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

Sunday of the Visitation

Sunday of the Visitation

A trip up to Bellingham brought old and other worlds together today. We gathered in Jess’ living room to begin a conversation about the language of power and the language of love related to this article: http://www.shambhalainstitute.org/Fieldnotes/issue-13-kahane

On my way home I turned right at the old familiar corner of F street and Dupont, and spied Dale the neocappadocian, that old lion, ambling down the road with a carton of coffee. I pulled over and gave him a ride home, where we shared wine on his small porch and talked snippets and places. He told me about the significance of the day – you can read about it for yourself at www.neocappadocians.blogspot.com – and we made a passable visit. We talked about ducks and raccoons and the sound that bugs make, about intergenerational groups and the making of world peace and how it doesn’t matter where we are when the shit goes down, we’ll be going down too.  Here’s a link to a story about Dale from one of the local papers – http://www.lovelycitizen.com/story/1397120.html

Brought back old times, did today. All my relations.

Puerto Rico, dawn to dusk

From Hunter S Thompson’s The Rum Diary, p.191

Those were the good mornings, when the sun was hot and the air was quick and promising, when the Real Business seemed right on t he verge of happening and I felt that if I went just a little faster I might overtake that bright and fleeting thing that was always just ahead.

Then came noon, and morning withered like a lost dream. The sweat was torture and the rest of the day was littered with the dead remains of all those things that might have happened, but couldn’t stand the heat. When the sun got hot enough it burned away all the illusions and i saw the place as it was – cheap, sullen, and garish – nothing good was going to happen here.

Sometimes at dusk, when you were trying to relax and not think about the general stagnation, the garbage God would gather a handful of those choked-off morning hopes and dangle them somewhere just out of reach; they would hang in the breeze and make a sound like delicate glass bells, reminding you of something you never quite got hold of, and never would. It was a maddening image, and the only way to whip it was to hang on until dusk and banish the ghosts with rum. Often it was easier not to wait, so the drinking would begin at noon. It didn’t help much, as I recall, except that sometimes it made the day go a little faster.

You turn me right round baby right round like a record baby right round round now

I’m contemplating an aikido move. Or at least that’s what the process of taking one energy and shifting it – Using it – seems like to me, based upon what I remember of hearing about Aikido from the folks who actually know… that aikido is about learning how to fall, and also about taking the momentum coming at you from an opponent and using it to let them take themselves down, or to take you up.

Anyhoo –

This site gets spammed an awful lot – insurance and gambling spam mostly – and it’s been a point of frustration for years now, the insectish idiocy, the nuisance. There was another one this afternoon and it came in as response to a post from from few years back called “A Long Ways From The Queen of May”. I deleted it and then I went visiting the post.

As it was May Day yesterday, we had a small bonfire in the back yard and sang a few songs: sea shanties from Shaun, a beautiful one that Katie wrote about breathing in this each moment, and Angel From Montgomery, which is my perennial favorite. I don’t know it, but I love to sing along. I burned a card from Ketchikan and lit a Eucalyptus leaf like incense, while I talked a little bit about Tim. It’s curious to me which facts remain persistent when I speak to new folk about that relationship, that time, that man. I am always somewhat self-conscious and also listening to myself for insights into what I believe about it now, and how my perspective is shifting or enduring.

So then this afternoon I pay attention to the spam and go visit the story from two years ago, about two years before. As I read I am wracking my brain to remember how I spent last year’s May Day. There was a Beltane party, but my point of view, my place in it eludes me. The post’s story brings those other years right back into mind. One storm in particular, but all the days building up to it. One man in particular, but all the intimacies that go before and after.

And the bathroom in that house in NE PDX. The dismantling of fixtures, the pulling of tacks, the stickers on the wall of the kid’s room downstairs, the vacuuming the tape the paint the brushes. The color tequila. That morning with the steamer on the shiny fern wallpaper. Vivid. And blurring with the houses before and after, the old wood one where TC on a ladder yelled at me because I was getting paid more than he was. The news of the war coming through on the radio. The Rachael Corrie play cancelled in NYC.

And after all the accumulated shit, spilling out of the closet under the stairs and topsy turvy in the garage went away, the feel of the blank tequila covered walls by great contrast of calm. The fresh start.

