Monday, December 14, 2009

A December entry

The papermill is slowly struggling to restart. The freezing weather meant lots of broken pipes and frozen pumps and other joys. Add that to the 6 weeks of downtime, and the complications were extreme. But, after two days of actually trying to run the paper machine, we began to make paper early Sunday morning.

However, our sister mill 50 miles to the North has been closed forever. I guess the powers to be decided two West Coast mills were one too many, and they have ceased operations at the Albany plant. The mill will be “parted out” to other mills in the IP system, and then the site leveled over the next 5-10 years according to the stories I’ve heard. That is indeed a major bummer.

As hinted early, the weather has been frigid. Single digits at some nights over the last week. Hardly (if at all) above freezing in the daylight hours. But, some warmer rain has come in this weekend, and it’s started to be the normal gray drizzle that’s December in Oregon.

Today’s poem is from 11:93


a room in which no ghosts live - the light
casting no shadows. it is the sound of november
i hear, the echo of ice forming. the wind
does not whisper down these halls. it moans -
like old bones waiting for summer.

the whisper that is night forming - another moan
from the cold wind that is winter formed.
i walk the dark floors as if a river
lost in the wetlands, where fog sneaks off water
& is lost in cold vallies, waiting for summer.

letters are collected, as dust, in drawers
that are never opened - perhaps there is room
for dark spirits, but none visit these passages.
i watch paper yellow, scratch epigrams
that offer no solace, waiting for summer.

in these dark rooms are forests where beasts
live & breed. i walk the worn paths
until there is nothing & i become nothing.
frost waits, perched on fence posts, as a hawk,
waiting for darkness, waiting for summer.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

a poem between overtime

Had a good visit with Carrie, though I only got a day and a half off out of the week she was here. But Nance and she spent a lot of time together. was great to see and be with her again.

Work has been a mess. Loads of overtime and now the company is asking for cut-backs (pay concessions) in Sunday pay, holiday pay, and call-in times, as well as a two-tier pay system (all new employees would make significantly less than current pay scales, but the current employee pay rates would not be changed - or so we've been told.). The timing for these “requests” for the mills to “fall in line” is rather peculiar, just after they have closed 5 facilities this month. I suspect they will get what they want, as all the workers are not in any position to turn down these issues, and have the company shut down more facilities.

Today’s poem is from 9:93


little that you are

calendars. clocks. moonstorms. time passes
in the strangest ways

some as serene as the wind through dark pines
some as awkward as teen-age girls in roller blades
butt down on the sidewalk

& dreams change
from fluffy bears to dragons. all as cuddly
as you allow.

little that you are
i am as old as the wind - as broken
(pines & mountains & the smiles of women break
more than bones)
& i am as in love with your laughter
fading into the network of a real world
as the first day

little that you were -

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

yes, i am still around

Ah, a return of the zombie blogger ….. Yes, ZR, there is a place where I fade into these nights (& days). It’s called work. Lots of overtime lately, and more coming. 14 day/nights out of the next 16. Indeed, it’s better than being unemployed.

One day, the bosses say there will be a month to two month lay-off beginning in mid-November. The next day, they tell us, no lay-offs, and the paper machine will restart as soon as the major rebuild of the boiler system in recovery is completed. So, no one is really certain what the hell is going on, except we continue to run export orders, and continue to amass a lot of overtime for September and October. When I return to work tomorrow, I expect a whole new bag of uncertainties to be opened.

The only really big news, or only news I am giving any real value to, is Carrie is visiting from Wisconsin later this week. I will only get two days off while she is here, but we’ve only seen her once since Hurricane Katrina wiped her out of New Orleans. So, some time with the gypsy child is better than none!

here is a10:97 poem until the next (and who knows when) update :


in your back yard, crows sit upon the stone fence
eating cracked corn & pithy apples.
there are no rings upon your fingers
that called sunset fog from Dirty River,
that drew sin from my bones,
but where unable to open your heart.

winter rain in your hair -
summer dust in my fingers -
i would have offered the skies
if you asked.
the crows on the banks of Dirty River
are obnoxious & loud. farmers
& rednecks take pot shots at them.
i was certain at least one
held the incantation.

long after dark, i still scan the river banks
for the magic in fallen feathers.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

cooler, at least the weather

Summer is winding down. It’s still warm, but not uncontrollably hot. In fact, we had a couple of rainy days a week or so ago. Ah, the lovely sound of rain at night!

