copyright © 2005 Down 'n Out Press All rights reserved





Table of Contents     

1.   Openings
2.   The Screw's Turning
3.   Sunday Morning Jazz For Free
4.   At Twilight, Near The Old Green House
5.   Cast Adrift
6.   Termite's Tribal March
7.   Old Ragger Woman
8.   Street Heroes
9.   Father Time
10.   Death's Dream
11.   Ode Of The Refugee Mother
12.   A Christmas Prayer for Peace
13.   Prisoners
14.   Skating Figure Eights
15.   Pluperfect Here
16.   Before The Rapture
17.   Too Insane!
18.   The Messenger
19.   An Oracle in Ancient Runes
20.   Stochasticisms
21.   The Earth Never Sleeps
22.   At the Hearth
23.   Epigenetic Mitosis
24.   Ecomind
25.   Biosphere
26.   July 25, 1980
27.   Along The River Road
28.   Alicia's Cowherd
29.   Miracles With A Human Face
30.   Bringen Zurück Die Toten
31.   Knowing, Knowing, Known
32.   With the Almighty
33.   Who Decides
34.   Consciousness Sketched
35.   Untitled: Homeostasis
36.   Anchored in Grief
37.   The Epistemic Screw
38.   Casting Nets Into the Ocean
39.   Expectáté
40.   Coffee at Day's End
41.   Minimal Holisms
42.   For Valentine's Day
43.   Wanderlust
44.   Dearest Ma
45.   Ma's Birthday, a Reminiscence
46.   Annabelle Jean Elisabeth
47.   Jeremiah Lawrence
48.   Mid-Summer Night Maneuvers
49.   Morphogenic Resonance
50.   Ours Is the Living
51.   Everyday Mundane
52.   Shy Titmouse
53.   Proto Post Modern Blues
54.   Didacticisms
55.   Untangling Organic Koans
56.   Restoring the Gordian Knot
57.   Remembering Gregory . . .


So what's to say? . . . this dreary spring day 
oh drizzle ! . . . , 
it clouds and grays the entire valley 
as far as the eyes can feel,       this mood . . . 

riding back to front 
the high speed line slamming forward, jolting 
out from under the cavernous decaying city, up 
and over Ben Franklin 
across the once pristine Delaware 
high above William Penn's landing 
a Quaker's safe haven, and now 
a harbor for mothballed ships of war . . . 

falling away below, as we rise and 
rush over the bridge 
into Walt Witman's Camden soup 
RCA land . . . home of the Victrola 
bought out, lock, stock, and Victorian heritage 
a curiously spotted dog with floppy ears, betrayed 
along with the homeless, his master's voice in disarray 
taken over by the Electric General 
clearly a sign of our times 
with insiders turned in and trading, out of prison 
belly up, like a fish in our chemical dumps, our soupy rivers 
like this cesspool below . . . the Delaware

. . . . . A clear sign of the times 
where progress is business, and like fresh air 
our bodies \ our minds, becoming merely commodities 
bringing good things to life, with a vengeance 
(leider) and I too, as well as you, well on our way . . . . . 
to comfortably disgruntled resignation 

Ah, what the hell, so what do ya think can be done? 
it is all so very cost efficient, this bottom line lobotomy 
these institutional prostrate minds, busily generating revenues 
Addicted to their greed and quarterly profit reviews 
they're afraid to love, and full of chicken-soup 
in america's corporate paradigm 
Cambell's chicken noodle 
Camden, New Jersey. 

So who do we see ? 
gazing through these eyes, into each other's 
hesitant, your love and mine momentarily embraced . . . 
our kinship's unfolding, long dormant dimensions 
bonding a knowing, a recognition, an inclusion . . . . . 
Immaterial, yes, Yet in every aspect affecting 
our being's continued appreciation 
and hope 
~ ~ ~

The Screw's Turning

the screw turns, and we return, back where we began
just a bit older, apparently no wiser
reliving anew the churlish summer days of rage and hate
days of frustration and bitterly harvested
fruits of past generations
burnt in a frost of benign neglect
stalked in the ghettos' sticky cage
and tamed in sour cream, suburban surrender
our landscapes, stoked and smoldering coals
of bilateral racial hate
now more than ever, a two way street
rushing into a collective cul-de-sac

this catastrophe, a rolly coaster carousel
the social suicide of a herd, an outrageously clumsy
metaphor of bucking broncos, blinded
and strapped under our children, this captive generation
maimed and mauled, thrown from their saddles
at best wounded, crippled and bleeding

gnashing their teeth . . .
with cracked up heads and clubbed feet
they trudge through our city streets
resentful hearts, reflected in their angry faces
the entire pack, on both sides of the redlined
walls, miming my generation's errors and mendacity
our complacency comes back to haunt us
back around echoing voices     silenced
Still resonating, voices of Martin and Malcolm
and Che, voices of Abbey Hoffman, Phil Ochs, Lew Welch
Richard Brautigan and Jack Kerouac
turning back on time's axis
echoing throughout
our recursive social circuitry

our tom-foolery, as well,
amplified to distortion
ricochets throughout life's
spiraling particle accelerator
cyclotronic neglect
fed into biofeedback networks
our children, this captive generation
as captive as the electrons in a cathode-ray tube . . .
tubed and emulating the TV, Video Games
and the theater of our city streets . . .
mimicking the Cinemas' titillating death wish
slasher flicks, dirty Harry,
Swartschennegger, counterfeit karate clowns, clones . . .
breakin' bones like twigs or sticks
kickin' ass, an' takin' names . . .
an' jus' like on the tube, our kids are killing themselves
out on country roads, and our fast lane freeways
down on inner city streets . . .
giving up their vision and dying

The screw's slow turning
Burns cold, flares up starburst
White, and rips across the night sky
There on the dimly lit clouded horizons
At every point on the compass, an ominous stillness
The soothing contradictions of slow rolling thunder
Orchestrates tracers of life's questions, unanswered
In an outburst of brilliant yellow orange, solar-flares
Spinning off across the distance, fading into space-time
Continuums sparkle a suggestion, merging dark in light
A solution ripples slowly, rampant on a field of water lilies
Blue lightning strikes, turning back upon an axis
Reaping assorted doughnuts, a baker's dozen gone bad
A torus of figurative vocalizations stuffed in a sack
Entwined, entangled, twisted spirals
Our tepid collective fate, more than just a trope
An angry bag of hostile snakes, vipers
Turning back in galactic rap around
and kharmic cycles of praxis

~ ~ ~

Sunday Morning Jazz For Free
          At The Historische Museum

For those of us who see
what could be breaking through
against what has been and remains
that which pours forth
from the torn and opened wounds
of our shrinking, beleaguered world
is such a bloody waste!

