that morning, that night


When I hear them call
in the morning, before
I am quite awake,
my bed is already traveling
the daily rainbow,
the arc toward evening;
and the birds, leading
their own discreet lives
of hunger and watchfulness,
are with me all the way,
always a little ahead of me
in the long-practiced manner
of unobtrusive guides.

By the time I arrive at evening,
they have just settled down to rest;
already invisible, they are turning
into the dreamwork of trees;
and all of us together —
myself and the purple finches,
the rusty blackbirds,
the ruby cardinals,
and the white-throated sparrows
with their liquid voices —
ride the dark curve of the earth
toward daylight, which they announce
from their high lookouts
before dawn has quite broken for me.

–Lisel Mueller, “Why I Need the Birds”

baseline citizenry

There’s too much to learn to do anything other than learn. Sometimes I’m imagining zero spending for everything we can cull, raw elimination of all adornment, hallways but no hotel lobbies, dimming all street lights, do not repair paint on walls, in order to impose education to history’s new top. States were spending $8500 per college student, now it’s $5500. And a pittance dribbles to ubiquitous floaters or dropouts. What about $30,000? $50,000, $100,000? Hold on! The US already spends enough on aid to cover tuition of every college student in the country. Why isn’t college free? You see? I’m not crazy. This study asserts we can triple our GDP; that lousy learning means we’re losing more than $50trillion….

Will any society survive or prosper until the first thing we are doing is learning? Ahhh, he breathes, a fleeting thought.

this video is going viral


you have soggy legs and a muddy petticoat

More and more I do I do admire e. e. cummings:  

“spring omnipotent goddess Thou …”


too many night bulbs make humans fat

eight in ten kids born in the US today will never see the Milky Way



together, which is warm

Repel to deny to learn too little so often as is each short infinity through beauty.

Delight in each prolific rendering of beauty as if the Earth a brew of tea and beauty its steaming wisps. This an inalienable wonder proved in either dirt or star and every blend between, our character sculpted in the clay of rapture, our heart’s regard for hope.

Beauty they say caresses the tender, arouses the dormant, excites the innocent, tempers the strong, guides the wise, comforts the good, binds the wicked, so why then do we so often ignore and abuse beauty?

If I walk slowly on soft earth amidst a native meadow, tongued by light, by wisps of breeze, touched across my chest and shoulder with warming sun, drawn by the incessant celebration of leaved branch, the spiked grasses, and the willing exposition of the flowers, will I not know of beauty and therefore be caressed, aroused, excited, tempered, guided, bound and comforted? May I not then add this taste of beauty to myself? To see and then be blind, to touch and then be empty, to join and then be apart, is to find and then to lose our precious human birthright. We are to rise each day and in our civilian duty declare no other purpose than the exploration of beauty.

We are smothered in the revelation of beauty, as awakening to each day within these stars must surely be. We are charged to take our birthright rather than be pelted with dusts of contempt, of incoherent denial, of jealous resentment, of darker splendored substitutions fashioned from culture and politic, and war. We are to strive in the breadth of our human mind to know the more intolerable splendor of beauty. We are beauty as ourselves, the essence of sweet seconded by reason. 

yes loud is legal

“I decided it is better to scream… Silence is the real crime against humanity.”

Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope Against Hope

loitered by the pond’s edge

‘I have often thought, that one day, under a special dispensation, I should have received the secret of life.’

in search of tickling a paradigm or two

Sebastopol, California, about ’76 or ’77, I learned midwifery from two obstetricians and one glory-be midwife traveling out from their homes at The Farm commune. Sessions were 8-10 hours every day for maybe 2 weeks, 14 or 16 young students, covering anatomy to emergency but focusing on supporting newborn, mother and home, in that order. Other than the two traveling docs, I was the only male. Later, when I set up weekly classes in Marin entitled Male Midwifery I knew I’d encounter no great worries about medical practice. Of a handful of men that would appear, the curricula for men would be comparatively easy, not medical procedure but supporting newborn, mother and home, in that order.. Recently I caught a few snippets of a radio interview of The Farm’s glory-be midwife Ina May Gaskin…

Los Angeles NPR affiliate KPCC

Listen here to Sara, Mary with Ina May on the Patt Morrison show. will be available soon.

oh the brightly burden

The Independent:

You don’t have to be bipolar to be a genius – but it helps
Study reveals that high-achievers are far more likely to be manic depressives

on the way back

Eliza Bayne writes:

I decided that I would only spend my time with people who support and love me. It was a pretty short list. But I stuck to it.

Since then, there have been some pretty lonely times. So I wrote.

There have been very painful times. So I wrote.

There have been some happy times. So I wrote.

And with each time I wrote, I began to feel warmer. I slowly began to feel my fingers again – and my hands and my eyes and my heart.

It was like Spring had finally started to melt all the ice away. And I still wrote.

Now, after a year, I have almost completely thawed out.

But I am not the same person.

I am better.

temples of smoke

I saw myself fall
Though a tumbling inferno
As if hell was where a boy
Shoveled clouds of sawdust
Into the wide mouth of doubt.

—Yusef Komunyakaa

i.e. Man is only wholly Man when he is playing

write until your words are stars and light arrives on parchment scars

if beauty were then beauty be and not one of us lament, so ugly is as ugly does and not one of us content

My Get-Up-And-Go Has Got Up and Went

My Get-Up-And-Go Has Got Up and Went by Anonymous

Old age is golden, or so I’ve heard said, 
But sometimes I wonder, as I crawl into bed, 
With my ears in a drawer, my teeth in a cup, 
My eyes on the table until I wake up. 
As sleep dims my vision, I say to myself: 
Is there anything else I should lay on the shelf? 
But, though nations are warring, and Congress is vexed, 
We’ll still stick around to see what happens next! 

How do I know my youth is all spent? 
My get-up-and-go has got up and went! 
But, in spite of it all, I’m able to grin 
And think of the places my getup has been!

When I was young, my slippers were red; 
I could kick up my heels right over my head. 
When I was older my slippers were blue, 
But still I could dance the whole night through. 
Now I am older, my slippers are black. 
I huff to the store and puff my way back. 
But never you laugh; I don’t mind at all: 
I’d rather be huffing than not puff at all! 

How do I know my youth is all spent? 
My get-up-and-go has got up and went! 
But, in spite of it all, I’m able to grin 
And think of the places my getup has been!

I get up each morning and dust off my wits, 
Open the paper, and read the Obits. 
If I’m not there, I know I’m not dead, 
So I eat a good breakfast and go back to bed! 

How do I know my youth is all spent? 
My get-up-and-go has got up and went! 
But, in spite of it all, I’m able to grin 
And think of the places my getup has been!

widower’d holidate

What I stole for love added up.
It added up to nothing.  To the air perfumed
by an absent woman.  To a box

filled with crushed chalk.  God save me
from the stars, once and for all—
I have had enough.  Let me love anything

but that: let me go free and dream
of green oceans and the surf
that batters some other world to sleeplessness.

It is enough to whisper only
this.  To speak to the flame in your breast
and hear nothing else.  Once

I believed I could possess
what touched you: the worn sweater,
or the song on the radio

that meant nothing and all in that instant.
Against your door I pressed
my ear, and heard nothing, the whisper

of water, maybe, a breath of cool air—
the gossip of your absence—
and nothing in me could knock or wait,

and all around me the night
spread like water through a rag,
and I let my hands drop whatever they held.

—Paul Guest, Popular Romance