Archive for January, 2010

& 1 for the chronically upsdide down

January 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Mad poets aren’t the only ones who

watch through kaleidoscope eyes.

Their real trick is refusing to be pushed

To where

The viewing

Is easy

Categories: poetry


January 29, 2010 Leave a comment

I like to write poetry about historical occurrences that are not widely known but probably should be. Pontiac is one. Most of the forgotten stories of the indian wars are the earlier ones. I like these because the fights were more fair. The wars out west no way was they going to win, but in the midwest for a season or two, sometimes the indians got to win.  He was really the first native american to do cross tribal organizing, outside of an organized confederation, to oppose the expansions of the whites into their territory. When I read an account of Pontiac’s War  I found him really hard to relate to but wanted to tell his story. He wasn’t very sympathetic coming off as kind of a bully, very concerned about his own ego, and a cannibal to boot. But when the siege of Detroit was finally broken I really felt for him. This poem rolled out easily then.

My name is Pontiac

I am a chief like my father before me

Of the Ottawa who won’t bend their knee

At the foot of the whiteman

The French came to our land to trade

And we liked the things they made

Liked the guns and rum

We bartered furs to get us some

Now we’ll use our sharp knives and our guns

Now that the english they have come

They say they beat the french in a war

And we don’t own our land anymore

But we’ve never been conquered

So I’ve gone from tribe to tribe

I try to explain I try to describe

The future that’s coming

Some say the english they are few

In a few forts what can they do?

But the settlers are coming

With their saw and plough and fence

And its only common sense

Their won’t be room for the red man

So we put Detroit under siege

We took twelve more forts like a breeze

And the settlements they are burning

But winter it has finally come

And my warriors they’re fighting is done

They have to hunt to feed their famies

And the war is over

We had our dreams we had our plans

But now its over

The french cannon they never came

The promised troops were just the same

When the white man speaks He speaks in lies

The indians pay The indians die

The english have come

And they’re here to stay

We might fight another day

But for now its over

Categories: history, poetry

more old poetry (john and salome)

January 25, 2010 1 comment

I’ve noticed since moving the blog to wordpress that poetry is all of a sudden a big hit. I haven’t been writing a lot of new poetry, it seems to come in waves. I think there has to be a certain amount of space in my life to stay up late, having already read my fill, and a certain level of reflection. Right now i am living life. sometime in the future i will write about it. Here is one i wrote about John the Babtist probably sometime around 1998.  Its not as subversive as most of my religious poetry but all of it just arises out of the subconscious. I actually have little to do with the process. I struggled with the last line but finally just kept to the same pattern. I like the repetition and juxtaposition of the two characters. I’m curious as to what other folks like.

John was a young man, he lived in Galilee

And about two thousand years ago he baptized in the sea

He baptized in the sea

He wore a coat of camel hair, ate locusts and honey

He cried out to the people to repent, but they refused to see

They refused to see

But while John was busy preaching, Salome began to dance

And the King of all Israel fell into her trance

Fell into her trance

Salome was a young girl, the daughter of a king

She does the dance of the seven veils while a thousand eunuchs sing

A thousand eunuchs sing

But while Salome was busy dancing, John began to say

The King of All Israel is living in sin this day

Living in sin this day

John was touched by God, his words were like a fire

But when he turned the people against his king he lit his funeral pyre

Lit his funeral pyre

Cuz while John was busy preaching Salome continued to dance

And when the last veil hit the floor she knew she had her chance

Knew she had her chance

Salome was given a gift and it was up to her

She asked for the head of John the Baptist served on a silver platter

Served on a silver platter

So when Salome was finished dancing, John was finished as well

Now John is preaching up in heaven and Salome is dancing in Hell

Salome is dancing in Hell

Categories: poetry, religeon, Uncategorized


January 24, 2010 1 comment

Tecumseh is one of my biggest heroes and i believe the brightest spiritual force to walk on north america (unless the mormons  are right). He was a shawnee warrior and prophet. He spoke perfect english, was made a full warrior at 13 and killed 5 kentuckians on his first raid on the white invaders of the ohio country. He captured a 6th and when his companions tortured him to death he made an impassioned speech against torture which virtually ended torture by the shawenee. His war club was a bull’s penis with a fist size stone shrunk into one end, he shot one and clubbed 4, again he was 13 years old. He had been ordained the leader of the shawnee at birth by his father a prophet in his own right who prophesied the time of his death, as did tecumseh himself and his brother chikseeka. tecumseh would dress in whiteman clothes and infiltrate forts and armed camps. He would identify people in camp who would die and they died. he led troops in among other engagements the battle of the river raisen (the massacre occurred after he left). He attempted to organize all the tribes of the midwest and south to attack all the whites simultaneously, 15,ooo indians at the same time. He said there would be a meteor and 30 days later an earthquake as the sign of attack. His brother tensakawa foolishly led a small group of shawnee against william henry harrison, the territorial governor of indiana, and was wiped out when his promise of making the indians bullet proof didn’t work out. this ended the rebellion even though the promised meteor and earthquake came as promised. He ended up throwing away his life in the war of 1812 somewhere up in canada. some day i want to finish a rock opera about tecumseh. here is my finished piece:

