Saturday, October 12, 2013


My dear friends,

It has become obvious by the sheer quantity of game I have seen in the woods over the past 3 days that one if not several of you are sending prayers or broadcasting well-wishes about me seeing animals in my general direction. Allow me to enumerate: 4 white tail doe- two before shooting light and two after dark while on my wheeler, a mule deer doe and yearling and a 3 point mulie buck, 3 moose - cow, calf and little bull, 3 mulie spike bucks, oh and the herd of 5 elk that crossed the trail in front of me AFTER DARK.

This is pretty amazing as far as wildlife watching goes. All of these animals have passed within 100 yards of me, most within 50. Incredible. But none of them shootable. And I am starting to get a little worried because I have seen every permutation of animals I cannot shoot except for a grizzly bear. So allow me to make a bold request. Could you please be a little more specific?

I need animals that are legal (I have a tag and the season is open), shootable (I have my gun, it is daytime and the animal is within range), and safe (no animals will harm me and I will not harm any non-target animals or humans). If you want to throw in edible even better but not necessary. If you want to be REALLY specific: whitetail buck, bull elk, and boar black bear are edible, open season, and I have tags for them. I also have tags for mountain lion and wolf but those are not edible. They are also dangerous so if you deign to send one of those my way please also include SAFE and DAYLIGHT in the same breath. Also SAFE. And ixnay on the izzliegrays.


In other news, dad and I have both seen a few jackalopes but never when we had the .22 handy. (This same rule applies to chickens and rabbits as well...sigh) Dad swears up-down-and-sideways that he found unicorn tracks this morning and I have every reason to believe him...although pegasus is also possible given the location of the tracks. It sure as heck cannot be a horse where he was hiking/hunting. And I saw sasquatch tonight. This tally also makes me nervous because I'm not keen on seeing either a chupacabra or a wendigo in my lifetime but we are running out of (reasonably) safe crypto-biological specimens that are native to the northern Idaho wilderness.


Up early tomorrow. Did I mention I saw a herd of elk tonight?


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Then let them eat cake

Right now I cannot prose my way into or out of a paper bag. I console myself with other words.

Explosions in the Darkness
(130917 - Union Hill)

Now ever only always everything
that is never anything but stardust
frantic and gooey stardust
nervous and worried distillation of the heavens
Now driving and honking and cursing
Now eating and smoking and singing
Now making love in a bed
knit from corpses of stars
these orbiting and colliding bodies
all sinews and electricity
firing along channels of galaxies
to move this or that limb of a constellation's child
long since dead
in an elegant waltz
or a bar brawl
balls of burning and glow reduced
Now bipedal and homeostatic
Now laughing, Now dying
Now stepping through branches
of once bright halogen sky-fires
to stand in a field unsheltered
feet firmly on flecks of the sky
listening to the chorus of creatures
passed down also from above
Now looking up at the expanse
at the lights beyond lights
sensing the tug of distant relations
of unnamed brethren
who some odd ages ago
passed into the cold
of an eternal empty expanse.
Now feeling so very small
so very all alone
and not at all actualizing
the embodiment, the heritage
the unlikely existence of being
the living breathing offspring
of explosions in the darkness


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Until we meet again

Water lapping rocks,
The fish, the canoe, the sunrise,
The snake presiding.


We the journeyers have come these long and many miles. Long and many hours. Days of months and years in the past, planning. Wishing. Hoping.

Our friend has told of us of a place where she is only always fully happy. More alive than in all other surrounds. And we yearn for this. To see her this way. To join her and become like kind. So we think and prepare and plan. But the floor falls out and we remain. Once, twice and again. But this time, unlike every other time, we meet with success. Bags are packed, food is purchased, maps are made and excitement builds.

We leave in stages. Trickle out from our homes over the span of days to rejoin in this almost heaven to the north, east. Our car is heavy laden. We set out as the tail, acquire more passengers at stops while we travel and come nearer to the line of disconnect. The artificial place between nations made real by a man with a funny name sitting in a well lit shack who holds the power to send us back again. But he is content with our place of residence, our strange combinations of occupations. He allows us to continue.

Now into the darkness. We have gone far east to go north to this portal and we must wind again west to our destination. A side road with a strange name. Gravel. We are all searching, scanning, excited though exhausted. Giddy. And it is here. The overfilled car scrapes rocks while we follow landmark directions in a landscape lit only by headlights. Where are we now? Have we farther to go or too far! too far!? But ahead there are flashlights. Friendly voices. We have come home to the place we have never been before.

