Poems 2000-1



Joy & Anomie ***
Young Gods Two ***
Recovery *****
Addendum ***
Double Seoul ***
Rule of For ***
The Oracle of 500 ***
I Hate Carl ***
Owed To a Spreadsheet: Spread the Sheets For Love ****
Wimbledon Came Early This Year ****
Energy Conservation ***
I Did Not Know I Was a Witch *****
Dark Chocolate Profiterole ****
Tear On The Dotted Line ***
Sailors and Farmers, Monster and Ships **
Mount Tam *
Quality of Service *****
Cartography of Sent **
I Can Do Anything Now *****
Beach Erosion *****
Angels Fear to Tread on Barren Earth *****
Dinner At Three Fish **
Angry Finger, Soothing Wind ****
Sometimes **
The Song of Divorce *
Summer Solstice *
Two Poets Slamming *
California Weaving *****
Montreal ***
Lake Life ****
2001: A New Odyssey
Licensed Californian ****
Late Again *
Three Times *
Summer in Wintry Fog the City Lay ****
Fair Trade ****


 Joy & Anomie ***
Monday, I climbed a hundred-minute hill
Twelve hundred and sixty feet
To Skyline Road.

Flat alternating with steep,
But mainly steep.
Figuring twelve vertical feet per minute.

Saturday, we had made it half way up,
Did not dream how much further we had to go
And we were surprised how fast we came down.

Monday, the trail went on and on
I relished each steep pitch
That proclaimed my new energy and health.

Coming down
Was rubber-legged painful
And my friend fell in the mud.

Last week we broke up.
I was not the man of your dreams.
Too different. Perhaps too brave.

And you quivered
Behind your castle walls
Waiting for the prince to climb up.

You feared I could not climb
You worried I would not climb
And did not see my acceleration in your deceleration.

Desire is a funny thing.
You never desired me.
Sad that I was not your hope.

Fortunately, life remains complete
With your friends
And your house cats.

I rejoice that we remain friends
Bound by golf
And things that are not broken.

I am thinking of buying my own house.
But there will be no house cats. No walls.
Just a wild animal.

February 6, 2001

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 Young Gods Two ***
In freshman year, we ran like the wind
To Fresh Pond.
Around and back.

Three times a week as I recall.
Preparing for some athletic event.
I wasn't even a runner.

In freshman year, the world was wide open.
Except your parents wanted you to study rocks
And you preferred to play Chopin.

In freshman year, I gave blood
And climbed a 12 foot fence
Leaping to the ground
felt like being kicked in the balls.

Later that evening, I remember being tear-gassed
I thought it was smoke.
Until I went blind.

In freshman year, the bongo drums beat incessantly next door.
Something to do with investing in Angola
And oil companies.

Oh, how we ran in freshman year.
Like young gods.
But my Achilles heel always hurt afterwards.

February 6, 2001

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 Recovery *****
There is magic in our lives
It lies within
I don't know where.

There is magic in movement
It comes from within
Taking us we don't know where.

There is magic in our speech
When words collide
And new ideas spark.

There is magic in loving
And being loved
When worlds crash together

There is magic in the undressing
And the dressing
And the love-making before and after.

There is magic in the knowing
And the unknowing
Magic in the growing and the falling.

There is magic in the perfection
And the weakness
And the subtle understanding of decline.

There is magic in hello
And magic in goodbye and all between
And the memories you leave.

March 1, 2001

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 Addendum ***

God decided to punish a Welshman.

So doing a repeat of the old Jonah story, he put him inside the dark gloomy belly of a whale.

After a while God noticed that the Welshman was singing like a lark, and looking very happy.

So God asked: “Don't you understand? I put you inside a whale to punish you.”

The Welshman replied: “God. Don't you know? Everyone likes to sing in Wales.”

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 Double Seoul ***

Today, I am a tomorrow man.
A pacific man.
A Seoul man.
Without micro-cell phone hanging pendant-like from neck.
But computer charged with a 16 hour battery
And the energy of successful drugged sleep.

