Friday, December 19, 2008

the best laid plans of mice and men

Today’s poem is from  10:93.

Wasn’t it Robert Burns that said: “ The best laid plans of mice and men oft times go asunder?”
Well, changes - and more changes. Seems the cracks in the boiler drum are pretty bad and the chance of it failing are much greater with any prolonged shut-downs. So the great Gods in Memphis had decreed Springfield IP Mill can continue to run through February without any downtime, although we must do so at a greatly reduced speed. While this is good news, it comes with a personal price - I get a ton of overtime over the holidays as a result. So, tomorrow I begin 8 nights in a row. (There is a slim chance the last two days can go to someone else, but it’s not in stone yet.)

And on the weather front, winter - as in ice for three days, then snow - and more snow. It seems to be coming in waves - just as the crud on the streets begins to melt, it drops below freezing and another 2 inches of snow gets packed on top ….  Haven’t seen weather quite like this in 10 years or so, as best as I can recall. Oh well, I guess the local “global warming” buffs will find something other than Mother Nature being unpredictable to blame it on. A few billion years of the solar system, and man thinks he’s got it figured out in a decade or two of studies? Oh well, the soap box is getting slippery and I need to get ready for night shift …. Boogie on, ya’all.


beyond the misting river
(the Pacific yawns & the Columbia is absorbed)
beyond the fallen timber
(houses for a farmer in Dubuque
shelves for books never to be read)
i stand: a shadow within a shadow
- sounds that echo & distort
- sounds changing until they are no longer sounds
but emotions

the voice you understand: so easy to reject
turn the switch
the light is extinguished
darkness, comfortable as an old sweater, caresses

i stand as if the dissipating mist
(the Pacific yawns & the Columbia is absorbed)
the wind down from the Aleutians’
carries the hard rains of November upon its torn wings

& you stand Eastern - umbrellaed -
waiting for miracles.

the Great Lakes cry: fog gathers upon your window
& you study the quandrum with nonchalance

epistles wait to be written
but there is no theology in shadows
worth celebration
- you remain a dream not knowing the source

soon snow:
flakes darting
& alive
bundled against the freeze
you will trudge
into the next stanza

Saturday, December 6, 2008

winter time is coming

Here is another poem accepted by Semi-Dwarf Review in Dec. 1998, but never got into print before the press decided to quit publishing.

Winter is arriving, no doubt about it. Cold nights and not so warm days. On night shift this week, so I guess I’ll need to bundle up before I get ready for work tonight.

Work? Ah, back from the Nov. lay-off (worked one day  this last week). There will be more down-time in Dec, though no one is certain exactly how much. At first it was going to be 8 days, then 13 …. But that last figure we were told in a safety meeting yesterday could shrink, or grow, depending on circumstances as the month progresses. There will “certainly” be down time in February, as they have to inspect the boiler-drum (part of the machinery that creates steam to run the mill) and that could be a 7-12 day thing, depending on what they find ….  So, looks like the dire forecast for 2009 isn’t changing at the moment.


on the edge of an occluded front
me in my faded blue jockeys
wait for the end of the world.

with my Nostradamus eyes
i have witnessed omens.
3 blackbirds in a broken apple tree
reciting the plays of Sam Beckett
with the ghost of the goddess
i forgot how to worship.

i tells you, it is a terrible thing
to understand eternity,
to have the spirits whisper of the future
when you would rather sleep
or indulge in the luxury of romance.

here, wind do more than cry Mary
down these pot-hole streets.
it moan grunge,
as it also whisper of bebop.

it be buffoons that walk these highways
& sees paradise.
i tells you, the rain to come
will wash more than soiled jeans.

if you be the offspring
of the wicked north witch,
the best you can do
is wear your rubbers.

Friday, November 28, 2008

dog attack

Nance and Cocoa were attacked by a pit bull this afternoon, owned by a group a what looks like semi-gang types - the dog has a few scrapes, Nance is upset and a bit shaken, but fine. A family from Portland were driving down the street and saw the whole thing, stopped to help her and chased the dog off, yelling at the "owner" (or someone from the house where the dog came from) - your dog just attacked this lady, and you're responsible - the guy yelled back "The fuck i am!" ..... the Lane County animal authority went to visit the house while Nance and i (and the mutt) were at the vets, but no one was home (well, no one answered the door). The Animal authority left a stern note and wanted the dog's license number .... but i am certain the dog was just visiting ..... and is long gone.

We took the dog to the emergency vet, and she has a scratch on her nose - but nothing else visible. The vet gave her some antibiotics, just in case there were any puncture wounds that she didn't find when she examined the dog .... so it's wait and see ...

todays poem was accepted (2:98) and printed (but i never got a copy) in another small press First Class. written 9:97. as usual - if you can, please help support small presses.


wind (NNE) hard off the river
smelling of sulfur
-manure plant has documentation
they are non polluters.
kid in his Air Jordan's
(open game for the less fortunate or
more powerful) fills out half an application
leaves empty the parts he can't read
believing it an invasion of his privacy.
3 in the morning
asphalt is stained with rain
& blood. black hooker cries
for help (or deliverance). the age of reason
dead. on-lookers
filled with far worse diseases.
the home town team
rallied late for a miracle finish.
heroes. champions.
but fuck the fag at the mission
handing out needles
& condoms - though the editor
didn't put it in quite those terms.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

good news and the Bad News

Well, it's been an interesting week. 

One - i have been officially certified as a shipper this past week. while i am technically still part of the paper machine, i do not work on the paper machine unless there is a break-down or scheduled maintenance and shipping is not operating. And that means i get shipping rate (which is .75 more than i was getting on the paper machine as a 5th hand) - which is cool, since i am on vacation this week. 
well, that's the good news stuff ... now onto the reality grim stuff .... 

two - the IP gods decided the economy sucks enough to not only close one more paper machine (in Virginia), but to close almost all their paper machines for 8 days starting next week. Another round of 8 day closures in Dec, and most likely again February. But unlike Weyco, when they stopped machines from operating due to the economy, they did repairs on the machines, education and so the workers never got laid off. Nope, IP is hurting so bad for cash, they are laying every hourly employee (with the exception of 5 needed to operate the boiler and keep it from exploding) for 8 days, and so i not only get a vacation, i get a lay off on top of it .... trying to be a believer in the goodness and deep insight that great companies hold and this is all just their way of making certain familiar are together for the holidays - (NOT) - i get an uneasy feeling that this could be the beginning of the end of the IP colonization (or is it just expansion) of the Kraft Liner world.  let's hope i am direly wrong in that feeling ...
onto the poetry - 

6:93 is the source date of today’s poem ... 


the coughing wind i hold in my pocket offers no wisdom
but i tell it secrets
we share with the grotesque.
stumble over concrete mountains in the insatiable pursuit
of a happiness that has ceased to exist.
the coughing wind i hold in my pocket knows there is no freedom
only boundaries
we stretch ever so carefully.
erect palaces of sand
upon concrete being dismantled a molecule at a time.
the coughing wind & i, like an apparition in the fog,
dance in the haze
almost real enough to believe.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

passed 1st review

Shipping review was delayed a day, but went OK. I am not “certified” as a shipper yet, but should be within the next month, or so i was told. I was changed to a different crew, as my boss felt I’d learned all I needed to from the crew I was on, and the “new crew” will be the one I will be on once I am certified. So … I guess progress is being made.

Last month, the editor of NIGHTSHIFT (an anthology from Five Leaves Publishing - out of England) asked to use a poem “Fighting Foam” he discovered on this blog. I gladly agreed. As I’ve asked before, support those small presses if at all possible.

