Morning Light

Whatever you think is happening

Is not happening.

In the air’s darkness

Is a shadow of light

Between the harried stories

Is delight.

In this afterglow of the sun’s memory

Is a chirping bird

Imagine for a moment

Something tied to your thoughts

Something or someone always listening

To your innermost being.

This is the truth.

For what is hidden is the most powerful.

What you dream will not be suffocated.

You will wake to the light of morning

Despite that the dreams may be discouraging.

Hope comes after a question or a demand.

I asked God yesterday to let up.

I couldn’t take it, I told him

Even though it wasn’t much to take.

Still, whatever you think is happening

Is not happening.

There is a God and every single person

With the inner thoughts connected,

Both good and evil,

Sometimes honest and sometimes deluded.

The silent morning compared

            I am running as people often do. I think of Tom and Nick, people in the past I have let drift. Still the birds chirp rampantly and yesterday I wrote about Louis Menand and listened again to his American Studies essay on The New Yorker.

            It is the beginning of summer and yesterday I promised I would pick up my mother, who is probably lying in bed in her nursing home. Last time I saw her she was pulling at her chin hairs. I pulled them that day and then we, my sister and I, took her to dinner. I think mother stared at the single, small, open-faced chicken taco that she said was too spicy. With both upper and lower dentures, I think the issue was just chewing. She did however eat something chocolate from what I remember, except that I really can’t remember. I base everything on the likelihood of the experience because that’s what we do. Chocolate sauce and chocolate cake, there’s ice cream, coffee, and cokes, which are mother’s cc’s.

            The whole world is quiet, less of course the birds chirping. I have humming birds, the occasional honeybees that have found the humming bird feeder. The mother in the birdhouse is protecting her babies by constantly attacking them.

            What’s a mother to do?

            I know Lani Kim sacrificed herself for her children, but then children grow up to be people with fresh memories and opinions and life wasn’t meant to be The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. She can tell you that it is about doing what you are supposed to be doing because sometimes the love between a man and a woman must take a back seat. Children are much more important, where a mother’s heart can lie dormant for years; she keeps the memory of a true love and wears sadness like a perfect smile that warms every heart.

            No, the past is just decisions made based on something that could not be ignored. Love comes and goes. My therapist said that you can love many people, and she was correct.

            At a point however you take less pause in beauty’s pull. You start to remember too those you loved, but just not sexually, who were good mates. You were always jealous of those who had such even keeled relationships. Because, at least for you, you always waited for the dramatic beginnings and where the obvious good forces in being with someone who was good for you wasn’t appealing until now. Second thoughts, at nearly 53, are to imagine how many great years you could have had if you’d only kept Laine Page, for example. You and she were always together reading books and talking about them. No, that was true love.

            But then there’s none of that now, only someone else’s babies and the silent morning compared.

Sexism and How I Try to Act

In response to:

Until a man grabbed my balls in a parking lot and I was stuck at the mercy of his grasp, I had no idea what it must be like for women, who are similarly taken advantage.


Rather than do anything, I walked away as soon as I could, but I wanted to throttle him. He was bigger than I was, so I wasn’t going to throttle him. I felt ashamed and robbed of my dignity. Who would believe me if I told them? There were no police or witnesses. It was in the middle of a parking lot in the daylight on the other side of a low wall next to a busy street. On another occasion, a man who I was entertaining because my colleague and I had been photographing him for a major magazine grabbed me and kissed me. I felt pinned and violated. He misunderstood my gender preference and I was disgusted. Because this was a business relationship and I was helping my friend, I moved to end the event as soon as possible but not to embarrass him. As a man, I had no idea that this happened to men, at least not to me.


