Landscape

•March 26, 2013 • Leave a Comment
You are a volcano simmering with heat. 
Yours is the power to disrupt, to burn, 
to nourish. To carve your signature across the landscape
of my desire. Yours is the energy that sparks new growth. 
Fragile tendrils that unfurl and stretch towards the light. You are 
uncharted territory. Molten. Unpredictable. A surface
I stumble across, each tentative step
testing the path, knowing that what seems stable
may really be a thin crust covering
a river of fiery emotions too hot to touch.
 
You are a waterfall tinged with frost.
Yours is the force to polish the edges
of my rocky resolve, to smooth the cracks
of my doubt. To clear out the underbrush 
clogging my path. Yours is the clarity
that reflects a new day. Clear skies glittering
with sunlight. You are relentless. Deep. Moving 
forward at a pace that makes the future
seem impossible to navigate, knowing that 
each day brings me closer to drowning
in your depths.
 
You are a forest bathed in light.
Yours is the silence to inspire
the clear tones of my heart’s song. 
A soft carpet for dancing barefoot. Strong 
roots, ideas branching in all directions. Woven together.
Entwined. You reveal yourself slowly. In layers.
Yours is the confidence that rolls and rumbles 
under the surface. Tender but indestructible. Bending time.
Rich with soul enough to heal the past. I want to
climb on to your highest branches knowing 
my fall would be broken by  
a soft bed of virgin ground.
 
You are a cliff rising above the clouds. 
Yours is the challenge to climb beyond
my limits. Hanging on by my fingernails,
the wind drowning out all my
arguments about why this cannot work.
Yours is the vision to expand
my horizons. Rock solid but
marred with the cracks of your
experience. Spiderwebs of memories. 
Carved deep. Full of fossils. I feel humbled 
all the while I search out a safe hold
that will propel me to that place
where nothing is hidden from view. 
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love has no seasons

•June 24, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Love has no season. Sometimes wreaking havoc
like a hurricane with many names. Or balmy like
a summer morning in the tropics. Other times
love feels like deep freeze – a sudden drop
in temperature that numbs to the core. Nobody
can stand in the blue box and chart its path.
There is no known protection for its elements.
It surrounds and protects. Invades and shatters.
Warms and whispers. Finds its way deep inside.

Love is a glue that seals the spider thin
cracks that spread through a relationship,
making it more fragile as the years go by.
Not because it is in danger.
But because we are buffetted by millions
of rogue DNA. Driving us to unknown destinations.
Putting words in our mouths. Hairs on our chins.
Running havoc with our desires. All of us different.
All of us somehow the same. Forced apart and then
drawn helplessly together. Human as in humanity.

Love is fuel for thought. It is action and reaction.
When I fall you are there to catch me. When I cry
you too shed tears. On those days when I have
doubts about my future, you lead me along new paths
which I never would have discovered alone. And in
the deepest night when my fear of the dark is
most pronounced you light a candle so that I
see myself mirrored in your eyes.

Love is wild. Love is kind. Love is what’s left
when you strip away everything else. It’s written
close to the bone, travels through our veins
like white fire. I have seen it erupt in volcanic
fury. Or watched as it spread, sticky like molassis.
It purrs and screams and pummels relentlessly
when someone shuts it out. It runs deep
like the ocean and just so, will never
be totally charted. Only cherished. Remembered.
And most of all celebrated. By people
like you and me who are bathed in its light.

for sheriff paul

•June 7, 2010 • 1 Comment

A vessel emptied. Deflated. The hiss
of life’s breath as it escapes into
the great unknown. There must be
a wind that blows the spirit upwards,
spiralling. A dirvish dance that
untangles all the knots tied by
fear, anger, doubt, jealousy. Those
dark horses we ride with wild
abandon. As if they could be tamed.

A part of me goes missing. Oh, I can lean
on any of the many pillars of belief.
Lots to choose from. Waiting in the wings.
All better than to think of a big nothing.
Or I can plant new flowers and herbs
in the garden. Replenishing the life
energy gone astray. I know. I know.
I know that we are all Spirit. The body
only a temporary stop. But such a nice
body. Sparkling baby blues and silver
hair. A quick smile. Biting wit. And
so many stories. Adventures. Trials.
And errors. Always taking the road
less travelled – at your own speed.

You have fuelled so many dreams.
One of the original young and restless.
Beach bohemian. Railroad runaway.
Lifesaver. Heartbreaker. Volleyball player.
Someone who worked to live and
who appreciated the value of a good plot.
A black sheep. But also a law enforcer.
With a big heart. And a big chip on his
shoulder. Life didn’t always deal you enough
aces to round out your hand. I’m not sure
that many kids have a dad like you.
Hitchhiking in Hawaii. Dancing on tables
in a bar in Mexico. Skinny dipping in the Sequioas.
Fishing off the coast of Malibu.
Jogging, skating, riding bikes to Redondo.
Dancing on a stage at the Sheriff’s Ball.