Work continues, but not at the record pace they set this summer. The paper machine is running “only” at 90% and that is expected to last at least through the end of the year, due to the still sluggish economy. There will be a 6 week outage in November and December, when they shut-down to repair the boiler (long overdue and very expensive, but necessary.) Obviously the mill cannot run without steam, so most of the employees will be laid-off for 3 or more weeks of the outage. They will be some work for senior operators, but I don’t fall into that category. So, from the early part of Nov. (unless they have extra work for a week or so, as some rumors indicate), I will be off until at least mid- to late Dec.

During the time from now until the outage, we are running almost nothing but export rolls, and quickly running out of places to store them at our site. They are not due and cannot be shipped until the outage occurs (when the senior operators will load them into trucks.). There could be a lot of overtime between now and then, moving rolls to external storage sites. Oh, doesn’t that sound like a lot of fun? NOT!

This poem is a rather dark one from 1997 - a poem accepted by Hunger Magazine in 1999. Another of those small press magazines that need your support. i do not recall if it was ever actually published or not.


ruddy river. flood stage. kingfisher & i above the turbines at Leaburg Dam
watch the faceless body move slowly, less than elegantly,
between the logs & tree stumps.
his blue Chevrolet eventually
to be breeding grounds at the bottom
of Bear Creek, if the Army Corps of Engineers
leave it lodged in Salmon Hole.

County Sheriff rescue boat
4 miles up river, still negotiating the debrie
of the bridge washed out in last years floods.
kingfisher assures me the body will wait
in the backwash of the boomlogs. mostly
we just watch the river changing colors.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Streets Hotter than a Matchhead - according to John Sebastian

After a week of heat, real heat 105-106 on the olde Fahrenheit scale, and a mere 114 on the Hysters (forklifts) we drive at work, I am ready for fall, all the wonders of fog and rain and chilly winds.

Today’s poem is from 2:94.

Not much else going on. Work, heat and not enough sleep - so like, man, what else is new?

Take care. Support them local and small presses as much as you can. I’ll post again sometime, but as is rather obvious, there is not a lot of urgency or regularity in it these days.


trees, which hold up the hem of the sky,
are being felled. & the sky too is falling.

i know trees grow old, diseased & die. but
the same seems to be true of the sky.

night is an incantation of insignificant things -
the chirp of cricket, the moan of toad.

night spills from the edge of failed dreams. &
the sparse trees can no longer hold the entire sky.

soon, crickets tell me, there will be only darkness -
the canvas full of pin holes -

scratches left by the fallen trees, only memories,
gone the way of other prophets.

the sky is now in the very lap of toads -
the tattered hem no longer beautiful.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

summer is back and it's HOT

Summer is back … oooh, and it’s hot in the olde Pacific Northwest. I like warm weather, but not HOT. OK, I like cool, wet weather the most, this is certainly not in that mold.

Work continues. It seems the Springfield mill is one of the very few in the International Paper system running at over 100%. The export (Asian) market and summer crops on the west coast seem to be strong for the time being. There is still talk of lay-offs (possibly) or extended downtime in October, when the mill will be forced down due to a 6 week repair on the Boiler (steam creating machine). Every week or two, what will can (will) go on during that time changes. So it’s a guessing game, as usual.

