Saturday, October 30, 2010

a piano found in a field

(this from last prompt, alas...)

I’m reeling it in, A Virginia Reel across the strings
Plucking the lower keys with my big toe,
Lay my toes

across the mahogany,
my mahogany southern body
my key, my white teeth clacking middle C
This is where I’ve ended up
blood flowing through ivory

Sorry, sorry,
dear elephant who never lived on my street
but dies in the living room each time a third grader
huffs her way through Chopsticks.
Bow your head to the pachyderm tapped in every note
Bow your back to the staccato plea of each key
And each tiny bum on the leatherette bench

One key per breath,
finding the space between the notes,
that gap-toothed smile
between atoms


It is a terrible thing to fall in love
with an airport security screener.
"Please remove your shoes," she said,
"and place them in the bin."
I stared at her, unable to speak,
grateful - so grateful -
for the lilt of her voice.
"Sir," she said,
"remove your shoes."

Outside it was snowing.
All around me, anxious travelers
divested themselves of their
precious jewelry.
I crawled onto the xray belt.
"Scan me," I cried.
"Look into my heart.
See that I am an
honest man!"

Friday, October 29, 2010

This Week's Prompt: Train Station Rite of Passage

Art from
You are sitting at a a train station (or waiting for a plane). Are you leaving or departing? Where are you headed and what does this mean for your life? Write a poem.

Keyword: Train

A Mountain of Shit

1. I was sitting in Starbucks staring into my Espresso Macchiato and thinking about the fecal matter stuck to the bottom of my shoe when it occurred to me that dog crap is only metaphor for real shit.

2. Real shit is the wealthy business man who purchases a first class ticket to Cambodia in order to rape a ten-year-old enslaved in a brothel from which there is no escape.

3. Real shit is the mountain of refuse on the outskirts of Manila that regularly avalanches down to bury the children skipping rope below.

4. Real shit "happens" all right, but lets not diminish that truth with a dumb shit sticker tacked onto the bumper of a chunk of metal spewing real shit into the life-sustaining air we breathe.

5. Real shit "happens" because we allow it, dispense it, toss it, fan it, eat it, smoke it, sling it, and imagine it into existence.

6. Real shit begins when the sperm of greed meets the ovum of dark fantasy and births naked carefree indulgence.

7. It's not what a human ingests and which later drops into the latrine that equals real shit, said the Rabbi; it's what oozes from the dark corners of the human heart that stinks up the world.

8. Hitler's real name was Adolph Shitler. Mao's real name was Mao Tse Dung. Stalin's real name was Joseph Shitionovich Stalin, otherwise known as Little Shit. But despite their atrocities, let us not think that we are less capable.

9. Real shit is the 10 acres of tin foil manufactured each day to wrap eighty million Hersheys Kisses made of chocolate originating, by the way, from the Ivory Coast cocoa farms where child slaves work 100 hours a week making us happy on Valentine's Day.

10. We are shit athiests refusing to acknowledge the existence of shit we can't see. Which is why the plastic pebbles swirling in the Pacific now cover Hawaiian beaches and catch in the throats of gulls and crabs but don't really bother us much.

11. Real shit isn't the dog feces on the bottom of the shoe. Real shit is the shoe on the top of the dog feces made of materials that won't decompose any time soon.

12. Real shit is the plastic straw and styrofoam cup into which I stare in my daily Starbucks ritual.

13. But then again, who really gives a shit.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Scene of the crime

Strolling through a college town is like playing lead inspector
in some curbside murder mystery —
clues strewn everywhere in the gutter —

broken glass, an abandoned shoe, latex gloves,
a boutonniere that lost its bud, leaving only lace, brown ribbon, and a pin.

Who done what to whom and why?

Even the police drive those humming little hybrid cars,
which sneak up likewise on pedestrians and bad guys,
and when elections roll around
a slate of suspects reveal their motives
with little plastic signs posted on every other lawn.

In autumn, a cast of characters arrives,
dressed to the nines and rushing in out of the rain.
They bear boxes packed with military precision
and a series of bags marked with a Target.

It’s all smiles and bright expectations for the pursuit
of knowledge, pussy, and some really good parties.

Yet we all know, as they innocently lug
freshly painted bookshelves up the stairs,
that at least one of those objects has a bull’s-eye on its back.

