Sunday, May 28, 2017

In Praise of Fire

Flame (n.)

a. a glowing body, generated by fire

Hot. And warm, it affects the things it touches. A nourishing heat, an indelible singe, or whole and final consumption. Proper distance is key, unless by its kin. And it requires. Attention and sustenance and respect and also air.

b. brilliance, a state of burning brightly

Figurative, literal, measured by means, lit by spirit. Some types show the way. Others cannot help but blind.

c. the contrasting light and dark figure seen in wood used for stringed-instrument making; the curl.

The trained eye finds the form, feels its weight, understands the value of the thing itself and how it reflects what it is not. He works, knows not to force, finds that balance between what he wants to create and the perfection of a natural state.

b. an object of passion

Elemental. Strange and like water. You and the flame. Light and lit. Each immerse in the other. Curious. Hungry. Feeding.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Weather Report

Good morning. 

Here just off West 7th in Saint Paul, it's cool and cloudy. The winds are 12 miles an hour from the past, and wistfulness is at a steady 72%. Around the corner a story is having fun folding and unfolding for your pleasure. Meetings take place. A beautiful face, pillow-framed and sated. Children laugh by the water. Someone's heart stops somewhere, while another beats like never before. 

The universe if often portrayed cold and neutral, and through a telescope, it probably is. But I've always sensed emotion there, some small patch of green imbued in the grey. A town tired from the night sparks a smile that flares before falling. A slow morning shot through with fever and silence. And somewhere close a happy fool seeing a little more, draws pictures in the air.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Fresh Feeling

THE SHIFTING WEATHER plays a shell game with the aging.

With each missed guess, the walk gets harder. It's a type of wearing down, cheetahs and gazelles, coalitions of the quick who know how to outlast the tired and tiring. Little nips, jabs really, that take away your legs in the end. It's worse than a storm. Slow exhaustion that doesn't test your chin, but the old man strength you better be cultivating all the while.

Half asleep, a thought. My strongest emotions, welling up, seem to always drain into sadness. I wonder why that is. Good fortune my way, but the shadow looks for conspiracies, tears it down, as if looking for proof of its architecture. But not this time.

It stands. It reflects light. That's enough for me.
That will be enough for me.

Learning to convert shade into shining might be the best thing I'm finally learning to learn.

Happy Wednesday.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Morning Devotion

Holy, still morning hour. Bare and fragile these moments just before dawn find you. Sometimes you are the one singing, and sometimes the voices are in procession as you watch, as if from the sidelines of a funeral, a royal birth. So strange to feel brought low but not defeated, more like finding your knees to avoid smoke at face level. Now and again the mind races, tries to find a way to reflect some reverence proper. Instead you fumble with your hands, eyes darting. Didn't you once even bow?

Do not misunderstand. Drink and feed from the well. Convert it with all that strange machinery you have inside. Condensation. Distill.

You are broken and perfect and capable of multitudes and joy, even when seen from so far above.
Act through breath. Serve with best moments. In preparing for them, they are manifest. Do not forget the cycle called spring.

Holy still morning hour.
A genuflect of tears.
Dirt made clean
one more day.

I am grateful.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Jungle Love

"In the stream, coursing in veins between the forest pickets, stood a great hart. Silent as it went, easy like his gait against the vague shores, he collected nourishment of wildly abundant humus, which was found among the strangest cell configurations, trees, undergrowth, animals lifted aloft toward the sun. The stillness all around was eerie and stuck in your ear. A rich smack, a gurgle under the clay shore’s shaggy curtain, the slurp of suspicious caves, which now and then occurred like detonations about the woven stream, bore witness to the constant monotony of the process. Out of the forest itself came a crackling rhythm. There the great Pan still prowled.”

from Tropen by Robert Müller
(translated by the Internet + Me)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Shadows and Shade - Part I

THINKING A LOT ABOUT POTENTIAL LATELY. Energy capable of going kinetic. A kind of hope and belief in the ability to fall or fly. It feels like intuition sometimes, in that you can sense it but is only validated when it yields something else.

I was, like most people growing up, lavished upon with a healthy mix of affirmation and shame. 

It was a pretty clear Yin/Yang in our household. My father struggled to approach the changing world with his 1950s world view, a view that made real men hairy-chested, muscle-bound inseminators who could field strip a Buick blindfolded. My brother was born seven years before I was with a love for sports but a body that would prevent him from living that dream. My mother proceeded to miscarry three times before - in what I have always envisioned to be hail Mary coitus - I shot forth into the world. Finally, a chance for my father's genes to manifest in the way in which his God intended. Progeny waiting to be trained for battle, a clean slate upon which to write the ways of men.

Alas, it was not to be. In me he got the flip side of my brother. Born rosy and plump, I developed near hemophilia only to round back out around puberty. I had a general lumpiness of body that could have been molded into anything: baseball, certainly. Basketball, maybe. Football? Well, that's a stretch. The body was there, but absolutely no interest in sports, hunting, fishing, any of the things my father associated directly with maleness. I didn't have to imagine his frustration. I saw it in glances I will never forget, a chill hard to shake off.

  1. The energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others, stresses within itself, electric charge, and other factors.

Potential energy. Sounds spot on, but it didn't feel like potential to me. To that young, blonde-haired overly sensitive boy it felt like losing the race while your loved ones look on, but in a dream where it happens over and over, skipping like a record just out of reach.

Next: In which there is fire and wheelies and even some Melville...

Happy Piano Day

Monday, March 27, 2017


It grew dark, and somewhere he could
sense the mountain
soften, arid plains
growing wet, and floating
somewhere between them,
a song.