Other than that - not much happening, except winter coming and work continues, but with the world economy as fragile as it is, even that is an uncertainty for anything but the present.

Today’s poem is from 9:97


"Eat shit & die" i told the priest
when he demanded i forgive
the sins of the best friend
who beat the crap out of me on a $2 bet.

Father Buckley screamed i would rot
in hell, but offered to forgive my sins
if i was willing to confess.

30 years later, i wonder if his ghost
is still willing to forgive?

"Love is all you need"
but the emptiness i felt
was filled only with pain.

Old Father Buckley can rot in his hypocrisy,
covered in satin & lace,
while a wetback froze to death on the back steps
of the old rectory.

i, at least, confronted my demons
unable to defeat them,
i lay myself in the luxury of their lusts -
satin flesh & hot tits.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

reviews to be held

Today’s poem is from 8:97 .

This week (tomorrow in fact) I get my review in shipping, part of that will determine if I will remain in the department or be thrown back to the paper machine. Last night shift was a rough one, lots of mistakes on my part and a taste of export (which will continue all this week). I do not expect a terrible review - just not a glowing one i guess, but really have no idea what will be included, as no one I’ve worked with directly will be in the room. I still feel as if I don’t know enough to be qualified yet. Oh well, will let you know when I post again, probably in a week or so, how it all went.

Cold is creeping into the valley at night, along with the fog and frost. Ah, as Dylan once said “Wintertime is coming, all the trees are filled with frost ..” or something along those long.

Well, onto the poetry …. 


i do not lay false sacrifices.

the bamboo shoots someone called
a tree: the red clay pot
fired in your own kiln -
if this was not Paradise
i would gladly have exchanged 
it as such.

two roses on your doorstep,
as dawn broke (silver to cyan)
over Gabilan hills:
my footprints in the dew.

someday you to know
such a love: greater than dreams -
where afternoon fogs are dirty
as the river itself -
it will make no difference.

you hold a rose
for each of the decades,
still uncertain of the magic.

My parting footprints in the dew ...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Limpskis

The Limpskis here …. Nance has twisted her knee again, I’ve twisted my ankle (again) and the brown dog is slowly using her surgically repaired leg, but still limps or “bunny hops” more than walks … Ah, the joys of getting older.

Not much else going on. Fall is in the air. Colder (OK, Cold) nights and the leaves are turning colors and falling off the trees. Some see it as a delight, others a pain in the butt to clean up. I enjoy the fall, the rain (which is coming in a few days, according to the weather gods), so the falling leaves are somewhat of a delight to me. Though the cold nights I can do without, if I had my druthers.

Today’s poem is from 5:93, expressing concern about the world economy. 


there is no god upon the plains of despair
repeated the sad faced clown juggling no balls of his own
no god & no bliss he whispered as if someone should hear

misery loves company he quoted most gallantly
but he quite alone stutters a lonely
it was the hour of not quite rain & clouds smelled of urine
he checking his pants looked to the infinite unknown
no beauty in pain but he knew that was a lie
was the only beauty he would ever know perfectly

ask & you shall receive he remembered
empty pockets that graced no american express
billboards spoke elegant poverty & he listened impressively
thumbs up his nose no crack & a high that could not last
surely god has been caught with a flat on the expressway to his door

Sunday, October 5, 2008

updates and another daily poem


1 - the brown dog surgery went well. She is still not using her back leg, but there is nothing preventing her from doing so, except her own trepidation.

2- the pension roll-over went through finally. So the money (while not enough to retire on) is at least in a IRA that I can control. Better than nothing, I guess.

3- the #2 paper machine in Albany, OR is going to be indefinitely shut-down (a minimum of 3 months). The official word is they will restart after the first of the year, UNLESS the economy worsens. Guess that’s another of wait and see. Still it’s bad news for those folks.

Today’s poem is from 8:95 - it was accepted and printed in Semi-Dwarf Review (#4). Too bad this wonderful zine bit the dust, but the editor Leonard Cirino is still out there, writing great new poetry and publishing some unknown but very talented poets - so support his press Pygmy Forest Press, if you possibly can.


no hymn in these concrete wall
no hymns in these concrete floors

sweat is obligatory
as are steel toe shoes

knives are no sharpers than tongues
here where pay checks are not complete salvation

pulp into paper - dryer cans that do not sing
merely moan

there are only two things important here
neither of which are dreams or beauty

but who expects THAT here
where the skies too are concrete

dripping condensate steam & sweat
covered with smoke & dust & fatigue

Friday, September 26, 2008

dog surgery

the mill is in it's annual outage 5-6 days originally planned, but IP decided to try and push a price increase (for transportation costs - I suspect) and added 3-4 more days to the outage for just our mill .... so that's not a real good thing. i am scheduled back to work on Monday. Hopefully that is all that is going on. Still lots of talk of the “rationalization” suggestion by the big German bank … but at this point (it appears) to be merely talk. The job in shipping is slowly making a little sense, but I’ve got a long way to go before I really understand and even further before I am “signed off” and considered qualified.

but the biggest news around here is Nancy's dog. Nance noticed her limping about a month ago, and so took her in for x-rays. they noticed a crack in her upper leg bone and we decided to have it fixed. seems as if it was a lot more than just a crack, the top of the bone was crumbling, along with some muscle damage. They had to take off the top of the bone. it could have been caused by a puppy injury, or maybe someone had kicked her before we got her (more what we think). Anyway, she also has hip dysplacia ... not common for her breed. So all in all, it was something that would have had to be addressed anyway. So for the time being, Cocoa is limping around on three legs, but doing well. A long rehab, but things should be normal or close to it, once that is finished.

Today’s poem is from 10:97


so, what did you really expect from life ...

frost on the pumpkin,
starlings drunk on the odors.
the witch beside you retains a sorcery
you never fully understand:
she is beautiful when you need her the least,
damned bitch when you are weak.

stained glass ornament reflects the wrong colors.
you really don't care if the semblance is changed
if you could only figure out
how to put the fragments back together.

the dirt on your hands is testament
you have earned your dollars well,
& as you wash your hands, the dollars dissipate.

wind rests on the fingers of trees,
while fog mumbles of visions squandered.
rivers turn a cold shoulder.
blue heron merely waits for supper
beside the muddy waters
while the open wings of the red tail hawk -
is a sure sign of desperation.
empty talons, like the fingers of lost love,
ache to caress something soft & warm.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

is it a promise if it's not kept?

This poem is from 6:93

The training in shipping continues. I feel dumb as a stump, having trouble grasping some of the ever changing combinations of roll sizes that can go into different sized trucks or railcars. Guess it’ll come, but even as my co-workers say I’m doing fine, I feel as if it’s going to be a long, difficult transition. As far as the work, it is easier on my sore body parts, so I will continue to work at it, during my 45-90 trial period. At the end of that time period, I will know if they will let me continue in the department, or if I want out … or ....

On other news, IP has already started closing facilities it acquired in the Weyco deal, even though they indicated at the time of the buy-out that there was ‘very little” redundancy that needed to be addressed in the two systems. One mill in Valiant, OK (60 employees affected) is closing by the end of Nov. and one testing site in Oregon (5 employees affected) is closing by the end of Oct. There is talk by a German bank (one of the major lenders of the money for IP to buy Weyco containerboard) that one of the two mills in Oregon (Albany or Springfield, where I work) might need to be closed as well. At this point, it’s speculation and nothing being said up front, but the fact that the talk is there and is pretty specific is rather unsettling to say the least.

So, as usual - the turmoil continues and certainty is as vague as truth in a presidential election!