Winter is the time of appliances.
Everyone has an alibi:
vacuum cleaners gargling carpet, dryers churning denim,
and the incessant tap-dance of computer keys.

It’s enough to send a man over the edge.

Instead, walk the streets at dawn when everything is silent
or late, when it’s all reveling stereos and studious tequila shots.

Bang! Suddenly it’s May, and they return to the scene of the crime.

Threadbare sofas, moldy futons, and the odd barber chair
come outside for air, lining up on the sidewalk
alongside the milk crates and cinder blocks
pressed into service as undergraduate furniture.

The ringleaders strand them there by the dumpster
and head home for summer, gossiping

about who done what to whom and why.

But despite parole, garbage like that don’t last long on the outside.

Soon enough, it’s swept up by another gang,
thrown in a dormitory cell, where,
surrounded by the scent of bud,
it must hold up a liquor store for one more year.

√ walk, find a piece of trash, write

Monday, October 25, 2010


until i realized
my mind was a recycling bin
like a blender with a wonky blade
cattywompus cerebellum bloating and blistering bubbling
awhirring cauldron

i would never have thought the trash i pick up on my morning stroll
would be the thing i tossed in the brain
of me, head hinged up like the hood of a car
hoping for recycling as a poem

of course there is no such thing as trash
really. it was a word first applied to humans in 1604, in othello
comes from the norwegian "trask" ("'fallen leaves and twigs'") which reminds me that the trasks
daughters were friends of my older sisters',
and that they only ever ate on paper plates which they then threw out
a form of women's liberation, no dishes: trash eating on trash

one of them, the younger, d.,
beat me up when i was in kindergarten
what does it mean to be pulped by garbage? lower than low
i can tell you

my memory, half used refuse, brailles over the date: 10-25
knowing seventeen years ago something significant happened on this day
but the letters have faded off the page of my memory like scuffed newsprint mouldering in a recycling bin

instead of trying to figure it out, dig through the boxes of papers carefully
sequestered on basement shelves (the same storage system as my dead wife)
i just hunker down in the midst of an october storm that promises to rip every gorgeous
[indescribably colored which we will call] crimson leaf off the dogwood:
there are ghosts in my blender
my feeble brain, my lower than trash trash compactor

to make paper
you take the riffraffand duff, the broken bits, the shredded paper refuse, the trask
and blend it - all the letters and meanings bleed out into pulp
and then push it on a screen, flat, and let it dry
memories in my recycling bin brain are just so, reconstituted

my grey matter, pulp and my memory a pulping screen
taking the glimmering memories, faded lettering, and bits
and making something new, something clear, a canvas for the coming day

soon we will move beyond othering and there will be no other-than, no refuse
no refusing, only this recycling alzheimer-like montaging
or even less than this, no trash to pick up, a time
when our dead fade and the ghosts stop yammering
[a time of erasure?]
a time of clarity and peace

Scooter Cascadia
Taurus Moon, Scorpio Sun

Friday, October 22, 2010

Recycling (this week's poem-spark)

Go for a walk.
Find a piece of trash.
Write a poem.

Please add these LABEL to your post: "trash," "poem"

north task

Start with Spanish Moss, a generous clump.
This is your wand/feather fan. You’ll be glad to have it.

You know where to go. First and last step is listening.

As you enter, brush the foreheads of the moss-covered cousins as you pass them. Bow before entry, first at the door, then at what you know to be the sanctuary.

Bow to the stone people. There is a seat waiting for you. Take it.

Put the Spanish moss on top of your head. Not a peep from you.

You can’t still the voice in your head. It is making little assignments even now, or rehearsing speeches, or making up recipes, or witty poems—listen to everything but that.

Every cousin around you is calling its name in your ear. Every auntie is baking delights for you in the spent grass and rotting leaves beneath you.

Turn away from your own thinking. YOU have already thought 90% of this yesterday, and the day before. Turn, then, and let wind be your lover. Let it kiss every pore. Lean into the tree behind you—it knows all the secrets and then some.