We mount up like pack mules and walk the trail by moonlight. And from over the crest around the rocks the sound of familiar laughter. There is light and warmth within the cabin and outside moon-glimmer on the ripples of the lake. We shuffle and shift into bowers and nests and temporary shelters for the night. It is past the time for sleep but we are safe and loons are singing us lullabies.

The sun wakes us and the voices of children, eager to explore, to start the day of adventures. Together we shake off sleep, start coffee, bacon, eggs, pancakes. Juice and fruit come out and all is prepared with love and conversation, eaten in shifts and followed with washing. We are content and filled with happiness as with food.

Now there are canoes and swimming and a snake basking on rocks and docks as if he owns the world. We have come to a time of shifting and changing from one form of physical pleasure to another. The sail boat comes out and another canoe. Islands are circled by arm power- swimming, paddling. Spurred on by young voices. At one island, just off the sight line of the closest dock is a rock left long ago by this glacier or that. It towers up from the water and below it is a space deep enough to allow jumping. Here fear and freedom mix. From a crack in the rock a juniper has grown up, twisted and battered as all rock-bound trees become with age. It's one horizontal branch the obstacle to jump over to miss the rocks below. Some choose to remain dockside. Others climb and shiver in the pine shadows while they wait for a turn, whether firmly planted feet and a plunge or a quick one-two-step-jump and up-out-over. Many attempt, succeed. One leaves Terra firma inches too soon and kisses the branch mid fall. Pain yes, rocks no. Another tries, approaches, talks, fights, cries, backs off, tries again. Agonizing hours of fear-facing with never enough of the right kinds of courage at the same time for that last inch of leap. Others wait, watch, encourage in shifts. Late lunch comes and goes and finally the decision is made to descend on foot unsuccessful but undefeated.

The sun continues tracing the sky while we swim, sail, paddle. And each at odd times drops out for a bit of rest, a snack, a sun-fueled nap or pages of a book to turn. Always a steady backdrop of toads, cicadas and laughter. Once in a while a motor, a crow, a splash. A hike to a mica mine as a troop. Collections of small shiny rocks, a long dead turtle. Many millipedes with pink legs labeled "cute" by the wee ones and a host of unholy mosquitoes tolerated poorly. Frogs captured, snakes seen, and flowers picked for sharing.

The return means dinner. Here mundane mixes with the exotic in a flurry of chopping and love. Zabocayo. Wolf peaches. Mushrooms and garlic. The feast is put on and shared. Then we roll ourselves away from the table in darkness to the circle of fire and deep conversation up the hill. Hopes, fears, triumph and sparklers mix liberally with s'mores. The youngest nod off first, others following as exhaustion and aching muscles creep up from the blackness beyond the flames. The last two watchmen together take a canoe out on the shimmer-water. Talking and singing carries across the moonlit ripples as others sleep soundly, safely.

Morning comes more warmly than before, though not perhaps warm enough to warrant the dawn dip and wash of some of the group. Others listen to their screams of pleasure and cold with suspicion and choose instead to prepare breakfast and pack. To each his own form of sustenance made again by loving hands. Dark coffee, scrambled eggs, cereals hot and cold and chai tea. Then there comes a period of packing, stuffing, folding and closing up. Coolers and duffles find their ways up the worn and rocky path to the cars. Pictures are taken, together, alone. Digital memories for safe keeping and sharing. Smiles fixed forever and trees always in summer hues.

The last action before events become returning is a gathering of hearts and minds. The passing of peace one to another because the sadness of parting can be made less painful when stirred in with gratitude.

It is possible for the human heart to be so overcome with peace and joy that it overflows and bursts forth. Breaking and aching with the fullness of all good things. And when two or more of such gather together in this excess of love and life lived completely, it is magnified, multiplied. There is rest and renewal in the souls breathing deeply the fresh air of contentment, unity and love. We are one together, each heart. We desire it to be no other way.

We depart in caravan for the portal, this time traveling as a pack connected by waves and silly faces until we reach the other side and begin to separate to our various individual homeward journeys. An impromptu parking lot picnic lunch leaves mustard on a trunk and we wind westward through a maze of constant construction. Orange and orange and orange but never a man seen working. That this passage slows us is bitter sweet. We've hours and miles ahead but still one more parting. One more great goodbye. This extra hour means precious more time in conversation in the same location even if it is moving. This traffic is treasured though we know tomorrow morning will spring on us too quickly.