I am already where I will be later in the day.
Be here now.
For the first time.

Sushi sashimi kimji spicy-octopus stir-fry oatmeal and fruit
You can't drink the water.
But the coffee is surprisingly good
And ginseng soda is to die for.

Buildings march military style
Counterpoint to ten lane streets.
But I have Korean disneyland inside the hotel and outside on the lake

Ghobi dust yellows the rising sun
CNN/BBC/DeutscheWelle greets the morning financial tides
Fattening Koreans feed at the buffet breakfast trough
A little piece of America, growing
Perhaps outgrowing one-bedroom flats.

And Vietnam pushes products in the hotel trade-fair
Next to the Authentic Korean Village food court of Lotte World
And the Lotte Department Store.

I wonder what Richard,
Korean veteran,
would say of this battleground
and his memories of conical Korean women
roving like chess pieces with trays
though the bar
serving a continental breakfast.
Bowing when I leave.

April 12th or possibly 13th, 2001.

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 Rule of For ***
I was lost
Actually more distracted
By myself, thinking
Driving from habit
So I missed my turn
And had to go back
Avoiding traffic.

The lime green trees of Embarcadero stunned me
Though my polarizing filters
Anemone cauliflower foliage
Almost cartoon like…

A new CD on the player
Leonard Cohen singing from the tower of song
Amazing me…

And there, on the north-west corner of Paige Mill
At El Camino
East of high-priced law firms
On an undeveloped plot,
A patch of grass
Grouped like a row of watchers
Green at base
Pure white on top
Lit by the sun

Leonard Cohen sang.
I, transformed,
Drove to dine with you…

I guess it takes four things
To appreciate a god

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 The Oracle of 500 ***
Around the board room table,
The Harvard mafia have many colors
Coffee, black, yellow and pink
They carefully reveal the year in which they graduated
Exposing their agendas.

Pizza boxes, dwarf Evian bottles and red Coke cans
Lie scattered across the table.
Pages of old programming
Are brought into service as plates
With the odd Palm Pilot for note taking.
Forks are abandoned for fingers.

The English major
Former lumberjack and farmer
Explains his philosophy
Of investing
Comfortable with the popularity
That half a billion brings.

About past exuberance
There is enough success
Probing reveals no jobs
Available for the pink, yellow, black and coffeed.

We leave on a hint of a possible career change
To a more popular portfolio;
And renewal of bonds
Among those fresh issued
Descending in the elevator.

The Oracle stands tall
Amused that,
They paid money to hear him speak.
His wife would never believe.

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 I Hate Carl ***
Carl has only one advantage
His lines are short
The Mexican or Indian.

Junior food
Is awful.
Flaccid chicken without texture.
Steak sandwich with elastic fat
Cheese and mayonnaise on everything
Unless you ask.
And senseless bacon limp and tasteless draped across the so called protein

Fountain software drinks
Lack the sparkle of a can
Or bottle.
French Fries leave a greasy unsatisfying stain on your psyche.

But even worse
All the purveyors of higher saturated fat
Have shorter lines
For shorter lives.

The only solution is to travel further
To eat more slowly
Find early parking
At the Chinese or Japanese down the street.

For the Mexican is trumpet shrill with loudspeakers
Announcing the arrival of numbered assembled food
Deafening patron tongues, making ears noisy.

And, the Indian looks so lumpensoggy.

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 Owed To a Spreadsheet: Spread the Sheets For Love ****
Many years ago
My first Macintosh
The one with one hundred and twenty eight K
And no hard drive
Was a joy to us both.
I have to give you credit.
It was your move.