We offer these words
not in despair
to the one what holds our world
to whom every person who labors
for peace and selfless society
offers their work.

May we all yet hear
if not see, and through
your grace, or whatever,
may we find our way
to harmony.

~ ~ ~

At Twilight, Near The Old Green House

in the dead of august winter, we wander
a murder of crows to our left
vacating the ripened, yellow corn rows
a murder of crows, small wonder
awash in this sweltering summer
in the heat of flight their leader
detached himself from the rest
the crow spirit, screech / cawing
perched upon my left shoulder
proclaiming our collective epitaph . . .

we must flee this vessel, this state of mind
he cried, or
can you not foresee their folly
nor divine this tragedy, as well
as that which is approaching?
leave off! and find yourselves. be gone!
and on the high-grounds . . .
well before the flooding
before the rising tides
the firestorms, and
sterile farmlands
decimate your kind
and plunder your society.

~ ~ ~

Cast Adrift

in these dark times
does the muse elude your senses?
do you yearn for an open highway
or the quick fix of your video?
can you still nurture mindfulness
or calmly let go? and, in flowing
can you halt the constant chatter
the canned laughter of the construction cranes
those insistent cultural voices
their constraints
calling in the night
like a dream from your childhood
without the protection and security
of a guiding light

~ ~ ~

Termite's Tribal March
A Work Still In Progress

in which direction is this world really turning?
with the missing feet of the murdered
running in the billions
and agent orange, supposedly tamed
renamed Round Up, commonly available
every garden a green house of death . . .
in water tables, ozone layers
acid rain, and crack

if our species is somehow able to survive
what will our progeny say?
as we leave them a heritage of orange county Disney style
fantasylands, become a major growth . . . a cancer
a construction, cum service industry . . .
carved out of the ruined map of myth and natural process,
scraped and pushed into antiseptic parks of amusement
exquisitely childish escape in the realm of the homeless

what's left of the wild, the natural and free . . .
must each generation mold it all
to mirror their collective dreams of greed
an' thereby invite, indeed, guaranteeing these disasters
like the downtrodden, brokenhearted souls
wharehoused in our broken inner cities?

~ ~ ~

                Old Ragger Woman

                         We met
                an old ragger woman
                      and I,
                           my demons,
                                on the U-Bahn,
                        underground . . . . .
            her hair done up tightly
                    in a red silken bandanna.
        her ragged, chiseled witch's face
the hag of knowledge
     over-amping . . . . .
          eyes wide open,
               as if with toothpicks,
                      or speed

                     she's just crazy
        said Tina's anguished voice.
             a bit dotty, thought I . . . . .
                with pages, typed single space
        full, on both sides! collected
  all tattered and yellow,
        preserved in clear plastic;
                notebook pages
                        into her bag
                             and falling
all about. . . .

against the windows, now . . . . .
        she's pressing these yellowed pages
                (a narration, or what literary form?)
                        she holds them now two, pages three
                                pages four, and she's got more . . .
                    and she wants to show us all . . . . .

                up against the Subway windows,
                        pressurized sliding glass doors
                             rushing towards Mainz
                     with my demons, my wife
             and this street hero
                  exhibiting her life's work,
                          typewritten words
                              filling up blank pages
                                      which she feels as well
                                 compelled to show the world

~ ~ ~

Street Heroes

Broken souls these
women and men who've given
up their hearts as whores
or tarts of the night,
and can no more see
they've been forgiven.

With their tote bags and tattered clothing
their rags, probably once so fine
as yours (or mine).
Their mis-shapen faces
mirror the ravaged inner city,
ashen and discolored. No, not a pretty sight.
no wonder we can't look them in the eye.
Broken and vagrant
what have they lost
or gained?

They awaken in a morning damp
and cold on back streets or
under bridges, shake the dust
off their clothes, scratch for chiggers
and start off into the sun
rising to drink another day
of darkness . . .

These heroes of our cities
are survivors
we call 'em losers
outsiders, we'd rather ignore them,
but they keep the city soul

~ ~ ~

          Father Time

     that dreary frigid spring day
          his fragile hand
               shaky with age
   smooth as soapstone
          slender fingers extended
               tapping my right wrist . . .

asking, "do you know . . .
          what time is it?"

          9:38 or :40, I replied

          how many seconds?
               he immediately queried back

how many ! seconds?

how many eternities?
          left (asks our impending death)
               until my impeccably
                    certain end?

~ ~ ~

Death's Dream

I had this dream, ya see
it was a nightmarish vision, starring
the Field Marshall, who looked across the battlefield
menacing and lean, like death warmed over . . .
with a patch over one eye, and yes
his pirate, brigand's face, full but blankly confident
fills the screen, a grimaced
leering, in living pallid color
and real flesh, a grinning death head . . .
his skin, leathery and drawn, puffy
splotches, wrinkled and sagging
around the one good eye
a dark socket, with one fiery coal of an eye
the jolly roger, skull and bones come to life
with an eye patch, and yet another mission . . .

Above the noise and confusion of a battle about to begin
he cries out, exhorting his followers
in every tongue known, well are ya with me, men!? . . .

(well are ya?)

Up he scrambles
up onto the back of a flatbed truck
over the roar of his tanks, half-tracks and APCs
he calls out to his commanders,
his light artillery and infantry,
all together now moving up over a bank . . .

When five large armor piercing slugs,
44 caliber automatic fire,
cut through the truck's cab
flying fragments of flesh 'n blood
rip out the back of Field Marshall's chest
as he crumples, a marionette without strings
a rag doll in a pile, oozing life . . .

