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You have no one but you to blame
if you cannot hear the sky.
When the air is jelled and cloying,
the phone book will not open.
Soil packs too hard for fingernails,
too soft for pails and shovels.
The tap that drips on Franklin street
melts through to rot the roof ribs.

Old though I am, the pail still feeds
my appetite for blather.
Over the highest hill in town
still higher clouds will hover.
What I know of my own shadow
burns into my shoulder blades.
What I refuse to see flays me,
with darkness I make of myself.




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Sat Apr 25, 2015 at 07:11 PM PDT

Beethoven Mushroom Soup Sonata

by ruleoflaw

For this recipe, you will need:

1 precisely-tuned concert grand piano
1 Daniel Barenboim

(The first two ingredients may be substituted with any Barenboim recording that includes Beethoven/Moonlight Sonata (No. 14 in C#), Appasionata Sonata (No. 23 in F minor, Opus 57), and Pathétique Sonata (No. 8 in C minor, Opus 13).

2 tablespoons olive oil (You can substitute butter or margarine)
2 to 4 cloves garlic, to taste, smashed with the side of a chef's knife.
1 tablespoon Penzey's Bavarian Seasoning mix*.
8 ounces of Crimini Mushrooms
2 leeks
2 cups of fresh potatoes, peeled and diced (substitute frozen American fries)
4 cups mushroom broth (substitute vegetable  or chicken stock)
1 cup white wine
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard, Dusseldorf style (substitute Dijon style)
1 cup plain yogurt (substitute sour cream or vegan sour supreme)

* - The link isn't meant to be a plug for Penzey's, it's simply for your convenience. if you choose to use your own seasonings, the Bavarian mix includes crushed brown mustard, rosemary, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and sage in proportions that only the Penzey's folks know.

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Sap has run,
sweetness given up.
Steamed down, molded into golden sugar.

Steam rises into budding branches.
Tree frogs chatter in mist,
first fish hear their call,
Red horse and suckers in the cold wash.
They will glisten in jars
kissed by dill and onions.

Autumn's tubers hold us.
Spring messengers sing to cold water.
Ripples dance on silver scales,
sliding light over stones and spirits.



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Wed Apr 08, 2015 at 09:08 PM PDT

Under Sara's Fingernail

by ruleoflaw

Under Sara's Fingernail

In a box from Portland
across half a continent
care of Sara and Ann, of hands and souls
carrying hope, good, and true
from strange friends, friendly strangers,
opened with feathers and fingertips

Wrapped like an onion
of like minds dissonant,
paper shelled, agreed to differ in layers.
Savor and sob sweet sulphur.
Many voices, much to consider,
makes my heart hurt well.

Mushy legged, fright coughed
needle stuck, copper mouthed man,
duck feet wrapped in the blessings,
gathered, wound, woven, sewn.
Torn is bound, bound is healed
one stitch at a time.

Our divinity dreams our world into being.
Tears of gods stain our pillows.
We rise on the grass of our own gardens.
Wash in the dew of Eden daily born.
Poppies, hops, cabbage and the joy we have planted here
feed others after we have dissolved into eternal rain.

See the creator of the universe.
Look up from the sink.
Look into the eyes of those around us. Love what we see there.
We are forever bone-dust, tears and stray sparks.
If you missed my call, look for me on the nearest leaf,
beside a creaking gate, under the hoof of a she-goat.



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Duckfooted tears flow from leaves no longer.
Last of ancients,
she does not wait for life to run out.

A wall goes up slowly.
Bricks close up the sore place.
Missing moments are scratches
behind the wainscot.

Old ways grind out a path.
Roots and rocks wear a polish.
Dust boils in the footfalls.
Beside, in the grass,
hoppers find refuge.

In the flyblown eye sockets
of the mutilated dead
no fluorescent future glows.

Unique arrangements of matter dissolve,
dissipate into the earth, into air,
into bellies of maggots.

Borrowed from the earth,
paid in to the universe
as fully as it lived.




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Sun Mar 29, 2015 at 08:31 PM PDT

Three Winter Stanzas and Hope.

by ruleoflaw

Three Winter Stanzas

In my house, I wait for winter to pass.
I was talking to the dog.
He did not answer,
only stared, wagged the tail,
happy to be acknowledged.

A man carried a cross of mahogany and polished brass.
His red hair has gone white
where it hasn't gone altogether.
Today his cross is repaired.
Tomorrow it breaks,
He will take it home.

The economics of maple trees
call for water, sunlight, and winter.
With taps, pails, and fire
sweet soul of the soil is released
steaming down to its slush-crystal essence.



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Lore we knew became
grace in pieces,
before it was so very wrong,
crushed like
porcelain.

In the grain of light,
ripples of weed
on the sand clinging to bedrock,
where breath
heaves and flows.

Cross-chop shakes the sun,
tears air, snaps glass,
rattles the ribs of all the world.
Troubles
will abound.

Frost battered slabs,
tilt and crumble
on the swell of the restless earth,
without
permanence.

