09 November 2003


It is a fearful thing to love what death can touch.

But yet I find I’m not afraid. Over the years I find myself accepting rather than mourning and seeking the life in things as opposed to the death in things. Death is the final chapter. It will come for all of us marking neither a success nor failure but merely an end to our stories. The questions we must ask ourselves – did we live well, did we die well and how do we define well?

Namaste is a Sanskrit word. I’ve heard it defined many ways. The one I like is, I bow to the divine within you. And I do. But I don’t. I don’t see or acknowledge the divine in everyone. Is this right, is this wrong?

I don’t like disappointment and I try to rebel against it rather than accept it. There was a great movie, The Third Man, written by Graham Greene. It’s a fabulous film, not only for its wonderful zither music but also for brilliant performances by Joseph Cotton and Orson Wells. Anyways, there is a character, Anna, who says, “just because you know more about someone, it doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change how you feel about them.” But this isn’t and hasn’t been my experience. Knowing more does change things. Sometimes knowing more builds that wall that blocks my view to the divine.

And I embark upon the day in a quandary – where this brick has been placed in a wall to a nine year old child. I no longer see the child for the child, no longer see the divine within the child. What does it mean or say about me when I view the actions of a nine year old child morally reprehensible and unforgivable? How can a child be unforgivable?

18 October 2003

The Harvest

I put things in order from A to Z, small to large, dust off the debris, rearrange, restack and organize – trying to impress some order on the chaos. When am I going to learn that trying to organize dust particles is futile? And here we are dust to dust. All it takes is a strong wind and we’re history.

I don’t have much time here. I don’t have much time to figure it all out. I call it eternity – but it’s not. It’s my forever, but it’s conscripted solely in my flesh. I’ve been granted this gift and I’ve abused it – or maybe I’ve just lived it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. If I’ve used it well, sometimes I think I should arrive at this moment with more, but I never really deliberate on what I mean by that. More what?

Come down here onto the earth and die by the weight of it. It’s so much more than sitting up there in the clouds pondering the heavens. There will be time for that later when we’re dead. We will come to know the spirit world soon enough, when our forms are better suited for that understanding. We weren’t given the gift of flesh in order to understand that world. We were sent here to understand this one rightly. Is speaks through each of us and this is what Is tells me.

Walk on the ground and carry the weight of creation rightly. The burden increases with every act, every deed, and when it comes to be too much we’re to do what Atlas does – to shrug. This is the burden of our harvest. This is the burden of the abundance of life. It’s called joy.

14 October 2003

Every Violin

Isn’t every violin supposed to be yielding itself to my hearing?? Damn trees. Damn blades of grass. You mean they are not growing all around me with the recognition that I’m the gravitational center?? No, no, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to be the center. I just want my corner, off to the side, out of the fray, outside the whirlwind chaos of everything.

I want time to slow down and I want crisp morning walks and a progression from one thing to the next that feels even vaguely like progress even if I don’t understand why, to what end, toward or away from what. I want my voice to be heard, my words appreciated. Yes, the problem is that I want a certain reverence that I neither want to work for or be terribly accountable to. That’s arrogant and unfulfilling all at once.

If I set wind to these words will it offer them the gravity to float away? My old therapist seemed to think so. There are too many words left undone, half spun, frayed and broken and the tapestry is unraveling as we sit here saying nothing.

I had a dream last night that I was a drummer. Yes. A drummer, of all things. New music, subtle and complicated rose and for the life of me I couldn’t feel the rhythm of it, could’t find the beat for the life of me. I felt embarrassed. I wasn’t who I thought I was. And in my waking I realize that I’m not.

Perhaps my anger is for what I’m not – not for what the rest of the world is or isn’t. And that sucks. And maybe all I’m trying to do now is deflect my disappointment in myself.

Do you think I’m having some kind of mid-life crisis? That’s a possibility, but it’s such a simple phrase that’s likely overused and abused. The term mid-life crisis feels like an excuse or a box to place angst in. Oh look, one more aspect of life to throw a few simple words on, since it’s just a phase somehow it’s not real life and it can be dismissed. I don’t think so. Not this time. That’s been part of the problem all along. Sometimes I feel like screaming at myself, “you’re entire life is not a phase to simply endure until you get to the other side of it.”

If I have a single obligation it’s to find, experience and express joy. That’s the goal of every single day and why do I have such a hard time accomplishing this mission? What’s the obstacle here even when there’s no apparent obstacles?? Why am I my own biggest road block to this?

