Sunday, May 28, 2017

Revisiting "Up the Mtn" page 5

         Page five #168. For me this poem speaks to embracing rather than fighting the good fight, until death overwhelms you. I think it speaks to embracing the illness that may one day claim my life. embracing the pain, the physical, the emotional pain. Embracing our spiritual essence that is epitomized through yielding to the inevitable, regardless of how long we struggle to stay above water in the air of life, and give way to the beauty of spiritually allowing ourselves to drift and yield into death's waters. Whether we face the chronic decline of death through cancer or an acute death in say a fatal car accident, yielding and letting go just prior to death allows us to release from mortal issues, partners, children, finances, etc. During death it is time to let all of life's issues fall by the wayside. Still most in the Anglo Western World find this extremely difficult to do. They cling and fight the good fight, they cling to children, partners, and life's mundane issues. In doing so we miss out on the most significant experience of our life, our death. Like yin & yang. Missing out on yielding to death, causes us to leave life with unfinished business. All of which some say might cause us to return yet again until we get this death thing right, and move on. 
         Experiencing death alongside someone who is embracing it fully, undistracted by earthly concerns versus someone caught up in earthly issues is a humbling, and spiritually deep experience. If your lucky enough to be with someone when they pass, you might even intangibly sense their spiritual essence leaving their body. This spiritual essence is a universal one, not mired in religious faith or ideology, spiritual death is beyond such trivial issues such as what religion one is or isn't associated with. Death is simply death, it does not discriminate based on ones spiritual or religious views or lack thereof.
        All of this is what I think of when I wrote and now read this poem. If we can drift away like cherry blossoms from a tree, we can be open to what lies beyond life, heaven, hell, or otherwise. Or we can resist it like a rock sinking into a river. Only to be picked up once again and thrown back in again till we get it right. Then, once getting it right we drift, as if we're blossoms in the wind or on a river being carried down stream or across a field into another place, into the beyond.
This isn't what I believe, nor is this what my faith tells me, it's what I know. 

          most beautiful death

   life epitomized while yielding

      drifting cherry blossoms

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Up the Mtn revisited

             Since some of you online have asked me about my book Up the Mtn, I thought I would revisit it's pages here on my blog over the summer. Summer for us here in Alaska has begun. The Grizzly our out again. Bear scat alongside their unmistakably massive clawed paw tracks, are all over the place up here in the Interior of Alaska. I live here in the sub arctic, just south of the Arctic Circle

    Hhere is page one, I hope folks enjoy it.

             This first poem Up the Mtn #256 speaks of the leaves of a tree & or human love. So lovely leaves, our love for leaves, alongside human love are all falling and or ceasing to be as they once were. All of which speaks to the evolution of the seasons, of time, of the maturation of human to human love and our love for leaves. Whether human love grows or ebbs it still matures over time over seasons. Seasonal maturation inevitably ends in a death of some sort. This seasonal death is then followed by rebirth, if not in humans then in leafs. So it is for trees, woman, or nature. 
            The last line, Autumned love, speaks to this theme. Autumned love insinuates death, change, and or maturation. It speaks to change, death, and the inevitable rebirth of life or love come spring. 

            Poem #153 continues #256's theme of foliage.It speaks of death falling and rebirth boughs bud or renewal. It speaks of an endless cycle of death & life, of rebirth, on and on. . . And on. It simultaneously speaks to the nature of nature and the nature of woman. Whether your rooted in dharmic or abrahamic religions or otherwise, it is applicable to all on some level.