Notice the mysteries of the scat by your foot. Shh. Quiet. There is something we have to tell you.

here’s the catch: this will save you, but only if you don’t expect it to. Sometimes a breath is just a breath. Sometimes it is as lonely as a siloh.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


before now, when lemon tasting was the thing
that short teachers with large hair dedicated to
used to wake us up

that is what woke me up

now the lemon wakes me still, in the Rockies of Colorado
a bright limn of rose and lemon rind 7,652 paces closer to stars
the first hint of light brings up the point
that we are cradled by rock mothers
whose shoulders are taller than any ever
held me other than skybirds

they are drawing us around, these stars,
and the mountain arms, pulse of starbeings hidden in october snow
from the land of neversummer glaciers, a landscape with
kinship to the moon, where marmots whinny and pica scamper
above the thrillion elk bugling in praise

binocularless, on the ledge of wind, ground iced in mounds

she handed out a plate of lemon slices and it was passed
hand to hand
across the too-many square desks with plastic chairs attached in long rows
(California schools after Prop 13)
she handed out the plate of lemon slices and read us a poem,

forgotten now. she prepared us, woke us up to pay attention

we each had a lemon slice on our 2x2 plastic fakewood desk top

like a mountain, as sunrise, light itself, she woke me up
to pay attention: healing touch, savor, bugle, flavor, lemon
and today, more than thirty years later, more than
15,000 turns of the earth round the sun
what i remember is biting into the lemon

a galaxy opened within me
my mouth, a portalway
my tongue, a dragon waking
my mind, the canvas of creation

mrs. woolf and her lemon slice woke me
i have been awake since
stalking the night and the day

perhaps it's the sun's fire we sense
in the moments when the mountains turn us over
to day, that flash of pink and lemon
the creative fire, each day, a bite of lemon
waking us up waking me up waking me up

waking me up to mother mountains of the world this morning,
the 15,828th day of lemon-tasting earthrising brightness

pink dosey doe's with bright and a hit of the blue that beacons night transition
and summons day. the mountain mothers of the world roll us over
in our slumbering, a gentle touch
showing the way

the mountain mothers of the world
roll us over
in our slumbering, a gentle touch
showing the way

raven who likes shiny objects draws the pink light in her beak
smearing it like a thin jelly across the mother mountains' shoulders
singing wolf lets loose the nightsong turned morning
lone pine in a party lets loose the arms that will embrace the new light
a splendor arises
a splendor arises
mountain chickadees croon lemon rinds from stars and snow
mountain mothers of the world gently turn us over from our slumbering
plucking brightness from snowhair, creating daysong, and light

mrs. wolf struts with creative purpose in 3 inch heels and a bouffant
that might bring her to five feet - composed, filled with verve, her generative power
that sparked world history

she gave me Byzantium, ancient history,
and the wakefulness that births poems

the mountains swoop up light in long tree cloaks
hiding the glowing coals of day in boulder dens
so that marmot and pica and elk and human
can remember their home the stars the earth

tangy, bitter, cold
every poem since a pang
a wake up call
a slice
of lemon

Scooter Cascadia
Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park
16 October 2010
rev. 21 October 2010

Tante Martha

After my great aunt wouldn't stay dead
we'd find her in the oddest places:
back of the toolshed weeping unconsolably
or shuffling into the bedroom at two a.m.
disoriented, half asleep,
breath vapor fogging the cold blue windows.

"Tante Martha," I pleaded, "tell me what's wrong."
"It's not how they advertised it.
It's all overrated."
"What is?" I asked. "What?"
"Death, you dummy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

better than anything I finally made it to that door the door that was there all along the door that’s not even a door the door into the density ~ this door opens easily but getting to it is a whole other story It was as if there were leagues of vast nothingness to cross, but instead it was simply more than I could bear; a weight keeping me from going anywhere anchoring me from the inside, a weight both hallowed and unnameable Only to shift, this grey fierceness, and without warning cloaking something else, some other terrain where my life travels and must... taking hold like a fever, startling the viscera, lighting the pit of the stomach Something about it that begs for seeing into but also waves off any interest, too mild friendliness ~ it says, 'only speak to me if you can stand the most tender part of you becoming alight, awake, and awed in agitation' When that is so, the door opens ~ or dissolves ~ all on its own, the fervor calls out the very substance of its undoing, no show, no thanks, especially no trace leaving the unembellished, that, which is better than anything

snow angels

it always begins with place now
the soft light of morning through the steam of my tea
or how whirling flings of a hundred starlings
undulate as one being, lifting from a sugar maple
flashing a dark breaker of wings against autumn's crimson,
both particle and wave.

