Place of Refuge

Place of Refuge

29 January 2011

. . . this thing of darkness . . . (a channelling)

What if it were to come to pass --
the passage no one
wants to imagine:
a massive                 
                            short circuit,

and all the lights
all over the earth
go out.

Even the sun
is shrouded

Our refrigerators would sputter
to a stop;
our cell phones blink
out into silence,
our automobiles would run
for a time, but
so what?
Where would we go?
The stores would empty fast;
the gas pumps flicker into impotency,
the wells, too.

Best to stay home and use the fuel
for heat
or light
or suicide.

What would happen then
when nigh
every little thing in
our throw-away culture becomes

There we would be, 
all of us,
clinging to our chilly
planet home
as she spins and turns
on her usual inconceivable path
in the machine of the universe.
Mindless, numb,
intent on survival
we would be rendered
the very animals that we are.

~ ~

If you met me on the road
in the deep dark endless night
you would sense it was me and I
would know it was you.

Would you kill me
and eat me
and use my skin to make yourself
an extra layer of skin
to fend off the cold?

You might, mightn't you?

But would it really make sense --
me, the one with the brain too large, and
you the one with the will of equal size

For the moment, of course, you would be convinced
the conquest was just,
its outcome satisfying --

that is until the light
returned, and there you would be,
dressed in a little bit of me
and mindless;

                                              the ruins of society
                                               would surround you,
                                                                  and you
                                                 would have no clue
                                      how to fix it.

~ ~ ~

We human creatures
are mind, body and spirit, combined,
each of us to varying degrees.

If the lights all went out
the element in us
that hides in the dark
(the element that many pretend not to own)
would emerge,
and flourish,
its anger equal
to the disgust
we leveled towards it in broad daylight,
its exploits as large as the repression
we bound it with.
~ ~ ~

~ ~ ~

I woke up last night
with these words
in my mouth,
words that would be sense-
less in the primitivity
such a black-out would produce.

I stared into the darkness,
felt the familiar contours
of my frame
and prayed
for wisdom --

not for me,
but for all humans
who refuse to acknowledge
our comforts are temporary,
and our hidden desires 
of the extra ordinary.

( sisu )

. . . this thing of darkness,
I acknowledge,
                   mine. . . . . .
(Prospero, Act 5 The Tempest)

28 January 2011

Noah: a channelling

I wake up in the morning,
numbed by winter's chill,
listening to the news
of shootings, revolutions, starvings, floods,
etc,  etc.,
and I think:
Are we there yet?
Is it Armageddon

How far do we have to go
before it's sheer hell
on earth?
We don't really have to destroy it,
we just have to destroy
each other --

and in the last
desperate gasp
of humankind as it extinguishes
we'll see it:
the end of time
as we know it

because TIME,
as we know it,
is time.

Outside of our perception of time,
there is no time.

(My cats have no conception of time;
they siddle up to the table
when I sit down to eat, 
and not because they know
it's "dinner time."
I eat at all times,
and they
are always not too far
away.  They're dictated by pack,
not temporal,

So once we destroy
each other,
our conception of time
will be gone
(though earth will go on, and regenerate.)

And the humans who will live on
are the ones who don't give a damn;
they're the ones who pay attention not
to the rat race created by humans, not
to Wall Street, or the New York Times
or not even Aljazeera
the humans who will live on
are the ones who don't give a damn;
they only pay attention
to the earth,
and they see the signs
and build a boat
(or a flying machine,
or a solar paneled house)
or whatever the earth seems to be telling them
that they need to build.

This is all we really have to do
to survive
as a race and as a planet;
just stop

being such stupid bastards
and killing 
each other so much.


Let's imagine this:
for a second:
Jesus will come again . . . 
in 2012 if we --
                  all humanity --
could make peace before then.
Because if we all make peace,
if we find a way to live
with one another,
Jesus will not have to 
make a journey,
S(H)e will 
be here.

~ ~

~ ~

Let's imagine this,
for a second:
what if 
there really is to be
a spectacular planetary alignment


and that alignment produces,
for a minute)

no explosion,
but instead, 
a mere glasslike,
and in that glasslike
we were challenged
to look at ourselves
in a mirror
for an eternity.

