...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tomas Tranströmer

I just learned that he died, a little over a month ago. Below is a poem of his, translated by Robert Bly.
Romanesque Arches

Tourists have crowded into the half-dark of 
           the enormous Romanesque church.
Vault opening behind vault and no perspective.
A few candle flames flickered.
An angel whose face I couldn’t see embraced me
and his whisper went all through my body:
“Don’t be ashamed to be a human being, be proud!
Inside you one vault after another opens endlessly.
You’ll never be complete, and that’s as it should be.”
Tears blinded me
as we were herded out into the fiercely sun-lit piazza,
together with Mr. and Mrs. Jones, Herr Tanaka 
           and Signora Sabatini;
within each of them vault after vault opened endlessly.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Poetry Reading
with Jenny Factor
Claremont Library
208 N. Harvard Ave.
Claremont, CA 91711

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Leonard Cohen

"We're so privileged to be able to gather in moments like this, when so much of the world is plunged in darkness, and chaos."

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


'Besides El Niño, a more worrying, longer-term trend is also taking shape. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is a decades-long periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean that tends to favor bursts of accelerated global warming. As I wrote last October, the Pacific appears to be in the midst of a shift into a new warm phase that could last 20 years or so.

'The PDO—or, “the blob” as it’s been referred to recently—is starting to freak out some scientists. There are emerging signs of a major shift in the Pacific Ocean’s food chain, including a dearth of plankton, tropical fish sightings near Alaska, and thousands of starving sea lion pups stranded on the California coast. As Earth’s largest ocean, what happens in the Pacific affects the weather virtually planet-wide, and that means an “imminent” jump in global warming may have already begun—spurred on by the PDO.

'The PDO has skyrocketed to record-high monthly levels over the past four months. In fact, there have only been four other similarly warm four-month bursts of the PDO in the last 115 years (in 1940, 1941, 1993, and 1997). A quick look at the historical record (for both 15 years prior to and 15 years after the bursts) shows that global temperatures rose at twice the rate of the 20th century average immediately after these bursts.

'Combined with the overall long-term warming trend from climate change, the emergence of the PDO warm phase means the current state of the world’s oceans has little precedent.'


Sunday, April 12, 2015

John Cage

"Begin anywhere."

Essential Read

"Living in a white dominant context, we receive constant messages that we are better and more important than people of color. For example: our centrality in history textbooks, historical representations and perspectives; our centrality in media and advertising; our teachers, role-models, heroes and heroines; everyday discourse on “good” neighborhoods and schools and who is in them; popular TV shows centered around friendship circles that are all white; religious iconography that depicts God, Adam and Eve, and other key figures as white. While one may explicitly reject the notion that one is inherently better than another, one cannot avoid internalizing the message of white superiority, as it is ubiquitous in mainstream culture."

More here.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

TWO EVENTS: Come to one or both!

First, our next Salon--the first in two years--is happening Saturday, April 18th, starting at 7:30pm, in a tiny house in Seal Beach. It features poet Victoria Chang, visual artist Jordan Christian, and music collective Goon. Plus a special guest or two. Can't wait.

Next, I'm reading poetry the afternoon of Sunday, April 26th at the Claremont Library. The other reader is Jenny Factor. The poem on her home page, "Mind Loves," is terrific, as is this one, over at the Poetry Foundation. I'm excited!

Monday, April 6, 2015

View from Space

“You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.'”

- Former Astronaut Ed Mitchell

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Friday, April 3, 2015

45. Painting Detail

44. Good Friday Cinquain

He who
told us, Love friends,
love enemies, though they’ll
kill you, is now dead. He lived what
he said.

43. Maundy Thursday Cinquain

Go, wash
somebody’s feet,
metaphorically, or
really, then empty out your fridge,
and eat.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

42. He didn't tell me any of the jokes

On the drive home my son said
‘yeah you’d be surprised cuz

some kids you think are good kids
make bad jokes. But they’re not mean.

Some,’ he said, ‘like V________ are mean.
V_______ says his neighborhood’s

rough, like dangerous. He--
he sometimes says something really bad,

then he says after a little while
"I don’t want to go to hell."

So he’ll say what he just said he didn’t really mean.
He sometimes says that.’