Dad in the Used Dad Section

Last week at
the used book store
I found myself in
a wealth of books
at the moment so I
drifted to the used cd’s
and records. There’s an
art to browsing the music
section. You don’t want to be
the guy that lingers
in one spot forever ’cause
someone might notice the
smell of three day old b.o.
and tzatziki on your breath.
But if you go too fast your
just pretending to browse.
As good faith would have it
I found the only copy of
Ziggy Stardust and knew I
was going to claim it.
I didn’t recognize any of
the titles on the back, but
knew that I’d heard just about
every song on the album.
It’s that kind of album.
My son has known Bowie through
his collaboration with Queen and
has shown some interest in the guy
so I passed it off as a kind of
a gift. I used to think
Bowie was some kind of dyke.
‘Cause that’s what I called lesbians
back then, dykes. Being old enough
to have heard the word and young enough
to throw it around. I regret that,
but also like that regret is
locked somewhere between the
conscious level of having dealt
with it and just having beat myself
up for it. There’s a difference.
I’ve known fifth graders who
wash their hands better than I do.
We listened. That was the gift;
we listened together. And I
realized that as much as I try
to teach the kid with words, with
diatribes, this kind of action—
was the real teacher, the real game changer.
It was a gift to both of us. What’s the word for
the moment between doing something
spontaneous and becoming self conscious?
I’m not exactly sure,
but for now I’ll call it Bliss.

Creation Creating (A Love Poem)

I thought about you,
when you were so tiny,

and how there was
no way I could
have imagined you’d
be the spark
you are today—

though why would I’ve wanted to?
you were perfect then, and
anything you turned out to be
would’ve been perfect too.

I couldn’t help
but realize, while
you pointed out
that a framed-collage
had no baby pictures
of you —

just you’re brother,
that at some point
you’ll take these kinds
of things and twist them

into the kind of pain,
and hurt
that drives us apart,
and then I laughed

because that’s just
part of the process —
of life.

You’ll need that pain,
to bring you back ’round again,

and no matter
what I do
to keep it away from you,
you’ll create it,
as I have,
as we all do.

Do you hear that voice
that voice that wants to
break things apart, smash them up—

that’s the spark of creation creating

Where’s Dad (A Trickster Poem)

Where’s dad?
My daughter says,
standing halfway up
the stairs in her snow-
white pajama gown rubbing
the crust from her good-
morning time eyes.
I don’t know, says my
son who’s sitting on
the couch, taking
advantage of my absence
with his head buried in
his phone.

She whines a little and
scurries down the stairs

to

run and jump on the couch.

I’ve been hiding on
the ceiling, in fact
I am the ceiling, and
roof, draping over them,
suppressing a chuckle.

As the silence lingers, I
cascade down the walls
and become the couch and
floor too. Still,
they don’t know
and the calm

silence scatters like sand in
an ocean of sand, and turns to
fear.

I can’t help it,
I know I should tell
them, but they’re
sitting on me, for
god’s sake, they should
know I’m here,
they should know
I’m here. They
should know.

Being Human (A Travelogue) Part 1

We left for camp in the afternoon, just in time for the rain to come down. Upon arrival we were greeted by two jays cawing and showing off as we set up our tent. The rain mellowed for the time being, but it would return later in a fury. The campfire made it through the worst of it, somehow, and gave us just enough time to cook up a couple of hot dogs before having to spend the rest of the night hiding out in the tent.

On talking about the trip and what we’d hoped for, I said that I only expected the unexpected, and hoped for a little luck. It became a sort of mantra, as the rest of the trip had we not been with this idea we could’ve easily been disappointed and then mired in our miserable nature, lacking an open mind to keep us going to the next unfolding of events.