1 fatman knows god is bogus
2 has theorems to prove it
3 in calories & idle time
4 carbohydrates shout at withered bones
5 of another closet dream
6 fatman knows
7 displays his disgust

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a real Summer COLD

today's poem is from 8:97 - and it's another prose poem - and an appropriate one, as I have come down with one of those wonderful summer colds … well, it’s not 90+ degrees as described in the poem, (not complaining either ). actually it’s been a pleasant day, except for the cold. Back on night shift starting tomorrow ….

Week one in shipping is history. Actually a LOT more to learn than I realized, probably more than anyone who hasn’t done the job realizes. But I do think it will come eventually - but it will take time. Just a lot of little things, what rolls to double stack in what rail cars, the pattern to place rolls in a truck (all depending on size of trailer, and number of axels on the trailer) …. Little stuff that like.

And I got to call Vanguard again this morning … to reply to a letter from my rep. Nothing much, except the paperwork has finally arrived from Weyco, and should be processed and finalized by Oct. 1 - seems a long time to me, but I guess it’s the way the world works now days. At least I have a time frame - and I guess Vanguard will handle everything for the actual reallocation - at least that’s what I’ve been told. We shall see.


i cough. another summer cold. 89 degrees three hours after sunset. the farmers are cutting mint in dusty fields tonight. & the sweet smell is enough to gag you. their harvesters are old & dirty, as the farmers themselves, working well past their prime.

neighbor tinkers with his 63 Ford, new cam shaft & headers. this son-of-a-bitch really screams. & it does. 11 p.m., bastard machine born in heat of teenage angst & middle age crisis. he rough idles it well past midnight - maybe he evens believe it is a fountain of youth. but i don't. last virgin he saw in it was 6 month old cat, on the way to the vet for spaying.

Niquil - & an hour later i am awake to a groggy moon, watching possum (mother & 3 youth) cross through the fresh cut mint, ugly & awkward, delighting in both. i wonder if god felt this way after rebirth & hallelujah parishioners quit filling his coffer with pristine $20 bills. i cough & go back to bed, hopeful of sleep.

Friday, August 15, 2008

waiting around for paperwork gods

Today’s poem is from 12:97 - it was accepted by Cedar Hill Review in Feb. 98, but not used. It was then put in a manuscript called The Shared Dream, that was junked, but later - most of the poems, including this one, ended up in a manuscript called Humbly I Offer These Awkward Poems, which was also accepted for publication by Cedar Hill Publications, but not released before the press went defunct (for at least a while) ... a montage poem.

Called the boys at Vanguard this morning (investment specialists handling my 401k & IRA) about the status of my Weyco pension being rolled over to an IRA. Well, nothing is happening. All they need to process the piles of paperwork is a confirmation from the dear old Weyco officials of my last Date of work. Two weeks have passed and they still haven’t passed that onto Vanguard. I am not the only one in limbo over this. Seems that once they got rid of the Containerboard Division, everything to do with us has become of secondary importance. Oh well, at least Vanguard knows I am monitoring it and my representative said once they get any confirmation paperwork, he will notify me. Eventually it will happen I guess. At least the phone call confirmed all the paper work is in place and was done correctly. (Another well done for Nance!)

Now, onto the poetry … I need to go through piles of old poems pretty soon and get a few dozen more typed up for future use. I doubt after this vacation I’ll have a lot of free time, so I best set some time aside one of these extremely hot afternoons (just 99 f. or so the past two days!)

-after charles reznikoff

2 stones out of my left pocket
(no scared chips
from the pyramids,
just rough granite,
talus slope debris.)

i fling them as if curses
from this darkness. the sun
unwounded, continues to shine
upon the damned & righteously damned.

David, who returned Goliath
to dust,
surely faces legal problems.

hero or not, premeditated. The Infidels
suing for loss of plunder,

i send my name. class action
windfalls. mostly snow
gathers on my balding head these days.

blood in the gutter.

vagrant with no respect,
dying next to the garbage can
of Mr. Perfect Neighbor,

who, with rubber gloves,
opens the lid, deposits
morning scraps of burnt toast

then calls the proper authorities,
certain they bring

i do not believe he was Goliath
reincarnate, though certainly
just as worthy.

these stones are not signal flares
for the Deities
lost in eternal sleep.

i wish it were possible.

Prometheus welts upon my hands.
i have stolen more than fire.

Lucifer, i am certain,
grateful for my contributions.

all these temples in my heart -
stone upon stone -
the hecatombs as magnificent
as sex.

if God were a woman,
i believe,
sex would taste like chocolate.

we are the bones of a lost society,
homeless, decadent,
visionaries on the wrong side of success.
we are the very bones
someday someone to discover
& misinterpret.

yellow lizard upon
stone fence.

if i could sleep like that
i probably would,

open skies all the way
across the dark bay - wind
mumbling the fragrance of apple-blossoms.

she painted emotions, dreams,
primary colors -
forms far too limiting.

what was it about here
that allowed me to sacrifice myself?

what about those eyes?

yellow silk in her hair
tangled in lost winds
from the tombolo at the Little Sur,
certainly more haunting
than ghosts summoned,
but seldom responding.

O, grandfather bones! O sacred sister bones!
what was it about her fingers
that i call yet
into the voids
for deliverance?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

shipping awaits

today's poem is from the end of 10:93. thought i'd post something a little less morose, as i am on vacation and not doing a whole lot but trying to relax, listen to some old 60's music and watching some baseball on TV.

The work changes are in place. Got to become International Paper officially on Aug. 4th. So far, not any changes i can see other than new name on the entrance gate. Maybe behind the scenes there are some things going on, but not on the paper machine thus far, with the small exception of we are now making some paper for a couple of West Coast IP box plants.

the major change is i start training in shipping after my current vacation is over. i don't really know what to expect, and i do have 45 days to change my mind and go back to the paper machine if i feel it won't work for me. There is a cut in pay to go to shipping, and at first some major reduction of hours. Oh well, i'll survive the reduction in my pay-checks (even if i don't like it) and the less hours may be beneficial for my sore feet and shoulder.


crow with a viper tongue
in casual conversation
with the wind

through your autumn hair
& ambitious arms

sun coughing rainbows
across a placid river
going nowhere in particular today

through your autumn hair
& resplendent eyes

Friday, August 1, 2008


8:97 is the time frame of today’s poem.

Actually some news to report. One - before I get to add another update, I will be working for International Paper. The take-over is supposed to happen on Aug. 4th. I’ll be on night shift, 5th handing (yuk), on overtime that week. I suspect it’ll be more a symbolic change for the first few months than anything major, other than new names on the paychecks and paper rolls.

Two- the other big change (and really bigger for me), is I have decided to try to work in a different department of the mill. It took some behind the scenes negotiating (I am really amazed that some union officials actually went to bat for me and while they didn’t get the rules rewritten, they did get around the rule that was preventing me from going to the shipping department and giving that a try. And obviously the company had to agree, so it appears they worked out something that worked for both of them, to my benefit.) I am scheduled to start training in shipping the 11th of August, which is also the first day of my vacation. So, don’t know how that will work exactly, but I am certain it won’t become an issue. Now all I need is my knees and neck to hold out on a Hyster for the next half-dozen or so years. (The idea was to get off my feet and quit plugging core so my shoulder wouldn’t ache all the time, as it does now on the winder area of the paper machine. Time will tell how well the great scheme works out, I guess.) Anyway, now to the poetry.


you speak silence well.

fog is on the river tonight.
to curse it is futile,
but i curse it anyway, as i have cursed your ambivalence.

the wind writes no sonnets
on the bills of the egret,
one leg on his dark stump
beside the shallows.

i pull my collar tight,
shiver as i watch
the graffiti artists work
the darkness
behind the performing arts center,
as we all work in the thick darkness,
some more rewarding than others.

no pens in old mugs on your table,
no fibre optics connect our lives -
you dance angelically without audience,
upon the stage of the self ....

indeed, you speak silence well.