And then comes the time for tears. One last song of courage. Until we meet again.

Until we meet again...

Monday, August 19, 2013

Give a Poemn

Please find your way to here:

In the nearish future some of the things you may have read here will find their way over there, and many other wonderful things besides.


Saturday, August 10, 2013



Some Relative Safety (or What Cassandra Knows) - 130726, Union Hill

Funny how it comes to be this way
and you are asking
“Is this safe?”
when out the window
are glimmers of blue and red
distorted on diner chrome
which would say “Open
Come on in”
if you could only see from another angle

But you are welcomed already
and not alone.
And maybe safety rests
within the jaws of shadows
cast from the lights without
because out there is lightning
and out there are thieves
and rain is coming down
Surely there cannot be safe.

But here is together
and you are here
in the safety of a place between
some past and soon present
where you cannot know
how the story unfolds,
that it ends poorly
and with pain
both sudden and slow.

Not tonight, Cassandra.
Tonight you will not sleep
will not dream
and you will not know
what you know.

Instead you will listen
and fall a little deeper in
until even you sweet sibyl
question your voice
become still
For you are not alone
and this may indeed be safe

In here surely
perhaps out there too
where the lights shine.
So you draw a little closer
almost skin to skin
so your eyes seek the exits
and so you ask again
“Is this safe?”

Seer, who do you query
when you already know
as you walk through the rain
to the car
to the coast
and stand in damp sand
while light streaks the sky
and you wonder if possibly
this might be unsafe.

But you’ve years to go
before you will sleep
and time comes on quickly
and faster it goes
until future present
has also passed on
in accord with the oracle
and here you are there
expectant yet shellshocked
battered and affirmed

knowing you confirmed by ignoring
that the prophecy was true.
Which in the fallout gets you...
...weary satisfaction
and a half jaded smile
and by chance, some time alone
remembering the relative safety
of unknowing the fore-known
in the flicker of red-blue
shone off the future
onto wet pavement
and cheap diner chrome.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Time passes

A bit of text from Monday's Write Club.

Our teachable activity was to write something Film Noir-ish while writing in a particular tense and perspective. It turns out I am not particularly good at sticking with a tense. I'm no Billy Pilgrim but I read and write so much with non-linear chronology that I tend to drift.
The Bus - An exercise in third person present writing. (Boulder, 6/24/13)
She’s standing there in the bus station in the rain. But it’s late and likely past the last run of the night. There will be no bus.
Her dress clings to her more closely than it should and she tries to wrap the shawl tighter around her shoulders but she’s sodden. She will not get warm. And there will be no bus.
She paces slightly, slowly. Band and forth under the Plexiglas roof, stopping when she gets to the open doors where the rain blows in. She can take only three steps then a long pirouette and she tries again. The torrents will not stop and she will not get warm.
She’s holding her heels by their straps in one hand. The same hand that frantically clutches the worthless shawl. The expensive shawl. One of the heels has broken but she clings to the expensive pair... the worthless pair as if there may never be another. Her other hand furtively lifts a cigarette to her lips. A suck of breath, a puff of smoke. Three steps and a turn. The torrent does not relent and still there is no bus.
As each cigarette is spent she flicks it out into the street with disdain. Paws into her handbag for another. Fumbles to light it against the wet and the wind with shoes in hand, shawl in fist and shaking. Each time she attempts this she is forced to stop her stride to accomplish the task. She also pauses at each end of her short journey to search down the dark road for a sign of lights. She’s straining to see the bus that will not come through the storm that will not stop.  
And now in the distance she sees lights. Coming through the shadowed street, brighter than the flickering halogens overhead and growing closer still. Faster still. She stops pacing and turns her face away in a gesture of impatience and displeasure towards the approaching bus that will not come, does not come.  
Instead, an ebony car. And two black forms in a hurry, now blocking both exits of the booth. She screams and they muffle and drag. They disappear into the blackness inside the doors they left gaping for such a purpose. The doors slam, tires screech and the lights fade into the distance again, swerving around large puddles in the street left behind by the rain that will not stop.  
The storm rages. The dropped cigarette no longer burns. The muddy shawl no longer tries to warm. And the broken shoes have lost their owner. The bus approaches, stops, moves on, leaving only a stooped old woman bundled against the night. She waddles slowly down the street cursing the bus and muttering incoherently to the storm.