You always remember your first.
The one I fell in love with
Even though it was a buggy beta

Spreadsheet drug
Others look like aspirin
Spreadsheet drug
All consuming
Spreadsheet drug
Nothing else matters
Except continuing the building
Continuing the building
Until you get it right
Which you never do
Spreadsheet drug
Always iterating
Spreadsheet drug
Until enormous crises drives you away from
Spreadsheet drug.
Drug departure, great regret.

Others can't appreciate your love for
Spreadsheet drug
They just weren't there
They did not build
Spreadsheet drug
They did not care for
Spreadsheet drug.
You don't want to share
Spreadsheet drug.

All they'll do is mess up
Spreadsheet drug.
A Greek once said
You cannot step in the same spreadsheet twice
He was wrong
He did not spread the sheets for love
Nor admit mistakes
And back up.

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 Wimbledon Came Early This Year ****
Strawberries are a gift
A June fruit
That come with tennis
And tennis whites.

This year, June came early
And beneath the Japanese screens
Of my porch
Hawaiian hair
Impossibly improbably strawberry

Iced coffee in hand
She sat tall and slender
Spoke with poise
Of whales and ships
Breakers and reefs
Laughing at her failure as an axe murderer
A problem of coordination
That may extend to golf and tennis.

Exuberantly, we both proclaimed the need for an island,
Or at least counter space,
An office,
Sushi and skiing.
The enigma of 28-year old women sudden with cats.

This year, June came early
Beauty beneath the hot blue sky
We drank carefully carried bottled water
Amidst the rampaging wild flowers
Framed in a curve of trees
On a hill for painters.

I was enchanted by her delicate freckles
Riding up her left leg
And her bravery.

This year June came early
Arriving with the richness of cream
And the tart sweetness of desire.

May 6, 2001

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 Energy Conservation ***
The long-life bulbs were surprisingly expensive
The 16-hour notebook battery a sexy tool
The Japanese balcony blinds surprised me
An impressionistic delight.

There were years in which I had no energy
Tidying was work
And walking beyond me.

But yesterday
With Jenn departed
In hindsight, for ever
The hill half climbed
I leapt upon my bike
Eager to move my heart again

May 7, 2001

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 I Did Not Know I Was a Witch *****
I have a theory
About parking:
If you aim for the next slot over
Back up
Turn back towards your slot
You rarely hit the pillar
And the act is graceful.

About to back up
A Land Rover roared behind me
A second away from
More than a kiss from my bumper

My adrenaline stomped over
To point out the error of his way.
In a hurry,
He said he had not been going as fast
As I said

I thought about dire predictions
Incantations and protestations
What I wanted was a curse...

Blood calmed
My sanity restored
I realized I did not need to throw a curse.
He had self cursed
Would reap the rewards of his own driving

I am a lazy witch
I monitor my karma
Listen to my blood pressure.
Seeking only graceful intervention.

May 7, 2001

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 Dark Chocolate Profiterole ****
As I lay there on the bench
Face in the green vinyl
Working on my triceps
One arm at a time
My personal trainer barking orders at me
I realized what had transpired:

Her client
Wanted discipline
Dark chocolate leather
With thigh high boots

I raised my head
Sat up
Shared my thought
She rollicked laughing on the floor
The jigsaw came together:
She told of April Fool at the gym
Where dressed in dominatrix leather
She caught his attention
And many others.

Over dinner
She taught me how to eat like an Italian
To roll the eyes
And murmur at the food.

I wore three courses upon my shirt
Salad, soup, dark chocolate profiterole
My shirt was almost good enough to eat

In turn, I offered advice
As is my wont
Even when unasked
And said to her unmasked:

“It sounds like a premium personal training service to me.”

And she ate another dark chocolate profiterole.

May 12, 2001

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 Tear On The Dotted Line ***
driving in a fast lane
pigeon sitting in the road
sitting on the dotted line

can't stop
pigeon hurt
going to die
on the dotted line

imagine how to save
unlikely bird
looking comfortable
injured on the dotted line

can't stop
can't stop thinking of the bird
what can it be thinking
on the dotted line?

tear on the dotted line.
tear in a fast lane.

on the dotted line;
crushed by the herd.