(After about 2 weeks of looking in that kind of mirror, believe me, you would start seeing your
and, well into eternity,
they would be all that you would see.)

And imagine this:
the image we must face,
is only us, individually, no one

else is anywhere to be seen, just

each held before the mirror
of eternity,
                                      for a eternity.

The thing is:
now we have the choice to decide
what we will see
in that moment
of facing the mirror
of individual and communal extinction:
we can either have an individual & communal
image of hatred and loathing
for eternity
we can have an individual and communal
image of caring and forgiving
 for eternity

or we could have an eternal image
of something in between.


we happy humans
are the species
who were given the job
to go further
                        and further and further
and with each step forward, we --
both as individual 
and as a group --
get more perfect.
Like Tiammat and her youth,
each generation
perfects the features
of its generator.

Imagine that:
it's just the nature
of the human

Each generation is meant to be
better than the last.
and if they're not,
it's stasis,
self destruction.
Like an eternal winter.

Imagine that.

~ ~ ~

I woke up this morning
by winter's chill, listening
to the news
of shootings, explosions, jihad,
illness, and homelessness,

and I wonder:

are we there yet?
Is it Armageddon

26 January 2011



For the longest time
I had no clue
what my voice sounded like

all I knew
for certain
was that I loved to sing.

someone told me what
I sound like.

What she said posed a
greater than any challenge
I've ever faced.

And it silenced me.

I'd rather not kow
how my voice affects you,
how powerful
or not
it can sound.

I'd rather not know;
I ask you though
to listen.

My words are true.
You can count on me.

Ask anyone who knows me
there are very few.

(I'm not easy to know)

They'll tell you though,

I'm always true.

24 January 2011

my worst habit (two poems by Rumi)

My worst habit is I get so tired of winter
I become a torture to those I'm with.

If you're not here, nothing grows.
I lack clarity.  My words
tangle and knot up.

How to cure bad water?  Send it back to the river.
How to cure bad habits?  Send me back to you.

When water gets caught in habitual whirlpools,
dig a way out through the bottom
to the ocean.  There is a secret medicine
given only to those who hurt so hard
they can't hope.

The hopers would feel slighted if they knew.

Look as long as you can at the friend you love
no matter whether that friend is moving away from you
or coming back towards you.

~  ~ ~

Pale sunlight,
pale the wall.

Love moves away.
The light changes.
I need more grace
than I thought.

(Jelaluddin Rumi 1207 - 1273
translated by Coleman Barks)

22 January 2011

To The Breaking Point

Like a race car driver, 
like a runner, 
like a swimmer,
like a scholar,
we push
in all our pursuits
to exceed
the human made limits:
the limits of the body --
we strive to exceed the mortal, physical body,
and at the moment of
we find freedom
                 and joy,
even a glimmer
                             of immortality.

Sex is one way,
one artifical way,
but the most sacred
artificial way
to use a technology
(the technology of our bodies)
to help us
exceed ourselves;
it teaches us how, but it is
only an intermediary.

                          There is 
a route to excess
through the spirit
that is just as
as losing yourself to another person.

It is to loss
of self
--not words--
but sound

(Are you willing to give up
your rational mind?
Are you willing to just
or chant?)

Approach the sound
from the other side,
approach it
and you will find
the moment of breaking
and release

21 January 2011

from Rilke: The Sonnets to Orpheus

Will transformation.  Oh, be inspired for the flame
in which a Thing disappears and bursts into something else;
the spirit of re-creation which masters this earthly form
loves most the pivoting point where you are no longer

What tightens into survivial is already inert;
how safe is it really in its inconspicuous gray?
From far off a far greater hardness warns what is hard,
and the absent hammer is lifted high!
He who pours himself out like a stream is acknowledged at last by Knowledge;
and she leads him enchanted through the harmonious country
that finishes often with starting, and ending begins.

Every fortunate space that the two of them pass through, astonished,
is a child or grandchild of parting.  And the transfigured Daphne,
as she feels herself become laurel, wants you to change into wind.
(this translation was found on the website
of the German Education Department

Thanks so much.)

. . . on snow

. . . in the chill
of mid winter
the mind stills
the spirit too
has anyone ever heard
of the spirit being frozen
of a sentient being?