Today’s poem is from 11:93. It’s a prose poem.


do all your dreams end up being candy apple red?
America is more than the right arm of Nolan Ryan into the eight inning.
perhaps it is little more than the hills waiting to be tilled, covered by a late frost & the sound of fog clinging to an alabaster stream.
perhaps America is really simply the sound of geese in formation, just after the sky is painted charcoal.

along the avenues drugs kill more than minds.
tiffany lamps stand slightly askew in the corner of an imperfect Norman Rockwell home.
believe in god if you will.
eventually even that is reduced to a statistic.
in the end, it is a comforting statistic, as the laughter of children dreaming of dancing bears & cuddly clouds that do spectacular things in an acid sky, if for only a moment.

collectibles in your closet, no value to anyone but the money man - who must be the ultimate curse.
the glow of cheeks in an early morning snow - peddle that to the strangers in your heart.
frozen nights, and clear skies reveal the Pleiades - the whole universe never to be reduced to an equation - just a step away, just a step away.
the horned owl in silhouette across the moon: worms will tell you everything of god, if you translate the rhetoric of life accurately.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

too hot for a fogman

A poem from 8:93.

Record heat for the past few days for May at least …. And I am NOT a fan of the heat. Rain, fog … that’s perfect weather in my book. Oh well. Back to night shift tomorrow.

Not much really to update. Work is continuing. The markets are good right now, it appears and the paper machine is running at full speed. It’s a mixed blessing, as it means a LOT more work, but at least it does mean work and a pay check. No complaints on that one.

Decided to post at least a little longer., though it will be erratic most likely, sort of how it’s been all along, I guess. Thanks to all who added some feedback to the previous update. Good to know someone is out there reading (and even better appreciating) the poetry. Thanks to all.


the fatman stares at god
with one angry eye
corns on his toes
& a limp that wins no races
no fans

the fatman finds rejection
an art form
wears dull masks
to match his rhetoric
perfectly visible to at least himself

the fatman watches truth
lay naked before a setting sun
protected by salted weeds that guarded more than surf
he has felt truth
but never honestly experienced it

Friday, May 22, 2009

what now?

OK, it's been a while, and i am still uncertain if i'll continue much longer with this effort. i am inclined at the moment (obviously since i am posting today) to keep it alive, even if minimally, as it's really the last link i have to my poetry being made public. i haven't written anything new since shortly after the 2001 lay-offs ... and there is nothing i can see right now that will alter that decision.

anyway, who knows if the end is near for this blog, or if this is just a SLOW phase, or a pattern where i will post now and again. it's not like i don't have material available. There are literally thousands of poems in rough draft form in my desk drawer, from over 30 years (although it's all at least 10 years old now). i really have no idea if or where this is going at the present. any thoughts?

this poem is from 7:93.


i tells you, Elijah's in the closet
counting skeletons. hearts of fire
burn to imperfect ashes.
frost in my touch. corn cobbs
my palace. it is insanity,
they tells me, that i be -
loon on the pond, dancing in the rain.
hurrah for heroes willing to be sacrifices.

i names the little black dog jesus christ
ankle biter with a smile,
not a bit of sense. i laughs a little
at whimsy, unwilling to partake fully.

i speaks with a lisp
tongues foreign to even me.
eternity wears a dress. no panties.
& me without a condom. ha!

Friday, March 27, 2009

lots actually happening behind the scene

For lack of updates … lots actually happening behind the scene.

Either the economy is slowly turning, or someone is crazy, but the mill is resuming full operations, after 3 months of running at 70-80%. That means, lots more work and hard driving in the shipping department. There is also a slight (not likely, but a possibility) that I will be bumped to the truck dock. While that is an easier job, straight day shift, it is also a significant reduction in pay, like 35%. Someone has taken that job, on a month trial basis …. We’ll see how that plays out. As is, it’s back to night shift starting tomorrow night.

Today’s poem is from late July 93, and it’s a montage poem.

