Tuesday, December 5, 2017

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself

You know, if I read one more story
about liberals crying* because they let this
song and dance man into the White House,
I think my eyeballs will melt out my
skull. Saddle up people. Nothing
will ever change just because
you're feeling sorry for

* yes - actually crying..


Monday, December 4, 2017

They tell me

2015 MANNA Camping Trip

Horses Explain Things to Me

Today is a crash course on moving gently.
How to take a gift from someone so gingerly
they believe they still have it. If you move
soft enough through the wind or woods,
they say the sun will make a space for you.
Some of your regrets might soften. I move
terribly. I crush twigs and spiders but the horses
say nothing of it; they let me pet their long manes.
I hop on and we walk out to the end of wanting.
What is God? I ask them. They tell me, Yes.
 ~ Brett Elizabeth Jenkins ~


Sunday, December 3, 2017







At the end of every motorcycling season, my brother rides his bike to my house and we prepare it for winter. When I say we, it's really he who does 99.999% of the work. My job is largely to hand him tools, chat, and give him a lift home afterwards.

This year, along with the usual conversations about children, grandchildren, politics, mechanics and technology, I took pictures of his hands.

Since I was little I have been fascinated by my brother's hands. His hands are blockier, more freckled, and more beat up than mine. His fingers are wider at the tips. Nowadays, they look for all the world that they belong to a man who's used them in some rough trade (maybe a stone mason) instead of inside the relatively delicate and refined setting of an electrical engineering lab. 


Tuesday, November 28, 2017


I read a lot of conservative writings - a lot - I mean you can't understand your opponent unless you study him/her, right?  One of the main themes besides "The poor just need to work harder dammit." and "Guns, guns, guns!!" and "Immigrants are the problem!" is "Millennials are a sign of a corrupt and declining culture." Yes, conservatives find it very (very) fashionable indeed these days to disparage Millennials:





Those are the main themes, anyway...

While I have a very small sample set, I've known four Millennials since their birth.  Here's what they are doing with their lives (in order of descending age):

  1. A Curriculum Developer for a charter school that specializes in immigrant children who neither speak nor read English when they start school.
  2. A PhD Biologist researching cancer treatments.
  3. A Social Worker binding up the wounds of and bearing witness to hundreds of victims from our ill-advised wars.
  4. A Nurse Practitioner leading the startup of a Sleep Medicine clinic.

Oh yes, and prior to their professional lives, all four of these Millennials worked (hard) to earn their money and spent tons of hours / days / weeks volunteering.

Not quite the neat narrative made popular by conservative thought leaders, now is it?


just repeating it doesn't make it true..


Many of my lib'rul acquaintances persist in saying  "He doesn't represent true American values.."

Although I've said it before, it bears repeating - while that assertion might be nice if it were true, it isn't. It might be nice if we had a long and storied history of fairness and inclusion, but we don't.

Racism in general and wealth consolidation by the very rich have always been with us - at least since those pathetic Pilgrims touched boot to Plymouth Rock and started that boulder on its centuries-long tumble into darkness - i.e. now...


The Rich Have Always Been Parasites

Affordable Housing In America 

Whoever touches pitch gets dirty,
    and whoever associates with a proud person becomes like him.
Do not lift a weight too heavy for you,
    or associate with one mightier and richer than you.
How can the clay pot associate with the iron kettle?
    The pot will strike against it and be smashed.
A rich person does wrong, and even adds insults;
    a poor person suffers wrong, and must add apologies.
A rich person will exploit you if you can be of use to him,
    but if you are in need he will abandon you.
If you own something, he will live with you;
    he will drain your resources without a qualm.
When he needs you he will deceive you,
    and will smile at you and encourage you;
    he will speak to you kindly and say, “What do you need?”
 He will embarrass you with his delicacies,
    until he has drained you two or three times,
    and finally he will laugh at you.
Should he see you afterwards, he will pass you by
    and shake his head at you.

~ The Book of Sirach - Chapter 13 ~ 


Friday, November 24, 2017

let it roll, baby, roll..


The future's uncertain and the end is always near...

~ Jim Morrison ~

The future's uncertain and the end is always near


Are you happy?


My son asked me if I was happy. I mumbled something about making Jizos and "Yeah, I guess so... "

Of course, there is always more to that story, right? I mean, happiness doesn't just descend one day and then live with you for the rest of your days - not in this life - not in my life anyway... Happiness visits from time to time out of nowhere and for reasons beyond my ken. Most of my time though, has been spent in worry.