looking backwards it is comical and horrifying
how it always began with me then
usually the middle and the end as well.
in particular there was that shout of a poem
four long columns on purple paper
asserting in the first line 'i am an amazon!'
like a raucous caricature of what i hoped to become
which i could not yet embody with quiet elegance.

i proudly photocopied that piece
and stomped around town taping it up anonymously
hoping to pique the curiosity of the world,
quite oblivious to the wind dried salt on her seaswim hair
or how the ocean crashing
was as loud as anything on the street
if you listened with the right frequency.

embarrassment eases into relief
that i have grown more into the fabric of things,
am on the inside looking into, pointing out
rather than coaxing eyes to look my way.
now it is all about
the bold silver of jupiter playing consort to the moon
or how the glinting red efts come sinuous walking
suddenly everywhere after the rains come.

i can just say thank you to that 20 year old self
for shaking the snow globe reeling
so that it could all come gently to a blanketing rest
and pile up to insulate the house of me.

so that now i can crunch out in the full moon winter
crying out in wonder
at the sparkling white bed of mystery
laid out for our angel wings.

You Walrus Hurt The One You Love

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Heading back to bed on the equinox

With the light at my back,
slowly the black of your room
begins to take shape...
the curve of a curtain,
the slant of that lamp,
soft edge of your bed.

I wait, and watch, and wait,
as my midnight eyes adjust,
reluctant to rush to your side.
It's too soon for me to know
your apartment in the dark.

Then you give a start,
rolling over with a charming murmur.
"A glass of water," I explain,
though I know you're not awake.

Spilled drink, skinned shins,
broken bric-a-brac —
there's little to be gained from
stumbling about in the dark.
Yet isn't that what we've been doing?

We hold tight to one another in the night,
hand to hip, nose to nape,
knee tucked neatly inside knee.
But what do you really know of me,
a mystery perhaps as dangerous
as I appear, looming
in this Victorian doorway.

Yet it's you, tiny you,
that I see as a threat,
a sighing silhouette guilty
of inexplicable crime:
trust, unearned, falls asleep
on my chest week after week.

My clothes, my keys,
I could just leave...
yet there you sleep and dream and breathe
with me upon your threshold.
I wait, and watch, and wait.

And at last, yes, I step
carefully, consciously, into your room,
unsure of my footing, unsure of the way,
but continuing to seek our equilibrium.
Our days grow shorter, my dear,
the year grows dark —
will you meet me completely
in autumn and still
retain the faint outline of yourself?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

December on Long Island

Wrapped in an afghan that outlived grandma,
you lie on the couch and mumble
that the tree’s leaning to the left
as we jam it in the stand.
Dad, cursing, denies it’s crooked,
until he steps back and informs us of this fact
as if you’d never said a word.

Then he returns to the truck,
leaving melting footprints on the rug.
Mom brings in some ornaments
and also abandons the scene.

The doctors agree that you shouldn’t be here for Christmas.
You should get to the clinic, the program,
the euphemism, immediately.
“Aspirated vomit. Sedate and restrain.”
You should never have been discharged without a plan.

Dad says it sounds like a country club.
Mom says whatever it takes.
I say as little as possible
and let you direct the routine.
“Hang that little soldier on the left.”
“Are there more of those gold bells?”
“That’s good. I’m feeling minimalist this year.”

You spent Advent with a ventilator in your throat
while storms swept through like grim adolescent moods,
sleet, hail, snow, rain, and random days of clarity.
Now you sit there, watch movies, and wheeze.
I plug in the Christmas lights,
although I put no stock in Christ.

You stumbled through the sliding doors,
screaming of hell and slavery,
swinging wildly at nurses and orderlies…
three days before we found you in ICU
with its blinking red and white lights.
Do you even know who dropped you at the hospital?

I stand on my chair and adjust the star.
I ask what’s next
and you know I don’t mean the tree.
We hear Mom chopping something in the kitchen,
Dad grunting as he shovels snow.

