Friday, June 27, 2008

The horizon darkens. A wind kicks up, drawing me in, and then suddenly a calm, a deep breath before the plunge. This I can tell you -- though I know not from where -- a storm is coming.

Monday, June 23, 2008



Sometimes silence speaks louder than words -- a look that cuts through to a vein, a verb whose barbs dig deep, seething beneath the surface like a stingray under the sands, waiting, coiled to strike, and again and again after the tears subside.

Sometimes silence has nothing to teach us, sitting numb, cross-legged on a stone floor -- nothing in chanting or meditation with sight shut off. No... nothing waits in the space between some words; that white space where the letters float like driftwood on an ocean or the birds in the trees I beg to bring me honey.

Sometimes silence is a soul on fire, wishing there was a reset button on life; the days you love someone who doesn't love you back, listening to the same sad song on repeat, tearing the pages of poetry from your favorite book and cursing the sky; the days there's no quiet to be found in talking. Sometimes silence screams. Sometimes silence is the hiss of a snake.

And sometimes it's that sound that makes us learn. Without giving voice to those questions nature could never correct us, the deafening roar of experience, of seeking out answers. If I only sat in silence there could be no consensus and no one could disagree and in that way I could never move forward, I could never change. This is why I craft words. Not because I think I'm right or because I see some great truth. I speak and I write because I realize I don't know. I make this noise because I want to find out, and if I said nothing then I would remain as I am, only a wisp in the wind.


Some quotes from Kahil Gibran:

"They say that silence resides in contentment; but I say to you that denial, rebellion, and contempt dwell in silence."

"Does the song of the sea end at the shore or in the hearts of those who listen to it?"

"Deliver me from him who does not tell the truth unless he stings; and from the man of good conduct and bad intentions; and from him who acquires self-esteem by finding fault in others."

"The poet is he who makes you feel, after reading his poem, that his best verses have not yet been composed."

"Art is a step in the known towards the unknown."

"If I knew the cause of my ignorance, I would be a sage."

"I never speak without error, for my thoughts come from the world of abstraction and my statements from the world of reference."


A quote from the Crow:

"Silence makes us strangers to each other..."


This post is a response to my friend and fellow seeker and writer BBC. Many times he has questioned my rational for writing, has asked why bother littering the internet with ramblings and poetry (as he so poetically puts it, "The monkey crap in the ruts of time and space"). And though he may not realize how seriously I've taken his line of questioning it's something I've struggled with myself. Another of Gibran's sayings that I take without a grain of salt is:

"Poetry is a flash of lightening; it becomes mere composition when it is an arrangement of words."

If you follow this line logically one would wonder, why bother writing at all, why bother striving towards the poetic. BBC, I think, is making precisely this point and I have trouble coming to grips with the repercussions of this -- maybe why I've spent so much time formulating this response to him.

I made the conscious choice some time ago to give up on argumentation. I don't believe that anyone will be convinced by a reasoned, premise based argument. I believe that any truth that must be explained is only a half truth. So I've come to believe that no one's belief can be changed except by their choice, by their own self-reflection. And so I close with a question... a question that I'm sure BBC has a poignant answer for:

Why do you write my friend?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Phoenix rise every five hundred years. That's sort of convenient. There's not much around to remember. But what must their memories be -- to live and die the years of earth and fire -- what do they think on their pyre as ash? How do they come to terms with time when time and existence are linked to the coming and going of the planets, with the birth and death of a system?

Meteors, however, rise on cycles unknown. The same rock running from gravity over stretches and bends. What are the memories of stone? And what must they think of the Phoenix, that creature tied to flame and earth? As the meteors blaze and quarrel with the firebird in the night sky they speak their experience:

All things begin in fire,
all things give way to ash.
Ash becomes stone becomes fire.
We are one and the same,
in a time you can't remember,
and again in time you can't see.

Just as they feud on the dark canvas, painting a pointless streak overhead, we resist what we must become, the rock and fire and ash, burning and hardening in Time's garden.

Monday, June 16, 2008

A Crow Gave Wings

He lived on a mountain, high up, alone. So high there was never a cloud between him and the sky, but they lay about, rose at dawn, fell away at dusk like a blanket, dividing his world from the rest. He had no idea how he'd gotten there -- had never been to the base for the depth of the dew and treachery of the descent; never been to the peak for the cap of thickly formed snow and his having no coat against the cold. He lived in the caves, the cliffs and crags. He simply was, among the sun and stars and moon -- thought Venus his only friend, and when she blinked into the cloudless twilight he was comforted by her watchful presence, her constance and bright, so that he only felt alone in the seasons she did not shine. His life continued such under the clear sky, and each day he would ask, Who am I?, Who am I?