All so graphically depicted in modern cinema
as I struggle to awaken, on the horizon
a horde emerges, crashing through the lines
rushing at me, a bullet passes through
the lens of a camera,
shattered glass
and the screen fills up with blood

~ ~ ~

Ode Of The Refugee Mother

Kabul is on fire
and we are all

I have given two sons
as martyrs
one of them was hit by a rocket
and blown to bits
he was only twenty
his brother was eighteen

My niece, a little girl of 3
lost her hands
and one eye
to a land mind,
it looks like a plastic toy

What can I say?
I've had enough of these people
and their holy war

~ ~ ~

A Christmas Prayer For Peace
  (Find your own punctuation)

out of history's looking glass
through a distant house of mirrors
they are marching with death
their only intent neatly ordered
densely packed and lawless
starvation their only harvest
higher taxes and ruin
their only successes
marching through the centuries
they return these bloody brigands
in the guise of our ownly defenses
ferocious maggots and terrible worms
wielding "Mattel" it's swell toy weapons
wrapped warmly in cold steel
titanium cocoons under the tannenbaum
incubating tanks and missiles
multiplying with frightful confusion
only too real father yuletide
sorry santa, if it sounds too surrealistisch . . .
but you can hear the children whimpering
this year, I want for christmas . . .

yet, the baby Jesus knows all we want
this year and forever
is the quiet
total extinction
of the warrior classes
or at least their bloody profession
at every point on the compass

~ ~ ~


And we would be birds of the universe
using metallic gliders, frisbee like
to fling ourselves hurtling across
unimagined lifetimes
riding the jet streams of the stars
inter-galactic winds
far into non-euclidean realms
inside ourselves

While in fact our servants of death
build dark atomic whales of destruction
(just think of the jobs they've created)
they strive to carve new empires
in the hopeless mind, fragmented world
bound by interlocking defensive networks
leviathan systemic madness
infecting us all . . .

So long as these kings still hold their armies

we are all prisoners

          of war

~ ~ ~

Skating Figure Eights . . .

This first death came in spring
to prove to real, that life beyond
and after a sort, must forever
continuing be . . .
undone and oozing pain
out of every crack
and ruptured soft of gray, still smashed
against the popcycle brittle neurons
of one's own delusions packed in dry ice

These small casualties . . . striking out
in a sense, freeze you in your tracks
and stiffen your back for months on end
but you will continue to function

Then their words (of encouragement or not)
will resound hollow, as your cries for help
from within . . . the meat packers cold storage box . . .
and you know that you are really out to lunch

On the second mourning, you say
you come to it, this tomb, to find the stone
rolled back, and the damage was gone?

Well, for Christ sake . . . don't be surprised,
for here be we all, but nailed to the cross
roads of the universe . . . with no end in sight.

~ ~ ~

Pluperfect Here
that we are here manifest . . .
that in itself . . .
that which gentle binds
with message
smiling surges, warmth of spring
that warmth of snuggled in your arms
that luminous and glowing
accessible, flows
even at its lowest ebb,
rains triumphant returning
. . . that unnamed silent plotting
that with laughing eyes
to that
all . . .
(this and more)

Before The Rapture

before the disappearing
four plagues, clothed in bleak newsprint
return with deadly aim . . .
their horsemen raid in titanium chariots
or iron pigs, there, unmuffled idling
ceramic hardened, off in the distance,
many buried up to their turrets,
like desolated castles in the sand
in the deserts of time buried, beneath an open sky
burning campfires, mark the distant standoff,
two armies encamped in the desert
preparing to burn in hell.


their horseman thrive on radiation
hawking the continued production of plutonium
and other fissionable materials
beside the pristine dawning brook,
this alarming diversification of high tech
weapons and destruction guaranteed to drive
into extinction countless species of birds,
insects, microbes, and amphibian friends
disappearing: lost in space, lost
to the seeping tenacity of radioactive, chemical
wastes, contaminants suppressing all life, beside
a flourishing proliferation of the nuclear club . . . .
there horsemen ride in hydrocarbons . . .
chemi-suits, rubber boots
and masks, all are standard issue.
cloaked in techno-science slogans, green revolutions
buying precious time, spewing newer gasses,
sewing death, sterilizing the soils, flooded
in suicidal mists of chemical intervention.

warning, as if you don't already know,
PCB's and other such substances
act negatively on children,
pets, and every friendly ecosystem
. . . shrinks away, cursing . . . .
so forebodes the rapture
the unexplained disappearance
of countless sacred orders
these angels – these messengers of God
reaching out in dismay – confidently groping for
an end to these plagues


but these horsemen ride on half-truth lies . . .
beneath the sheets concealing their true identity
in halftone images, public relations
scams and ploys, pooled correspondents,
need to know ethics, poisoning intrigue, violence
and high finance . . . dumping their creativity
on the dawning meadow's brook, endangered life forms.
calmly alert, warming her brood, confident in her song
a mother's complex nesting shrill, proposes
the hatchling's insistent chirp,
perched at the center of their world,
sways in outstretched arms
a sapling's stark branches
arched stubbornly open
receptive, asserting
beholden only to
that all . . .
all this
and more

that we are here manifest . . .
that in itself . . .
that which gentle binds
with message
smiling surges, warmth of spring
that warmth of snuggled in your arms
that luminous and glowing
accessible, flows
even at its lowest ebb,
rains triumphant returning
. . . that unnamed silent plotting
that with laughing eyes
to that
all . . .
(this and more)

~ ~ ~

Too Insane! (Sadam Husein and All The Rest)

          On this, the eve of the oil crusades
and the apparent dawning of a global pax americana
unless we step outside their frame
looking beyond these geopolitical fagins
and their street gang bulls . . .
our eyes cannot see, nor our senses reason
that at every point on the compass we are starving:
running dogs, in tattered clothing, lumbering bears,
in disarray, red yellow dragons, beaten into submission,
over-sensitive frogs, croaking in alarming numbers,
arrogantly rotund roast beef and besotted teutonic adlers,
belligerent yankee eagles, as well, . . . we all
together now, dwell in a hideously grotesque landscape
something painted by Hieronymus Bosch . . .
we all share complicity in a hellish Orwellian nightmare
dreamt by global brokers of the apocalypse
acquiescing, in an outrageously vacuous collusion
with this psycho-pathology of the fertile crescent