“I don’t know. I’m skeptical.”
The fire sputters in the grate.
“I only recognize one higher power,
and it’s kind of hard to surrender to the weather.”
We gaze out the window,
where reindeer graze on a neighbor’s lawn.

You sip some broth and cough.
Then your head lolls on its haphazard pile of pillows,
so I darken the room and doubtfully listen to you breathe.

Outside, as the sun goes down, the wind picks up.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Something from Before

A poetry mentor I had took the class out of the classroom and walked us around outside, pointing at sculptures, people going by, trees, empty benches -- inviting us to sense deeply into these things, find new truths there, or make up stories, and put what we found into poems. That left an impression on me, and leads me toward prompts that involve a physical doing, an assignment, a mission, so that the poem ripples from things moving both inside and outside the mind. 

This week, find something you wrote before

"Find" could mean digging something out of storage, taking something off the bookshelf, or calling a relative to see if they can send it to you.

"Something" could mean a page from an old notebook, a poem you published, part of a letter -- but certainly a sample of creative writing and not, say, an old shopping list.

"Before" could mean a week ago, years past, or circa 1979.

Use that piece of writing as the basis for a new poem. There are many ways to go with this. You could quote yourself whole-cloth and then write "part two." You might interweave old lines with new ones. You might refer to the old writing without quoting it. You could take the seed of the idea for the old piece and use it to grow something brand new without ever looking back. You might write about the self who wrote the past sample....

Knowing us, the new poems are going to be ... beyond words...

LABEL: Before

Childhood photos are recreated by the adults those children became.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

shy ghost of a star's mother, R U youtubeable?

- I wanted to demonstrate for an upcoming writing jam how poems might manifest in ways other than pigment on paper
- The form is close to a "Kelly Lune" (3 words, 5 words, 3 words)
- Some pieces of of the words broke off, making them even harder to read (hence the translation above)
- A main inspiration came from the idea of forming interesting words into physical objects. "Youtubable" appeared in conversations a few times recently.
- Something about Youtube stardom, how we shine from our cores in a way that's often hidden or distorted, how video makes ghosts of ourselves...

Monday, October 11, 2010


Today, they say, the birth of a planet
is taking place — evidenced by nothing
but bounce. Under a star,
propitious or not, a world is whelped.
Meanwhile, we are playing cribbage,
not realizing the dog has run off.

Bouncing starlight. That’s the clue.
It’s bouncing, they explain, off dust
100 times smaller than the smallest
of my thinning hairs. Dust so small
they believed it wouldn’t bounce.
You cut up a jack. Two points.

Your face is blank. Are you concentrating,
strategizing? Should I be concerned?
Are you upset that I’m skunking you?
I could say something sweet.
Maybe you’re angry about yesterday.
You smile, play a three. It’s all in my mind.

The newspaper says the most beautiful things.
“Planetary systems are blossoming.”
“Ghost clouds of the Milky Way incubate stars.”
Telescopes are spinning on satellites
above the lawn chairs in our back yard.
The newspaper deploys words I don’t understand.

We look, we listen, we deduce.
I make up stories in my head
about the stories in your head.
Sometimes I ask.
Sometimes even you can’t say
what’s going on in there…

Annoying, absurd, until suddenly
I too discover I'm spinning,
out of control.
Down the block, the dog
turns three times, curls up.

Infrared, ultrasound, coreshine.
Ghost clouds and dark cocoons.
The pre-embryonic phase.
(Photo of heartbreaking beauty
courtesy of NASA/Caltech.)

“We’ve found a new way to peer into them,”
an astronomer tells UPI.
“These huge areas where stars are born,
they’re shy and hide themselves.
We see them, but we also see through them.”

You hit 31 on the nose.
I’m lousy at counting cards.
I don’t begin to understand the odds,
let alone the moon, other galaxies
or wifi or my carburetor. The sky is alive,
yet we keep searching it for signs of life.

