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.

anniversaries not adversaries

What is it with time? Today, friday August 12 2005, is Day 18 on the Mayan calendar, a GAP day named Yellow Reflection Road. It is also the day that my friend Tim was born, 30 years ago. He died on February 13, six months ago tomorrow. So today I’ve been singing the songs he loved and shared with me, and remembering fondly the way we spent his birthday last summer: up in a treehouse with our friend Caryn, reading poems. He shared his mythology with us, his mystery with the sea. Then we let a lost dog walk us through the neighborhood. You learn someone when you go along on their birthday. A walk is different when the dog is deciding.

i began the poetica page on this site tonight. I’ll keep feeding this repository with complementary poetry as we go along here, and for this day, 2 offerings:
not a wilderness – one about penguins and grief that i wrote down today, and XV.returning home – a snippet from a long piece that i began in the wake of a trip down to california while Tim was getting ready to complete his journey.

Also, please check out the world peace calendar on the link to your right. I’m finding it to be a working synthesis of many systems – gregorian, mayan, tonal, numerology, astrology, ecology, runes, i ching, feng shui.
and quotes, like this one from Machiavelli:
“There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old system and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new one.”
Certain frustrations continue to ring true. In tribute to Tim I bring this up because perhaps what got to him most was this frustration. I bring this up also because it is not true across the board, and because the folks offering “adventure in the rebirth of a Cosmic Culture…come along!” do not seem to be bound by this perspective’s limitations.
I’m ready for the proverbial new paradigm. And it has to do with Time.