“When the Old Pilot Light Gives Out”


A CENTO – ((stolen prose fragments from The Control of Nature by John McPhee))


The crisis was simple and economic,

decorated with a relief model –

to keep them from plunging through.

Fireworks flew high into their interiors,

molten, growling, and weighed

two-thirds of a mile a piece.


As it happened, the edge never being stationary,

one cubic metre of flowing lava, of

prescription beer, and the wind shifted,

houses burst into flame mechanically,

and never took no for an answer.


The volcano came loose, extending

like a finger halfway across the harbormouth.

Dad swims up to the glass in a “silent

scream of terror” and felt but a mild quake

when the living room imploded

and removed itself hereafter.



A Storm

Pine needles swirl around in the sky with the wind pulling them from their branches. They are dry and dead with the summer draught in them. Clouds broke last night and supplied the forest floor with rain, the vines with rain, the branches with heavy rain, and the broken wood, the broken trees piled up against the shed, along the path to the forest, in the Pacific Northwest temperate zone, the pine trees, a few madrona, cold to the touch, a great big ancient oak in the center, saved from the hungry jaws of the bulldozer.

Continue reading

I’ve been caught up

in activities spent in Denver the last full week, including bee-stings, beers, bands, an overwhelming sense of community, and overwhelming topic of “moving elsewhere.” I have been hand writing my experiences there of the last 7 days, narrating feelings and events in a little flowery notebook. Now, after a 14 hour day, I’m fading. I’m exhausted and itchy, I passed out on the plane while listening to Midlake. I talked to a mountain dwelling lady for awhile about the politics of marijuana and mountain sports, the names of mountains in the Cascades. We flew just after sunrise. I read some José Saramago and woke up over Washington. Now, itching with exhaustion, I need to admit I’ve been too busy to publish any writing up here. I have a specific Denver writing project I’m working to accomplish. In any case, at least I was focused on the present happenings. The way plants looked in sunlight and the way margaritas tasted, how the sunburned eyes felt like a precursor to another migraine, to the verbalization of unspeakable things, to what happens to me if I talk out loud all of the things I should’ve just written down and moved away from.

Tomorrow morning at 4am I climb to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier, to 10,000 + feet over the river valleys below. Good bye.

1:44 – 2:04 am

12:55 – (tangent ended abruptly after 1:06)

Goodbyes and misgivings. The smoky air of an overcooked sausage breakfast. The late night of the drinking in the canoes and the late night work ethic for production values of blue-heart. The twenty minute free-write I never do anymore is attempted presently, in the stifling air with the beers in my belly and the ice cream in my throat. A drive thru. A confused girl calling my advice to plan her vacation and I wonder what I have to do with her three weeks if I am anybody decent I would let her discover her own acceptance of time to be forgiven

1:44 – 2:04

Holy fuck I haven’t done anything with my life in such a long time. I have read of the Sphinx and realize the current astronomical amazement of Venus and Jupiter approaching slowly like tentative lovers across the black crosshatched flannel sheet of the forever-night that occurs outside the reach of our sun or others…. the infinite, unwritten dark and humming emptiness. They have not preformed this particular dance since I was pre-born. About halfway through my mother’s pregnancy of me. I cannot speak of this process of development – where I may have been between embryo and fetus and baby with appendages and near-teenager at the halfway point, and why do I garner so much positive attention from them? Is it pity because I had to endure a kind of hostile environment around the house? that we all did? No, I think it is because of the alignment of the moons and the stars with the closer lovely planets with their theoretically and satellite-mapped landscapes, too hostile for poor human life, but for the rich they gather themselves into plumes of cinder smoke exhaust because the space between them shrinks with the knowledge of the infinite as accessible.

Too many old thoughts are pouring in on me. They are not that old. They are the written thoughts of the last four years. From Arizona to Los Angeles to now. They overwhelm me with their completely different realities and how none of them seem to reconcile with my current realities. How does it make a difference to write for class or for personal pleasure or for the sheer mystery of it to do so in public and to listen to Ra Ra Riot and be reminded of the “wild time signatures” they played with when Matt saw them probably in 2009. Some festival maybe. Something else entirely maybe. I need to see the man in his new grown habitat without any outside influences. Some kind of scattering of personalities of old friends around the landscape and the heart of the harbor is still present with all of them because the family housing climate cannot be sold of their runes they grew from the chopped trees and the planted pots. The house-leaning tree at Shawnee Drive is about as old as me and the astronomical absurdities of tonight. I am old as the rendezvous of Venus and Jupiter in our sky. “And what happens when they collide” someone asked. “That wouldn’t happen unless the sun died,” I said and peacefully added, “I mean WHEN it dies.” Suddenly one day there will be a large vacuity where their once was the source of life. And then what happens to life unless we are all torn out of our global comforts into a volcanic inferno of every possible medium, the trees on fire in an instant, I mean one hundred percent of them, the mountain ranges all erupt from the sudden helpful rises in radiation and science and literature and college educations and money all erase themselves into a great inferno with the help of a great imagined being clapping the final overture, into the void of silent darkness forever where the heart of the soul of the ridiculous and social man the personification in a word not meant to be gendered, though it is…. the person with the social knowledge that overpowers their ability to become anything at all… the social creature that no longer has a humanity but only a cursory flight, a flavor taste, of the true humanity capable of the species, the feathers gone long, the haunting growls only cast aside for violent fights in the street that often resort into metallic avenues instead of the classic and neanderthal hand-to-hand combat, the same combat that took down wooly mammoths for food, and as if we are still a hunter-gatherer species and the insolence of the companies that sell the corpses of animals to us, their are no mammoth beefsteaks out there with pricing by weight and the time runs short for all of the existences I’ve addressed because it so happened I decided to time myself for twenty this night unlike other nights. I need $9.50 in beer to be able to record such impressions in a way that makes sense to the fiery and unforgiving light of the morning, coming so quickly to burn me and wrap me in its hundred blankets of warmth. I will wake slow because the arms of the morning light are so damn comforting.