“Why the hell did we have that argument?”
I ask, as you count the points in the crib.
No reply, except the sun
shining through the ginkgo tree.
“I think, mainly, because I skipped lunch.
I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”
Low blood sugar. Low self-esteem.
“I can’t make any sense of it.”

this window, this ground, this being

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
the window that lives
in the flesh and
pulse of my
is a
of energy
that opens out
only after condensing
and tightening around the
pure narrow stream of expansive
isness carrying the touch that is awake
to itself beyond any frequency of identity
that can change or contort the very aliveness

that is that simply is that is that is that simply is

so tight that only that which is empty full empty
moves through a kind of feed zone where the
cognitive semblance of what is perceived
has only the breath of the breath as a
ride to its own ecstatic turning in
to itself and back again all in
the very same moment
as the torus itself,
the inner and
outer curve
of space
and closing
outward inward
spreading narrowing
arching out concaving in
the delight of movement as itself
no other not needing any identity but
this augmentation of harmonic dissonance
freedom pure freedom clear of intention clear
choiceless such as beauty itself rises from and cries

this one this all open out condense in penetrate emerge

such that blooming dying birthing arriving surrenders
and tempers the form through this window into itself
sourcing itself feeding itself through and through
as through and through attenuating its very
nature back into itself as the essence
that it will once again arise from
returning to itself returning
as both the rising and
the falling tastes
the measure of
the other
as the
the rise and
rises against the
fall of spread open
wings, wings which taper
as they lift touching air to space
space to air to alight only to fall again
to the ground of beingness, this ground here
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

today, i am curled a logarithmic spiral
sinking towards my interior
pulling memories, dreamings, a few regrets,
a small hurricane, some watermelon seeds
and a model of the expanding universe
(made from 3 jillion smears of silver frosting)
into my garden of rebirth,
cultivating my soil on low hum speed.
i am not bright, not emanating
until you come by, splashing me with your whir of light
grinning me out of my private depths
with that cherry wide glitter of love
until my nautilus revs like a motorbike
and i start giving off a gentle shimmer,
holy union of my core smolder and your winged gloss.

they say this is the nature of starbirth
how clouds of everything ever possible
hang in dark whirls,
quietly generating all that gods will ever claim
until you look with the right wavelength,
and see their coreshine scatters the blaze of nearby stars

until you see how noticing
makes all the difference.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Guest

The Guest

When you arrive at the tavern,
you breathe, first, on the window,
draw a wet spiral toward the keeper inside
You have wandered
for years,toward this beaded light,
pulling the thread from edge to center

whistling along the periphery,
But here it is,
pulling you from the aching and brilliant day
to this even greater night.
If you follow that call
to the dimly lit threshold,
you’ll know you’ve arrived
by the catch in your throat

as you stand,
teetering on the liminal
wood beneath your soles,

are you welcome? You know, peering in,
that you will sweep this cabin empty
if it is your nature
and even still, yes, Welcome

You knew
the moment you stepped
from the great prairie,
delivering punctuation
to the infinite
with this one word,
resting on its carpetbag,
drawing its name in the sand


the lint and dust
of creation, shed rabbit fur, old eyelashes
the dried salt from tears shed over 10s of 1000s of years
all swirls up
as dust devils in small desert tornadoes
slithers by as low sand in the wind along the ocean walkers
even this much duff:
imagine whole galaxies of cohering bits of
stuff, possibility realms in microfloating stubble
a realm of ten thousand-million dust streams in sunlight,
swirling into
the great recycling machines of fluff
turning turbulence, liminal matter, and the forgotten

into star shine from the dark cores of creation.

stir me, furnace of stars, see through my dense and transparent center.
generate something that shines in the night of me
opalescent, generative, possible.

-Scooter Cascadia
Denver, Colorado

Friday, October 8, 2010

Space Time Villanelle

The sun will flare out in its final state
and broil the galaxy with all its brightness
as all the seas of earth evaporate.

Man comes onto the stage a tad too late,
about the time the sun hits midlife crisis
and flares out wild into its final state.

No time to take back Eden - it's too late.
Five billion years at most is all earth's life is.
Too soon its lovely seas evaporate.

So say the experts who foresee our fate
and with their best predictions slice and dice us
as Sol prepares to flare its final state.

It's best, I think, to snuggle and create
and love like mad beneath the waving cypress
before the seas of earth evaporate.

I live in hope of heaven's bliss - but wait -
when we've been there six billion years - oh gracious!
Forced to watch the good sun's flaring fate
and all the seas of earth evaporate!