25 August 2003


Sometimes I think I’m going crazy. Like today, for example, as I stood on the pier waiting for the ferry, sipping a blended iced mocha from Peats, and found myself counting, very quickly, in my head, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10… then starting over. I won’t say it felt idiot savantish, just idiotish. And I wondered how long I’d been doing that until I became fully conscious of it.

Or as I later boarded the ferry, only one of the two ramps was lowered and I imagined myself walking right up and off the raised ramp. And mostly I wondered what stopped me from doing this. What part of brain stopped me? Though my legs leadened as I reached the fork, momentarily. It’s not that any great harm would have befallen me had I walked up on the raised ramp – maybe a thirty foot fall at most, likely less, into the bay. Divers propel themselves from heights beyond this, nothing would have happened. Maybe I would have been banged up a bit by something on the fall, but it wouldn’t have been a mortal wound.

This morning there were black birds on the roof, trying to crack walnuts or something open with their beaks. Knock, knock, knock. Knock, knock, knock. Peck, knock, peck. I walked outside and surveyed the roof. “Hey you,” I conveyed to the birds in an agitated tone without raising my voice too much, “hey you, knock that off. Stop it.”

06 August 2003

Growing Up

I’m watching the paraffin bubbles rise in the lava lamp. The best phase of a lava lamp is when everything starts to melt and rise like a reverse drip sand castle or whatever those stalagmite thingies are you see when you’re spelunking.

04 August 2003

Opening Your Eyes and Breathing

Secret is curled on the sofa in a pink afghan knit by my grandmother’s hands. Her white paws stretch against the air like a cat’s while she sleeps. I’m left with memories of sea lions playing in the surf, towering Eucalyptus trees with their peeling green bark and the damp mossy smell of Redwoods in Samuel P Taylor Park.

This is home. It’s a peaceful place where the outside meets the inside with seamless boundaries. The beauty is so effortless. It’s as though the environment itself conspires that one sees what is bountiful and delectable in everything. It takes no great imagination, no hours of meditation, no creative genius – it’s as easy as opening your eyes and breathing. It’s all here and there’s nothing to want for – not today, not right now.

29 July 2003

The Dream (Very Dead)

I had fitful dreams again last night. I can’t really tell if they were inspired by something astrological in nature or perhaps somehow the carbonara sauce went straight to my arteries, constricting blood flow to my brain and crippling the synapses. I woke up constantly only to fall into the same dream, which made it feel all the more lingering and deep.

In the dream I was communicating with a being. We weren’t speaking. It was very telepathic. It was a he. I was shown that there is a difference between being dead and being very dead. He was very dead.

The dead, so it seems, have ego. They also have motivation based in and on ego. They’re rather ugly and frightening creatures who feed their ego choices. This was shown to me like a movie where the dead were depicted as vile gelatinous creatures that killed one another and fed on human attention in all its forms – from fear to praise and worship.

The very dead, on the other hand, were distinctly different. They are formless and colorless. They exist in a state entirely undetectable by the dead. It’s almost like they are spirits in the world of the dead. While the dead are maybe our spirits and ghosts in this world, the very dead are like spirits and ghosts in the world of the dead.

What makes you happy? I asked. He tried to explain but words failed so he showed me. He had me feel the state he lived in. Yes. Words fail. Makes was a silly query, is is sufficient. To describe the state in which he exists, I guess the best I can do is say it is like an extraordinarily contented smile. Hmmm.. it’s a joyful content like being deeply in fully requited love.

How do you communicate? I asked. Again, words failed but he tried. He showed me a computer, a light bulb, electricity. And then he had me feel again, and somehow I just understood. The best word for it maybe is electricity.

How do you become very dead? I asked. He simply laughed. Here I got a bunch of mixed images and impressions. On some level it seemed that if you were killed by the dead it’s possible that you could become very dead. But I didn’t get the sense that this was wholly accurate. There was something more intentional about the becoming of a very dead being. It had to do with a choice to abandon ego, which was/is more difficult than it might seem on the surface.

To abandon a sense of ego isn’t to become selfless or unselfish in some base human understanding of these concepts. It goes beyond our understanding and involves something more profound. It includes giving up one’s investment in our relationship to our others. It’s not giving freely to our fellow beings and relinquishing our own needs. It’s about letting go and abandoning altogether the constructs which hold us together. It’s refusing to play the game or any part in it completely. It may look, by human norms, like complete selfishness because it looks and feels like walking away without concern about how this impacts anyone and everyone. It is a total surrender and abandonment of the social norms we know and hold to be valuable. It’s being willing to give up our past, our present and our future and walk away – and at the moment we do this, the understanding that we have come to as we do this, allows us to do it without fear, regret or concern. If any of these feelings are present, then we’re not ready, then we will not become very dead. Then we are simply not becoming.