May 16, 2001

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 Sailors and Farmers, Monster and Ships

Saturday Night
The new lovers' fingers seemed linked every time I looked
Smiles on their faces
That came from more than the food,
From nights of ship rocking sleeplessness
Making out for lost time
On a ship-bed of love.

Tuesday Morning
Dear friend,
you called with news
The good news - a bad business proposition
The bad news - your charming handsome husband of ten years no longer wants you.
And you don't know why.
You cry and cry.

Like a farm family you worked to build your company
Worrying about the weather
And the crop yield
Working late into the night
Side by side.
Confusing side by side
With keeping the love alive
Until sea storms buried
The earth in salt water
Leaving you
Shipwrecked on a ocean of misunderstanding

You and he
Farm sunk below the water line
Learned you are sailors
Riding forces larger than we imagined
Larger than our words can control.

You swim for land, a boat, another drowning wretch
Swallowing bitter sea water
Throwing up
Reaching out in despair
Thinking - no, knowing - that that you must die.
You know no short cut to the distant, hoped for, green shores.

James, four years old this month
Told his first joke:
What do sea monsters eat?
His answer:
“Fish and ships.”

Treasure the knowing of innocence
Observation of first time joy.
The pleasure of hope.
Beauty in the spring.

The shores are still green.
The sand a warm new bed.
The waves gently caressing.
Welcome your new island!

May 20, 2001

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 Mount Tam
Robert the Bruce and Steel Town Liz
Led our way to the sea
Ducking under fallen trees
Down flowered Steep Ravine

Where Fleet of Foot
Who races in perpetual track
Shifted into second

Baker Boy trudged ahead
And Robert named the spring
Inventing ignorancia
Flower of no name

New released Prison Girl
Missing Fleet of Foot
Asked where she had gone.

And Abercrombie hiked back up
Unaware of pain

But Steel Town Liz
With legs of steel
Said she wanted more
So Prison Girl and Steel Town Liz
Ran the beach and shore
But could not find Fleet of Foot
They searched at every door.

They figured that she needed more
Than Baker Boy, or Bruce
Could walk in heat of day
And so she walked and ran and talked
She would not take the bus.

May 21, 2001

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 Quality of Service *****
Your lost words floating in the bowels of the Internet
Chopped up like worms, perhaps to reunite
In some new email, read randomly by carnivore strangers
Mutating into new emails
The sound of your bytes echoes across terabyte-walled canyons
Through unknown routers and brouters, switches and packets,
Checked and reconstructed, bounced and resent, reassembled
Diminishing, fading, until the meaning exists only in your cache
Your head
The phone rings

May 23, 2001

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 Cartography of Sent **

You sent me home
I, unwilling, left, wanting to prolong the moment, not wanting to let go.
Your scent lingered
Surrounding me in the car
As a flower unfolding its fragrance.
Your face
Beautiful in my head
Would not go away.
I keep revisiting your touch
Your smooth body under
Your new clothes;
Your turquoise voice;
Your delicate indirection.
Words unsaid
Reaction unspoken
Deep into my brain.

June 2, 2001

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 I Can Do Anything Now *****
He tied her up tight
Important if you're going to fall
He cinched her in places
Husbands would know to be intimate.
Then pushed her out into the blues.

Isabel fell
Ten thousand feet
A man tied to her side.
He spun her in the air.
And ripped the cord.

Isabel fell well.
History husbands drifting off
Buoyed by air.

Viewed from the ground, Isabel fell well
Five thousand feet under gossamer wing
And landed walking
As if nothing had happened
Except the adrenaline.

Isabel felt well
Rooted on the ground
Her mother breathed
 “Next time, do this without me.”
Her voice drowned out
In the draft and song of Isabel's new flight.