The spirit exits on a 



brings stasis
a numbed waiting

for rebirth.

20 January 2011

contemplating the universe with Carl Sagan:

a contemplation:

there isn't too much else to say about that, except
for what I've said before
about reproduction,
and the palindrome --

more to come soon!

17 January 2011

Two Kinds of People . . . .

The Twisters & The Knotters

So, you're in this kind of upscale
grocery store,
where they actually trust you
to package and price your own produce.
It works like this:

Very rustically organized loose fruits
and veg, in a wood highlighted,
low lighted 
You take as much
as you want;
they provide the plastic bags
and the twistees.
You collect your food, put it in 
the bag, take note of the code,
enter said code into the 
scale, weigh and price
the product.

Easy enough.

A child could do it, 
and many children have done it,
taken to the upscale grocery by his mom,
the kid gets a kick
out of weighing and pricing
the food.  Alec Baldwin,
for instance,
may have done this as a child,
for the sole purpose
of making his mother happy.

And it was this very evening,
as I was trying to open some spinach
purchased earlier at the upscale grocers,
with a poorly tied knotted bag,
that I thought that oft thought thought:

There are two kinds of people in the world:
The Twisters 
The Knotters.

 ( papermart )

 Now, I'm sure you're just
dying to know what
this all means:

Well, it's simple, and 
it manifests itself at the moment
of trying to open the bag.

I confess, I am a knotter.
By that, I mean:
when at the upscale grocery store, putting
my spinach into
its plastic bag,
I realize:
there are no twistees to be seen.
                        I scan
the produce horizon,
                          and all
                       I see
are empty twistee containers.

So, what do I do?
I knot it.

I'm sure that if I looked,
just a little further,
or planned my bag closure for later in the department,
I would most definitely find twistees.
Most definitely.

But do I wait?
I knot it,
then weigh it,
then price it,
then get on my way.

Now the Twister people are the ones
who do all the things I just told you I don't do,
or better yet,
they find an employee and say:
"you're out of twistees."
Thus, the employee replenishes the twistees,
often faster, depending upon
how many Twisters have pointed out
the deficit.

Now, at the moment of trying
to open the package at home,
the difference between Twisters and Knotters
becomes even more apparent,
because the Knotters realize
fairly quickly
for the umpteenth time,
that they just wasted a perfectly good bag.

Faced with the encased spinach,
the Knotter rips,
and knows they cannot reuse
that bag if any of the product remains,
therefore, they need another storage item
for the remainder 
of the spinach.

This is why Knotters have quite a selection
of fancy zip lock bags or other
assorted storage devices.  Either that, or they
keep using the same tattered bag, and then
end up throwing it all out - spinach and bag.

Twisters, on the other hand,
have quite a nice collection of twistees at home,
so they can reuse that bag, easily.
Furthermore, since they have such terrific foresight,
Twisters generally finish all of
they have in their fridge,
because they remember twisting the twistee
on that planned portion of food.

Knotters, on the other hand,
often forget what's in the fridge, and it 
rots and leaks
all over.

In general, then, Twisters are more frugal and efficient,
and Knotters just
kind of don't give a damn.

Knotters, in fact, get frustrated over the whole thing,
especially since they generally don't have time
to clean their fridge,
so they do 
one of two things:
a.) they start shopping at the local big box
flourescent lit store, because it's easier
and results in a multitude of small packages in
the fridge they can't ignore
b.) they buy a new fridge
c.) both a & b

Twisters, on the other hand, make their fridges last
forever, and always know
what's in them.

Now, before you go forming your conclusions,
about Twisters and Knotters; let me
add another dimension to the 

after these shoppers
Twist or Knot,
they all place their own personally packaged
on a scale, and enter
a code, 
the appropriate code
for that item.

Now, no one's watching -- 
there are no twistees here!
Where's the person
who's supposed to make sure
there are twistees?
(Where ever they are,
I'm sure twistees are the last things
on their list of tasks to do.)

So, anyway, unmanned,
unsurveilled, who is to keep
a shopper from marking spinach
with a cheaper price,
or tossing an exotic fruit in
with a few fuji apples?