The end came as such a surprise. I missed
a last curtain call. A final performance.
A standing ovation. I wish I could have taken those
thirty thousand dollars and driven you to Vegas
with the top down and had a last ice cold
beer on the strip. A final laugh. At life. At
the ladies. A farewell homage to the fact
that life is one big gamble and, as you always said:
“You gotta play the cards you’re dealt.”
I’d like to believe that your angels are hot. That
where you are is like a roll in bed with honey. That
the sun is always shining and it’s a perfect day
to go to the beach. That your spike makes a dent in the sand
and your serve whistles through the air. That the beer
is cold and that you can run a mile in five minutes flat.
That heaven is full of whisky and wild, wild women.
And that from time to time, you send us some of
your crazy ass energy. Cause we’re all going
to miss you Sheriff Paul. I’m going to miss you. Dad.

— for my Dad who died on June 2nd, 2010 at 11:38 PM

other lives

•May 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I could have lived dozens of lives. By now
reclining under the palms in Cancun.
Or watering the roses outside my
thatched cottage in southern Denmark.
At one point I could have run
a ranch in central California. At
another been the wife of a poor
Algerian painter in southern France.
Maybe even the longterm girlfriend
of a famous songwriter. I’m quite
sure it’s not something to be proud of.
This continuous follow the leader
in matters of the heart. Always surprised
that someone would have me in the first
place. Then convinced there must be
another place that’s even better.

I am a child of the sun. And yet I have
lived the last 20 years in snowy lands
where the sky wears its grey beard
nine months of the year. Enticed by
love. Promises of a life well-lived.
One with real meaning. Respectable even.
And yet, there on the edge. A flicker. Longing
for a life not yet lived. One governed
by other rules, by a different sun, in
another time zone. By now at my typewriter
(no computer in sight) in a tiny room in Paris.
Painted blue with peeling white windowframes.
A wide mouth ceramic bowl brimming
with fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s
market along the Seine. High in the mountains
on a slab of granite under the pines. A wooden
house with a jacuzzi on the deck. Bubbling
away the evenings under frozen stars
and letting my mind drift across
two hundred miles of sky. On an
island. Where life moves very slowly.
Made malleable by a tropical sun.
The sand reaching up to meet me. Mirror
me. Send it’s summer heat to
spark an unquenchable thirst for…
fruits of such unbelievable
hues that they change the colour
of your eyes.

I have long had a vision
of sitting in a banged up, white
Chevy pick-up truck. The seats bursting
their seams, faded by a ruthless sun.
The window is open and my hair –
long and blond and tangled – is
blowing across my face in wisps.
Two dogs are in the back. Thrusting
eager noses into the wind, their ears
flattened back. Their eyes two slits.
Tails wagging. The road is pitted. This
is desert land. Tumbleweeds doing their
midday acrobatics across the sandy waves.
Cactuses standing watch. In the distance
wind turbines turn lazy strokes in the haze
of the heat. On the passenger seat
a worn notebook. Faded black. Filled
with characters and plots of my own
making. Only me. The wind. The road.
The dogs. And a horizon expert at evasion.
I have the feeling I could drive all day
and it would still be at the same distance.
Giving me space. Offering me shelter.
Framing this life which is my other.

five minutes

•May 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My day is divided. Into

five minute sequences.

Some of them simultaneous.

Incomprehensible. You think?

Me too. I blink and time

is up. Not wasted. Or stored.

Evaporated into my past.

In five minutes I can. Really.

Anything you can think of.

A sentence. A poem. Fired up.

Then forgotten.  Five minutes

can seem like an eternity. Or

a brush with fate. Time is

arrogant. Without humour.

Badgering me with it’s

screeching righteousness. Time

is up. Another five minutes

logged in.

when life was less dangerous

•May 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

There was a time when life
was less dangerous. When
we rode our bikes without helmets.
Put out cigarette butts with our bare
feet. Climbed out on the rafters
beneath the Santa Monica Pier
and held on for dear life as the waves
sent their ripples through the wet wood.
When we hiked 10 miles up a canyon
in the coastal mountains and spent
the night huddled together in the
mud after our cave was overrun
by a flash flood – sounding like a
battalion of helicopters. When my mother
rode me to school precariously
perched on the handlebars of
her bike. Driving to my parent’s snackbar
in the old taxi with no passenger side
door. And no seatbelt to boot. My dad
driving us to parties in the back
of his pick-up truck, taking the treacherous
curves of Topanga Canyon at dizzying
speeds. „Then we’ll see if your new
boyfriend is a real man.“