          He is, after all, merely a mutant clone
a power junky, emulating the games of the upper classes . . .
a shadowy imitation of these first class buffoons
our rulers, who stockpile tools of massive
destruction, and terribly unnatural death
whose thirst for power, a monstrous illusion
surpasses only their hunger for money
yet another unnatural, insatiable abstraction
filthy lucre, the boon for these merchants of death
locked in symbiotic alliance with these patriotic parasites


          and these, our pathogenic power brokers
well pardon me, but they are blood-sucking leaches . . .
like coke dealers, who've dipped into their own merchandise
and find themselves surprised with a heavy habit;
in league with their arms merchant cronies
together linked like pushers and users
carving up their regional turf
like squabbling school yard children
these adolescent mind racketeers
enslaved in their own games . . .
our rulers are users who deal.
pandering their wares, their nightmares
in the marketplace flexing their muscles
extorting exorbitant fees
for our ownly national defenses
protecting their precious sovereignty . . .
these neighborhood bullies
looking out for their own kind
preserve their privileged status
by intimidating their victims
their constituency
and that means you and me . . .
and aren't you as sick as I am
of using war for the solution
to the world's problems?

~ ~ ~

The Messenger

out of this windy gray icebox
through rain and clouded skies
through the Ides of March
the equinox awakens her brood
emerging, with no apologies
her message reels and turns
and jigs across the heavens
an astronomical hard fact, unfolding . . .
racing toward Andromeda
steadily marching up the hemisphere
reflected in every bit of light
from every candelabra
and every candle stick
in all the forms of life
cradling the negentropic fires
in this known region
of the cosmos

~ ~ ~

An Oracle in Ancient Runes

would be included
among today's remembered sages,
work with Merlin's alchemy . . .
master the alphabet of trees
and refine the druid's trick of aging
skating backwards
through time
growing younger,
epistemic soma
embodied and attuned to
etching eternity's icecapade
in progressive figure eights
scratch your karmic visions
peaceful anarchist wishes
upon the illustrious

~ ~ ~


The Message is Neither
Lost nor Hidden

Only on Occasion
but briefly
like quicksilver

the fires of life
that light in our gut

but just
outside the spheres

of sense and vision

~ ~ ~

The Earth Never Sleeps

Smile at the new born day
And praise the rain that falls
For the earth never sleeps . . .
Her swirl of sustaining
Constitutive elements
Cradle us within      the celestial crib
Woven of breathtaking      complex
Rushes      gathered      by the river bank
Tarred and set loose      in back water
Marshes of the universe      where
The deity and her daughters
Bathe in nourishing elegance
Without rest . . .

Rather than worship barbarous electricity
Power      and mere light bulb energy
Manifest in centralized network grids
I cherish our relationship
With      prepositions to
The eco-sphere      and us
In Eco-mind embodied
Our deity's fleshing, systemic grace
And often terrible judgment
Balancing paternal
Evolving      epistemic      steady state . . .

Smile at the new born day!
And praise the rain that falls!

~ ~ ~

At the Hearth

and there, I suppose
behind closed doors
gentle but imposing giants sit
and chat, in quiet repose
and respectable contemplation . . .
at times meditating, or perhaps chanting
ancient ritual prayers and mantras . . .
     conversing in oblique but strangely familiar tones
of eloquent imagination
debating and deciding
important matters of principle
thoughtfully envisioned and composed
in friendly arguments, augmented and expressed
as grand orchestrations
     woven in an unspoken key of wisdom
with every string left unthread, yet singing
everything important, left unsaid
yet expressed in these patterns
redundant themes
and levels of sensuously algorythmic abstraction . . .
     which we perceive, and live
and behold! in all its resplendent glory
life's multidimensional matrix      spherical loom
self healing      tautology
embroidering rich      musical tapestries
woven differing      grains and textures
of rhythm, tone, and time . . .
the ecomind

~ ~ ~

Epigenetic Mitosis
Creation Myth the Ecomind

At the edge, of our unrecorded time
they meet in sweet salt earth and air
within her lair of sod and supplication
princess gamete and a single chosen suitor
And there, they come together      embracing
a sublimely dialectic implosion . . .
And there they pause, chromatically entwined
for a day and a half, in eternity's grasp, preparing
plotting their joint offering, to yet another
new days dawn . . .
As earth's own zygote,
in calm, certain hesitation, they rest
comparing their share of life's mysterious modulations
unraveling previously encoded epistemic duets
singing their ancient ballads of epic proportion.
Once united      when their melodies indeed truly fit
these two come as one      intricate unfettered mitosis
releasing algorythmic networks of gnosis
metaphoric syllogisms      now melded
in exquisite harmony      unfolding
prochronisms      polishing
their quicksilver      mirrors
echoing      glorious memories
meticulously detailed      diaries
built upon      past      successes
and preparing for
who knows

~ ~ ~


Starlight darts across your forehead
With light-years streaming from your eyes
We sit together, through an afternoon
Sparkling, and melding together
That kind of perfect spring day
Through which timelessness glides
Over trade-wind breezes, even in the city
A more relaxed mood prevails, or was it
Simply your presence?

So tell us
Oh cursed, impenetrable
Distances of this universe
Where, outside of mind
Is your location?
And why, your vast expanse
So seldom traversed?

Oh, how I long
To close that gap
Even in a memory
How very far its seems
This brief space
Across the seas of mars
Across this picnic table . . .

Are these subatomic realms
Between us,
Locked in our eternal embrace?


How very far it seems
The milliseconds in between us
Even in memories icecapade
These fleeting connections
With eternity, a rare gift
(indeed), even a blessing. . . .