I feel for women, who cannot fight off a man, because as a fairly strong man myself, I understand the psychological effect of powerlessness, and someone taking advantage of me. I think it may be wrong to assume that this is sexism, per se, i.e., a man taking advantage of a woman is something that is only protected at work as with discrimination, but rather the sense of male privilege or superiority is key to understanding sexism. The definition of sexism alludes to what a friend said of rapists he represented as a paralegal, which is that: “They are just ordinary men who have no self-discipline.” Someone takes a chance, where in their mind, the desire is so strong as to diminish the possibility (in their mind) vs. the likely impossibility in the victim’s mind that such behavior is welcome.


The one time that I might have crossed over this line and felt like I did something wrong was when I was a junior in high school. I was in the back seat of a car driven by the father of the girl I was making out with. Her mother was in the passenger seat. Both parents were getting their PhDs in psychology. The girl and I were kissing wildly because at least for me, I had found the girl of my dreams and I was expressing that.


At a point in time, I included grabbing one of her breasts and I felt that she was stopping.


During the make-out session, I would look in the eyes of her father reflected back in the mirror. I felt it was a liberal situation, where the parents were OK with their daughter making out with the son of the girlfriend of their friend, who was also getting his PhD.


Anyway, the making out seemed wonderfully safe and authorized. After all, it was parentally chaperoned by two PhDs in clinical psychology.


It apparently went too far. The next day, I went to her house and her friends were there and I got the distinct impression that I was not welcome. She was hesitant to come near me and her friends seemed to be checking me out as the character in the story she must have told them. That was the end of it and I never saw her again and I felt then as I do now that I had gone too far and she felt ashamed and angry. Since then, I make damn sure someone is interested in me and I try to be sensitive to every nuance of their communication almost to the point that I do not make overtures to women, in general. I don’t see their interest or disinterest.


In a few of the videos I have had occasion to witness, I noticed that some women are in situations, where the men feel they can comfortably express their attraction toward the women, who have felt abused by the attention. I am of the school that men should behave like the men of King Arthur’s court and protect the honor of women. No woman, for example, should feel powerless against men, whose unwelcome desires are communicated. I am one of those men, who would rather remain single than enjoin a woman against her will.


Having said that, I cannot speak for other men. I do sense that our culture, the widening rich-poor gap, for example, is creating a situation, where men generally are feeling less and less powerful, where it has been stated among ethnicities, for example, where two are competing for the same thing, one applies a prejudicial notation, where in this case, the woman is perceived as weaker, someone to be taken advantage of, where the need to seduce or the need to get back the power lost is wielded against the person being perceived as a threat, as with that person having control over what they want, in this case, to have sex with, to be in control of what is controlling them, which is the object of their longing.


In all honesty, however, I have been a party to the admiration of a woman’s beauty to a point that has probably made her feel uncomfortable. There are lusts that I harbor that I wouldn’t dare share or act on because there is enough evidence that the action would be inappropriate or would garner an uncertain response.


In conclusion, I am not sure what the solution is to this problem of the victimization of women, but at least for me, I have chosen to act with conservation and remained sensitive to women’s wishes. A woman’s attraction for me is almost never clear unless it is blatant. It is at that point that I reciprocate her advances if I am interested.

Is Ugly Beautiful?

I played the moon
On a busy street
And got the sun shining down.

I played a song
So that the people listening
Had to make a choice: 
Was it good or bad?

They listened to the repetitive bars
And wondered in their minds
If they liked it or hated the sound.

They kept listening,
Because there were rifts that
Reminded them of something that they had heard.
But, they couldn’t tell on the whole
If it was music or
Some child playing an instrument.

This went on for many minutes
Under the hot sun
As people sat at the cafe or stood in the bookstore.
And finally a woman came
Over to the man,
Whose back was turned away
And she told him how assaulted she was.
“It was too loud,” she exclaimed,
Not that it was pleasant
Or even music.

When you talk about feelings

When you talk about feelings, you talk about poetry or perhaps these are emotions, ideas in the swing of restful contemplation, an opinion stirred at the outset of, in this case, a visual image.