When a friend and I ventured out
into a stormy sea in Malibu
in a rubber dinghy and couldn’t get
back to shore for the 20 feet waves.
Or the afternoon south of Paradise
Cove on the beach in front of our trailer.
Laying in the sun with my Dad. Looking up
to the sky south of us and saying: “Dad,
that plane looks like it’s heading straight
at us.” And it was. And it did. Crash right
where we had been laying moments before.
Sugar in the tank. The pilot stranded for
weeks. What a romance. Throwing
backpacks off the cliff into a dark pool and
diving after them. The two dogs too – Amigo
and Laraka. The only way to get to the top
of the mountain. Riding bareback through the
snow without a helmut. Or on the back of Patrick’s
motorcycle – also without helmut – on the road to
Monte Carlo, in the rain.

Snorkeling somewhere off the coast of Santa Cruz
in a bed of kelp and having to wait
amidst the thick trunks for two hours
because of three or four sharks circling the
boat where my mother stood frightened at the
railing. That long swim back, even after the “coast
was clear,” my toes tingling with fear in the black water.
Stumbling on a huge field of marijuana plants
in the Sequoias and hightailing it out of there
with the shouts of renegade farmers and shotgun
blasts following closely behind.

When I chased the guy who stole my bike in front of
a thrift store around the corner from
Westminster Place in Venice Beach.
And caught him.
When I chased the guy who stole my bike from the
Pepper Club in Portland, Maine.
And caught him.
When my father tackled someone on the bike path
in Santa Monica who had stolen my bike from
in front of the Police Station.
And caught him.

When the Hells Angels had a turf war with
some other biker club at the Santa Monica Pier
and my mother and I laid on the floor of
our snack bar and listened to the bullets
whistle through the wood panels which
she had quickly let drop over the windows.
Another time laying on the floor with my mother.
This time in our trailer in Malibu. In the kitchen,
while two men tried to break through the door.
My mother handing me two big knives and
saying, “Aim for their privates. And do it
with all your strength.”

That beautiful poet who used to order potato
salad and a tuna sandwich at the healthfood store
where I worked. He gave me a crystal
and I went for a picnic with him in his schoolbus
in the canyons. The next day his face
in the newspaper. He had murdered
a whole family for no reason. Such a mellow guy.

Flying to France on my own when I was three
years old with a sign around my neck. The night I went
to eat fish with George and swallowed a plastic
cap from a salt shaker hidden in the clam chowder.
Drove to the hospital in an ambulance barely
breathing. Sitting on the emergency bed
with only minutes before the tracheotomy when
the cap slid down into the depths of my body.
This was when life was less dangerous.

touchstone

•May 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Granite is warm to the touch. In summer.

Its gentle curves cradle the melted snow.

The Australian Aboriginal name for these natural cisterns

is gnamma hole. A soft spot in the granite

worn by weather and by animals searching

for moisture.  Crystalline masses with no beginning

and no end. Slipping into the underwater shadows.

Or under the carpet of moss that caresses the firs

that surround Kirkwood, high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

I stretched on sun-warmed stone and dreamt of being as tough as

granite. As priceless too, my riches deep under

the surface. Holding out for those who knew the signs.

Granite is the stone of endless youth. They say:

“His face was carved in granite.” Meaning

empty of feeling. Then they have never

climbed a granite face and felt the laughter

bubbling out of its cracks and crevices.

Refuge for tiny birds and majestic

eagles. Never seen how granite protects

the roots of a plant from the icy winter. Home to

refugees from fire and floods. I have also heard

someone say: Solid as granite. And it is indeed

a hard rock, but it too was once liquid and the warm

rocks I sprawled upon in Kirkwood were

carried up from southern California

along the San Andreas fault.

I too was carried there by faults. Not all of them mine.

And from those faults grew a deep love

for a guitar playing, lovely, warm-hearted

cowboy from Chico. But also for those granite

mountains. I remain awed before their memory.

I felt safe there. Standing on granite boulders

the size of Volkswagons. Feeling like the earth

could tango and the rock under my feet would turn

a cold shoulder and stand stiff, immovable.

A foundation for my free spirit. With a will of granite.

Unyielding endurance. Steadfast.

Ninety percent of granite is quartz. A tetrahedron

molecule. A quantum converter able to transmit

energy in a magnified state easily absorbed

by biological matter. Such as human beings.

I always knew that the boundary between me

and my granite was an illusion. All I need to know

about myself is stored within its depths. No wonder

my house is full of rocks. Brought home

from all my travels in sagging suitcases. As

pebbles in my pockets. Sand in my shoes.

Somebody wiser than me once said: “The real

treasure is not always what’s inside the box

but is the box itself.“ Like granite.