Sunday, October 25, 2009

Small Cotton


They say that women dream of danger to those they love and that men dream of danger to themselves.

Cormac McCarthy, The Road


I ordered Deirdre's book today. I cain't hardly wait to get it.

Rebecca is right about her.

She can stone write. God bless her crooked little heart.


Right now I just want to be home. I don't want to go to work. I don't want to do for anyone.

I crave stillness and silence and everything gleaming clean and the sun hard in the blue fall sky and the trees shuddering and flexing in the mad wind and the hard frost in my heart.

I got some bad weather in me.


I yet love, even in foul temper.



Peace be upon you.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chief Sitting Down


I am happy.

A little restless, it's true.

I tend to gnaw at myself.

But that is a surface condition.

Deep down, I own a glad and grateful heart.


I will be forty-five in a few days.

Time for another self-portrait.


Maybe Chief Sitting Down is that.


If I am supremely lucky, I am about halfway through with my life. I hope so. I would like to get old. I think I would be a nice old guy if I could have another thirty or forty years to mellow.

Take some of the edge off.

Develop a little depth and complexity.


Easy to say now. The road ahead, if there is one, is fraught with perils. And the end is certain. The road gets darker and twistier and the trees crowd in and the hoot owls call and...what.

You run down. You bust down. You get crippled and stove in. Deef. Blind. Incontinent. You get bladder cancer. You get emphysema.

A troll sits on your chest of an evening and you gasp out.


What a adventure!


The other thing is I just get smacked on my way to work tomorrow. Lights out. Or crippled. Brain injured. It could happen.

It happens all the time.

But I could just keep being lucky.

That happens, too.


I love trying to make my mind come to terms with the vastness of the known universe, and with the limitless expanse of deep geologic time, of cosmological time, of interstellar distance, of neural complexity, of genetic structure and epigenetic processes, of complexity emerging from seemingly simple repetitive structures and a handful of rules, of love and loss, how when you lose someone you really do lose them, for all of time and in every corner of the universe, and how that, in the end, has to be okay.

We are all riders on the same merry-go-round. We are all grist for the mill.

How our small hearts beat with love and fury!




Friday, October 16, 2009






She was with us for sixteen of her eighteen years. When we got her from the shelter they told us that she had a little problem with running away. She would scale the six-foot chainlink fence every night and take off.

In the morning she'd be waiting by the front door.

When we took her home we left her in the house while we went to get her some dog food. When we came back she was gone and the screen was off the window over the sink.

A pattern that would continue for her whole life.


That dog would not be domesticated. She lived life on her own terms.

We are lucky to have had her.


Go easy, friend. We will miss you.


Monday, October 05, 2009

United States Coast Guard Cutter Cape Jellison WPB 95317

From 1984 to 1986 this was my home.

I served as a Seaman Apprentice and Seaman on the Jellison, stationed out of Seward, AK. A crew of sixteen.

I remember the Skipper, Lt.jg. Alexander. Joe Carro was the First Class Bosun's Mate, and my boss, the boss of all of us deck maggots. Krieter, Dammon, Spike, and me. Vern DiPietro was the first class engineer.

Fuck, I learned a lot on that boat.

I got in my first bar fight. I shot my first halibut. I pointed a gun at my first human being.

I got thrown naked off the bow into a frozen salt mush.

I dragged wet and frozen two-inch line off the towing howser until my hands bled and then I just kept doing it.

I hung onto the quarter-inch wire line to keep from being swept overboard when we shipped green water over the deck. I busted ice off the superstructure with aluminum baseball bats for hours on end, so we wouldn't get top-heavy and capsize from the weight of the ice.

I stood at the helm while green water poured through the pilothouse when we ran through a thirty-six hour storm of twenty-foot seas and sixtyknot winds.

I swabbed vomit off the decks. I polished a lot of brass. I painted underway hanging from a bosun chair.

I strapped myself into my bunk so I wouldn't smash against the bulkhead.

I was as green as you could possibly get.

I had a hell of a time.


To all my mates- "Semper Paratus!"


I never had a good idea in my head in all my livin' life.


Sunday, October 04, 2009

At Play In the Fields of the Lord


It's all good.

It's a mistake to take it seriously.

The joke is on you.


Yesterday we moved shit around. Swapped bedrooms, moved her studio space back into Em's old room, took back the master bedroom for ourselves. Another opportunity to clean and purge and simplify and pare down.

It becomes an addiction.

My mom called for help changing a lightbulb in her new fixture, which turned into a garden consult and a trip next door to her parent's house to fix the computer mouse and the stove top burner and explain to Granddad how the dishwasher really works and why the nut holding the toilet seat to the commode isn't actually reverse threaded, and etc.

It's nice to be able to help in small ways.


I am off to another training class, but this time it's in San Francisco and I am taking old girl with me.

Don't expect to hear from us till we get back.

Meanwhile, today is long walkies, dog-bathing, gardening, late afternoon cocktails, and cooking the hell out of something good for dinner.

I am embarrassed at the abundance of my blessings.


May you be calm.
May you be at peace.
May you be happy.

Make it so, number one.