When shown so objectively how crude and cruel and ugly the gelatinous monsters are, it’s easy to wonder at why this would be a difficult choice. How could anyone maintain an investment in the status quo of this grotesque and violent culture? It simply is what is for the creatures, however. It’s what they believe being is suppose to be and so they all play by the rules and try to find contentment in it. Yes they laugh, these creatures, in big cartoon gestures – like bullies on the playground in a kid’s movie. But the joy of the creatures are birthed in a kind of violence, in what looks and feels like cruelty – maybe it’s merely a metaphorical violence and it lacks any sense of contentment. And they are equally invested in their dramas, sorrows and fears.

And the very dead have merely made the choice to give up these things (along with the constructs and trappings of that life). And in that moment in the dream it was easy to wonder at why this would be a difficult choice. How easy it would be to let all that go. But I was made to feel how it wasn’t easy at all. How it took courage, resignation and abandon to come to these conclusions. How it involved leaving loose ends to unravel instead of tying them up. How it was like being in the middle of a game where perhaps you were winning or maybe just a bit behind and it was your turn to roll the dice and move. Rather than rolling and seeing the outcome you perhaps set down the dice and wordlessly walk away or perhaps you toss the dice in the air but you walk away before you read them – and you don’t even have a desire to look back to see how your roll might have landed you. And when you hear the angry chatter of your playmates, you remain wholly unmoved save for a quiet little chuckle of contentment and you just walk away, forever.

This was my dream last night. And for whatever it’s worth it leaves me feeling oddly ill at ease today. I’m so aware of my investment in the game. I’m acutely aware of the loops of logic that run in my head that loose ends are meant to be tied, that I can’t just walk away right now, how I’m not ready or able and how it’s not the right time. And I can hear him laughing (I’ve named him, the very dead guy, Richard). I can feel him telling me, Yes, when you are ready it will be easy. When you really feel it you’ll know that you are perpetually in mid-stride, you’ll know that there really never is a good time or a bad time, that it’s always just time. You’ll simply know and you’ll simply do and it will amaze you how easy it is.

Strangely, I know exactly what he’s saying and I wince at this knowing. It’s familiar.

27 July 2003

The Mission

We cozy onto the sofa, limb touching limb, legs splayed, the soft hum of the dog snoring against my belly. We watch The Mission and I invariably fall asleep before they slaughter the Indians above the falls. In my world the film always ends merely in foreshadowing debate before Eden is sacrificed.

When I first saw the movie, many years ago, the most poignant scene was when the Indian man severed the rope on Robert Dinero’s penance. I craved that kind of liberation and surrender. Now find the most moving scene to be when Jeremy Irons first meets the Indians whilst sitting on a rock near a river, playing a beautiful melody on a reed instrument. I take this to symbolically mean, perhaps, that I’ve changed from a person seeking freedom to a person seeking beauty.

I love this place. I adore the wet earthy smell in the shade of the towering redwood trees, the smell of the dried grass scorched by the summer sun, the rich black dirt of the land. I love weekends at Stinson and Bolinas – how in the summer the beach is soft and warm and sandy and how in the winter the waves break with more force and rocks wash in from someplace far away. The sheer beauty of this land is transporting – magical, mysterious and beautiful.

This is where I always should have been. This is more home than the City ever offered. It leaves me quiet and thankful.

24 July 2003

It Just Happened

How it all happened is so mysterious despite science trying to explain everything. The colors of the bay, blinding white, sky blue, forest green. That this or that would reflect in such a way, divine beauty. No one said, “This is beautiful,” and then made it. It just happened. The unintentionality, the accidental nature, how unconscious it all seems is perhaps the largest wonder. No one could have deliberately made it all so perfect.

22 July 2003


Damsels climbed the rise

Pitifully beautiful women with scarlet tights.

04 May 2003

April is the Cruelest Month

I breathe in the notion that poetry is essential to my life, to a good life, to the rhythm of things. But I haven’t read poetry in a long, long time. The contradiction, it is unsettling. There was a time when I read poetry every day, when silvery slick words poured thick into soft holes of heart and burst. These days are staccato and dissonant. The heart feels stippled like an orange past its ripe. I read it like Braille on the ATM machine. I don’t understand it, but feel hopeful that if I had to I could.