In Motion: Bellingham, Poetry, San Juan Islands, Ted Talks


Monday, April 25, 2011

Four Corners

Please enjoy the music while your party is being reached…

I’m working on a blog, and my short story and my article, honest. I’m really not just sitting back and enjoying the company of men. This is serious research. It’s called living. Ever do it? I know you have. But, I’m not just taking time out of my day to start a fight; I’m really trying to make a point. Just because I’m not sitting at my kitchen table writing like a fool out of school doesn’t mean I’m not working on anything. I have reached a state.

This state is not a “wall” or a “black hole” but a state. The location of my metaphorical existence is not too unlike the area of the United States called “The Four Corners”. At this point on the map the four corners of Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico meet. There is a marker on the ground and if a person wanted to they could take a big step North, South, East or West and literally be in a different state each time. Very cool. So that’s where I am- in the middle of that kind of state; I’m active, working, have a good family and personal life, AND… My writing has almost ceased. What the heck is that all about? Must I be in pain and anguish before I write poetry, or have an ice cream & pizza dream before I get inspired? Please no more! NO MORE GRAVY! You caught me- it’s true I’m not writing. So, how do I get started again?

A good blogger friend of mine recently re-introduced me to T.S. Eliot. Eliot 1888-1965, was an American born English poet who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948. I bring him up because his poem “East Coker” has been ringing in my ears the last few weeks. When something nags at you long enough it deserves attention. Now, some would say that the poem is about man's relationship with time, the universe, and the divine. Today I see it more as if you want different results then you MUST DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.

Here’s the portion of the poem:
“In order to arrive at what you do not know
You must go by a way which is the way of ignorance.
In order to possess what you do not possess
You must go by the way of dispossession.
In order to arrive at what you are not
You must go through the way in which you are not.
And what you do not know is the only thing you know
And what you own is what you do not own
And where you are is where you are not.”

Can a person move in four directions at once? Yes, if they move UP!
Trying something new, stirring up the pot— will I fall off the edge or is that where I need to go?
*deep thought*

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Spring always puts me in a sentimental mood. You know, it’s all a part of that inane idea to get rid of the old and bring in the new; spring clean the garage, backyard and the soul. Some projects take up so much time I feel like they’ve kidnapped me! During the tedious task of cleaning out my bookcase, my mind drifted on that thread of thought. I started to relive the day I heard the news of my Grandma’s kidnapping. My grandma was really kidnapped, not by an “organize the closets” project, but by real psychotic people! While I sprayed more wood cleaner onto the dust rag, I pondered the lessons of that story.

In April 1998, thirteen years ago this month, my cousin Susan called me late in the evening with the news. Before I could say one word she cried out “Grandma was kidnapped!” My cousin went on to give me an account of events: early in the morning grandma had a break in, was held hostage, pistol whipped, rescued by the police late in the afternoon, has been released from the hospital, and was going to be interviewed by the local news station tomorrow. I was speechless! That’s a call you don’t get every day.
At the time of the kidnapping Grandma Mimi was 86, and lived alone at her home in Anacortes Washington. The two kidnappers told grandma their plan was to take her to their isolated mountain cabin, issue demands to the family and wait for the money. However, on their way to the cabin the kidnappers got restless, began fighting over the plan, and started driving up and down Interstate 5 indecisively.

From the backseat Grandma could hear the new plan unfolding; they no longer wanted to hold her for ransom instead they just wanted to kill her and throw her in the woods. They pulled over to a remote road just off I-5, dragged her out of the car, grandmas back to the woods. Putting the gun up to her head the kidnapper asked if she was ready to die. Grandma didn’t hesitate, “I’ve lived a long and wonderful life. I’m ready to go. Go ahead and shoot.” What an incredible statement! Surprisingly, she said it with such conviction, the kidnapper was unable to pull the trigger!

Frustrated, they threw her back into the car and kept driving. The driver was on meth and her erratic driving caught the eye of an attentive road side worker, who called it in to 911 as a possible DUI. Glancing up over the back seat, Grandma could see two cop cars rolling down the on ramp towards them with lights on. “They looked like angels coming down from heaven!” she said.

Grandma was rescued and the kidnappers were charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and second-degree kidnapping for allegedly abducting an 86-year-old woman from her home and terrorizing her.

Grandma had a full life, good and bad times. Not many of us get an opportunity, like a gun to the head, to say with such conviction, “I am ready to go.” It’s true you can find new life in many places, but some people find new life at the wrong end of a gun.

This is a story that has become a part of my heritage and will stay polished in my memory, kept high in a safe place, to be displayed and discussed when appropriate times allow, not too unlike the knick knacks on my freshly polished shelf.

Poetry: Tongue In Ink

The best poems are not written in ink but by the tongue.
Spoken into the air never finding paper
Touch by the mist of breath against your neck
Said in the dark rooms where lovers meet

Not at all recorded nor syllables numbered
But art form just the same
Once activated and released the words are all lost
Left to moments that linger
Holding each other in sweaty embrace
As if the sheets themselves are sentences

Friday, April 1, 2011

Poetry: Tossed Salad

Mango with broccoli
Applesauce with tomatoes
My fruits are mixing with my veggies
Crunchy lying next to fleshy meat

Round and rectangular shapes
Bright colors and textures in concert
Perpendicular forms, Parallel situations
Juxtapose elements comingle

Two people walking side by side
Unaware how their vectors will change
With this innocent meeting
There’s an orange glow on the horizon

New day starting with mixed reviews
No matter all things finding proper position
Are hated by most –for a while
While others claim gastric problems
Keep them from partaking

The body needs both veg & sweet pulp
Why not eat a bowl full
Realign your backbone
And dive into it
…but keep your napkin handy