Yes, this is where the division
between Twisters & Knotters
gets blurred,
because the most diligent Twister might also be
the one who knows what she
can mix in with the romaine, and get

And the Twister may also be
the person who knows the check-out
people (oh, the poor check-out people, who
are burdened with the task of making sure
the shopper has grapes in a bag priced for grapes).
So, this particular Twister knows exactly which
check out person is tired and not looking at what
they're doing, so that frugal Twister
is also getting a double, maybe triple bargain.
If they're really meticulous,
they have coupons, and they might end up 
getting paid for their trip
to the upscale grocery store.

Meanwhile there's a Knotter struggling to find
her glasses in her purse, so she can see
the correct code.   She may get it wrong 
the first time,
and goes back and gets it 
again, until it's right.

These pathetic people generally waste a lot of money
and time.  But
they're kind of funny to talk to.

So the Knotters of the world, as a consituency,
are really not deserving of

This is not to say, too,
that all Twisters are
schysters; indeed,
some of my best,
twist and they also always
get the right code.

In fact, on my better days, 
I do that, too.

And there are Knotters who wrongly code, and degrees of coding and closure in between.

So what does this all mean,
in the larger scheme of things?
Does it mean that there are not two different kinds of 
people in the world,
but rather a vast multitude of individuals.

Or it may also meant there is
really only one kind
of person: 
the Sometime Twister & Sometime Knotter
who wishes they could be

Either of the above could be true,
as could this, which I read
on a fortune cookie
the other day:

There are two kinds of people in the world:
those who think
there are two kinds of people in the world,
and those
who do not.

16 January 2011

Changes of Signs/Changes of Times

OK, so I'm going to venture out onto one of those limbs
just flowering with hypotheticals
and propose
that all the Scorpios in the world
who just found out they may now be
Libras, or -- heaven forbid --
Virgos, had better bite the bullet
and be it.

The times they are a changing,
the earth is moving,
and so must you
and me ------
I've always prided myself
on my balanced sign,  Libra
(with Aries rising, an 
astrologer once told me,
and I liked that too),
and now I'm being asked 
to give up balance and yield
to chastity.
(Virgo, the virgin, ergo, chaste?)
But I think I still have my
Aries rising, unless
that has become
a Pisces,
which really isn't all that bad:

Virgo with Pisces rising may give me
a new kind of balance, 
one that doesn't procrastinate as much
as I've done as a Libra.

Indeed, I see 
real optimism in 
this celestial realignment:
we can all adopt the positives
of our new position
and keep the best of our former
selves, as well. 
This is not to say
we won't all have our flaws,
but by adopting our new signs,
we may
take strides towards a new empathy
towards the perspectives of Others.
Perhaps even the very Other
who, astrologically,
six months ago
was the very sign with which we were told
we were least compatible
is now the very sign
we must become.

So, dear Scorpios,
as I said at the beginning
of this meandering entry:
try your hand at a little 
balance, peacefulness, and justice,
and I'll be,
whatever a Virgo
is supposed to be
within reason.

12 January 2011

Ditsy Day (written sometime after midnight, last night)

I've been walking  around all night,
thinking to myself:
I'm having such a Ditsy Day,
I must write a blog entry
about having a Ditsy Day.

But I've wandered around
from task to task,
what it was I was trying to get done 
in the first place, and thinking:
sometime tonight,
I should write
about having a Ditsy Day,
and putting it off,
and forgetting to do it,
then remembering,
then forgetting,
then --

I'm in bed now,
with no intent
of cranking up the laptop
and hitting the keys,
no I'll just write this note
to myself, telling myself
to write a blog entry
about having a Ditsy

We all have them.
I suspect that in the normal
monthly cycle 
of the average human, we
- both men and women -
all have an average of at least three 
Ditsy Days,
and we should get permission
to be excused from normal activity on those days,
those Ditsy Days,
--because it may hurt us,
or we may hurt someone else.

sort of like when I was in high school,
in swimming class,
and girls were allowed to take
a certain number of
"resting days"
a month.  For the period
of "resting," the girl would arrive
at the pool in her one piece
gym outfit with the gunky red pants,
and declare "resting" when her name
was called in attendance, as if the collected 
assembly (all of whom wore swim suits, 
unless they too were resting)
could not tell.