Jill last night by the fire was so matter-of-fact. “It’s May” she said, repeatedly. As in, ‘it’s different now’, ‘we’ve turned a corner in to action, the sun’s caught up, we’re here, we’re celebrating.’

We’re past enduring. Now we build up to the harvest.


Oregon Public Broadcasting program Weekend America did a wonderful piece on the sounds of New Orleans and what Mardi Gras feels like this year. And scroll down to the Sounds of Katrina with DJ Spooky for more. This is resonating strongly in the context of a piece of writing my friend Daniel did for grad school in England, called A Mytho-poetic Tale for the Development Age.

Earth Ascending

From the whole to the part,
The whole is in the part;
Every part is holy.

For all you fans of nested holarchy out there, please check out this revolutionary old book by Jose Arguelles, first published 20+ years ago by Shambala press and reissued recently by Bear & Co. It is a book of maps and information, spanning a global perspective on just what DNA, the I Ching, and Resonant Field Theory have in common, anyways… There’s a little something to tickle everybody’s particular suspicions about the interrelatedness of everything, and while it takes a while to grok it, the implications begin to sink in immediately.
I’ve compiled some cliff notes – WoW style – from the introductory essays, for the page in the corner. Please to check it out. You’ll find working definitions of geomancy, holonomics, and a host of names and possibilities to spur you to fantastic leaps of understanding.
Have fun!

the goldfish forgotten

I watched Me You and Everyone We Know at the Laurelhearst Theatre on Burnside last night. Took myself out to movies on a stormy day. On the way there I watched a pigeon’s last moments in the intersection crosswalk, just before a car whose driver couldn’t have seen the hobbled bird fluttering near its front tire, drove forward on the green and ended the pigeon’s struggle. A flash imprint of city on my eyelids. I felt the pigeon’s panic, its will to leave.
One of the first scenes in the movie, which is brilliant, shows a goldfish in a plastic bag forgotten on roof of a car. “The best thing for this fish would be to keep riding at a constant pace, forever.” Miranda July is welling up almost beyond her eyes. She says a few last words, tells the fish that it is loved, drives steady in front of the unsuspecting driver of the car.
In other city news, I bring you a silly poem from the day of the dead:

Samhain Tailgate

Just across the freeway under that big rose garden dome
the trailblazers are playing and down below me
there is a tailgate in progress – and a man in a blazer
standing on the back step of his old winnebago talking big
and lighting his cigarette with a long stemmed butane lighter.

Tailgating the Blazers is comforting groundlevel activity for such
a pregnant day. four floors up I watch the storm blow out
the tail end and the sun flares up in the last of the clouds
making a break for it east down the gorge.
Fast break down the lane, and taking it to the hole.

New moon dark now just beyond the lights of the city,
just across the river, and the curving span of dome –
high budget entertainment to ward off the spirits
on the eve of the day of the dead, November first,
samhain when the skin is thin and soft like on the back
of the hand and the worlds merge and re-differentiate.
A night for rising into the ether, our prayers go out beyond us
like kites extending, we become channels for that universal wish,
which is: to know both at once, to glimpse beyond
and find comfort, to send those we’ve lost
the invisible tools, to come in handy
if the journey is epic and strange.

The influence of momentum and enthusiasm on outcome;
it’s why people cheer in the stands. It’s why they build altars
of cerveza and cigars, of honored saints and treasured photos
to feed the dead their favorite things, to bolster
a soul’s strength during what can be a long crossing.
It’s why those remaining behind will drink and smoke
and savor the relics after a week of offerings,
to imbibe the gift of spirit that the dead make us in return.

the crowd goes wild.

Will you be music?

I’m moving into Serene Court on Monday. There were some questions about my move to Happy Valley a few years back; while both monikers may be misleading, so far as I know, neither denote funny farms. Serene Court was built in 1905 as a brick hotel, and converted to apartments shortly thereafter. I’m on the fourth floor corner in a double studio with lots of windows. Some of them look out over the freeway and the grey dome of the Rose Quarter, where Britney Spears played last week.