Friday, July 25, 2008

slavery never was intended to be pretty

todays poem is another from 4-93. the poem sort of reflects the mental state of becoming a pawn for another mega-company. slavery never was intended to be pretty, i don't think.

nothing new from the Day 1 realm. Just waiting around, dealing with a lot of nervous managers and uncertainty about just about every sort of detail. Lots of paperwork to be presented, and some obvious changes, like a new employee number. Pretty mundane stuff so far. Too bad the jobs won't be upgraded and all. These bones are really telling me they dislike working on the winder anymore. Ah, poor old bones. There ain't no relief anytime soon.

Summer continues. Pretty nice days lately. Not extremely hot, and actually cool in the mornings. Not like autumn and those wonderful rains, but not too terrible.


i tells you, poor old henry, busted shoes & socks wet as a river.
sing boohoo for idealism. weez just footprints in sand again.
but visions aint my cup o tea, i whispers, blinded by lights of my own desperations.
no sugar in my bed. no hot chocolate in my sack. just torn pages
i have failed to read. fantasies die cruel-like in this world i knows.

i tells you, god was born a mean bastard, sucking on hard tits
of disillusionment. he bites like dogs in heat when it feels a hurt.
poor old henry, sore & bleeding. no knee pads in his arsenal of dreams.
drinking hard liquors of damnation. sober aint bliss, he weeps.
god, like a pimp, selling pleasures for prices of slavery.

Friday, July 18, 2008

not much info on Day-1

4-93 brings us today’s poem.

Not much new on the DAY-1 info. Really all we are doing is getting bits and pieces of very minor information (such as how to direct deposit your pay-check once IP takes over), but nothing of significance, at least from my point of view. I think most of the work and effort is being done on the electronic and computer stuff, so it will integrate seamlessly. People are a lot more pliable it seems.

Other than that - just damned hot. Summer is certain making itself evident. It’s back on night shift tomorrow night, which states the rather obvious, not any updates until I get some more time off. No overtime I can see for the coming rotation, but a whole load of it after that. Booo and hiss!!


1 yawning grey seas never did notice. eternity in your eyes for the right questions. broken winged gulls conversing with the ambassadors of death. the winds of november in dialog with your hair.
2 forests wept & iris bloomed. pathways into primal dream where jays conversed in the language of rilke. only we were the unknowing.
3 apple blossoms upon the river. hearts that never did learn the perfect dialog of love. where lizards sunned themselves inconspicuously.
4 i have become the curse you sighed. thick fog absorbed the word & i walked into the darkness to become that which was undesired.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

ground control to Major Tom

Today’s poem is from 11:93. No I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet, just been on night shift, with a load of overtime … so the updates tend to be few and far between when that happens.

Speaking of updates - mailed my “retirement” packet off to Vanguard, so when “Day 1” arrives, I should have that issue taken care of. Still can’t retire of the amount I am being “given”, but it won’t hurt to get it invested and maybe working to make a little money. (Well, maybe not in the economics of Wall Street right now!) The union finally called a meeting on our retirement “rights”, of course, that was 4 days after I mailed my packet, and coming off night shift with overtime, I sort of just skipped that fiasco of a meeting. Lots of rumors about what will and will not be changed under the IP regime. I suspect some of it will come to pass, but picking which ones is probably like trying to pick lottery numbers at this point.

Very warm here in the Pacific Northwest this week. Summer is certainly here. boooo! i still prefer autumn and the cool rains.

Onto the poetry….


Avenues in which shadows live -
listening to the echoes of mission bells -
cobblestones & perfect for pictures
(except the lighting):
trashcan hearts laughing at nothing:
i walk as if a saint seeking for canonization.

The rocks of disenchantment are before you.
Gulls dance in an awkward breeze
& serpents speak with an eloquent lisp.
No one comes here to die intentionally -
rather to gaze upon the disgusted & disgusting,
then to pass onto higher plains, at least spiritually.

No one comes here to die intentionally,
but it is here the dead congregate -
vile & angry, an eclectic collection of bastards
all ready for a second chance,
here in the avenues where shadows live,
before the very cliffs of disenchantment.

All gods little children lost, out on the highway,
waiting for Moses to lead them
back into the promised land.
But, the desert is plentiful
& the company at least entertaining.
Damnation comes well disguised.

All gods little children lost, somewhere or another,
wearing the gowns of deliverance for a price,
walking like Egyptians, right into extinction
believing the message of the blind prophet
that lacks only vision & truth to be credible.
Damnation comes well disguised.

All gods little children lost, right here in paradise
fallen into disrepair, red rockets grounded.
But the company is at least entertaining
even as the skies are frigid & look like rain.
The word for today, as everyday, is:
damnation comes well disguised.

So, flip another dirty quarter.
My money is cheap, loose change for hookers,
& the dialog can be disgusting.
Bet your soul against mine -
the falling sky is the radioactive remains
of a god gone on permanent vacation.

Call a dream. Someone or something,
need know nothing of it for credence.
The cold roll of fog in your hair
& the rattle of the wind
past a milepost that is our life
nearly forgotten by any but ourselves.

The clock keeps false time.
Life is an illusion. Mirrors tell no lies.
Flip another dirty quarter.
It is all, ultimately, loose change for hookers,
here in the avenues where shadows live
looking for the remains of idealism.

Monday, June 23, 2008

slogging through the Void without a road-map

Today’s poem is from 11:93 ooolalal .... a prose poem .... haven't used this format much lately, but still like it.

Some updates … got my “packet” from Vanguard … it’ll be like going through the Encyclopedia Britannica, and while the amount is hardly enough to actual retire upon, I do need to get it reinvested - so dear old Uncle Sam doesn’t take it all in taxes, though I am certain he feels more entitled to it than I should. After all, I just gave blood, sweat and years for it. Anyway, working a bunch more overtime it appears, so I won’t be getting the forms filled out and returned before the middle of July it appears. I think I officially have until sometime in August.

And while the company (and union) promised meetings and clarification on all sorts of things, I have yet to see any of these posted. So it’s slogging through the Void without a road-map, as usual. Oh well, things progress and all the chatter is about life after Day 1, so all we can do is assume IP actually plans to run the mill, for a while at least. We shall see ….

Now onto the poetry ----


the Rolling Stones, 30 years later still moaning for Mona upon a vinyl dream no longer in print. & you upon Goat Mt. pondering the universality of buffalo grass & rats. (rats, i tells you, are angels watching the world go down the tubes.)

clouds over rancid skies in search of thermal inversions, updrafts, clouds wander as if visions waiting for mountains to crash into - wonderful thunder & the flap of wings. & you gather on Goat Mt. take it all in - as if by osmosis.

Monday, June 16, 2008

roll over, fido, you mill-worker

Today’s poem is from March 1993.

No real new information, except that everyone under 55 will be terminated the day the sale becomes official. (Aug. 4 in theory). Everyone over 55 (hey, that’s me) will be “retired”. (i am being told we then become IP employees, but so far, no one has officially stated that.) What that means is my pension needs to be taken within 90 days, either requesting an “annuity” or a lump sum (to be rolled over). oh, the paper work is just short of gargantuan. But today I began the journey. Actually, the people at Vanguard were very helpful, thus far. Next week I get to talk to a financial advisor as to specifics and terms of the roll over.