We had planned a hike early the next morning to climb to the top of Norse Peak, a peak on the Cascade Range, on the east side of Mt. Rainier. A difficult hike that does not see much traffic and is said to give views of the Cascade Volcanic Arc including, Mt. Hood, in Oregon, Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, and even sometimes, Mt. St. Helens on clear days. Our directions however, were not as clear and included a trip down a road that we couldn’t find. After about an hour of searching we decided to give up, unwilling to travel much further from camp. We settled on a spot we had seen on our Amazon fire screensaver, Tipsoo Lake near the crest of the Chinook Pass. We knew it to be a scenic stop but were unsure if there would be a trail or not. So after looking over the area we found a trail head post for the Naches Peak loop trail.

peering over Tipsoo
watching the stillness
travelers mill about

In front of us an older couple of ladies, friends, chatting about the last time they made this hike, behind us an Asian family, who perhaps, like us, weren’t sure what they were getting into, but were willing nonetheless. As we meandered up a rolling hill, which the couple ahead of us had already crested and disappeared, we found a spur, a thin trail with a bit of overgrowth (which always calls our name) so we detoured to try to get lost from the business of the main. We had all day so why not. After just a few hundred feet we arrived at a fork, straight ahead was a downed tree over the path, so we headed down the even thinner path, with even more overgrowth. Only after a few hundred yards the trail came to an abrupt end. Startled by the end and looking only down at my feet I was hit with a shock of disappointment. But in the same moment I looked up and realized the end of the trail was the beginning of an unfettered alpine meadow.

At our feet
butterflies in grass
sipping morning dew

A few steps in to get a better look at the hillside canvas and we noticed dozens of butterflies in the grass. After closer inspection there were probably more, and about four or five different varieties. Lavender butterfly, cream butterfly, orange and black speckled, yellow butterfly, and they were dancing their dance at our feet, they were riding the breeze two hundred feet in the air against the backdrop of noble firs.

where is this dream place
—butterfly valley

A streak of grass had been flattened, perhaps by lucky fellow explorers, to a crag of rocks just up the hillside, so we meandered our way to it, to take out the binoculars and have a snack, to enjoy the breeze and the cool morning calm.

in your eyes
tears
at the inexplicable

who better but us
to be invited into
butterfly meadow

alpine breeze through
noble firs, oh look
a mountain hemlock!

We found a piece of the brittle rock to have been crushed and just underneath ants moving their larvae to safety. We lingered and laughed. We thought to make our way to another outcropping a couple hundred feet further up the hill where we ran into a few piles of scat here and there, suddenly an awareness of our awkward humanness bubbled up and it occurred to me that perhaps that grass had been flattened by another kind of traveler and so we decided that we should leave the pristine place as untouched by humans as we found it and decided to go back the exact way we came. Lucky to have been invited, unsure how many have come before.

clumsy humanness
forbids me to go further,
good luck mountain ants

We walked away with smiles and excitement. The trail was much emptier and before we knew it we came up to HWY 410, with a nice little footbridge overpass. For a while now we have talked about backpacking through the Pacific Crest Trail together. And that all of this hiking and camping could, in fact, be preparation, if we stuck with it, and if conditions are right later on in life. Maybe when I’m retired (which I won’t be), and he needs a break from the family (kids, I tell you, where they get these things…) And so knowing that the PCT is in our backyard we have searched out hikes that connect us with it, which is another reason for planning the Norse Peak hike. So after crossing the bridge we saw the sign that we had least been expecting, but had been so hoping to see.

Two Poems

As I walk outside I hear the plane engine roaring overhead as the plane engine fades I walk deeper outside and I hear the birds inviting me into their Paradise as I walk into their Paradise into the sunshine I see bees trying to figure out which flowers to pollinate but they can’t because they have already pollinated them all as I walk into the shade I hear six (or more) different types of birds chirping telling me not to leave but I have to because my dog has to poo.


It’s far too early to say just what kind of artist he’ll be, but he certainly has a drive and interest to express himself through art, and that is enough. These are my 11 y/o son’s poems. He has the same sense of humor as his old man. He really wanted these on the blog. I’m really happy, something moved him so to put it in words, in song.


As I walk this lonely trail
I hear a bird sing a song not known to mankind
But a song only I know as walk deeper into the forest
But as i walk longer i realize that i don’t know but only nature knows