I Will be sleeping in a desk – there are two ancient Murphy beds that roll out like drawers. One of them has a writing desk built in up above, with cubbyholes and stained glass cupboards. I think I’ll make that one my bed. There’s a maple tree just outside my window, so that’s what I see first.

A few years ago, some photographer friends and I developed a merged media Socratic exploration, termed The Question Project. I brought it up to Bellingham with me when I moved north, and distributed postcards and magnets guerilla style on lampposts and bike racks, windshields and boards. I lost momentum after a bit, but I didn’t forget it.

It’s been resurfacing in my consciousness lately, the wish to reach a broad spectrum of the population with the notion that it’s okay not to be sure, and to discover the truth of your own experience through the process of questioning yourself. I suspect that we are channels of energy made sentient to the degree that we are open to receiving and giving qi in our interactions with people and life forms. We may be sentient to the degree that we recognize sentience in others.

And sentience cannot be dictated, perhaps it can only be evoked. Which is the peculiar gift of poetry. So I have a certain desire to print the following poem on quarter page fliers and distribute them in the guise of The Question Project. To post broadsides, like Thomas Jefferson did.

Kings and Queens of Cascadia

To which entity
of organismic consciousness
will you sacrifice your life?
Which aspect of spirit will you embody?

You kings and queens rising to power
by right action, right livelihood.
You who would resist the status quo
by whatever means necessary,
to what will you pledge?

Will it be to the gods that are mountains?
Pachamama’s high Andes, and the Cascade range
those resting volcanos, those meridian points:
Ranier, Hood, Baker, and Shasta,
with their backs to the flatland plains.
Will you speak to them in their old names?

Will it be to watersheds?
So that again the rivers may be life force
moving with the flush and feed of tide and snow.
Will you give yourself, that the tracks of grimy
tears: the Columbia, the Nooksack, the Snake
may run clean across the landscape?

Will you speak in the language of lumber
and timber, or will you speak of trees?
Suislaw, Quinault, Hoh – the old forests –
will lend you their voices if you listen.
Will you lend them your breath to speak
to the people about what is priceless?

Will you see yourself as Leader?
In whose dialect?
Will you speak in poverty’s tongue
when you reason with the masters?
Will you give up on reason
and call it out on the table?

Will you remind us of our capacities as human beings,
to be both greatly cruel and extremely kind?
And also how fragile, remind us,
are these hearts that keep pounding in our chests.
Can you point out our oversights and small-
nesses without wounding us further?

Will you speak up?
Beyond your voice is the voice
of the first peoples of land and water.
And if you can hear it, there is only your voice
with which you can speak.
You who are Sacrifice by virtue
of your willingness –
stand for life in all its color and sound,
and move through it with ease.
Add your laughter to the din.

Will you be music?

Ah coffee.

I’m was in the Fremont Coffee Company recently, eavesdropping on the baristas.
One of them was telling a story about a customer who asked “Do you have service on the porch?” She thought he meant wi-fi service and so she said yep. So he sat out on the porch waiting for table service for a while, and as she was slammed behind the bar, one of her regulars – some guy named Spencer, with his kooky clothes and his wild-eyed hair – went on out to the guy on the porch and asked him if he needed a sandwich, or something to drink, and was his waiter for the morning. No harm no foul, just a little extra help.
[Stepping up, filling in so that the structure in question is not something that can develop cracks, but a dynamic concoction of opportunities to weave a bit of your own thread into the web. Spencer saved the day – it could have gone a lot of different ways, but the story he created for the telling speaks volumes about the craft of improvisational living.]

And I’m in the Fuel Cafe on Alberta Street currently, ordering coffee on an empty stomach, feeling a cold brewing in the cup of my jaws. The woman who hosts here is playing Catpower on the stereo, and she reminds me that coffee is a digestive, best drunken after eating. I order a grilled vegan sandwich, I let myself be fed by this woman who knows. Chan Marshall’s eerie lullabies, the bouquet of basil on the counter, the mandalas and the christmas lights and the green walls – all these components combine to birth a potency of calm, a space with soul in it. And soul bespeaks soul, and so I am home here, in this skin; and from this sense of home, words may come moving through me.
The soulfilled space is expressed by the vision and presence of an anchor.
The olde taverne wench has evolved; she channels through brew and food and conversation, information on the nature of the universe.