Thursday, March 31, 2011

a return

this is for jo and reya
singing and dancing
under washington's snow-kissed blossoms

"capitol cherry" image courtesy of reya mellicker

you can feel
soft press
of spring's lips
on the morning snow

as it kisses
the unfolding trees
and sets the blossoms trembling
in the great yawning space
that suddenly opens
in this microcosm
of the universe
as much of the connection
of all things
as of the distance
between our knowing
its allness
and our experiencing
of its intimacy

music for this moment . . .
arborea's take on robbie basho's "blue crystal fire"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


like the forgetful artist that she can be
winter left some paintings behind

some mottled and rainworn

some sun-creased and soft

some fractured and careworn

all looking to be hung on the wall of the gallery in the sky

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

mirror miracle

i dance across the skin of this world
it's a place to begin
it's where all worthy work begins
like learning to see yourself
and then learning to not see yourself
and then not being

i know those times

i know
those times
when i see myself
as others see me

as others see me

and i know it's not me
as i know me

but no matter
i let the fantasy unfold
because it feels good
to see myself
despite myself

as others see me

despite myself

you mirror miracle
do not reflect my darkness
reflecting light that is not mine ...

excerpted from tu, paz mia... by dulce maria loynaz

Monday, March 28, 2011

spring rush

the outside edges of spring are so like falling in love
there's a kind of messy graceless abandon
in which nothing happens
that isn't intimately
and significantly
connected to the experience of love itself
and isn't that how it should be


after so very long -
searching in the darkness
for the slightest flicker of colour
until finally
with light's return
the grey scales
fall from your eyes
and the fullness of everything
crashes across the face of the world
accompanied by
a careless roaring for the sheer love of life itself

that it should be so kind
so generous
so laden with gifts
that one could be spared you

and why not celebrate that moment
as if it is the pinnacle of all possible moments
for surely it is that
and more
and so i say melt and rage and splash and dance
and sing your song as loud as you possibly can
because this is all of life as it is and always will be
in spring and in love

Sunday, March 27, 2011


the sharp edges
of our crossed purposes

are so often hidden
behind the shield
of good intentions

visual prompt provided by tess kincaid

Saturday, March 26, 2011


today i came across the work of norwegian artist frits thaulow. i was instantly captivated by his rendering of water, especially slow-moving water. digging around the many sites with references to thaulow, i found out that in 1883, during his stay beside the simoa river at modum, he perfected his talent at painting scenes with slow-moving rivers. in the curlicue lines and sweeping eddies are the brush strokes of
a master who knew the flow and thoughts of water.

river view

water mill

winter landscape


i could look at these forever

Friday, March 25, 2011


sailboats near trouville eugene-louis boudin

i've been listening to mariee sioux's release "faces in the rocks" and i came across this song.
the words are the kind of words i wish i'd written but happily they're out there regardless of how they arrived.

send some friendboats made from wood bones
for all that i have known has rowed away from this coast
and carve me a mask from the safety of their decks
and make me a dress from their masts

for i have never known such missing of that breaking water
no, i have never known such missing of that breaking water
no, i have never known
such missing of that breaking water

so when i go
please, when i am gone
when i go
please, when i am gone

then, burn me with their bows
and toss some saving golden ropes to
let us set anchor so far away from this coast
then close off this darkness with curtains of sails
and cast it forever into the chests of the whales

for i have never known such missing of that breaking water
no, i have never known such missing of that breaking water
no, i have never known
such missing of that breaking water

so when i go
please, when i am gone
when i go
please, when i am gone
then, burn me with their bows

mariee sioux "friendboats"

Thursday, March 24, 2011


trees love themselves and allow that self-love to extend into their sense of all othernesses
in whatever form they may take.

i know this as loving kindness.

it's a pairing of words that bears reflection and consideration.

loving kindness.

loving kindness allows for the possibility of a state of care that is unconcerned
with like or dislike, right or wrong.

loving kindness is entirely present in the possibility that maybe, just maybe, everything, all things,
are features, perhaps even signs pointing to the process of love that emerges unimaginably
and without condition from a creative moment we express as "the creation".

the creation manifests in our own experiencing as a sort of creative infinitude that embraces the tiniest plankton, the most ancient joshua tree, the most beautiful sunset and everything in-between,
despite and other, all expressions of love.

the creation is an unfolding gift within which it is possible to refine the presence of the soul that in this incarnation manifests as the youness of you.

and so as i stand on a streetcorner (as i did this very day) and watch the sun break through clouds painted pale violet and the softest of sienna and (if you can imagine)
turning my head ever so slightly to look further south
i watch a frostbow form and see the colours that will become spring fall to the earth
i am keenly aware of the finite features of my bodies' life and then the ebb and flow of the seasons and the larger cycles of our planet which in turn sing of the orbiting of the worlds comprising our very tiny place in this universe which even as it becomes and fills the space in its plentitude is already aware of the necessity of its return to the essence of love from which it exploded.

please understand that the extraordinary and almost unbearably beautiful forms that i am so graced to share this place with leave me filled with the overwhelming compulsion and desire to share the deep feelings of gratitude and awe that i would wish to contain but whose ownership i cannot isolate and so as an echo of the unconditional loving kindness which they reflect, i choose to share my feelings
and emerging understanding here.