Other news? Summer is finally starting to appear. The long (and wet) spring is about over. Actually If it weren’t for the work fiasco, I would have enjoyed the spring being wet and all. Now all I need is my foot to quit aching. 12 hours (8 straight days) on that wonderful concrete floor are starting to take a toll I think. And more overtime on the horizon. So much for streamlining the work force a few years ago!! Oh well, such is life for an old paper-mill worker. Now back to the poetry. I think that’s the reason for this blog.


the river still smells where blackbirds dance in the thickets & carp dance in the reeds.
the same old river that dumps a grey ooze into turbidity current of the cold bay no one loves forever.
my soul on the edge of the wind
obsidian rock from the belly of the sea
angry knuckles that scrape the sky
her hands sails before sunset

but it is the river - stench of sugar beets & tires burning - before which i stood.
manzanita housing skylarks - & rats
the wind whispering of turbulence
temptation the very taste of her lips
succulent grapes upon vines tangled in scrub oak, where jays curse the very smell of life
perfumes that intoxicate
imaginations that refuse to forget

Friday, June 6, 2008

waiting around for DAY 1

today's poem is from 10:93.

really no word on the great DAY 1, coming around Aug. 4th. some things remain completely mysterious - such as if we actually have jobs waiting (but it has been implied we will - but nothing official has been said). a few things, nothing really significant, have been clarified - our insurance will not change until Jan. 1 (when that will be "renegotiated"), our years of service only will count towards vacation and job position seniority.


rain. i tells you. falls. no umbrellas as we watch.

i sees cracks in america. profound
theologians blames everybody but jesus
who was seen -NOT- with his finger
in the hole of another failing dike.

i tells you. the sick are not always
hospitalized. & the damned aint always
in obvious pain. ha! the eagle laughs
with one eye. no snakes in his pockets.
hungry little children watching empty skies.
no manna today, dudes - but tomorrow ...
another story, i tells it well -
same old shit in the same old underwear.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ain't loyalty wonderful?

today's poem is from 8:97.

no new news from the magic kingdom about the coming of "DAY 1". which means thaty there's no new news, and not much more. so far, no meetings on anything, no meetings scheduled as far as i can tell. Limbo lingers.

but after last week, i am still sore and tired. i am simply getting too old for this type of work, i think. And i haven't had to do the worst job (5th handing) in over a couple of weeks. Oh well. No vacation or time off at all this summer, nothing on the books until September, and by then we should be the new and wonderful IP mill. To be honest, i have no idea if they are pulling our chains about keeping our plant running, and i have no idea what part of our past (vacations, senority, etc) will be honored or tossed into the DAY 1 scrap pile. Ain't loyalty wonderful?


Is it the alignment of the planets
or predestination?
mama, i cannot be great!
damn, my hands ache, no worse
than my heart, ache none-the-less.
stars ain't twinkling eyes.
winds ain't caresses.
here, where my shirts is dirty,
where my sheets is dirty.

There is still snot in my nose.
i never learned to blow right, did i?
man, i ain't nobody's baby
no more. just old & ugly,
waiting for summer to tell me
skin is beautiful - mine like
a plague, even friends avoid contact,
if i ever had friends..

Dark skies. severe weather warnings!
all my TV screen are blank.
so, what i supposed to do
in my terminal world? my fingers
is black, as my heart is black.
mama, when i dies, bury my bones,
my dreams & scatter the ashes
over the desks of these bastard
that have made me the definition
of rejection.

Friday, May 23, 2008

some info - none of it binding

yesterday we got a bit of "news" from our interim mill manager. IP managers will be visiting our mill on June 3rd. They are part of the "transition team", but i believe i am on night shift that week, plus that is the day of felt changes and repair work to the paper machine, so not much of a chance they were going to talk to anyone but managers. (Is that a coincidence?)

there is supposed to be a commitment by Weyco to supply chip (or logs for chips) for the nexst 15 years, since IP has no timber. (They diversified about 10 years ago, on Wall Street pressure, or advice, depending on your point of view). IP is now supposed to be committed to a "West Coast" presence .... which would mean our mill has a good chance of staying operational - for a while at least. August 4 or 5 is about the time frame papers should be signed, and we will need to change our Weyco tattoos in for new IP ones, or as the new lingo goes, when "Day 1" arrives.

anyway, today's poem is from 6:93. not certain it is really non-relevant. i am hoping all the above stuff is going to happen, but something deep inside is telling me it is just hope at this point


1 cathedral bells never answered: i listened through perfect fibre optics
2 no magic in the formula that draws silence into an existence all its own

3 we were a rush of wind through broken pines
4 a mist linger after unholy rains raged through our souls

5 then came the Visigoths that we mistook for saviors
6 & we gladly followed them straight into hell

7 now we are old bones along discarded highways
8 laughing at the follies of youth, that we yet envy

Monday, May 12, 2008

almost a toon here

sort of on the down side of sunshine today, both literally and mentally. vacation is nearly over, and all the uncertainty of the mill and well, life in general is feeling pretty heavy of late. Oh well, tomorrow creeps on it's petty pace .... i think Shakespeare wrote that idea first.

today's poem  is from dec. 92.  might get one more update (or not) before heading back to night shift later in the week, and the lovely joys of 5th handing on the paper machine .... getting too old, it feels lately , for that type of work. oh well,  tomorrow .... is another day.


i tells you, no bodies wearing black arm bands
celebrating my demise.
me of all people - reading great art with a yawn.
me: ha! oaf & overweight - majestic limp
as i serve papers to myself.
guilty as assumed - boring.

i tells you, doctors aint god, or heroes,
smelling of fresh dollar bills & golf courses,
wonderfully caring - caress the pain & smiles.
squeezes blood out of turnips - alchemists they be! hurrah!
i have the face of discovery under my nose.

i tells you it is miserable being unholy & unwanted.
no clerics in litany.
no nuns in drag prayers.
just me - old & oaf-like, limping into the next blank stanza -
almost a toon.

Friday, May 9, 2008

first step to sale is approved

today's poem is from 9:93. i am on vacation this week, the last one while with Weyco i think. The Justice Department gave the OK on May 5 for the sale of the containerboard division to IP . So, things should begin to progress rather quickly and as early as August 5, or there abouts, we will be IP. Maybe they will keep us running. So far, no indications on anything has surfaced. Hopefully some answers will be forthcoming soon. We shall see, i suppose. After this week of vacation, i again start nightshift, so the poem was some immediate relevance, to me at least.


no sleep
i stand before the threshold
guardian of visions
i cannot understand

water runs
down the backside of dawn
colors run
& stain my heart with imperfections

no sleep
i am uncertain if dawn
is a blessing or a curse
the moon laughs as if a whore rejected

i wear the garments of fatigue
as if the cloak of joseph
waiting for the rains of winter
& skies that are forever dark

Monday, April 28, 2008

rather symbolic

another poem from 8:95. rather symbolic of the feelings lately - esp. from the containerboard mill ....


they spoke in riddles
old men with languages of their own
old men who had their own myths
from places so far away
they never were real

they fumbled with napkins
as the waitress tried to hurry them
they counted pennies & dimes for tips
like it really made a difference

when the dark wind spoke to them
with fog & blackened leaves
they seemed deaf
they just hobbled along avenues
like they had all day to get somewhere

Monday, April 21, 2008

dandelion seeds in the wind

another 7:95 poem, published in April 1998 by Vantage Point. Gotta love them small presses and their dedicated editors, and of course gotta love all those that help support those presses.

back to the linerboard machine in the morning ... so most likely no updates for four or five days ...


words are dandelion seeds in the wind
beautiful as they spiral
into the cracks of broken sidewalks
- all too easily ignored
& stepped upon
by non-believers

call the night lover, as fog slips
from the river
& peers through your window
you stare into dark eyes
reach for pale flesh
darkness is no comfort

the price paid - from our vantage point
the sun is a curse & inspiration
-as is the rain, the wind
to the dandelions
they are merely tools
of existence

words are dandelion seeds in the wind
the estate gardeners may not see beauty
but the children laugh
as they blow the seeds
into a dark wind -
the perfect incantation

Sunday, April 20, 2008

we shall see

today's poem is from 8:97 .

late April and the past two mornings, there has been snow before daybreak. Nothing major, and it's melted as soon as the sun manages to get through the clouds. just a twist in the weather, but pretty interesting stuff for late April.

we hear August is the earliest before the IP transaction of the papermill could happen. i suspect lots of rumors and uncertainty by then. i'll keep you posted, as i hear things. right now, the biggest concerns are if the mill will continue to run and for how long. We already know that the retirement issues will be pretty messed up. we shall see.