          The last poem on this page Up the Mtn #141 deviates a bit from the previous two. It speaks to the aftermath of death, of a tree shedding if you will a pine needleIt speaks to the melding of nature and humanity. It speaks to how nature can insert itself into our daily man made existence upon the tatami. Once this insertion of nature occurs it can pause us. This pause causes us to reflect upon the simplistic beauty nature creates anywhere and everywhere. Here nature acts as an emotional catalyst initiating an aha moment, an emotional reaction to the seemingly mundane in our environment.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

"Up the Mtn" backcover, available for free as an ebook on

leafs of aged grass

drifting between blossoms

cherry petals

ethereal transcendence

perennial ephemera

(My sense's late mother in Kyoto 2006)

Monday, May 8, 2017

Alyeskan Interior #70


winter's   dark - ice - cold - snow

spring's haute couture . . .  blooming

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Up the Mtn #22, book excerpt

melodic woodwinds

thematically swaying      Old Growths      

earthen harmony

woodland ampitheater

forests sensory play

Friday, April 28, 2017

Monday, April 3, 2017

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Up the Mtn #243

pitter patters . . . reign

pine needles spatter my roof

autumn rains

Up the Mtn #143

earth, air, shudder

mountain thunder clap

divine (intervention)

religions irrelevant

humble acquiescence - faith

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Alyeskan Interior #33

shiny n' bright

fresh coat of white . . . snow . . . mild cold

Xenophobic stand



Saturday, January 21, 2017

A (subjectively) racialized view of art forms created and practiced bypeoples of colour, haiku (Part VI)

Miles on understanding, bending, stretching, and breaking artistic rules, forms , & styles
                (mind you this was the mid 1950's)

"Ornette Coleman . . . His musical ideas and ... melodies were independent of styles."
"I started putting the backbeat of the drums out front and on top of everything, like in African Music. In western music, white people at this time were trying to suppress rhythm because of where it comes from - Africa - and its racial overtones, but rhythm is like breathing. So thats what I started to learn in this group (Tony Williams on drums, Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on bass, and Wayne Shorter on alto) and it just pointed the way forward."
(Miles Davis, circa 1950's)

This was Miles's second great (Free) Jazz Quartet. These musicians moved beyond the Bebop (hard bop) Jazz style Miles previously created with his first great (Bebop) Jazz Quartet, on his Kind of Blue album; all of which led to Miles next musical evolution, the creation of Free Jazz.
This musical evolution beyond Bebop into Free Jazz was akin to mastering the oil paints rhythm employed in Bebop's musical paintings, and then creating the rhythm of Free Jazz and painting musically with acrylic paints. Miles created this genre of Free Jazz acrylic musical paintings with albums like E.S.P., Sorcerer, Nefertiti, Miles in the Sky, and Filles de Kilimanjaro.
For me as a haiku/tanka artist rhythm or a predominant "backbeat" in a poem has frequently been discouraged and looked down upon, especially by those strongly invested in the principals of Anglo-Western Academia. For them, to rhyme is frequently associated with a lack of sophistication, or a lack of a refined artistic or literary aesthetic style, well nothing could be further from the truth. 
To find the rhyme or rhythm in a haiku, especially when translating from Japanese into another language is to reveal and retain some of the universal spiritual truth that transcends religion, the divinity within the haiku, because what binds a haiku for me is that universal sense of a backbeat, that literary thematic inflection or rhythm, which transcends the arts, language, music, visual arts, dance, martial arts, culture, ethnicity, race, gender, etc. Discerning and retaining this sense of literary rhythm is as important as finding the appropriate words to translate a poem with, from one language into another. For once you discern an art forms backbeat, it's rhythm, it's universal truth, then the words with which to translate it begin to seek you out. Even Shakespeare's poetry has it's own rhythm, to discern it you have to listen closely to it, rather than just hearing it. It's akin to what Wesley Snipe's character said to Woody Harrelson's character in the film White Men Can't Jump, "Your hearing me, but your not listening to me".
If you look or listen in the right way you can see the rhythm in a Picasso painting, listen, and you'll even see it in a Beethoven Symphony or in a Rapp, read it and you'll feel it in Tony Morrison's work or Shakespeare's Sonnets, or watch it, and you'll sense it in the movements of a martial artist or dancer. That rhythm is not always easily discerned, but it's there nonetheless. The less you try to discern the more your able to discern. 
That rhythm, that backbeat may be more or less diffuse, but its presence is still undeniable to those that are seeking it out, are feeling, sensing, looking and listening for it. It's akin to how a particular individual hears music. I seem to hear more clearly in a higher register, while others might naturally gravitate to more clearly discerning notes, chords, etc in lower registers.
I believe that the great haiku poets of past, present, and future all had/have this sense of rhythm in common. Shakespeare had it, Whitman, Thoreau, Emerson, Neruda, Rumi, Basho, Buson, Issa, Chiyo, and Teneda all had it too. The rhythm in a poem is often hidden, but it's still there, to find it takes immersion into a poets work. It is often during the translation process that the rhythm of a haiku or tanka shines through to a lesser or greater degree, depending on the translator. 
There is also a difference in how we culturally perceive rhythm, it's a perception of rhythm that anyone of any culture can perceive; if only we develop the ability to not just hear things as noise, but learn to listen to them as art, whether listening to Rapp, Classical, or insert your own musical preference here__ . For example I/we can all listen to and find the rhythm in opera, classical, hip-hop, punk, bluegrass, country, etc. To do so it takes time, time immersing oneself in these art forms. we all have this innate capacity, it's nothing special per se, it just requires a relaxed and open mind to do so.
Being more familiar with listening to stressed or unstressed syllables as A-W readers, we as listeners, and observers of art forms can sometimes make it more difficult to discern where the rhythm is. Especially if the A-Westerner has not had some multicultural exposure to listening for the rhythm in culturally divergent music, dance, or language. Yet those more familiar with rhythm, or familiar with discerning pitch or tonal variations in speech, like many non-A-W readers, listeners, or observers, we usually discover finding the rhythm within a piece of art work to be almost second nature.