“Lines – pigment, polymer resin, aluminum, and shellac on wood — in various muted colors one layer effected by the other announced by the wood under liner, some squiggly metallic (silver) reflecting paint, one long rectangle horizontal.”

Feelings are facts after the fact, reactions, responses, and the deep angst of some internal dilemma.

Feelings are facts in that they trace themselves along the adventure of the past, present, and future.

Every movement forward is glum

The past ages of sorcerers

Carry sticks to the dungeons.

Mystics for the cosmetic industry

Victims of broken doors

Pallor winds itself around fingers

Colors the house blue

Puts the moon in a half-circle

In the gray sky.

Poverty mistakes beauty for

The revulsion of flesh.

It paints pictures in the reflections,

Drives in the sand of rats,

Carries an offering for the sake of an offering.

There is no change from one generation to the next.

Every family member is scared.

The tired, maudlin, tapestry

Of hopelessness remains

Stagnant, conflicting, and empty.

Kisses are for the beautiful

Or the witty

The rest of us sit alone.

The beer hall smothers

The glistening night

In the delusion

Of us questioning life.

Even lights at the fork of a tree

Limbers not one moment.

Saturations of the thin lines

Of ink bleed into an impassioned

Exercise, like disorder.

I know no other Hieronymus Bosch

Except these squiggly lines,

The black and white flitter of time.

Each cup is a reflection of our

Mental notes that promise no separation.

At the party, our conversations

Are cruel. Projections of ourselves

Sitting on the stool.

There is nothing left of this clamoring

Participation, except that the eye gate


Bumblebee and gold,

Old Mr. Government tired on a


Paul Revere and a dog by his


Each stick of dynamite

In the chaotic lair

Draws the gunfire of hope.

Down the dungeons of hell

America’s patriots

Scheme and conspire,

Like Jackson Pollock

With shrapnel

In every allegory of the self,

Pigs eat at the trough,

People lick each other,

And a small blue vase with baby’s breath

Covers the pavement.

By this time of night Klimt’s

Two lovers have passed out

On a table just beyond the

Carelessness of the bartender.

There’s nothing to say of this

But that the last tender

Moment is a drunken stupor.

“Just give me a bottle,”

The stranger says.

And the white freed man

Ponys up to the stand.

I’ve seen this reference to the impressionists:

The orange cat, barkeep, and the glass.

In one man’s face is the celebration

Renoir or Gauguin, and perhaps Seurat,

But in his face I also see the digital

Revolution, that glitch in a video and more lit trees.

This is Trius, my friend in the beer garden,

Although she says:

“With Ulrike and Celeste.”

The mission in these eyes is money,

For in the past of each replica

In the haze of modernity

Is how every culture is smothered?

That long red line

Is a sad exclamation point

As the iconography floats.

Each charismatic portrait

Gives no birth.

Relationships are terminable,

Disclosed and open to interpretation.

I have shadowed you.

Put my hand as far back

Into you as you could take

And it was evil.

Bartering my single shape:

Limbless, phallic, and


I am a Paragraph

This morning too is the cool breeze in the small gap in my window that is open to the same mother and her birds. It is a raving early morning, then nothing, as she must have flown away.

This birdhouse is on my deck outside my bedroom window. I put the house so I could reach it although I never do.

I respect the privacy of birds. Isn’t life enough of an open door? Is there no modesty? I’ve seen my mother naked, which is enough disaster for one lifetime. I will never be able to recover.

Every relationship was already affected. She would sit on her deck in Orinda and simply smoke. She was always in contemplation about something and never effecting, an outsider.

I am like her trying to remain, or actually not trying to remain, on the fringe.

I keep telling the Union, for example, that I want out, but I am the only one willing to sacrifice myself and so the others are fine having me there while they increase their livelihoods.

I look back at my life and I see that this is all that I have done. No law school, no GRE. And yet, I have examples of my capacity.

After all, isn’t everything, by example? There are thesis statements, examples, and then reiterations, what more is there to a paragraph. I am a paragraph rather than a story. I am stuck at the same point, repeating myself. I think my next project will be solving this sexism thing.