-after carruth

you can look for love
the way old men wait for buses -
wondering when they changed the time-table.
frost on the hood of cars that no longer run,
all bundled -or it is gift wrapped-
for the season.

or you can search for it
like a spelunker,
in all the hard to find places of strip malls,
as if it were a discount bin treasure.

neither way works well.
if you find one that does,
send proofs. you have my address.

the wind scatters cup & napkins
from the McDonalds down the street.
i tell you, they don't pay me
to keep this street clean.
ain't no love worth finding
on dirty napkins anyway.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

in memory

Today’s poem is from 1:5:94 - i wrote quite a few poems about my sister Lori, after her death. she was born a year and week after me. we were best of friends. this one was written on what would have been her birthday. She died of cancer in her early 30’s.


i tells you, ghosts in this frozen wind
bites the balls off angels.
in a gale. intellectuals finds uncomfortable ways
to dismiss it. me: i pees my pants
in solemn worship.
ghosts - i seen 'em
wearing gowns of stars,
wearing fallen leaves in their hairs,
like the wind itself.

i tells you, january ain't no time for canonization.
water wears a crazed stare & the wind
hobbles on one drunken leg.
ghosts whispers
in a gale. holy men worship stone,
swearing ghosts be demons. fools, Ha!
ghosts be the loneliness of dreams. i tells it proud,
even if i pees my pants in worship.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

only a pawn in the game

8:93 is the time frame for today's poem ... but the sentiments are pretty much what i've been feeling since Weyco put the containerboard division for sale, and esp. since the "sale" to IP has been announced and all the either non-information or misinformation that has proliferated since. As of now, all we have been told for certain is August is the earliest the sale can be completed and the Weyco pensions (as crappy as they are) will not be carried over to IP, thus everyone now employed by Weyco will be retired the day the sale is finalized (with all the penalties of early retirement levied?). The "seminars" promised by the big company to clarify all this are now surfacing as "webinfo" gatherings. nothing like that personal touch, you know, from the Mother Company, letting her children go forth into the wicked world .... damn, i should be putting Bobby Dylan's "Only A Pawn In Their Game" up as the theme of the day ...


i tells you, god is a whore
on the rag,
looking cross-eyed at the world
no favors to grant.

i speaks to him in eloquent soliloquies
& he does not understand,
nothing but cold cash
keeps his attention.

i shaves with a dull razor,
the old face knows the terminology of pain
& is not made beautiful.

my limp could have been heroic
had it been upon a rare visionary,
rather than an old man.

i cuts sunlight into broken patters
misplaced in pockets
& limps around the darkness,
seeking places to enlighten.

rainbows ignore me
as they cradle mossy mountains
& i caresses rust.

no explanations.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

vacuum cleaner blues

today's rumor mill contains a hot one - seems our mill manager (and thus a company vice president) "resigned immediately", as explained in a note sent out to all employees yesterday (ie the personnel to be sold in the mill change-over) .. but the talk in back rooms is he was removed due to inappropriate statements made to some secretaries. Who knows? Well, someone does, and i doubt they are saying anything beyond the official statement.

spring is sort of arriving. cool and cloudy today, with a chance of rain - but still in the 50's and nights above freezing. but hey, i am on vacation for a week, and the weather isn't really an issue. Besides, soon i am off to really celebrate - buying a new vacuum cleaner, as the old one bit the dust (oh, well, bad pun) yesterday ..

the poem for today comes from 2:98. a pleasant piece, for a change.


afternoon sunshine where the cat
once slept. two shadows converse
about the latest government crisis.
old woman in a dark kitchen
cooks the same dish as yesterday,
the thin cat between her feet.
in the streets young boys at football
until curfew.

Friday, April 4, 2008

a slave - on vacation

today's poem comes from 7:93.

i am on vacation this week and hopefully will get a couple of new posts up, or at least get a few poems typed up for possible future use...

no rumors lately from the great Kraft Linerboard machine. Of course, there remains a HUGE uncertainty about what IP (International Paper) plans to do with us. One of the Weyco webpages said, so matter of factly, that IP bought the containboard as well as the employees. (Gee, i thought they fought a war in the 1860's to do away with buying and selling of humans ... must not have had to do with the paper industry ....) Anyway, whenever the deal is finalized, August or there abouts we are hearing, though nothing is confirmed, we will become the property of IP. Here's to hoping they are good masters.


the candle never lit
remains perfect
as the prayers rehearsed but never offered

rain off a window
that sees the mundane repeated
until it past boring
now a vigil

two arms aching
as they hold the stones of despair
bones that ultimately fail
& dreams that keep life a possibility

the candle waits
a dream
yet to be ignited

Saturday, March 29, 2008

surviving the blue meanie of colds

another from Nov. 92 - the 92-95 era was one of my most prolific times. This poem expresses the way a lot of people seem to be feeling at work - as well as life in general.

No news from the reported sale of Weyco containerboard …. Things seem to be pretty much the same as before the announcement. Lots of concern, lots of uncertainty and simply nothing that resembles facts. Both Weyco and our dear loving union plan seminars on the retirement issues before the sale is finalized. As of yet, no dates for those seminars has been set.

The cold seems to be fading, slowly. Still have a lingering cough, but it is less frequent and less hostile than the past week or so. The chances of survival seem to be extremely high at the moment.


the angry wear many masks, each of broken hearts & dreams as vague as miracles.
dying is no easy task. but the dead are boring & become accustomed to it.
the angry smile through clenched smiles. curse with laughter.
& saints be beautiful - even if invisible. they radiate as a comets across desert skies.
the angry stare with stone eyes. hearts of iron, warped & disenchanted. they are flowers never to bloom & are walked upon in irreverence.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

no rumors, just some bitterness

another poem from nov. 92. the uncertainty and to be honest, bitterness at the current dealings of the Rogel led Weyco - it seems rather in tune to my feelings at the moment. Of course, i am not privy to the wonders (and dollars) of how big business deals with profit margins ... only how it affects the lower tear levels of mankind - ie the workers.

we really know nothing new about the sale situation. IP has gathered enough funding from 5 world banks, and US government approval (IP would become the leading paper manufacturer in the US) is easily expected. If they will keep our mill running, or if they will sell us, or shut us down in favor of other mills is one of the great unknowns. Another of the unknowns is how any of this will affect retirements. After all, i'm only 6- to more likely 8 years from that magic time .... more as it unfolds, but i really expect no REAL news or updates to be clear until about the time the sale becomes final - which is expected to be in the 3rd quarter (June to August time frame).

now, onto the real purpose of this blog ... the poetry.


no one dancing on my grave. i tells you. ashes
in a daisy scented wind.
i admire the laughter of stone. pristine women
passing. not a miracle to be savoured
as i lay in waiting.

st. pete was not a friend. best or otherwise.
rolling loaded bones in dirty corners of paradise,
hookers on his arm, as was my watch.
st. pete snickering. me a lonely broke
counting loose change for pleasures
not to be granted.

you tells me it pays to be idealist.
god fearing weenies laughing
in dark rooms of heaven

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

stage two for the rumors

well, one part of the rumor mils was put to rest yesterday. The mill is no longer for sale - upon government approval - we will soon be IP (International Paper) . If this is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen. Certainly a lot of fodder for the rumors to get going until some things, such as, if we will continue to operate, job selections, pensions , vacations and minor issues such as those get resolved. The buy-out is expected to be finished in the 3rd quarter (June to August). i'll keep you posted.

on another issue, got a really wonderful cold that's simply kicking my butt. Feel like - well, crummy. Of course, we are on heavy weight export orders, just to make certain there isn't a chance of feeling a tiny bit better at work.

and here's a poem to celebrate that crummy cold feeling we all know so well .... it's from 3-93. some formatting issues, so it may look a bit strange in the blog ...