June 4, 2001

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 Beach Erosion *****
She walked in water, sandals in hand, clothing that clinged
I walked in Birkenstocks, dry, just out of reach
At the end of a continent
On a broken sand-dollar beach.

Windmills stretched south
Where sand dunes once ruled.
Where plants, one man's vision, now knitted the sand
Where a park had grown.

She worried about the end of love
The possibilities of new love
At the ocean's edge
A water effect, that she would like to have landscaped
Though she doffed her hat to higher powers.

And I did not care
Having given up love for hope
Settling for fascination
The giving of attention
Daily transcendence in the flowers of the freeway.

I felt myself falling
Down a slippery slope of sand
As she pushed me down
And reached inside to tuck my shirt
Lingering lower
And longer
Than was perhaps necessary
Unless you were trying to knit the sliding sand
To prevent erosion.

So I kissed her
Held her
And breathed her in
With the tide.

June 8, 2001

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 Angels Fear to Tread on Barren Earth *****
I opened the door this past month
As summer came to town
And grass turned golden against the blue sky.

The wind rushed in, refreshing my lips
With smooth and passionate kisses.
That made me feel sixteen

And you held the door
Invitation to come out.
So I poked out my head
Rushed out until

A cooler wind came through
Banging the garden gate shut
Bringing a tear to my eye
A lump to my throat
A sense of loss for something
I had not glimpsed in a while
The wild beyond the wall

Or perhaps it was
Just reaction to a seed
That had blocked my sight
Leaving on the wind
From my barren earth
No longer gold.

June 9, 2001

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 Dinner At Three Fish
I had forgotten
It's easy to forget.

I did not remember
How good it feels
It hadn't for a long time.

I like to hold you
In my arms
I like the play

I liked it
That you were my partner
Not passive

And just when I was in trouble
You took over and finished
Delivering more than I had thought possible
In the rhythm of the ride
The sweet smell of love-making
Leaving me moaning for minutes

There you lay
Wonderful to behold
Your skin dark and white against my feeble freckles
Comfortable and naked

June 11, 2001

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 Angry Finger, Soothing Wind ****
I am your biggest fan
My goal is just to sooth.
You've left behind other fans
Who like to chill your bones
Air conditioners on wheels
Window units with remotes
But I am your biggest fan.

I like to see you troubled
Then I can help you sleep
Wipe the tears from your face
Perspiration from your brow

I love to sleep all night with you
Windows fetching wind
I love to see you sleep
Your face relaxed and calm

I am your biggest fan
Don't poke right back at me
To get around my guard
Don't blame me for weather inside your head
Or you may lose the point
I am your biggest fan.

June 17, 2001

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Sometimes I am a clever man.
Did things young.
Did things fast.
Sometimes did them well.

Sometimes I am a clever man.
Well read.
Well educated.
Well traveled.
Sometimes reading people well.

Sometimes I am a clever man.
I put things together in new ways.
I create a lot of things.
I move around a lot.
Sometimes, people are glad to see me go.

Sometimes I am a clever man.
Difficult to get to know.

I made love to a woman last week
Who is completely wrong for me
She smokes
Has too many cats
Refuses to see me on weekends
Afterwards, she opened a door
Talked about herself in ways
That shook my ground
Leaving things aslant
A California mini-quake
That angled a new perspective across my landscape
Its beauty changed, diffracted

Now, possessed with her vision
My surprise: I miss so much

So much magic in being opened
So much mystery in hearing.

I am not a clever man
I am still learning

Sometimes I am a clever man.
Difficult to get to know.