Some girls were always resting, 
and if the teacher looked at an eternally
resting student quizzically and said:
"aren't you resting a bit too long?
the girl would glare,
as if to dare
the teacher to ask
for evidence.

I, for one, saw no reason
for so many Resting Days during 
the swimming semester: it was all the other sports,
like volleyball and basketball
and gymnastics that I wished
I could be excused from when
the cramps overtook my body.

Resting Days
these days
are just Ditsy Days,
days when I have to come squarely to terms
with the fact that I am becoming
my mother.

In fact,
I'm writing this on a Ditsy Day,
a day when I have to write a note
reminding myself to write
a blog entry about having a Ditsy Day.

10 January 2011

Passing Carousel Riders: To Laura

I look at you,
                 my friend,
in your lean blonde chassis,
circa late 1950s, a smile
like sunlight, an air
of childish naievete still,
and I see myself.

It's always good to see you.

Your youngest is graduating 
and off to college;
I celebrate with you.
I, this time around, opted
for no children, no
such celebrations.

It saddens me sometimes.

Those tiny joys are beauteous,
but in my centuries
on this earth I've seen them come
and go, replaced by disappointments
when the borne hope dissipates.
I've seen the body sag;
all too often, the smile diminish.

You and I, passing
one more time around
on this merry-go-round called life,
on similar horses,
but slightly different trappings.
I like the way yours sparkles

Perhaps on this turn,
you'll catch the ring.

NASA - The Frontier Is Everywhere: a re-vision of NASA and human evolution by a You Tube User!

A very hopeful vision of the future
and of NASA,
by YouTube user
(with thanks to Dangerous Minds for posting)

08 January 2011

FreiKorps: A History Lesson (to Gabrielle Giffords)

I need to share with you
this story disturbs me 
so much.

As the United States has become more
and rebellious,
and as we have brought back
from an unforgivable war
more and more young men
and women
who are trained to be soldiers
nothing but soldiers,

I have feared that this country might become
a bit like a large-scale Germany
after World War I.

~ ~ ~

Now, what do I mean by that?

After World War I,
which was a pretty demeaning war,
for most Germans,
the German economy dipped into,
a depression.

Stories were told of how
you needed a wheel-barrow 
full of money,
just to buy a loaf of bread.

Those who couldn't deal with the fact
of the war, or the fact of the decline
in the economy
called it a Recession.
(Some of those folks in denial
stepped into government, and
some of those folks in denial created the fabulous,
functional arts
that were developed during what we call
"The Weimar Era.")

Anyway, but the truth is -
(and don't forget I know this,
because I was
there -- remember 
the lady's age, please.)
the truth is -
it was a Depression.

A bit like what we've been experiencing,
right now.

Bush was perhaps correct
when he declared:
"victory accomplished"
so early in the invasion of Iraq.
Yes, he was right.
In a way,  a war ended precisely when Bush
said it did:

That was when the war ended for America.
In other words:
the war that the rest of the world
acknowledged as a 
legitimate war
when the United States
and from that point on
the war effort
was funded primarily
by the United States and
large corporations.
This, by the way,
is not a really financially sound way
to run a war.  To make it really
prophetable for all,
you need allies.

But anyway,
so the war may have indeed ended
shortly after we invaded Iraq, and
since then,
everything has been,
well, canon fodder.
Except for now,
as we return our energies
to Afghanistan,
which is where
the war should have been
in the first place.

But I think that's pretty common knowledge
right now.  A lot depends on if
you want to admit that or not.


There was a depression in Germany when their
"Great War" was 
over, and the German populace
was in a pretty nasty disposition.
Politically, they were
Strange parties emerged --

At this point,
I'm going to attach a link
to a fabulous slide show
posted at
that describes the period between
the Wars 

Yes, if you can watch
this slideshow,
it explains not only
the way the post-war period for Germany
really sucked,
it also explains the concept of
the Freikorps -

~ ~ ~

What you will note
as you read,
if you read
these links given above
is that 
The Freikorps
was a movement that in Germany
had a very long history.

In fact, some sources would have it
that the Freikorps could be traced
back to the Vikings:

So, let me please explain:
Freikorps is the term
that refers to
"free armies,"
basically the tradition
in Nordic countries
of including and occasionally engaging
small groups of militant men
in real political transactions.

