Friday, June 30, 2017


Remember? Remember when that thing happened and the stuff in your lungs was replaced with thick fire? Each right cross pang catching you chestwise

breaking lines in your
nights of nightlessness

That one time you considered harm. It was something you floated in, no sign of land. Lost seas of midnight. You gave up. You died. You came back. You blinked. You slept.

And one day, against the plan, you laughed.

You shrugged it off because you remembered to be sad. Find the rut, climb back in. It's shaped like you, after all, and cold and hard and that's what you get. Dinners are made, somehow. Work. Thanks for showing up today. Very small things transpire.

And, like an unwatched kettle, it happens.

A different place. A new time. Words like 'chapter.' Laughing and crying take turns having their way with you. The trees change clothes and some summer night you see that the stars never stopped migrating. It all keeps going, and your not the center after all, not always.

Spring has become summer, my friends. Let's raise a glass to change. We're still alive to experience it. That's something. May the changes happening with you now be ones you can acknowledge and appreciate.

And you know what?

I hope they are fucking awesome.

Perfect musical accompaniment, courtesy of someone who gets it.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

We're Expecting

We all have them, and we love to feel smart by convincing ourselves we shouldn't or (better) eschew them for flexible happiness. But it's silly. Of course we do. Of course we wield them like children. Some are healthy and essential for the day-to-day.  But we are spoiled, as a culture, a species, as individual bits of grumpy dust. Give us an inch, and we expect to be promised a mile with dividends. We are not a happy lot. Meet our expectations, as we are content not happy, content. Did we not plan for them to be met? Even Steven. Many of us are fortunate enough to have food, air, shelter, pleasure even, as though all of this is some kind of payout for a bet well won.

But it isn't, and we didn't.

Each thing - a step, a smile, a meal, a kiss - these things are bonuses. Boons! For we were promised nada. No legally binding blood oaths for a stretch to live long and prosper. An aneurysm, while running. Peaceful in your sleep. The unfortunate target of dark alley random selection. It's all fair game. Tragic, yes, but only because of the accepted expectation that this will not, should not happen. We have been promised nothing, and each breath, is a gift given by *insert belief here*. Somewhere in the next town over, someone has just been hit by a car crossing the street to visit a friend, a brother, a lover. He or she, in an instant, will never walk again. Life is changed forever. For your feelings of inadequacy, bad luck, what have you; that person would give anything....anything to be able to be in your shoes, if even for a day.

I forget this all the time.

Big things. Small things. I truly believe that a major key to being happy on a regular basis is not to abandon expectations, but to manage them the way we do all the things, manage them with common sense, perspective, compassion, and emotional intelligence. Try to avoid the deficit perspective - seeing your situation and taking special note of all that is missing. That is I. That is what I have struggled with for years. It comes from a shadowy place I continue to explore. What in the world would I do if I found myself happy?

So,  here and now, I'm making yet another renewed pledge to stop looking for problems, appreciate what I experience, and do my best to move forward in love and respect for all of it, including me.

"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek answers, which cannot be given you, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything."

~ Rainer Maria Rilke 
from Letters to a Young Poet (trans. Stephen Mitchell)

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, complete consumption. Proper distance is the key to survival. If met by another of its kind - growth. And it does require. Attention and sustenance and respect and also air.

b. brilliance, a state of burning brightly

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

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

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 its natural state.

b. an object of passion

Elemental. Strange and like water. Light and lit approach. 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)