Ghost Dog

Our neighbor Eric’s spiritual practice is the wheelie. Riding on one wheel he finds that tipping point where he’s on the brink of falling back or plunging, forward that place of tension, strength, and balance. A place of stasis, equilibrium. When I first met Eric he was riding a unicycle down the dock and practicing in the parking lot. He was training to ride his road rocket motorcycle in slow, 3 mph circles while wheeling. An incredibly challenging feat. These days he takes his electric trials bike up in the hills at 2 am, and silently rides the trails as he wheelies. The coyotes watch him pass, no doubt thinking he’s some kind of god. Legendary.

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photo taken by a stranger on Gate 5 Rd, & melded by photo magician Dennis Bayer with his marvelous shot of the nearly full moon over South Forty Pier.

Pierre, Paddle Boards, and The Neighbor's Pot Crop

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Pierre knows how to get my attention. It’s a very clear and effective form of communication. One of the things he’ll do is walk along the narrow ledge on the roof deck of our houseboat. It’s three stories down to water if he slips. But apparently only one of us is nervous. Across the channel is what we call the Hacker’s boat. When I mentioned this to our new, younger neighbor three boats down he wondered how we knew about the hacking . . . then it occurred to us that our new neighbor was thinking computer, while we were thinking - - smoker! Generational differences. Hacker smokes and coughs with frequency and his houseboat is covered in tyvek and tarps in what I’d like to say is an unfinished state . . . but I’d say the hacker is pretty much finished. Last year the crop seen on the far left - was growing on the top of the piling - maybe an offering to soaring pothead seagulls?? This year the plants are in buckets that say sliced pickles, growing on his deck. Apparently seagulls do not like pickles. They seem to be keeping their distance.

Poetry Afloat

It was a sweet floating groove on the South Forty- poetry electric, poets bringing it with passion, craft, and love. Tony & Cassandra & Matt, Kara, Robert, Clara, Linda, Shizue, Jan, Ayo, Hector, Suzana, Marc, & Jan, and all who came to listen and opened their hearts and gave support, in a beautiful ebb & flow exchange. For me, in these hard hard Trump days, I look for ways to stride towards the light. Salons, & mics across the bay sustain and inspire. Much love to all who walked the planks last Saturday night, and every night behind a mic or in the crowd listening to the voices of poetry ~

It was a sweet floating groove on the South Forty- poetry electric, poets bringing it with passion, craft, and love. Tony & Cassandra & Matt, Kara, Robert, Clara, Linda, Shizue, Jan, Ayo, Hector, Suzana, Marc, & Jan, and all who came to listen and opened their hearts and gave support, in a beautiful ebb & flow exchange. For me, in these hard hard Trump days, I look for ways to stride towards the light. Salons, & mics across the bay sustain and inspire. Much love to all who walked the planks last Saturday night, and every night behind a mic or in the crowd listening to the voices of poetry ~

So Be It

A couple of nights ago, I took a break from the debates, took a cold beer up to the roof, saw neighbors across the channel, down the dock, next door, walking down the dock all of us pausing for just this moment, for this beauty, for this pause for peace. So be it ~

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meanwhile my neighbor, and pro, Dennis took this one of me

photo by Dennis Bayer

photo by Dennis Bayer

Bats Left, Throws Right, Runs In Both Direction

The tao de ching says if you can say what the tao is  then that's not it. Same with you. Same with me.  If you can say what we are, nail us down to a checkbox, that's not us. Words are the nets through which all truth escapes, says Paula Fox. See. If we try to reduce things to a theory, a stereotype, the broad stroke of one-color-paint, the only thing we reduce is ourselves. Hear me out. Here I am. I bat left, throw right, and run in both directions. Try and pick me off. Seriously, I grew up playing pickle, haven't been tagged out yet. Check out the strawberries on my thigh. I wasn't fast but didn't know it. That became my key, my secret weapon. I was:  Didn't Know Boy, Superhero. And I didn't even know that. But not knowing any better was my strength which when you get right down to it, made all those college degrees my kryptonite. Words  were the holes in my cape, my escape from the phone booth, now outdated, now like me. Depending on what calendar you go by. Only thing is now I know it. And it's my strength. That, and not wearing a watch.

 

 

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Rooftop Reverie

I'd like to say I rise early because of the light. Truth be told it's more feline related. Machinations of two cats in tandem. But after they've been fed, water poured, coffee made, I head to the roof. I'd like to say I do tai chi, some days I do. I'd like to say nothing else is on my mind, some days that's true. I'd like to say, with decency in sharp descent among some in this world, that light, qualia of color, gulls, geese, and herons at work in life buoy me. Some days they do.

 

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Gears Turning

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Went to the Gears Turning Poetry Reading at Adobe Books on 24th last night. Three excellent features - Josiah, Tony, and DL, wonderfully hosted by poet laureate Kim, and a houseful of amazing open mic-ers. Lifted my spirits, blew me away. Bay Area open mic circuit is a real deal groove.  Afterwards, connected with Tony for his b-day beer & dinner at Picaro on 16th - 30 years ago it was a bohemian cafe - when I was cruising the Mission selling ads for the Bay Guardian - their slogan, 'you can wear a beret but you gotta pay for your refill. ' Now it's a packed Spanish restaurant with roving mariachis. Definite upgrade. Had a blast. Found parking on 14th St., in front of this joint, icing on the cake.

At Axolotl

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This Too A Poem

 

   Speaking truth at the mic with notebook, with guitar, with typed page, 

   with iPhone, with hands shoved in pockets, with 2am approaching

     with knowing anything  done after midnight is art.

                     The madness in the moment,

                                             the self haircut, the can of beer, the fighter,

                                            the math teacher, the queer poet whose voice

is pure song . . .                  the geometric performance of truth and what      

                                                                                     we say is the truth.

 

               Rocking in your back row chair you go to the front to 

              lend your voice, sing your song, speak your life, join

             the fiber of this night, this midnight mic, this pure grain

            flow you come to know when you look this close & listen,  

           the lives you see, the colors you feel, rhythms alive in the air,

 

people like you

people not like you,

poets off the street,

                                                          army of letters, word delivery,   

                                                          bringing it, winging it, singing it

                                                            behind the mic tonight at midnight.

 

Or, How we know we're alive.