Archive for May, 2012

we live in a context which continually reinforces us for “micromanaging” our own lives in response to some unsatisfactory “other.” bored in the car? turn on the radio. can’t sleep fast enough? take a pill. socially anxious? have a beer. hate your life? get new shoes or a new car. someone in your way? push them aside or bomb them. in the end a faustian deal which cannot but betray us. the constant search for little improvements, microscopic bits of “perfection,” “credit,” “freedom,” or “cause” has us running away from where life actually happens: right there in your place. we’ve forgotten that, really and truly, the past was not preparation for anything “better.” its shame, if there is any in any case, needs no reconciliation, no resolution, no absolution, no reparation, no expiation, no explanation and no justification. life is NOT elsewhere. it is here. it walks in your shoes every breath of every moment.


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again and again
then top the headless clown
with your own weak sense.
prevaricate, dissemble.
do what you can
to broach a tender subject,
sew the line with thimble
and thread i tremble
in the sun because the itch for death
is like a turn in a wire.
unknot it if you can.
stalk like crouching tiger
and try to love much
sooner than you can.

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o god you sent me a sleeping child today
but two months in her cradle world
and sleeping and sleeping through all this dithering fray
of adults made manic and so frantic to get your
stroller fixed in the ambulance safe and dry
you and your father in from the cold
o there was not one concernéd cry as you held my hand
slept on and with your magic bottle wand
banished thus my tears from all the land

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jesus was but a man who walked a road
knowing not where it led
telling stories over wine and bread
to listeners well enrolled

in a program of daily wants and musts
dust of angry land sunk in the ruts
and angry tracks of a people brief contained
by man made bounds and hand drawn lines

on the map of an earth that knew no count
of times it was overrun
by a species undone no
by their angered and lonely hand

i imagine he laughed when told a joke
i can’t help but wonder what it was
i hope he smiled also when time it was
to smile in the face of a child of love


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                        chilaquiles and me on a saturday morning

red sauce
toasted chips
scrambled eggs
spring all around

a boy and girl catch the light
their voices happy
her colors coordinated and bright
i have the urge to say to them:

war and death of hope, shame of lost faith,
betrayal of love, abandonment of duty,
smiles dead when they fled your face
leaders convicted of mutiny

i leave and think no
let them have their spring
that hope of youth grew
that spring i never knew

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                        a scholar in love

i counted colors to a blue i’ve never known
reached for your hand in vain

as nouns declined and apprised
us of nuclear rain

all over fields once ploughed with love
grains of hope, seeds of charity

what canvas painted with no fields in mind
changed hands in the aftermath

of temper torn humanity

no picasso that
no mary cassatt

no war weary map
of the human heart

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boy in the widening fields

wont you come home?
why wander lonely fields

be wary where you wander.
i thought i saw your love

i called her over yonder, she fled
call and laughter.

i am a soldier every day
and require a soldier’s heart.

so be my comfort
so walk on farther

be in that way
a dance in pearls of sun

dark end of every march
when bullets sleep

when people keep
each other near at each

end of every day.

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The great and ever story of the human brain is that
whenever we look beneath nothing remains—
what ideas blew inside with wind and rain
what agéd will shadows whispers with rotten cane?
It was nothing faith unchained, believe me
nothing on winter nights we supped and sang.
From that Lear-like nothing nothing rang.
Sure, Galileo said he would charm magic
from nature’s hidden crown, however random
bitter scorn of Gloucester’s lower son who was left
to wither and die a sorry nothing of a lie—
his life but a twisted kinder means to be unkind—
discovered this lord a truer truth than was ever born!
And taught us rather to find someone’s something
that sometime loved, than fly to nothings we know not of.

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after a poem by Du Fu

river bank grass and a light breeze
meet beneath mast married to night of one
lone boat, while meanwhile stars
suspended over the endless plaines
moon and her light fallen on river wide
speak of all poetry that brought me fame and growth
while silent my career passed me on
old age and sickness gather for one last round
and i wonder how did i think
my mere mortal image would survive
winds that tear at a lone sand gull caught
between no earth and endless sky

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if we take kant’s suggestion seriously: to drop our age old metaphors of cause and effect and instead search merely for our experience in an unstructured world, then it seems to me this can be applied to our own endeavors within clinical psychology. what would it be like to drop even the radical behaviorist notion of a controlling variable and instead focus merely on a description of our experience within whatever “system” we appear to be a part of in the moment? in such a model, “tacts” are no more than features of a relatively heterogeneous system of verbal operants and “mands” are no more than features of a relatively homogenous system. they are not “controlled” or “caused” by anything in particular, being merely events that we notice and may want to change in some way, relative to other events. “radical genuineness” then describes one way of participating in a system without judging it, without tossing in a huge boulder, mindfully slipping into the water and knowing with certainty whither we would swim.

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