Tecumseh #1

Pucksinwah was a war chief of the mighty Shawnee

Kept vigil under the stars at the birth of his baby

The mighty meteor left people at a loss

He knew it as the sign of the birth of his son


Tecumseh my son I won’t live to see you grown

But you’ll be the greatest warrior the Shawnee have ever known

Could have been a teacher or a prophet but a warrior we demand

When the Whites of the Thirteen Fires come to take our land

And Pucksinwah was a prophet so surely he had known

The fruit he would reap from the seeds that he had sown

As he lay dying struck down by a white man’s gun

He called to Chiksika come here my eldest son

The whites are like an avalanche and never will they cease

So take up now my hatchet and never do make peace

And raise up Tecumseh for he can defend our lands

He’s touched by the Great Spirit, his life is in Her hands

Tecumseh my son I won’t live to see you grown

But you’ll be the greatest warrior the Shawnee have ever known

Could have been a teacher or a prophet but a warrior we demand

For the Whites of the Thirteen Fires have come to take our land

Categories: history, poetry

prose poem with lots of unatributed quotes

January 18, 2010 2 comments

The Kingdom of heaven is like writing in the margins. For all of the writing in the book there is always room for more words. The kingdom of heaven is within you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will never pass away, in the beginning was the word and the word was god and was with god and everyone who loves is a child of god because god is love. Solomon says truly there is nothing new under the sun and yet i am a new creation. i sing a new song, i love the truth, i fall short of the glory of god and write obscenities in the book of life, i fall short, but the wind rocks me, i lay each night in the cradle and feel at home, i fall short, i am selfish and self centered but mostly lazy and yet i am rocked by the winds of change. i feel at home on the dusty plains, i feel at home in the snowy mountains, i feel at home in the winter’s rain. god loves a cheerful giver a forthright spirit and an upright heart. Plato says rightly that we are in a cave looking at flickering lights cast upon the darkness of our cave all these things that will Pass away. How many walls that limited Plato’s walks still stand? How many bowls from which he supped his soups or knives that carved his bread? hath not moth & rust destroyed? yet the idea of Knife guides every hand that makes to cut anything anywhere ever. heaven and earth shall pass away but my words will never die. this world is illusion only in the eye of the eternity and for now walls still stand the cave still surrounds us with darkness. but it is only contrast on the page of the limitless light of the now. dare to read your life as a book, your experiences as words on a page in the book of life. store up treasures in heaven, someday all there will be is communication, isn’t that what communion really means? but now there are walls and roads and knives and bowls and soup and bread and the stuff that Stories are made of. tales to be told when the weather just doesn’t matter anymore. heaven and earth shall pass away but my words shall never die. time is a fire that burns away all the things that in the end are dust, but star dust nothing less, “its the cosmos that gave us life its from stardust that we’re made of”. “we are all stars”. “every woman and every man is a star” because of the truth. not the idea of truth but the truth itself, the known and the unknown, the beginning and the end. just as our bodies, molded clay of life stuff, for a time, a temple of finite properties but infinite possibilities. we are born into a world in which we are a part and we live and we die like the birds in the field. but our fallible material shells generate consciousness. a self. an entity capable of knowing and being known. remembering and being remembered. the kingdom of heaven is within you. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, to be grasped. to be known to love and be loved for god is love and what is love but a knowing a being known. [the book of wisdom says the great build up walls of lies, great houses and lands and things that twinkle and gleam, that block out the light of eternity, (an experience of both truth & love) and leave them huddled alone in darkness. a land of dark despair] just as every hand that cuts is guided by the same perfect knife every heart that loves is guided by the same perfect love. God and heaven and all the saints and angels are an “a priori” assumption, a self evident fact by anyone who has ever been lost in the moment of love, the sharing, the knowing of another soul be it our neighbor or the god who made the universe its really all the same eternity, if you do it right. do you want to know if you are going to live forever? are you living forever right now? my home is the planet earth and my family has six billion children and i yearn to know their names and know their stories. i have a name, i have asked to be remembered and promised to remember. i have loved and am loved, i sing songs to the angels, i love everyone i have ever loved and that love lives inside of me. moments of eternity when we shined brighter together, lost in the moment, timeless and so eternal. heavenly treasures, stories to tell when the weather just doesn’t matter anymore because heaven and hell have passed away and there is only the word. the word is truth. the word is love. the word is beauty. the word is.

