Poem: Better Angels

love thy neighborhood

Out on errands, out on foot seeing and breathing

whatever passes for Nature

in Hollywood,

I – which means you-me-we-us – you were doing what you always do on gentle mornings

cinematically sunlit from the back:

you were noticing. Walking and noticing

energy organizing in most attractive and repellent ways. Seeing a fraction of the all and, overwhelmed

by the majesty and the emptiness,

the majesty of the emptiness,

you sigh smile

stepping once more into the opposite of the abyss.


Earlier this morning you returned the phone message of

someone who calls you only when she wants something.

(She wanted something; you tried to be generous.)

Later today you’ll rendezvous with

someone who meets you only when he wants something.

(You will try to be generous.)

Now you’re at the stoplight, waiting to cross the Boulevard thrumming with the echoes of Kenyan feet.

Karmic accounting . . . → Read More: Poem: Better Angels


which mask today

Folks who begin sentences about themselves with the word “honestly” are subtly implying that there are times, perhaps many times – this particular time when they’re talking to you being an exception, of course – when they’re not honest. That’s why they’re prefacing their personal revelation with a qualifier, a certification of authenticity. This time, you can be assured, they’re not being dishonest, and it’s good to be reminded.

Honestly, we didn’t think we could ever write an essay this open and vulnerable.

This must be a mistake, we thought. These “honestly” people probably mean to say “candidly.” They’re making what used to be known in the days of Strunk & White as a “usage error.” Since we’re accustomed to hearing passing Runyon Canyon hikers (most of them under-30, most of them female) use the word “like” dozens of times – honestly, dozens! – in a single . . . → Read More: Honestly

Poem: On Watching a Bee Expire in the Garden

bee on the ground



Death and life are interchangeable,

inextricably entwined.

Without a brain there is no thinking,

no motoring of the mind.

Fret not about the end impending

when you suppose you’ll not be able


to kiss and laugh – oh, all the pleasures

almost justifies the pain.

Without a wound there is no succor,

unwelcome drought, cherished rain.

Call it fated, then call it luck, or

consign your dance to humble measures.


But dance you must. And singing! Loudly.

And loving oddly. And now

you see that when the playing concludes

what’s left is not about how

or when you tamed unbearable moods.

No. Embrace your death – and life – proudly.

Poem: When We Make Contact

The Other and Us

When we make contact

with the extraterrestrials, the Aliens as they’re called – the Other in its most foreign form –

when we do, what do you think will happen?

What will you feel?

Relief? Fear? Bewilderment? Ecstasy?

Will they be exactly like us, much improved? Or – and this seems more likely – will they

be nothing like us, magically so?

Who will be more intelligent? More evolved? Who will have

figured out the mystery of the universe most fully?

Could it be us? Would that make you happy or sad?

Will black holes and fifteenth dimensions and all that’s sublime and inscrutable

become known and understood?

Would that make life better or worse for you?

When we make contact with whoever is out there,

anything could happen.

Anything might happen.

And though we can’t quite yet hear their calls across the galaxies, maybe that’s . . . → Read More: Poem: When We Make Contact

Poem: Nostalgia

game players

If it’s not too early,

a bit premature for a fellow not quite ready,

I should like to look backward

on the imaginary continuum of then and now.

How marvelous it would be

to gaze beneficently

upon my childhood,


and maybe weeping softly

at all that’s been lost.


We called it the Court. Forty yards of hard-packed grass.

A giant elm was one goalpost, and a shorter piney thing was the other

and there was an asphalt ring around it

for racing and chasing

and we spent our childhoods there,

inventing games, skinning elbows, making friends, running away and running back

being boys

unable to imagine we would one day miss it all terribly,

as though it were dead,

as though it weren’t still there,

where it’s always been.

. . . → Read More: Poem: Nostalgia



The intent of the documentary “Samsara” is to “illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of the nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.” Birth, life death: and repeat. The director and cinematographer Ron Fricke, working in ravishing 70mm film, guides us through the journey with no words, no dialogue, no voiceover, only exquisite music and imagery of heartbreaking beauty and transcendence. But “Samsara” is not merely a collection of pretty pictures. Fricke successfully manages to explore profound ideas solely through imagery. The film contains visual puns and several strongly sequenced “narrative” threads, particularly our human connection to other animal species. The result is one of the most transcendent works of art we’ve ever experienced.

Poem: Why Not Me?

Walk into the light

My friend the genius musician artist

said: “The three words that define Los Angeles are

Why Not Me?”

The correct question, as any enlightened person could tell you –

and probably would if given an opportunity

no matter how slender or conversationally tenuous, like a run-on sentence in an increasingly ponderous poem – the correct question, of course, is

“Why Me?”

Why have I been so extravagantly blessed with every single thing I have and

don’t have?

Poem: Your Choice

dark or light, you choose

Where you want to put it, fool?

On the dark?

All right.

I’ll say it again: All right.

All right. You know it’s gonna be

all right.

Everything is gonna be all right

even when it’s not.

Perfection includes imperfection.

And that includes you, fool.

Perfectly imperfect worry machine,

forgetting to clean

behind the scene, where we find your centrum, the magic locus,

the secret room where you choose to focus

on the one or the other, the either or the or,

the acceptance of less or the addiction to more,

the sympathetic fight or flight,

the brooding darkness and the eternal light.


Where you want to put it, fool?

On the light?

All right.

Yes. All right.

Poem: Settled Issues

sweet dark berry

The darker the berry the sweeter the fruit.

The higher the thread count the better the suit.

Extraneous issues pretend to be moot.

But inside our dreams they squawk and they hoot.


Now you want to challenge me?

Pay the fee? Catastrophe

of misunderstanding and misoversitting

of petty hair-splitting and imprecise fitting –

it’s coming our way like a tropical storm

heaving and howling and breaking the norm

the usual form

once hot now warm

dispensed with gleefully, wistfully, fitfully, cheerfully.

Knowing the new means knowing the free

means knowing you’re part of the air and the sea

and everything then and all that will be

means knowing that you are actually me.

Poem: Instead of Telling

What's Ahead

Let me show you my gift.

Telling has been discouraged.

If it hadn’t, I would be telling you that I can see into the future, years ahead.

Instead I shall show you my alleged gift, and I’ll hope, as I always do when I remember, that what I share will be useful to you.

I don’t know how that could be, but it’s worth imagining.

Ready steady, Freddy?

Good! It’s all good.

(That was my first subtle demonstration. The second is coming up next).

When you can dream with your eyes wide and the light pouring in and God everywhere –

and yet still however

the magic screen you possess, the one that’s like everyone else’s magic screen

in no way whatsoever – that one! — projects a storypoem

of startling clarity and prescience you’ll one day discover and confirm…

Then you’re me. Hello! Welcome. We’re seeing . . . → Read More: Poem: Instead of Telling