As the Wikipedia entry tells us,
Freikorps can be traced back to the 1600s,
when there existed young militant groups
that existed in the public sector that were considered
"unreliable by regular armies, so they were mainly used as sentries and for minor duties."
In other words,
these small groups of men
had trained themselves
as soldiers and marauders
on their own.  They existed on the fringes of society,
and were more or less

Sometimes they stepped forward and took
military action, and
the military welcomed them
as camerades

~ ~ ~ 

Since this acceptance of
small militant groups
existed in Germany before the First World War,
no one blinked an eye
when young men coming back from the War,
young men trained to be soldiers,
only soldiers,
and trained by the most efficient organization
in the country,
began creating and forming
small military organizations.
It was considered
right and even healthy
to go out and shoot a gun
effectively.  After all,
you never knew when you
were going to have to go
use it again,
and many of these young veterans harbored a desire
to go back to war.

Some of those groups were
pretty bad news,
if they allied themselves
with some sort of political agenda.

One of those groups allied themselves
with others and 
called themselves
the Nazis.

Indeed, this is how the Nazis rose to power:
many of them knew how to fight;
they were trained well;
they believed in the goodness
of Germany and the Germans,
and they spoke of it
often.  They felt Germany
was mistreated
after they lost the Great War,
and they said that often,

And they spoke the truth
about the state
of the economy.  They did not say
it was a Recession
when it was a Depression.
They were the disaffected,
those who could not get jobs
any other way:
they spoke the truth
about what the common man and woman
and family
were experiencing.

And that was how they Nazis gained
the public support.

~ ~ ~ ~

I have feared,
that such movements would begin to appear
in the United States 
during this miserable,
because we are training a lot
of young solders, and we are
producing some pretty radical
views, using the media to 
express them:

I'd like to point out
at least one other
interesting parallel between
Germany then 
and the U.S.A. now:
the early 20th Century 
was the time
of the birth of 
"Mass Media," -
both aural
(in radio)
and visual
(in film)
that, for the very first time
could be distributed
internationally, and
an image, either
aural or visual
could have a vast impact.

Hitler and his crew
knew they had to manipulate this media
artistically, and so
they found artists to help them do that.
They found good artists
to help them do that,
with the most reviled and admired being

With folks like that working for them,
how could they not make
a powerful impression?

. . . and they did. . . 

And the German people
who desperately needed
a message like that
and voted.

We know the end of that story.

~ ~ ~ ~ 

I have been hearing stories
and getting information,
from friends,
on the internet, 
in the news
that suggests that as the young men
have come back from the war,
they have taken to joining shooting clubs,
joined by their fathers or grandfathers
from Viet Nam,
who know
better than anything else
how to shoot a gun.
In fact,
one doesn't even have to be a veteran
to join these groups,
one only has to want
oh, so badly,
to make a statement
about how bad their life
has been,
and who they blame for it.

Yes, we have small
militant groups emerging
in this country,
some of them have guitars,
some of them
have guns.

I have felt
it was only a matter of time
they started using their guns
to make public statements.

When I heard the story
of Representative Giffords' shooting,
I shuddered,
oh dear god,
is it happening again?
The Freikorp Effect?
In this, the greatest social experiment
of a country,
is it happening again?
Of course, the fact
that Americans don't read history
doesn't help matters much.

most Americans don't know history,
or they know
only movie-versions of it,
and in the movie versions
America generally wins.
That's what makes being American
so damned fun.

(Be Aware: this film is long!  But it's good!)
(BEWARE: this film is 1 hour & 21 minutes long, but it is interesting.)

Oh, I beg you:
America NEEDS to pay attention
to accurate representations
of history
right now--
of America
needs to listen,
right now.

Even, and especially if
you are the one of those
who is creating the machine
that will next take power in America,
be  aware of what history has shown us:

Momentary Political Power is not worth
the destruction that could be caused
by ignoring
right now.

My challenge to you is not
to use historic examples
to serve your own ends;
the challenge is to look at the events and trends of history
and the events and trends of the present
and honestly
and recognize
when the patterns are repeating
and not letting the bad patterns
repeat themselves
ever again.

Not in this time;
not on this earth;
not if you want
this earth to survive
beyond 2012.