The cough that comes with the morning fog & stays the afternoon
(it is mine)
the ache of bones in disrepair
(i have known them)

i tells you, i am old
pain is my smile
& anger my religion
my prayers to a god who is feeble & blind
bleeding the system for all it is worth
i tells you, i am dying
slow & imperfect
the distress of cells enraged
hurrah! for therapeutics that dont work

come, cough with me, in the darkness of dawn, when venus is bright & the sun begins to slither over black brooding mountains
we can exchange miracles or simply dialog
our shirts still stained with the filth of dreams failed
& our hands bloodied from gallant but futile effort
come, let us be heroes in our last hours
visionaries believing in the unknown
voyagers waiting for passage
it is all subjective, as the river sweats & dawn is a whisper

Saturday, March 15, 2008

totally unseasonal poem

end of Oct 92 poem. OK, so it's not exactly a seasonal poem ....

spent the afternoon trying to install a new kitchen light fixture. first new one simply failed to work. second one works, but the "manual" and installation procedure seems to have been written by some sort of sadistic figure in a dark room that never has had to deal with public feedback whatsoever. i mean, how hard can you make it ... well, obviously a lot. anyway, it reminded me why i am not a handyman, and reconfirmed why i never want to become one.

no news on the work front, except the rumors have not died down, just the names of potential buyers changes on a regular basis. i certainly hope no one is trying to keep score on this one. so, it's still up in the air, still causing a lot of bubbling in the guts .... and still as unresolved as ever!

at any rate - onto the poetry .....


pumpkins that smile, even as they rot. the rain that smells of sugar daddies.
& the ghost of all the dreams that never came true: out of the closet & up on your back - door to door, as a hobo, seeking truth.
the song of dark leaves swirls in your hair. the laughter of some else’s happiness echoes. it is all as haunting as you allow it.

will you hunt down the witches in your heart
or finally take to reading their awkward manuals

no candles allow in these haunted hallways
where the wind is merely the screaming of tormented hearts

will your god finally listen to your elegant prayers
or will you ultimately learn to speak the tongues of the desperate

someone knocks at your door - dressed in drag
you do not recognize him for what he is
offering pleasantries in place of magic

& i am on the hobo train into the land of forever rain
watching the dark skies for the glow of your halo
not knowing what lost is, not knowing what it means to be missed

someone knocks at your door - dressed in drag
you do not recognize him for what he is
offering pleasantries in place of magic

Saturday, March 8, 2008

potions of regeneration?

today's poem is from 3-93. not much going on here today. what was supposed to be a rainy day, is pleasant, nearly 60 F. it's back to the salt mines in the morning, more of those ever lovely export orders. i can hear the bones creaking already ...... "where are the magic potions?" i asked the floor.


1 searching for the potions of regeneration, i come to your door
2 tired & old, as the wind upon summer days that make not a ripple upon the lost rivers
3 that inhabit these dark mountains
5 wake me when there is magic in the dawn
6 & the rats are full of dante in evening skies
7 more than willing to share the secrets
9 seeking the potions of regeneration, i come to your door
10 sick & feeble, as the moon over the city, whispering no incantations worth remembering
11 unable to remember much of anything
13 wake me when you are willing to disclose your ancient magic
14 & the sound of summer is in your voice
15 falling down upon me as morning rains of these dark mountains

Thursday, March 6, 2008

a previously published poem

OK, to take a short break from the unpublished, unsolicited poems, here's a poem from The Fatman In The Mirror -published by Pygmy Forest Press (editor Leonard Cirino). Again, a chant of approval for small presses, and for the editors that put their heart, soul and money into keeping real poetry alive. Leonard Cirino is one of those great people. Besides being a wonderful editor (and great friend) he is a master poet. Difficult, interesting, intellectual and important. If you are interested in getting some of Cirino's poetry, there's a link to some of his poetry on the right - and his email address is on that site.

now here's a baseball poem, so this post serves two purposes, one to toot the Pygmy Forest Press (and Leonard's) horn, and another to get closer to the feel of the American past-time.


it was the ninth inning. john wayne stepped to the plate, pointing to the centerfield bleachers, exactly as ruth in the '27 series.

jesus christ was on the mound, relief specialists par excellence. he had a fast ball that was a blur & a change-up that made no sense.

it was the ninth inning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


a poem from 87-89 - influenced by Walt Whitman - sort of - and a prose poem .


i will keep my hands upon the stone and as i weep the stone will weep and as i laugh the stone will laugh and as i crumble the stone will crumble into such finite ash the wind itself will hardly notice it being passed upon its wings.

Friday, February 22, 2008

they love my sweat, most of all

another from 3-93, this one published in the Fall of 1997 by The Poet's Attic Quarterly, another of those ever important small press 'zines that need your support. this poem is about the time i was a night watchman at Cuddeback Lumber Co.

not much else going on, back to work in the morning - with a whole bunch of overtime on my plate later next week. Oh, them guys love me at the mill, that is for certain ..... or well, maybe not - just love my sweat i think.


it is of carrying clocks i speak
& broken hands that fumble them
shards of glass
& steel
that measure nothing
it is of eternity stopped

that vigil without purpose
those peering eyes that see the same thing until it is the only thing

dante on the gramophone singing delta blues
it is
it is no longer a necessity to be coherent
coherency is a virtue of the vibrant living

now i dance nervously to the chaotic chords

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

them rumor mills are still alive

6:93 brings us today's poem - accepted and printed by Melting Trees Review in 1997 .. i keep saying it, because it is important - support local and small presses ....

still rumors persist about a sale or merger, but with little facts to support it, but just enough not to dismiss them. Oh, the joys of papermill work!! as usual, the future is as clear as mud and as tasty.


fog stumbles from the dark river
the wind coughs, almost a whimper
dawn, not yet a silver streak
in a black horizon, exhales
a dank whisper. i am four
days without the moon. as usual
the temple is vacant. no one
in the vestibule to canonize.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

i hear voices saying night shift is next, darn.

night shift starts tomorrow - oh, joy of joys ... oh well, it's a pay-check and i guess that still is the real name of the game.

today's poem (well, tonight's) is from Nov. 92.

other things OK around here. rather warm, unwintry weather the past couple of days. of course colder weather is expected when i get to night shift. pretty ho-hum statement when the big news is nice weather ..... onto the poetry.


even jesus had no idea how absurd it would all become
me with my broken bones (looking for golgatha
& finally - peace) - you before the sun coast
dancing in the warm waters (nimbus seem
only by true believers)

even jesus had no idea how magnificent pain could make you feel
how it can justify just about anything
all of us performing miracles
praying to gods yet to be discovered
each a galaxy in formation