June 17, 2001

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 The Song of Divorce
Under the gun
Caught between Scylla and Charybdis
Falling between two stools
A rock and hard place
Hobson's choice
Damned if you do.
Damned if you don't.
No easy way out.
Can't live with `em.
Can't live without.
Nothing is for sure,
except death and taxes.
A coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave person but one.
If it is not working for you, do something different.
Respect what you don't know.
Learn something new every day.
Breathe when listening to people.
Take another breath, before deciding to answer,
so you don't interrupt them
or cut them off.
Don't leap to conclusions.
Sleep on it.
“There  must be 50 ways to leave your lover.”
“My mother said it pays to shop around.”
Baby steps.
One step at a time.
The past is gone.
Let the emotions out.
Don't hurt your friends with your bottled up emotion.
Don't look for the same person again.
Take a risk.
Love yourself for all your flaws.
Do new things.
Enjoy people.
Fall in love with the people who make you a better person than you are.
Work at it.
Love more than one.
Don't regret.
Pay attention
Be here

June 20, 2001

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 Summer Solstice
I waited for the night
For it came late

I knocked on Richard's door
And asked him if he wanted to see Mars

Red planet, god of war
Site of many novels
Source of invasion
Sometime 240 million miles away
When we are on the other side of the sun
Most variable of planets
But tonight
A mere 40 million miles away
On our side of the sun
Low in the horizon
Somewhere southeast.

With naked feet
My companion roved through sprinkling irrigation
Over soft grass
Reminding me of similar night-time walks in hot Los Angeles
When the world lay before me
And I was in love with the glory of palm trees
The sensual feel of walking with naked feet on crispy grass
And the soft hiss of irrigation
My summer of discovering
Avocados and the opposite of Mars.

And science-fiction-like, the stop lights of Sand Hill and Stock Farm Roads
Filtered our view -- yellow, green and red
Dazzling us in the night, giving our faces strange pallors
Hiding stars
Until we wandered south-south-east
To hide between the trees
To look for a red light in the sky
That was not moving like a plane

And though we were confused by stars in Scorpio rising vertically to our right
The bright yellowish light
Which did not indicate caution
Low in the horizon
Was, in the post-audit, with the newspaper article and diagram
That same red planet we were looking for

But in a moment of surprise
As we first walked out to the road
A falling star flashed in the east
My first.
Straight down like a tear drop.
It was a night of light magic.

June 24, 2001

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 Two Poets Slamming
There have been two occasions in my life
When poetry compelled
And one is now

I met a woman
Of great intelligence and beauty
Who inspired me more than I imagined possible

So I wrote her poems uncontrolled
Aware of the risk she posed
From sudden husband parting.

She slowed
She wrote a poem back to me
I did not understand

Two poets slammed
The door shut
For email is a hard medium to be loved through

And we are left alone with words
And thoughts of what could have been
What could have been
What could have
What could
Could have
Could have been.

Have been.
Have nothing.

June 26, 2001

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 California Weaving *****
It begins with the beauty
Grass, the spring flowers, summer blossoms, the green trees oasis-like in the golden hills
The almost perpetual blue sky.

Then there is the freeway
Unfamiliar exits
Mysterious houses
Billboards and signs
Uncertain links and futures.

Over time
Each cloverleaf, entrance, exit, intersection
Reveals different edges
Its own itinerary of goal and hope
Observations and amusements
Destinations reached and destinations lost
Adds itself
Like tendrils from a vine

Past visuals link to today's direction.
Past purpose
Past people
A web of time
Underlaid beneath today's route
A fourth dimension extending
The archeology of my travel
But not yet a new Troy
Though Helen has left
And the last rebuilt Troy has burned down
And Odysseus has been a long time on the freeway.

Shared tendrils exchange histories
Shared histories tenderly tip toeing into a mesh
Repairing, replacing two vines savagely torn down
A fault in the city architecture and expectation
That went undetected
Until too late.

It's always easier rebuilding
If you can forget the rich loss of deep connections
And enjoy the neural net construction project.

With time a spell is woven.

June 28, 2001

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 Montreal ***
I notice the breasts
Full and proud
Perched on high heels
God, I love this city in summer.

June 29, 2001

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 Lake Life ****
The low moment on the walk was when James trod in a cow patty
The highlight - wild strawberries small and sweet, close to the ground
Where James can see them easily.