Sexism is simply man asserting his superiority over women, where women should be asserting theirs.

If a woman is everything to a man, why is there argument? All he does is use reverse psychology to throw her off, so she is thinking about her inadequacies, and while doing so with Stockholm syndrome, he seduces her.

She is grateful to be loved at all.

What man, any man, for that matter would love her? And he plays hard, takes everything he wants and she is so preoccupied with the uncertainty of self that she looks to him for her self-esteem.

But she is everything to a man. He wants her so bad he cannot do anything else. Everything he does is meant to appear to her as an array of peacock feathers, because she only responds equally to him such that each feather is a bill, a dollar bill, for she is wading in a shallow pool.

He satisfies her hunger, he provides her clothes, her house, her frivolity, and so she is not free but dependent upon him, his coaxing so that she will strip and he can stare.

She is almost always concerned with how she looks. She engages in meaningless banter with her best friends in open-air venues, and she never quite connects with his eyes but expects him to see her and to engage her and this is all that is going on against the backdrop of capitalism, a male construct, supported by women to rise above other men by enslaving them too, to keep tabs on their growth and competitiveness.

No, if women want to be free, they have to fight this greed and fear. The sense of scarcity causes men to take what does not belong to them. They have nothing else but the occasional stray broken from some relationship that revealed dependency and thus ugly truth.

Every man is in fear that he will be found out, always working to keep her or pushing her away because of some flaw he cannot flaunt.

It is in the morning that I hear the birds chirping wildly upon sight of their father or mother, where something is working, only because there is sacrifice and not the neediness of one sex by another. – Mario Savioni

Ultimatums: Those who tell the truth are a danger

I am never told exactly what I would like to hear. I am told at times, with great infrequency, words that move directly to my soul, like whispers. Take Robert Hass’ poetry or Lyn Hejinian’s or Louise Gluck’s, I don’t listen to what is not dreamy. Take my …, for example. They are too much like ultimatums: “Do it this way or you’ll die,” for example. Life under these pressures is not real. It is simply one man’s insecurity over another’s. There’s no joy in it. It is like slavery, some group separated from the rest of us, when if you haven’t noticed, people not working are generally happy, unless of course they are doing the kind of work that they love. But, then how many people actually like what they are doing? Even the stuff you think you’d like turns out to be so stressful because everything is always pushed beyond the comfort level. “What’s the rush?” I say, but of course, that’s not what you’d like to hear. No, you want to hear what’s uncomfortable and possibly disruptive to your closely held beliefs: “Information, facts, evidence, and patterns…[that might] possibly disprove what you thought to be indisputable.” No, I know who you are. We are so much the same. We are always talking about how wonderful women are or how men have to protect them, but it begs the question: “What the hell are we doing?” or “What is our motivation?” I think we actually think that we prefer discomforting truths, but we don’t, we want to be right and so we search for the truth to be better than anyone else, faster with the truth because we spend all day, where mostly everyone else doesn’t have the time because they are working or taking care of a family. The truth is that most people don’t have the time to consider what the truth is anyway because they can’t possibly question their lives and the injustices they’ve created for themselves simply because they are now embedded in the train going nowhere. The fact is, they run the show. Every overspent human being on the planet rushing around trying to put food on the table of their family pandering to every lie perpetuated by a mainstream media with the intent to make the world proverbially unsafe, is, just as you say, preferring simply to be told what they have to do to survive and they will do it. Those “preconceived notions” are just what’s for dinner, and the “information, facts, evidence, and patterns that might make you feel uncomfortable,” that’s par for the course they have to play every day of the week. There is no question: They are conservative and we are liberal. We’ve got more time than a baby on LIPITOR. And they have babies in every arm. At a point in time, we will both realize that the truth is not what we had hoped for. It slows you down in the subways of the indisputable truth. Those who tell the truth are a danger to society.