God, I could just gaze
Into your eyes

~ ~ ~


          At the thresholds of our knowing
     Fleeting impressions of life's elegant orchestration
In ascending and descending, spiral staircases
        Organic imprints
In a formal minuet of recognition
   Dancing tracers, convergent, colliding
             Merging      abstracts . . .
Information, compared and combined
Unleashing and preserving life's morphogenesis . . .
   Concurrently held with-in natural history's uncanny wisdom
And knowing, always within time
     A slide-rule screw coiling up on its side
          A sidewinder biting its tail
        Contracting, expanding
     Shedding its skin
In the nick of time, turning in upon itself
     Ball of smoke
          Sphere of earth and water
               Our planetary household
                    the ecomind

~ ~ ~

July 25, 1980

by city street lamp
the lawn sprinklers' damp spray
waters our night,
cascading saxophones
and delights in my thirsting senses.

a blue moon and full
she smiles and lulls
the dreams of truth and light,
the pale blue and wintry white
of pearlessence.

in the silence
the white goddess sings,
bright guitar solos without strings
and dancing a slow dance, rains velvet
her beams of crisp illusion.

such a moon
that by my rights
it rains a dew like misty light
summer softly speak

~ ~ ~

Along The River Road
(This Table Sat Drinking Coffee Strangers)

driving the road along
the river remembers two
who at a bus stop cold
in midtown met, then at
this table sat, drinking coffee, strangers
deciding yes
to cast their nets
upon each others'

Alicia's Cowherd

and after . . .
you lay weary beside me,
your skin soft as the underside of a leaf.

earlier we had watched the patterns of waves.
then, walking back through the park;
you said the moon, so round and yellow,
seemed to be perched on that roof;

and I remembered
it was the night the cowherd,
stepping on sparrows, crossed the heavenly river
to meet his princess.

I watch the freeway moving under:
the lines of headlights on the left.
my fingertips stiffen on the steering wheel
and I think of you alone,
in the laundromat at midnight

~ ~ ~

Miracles With A Human Face

. . . . . at the end of November, ten peaceful days
And the roses, just now blooming, light the frozen night!
Ten days in November, and at long last the Spring returns
To Prague . . . at long last, in the ancient city
Resurrected, the people of infinite thought
Have brought a blizzard, a freezing wind of freedom
Blowing through an ice blue frozen jewel, the Spring,
An Urquell, emerging in the faces of Bohemia. Each one
A snowflake, an arch light, a speck of frozen white
Liberating the cobblestone alleys, with candles and flowers
Smothering the boulevards of night
Bringing back the light of Spring, bringing back the dead
and their roses, and dreaming
Whence we have never dared to dream, redemption . . .
Where what's true one day
Is not true the next . . Changing hour to hour
The aging actors, people's poets, artists, students
And the playwrights waiting (no longer) in the wings
Through the long night to Spring, against all hope
The true folk heroes, re-emerging, refusing to die
The people of Tschechoslowakei, a striking phoenix
Sculpted in ice . . . and in their lead, just as in a fairy tale,
Vaslav Havel, alive and well, with our hopes
At the Urquell of Central Europe

~ ~ ~

Bringen Zurück Die Toten

Bringing back the dead.

Bringing back their hopes
well dreamed,
as well as their wishes, for life and love
prosperity and wisdom, eternal

And can we not recognize this sense
unfolding, within the dawn of a new life, within
our sure and certain hope in the resurrection?

Bringing back those sweet hopes
prayers and mantras
countless, our father's, nembutsu, hail marys
mother of grace, king milanda's questions
blessed saints, diamond discourses
self-lessness, giving ethics
this day our daily bread . . .


Bringing back our best intentions (so often run amok)
Approximating love and justice, missing the mark
Forgiving grace, refining our aim; that clarity
of a new order, of countless transformations
The scales falling away from our eyes
The scales jolted, tumbling into chaos . . .
Returning on balance in sublime homeostasis
Lamentations, Supplications
Steady state
Tempered with humility

The workers, in these fields of endeavor
      Remain . . .
However, unattached
To the fruits
Of their labor, they are
Awaiting our presence
In the garden

~ ~ ~

Knowing, Knowing, Known

Print a chrome steal piston ring
under strobe-lights, on an axis spinning . . .
a ball emerges, suspended, unillumined depths
as multi-layered thresholds, our point of entry
defines the planes of bilateral symmetry
in two hands held, sensation, surges
relative to the speed of light.

Wise and fractured images, focus
as harmonic's multi-patterns dance
transparent twine-ing spheres of diamonds, glowing
sparkle wraparound within space and time
convergent . . . eccentric smoke-ring globes
merging organic wholes, osmotic
membranes evolving an epistemic fusion.

Inclusive mental systems all
locate mind outside, and within
the skin . . . cooking fogs of mossy soups . .
blending perceptor conceptions . . .
released upon pre-encoded signal circuitries
networking beings, societies, and
larger systems home, . . . . . together

all within incommensurably differing grains of time.


Self-referent group-recursive habitual
assumptions validated or superseded
from within the web and net of differentiated
societies of "individuals,"
classes of such, and classes of classes
of this search and sorting through forms
for harmony, . . . . . together

forever disclosing emergent morphogenesis.

Dolphins leaping forward in liquid space
diving through a sapphire only they can see,
a habit, enfolding progressions in a story . . .
an infinite regression of relevant contexts
maturation and concrescence,
coral calcifications, building cities . . .
and the reef appears at who's pace,
on who's timecard, to what end?

~ ~ ~

With the Almighty + Nothing is Caused
Everything is + Not Because Of
But within + the Lord

Is it not, he thought . . .
A process of mind; primarily a shared knowing
The sum total of all, these seemingly random events
Bonded by selective chance, within proscribed parameters.

Then our possibilities, in time, (sein oder gar nichts sein)
Need only be imagined in this, our mental/material world system

I believe so . . .
And, is it not that, which we do not know
Having seen through and beyond the didactic
Lectures' pretentiousness, which is about
All we really do know . . . . .

Is it not indeed the vast gaps
In our knowing, to which we refer
With awe and reverence
With that three letter word
Or any other designations of the sacred?

(you know, GOD is a four letter word in German)

Then what we affirm through life, and Christ
Jesus, faith, is something like . . .
The working of the random in history
And evolution is an attempt on the part
Of the entire mind system to create
Love      in a steady state.

~ ~ ~

Who Decides

Upon what ethereal wings
with which stochastic trajectory
did we soar to this global island?
Through what extended dance of elocution
did we discover our flight redundant . . .
and finding our ability to soar
the solar winds of imagination
squandered, are we now marooned here
in some cul de sac after our own fashion
overspecialized in self
deception, and destined like some
mammalian dodo, to play out
the certainty of our own extinction

Is that why we envy
in our metaphors and totems
the eagle and the humming bird?