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

one for me, two for the taxman

oct 92 is the source of today's poem, which somehow i think was either posted once, or is in a manuscript or something. anyway, it seems terribly familiar, not that it really matters.

off to the taxman later today - getting another of my very patriotic duties taken care of.

other than that - life is pretty ho hum around here lately - outside the paper world, which remains on the auction block and rumors again are flying of potential buyers and all the doom and gloom that can accompany these sort of things. we shall see. this week we have our quarterly state of the mill address, which may or may not express movement on that issue.


i tells you, man, life is a bitch. we with no spoons,
our dirty fingers in the soup. alchemists
we sadly aint, snorting the vapors
of the industrial revolution. not exactly the elixirs
of inspiration. ha! i tells you, does the best that can be done
within circumstances.
upon the golden road, no sign-posts signal our arrival -
but weez here, undoubtedly, singing the songs
we finds a necessity. sour voiced, as always, my loves
gone awry.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

a wintry poem

today's poem is from march 93. a rather typical wintry day here in the Pacific Northwest.

not a lot going on today. just trying to recover from a hard night-shift past ... preparing to head back to the salt-mines in the morning.


winter in your pocket.
scarves upon your heart. no dancing shoes
as rain turns to ice
& no crows visit your window sill
with miracles.

broken rock
in the shade of josuha tree. no dreams
as the wind carves tales into your face
you cover with the oils
of max factor.

unprayed rosary.
salvation waits, as if an apparition
lacking only form. vapors of your breath
linger in a frozen sky, as you query
the cold of faith.

Monday, February 4, 2008

back from death by overtime - for a bit

Today's poem was accepted by The Hunted News - printed June 1998, written March 93. support them small presses, of your choice, whenever you can.

well, i am sort of back from a long stretch of overtime and really rotten nights at ye olde paper mill. sore, tired and feeling very used-up ... oh well. pretty normal stuff any more it seems.


the dying understand visions, i tells you,
upon the threshold gallantly observant
of nothing. ha! the underwear clean as
tide. see the face of jesus in the armpits
of the deranged. i walk the line, mama,
right into oblivion. hurrah for heroics.

i tells you right. the scum will inherit the earth,
whored to its potential. my mama didnt raise
no fools, even if unholy. i salute corporate
america, where only here can a full fledge
idiot rise to unpure wealth.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

a REAL snow day

a poem from Jan 93.

just a quick update, so the world will know i haven't dropped off the face of the planet. well, i sort of have .. at least metaphorically ... dropped into the abyss called overtime and lack of sleep. more of it starting tomorrow. in fact, i get to go to work twice! ain't i lucky, ZR?

and today is a real snow day ... about 6 inches fell this morning. this olde town ain't used to the white falling stuff, and is at a stand-still. Emergency snow measures are now in effect, no cars allowed to be parked on certain streets, that's to allow emergency vehicles and road clean-up, and oh yes, the buses access. Anyway, it's certainly is a slippery mess with more of the same for tomorrow. the weather gods finally got it right, said rather sarcastically.

well, that's the news today. again, it'll be a few days ( a week most likely) before i get back into the blog world, as the overtime hath been scheduled and that is as close to being etched in the stone of Moses as you can get.


gulls dance in the salty gales of january
their laughter is pure & simple
their elegance obvious to the trained eye

in the ever fog of uncertainty
beams the magic of your smile
i believe it is a beacon with a purpose
even if i cannot decipher it

poems are like dreams
i sail as multi-colored kites
in the winds of disenchantment

reject poems are like smiles
that fail to bring joy
it does not mean they are not magical
it means only they are unaccepted

i stand a statesmen
guts over glory
& the ability to harbor dreams

brown & dirty gulls are my poems
i would like to believe
someone smiles in their approval
at such strange convictions

Friday, January 11, 2008

singing in the rain

this poem is from Oct. 92, a highly prolific time for me - often 3 or 4 poems a day, not that many survived editing. Ah, the good ole days!


we sang - in dark thickets - songs of our youth
under an unknowing sky
beneath dying mountains that didnt even know it
- songs of our youth:
full of bravado and dreams -
dreams as frail as morning frost on picket fences trying to stop the wind
dreams as far away as stars

we were alive, no skeletons in our closets to slow us down
no miracles seething in our pockets for explanations
we were the essence of wind:
over the rocks, or through them if necessary, caressing the mountain
even as it crumbled, brushing our hearts, but never really noticing
until later:
much later

we were eagles, or at least hawks
knowing the skies were merely avenues

& somewhere, i cannot be certain if it was a thursday morning
or tuesday night, the dreams turned into nightmares
& curses became reality - curses of forgetfulness:

the skies became miracles waiting discovery
& the mountain was no longer old
it was dead.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

a rhyming poem (has this been posted already?)

Today's poem is from late Oct 92.

Today i was also given an invitation to participate in the new Max-Rex created blog "Madness Is".  i humbly accepted and will attempt to add something later this afternoon, though i suspect my additions will be few and far between. (A link to that blog  and some other poetry related things is on the right side of this post, in of all things, the LINKS section. )

still have a couple of days off before heading back to night shift, and some wonderful overtime.
i doubt there will be any updates when i hit the overtime. 
if this blog is silent for a week or more, have no fears, i am just in the "zombie" 
cycle as we call it here. i will attempt to make at least one more update before then, but no promises. Sometimes life just gets in the way of creativity, as i am certain you've noticed in
your personal affairs from time to time...

also, worked on a few older poems this morning (98 & 95 era) - they are just waiting to be added down the line. so, unless i totally lose interest, or life hands me one of those hands where doom & damnatioin are my only options, looks like i'll keep this up and running for a while.


i wished i were jesus walking on the sea of galilee
with 13 ignorant disciples following me
right into damnation

always rain on the horizon
stirring the troubled waters

i wished i were armstrong aboard the lunar eagle
or at least darwin on the deck of the beagle
waiting to discover truth

always storms in the offing
distorting the troubled waters

i wished i were caesar before the rubicon
meditating the significance before a spectacular dawn
ready to shed the gowns of innocence

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

a short prose poem

from 1-93 - another prose poem. sort of fitting for the weather we've been having here in the Pacific Northwest lately.

not much going on here today.  i'm on a few days off, before more ovetime on the night shift. that needs no more comment than that.


nothing in the ice & snow but cold. no one visits these frozen outposts but the doctors of lunacy & adventurers seeking free shelter. & we think of ourselves as ancient gods waiting for admiration, when we are in fact nothing more than relics of an age that no longer exists. we are ghosts, shadows upon the tundra no one sees, lost to brilliance of northern lights.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

another work related poem

last poem written in Dec. 92. Just a reminder to myself, don't forget to get back to the papermill in the morning .......


a light frost clings to broken beams
that were once sites of steady employment

i watch two shabby crows pick at the rotted timbers
believing yet in the american dream
wondering if it is fate or effort
that speaks the distinct language of success

gaze for a moment into uncertain skies
& then turn around to the sound of the paper making machines
questioning how long these can continue
to produce magic

the sound of the river
adorned by a blue heron
the whisper of thickets
housing night creatures
the jingle of loose change
in a once empty pocket
the laughter of comrades
in a world struggling for the ideal
the ability to pursue dreams

gospels are written in eyes & hands
are spoken with action

we celebrate in union
(sometimes less than holy)
an attainment
of common dreams
(in theory at least)

set goals that require
the best we can offer
until the plug is pulled
by someone who has never
soiled his hands
from tanks of overflowed pulp