(if this writing looks familiar then that means you are a reader over at my other blog "flow")

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

from where i began

when i saw her
she was

she was
so like
so like a flower

and then

so entirely

and i
so like
the small green
moth-like form
of her perfect imagining
i saw myself
fluttering in her eyes
and i liked seeing the me of me
so much
that i became
perfect in my own estimation
so subtle
and refined
in my becoming

and in time
i became
so much less grateful for the gaudy syntax
of her velvet lips and her golden heart

so filled with greed
and i became so set
and then so set back
so formed in my place

until one morning
waking alone
in the sky
a sky of my own imagining

and remembering
each detail
of my unlived life
so filled with hollowness and great spaces
that (unlike a wish)
were already filled with the memories of dreams that would follow
moments that would never happen

so, filled with memories and dreams that had no home
i built my own sacred space
a sanctuary
a place of solace
a hermit's retreat
framed and clothed
in the architecture of regret

fantasy became both my scapegoat
and my friend

under the sun's soft breath
the dead leaves of me
to the ground

no matter that time
which had somehow ceased to exist

passed and returned

bringing me to begin
from where i began
wholly and entirely

to be here

visual prompt provided by tess kincaid

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

and for where

i'm in the sky
above a continent
chasing down the holy life giving sun

it's setting slower than most
so i keep catching it
over and over

for a while

in the hands of my eyes
i hold its slender glowing form
like an umbilical cord
close inside
the thinking and feeling
of my body
connected through
the exquisite scatter of rays
marking the spaces between the cardinal points
softening the math
welcoming the art

it drifts free of its tethers
and catching my breath
i watch it settle
beneath the horizon

birthed in other eyes

sunset over the northeastern united states march 12. 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

3:05 a.m.

i returned from cuba at three o'clock sunday morning so i am still fuzzy and discombobulated
but in the nicest way!

i haven't sorted the experience out for myself especially as it connects to my teenage reading of the life and work of che guevara whose presence hovered in so many different ways in the course of my visit and whose ideals i realized have settled somewhere in the background of
the cerebral megalopolis that describes my understanding of the surface features of this world.

i re-read his second book "the motorcycle diaries" while i was there. his image is all over the place but in forms as disparate as images on high-end t-shirts worn by handsome man-models to photo essays gathered into glossy expensive books and then the reprinted speeches and essays that he delivered
with enough passion to change a nation sitting side-by-side with glossy retro postcards of havana.

i took a lot of photographs - there's one above in the header photo - a tiny space that was so entirely quiet in a realm of rich reds and oranges and yellows.
certainly the experience of sun and deep warmth and then the colours - especially the range of greens - and birdsong, the ocean wind, the cerulean blue waves, and the so thoroughly human music are swirling
inside and around me even now.

thankyou all so much for the generous and thoughtful comments i got to read in response to
the words and pictures i left behind.

among the incredible wealth of fortune that i experience each day,
the sharing of this space with all of you is among the more unexpected and rewarding features of my life.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


in a moment's whimsy
i imagine that the whorl of wire
above my head
is buzzing with information
that spins
in ever-tightening
until reaching
critical velocity
it races skywards
into the clouds
that crackle and hum their soft approval

and the rain that falls
falls as words
that gather in storied puddles
that overflow
running like poems
along news-covered streets
and empties into narrative lakes
where, dipping your mind's cupped hands
into its lettered body
you bring the watery syllables to your face
and feel it's simple complexities
trickle down your cheeks
like haiku

Saturday, March 19, 2011

inside a moment

as it is above

so it is below

the conjoined terms
of our being

we are
a fractal essence
of the wholeness
we intuitively
in that very moment
of clarity
as our reflected face
the convoluted surface
of a river

Friday, March 18, 2011

the song

one cold night
frost and wind
worked their way
inside a tiny hairline fracture
and separated these two
of rock


the pine needles
gathered in and around
and the moss
threaded its way
across the space
frond by frond
until once more
the two were connected
as intimately
as one

and the
humming of the earth
and the whispering of the sky

the singing of the birds
and the chattering of the little animals
was the music
that sang the song
of their love

Thursday, March 17, 2011

red dancer

in the wet wind
the sparse scraping branches
hold the essence
of a fragile promise
this tiny
red dancer