homeric poetry

African Drumming

written words      derivatives

of cadenced      or-a-to-ry

On thematic literary inflections

                    The backbeat ... the rhythm is like breathing great music ... akin to the oil paint rhythm employed in Bebop and then the rhythm of Free Jazz and acrylic paints.
            For me to find the rhythm in a haiku is to reveal some universal spiritual truth that transcends religions, the divinity within haiku, that universal backbeat, that literary thematic inflection of rhythm, which transcends the arts

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Rise of the Fourth Reich under Mein Trumpf

"The Dark Knight"

Mein Trumpf evoking Bane's Speech 

inagural day

xenophobic hubris

rise of the Fourth Reich 

{Below, an excerpt from a Huffington Post inaugaration day article}

From the Alyeskan Interior #26 (at -52f)


spreading like kazoo

through my door jam

Sunday, January 15, 2017

From the Alyeskan Interior #31

ceiling fan

twirling   cast shadows

the wood stove

aglow with warmth

the Interior.  . . .    my cabin 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Saturday, January 7, 2017

I was first inspired to write a Hondadori in the form of a tanka after first reading and translating the works of these four poets, then again after reading of China's Battle of Red Cliff, and then once more after actually visiting Ashino Japan, I wrote another.

young groove of willows       yanagi no wakai mizo

aside a mtn (top) roadside    yama no michibata sateoki 

a stone spring arise                ishi no haru ni wa saidai sakumuotsu koko de, sukini midori no ha

where skinny green leaves abound     abiund kuruna sundamizu ni

(treading) amidst cool clear waters     kikoma remashita 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Alyeskan Interior #23

                    . . . journey . . .

       begin . . . Outside . . . process

                    end . . . within

Alyeskan Interior #22

winter's solstice

+10 degrees      last year

minus 40

Alyeskan Interior #21

tonight winter's solstice

cold . . . frost . . . tottering

from bough to bough

Saturday, December 3, 2016

From the Alyeskan Interior #5


ice fog, on the precipice 

switchbacks   shear cliffs

studded squirrelly rear wheel drive

Chatanikan      Alyeska

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

From the Alyeskan Interior #13

driving home

eyes drawn - roadside

where Moose drift

even in a car . . . here

nature dictates

Sunday, October 30, 2016

From the Alyeskan Interior #12

suns reflections

zero degrees outside

white flakes in my eyes

hear! Snow machines and mushers

Alyeskan Winters coming