caffeinated pre-sleep

insomnia inspired by the desire to taste something caffeinated – my first choice was a little refrigerated coffee but I was strangely observed by the cashier and went for the rambunctious antidote of sleep that is a guarine-taurine-caffeine clusterfuck energy drink, with the heart palpitations as labelled on the side for the surefire sign you are “feeling it.” Continue reading

Tomorrow will begin

a newfound passion in a full, artistic life. I have been traveling and writing little fragmented notes and drinking good beer. I have broken an oath to write daily here (dwelling on it) and to let the words sieve out of me in a meditative ritual like lighting sage and humming through the corridor of a cathedral, the cathedral worshipping my body, the heart of the sun, the nerves spread out like river deltas, bells in the distance signifying nothing, letting nothing be known to come about, letting time erase itself like the first high tide wave erases the sand castle, letting the children know of future lost loves, of death of ideas.

Tomorrow I will begin, I promise. I’m feeling weird this evening. Fatigued beyond reasoning. Directionless and panicky. But I want to release the tension. I will dispose of all unnecessary objects in my life, sentimentality tossed aside like a bloody rag in war time surgery, because this is war, this is war against domesticity and laziness, this is war against negative birth defects of gravity, of alcohol torn out of the earth and poured down my gullet by topless body painted Roxannes outside Whiskey Hotel, the fiction trumps the fact, the fiction makes the fact sad it cannot be better and sexier.

So let fact or fiction come out and mix in the soup, the low flying clouds, the aerial dynamics, the choice of words, the verbs of movement over mountains, the Belgian pressure system on the lower intestines, the dry throat, crackling like New Mexican pueblos.

Tomorrow is the first of spring quarter. My last spring quarter before a special bachelor’s of the arts in creative writing. (See me go! Look at me sprinting toward that dangling carrot!) And then what? They ask. Fuck me if I know. I want to answer. I shrug and wonder how often they question themselves. None of us really question ourselves. We say, “I know myself pretty well now that those damned adolescent years and young loves are over with” and then never reform the picture with a body sagging four years in the future from that certainty. What is certainty after years without addressing it? It is not there. It is a crumbling viaduct sinking into the Puget Sound.

Not much in that. I don’t know myself too well. I know I need to be drastic or else I’ll drown. Like fish. They must keep swimming for their gills to work. Fish can drown if the current, or whatever, lethargy, maybe, holds them too still. I’ll just sleep here guys. In the snow drift? No, in my grandmother’s cottage as she approaches the senility of party host and puts sandwiches in the dresser drawers for me to take home and the family is quietly horrified but sings happy birthday extra loud, yawning after the candles are blown out, asking the youngest what they intend to do and saying things like “it’s okay not to know, just look at me” and see a flash of regret like a picture of lightning. An eternal flash. A captured flash. A life of regret in a cottage, in the undertow, in the young love never questioned, in the chastity belt broken and never repaired, in the heart of youth trading itself for a deported cardiac. And here I am saying I wanted to make sense with this proclamation of artistic intent.

But I intended really to say

move on 

to-do-list to port

(above is an image of the Ravenna Park Bridge from the early 1900’s)

Today, spread out on my glass top desk, two parking tickets, one inexplicably unpaid from Multnomah County. The other from letting the old black focus “obstruct the sidewalk” on the selfsame street that I goddamn live on. Public comments include “blocking north-south path” and “blocking east-west path.” Either my focus grew into a meat delivery truck over night or my accuser had no access to a compass or the flickering horizon light of the north star before it died in the sunlight. Thanks officer Gardea! I blame my landlord(s). One in an orange hoodie with hood up and pajamas every day. Goes to the trash bins at least 7 times daily. I wonder where all the trash comes from or if they binge and purge hoarding useless disposable crap. The other is a sickly bakery owner. They live next door to me and email me if my music is too loud.

Other on the desk. A globe. Yeah. A cat license overdue ticket. (Will they confiscate Benson if I refuse to act?) I will tell them he got run over my a meat delivery truck if they pursue legal action, hiding him in the bathroom. Huh no cat here. He’ll be taken to the doug fir soon anyway, anyway. Then the pressure cooking sizzle of the stranger’s potential interest in my writing. My writerly artsy writing? an article in the form of free verse poetry? huh huh? you have all the options of the world opening up in front of you and you need need need to rip open the seams of your life and scream into the teeth of the art world.

Well so and the poetry portfolio for pretty pimone. Pay the fines. Write the poems. Edit the shit out of them and make them little vases of contained specific flowers. Wildflowers from the edges and lips of mount rainier. Then the pitches! Then the 48 to Greenwood in a few weeks to tutor kids with writing projects and space travel in general.

Fucking tickets, though. What a mix of things to do today. There is also a hard drive containing gopro footage I’ve taken of The Netherlands & France from last summer. Also all the electronic/guitar music projects I’ve helped create with YUSO over the last few months. Nothing yet released, don’t look it up.