swinging an axe

January 18, 2010 Leave a comment

I spent a chunk of the day chopping down the bush honey locust out of the northwest corner of my backyard. My friend Trevor had pointed it out and mentioned it was a pernicious invader that had to go but then i heard that the cultivated ones weren’t pernicious. Last spring at the native plant show i talked to some experts and they said the white and yellow flowered kind were the aggressive ones and so i waited until it confirmed my memory that the flowers were white and decided to knock it out this winter. I see how it has a big edge over the natives because it didn’t drop its leaves until well into December.

Than we had a couple of weeks of ugly cold and now I’m cutting it down.  I spent a couple of sessions warming up and got serious on it yesterday. I was stymied because all the branches were seriously entangled and large chunks of it hung over the neighbors rusty old chain link fence (which keeps out the pit-bull), wires, and my own fence. I had it better’n a third down and hadn’t been able to pull out anything out of the mass. Finally I just started chopping off branches and pulling them out one by one. The final pieces I roped and had Harry pull on the rope to keep the wires up. Success.

Now I am hand sawing some of the mid sized trunks to line a path through the new beds. I am hoping to rake out the plant material, pull up the handfuls of grass & mud I haven’t smushed all apart yet and plant my wildflower mix. I picked that up last spring at the Missouri Wildflower Nursery in Brazito last spring. I am going to use a packet of shade mix, one of shade mix thin soil, some bush clover, and one other one which is escaping me. Getting the seeds on the ground is the part of the project that is time sensitive. Its barely early winter yet.

Swinging the axe has got me nostalgic. I got into chopping wood in my early teens. It helped me get a handle on my anger which saved me a world of hurt. There’s something special about cutting stuff down by hand. If I had used a chainsaw i could have blasted through it  but the noise and my general unease with machinery would have taken away from the experience. I wouldn’t have the satisfied delight from the tingle in my hands and the feeling that i did something in all those weird muscle groups around my body.

It reminds me of camping, and splitting wood for anyone whoever guested me and burned wood. I remember going home for christmas break with Claire and splitting her a winter’s worth of wood. I got into a rhythm and was nailing these big oak logs with one swing of the maul. It felt good, feels good now.

Categories: feelings, gardening

work, work, work, work

My job has been in transition for some period of time. For the last several weeks I have been a grant writer, mostly. Its kind of fun, a different set of challenges. A lot less emotionally draining than trying to save the world by helping struggling individuals get ahead and keep the wolves at bay. I like to compare it to writing a paper only instead of getting an “A” you get a million dollars. A “B+” pays zilch.

It makes for a little bit of pressure, but engaging as well. I have been writing the same proposal over and over, off and on, for almost three years. It makes my head spin when I think of sentences that i have pondered, retooled, or left alone for i don’t know, maybe a hundred times. But its good, it gets better each time and it is loads better than the last version.

The program i am trying to get funded is Assertive Community Treatment, which is a real neat model for treatment and pretty cutting edge for a substance abuse agency. As far as I know we had the only one, had being the operative word, and will have again if my grant goes through. A multi-disciplinary team with a lot of creativity and clinical freedom and a small case load to really expand the world of the possible for what you can do for folks.

The grant we are going for is a Recovery Oriented System of Care grant or  ROSC. Its really designed for interagency collaboration and its a bit of a stretch to just fund our program but i try to make the case. We were close last time and its a lot better, competitive though. But thinking about the idea of a ROSC has been cool though, has us getting more client and community focused.

Categories: work

consternation, bother and loss of a sense of self

I wrote this paragraph on halloween and have been sitting on it ever since. publish or delete? you see what i picked.

I am in the midst of a long and annoying semi-functional funk and am starting to feel it is endless. It began with trying to write some more on the ‘about’ page. I thought i might begin with talking about what i do, so far as work. not an easy question. I wrote i am in transition from supervising a program providing integrated mental health and substance abuse treatment to individuals with multiple problems in a community based setting to providing community based substance abuse counseling informed by mental health treatment. That subtle difference is a huge pain in my ass and i can’t help but be a little broke up and sad about it.

Categories: feelings, Uncategorized, work