Dreams Suck

I just got up and know already I

will have to take a nap this afternoon.

It isn’t that I didn’t get to sleep

or sleep for long enough last night.

The problem is I slept too long and dreamed

the whole entire time I was asleep.

I’d lost my way in a metropolis.

No matter what I did or where I went

I kept returning to an alley way

that stretched for miles with run down tenements

on either side except it was a street

in Italy. The road was granite blocks

swept clean and washed and ready for the day,

but it was noon and all the shops were closed,

and I was sliding down a tile roof.

If only I could grab the panther flag

I knew that I would find my way again.

But when I reached for it I found that I

was standing on a narrow mountain bridge

above a raging torrent far below,

and I just knew the only way that I

would live would be to jump. I hadn’t any choice.

I don’t know why. I simply had no choice.

The rotten timbers broke. I fell into a cave

or an Etruscan tomb. I wasn’t sure

just where I’d fallen. It was glorious.

Stalactites and stalagmites all were lit

within with golden light and all the dead were housed

in marble palaces. The streets were filled

with silent shoppers. It was Christmas. May.

The trees along the road were in full bloom,

and I was running in a marathon.

My bedroom’s dark and quiet, and I’m glad

that I am finally awake. The dreams

are gone. And when I go to sleep again

I hope I’ll have a dreamless sleep. I’m tired.

Planting Time

It seems appropriate for earth day so . . .

I have decided that today I’ll start

a new tomato crop. I’ve limited

the number of varieties this year

to only nine. I know it’s late

for planting seeds. The stores are selling plants

that look like they’ll be blooming in a week,

but none of them are really what I want.

Their labels simply say they’re Early Girls

and Better Boys and Beefsteaks VFN.

But is there magic found in planting them?

The only thing they’re good for is to eat.

They feed the body only, not the soul

while my tomatoes, they will feed the heart

and body; they will feed the mind and soul.

It least they will if this year they will grow.

Why Collect?

Here it is only the 21st of April and I am already using one of NaPoWriMo’s prompts.

Why Collect?

A rather simple question:


I found myself a clodpate.

Is it love?


I collect Chaucer,

my neighbor cars,

my brother pencil stubs.

Perhaps collecting is

a way of saying

This is who I am.

like eating hot dogs


prime rib.



It came from a San Luis Obispo Journal article on Studios on the Park and original art

Dec., 2014.

Why Buy Original Art?

I was given the task of answering what seems, on the surface, to be a rather

simple question: This Christmas, why should anyone buy an original painting,

watercolor, or relief print? I found myself unable to give a simple, coherent

reply. Uhhh . . . Because . . . Well . . . are certainly simple answers, but are

certainly not coherent, so I asked my fellow artists at Studios on the Park in Paso

Robles, and their responses helped me feel like I wasn’t such a clod pate after all.

Studios artists are all intelligent, thoughtful, creative people; and not one was

able to come up with a simple, elegant answer to the question. It’s as if the

concept of being surrounded by art is so deeply rooted that the not being

surrounded by original paintings or watercolors, drawings or relief prints made

from hard-wood or linoleum blocks is unthinkable to them. Certainly art not

something we need to survive like we need water or food or shelter. Perhaps

instead it is something we need like to love and to be loved. We can survive

without it, but our lives are infinitely enriched when it is part of our lives.

I collect editions of Chaucer. My neighbor collects and restores old cars. I have

friends who’s lives would be diminished if they could not enjoy dining at fine

restaurants. And for some inexplicable reason, I have a brother who collects

those little pencil stubs they give out with the score card when he plays a round

of golf.

Perhaps collecting, being surrounded by what we love is simply part of the human condition, and when we surround ourselves with things we love those things become an extension of our selves; a way of saying “This is who I am.” So maybe having an original work of art hanging on our walls instead of a poster fulfills the same need as having a fresh bouquet of flowers instead of plastic flowers from Michaels. There are places and times for buying a reproduction, but having an original is like the difference between eating a hot dog and eating prime rib.


When you’re infected by the Wacko News

there is a simple cure. You only need

to change the channel. Effort’s minimal.

And all the strident, talking heads are gone.

The “experts” spewing hate, the simpletons

who parrot what the teleprompters say,

the hollow skulls with pretty, painted lips

and drop dead gorgeous skin and hair are gone.

But is another channel just as bad?

It might be better. What if it is worse?

On channel three you get, “Religion’s Right!

Forget about your bible. Truth is here,

and only we can save your mortal souls.”

Another channel says that scientists

are wrong. No matter what the question is

the scientists are wrong. “Just step outside

tomorrow morning. You will see it’s cold . . .

at least it’s colder than this afternoon.

That proves that climate change is just a hoax!”

Another channels says that left is right.

Perhaps the Wacko News infection now

has spread until it is ubiquitous

and we will never hear the truth again.

Addicted to Gambling

It isn’t the beginning or end of a marathon that is the hardest.  It’s the middle where you think you have been going on forever and you don’t think the end is ever going to come.  So it is with  NaPoWriMo and writing a new poem every day.  These days are the doldrums even though I know that in another few days I will be able to see the end and will get a second wind to carry me to the end.  At least I have a new poem for today:


It seems like it’s an easy thing to do.

You take a cutting, stick it in the ground,

and in a couple minutes or an hour

the cutting roots and you’ve a brand new tree.

Well that’s the way it is supposed to work

if we were living in a perfect world.

But it is not. I know it’s not because

my cuttings never root. The simply rot,

but not until they make me think they’ll grow.

They’ll send out leaves, and each time I am sure

that this time surely, certainly, there’s roots.

The tree will grow and soon there will be fruit.

But there are never any roots, and soon

the leaves are wilted, and I know it’s time

to pull the sticks and put them in the trash.

I know that I could buy a grafted tree,

a tree with roots that’s guaranteed to grow,

but where’s the fun in that? I play to dream,

and next year I will play and dream again.

And next year I am certain they will grow.

Waiting on Science

There ought to be a way of doing this.

A simple trick. A key. That’s all I ask.

A way to let me get from here to there

without the stupid interval of time

That makes me wait, that doesn’t let me know

the future now. I am a patient man.

I only want to know the future now.

The trick to reading mysteries is just

to read the ending first, and then if you

don’t like the way it ends don’t read the book.

And if you do, then do. It’s simple, yes?

The same with movies. If you like the end

then watch the film, and if you don’t, then don’t.

So what’s the trick that bends the wheel of time

and lets me know the future now not then?

There’s got to be a trick to know right now

what I will know eventually. I know.

I have been told forever, “Things take time.”

I know they do. I wish they didn’t though.

I wish there was a trick, a way for me

to skip the intervening time and see

exactly what it is the future holds.

There’s got to be a way of doing this.

Failure and Success

So is it really possible to know

that you’ve succeeded or you’ve failed?

I think the answer is both yes and no,

that it depends on what you’re measuring

and how it’s measured. Take, for instance, wealth.

Is failure or success how much you have,

and does it matter how the wealth was gained?

Are lawyers judged by losses and by wins

and only how their clients faired in court?

And what of teachers? Are they to be judged

by how their students do on tests in school?

I rather hope it’s how they do in life.

Has teacher failed if Johnny spent his time

in English drawing pictures if he now

has fifty people working in his shop?

And what about the kid who never did

the work assigned because his mind

was off in Neverland? Did teacher fail

when decades later his photography

and writing is astounding? Did he fail

the student? Did the student fail the class

if everything the teacher tried to teach

is now reflected in the student’s work?

I wonder, but I doubt I’ll ever know.