The unfortunate thing about being one of my characters is that it is highly likely that something bad will happen to you. Sorry Charley, even the tuna with great taste ends up dead in the can. I should start keeping a tabs on my morgue. 


Wednesday, February 06, 2013


I realized that if I do not write something about this tonight, that I don't think I will ever do it. I was mightily under-slept and over-committed before during and after the weekend and I kept thinking it would get better. It won't.

It starts like this...

A month ago we started making for real plans. I got out of work early and met up with 7 of my local-to-Rochester friends to make the trek to my dad's where other Jn was waiting for us. Somewhere along the journey we found a traffic ticket, a blizzard, some milkshakes and nasty fries. No one in particular slept and we rotated cars enough that everyone got to have a conversation with everyone else. Also no one (not even me!) had to drive the whole way.

We planned to leave at 6 and get in at 10...we left at almost 7 and got in just after midnight. That left us half an hour to get situated and calmed down and 2 hours to sleep before we had to add too many layers and head to Punxy.

The drive was uneventful except for a GPS inspired detour on some crazy dirt road loop. We procured bathrooms, light up hula-hoops and bubbles at the Walmart and made our way to the buses. By the time we had boarded the fireworks were going off so we mostly missed them...although the ones we did see were seen from a warm bus. Since it was only single digits it seemed like a good trade. Unfortunately our late arrival also meant we were in the back of the crowd where it was hard to see and hear. I still don't really know what the inner circle said about the glorious day.

Most (cold) people cleared out almost immediately or at least tried too. We chose to stay long enough to get our pictures taken with the fluffy rodent and though we were at the back of the stack there was still a bus boarding backlog until around the time we hit the stage with cameras in hand. Our wait featured nasty groundhog cookies that were strangely addictive, some line dancing, my friends looking like homeless persons, and some interesting drunks who acquired one of our hoops providing us all with at least half an hour of entertainment.

Pictures taken and bus located we ended up back at Walmart where we met IL the professor who put us up to the Twinkie thing so long ago. We settled on hunkering down in the camping section of Walmart on big coolers to eat our not-so-tasty cakes because really there is no GOOD place to eat a 9 year old Twinkie and we were very cold. Numerous pictures of the proceedings and two videos were taken. I can't figure out how to get the video off of my phone (yet!) and I don't have all of the pictures but they will end up here if ever I can figure it out. We shared our last halves of awful and old "yellow" cake and then each had a fresh one to chase the original. Fresh Twinkies are still gross and they did very little to get the old Twinkie "film" off of our teeth. One of my friends begged a bite and his take was that "It tasted like basement." Everyone in the party got a fresh Twinkie actually because we had enough for sharing thanks to IL who bought a box in a hurry after the company announced it was going belly-up.

Once we had accomplished what we came for IL headed to see his grand kids and we wandered back to Dad's via back roads. Most people snagged naps on the way home but other Jn kept me company while I drove. She had to leave shortly after we got back which was unfortunate as far as I am concerned but the weather was getting nasty and she had a long way to go. The rest of the group variously took naps or learned to shoot a pellet rifle and a shotgun under the tutelage of my father. We shared lunch and half the pack returned to ROC. The remainder spent a long time playing Bang!, pool and ping-pong mostly including Dad. We had a fabulous dinner tucked in there somewhere and most people actually got at least 6 hours of sleep before we piled in my car and turned towards Lake Ontario. I got to spend the better part of the drive curled in the back seat because my car happens to be fun to drive even in snow and a pair of friends know the ins and outs of driving stick.

It was a whirlwind trip but truly spectacular. And thus ends the ten years of the Twinkie.


PS- Below you will find pretty much the only pictures of the event I actually own.

The Ghost - A character sketch and a lipogram

The Ghost

A ghost. A phantom. A shadow. A short study in poor planning too long ago. A man who has no particular spot to stand. So his form waits at a junction of highways. Cardboard his cot. Rocks for a pillow. Rags his clothing, his only guard against cold. An odor of bad gin and rotting human about him. Today no goal past food...and soon. So this apparition walks on towards trashcans known at this turn. Slipping into a crowd, a mass, a group of so many at a mall. Many who discard scraps amply, no thought to what want could do to a stomach. This is a gift actually, not a criticism. Also it is not raining. Tonight may bring a chill but for now all is copa...copa...satisfactory. And this too shall pass.


(Based on a found name “The Ghost” scrawled in white spray paint cursive on a corduroy concrete noise barrier along I-390 and written for a Write Club prompt.)