The movie moment when James fell down the stairs
Had a happy ending with blueberry pancakes and tears
Ironic, he should just have mastered Slinky-racing down all fourteen steps which takes a little technique.

The fireworks on Canada Day were exceptional for a small town
And so was the weather
As the crowd shivered, dancing to keep warm, whirring their glow sticks

And while the wind was high
It kept the mosquitoes away
And that is never bad.
But when the wind went down
James and Sam found a net and a sticky insect catcher
And did quality control on errant insects
Stomping and catching
Sticking their prey on the gluey bar.

But the high point was the scraping of the cake bowl
The chocolate faces
That needed a water fight in the lake to clean the boys to their original state
The third time that day that they achieved original state
Thanks to the washer and drier.

July 2, 2001

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 2001: A New Odyssey
Last week my new TV arrived
Flat screen, built in DVD, stereo
65,000 points on my American Express Card
Which I failed to order via the Internet
And had to resort to phone:
It is my alternative to more airplane flights.

UPS arrived as I came home
A masterpiece of timing
After missing me the previous day,
Wheeled the box into my living room.
I had a good out of box experience.
It worked first time
Though there was a little trouble a few days later
When I tried to hook up the outputs to my stereo system
Too many buttons depressed on the amp the eventual diagnosis

My first TV was a small black and white
Given to me by my parents who thought I was weird for not owning one.

My second TV, a 12 inch Sony
Made me think I was going blind
When trying to read subtitles at 20 feet.

So now the signal comes in through a channel converter
Bought to provide volume control for the 12 inch TV now gone
And more recently used with my 30 year old post-marital geriatric TV
Purchased by my younger sister, doing her fellowship in Nashville
In pediatric orthopedics
At a garage sale for twenty-five dollars
The one that makes all films look as if they are filmed at night.
It then goes to the VCR
From whence it travels to the TV
Whose outputs feed the input lines of the rack mountable cassette deck
With the first generation LCD volume indicator
A recorder that does not get used very much any more
It gets involved because the TV output cords are too short to reach any further.
The cassette recorder, in turn, when it has a cassette inside
And “Record”, but not “Play” is pressed
Will feed the sound out to the amp
And my speakers.
The sound quality is superb
I use the reference speakers used by the CBC
I doubt a guest will figure it all out
Unless they read this poem.

And so I have learned that the grass at Wimbledon is green, at least early in the tournament
Red a permissible TV color
And sound really does make a difference
I may go deaf if unrestrained.

Welcome stereo to 2001! I think you're going to like it here.

Now if only my home local area network were as simple.

July 11, 2001

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 Licensed Californian ****
There are certain expectations:
No more fizzy soft drinks;
Interest in and knowledge of wine;
Organic is good;
Macdonalds is out - In-And-Out Burger is in;
Fusion cuisine a must;
And knowledge of sunscreen required if you are blond;
BBQ an expected male skill.

But perhaps most important is the sports requirement.
Rollerblading, hiking, tennis, biking, with golf optional
Jogging and weights
A personal trainer is good;
And for graduate work, kayaking and white water rafting are essentials.

It only took about two hundred and fifty thousand dollars worth of automobiles
To get the graduate work set up.
Two SUVs, a pick-up truck, a Toyota and a BMW
To ferry us from Palo Alto to San Carlos
From San Carlos to Larkspur
From Larkspur to Emerald Hills
From Emerald Hills to the kick off spot
And from the kick off spot to our destination

Twenty-five rafts and who knows how many kayaks
Waited for the water to release
That's American River style
Which also requires TEVA sandals on your feet
And red life jackets
Though they clashed with our puce boat
And Sushama's multi-colored dive booties
Diving only being an optional Californian sport
Though there is pressure to make it a requirement.

It's all new to me as a whitewater virgin
But I have to say after ten miles
And much paddling
It's a whale of a time
A whole lot of fun
And importantly, an upper-body work out.
And given that California is about temptation
I am tempted by the sexy shapes of those obviously highly maneuverable kayaks
Though Kathy tells me
Training is in order.

