path is to cultivate the Witness Self, the Watcher Within, the one who can profitably converse with the Runes.

That fellow on the bus who randomly killed his seatmate – a samurai twisted up in a lost culture – I offer this creed as reminder that the urge to exact action is an old one, formerly bound in honor and lineage. Now unmoored and veering down movie sets… or perhaps he was a wolf borne into a boy’s body, and finally unloosed. nonetheless.

A Warrior’s Creed

I have no parents: I make the heavens and earth my parents.

I have no home: I make awareness my home.

I have no life or death: I make the tides of breathing my life and death.

I have no divine power: I make honesty my divine power.

I have no means: I make understanding my means.

I have no magic secrets: I make character my magic secret.

I have no body: I make endurance my body.

I have no eyes: I make the flash of lightning my eyes.

I have no ears: I make sensibility my ears.

I have no limbs: I make promptness my limbs.

I have no strategy: I make “unshadowed by thought” my strategy.

I have no designs: I make “seizing opportunity by the forelock” my design.

I have no miracles: I make right-action my miracles.

I have no principles: I make adaptability to all circumstances my principles.

I have no tactics: I make emptiness and fullness my tactics.

I have no talents: I make with my talent.

I have no friends: I make my mind my friend.

I have no enemy: I make carelessness my enemy.

I have no armor: I make benevolence and righteousness my armor.

I have no castle: I make immovable-mind my castle.

I have no sword: I make absence of self my sword.

– Anonymous Samurai, Fourteenth Century.

Summer and the many festivals

When labor for the sake of vision has filled your heart / with its solid satisfactory shine,

and the details crossed off each list number higher / than those yet to come,

take yourself and a box full of sustenance: / a good hat and sturdy shoes / plus that laugh that hasn’t

much emerged since last winter / and get thee to good music. / Lay your body down

in the field grasses / soak in the sound of harmonies rising on the fair breezes / and when the spirit

moves you / allow yourself to be moved / and keep moving / to join in the great speckled dance

of jubilative restoration; / go Get Down / and call it holy / for this is what will redeem you

in your own eyes / and legs / and elbows, / that you heed the call of joy / when in comes

and greet it / eyes alight / hips shaking / laughter firmly loosed / in your heart.