~ ~ ~

Consciousness Sketched

consciousness stretched
enfolding flexible partaking
in combined interaction
cognitive constructs
necessarily autonomic
autopoietic unconsciously
processing logical types
unfolding wrap-around
in dialectic calibrations
shared mutual causality
our collective environs
plotting and projecting
simultaneously sculpting
being . . . each of us
painting our colorfully
collective images
of this world

~ ~ ~

Untitled: Homeostasis

balanced but wobbling
on the scales of elation
and disinterest      teetering
in matrix of cognitive           accessible
reference marks, not quite random
in harmonics and dissonance
progressively localizing      reeling
clusters of perceptive activity
gathered in transcription
digested         shunted around
and through increasingly abstract
levels of spherical logic and difference
all, globally localized
inter-nets of health
and collective

~ ~ ~

Anchored in Grief

How to untie this senseless knot
it aches like blazing dry ice
double bound and lodged in my solar plexus
head in my hands, unable to cry
with cast down quiet eyes
bowed in cascading rage and disbelief

At the evening news
I moved down slowly to the street
pushed my back against the aging silver maple
squeezed between the sidewalk and the curb
limbs out stretched, defiantly arched
reaching for the constellations
in the pitch dark emptiness
of the night's unending horizon
How do I mourn your passing
How shall I mourn this savage murder?

Plant flowers in new turned soil
Recall the chickadee, golden finch and titmouse
their beauty, their exuberant songs
keep the memory of your fiery eyes
your enthusiasm and your goodness
burning brightly

~ ~ ~

The Epistemic Screw

Can we be much more
than planetary sleuths
Probing life's own investigation
Itself, a vision quest through knowing/being
Apprehending in random historical drift
Delimited and proscribed
Within limited sensory options
In this search for a reasonable quest
(with our private eyes and communal ties)
for a fitting object of our affections . . .

Doesn't this screw of knowledge
Turn on a horizontal axis
A rolly coaster ride
From chicken to egg
Through countless generations . . .
Our exploration parties grope
Through progressively abstract
Levels      of logical type
Through ageless labyrinths
Of contradiction and paradox
Nested in hierarchies of context
Perceived difference, domains of distinction
And the incessantly shifting sands
Of linguistically determined
Communal agreement

~ ~ ~

Casting Nets Into the Ocean

i'd like to leave 
           the solar system 
                      for a four month's holiday . . . . . 
                                a cruise, or a cure 

for just one night, to sail 
          a pioneer explorer's craft 
                     through the atmospheric threshold 
surfing the edge of the sun's 
          expanding rays 
                    into the black unchartered abyss 
                              between the galaxies 
                        beyond where daemons lie 
            wandering the milky way . . . . . . . 

                          . . . encountering starsystems, 
                      every million years or so; 
breathing rippling tides 
         in these round, celestial blowfish 
                   pulsating in and out, 
                              stretched taut by shock waves 
                                         moving throughout the membrane 
                             from year-long stormsystems 
                raging upon, and across 
the solar face of life 

tossed into the cosmic sea 
            i'd do breast strokes side to side 
                       catch the rays 
                                  on white sand beaches 
and float on my back . . .

~ ~ ~

(the state of being eternally expectant?)

We grope through gray skies
and nocturnal expectations
guided, in parameters proscribed
in sense and season
Through wondrous realms of cartography
analogies of pattern
beyond our understanding
or control

~ ~ ~

Coffee at Day's End

Seated on the front steps
a cup of black coffee
greets the day's end
Above and to the west
that white crescent
rising on a field of topaz
an astronomical hard fact
A setting so clear
its transition
from aquamarine
to darkness
passes unnoticed
In the night sky
the Hale Bob comet lumbers along
its earth-year trajectory
plotted in fourteen thousand
recursive units
Re-appearing at regular intervals
humbly re-seeding this quadrant
home of a seemingly inconsequential

~ ~ ~

Minimal Holisms

We know this world
too often, in fits and hazy fogs
through our own failures
and overcompensation

We know this world
too often focused
in parallax, bifurcated visions
myopically cramped into a living cell
marooned on this third orbit from the sun

Imagine, our vast solar system
adrift in the milky way
the planets, asteroids and satellites
visited intermittently by comets
all spawned of cosmic dust
In full view of the cosmos
from dust created
from ethereal thin air
from fiery earth, and mud and water
From which we can just barely venture
escaping to the moon or mars
Nor are we able to plot and steer
the course of this our mother earth
adrift in the milky way . . .

Of all this, I know not
the ultimate levels
of regularity and abstraction
Only that we must evoke a heart/mind
of wisdom and humility, enough
to contrive a humbly more viable
elastic and sustainable response
Garnered, not chiseled in stone
from within our limited understanding
a flexible ethos of co-evolution

~ ~ ~

For Ma Bale, For Valentine's Day

For the mother who gave us
California poppies
The redwoods in spring
Weekends at Seacliff State Beach
in October
And in the August might, Mt. Diablo
Contra Costa
"Paradise in a Nut Shell," Walnut Creek
Summer heat
Excursions to Golden Gate Park
Fisherman's Wharf
Chinatown and Seal's Point
Salt water taffy
"Ripley's Believe It or Not"
Life with a California Poppy
Love and Fond Remembrance
For the mother who gave us
Life . . .

~ ~ ~


Give us an aging car
an open road, a map
and a navigator
And we'll fly the whites lines
in odd and even numbers
Across the concrete ribbons
toward the widening horizon
we'll fly
As far as the eye can see . . .

I'll sing you cowboy songs
and ballads of my youth
we'll play the alphabet game
Rock slide down oak creek canyon
we'll cross the great divide
Explore the parched badlands
and the painted desert
We'll visit the garden of the gods
read verse on the run
by the side of the road
Burma Shave
And marvel
At the wedding of the waters

~ ~ ~

Dearest Ma

A velvet lupine, among golden poppies
Lavender, your favorite color
Surrounded, encompassed
Thriving, In California Gold . . .

The Costal Wonders
along Rt. 1, winding
North to Fort Ross
or South to Nepenthe
The giants of Big Basin

A delicate monarch hugging
the clouds of coastal mist
At Pebble Beach and on
along the cliff's edge
To San Luis Obispo, rolling hills
and beyond to Santa Barbara
Beside the giant banyan – where it all began

With the seeds of wild flowers
the majesty of Sequoia
and the flight of Butterflies
We've crisscrossed the state
and half the country . . .