One evening a pure white crow came to rest on an outcrop of rock. Though he'd never seen another creature before he was without fear of the corvid, felt drawn by its wing-falls as drifts are drawn by the driven snow. And he spoke, for he still spoke crow. "Where have you come from friend? Can you tell me what lays beneath these clouds and do you know the stars above? And can you tell me, cousin, what truth you've come to know?"

The crow replied without a sound, giving him two long feathers, pure white, and spread its wings and leapt from the cliff into his memory, showing him how to fly as the Evenstar appeared in the east. And he thought, I will go to see her, I will find that spark.

As he took to the air the mountain unfurled around him and a huge stone dragon shook the frost from his form. The two seemed suspended in that moment above the mists, the dragon's wings spreading like beach rocks rolling in the tide, his eyes glass on fire, the snow hanging incandescent about the two.

"You are my heart," he said to the boy, "Taken to flight that has ended my long sleep. So I will follow where you wish to go, as I must."

They looked to the heavens, to that one bright light... and so a crow gave wings to a dragon's heart that he might find Venus, as the clouds lay about on that clear and snowy night.

Monday, June 9, 2008


He was awaken. Through the window a cormorant was at rest on the rock, stretching her wings against the rain, settling again, sleek fisherman.

He did not notice it move. It was simply gone, naturally processed, siphoned elsewhere.

He would capture her, hold her memory for good, if not for the battery in the camera or his belief that what is wild and elusive must stay so.

He opens the door and skirts the splattering sky below where the eaves should be. Still a salvo strikes his neck, clapping applause, punctuating his skin. The goal was not to feel the water but to feel the rain, feel the calmness of the unphased cormorant, like her countenance would stick to the rock after she flew away, mingling with the moist.

He scoots back inside, shakes the water from his arms and runs a hand through his hair. Drips drop on the hardwood floor, anointing earth's oil on varnish.

He catches a glimpse of a seal diving, a question mark slipping through the surface, freeze framed by the routed white wood holding glass.

He questions what he takes for coincidence, elusive signs of a catalyst, inescapable, like the rhyme he struggles not to write down.

No one likes the time balanced on a tack. Everywhere are signs to get things back on track.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What's a flower?

My parents built their own home, a two story cedar shingle on a couple acres of land. They cleared half of it, put in a garden and a greenhouse, a cabin in the back with room for four complete with an extension cord from the house and Chinese lanterns. They planted pine trees and aspen, juniper and rose bushes. Dad dug a pond for his goldfish, not like some might dig a pond for a little water feature, I'm talking like six feet deep with lily pads and wild ducks landing in it, dragonfly pattering the surface on clear days. There were bird feeders and nests throughout the trails behind the gardens, where we built burrows and forts and crawled about on the floor of the fir and spruce forest. In full bloom of summer it was not just something to see, it was something to feel; all the creatures and insects, the sounds of the birds in the trees and the rustle of leaves in the ever present Atlantic winds. As a child it filled me with a sense of the world, a world of many small beauties.

Dad was fairly picky about his lawn. He wasn't too fond of moss or clover or weeds, and he reseeded and laid topsoil in a few patches of the grass to try and get rid of the dandelions. Resilient as they are they just kept coming back, pushing their way to the surface after being sheered and turned over with a pitchfork... they came back after being mowed and rooted out, the delicate air born seeds from that one unseen on the tree line bringing forth a colony of yellow. I don't remember exactly when, but I developed an affinity for the dandelions. I never thought of them as a force to be reckoned with, just flowers that no one liked.

One summer, I'm not sure which, Dad turned to herbicide, a powder he mixed with water and put in a green canister with a hand pump on top to pressurize the contents -- you probably know the kind I mean. He went about spraying the flowers and an idea jumped in my mind. Later that evening I went out to the shed and got the cannister. I poured out all the poison and refilled it with fertilizer and the water he used for the tomatoes. I don't think he knew what to make of the population explosion after he'd sprayed a few more times. He gave up on herbicides after that and still every summer dandelions bloom in the yard, the misunderstood flower.