Coreshine and Ghost Clouds in the Milky Way

Read this article, gaze into this picture regarding the depths of space and write a poem inspired by the concept of "coreshine."

KEYWORD: "coreshine"
CORESHINE and the dark core of stars, about GHOST CLOUDS in the stars? wow......
"Ghost Clouds of the Milky Way Incubating Stars"

It's an article about how much larger (and potentially faster) the particles surrounding new dark cores of stars are, and the phenomenon they call starshine which happens when this cosmic dust surrounds the dark core. They thought the light would shine right through very small particles, but the particles must be larger than they thought.
"'Dark clouds in our Milky Way galaxy, far from Earth, are huge places where new stars are born. But they are shy and hide themselves in a shroud of dust so that we cannot see what happens inside,' said Laurent Pagani of the Observatoire de Paris and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, both in France. 'We have found a new way to peer into them. They are like ghosts because we see them but we also see through them.'"

"Pagani and his team first observed one case of the coreshine phenomenon in 2009. They were surprised to see that starlight was scattering off a dark core in the form of infrared light that Spitzer could see. They had thought the grains of dust making up the core were too small to deflect the starlight; instead, they expected the sunlight would travel straight through. Their finding told them that the dust grains were bigger than previously thought -- about 1 micron instead of 0.1 micron (a typical human hair is about 100 microns)."

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

all the summer’s drought of rain
slants down now in autumn sheaves
crashing off umbrella edges,
transforming this huge window to a vertical pool.
having been around and around the world,
this water is now temporarily destined
for boston harbor’s chilly swash
before lifting off again.

i move in this city as a stranger, gawking
like i have been transported to a movie set,
the people, buildings, cars half real, half roger rabbit.
jaw slack, it comes inside me
rapid fire sense-landscape tumbling, ever new
even though i still don’t really believe in it,
still certain i am walking in toon town.

it helps when i see it’s creature-ness lumbering,
transportation of nourishment down asphalt arteries
thrum of city breathing in breathing out
we are just organelles that wear raincoats
vital little energy generators.
and, rushing off to do our jobs, help this animal live.

the dark sodden evening lights up with
golden squares stacked in stories
behind which people move --
mystery of a red sweatshirt flash goes by,
now some people are eating dinner,
here somebody plays a trumpet that i can’t hear.
the roiling life of this city, and the key to it’s mad magic,
is in tiny secret motions of cellular beings
playing out behind infinite window stages.
i can’t tell if i long to unravel them all
or whether the greater joy
is to marvel, revel
in the pregnancy of collective veiled mystery.

i am a visitor here, but everywhere is the same –
our tiny flashes combine into a great coordinated light.
we live protected if we are lucky,
wrapped snug in some cytoplasm or other,
looking out at the rain.

Sam's Window

I drove all afternoon to see my friend.
I’d never known a more trustworthy man.
Sam lived above his aging mom and dad
In an attic room he’d shaped with his own hands.

His room was spare – a kind of hermitage
With creaking varnished floorboards laid with care,
A bed, a desk, a large Greek lexicon
So he could study scriptures after dark

After tucking both his parents in.
At 45 he’d never asked for more.
And laid out in the middle of the floor:
A giant pane of inch-thick window glass

Through which he viewed the living room below,
The fading sofa, TV, easy chairs,
Where his parents sometimes spent all night.
“This way I can make sure they haven’t fallen.

As for the glass, I ordered it last year
For a contractor who never picked it up.
It took six men to haul it up the stairs
and lay it in this custom frame I cut.

It does the trick. I spied Pop fallen once
and Mom too weak to help him back to bed.
There’s no way I could let them live alone
or in some wretched convalescent shed.”

We sat in silence. The long room smelled of pine.
I asked him if the glass was safe enough.
He broke into his first grin of the night.
“Watch this,” he said, and switched the room lamp off.

The large glass seemed to vanish in the dark.
Where it had rested now gaped a great hole.
I suddenly felt dizzy looking down
Into the glowing room twelve feet below

And just as I drew back, Sam took a leap
High above the hole with a yelp.
I cried for him to stop, but then – too late –
All six-foot-three of him flew through the dark,

A silhouetted shape of outstretched limbs
Heading straight for sure catastrophe.
But then he landed on what seemed thin air
That seemed to give a bit, but held him firm.