May these images return
Some of the joy and beauty
You've shared along the Highway
on this your birthday

~ ~ ~

Ma's Birthday, A Reminiscence

I remember, not so long ago, after a week in Oregon
With Steve and Pam, Barry Roy, Brett and the Boys
We sailed your clackity diesel Old's
        back through my childhood
                where it had snowed on Easter Sunday .  .  .

Back through the logging country — Through clear June skies
Past oceans of evergreen — redwood, spruce, ceder and pine
Through Medford and Ashland, Southeast
        Over Grant's Pass
On cruise control, we drifted into the moonscape and
Barren shadows of Mt. Shasta and Lassen, like old times
Together, talking about everything
        we rushed through Redding
                went around Red Bluff
Stopped for gas, some coke and refreshment
And floated into the sweltering heat
                of the Sacramento rice crop . . .

At the capitol city our path veered left
        East northeast     Up the Sierra Nevada to Truckee
                And beyond, to Northshore Lake Tahoe!

Remember the goofy floor show?
A topless chorus line of hapless dancers
and two Spectacularly bronzed acrobats
        Refigees from muscle beach . . .

Remember the three dollar slots
Our passion! And our glee!
Our hands gun metal grey, as the day passed
        and water turned to wine
We beat the one armed bandits!
Sixty loaves became six hundred
        and financed my first semester
                at Theological School

~ ~ ~

Annabelle Jean Elisabeth

Extra ordinary that solar flare
That set alight the northern skies
With particle dancing waves
What you might call the night rainbow
It's shimmering vermilion
Like rare brush strokes
Exalting the heavens . . .
Drapes of sheer energy
Sway mysteriously across
Ptolemy's crystal spheres
Weaving ghostly cloud like
Transparent curtains in the heavens
They embrace the stars
And bless the night

It was that same solar flare that
Broke your water and brought you to our door
That set flowing this pattern of love, no less
Mysterious, from which two weeks before
Untimely ripped
from her mother's womb
Our daughter, Annabelle Jean Elisabeth
Both particle and wave embodied
Danced into this continuum
In an algorithm of life glorified

And who can truly comprehend the Northern Lights
Or discern the messages of Aurora Borealis

~ ~ ~

Jeremiah Lawrence

             Sweet and sour daydreams, all our hopes and fears
     in another sunrise, an infant        uncertain . . .
                ambiguous as the ripening mangos
                        skin and flesh
                                bones and teeth
                soft as a baby's bottom
        mu shu puzzled dawning
               awakens frazzled, and wrenched
                   Joyful,         as we celebrate
                           a new life
                   and simultaneously
             face this shit
that it inevitably hurls in our face . . .

~ ~ ~

Mid-Summer Night Maneuvers

There, at the threshold of order and chaos
He stood transfixed, not thinking . . .
Just beyond the cover of old growth
Maple and Elm
Beyond the internal dialogue, he stood
Encompassed in the silver gray mantel
Of this morning's damp stillness . . .

Bathed in subtle hues of
Whistler's delight
A procession of fireflies
Floating on the high breeze
Just above the tree tops
Sparkling chartreuse diamond blue . . .
Translucent lightning bugs, arching electric white
Twinkling organic aircraft, their running lights
Displaying ostensibly an arbitrary component
With integral strobe light precision
Flashing hypnotic messages
The ageless exuberance of winged courtship
Married to the mysterious symmetry of their dance
Defining random sequence

~ ~ ~

Morphogenic Resonance

This concept, itself
Comes back as an echo
On a noisy loop
Through distorted echoes
Coiling back on recursive nets
Where hierarchies and holons join
Nested in the spiraling
Double coiled messages of life . . .

Stories in a book
Recording the limitations of growth
Preparing the way . . .
Cultivating and nurturing memories
In the petals of the rose
In the bounty of the lotus

~ ~ ~

Ours Is the Living

We were not here to know
The assuredness of infinity
Nor to predict and record
The fall of this house of cards

And isn't every millisecond
The whole of abstract distinction
Of genesis, revelation, and apocalypse
Of mind?
And what does Andromeda
Or for that matter Venus
   of space and time?

What sphere        outside of life
And are we,        all of the living
The world soul
Are we not        predisposed
To ferret out and re-cognize
Amidst the random chaos
Order and redundancy?

~ ~ ~

Everyday Mundane

In the rapture of nature's hermeneutic
In that balancing act circle
Of chicken and egg corresponding
Adaptations of consistency
In DNA spiraling
Linked in crystal ball
Regularities, supposition
And liquid certainty
In the swirl of the earth's
Elated rotation

~ ~ ~

Shy Titmouse

Bird calls ricochet through the crescendo
Of cicadas, crickets and barking squirrels
Old friends compose this summer's tone
Familiar sounds embellishing Vivaldi's cellos
Or, Horowitz at his piano in the background

Shy titmouse
Silver gray at the wind
Delicately clutches our feeder
Displays her burnt orange patch of anterior fluff
And turns to straight
Look me in the eye
Two steely jet pinheads
Deep as the cosmos . . .
Sweet suet in her beak
She releases her grip and full of grace
Glides back to her red maple

~ ~ ~

Proto Post Modern Blues: (Kay Why Zee Why El)

Tell ya what we're gonna do . . guitar lick
We're gonna get down, with Richard Feynman
Yeah! goin' down to Touva
In Central Asia, goin' down
Like the Statesboro Blues . . .
a little harmonica please
Slide, bottleneck steal whine
Down to Tanu Touva
In the middle of Asia
Somewhere, just outside of outer Mongolia
With Richard Philip Feynman . . .
Pulsed and mingling, his wild congas blend
With throat singers, intoning chromatic
Pop melodies, cryptic jazz of the steppes, obscure
Archetypes of a proto post modern blues

Just consider, he says, as observed from the earth
Venus returns . . . to that same spot in the sky
In multiples of five hundred and eighty four
Days; and the moon . . . the moon eclipses
With the regularity of a law,
An astronomical hard fact,
Relative to space and time
As we are able to understand it . . .


