Poetry Scrap

Can you imagine Lewis (or was it Clark? I can never keep’em straight) saying to Clark (Lewis?), ‘Shit, we’ve got to be get
-ing there pretty soon!’
This around Puget Island where
little streams trickle in next to big mouthed Colombine, both of them (and didn’t they have Native guides? Did they bring Pocohontas or were the boys thinking about girls back home when they finally hit that Astoria hill and saw breakers…) wondering ‘Oh man,
how big can she get?’
this is the essential question as you’re following a river to the sea
How big can she get
and when will we see sea
interstitial tidal zone, breakers
fishman, the ocean, conclusion of land


An Answer To Your Question

‘Why would anyone want to go there?’

Our prophet teaches Forgive those who
ask this question; they know not what
they no
ewe go to cultivate a want to go
and go – we pull over whenever
on whims to wear Kokopelli masks
bouldering granitic beauties
tumbling down gneiss arroyos
slipping and gaining on schist scree

we don’t need postcards
samples or photographs
tangible gain or other takeaways
we simply experiment with ways of
telling stories, with words, pictures,
wrinkles and limps, sutures and scars

you with your one actor show – you
gussy him up as trickster (Kings 1 & 2) – what
can I say to you, if I annunciate this answer
will you pretend to comprehend?

blah, bleh, nay-say, boog-a-loo
s’all the same blasphemies to you

when the ouzo is open tonight we will
raise our glasses for another shot
willing the spirits that you blasphemed –
come back towards our worlds

Poetry Scrap

My side of Logger / Hugger

Can’t see your side of the debate
your hearts full of hate
for something as simple as plants –
trees. Or Owls. Ants. fucking butter flies. Your
angst against these essentially pure entities,
your stubborn refusal to move to cities
or at least find cerebral jobs that
don’t defile the earth – your mud pickups & mutts
blindness to verdant beauty around you, 12er
of Miller Lite, TV, saturated fats and glom or glop of starchy suppers.

Can’t see your side of the debate
your hearts full of hate
for people – for humanity – for man and woman
‘Of course there ought to be spaces
where no human activity is allowed…’
(You, National Geographic, October 2006)
which means everyone but you –
but someone has to study it! You protest
I see you, carving out your own reserve resorts
I see you, hating your fellow man, felling your fellow man
as idiots, dunderheads, you decry life with your
sky is falling gloom

you ought to play a game of Nahoytatatsiw
what the natives would play
and let the winner decide
it’d be more civilized

In Portland, In Port Orchard

coming round the corner toward Powell’s Books
Portland Oregon
passing this cafe a couple coming out
‘Oh yeah I’ve been in Amsterdam on days like this’
cause pissing down rain and grey
‘Oh yeah, lots of days like this in Amsterdam’.
he says to impress and
she’s 40s, heartbreak frail, gonna fail
someday but not today, and he wants it

coming round the corner toward mom’s house
Port Orchard Washington
passing this couple walking
kids, she’s a heartbreak 17 year old cutie
gets on his back, piggy ride
he gallops, slaps her ass, he wants it, she
smiles still awkward teenie a braceface
for me, my memory, you, and then they’re gone


In the northwest this weekend. Portland yesterday, for the first time since the big hitchhiking trip in 1999. I was having a quiet cappuccino at a downtown cafe when Bang! the universe decided to shoot a little rolly-coaster of emotions my way. The scenes that inspired the companion poems below happened within about a minute of each other. Sometimes she works that way, eh?

Portland podal

s’a harsh morning out there
a God or -esses who could give a care
(un)man shoving his cart, lardy & goggleyed
olding, ager, sentiency
cruelty served treatfully
no hope, rainy morning, no hope
what he’s been, where he’s done
can you conjure a memory that’d trump this?
can you pull a card
that would undo cold, wet, misery of
irrelevance, unrecognized, wasted
heaped up like trash in a bin
collected, sure, but only pending
a trashman to haul it off,
an embarrassment in the meantime,
a eyesore called
a man?

Portland antipodal

warm cafe
woman comes in outta the rain
shifty gonna pull a scam for sure
orders, mumbles, says lost wallet
‘sorry, you’ve gotta pay, sorry
– I can’t give you this’
charades failed, she turns blushing for the door
‘wait miss!’ this guy says, ‘wait miss!’
gets up, goes buys coffee for her
and plays at buying charades as well –
humpty-dumpty, thrown together again
RING! of register and coins being counted
‘no worries, just pay it forward some day’
and me sitting dumb, three thousand dollar laptop
smiling for first time today
tears? maybe
me simple, a baby
gonna grow up, ok?
be good man too some day.


No writing today, no coding today. Only talk. To lots of folks. Organizing my freeform brain into little conversation snippets and important interrogatives.

Once again I am amazed at how exhausting people-skills are. Being on your game and aware for hours at a time, saying the right things, asking the right questions.

As a computer geek, I matured believing that only logical and physical labor are exhausting. Designing, writing, tapping code. Washing dishes, building houses, picking fruit. These are the exhausting tasks. Salesmen were weaklings, getting tired and petering out over what – talking to people? Pansies.

This is total bullshit. Sales work isn’t just talking to people – it’s having logical conversations that have favorable endings. It’s design work, just design with a different medium.

It makes you tired. Same as writing, same as coding. A different kind of tired though. After a twelve hour day talking to customers your throat hurts. Your feet are killing you. Your face is sore from too much smiling, your neck is sore from too much nodding.

It’s a good kind of sore. You limp into your bar, or your pho house, and you know you’ve warriored. Just like after a good day coding, a good day writing. You’ve battled the beast and won victories.

You guzzle your beer and relax for a wonderful hour. Tomorrow will be another long today.

Poetry Scrap

San Andreas cleaving my state
geophysical activity underpinning
all this photochemically fueled
liveliness, entrepreneurialness, porn
starlettes – are layers, slates, slats
churning atop a magmatic sea
real reality of this wee globule
adrift in milky sea, anchored
to sol – fuelman sun – and who knows
what he revolves round,
what underpins him?