My mind knew what had caught him. Nonetheless,
he stood there flaunting the miraculous,
like Christ atop the waves of Galilee
as Peter gaped in incredulity.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Five of Ten

The sun lights up to piercing bright
ness the multiplanar web floss of autumn's spidering harvest.
Spiders come out in autumn to harvest the dreams of the year
and its fruiting (in flight).

Light so harsh, sideway sun,
all I can see are leaves, crimson clusters of yew berries,
and webs and floss:

One web, a large dial, a stylus to another timespace continuum
only eight strands on the edge and a donut hole of apple tree greenery possibility beyond, aslant from me. Closer in a large geometry radiates, rainbow flickering in the slight breeze. Some of the webs I can only see because I spy the spider in the middle,
a spot of brown seeming to hang in space, to fly. Wait, webs work because they are barely visible, because something can try to fly through. They are mesh but also air. [The air of the web is its most functional component.] It's ironic to notice and glory in their beauty when they are momentarily lit. Their true purpose is a darker one, more kin to shadow and flicker. They function in twilight best if also best praised in sun.

As in Abrams' Balinese webs, they must be viewed with soft eyes, seen whole,
the myriad of them a metapattern of shining, radiant rainbow spangle, taut lines to sundry circles, Nets cast to flight. A maker's symphony of complex weavery. A multiplanar dream. A galaxy.

Suddenly the wind brings another into view and I see the graceful legs weaving out from spineret's fine floss, in the moment of making. Is the air to floss ratio the same as in outer space, the space between atoms/electrons/matter and matter? The space between electrons in an atom, is it that wide? Like the web of outer and inner space?

How do they decide where to attach and swing, silk fluming,
to build their webs? They like the edges of things, how to connect something to something else.

Here I am, half way through the semester, fifth day of tenth month - so 5 of 10 in more ways than one...

Here I am, perched on the edge of the year, insight slanting in,
hovering on my discus of connections, between the edges of things, half- air, swayable, fragile, a momentary artwork praising coherence,
functioning in twilight but artworthy in moments of sunspangle.
Placed at the center of my thinking, furiously weaving.
Or just waiting, surfing air and an ocean of flying things,
waiting for the next great thing.

10-5-10 r2


They’ve lined up at my window tonight,
ancestors, lovers, querulous neighbors,
teachers and bosses, boorish civil servants,
that kid from third grade…
a host of spirits unable to rest.
Murmuring, they wait for their turn
in my mind. Perhaps they carry grievances
of their own, but this is not why they’ve come.
I keep them on call to relive my petty complaints.

They don’t rap at the glass or scratch at the screen.
They don’t stagger, bleeding or moaning,
up my street like drive-in ghouls.
They dress neatly, queue patiently,
very much alive to me,
no older than our last encounter.

Astonishing, how I can adorn
the fecund plum tree outside my bedroom
with resentments. It takes focus and devotion
to burnish the delicate ornaments of my anger
and string them so carefully in the limbs.
Even better, the tiny ringing that they make,
swinging in the wind as the leaves yellow
like aging affidavits in some bitter archive.
A tree would let them simply blow away
but I do not forget.

They’ve lined up at my window tonight,
no matter that it’s three floors up.
I have time for each of them. I cue
their agitation and we repeat our scenes,
hurling invective again and again
so that someday — maybe someday —
I may reinterpret these lines.

I treasure my invisible guests,
cherish their argumentative gifts,
make a fetish of my pain.
I gladly open my own wounds to the night.
Because I’ve never been good at saying goodbye.

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Black Phoebe"

Sure as a leaf tangled in spider thread
means there are spiders (and trees), feral cats
mean feral-cat food thrives beneath our tread.
But they're asleep now—or maybe got caught.
Through the conference-room window—from inside—

I see a small bird with black back and white
belly whack the dragonfly in its beak
against the rail—once, twice, thrice—then it eats—
gone—and flits from view faster than a spark.
After the meeting, I check the bird guide

we keep in the creative lounge we call
"the hatchery," where, by bay views, we come
up with ways for our clients to attract
money from people through multiprong cam-
paigns. We're some brains behind AB&C.

All these entities of mind, mouth and limb.
Once, out to lunch, I saw jellyfish swim.