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

in this softly painted place

i could live
in this softly painted place
knowing it as
a wonder
a small magic

to see
the world from

Tuesday, March 15, 2011



in the floating world

Monday, March 14, 2011

the river's prose

silvered-ochre ripples

the river's prose


Sunday, March 13, 2011


hello! i have made some adjustments to the golden fish comments area to allow for you to pop your comments in without my moderation as i am spending some time in cuba with the golden fish research team. we'll be staying in the town where one of the heroes of the first half of my life - che guevara - was laid to rest.

cameras, notebooks, and a pack of my favourite superfine markers have been packed along with little tins and bags of special tasties. the selected outerwear is on the bright and colourful side of the golden fish wardrobe.

i'm so excited to see what i see. who knows what might come out of it!!! steven

Saturday, March 12, 2011

i am becoming

the brush of my body
the colours of my mind

i create the creation of myself

and keep leaving it

Friday, March 11, 2011


the surface of this world
is like a painting

a painting
ripe with symbols

that point like signposts
to the deeper places

the richer places

the places that you
have felt
with your intuition

the places
that have nothing to do
with this place

no words
no ideas


my eyes

my heart opens

then my self

then i am
no more

Thursday, March 10, 2011

solace in the great spaces

the hypochondriac carl spitzweg

i leave my seat
and looking across the little dusty space
i can see the quiet street
soft with wood and claybricks
ripe with scarlet sun-plumped tomatoes
warming in rows
on windowsills
soft-licked by sleeping cats
draped with curtains tracing cotton white arabesques
and sweet with the juice of fresh cut flower-stems

the reassuring scents
of cooking
curl into the sky

a church spire pierces some soft-edged clouds that,
momentarily caught in their passage
tear slightly
before moving towards the hill-edged horizon

in the room across from me
in the half-darkness
a woman nurses her child
piano notes
from somewhere beyond
their merged bodies

the music for this place

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

the old farmhouse

old farmhouse edward fahey

i knew its sad facade
the door flung open revealing an almost empty interior

the suddenness of the gate's desperate squeal
swinging on unoiled hinges -
one fastened only by a single screw to the gatepost
so much like
the tenuous hold
the slender bony grasp
the shrill and final whispers
of a man bent on letting go
while clinging with rusted threads
to the silvered wood of his life

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

knitting hermit

knitting hermit carl spitzweg

when the moon glides across the sky
and leaves are fluttering
grey as moths
in the rills of wind
that cluster
then dance in abandon
up the hillsides and across the valleys
i lie in my bed
the knitting of the day
scattering yarn
of all colours
soft and rough alike
into untidy woolen whorls
ready to be drawn together once again
into some unlikely
and ill-fitting garment

Monday, March 7, 2011

the warlock

der hexenmeister carl spitzweg

i am the lone man
soft voiced and wise
left to marvel at your sudden leaving
left to wonder at your gradual return
i watch the signs assemble
pointing through
the mist
at the pathways leading
to you

time and wealth
seem so unlikely

the span
from castle to cave
is nothing to me
for i am of those
who see no difference
save the refining
and smoothing of rock
that has known
far greater suffering
in its time
and which like everything
before and after
leaves behind
its own special torment
even as you
leave it behind

for polish
in any form
of itself is facade
born of envy
and so of sorrow

a sorrow
best left
to those
with earthly attachments
who above all else
wistfully crave a form of perfection
that hand-in-hand
with sorrow tinged joy
is so keenly felt
by those
most attached
to this earthly place

Sunday, March 6, 2011

in the attic

carl spitzweg im dachstĂĽbchen

while watering my plants
she waters her plants

we are mutually exclusive

to all intents and purposes
man and woman

on the surface of things connected in some way
unfathomable to both of us
despite our being entirely aware of each other
and yet
in recognizing the niceties
we provide each other with a distance
that obscures the unspoken intimacies
with which we have filled our waking and sometimes sleeping hours

me alone in my attic
she alone in her rooms

"genuine communion," said demian, "is a beautiful thing. but what we see flourishing everywhere is nothing of the kind. the real spirit will come from the knowledge that separate individuals have of one another
and for a time it will transform the world. "

excerpted from "demian" herman hesse

Saturday, March 5, 2011

suspicious smoke

karl spitzweg suspicious smoke (verdächtiger rauch)

my eyes sweep along the valley towards the horizon.
clouds or smoke?

the early evening light angles through the shades of old butter
as i run my hands along the sun-softened wood ledge
i've swept the dust of the day down the stairs
and prayed for rain
not only for me
but for my plants whose browned leaves
seem to beckon to me
like the pages of a long forgotten book
asking me to place my watery eyes once more on their tattered edges

the night air
passes its slender fingers across my face
as i turn to go back inside

Friday, March 4, 2011

cloud mothers

the sky is softening

there's a thickness to the light

closer to the ground

ice gathers
into hovering lace sheets
that melt into songs
and poems
telling the stories of their
cloud mothers