The considerate thing about worries is that they change with the times of your life.  As a young parent, I worried that the kids were going to be OK.  As a young professional, I worried about "success." I worried a lot about money. Now well into the age of the walking ghosts - the disposables - worries center around continued employment, missed opportunities, what sort of person I am underneath the curated presentation others see, and what sort of end this will all resolve to..

And - this is all my fault, my responsibility, all of it.

I never developed a wholesome practice that could reliably keep the looping worry parade at bay, never could develop a personal relationship with Jesus or any of the other big names in the celestial dome... I reap now what I sowed in the past, and at this point - I don't expect big changes. Like Dylan says "Lotta water under the bridge - lotta other stuff too.."

And yet - happiness comes and sits next to me quite often - despite my carefully constructed armor of worry... It plops down with its rumpled lunch sack, unwraps a baloney sandwich with yellow mustard on white bread, sips unsweetened iced tea, looks up into the sky and says things like "ahhh.. feel that breeze.. look at those clouds.. is that a hawk?"

This morning - I was reading Brain Pickings and found a Jane Kenyon poem on the topic of happiness - pretty close to true I think - at least for me...


There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.

And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.

No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.

It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basketmaker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
        It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

~ Jane Kenyon ~


Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Night Chant 

The Jizo Project is about sixteen months old.  While there is no meticulous count of how many Jizos got set loose, the number is around three hundred.

Besides making them, placing them in the world and giving them away, all of which I love doing, The Jizo Project allows me to continue the story telling I did when my children were little.  Stories were big in our house - stories from books - stories I made up for them. The kids made up their own stories too - really detailed stories that grew in the retelling over the years to become even more intricate and nuanced.

The ongoing and unfolding story of the Jizos isn't told to two beautiful ragamuffins on their way to sleep for the night - it's way less personal now - now everyone who visits Instagram is part of the story. I've been pleasantly surprised that adults engage with the Jizos at the level of the stories. I've not been told for instance that "They're not real you know.." or "They're made out of clay. They can't talk." or any of the other million things that serious people tell me from time to time. 


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Before you start spraying everyone with your "Thoughts and Prayers"

M4 Sherman Battle Tank 

For all those responding to the latest weekly mass shooting / Second Amendment Martyrdom Liturgy with pious offerings of  "Thoughts and Prayers" - consider the following and then maybe stick your "Thoughts and Prayers" in a sock if you're not going to work for change:
“We live in a culture of violence. Our government believes that the best way to solve our problems is through violence. The US spends more on our military than the next eight countries combined. And yet we have politicians who say that our military isn’t big enough! The US sells military weapons over 100 other countries. War is a big money-making business. The United States has 662 military bases in other countries. Contrast that with other nations who have military bases in other countries – Russia has eight military bases in other countries, Great Britain has seven, France has five, and the Unites States of America has 662. Let’s talk about Nuclear bombs. It would take detonating about 100 nuclear bombs to block the sun and destroy life on earth. The US owns 7,300 nuclear bombs." 
From: The Virtue of Being Foolish


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Oh world.

Always open

How we work what we love. I've just begun to notice
where we've disembarked. And there is nothing
to hold on to. Even here,
        love. Even here.

Oh world. Cold water. Hard wind.

~ Carol Glasser Langille ~  


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

which are leaves and which are angels

bending away from justice

I take my glasses off

it is the hard
edge of things
i am avoiding
the separations
so that i take my glasses off
and then i cannot tell
which are the leaves
and which the angels
like blake
like that man
who lived with lepers
not noticing what was sin
and what was grace
visioning visions vision
i take my glasses off
so i can see

~ Lucille Clifton ~


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

you never show


you never do...


send me dead flowers


...and I won't forget to put 
roses on your 

~ Mick Jagger ~


Friday, November 3, 2017

Thanks anyway...


He said "I feel like I should get together with you."

What I said was "That would be lovely."

What I thought was "I'm too fucking

far down this shit-stained road

to be anyone's should."


A gift from my father


You miss beloveds that you no longer see. 
But, there are are also people that you miss, 
especially when they are right there in front of you. 
A maddening puzzle to be sure and one
that holds with an iron grip.


Of course you can't >say< this when they ask how you're doing.. .

Self Portrait

“Here, in this place of love and death, 
I am trying to ride exactly 
in the middle.”

~ Sharon Dolin ~


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Tuesday, October 31, 2017