We greet our callers
in the minefield.
Tea and cake for untrusted guests
never
satisfies.




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Along with some assorted schkweeks and blather, I usually post my own poetry here. This is a bit of a departure.

Below the fold, I've posted an extended excerpt from a play I've read and reread many times. I've even had the privilege of directing it once. It is by an Irish playwright, John Millington Synge. He died young, authoring only five plays in his lifetime. To say that he captured the soul of the Irish in those plays would be a grave error. He set the soul of a nation free, before it's citizens were ready. The play caused riots and disruptions in Ireland and the United States. Irish men and women on both sides of the ocean felt it was blasphemous and obscene. Irreverent, yes. Suggestive, surely, but the phrasing and imagery only make it more lovely than any collection of Renaissance heroes and nymphs on canvas. Synge's verbal brush strokes bring forth ache and yearning without sly winks or pandering.

Full disclosure: My Mother was descended from Irish Immigrants and could effortlessly break into a soft, fluttering brogue to tell a joke, sing a bit or simply warn bold little boys off the batter she was stirring. When I hear or read an Irish voice, I hear her voice too. That's my bias.

I'm not even going to set up the scene. Just know that a young man and woman met last night and by this afternoon, they have fallen in love. If it strikes you the way it strikes me, you'll read the play yourself and be glad you did.

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Sun Mar 08, 2015 at 09:57 PM PDT

Wading in Spillerburg Creek

by ruleoflaw

Roiled under screws and paddles
ribbons of mud roll too slow to turn,
too slow to turn aside the pull of big water.

Above the surface I breathe,
skip pulsed and pilled full of bite,
my mud-washed throat grinds words.

Deep in bullhead holes, spines and slime
guard the pale yellow belly.
Black oxbow stink clings to my legs.

Rising from the slow creek, scattering eelpouts,
fish-foul sun bakes the tar-black scum.
Check for leeches and lay in the marsh hay.

In the light, on the peat, hawkweed sings
to the hoppers and toads.
Black water and cedar, heal me.




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What was heard:

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Fri Feb 27, 2015 at 08:27 PM PST

Your Class

by ruleoflaw

Please folks, can we retire the term "middle class"? There used to be something like a middle class, but it's beyond saving. It's gone.

There's a tiny percentage of folks who live on the invested profits of their capitol assets. They are not middle class. If "work" consists of discussing your portfolio over lunch or calling your financial manager with instructions to buy or sell, you are upper class. You are, to use a highly technical term, f'ing rich. Congratulations, you've made it. Please try not to be a dick and stay out of the way while the rest of us are working.  

We are the working class. Join us below the impressionist cheese-doodle.

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Just pick one and be as happy as you are able to be.

18%12 votes
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| 66 votes | Vote | Results

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Iron bands rust,
oak cracks, leather rots.
Who we love,
seldom asked
how we love,
in truth,
in time, and in silence.

We pass wrecks in ditches,
going on and on,
wondering, or not,
about motion,
distance unmeasured,
in plodding leaps.
We weighed it in clasped hands,
crushed it under calloused feet.

Overwound watches
wait in the bureau drawer,
choking on a minute of history
as we polish our heels,
wandering in pasture,
in winter wheat,
over moonrise in her dewpond.

Wormy at the root,
we often fall, often fail in telling.
Our speech gets knotted,
song sours and soaks the dirt floor.
In still puddles of spilled whiskey
we struggle to the surface,
sucking and spitting bile.

What we knew was wrong is right,
wrong again and again we know love.
Broken in struggle, perhaps mended,
perhaps not.
Under the air was the heat of two.
On the sand we were burning.
In the long grass,
laid out in a little death.

Coyote watched as we walked.
Under her arm a loaf of bread,
on my shoulder his wild gaze.
Waiting for us to rust, to rot, to crack,
Coyote follows. We shall not be distracted,
nor shall we rest. The needle in my side
will never touch the core,
never pierce us.

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The last dog in this pound
ain't coming back home.
He's the nephew of the littermate
of a sonofabitch problem child.

Nobody asked to pet him or walk him.
He snarls and and snaps and humps a leg.
He can't come home with you.
he can't go back, he can't stay in between.

Beatings, cages and scratched doors,
puppy mill dog-fight filth on the floors
cloud his eyes, bend his spine, fill him with dread.
His puppy-life was choked out of him.

Bugs in his ears, the mange and fleas
are gone, but the torment lingers.
Beaten in, starved out, forgotten in the dark,
his pain bleeds inward, decaying his wolf soul.

Perhaps you have a wolf soul in the earth
or a crow soul, coyote soul in the desert sun.
Turtle mother soul in the waters and the weeds.
A wild ox soul in the woods.

Lucky you, if nobody kicked you, starved you, knocked you down.
Your turtle soul is patience, your crow soul sees.
Your auroch soul is gentle power.
In red sand under the cedars, follow your soul tracks

and heal.


If you want to jump the tip jar, stomp it like a grape.

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