Also, not certain where this blog is headed (again). The lack of updates make it obvious it’s not a top priority at this point. It’ll probably limp along for a while before I make a decision to keep it alive (and hopefully keep it updated on a regular basis) or let it fade off to the obscurity it appears to be in at the moment.


the residue of dreams shattered
wears just like a nimbus

we are heroes in our own idealism
perfect bastards worth suffering

so we strut our stuff just like the emperor
in new clothes

but in the alone
of our dreams
we formulate miracles
in an empty sky

carve intricate epitaphs
upon the bones
that nearly support

& who will be our next jesus
when they have cut down
all the trees

upon what secrets
will they nail
our vulnerabilities

autumn leaves
rattling in a wind
lacking incantation

we stand
waiting for discovery
upon the plains of uncertainty

immortality is within our grasp
dust the immediate legacy
just like adam
who believe hell was paradise
worshiping ignorance
waiting still for canonization

the little dreams of bastards
do not amount to a hill of beans
to deranged gods

i will be the curse uttered
upon the fulfillment of damnation

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

not a lot to report

Today’s poem is from 9:97

Not a lot to update or report. Things at the mill remain pretty much the same - in a slow back mode due to the economy. Things are expected to pick up in March, when the fruits and vegetables in California are going to need boxes for harvest. Of course, that all depends on the demand ….

Still loads of rumors about what is going to and not going to happen with the elimination of the regular paper tester job. The job isn’t going away, just some people with idle time (HA!) on their hands, such as the back tender or 4th hand, will have to do the testing now. Rumors are just that, and no managers seem to be willing to address anything until it something actually comes to pass.

Warmer nights (but not actually warm), and lots of rain the past week.


moon echoed in her dark eyes then,
more than a riddle to be solved.

rain. her wet hair
magnified the vision.
i could feel the essence, but i
was myopic then, as perhaps i am myopic now.
no longer roses in my fingers.
these calluses less than magical.

autumn. the santa lucias
black moss & alabaster rivers -
her thin fingers etched
the answers in my pale skin:
30 years to be deciphered.

here where rains
are merely wet. geese in one way
formation. not even omens,
their songs like epistles
long ago written.
my bones have not forgotten.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

plodding along

Work plods along … of course, never smoothly. The mill remains in a slow-down mode, at least through February, due to the poor economy and the sad shape of our boiler. The latest news is the papermill is officially eliminating the paper testers job sometime in the next three months … and two of them have asked to go into the shipping department. That could spell trouble for me, as I COULD be bumped out, back to the paper machine. One group says that won’t happen, another says it’s inevitable. So, who knows? Time will tell I guess. Back to night shift tonight - whoopee.  

Winter is still around, though no snows, just ice and frost most mornings. Snow seems to be just on the nearby hills, but avoiding the valley floor, which I can appreciate.

Today’s poem is from 8:97


each word, a stone in the pocket
of your ragged jeans.

you can beat back demons with some
(though never as far as you wished),
& barter with the old woman
at the end of the highway for dreams
with others, though she has no real need of them.
mostly she just throws them at crows
in her corn patch.

some allow privacy.
some even buy pleasures
in the right economics
but that too is temporal.

they are just agates: voices
you cannot ignore -
even if no one else seems to hear.
the world is full
of the deaf & mutilated.

agates with visions
you spend long nights trying to decipher.
stones that do not allow
you to float on the tranquil waters.

still, at dawn, as mist rises off the dark sea,
you can be found, wet socks in your
trousers, collecting more.
it is, after all, your own voice you seek.

Monday, January 19, 2009

still alive n well

finally - another poem, this one from 6:93.

Not really much going on, trying to survive the cold, wintry passages. Nothing compared to what Spokane (and my sister) has endured, but it’s been a colder, icier year than normal around here. Ice and cold aren’t my favorites, then again, come August and that heat isn’t on my wish list either. Fall and spring (cool and damp) I guess are more to my liking.

Work pretty much continues. The slow down (due to the economy) is supposed to last through at least Feb, and the last week has been really bad for production and safety at the mill, neither which bodes well for our mill in the big picture. 

Sorry for the lack of updates. Just been tired, busy, lazy and/or a combination of all three.


i am the stutter from the lips of god
an unfinished curse on the backside of the wind

come when dawn is late
& frost is the language spoken
geese in broken formation
chant either threnody or ecstasy

i walk the lesser taken road to golgatha