It is, he says, those "things" that do not neatly fit
Which are, pausing to think, most interesting
For then, you see, we must investigate
These . . . shall we say . . . anomalies
Hopefully to discover a new dimension . . .
A new level of explanatory simplicity
Integrating, Unifying and Producing
A more comprehensive and reliable map

Tanu Touva, in the mid dle of Asia
Somewhere . . . mixing it up
With wild Congas, yearning . . .
Just outside of Outer Mongolia
In central Asia with Richard Philip Feynman
Dancing, crazy, under a bright blue moon
And when, because of the time warp
Between your home
And Stockholm
The Nobel committee call comes at 3 A.M.
Waking you up, as it were,
From the dead . . .
And you took it all as a joke, hanging up
On the Nobel prize for mathematics
or was it physics?


Laughing out loud, anyplace
With a capital city named Kyzyl
(Kay Why, Zee Why, El)
Has got to be interesting . . .
Against insurmountable odds
The whole idea is to have an adventure, or bust a gut
Chasing those spores of exploration . . .
For as we should know, you cannot fool
With mother nature

Proto post Feynman.
Modern man blues.
Two beats, in moiré rhythm
creates three
Our world
An adventure . . .
Oboes and Cellos
Still, we live with death . . .
Oh death, Our life, Our world is flush
With uncountable opportunities

~ ~ ~


would my words be truer . . .
        written on ancient parchment
                hidden through the centuries
        in aging earthen jars, in some forgotten
                        Syriac or Coptic script

would my words be truer . . .
        written on quicksilver, or mirrors,
                the readers peering back at themselves,
                        between, as if from behind
                                the lines of communication
                                            attempted . . .
                            or in a black bold face type
                        written on transparent sheets;
            glass, hung in a modern museum of freaks . . .
                    or plastic, bound with 10lb. fish line

would my words be truer . . .
        written in sand or granite,
                esoteric secrets of the heart and mind
        combined as truly as a tear is
much more than the mechanical pumping . . .


would my words be truer . . .
      much more than an intellectual thing
            so easily misunderstood, lost or soon forgotten
                  rediscovered in every girl or boy
         who laughs out loud, shrieks and
              shouts of joy . . .
                            who's made to feel
                    uncomfortably different
                                discovers at last
                                    in words
              of past and present, while we suppose a future,
              truth        in words        (when there be)
                      is wed to actions, contexts

        each being differs
                being their own song an' dance
                        practiced, refined and edited
                               their own poetry
written on the solar winds
in time

~ ~ ~

Untangling Organic Koans

Crickets and cicadas sound
August with open windows
Squirrels barking         Summer's end

Adrift, as we are, in this sea of chaos
         At the boundaries of each specific frame
We can taste and consume the messages
         Recycle their colors as sound
And fashion the harmonics of love

At the boundaries of each fractal
         Nothing appears to be moving
Yet we share with each other
         These discrete items of infinite variety
Increased complexity, elegance and ordered simplicity

Within this specific frame
         At the boundaries of our six senses
Love and compassion forge life
         And we hold with all the living this sense of awe
In the shared recognition of order, emergent pattern
         Ratio and degree

Crickets and cicadas sound
Winter's silence with open arms
Embracing         Christmas pheasant
With all the fixings

~ ~ ~

Restoring the Gordian Knot

        silent mind
            a quiet lake . . . . . . .
        a mirror, reflecting the seasons'
full moon . . . moon light! in all its moods
        a reflection, fading, disappearing over the tree tops —
                reflecting life's passage, returning
                        tomorrow, and tomorrow, forever
                                fulfilling the cycles, in silence
             noise, . . the thinking pebble drops
                        into the mirror lake
                                mind waves (silence stops)
                self . . . concentric circles
                    without any center
                       . . . Silence

silence is but a word
depicting a time
when there should be no words
not even in your mind . . . . .
only awareness

                                        the only trouble with silence
                                (and for that matter, awareness)
                        is that you cannot read it out loud . . .

~ ~ ~

Remembering Gregory . . .

But epistemology is always and inevitably personal.
        The point of the probe is always
                in the heart of the explorer:
        What is my answer to the question
                of the nature of knowing?
        I surrender to the belief
                that my knowing is but a small part
                    of a wider integrated knowing
                  that knits the entire
                            or creation.

So the conch shell carries
         the snail's prochronism
– its record of how,
         in its own past,
                  it successively solved
         a formal problem
                  in pattern formation.

Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature:
                                  A Necessary Unity

~ ~ ~

Lawren Bale lives in Narberth, Pennsylvania with his wife Martina and their daughter Annabelle Jean Elisabeth (born 11/11/2001). The youngest of three brothers, Bale was raised in rural California and attended the University of Hawaii. He has worked in the potato fields, apricot sheds, super markets, and wilderness forests of Southern California.

After completing his BA in Religious Studies (Asian), Lawren was a carpenter for a year. After he broke his leg at work, he used his workman's compensation to finance a journey to Bangkok, where he practiced meditation as a bhikkhu during 1974-75, under the guidance of Pra Thepsiddhimuni – head of Vipassana Meditation at Wat Mahadhatu, a university of the Mahanikai sect of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand.

In 1976, Bale traveled to Japan, and practiced meditation with Ten Dai Buddhists on Mt. Hiei. He then moved to Kyoto, taught English, and sold hand made leather goods of his own design (jackets, trousers & sandals), while studying Japanese culture.

In 1980, Bale returned to graduate studies at Marquette University in Milwaukee. He was invited to study with the Jesuit faculty at the Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Sankt Georgen in Frankfurt, Germany in 1981. While living in Germany he learned to appreciate Guinness Stout and Irish pipes, and he met his wife.

Upon his return to America, Bale completed his MA at Marquette and transferred to Temple University in Philadelphia. He taught at Temple and Rutgers University, while writing his Ph.D. dissertation (Ecology of Mind in Interreligious Dialogue), which he completed in May 1994. In his classes, his aim was to fuse academic rigor and poetic imagination, while raising questions about war and peace, poverty, pollution, overpopulation, human sexuality, love and the environmental crisis.

Bale began writing poetry while attending the University of Hawaii, during the Vietnam War. Down 'n Out Press has printed four volumes of his verse: Prochronisms; Proto Post Modern Blues; Ecomind; and Termites Tribal March & Midtown Charity Ball. His poetry has also been published in several anthologies; the journal, "Cybernetics & Human Knowing;" and on the Internet.

copyright © 2005 Down 'n Out Press All rights reserved

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional

lsb – 05/05/2012