Graduate work is looking like fun.

July 16, 2001

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 Late Again

Monday morning and I am tired of my roving weekend
That leaves me so dissatisfied.

I heard your voice
Its wry intelligence
Handling the frustration of bureaucracy gone mad, perhaps even evil
And thought, “How balanced?”

I hear smiles in your voice,
As you laugh at my tale of email
A woman who wrote. “I have been busy. I was laid again for the second time this year.
Now looking for a job again.”

I heard your laughter rising
Rising above frustration
And time wasted

And like a clear bell ringing
You dropped a compliment
That rippled through my brain

A gift.

A shame your brother will keep us apart this coming weekend.

July 30, 2001

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 Three Times
Hanging upside down in murky warm water
Does not sound like much
Unless you have a kayak above you
Attached to you
And suddenly you realize you forgot to take a breath.

Fortunately, I remember the drill
Slap the canoe
Blindly follow the edge of the cowling
Tear off the skirt
And seem to fall out
And, of course, the water is shallow.
I announce: “Now that was scary!” to my new found friends on shore.

Three times later
It's not so difficult.
Taken for granted.
The new challenge: getting back in the boat.
Not so hard with a friend.
OK with an inflatable safety device, that acts like an outrigger
But precarious
With just kayak and paddle
Even in calm water
Where I tipped six straight times
Each time more tired
Than before
Wondering if I would get up again this time.

A friend's mother died last week
So Alzheimered, she did not even know herself any more
Finding her room an impossibility.
My neighbor's friend died this past week
Asbestosis of no known cause
Making breathing more and more difficult
Until he choked away.

I tried to meditate
Last week
Counting my breaths
My mind wandered to all the things I have not done
I was not calm

I think I shall kayak again
On the ocean
Looking for signs of life;
On fast flowing rivers
To appreciate my life.
I think I will kayak again.

August 13, 2001

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 Summer in Wintry Fog the City Lay ****
Free parking
With a questionable legal opinion
Good food from a waiter unclear in English
Recently promoted out of the kitchen
A city bathed in two thousand feet of fog
I, seduced into climbing - no, racing! - to Coit's Tower up endless North Beach high angle streets and steps in the illusion that my double espresso was our destination
But at the top, all we could see was San Francisco entirely surrounded by pink reality
Did I pass the fitness test of the first time California date?
She offered family revelations on the downhill
Along with the overhang of current lives
And finally coffee
Two kisses
Two cars untowed
San Francisco at its best
In a fog
A San Francisco hello
And as it turned out, goodbye.

July 21, 2001

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 Fair Trade ****
The radio woke me
Stumbling out of bed
To see two tall towers on fire
And hear of tales of people leaping a thousand feet or more to their death
To avoid something worse that I cannot imagine

My neighbor knocked on my door
In awe
At turmoil on the screen
And planes flying into buildings
Friends phoned
A husband on a plane to Boston
I phoned to find some asleep
Others unconnected to
A Kennedy day
Where were you when…?

News commentators stumbled too
Not knowing what to say
Not knowing what they saw
A tower vanished
A fair tower vanished
The smoke went way wide
And I thought
I have been there
As a fair sister collapsed
While a third building burned in Washington

Someone hates so much
That destroying the fair
Killing the innocent
Seems a fair trade for his injustice
Probably a religious man
Who has forgotten
Thou shalt not kill
And love thy neighbor

I went to a meeting
Where the mood was quiet rising to anger
Streets bereft of pedestrians
Tears kept rising to my eye
But hovered unborn
Choked back
By a black pall
And images seared into my brain

In my favorite book, there are three towers
There is one ring to bind them all
And fate comes a full circle to deliver an evil hand
An equal trade for his destruction of the fair.

Morning mourning, September 11, 2001

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