Flow-State of Being

Neanderthal bone flute of Divje Babe

So – where are we? Here we are, in a flow-state of constant becoming. Out of the messiness, the humanness, of us,

(dissonance and harmony, distortions and clarities, visions and nightmares). We are these self-contained xenomorphs,

somewhat strange to ourselves, somewhat a mystery to others, but nonetheless learning who and what we are.

We really are in a state of flow between then and now, between now and when. We make of our art a day, and our day an art.

We write scripts for how we work and play, playing while we work; not to box ourselves in, but to set us free from wandering

around with nowhere to be at any time. We come into a space and make ourselves at home in these houses of skin and

bone, as if we belonged there, which we do, because that house was made for you.

There you curate your business – the very thing you are doing now – and listen to the deepest voice of things for instructions

(who will oftener say: make a choice and trust it). Then we practice stillness and trusting in the doing, unlike the one who is

constantly anxious that something could go wrong. We aren’t forcing a thing, but allowing energy to move through us.

Then, thus sifted and sorted, filtered and lengthened, we find ourselves opening out like petals onto pages and find we are

flowing in stages, and we dance ourselves into being.

Sweet Sister, Come

Sky is mostly blue and the air is moving. Ah, Spring – She’s a-coming. Taking her time, but a-coming just the same.

For a time we knew, as the days of light grew shorter, She hung back, a sleepy child napping.

Winter, that moody crank who comes forth when Summer – Spring’s older sis – recedes to let the earth rest in its soils and from its toils for fruit and prosperity, for the urgency of lustful singing.

Winter: He has his own mysterious beauty. We know He does. We concede it. Unhurried himself, He is wise beneath his dark brow and recyling ways, custodian of decay performing balancing acts amid stubborn shadows.

(Autumn is his fickle niece, ambivalent entre-act.)

But now Spring has awakened, and is coming. Walking toward this face of the wild planet, her hair in waves, a song breathing from her lips, and in her hand a crocus bulb. Get ready to hail her: She will never grow old.

She has already begun tossing sprays of sunlit cyan from where, if you peer through your scope, you will see her walking toward you on a carpet of warm ethereal shimmer her Sister has laid out for her.

Oh, sweet, sweet Spring of endfless hope and boundless lust for life: eke out our fervency for songs of salvation and rebirth while they labor on the other side to pull the young from the earth’s angry bitter cold raw quaking maw.

Border Issues

Foggy on the first day of 2023, which I’ve no reason to expect will be substantially different from 2022 in the general run of things. Presidents come and go, epidemics, this spring’s fashions, hog futures. Demonstrations. Hogs and fogs forever.

Fog comes and goes like the wind, sun, moon, rain. Comes and goes like Canada geese. You don’t pay too much attention to it except when it’s so dense you have to drive the motor car at 32 knots instead of 55. Add a white-out blizzard and you’re down to 20, even 15 in a caravan of cautious pensioners. Finally, you drop down the hill to the south gate of the city and you’re out of the clouds. As if there were a border there and damned glad of it.

Another geese gaggle in the field yesterday. Cheap fowly junket to the south, stabbing at grubbies in the stubble. They’re always Canadian, never any other kind. Coming and going across the border as if there weren’t a border because they can’t see one, the reason for this being that there isn’t one.

Or they’d have special Visa’s. Migrant passes, special dispensations from Rome or something.

Photo by Brian Forsyth on Pexels.com

Descending out of the soup into ten-mile visibility, crosswinds at five knots. Taxiing without a taxi.

“Where you headed today?”


“Nature of your business?”

(Nature of yours?) (Yawn) “Same as last year. Seasonal cycle, blah blah. Survival, perpetuation of the species, a little R&R…”

“Are you carrying any illegal substances today? Weapons, drugs, invasive species? Poached whale blubber? Anything that might upset our fragile economy?”


“Open your flaps, please?”


“Okay, good to go. See you in April.”

Noodling the Milky Way

Spending time in the recording studio again, after a hiatus of years, is both challenge and reward. The reward is in confirming that I still have the chops, although they need polishing up. But you do that as you work. It takes listening, relaxing, and trusting the process. Fortunately, my recording partner and I are good friends and have worked to build a solid relationship of trust and respect for one another’s respective skills. He’s a recording and sound engineer by training, with experience as a recording artist; I’m a classically-trained musician with experience in the gospel/blues/jazz realm. That makes the old school R&B sound we’re going for entirely within our grasp. But it will end up bending some rules, and that’s a hell of a lot of fun. (Genres are made to be broken.) And because we’ve both experienced the dark side of working with other musicians, we’re happy to be working without ego in the way. That makes the challenge of finding the right elements and creating the right mix worth every mile.

Within a galaxy of music history (stock progressions, mainstream approaches to sound-building, creative experiments, classic riffs), there is a mighty cloud of witnesses; and there are worlds and worlds to keep building as we stand on the shoulders of those who have come before. But as artists we’re still arrogant enough to believe that, between the two of us, we can create a unique sound that cannot be created by anyone else, dead or alive. There simply are no two brains, hearts or souls on the face of the earth that match what we have. Arrogance must be balanced with the humility of remembering that we’re not picking from different root systems from which anyone else has ever picked. Music as a system of organized sound has rules…and the rules can be bent as long as you know what you’re bending.

When I was a child, I thought as a child. I spoke as a child. When I grew up I got all sophisticated and up in my shit. Now that there are fewer years ahead than there are behind, I wish to be a child at heart again, laughing my way through C minor sevenths and E major nines and all possible voicings of ii-vi-V-I just to be able to hit on one or two things that make my soul fly toward heaven.

Mom, look what I made.

side show

Photo by mhtoori .com on Pexels.com

He’d been traveling miles on miles of six-lane traffic, barreling down freeway straightaways, through turnpike twists and turns – the usual stuff he was used to navigating. He was mind-weary and soul-embattled.

On a whim he took an unmarked turnoff he’d always ignored because it was out of his way, never considering that perhaps it was the out-of-the-way stuff that held the most beauty and wonder. His life replete with ignored things. His own humanity, for one. Also, that thing that talked in the back of his preferred thoughts like some backstage voice that wasn’t written into the script but insisted on having a say, even if no one listened. This time he would listen.

He came to a street where the trees looked weary, shot through with ennui. No other vehicles nor movement. A tree isn’t a tree if no one’s there to see.

He parked and walked into some kind of market square, empty except for one or two souls unremarkable in the distance. There was an alcove or outdoor lobby cut into the side of this and he walked in. No one there. The shadowed stone echoed even with his small footstep. The sound of abandonment. But no graffiti or obvious rot. To his left, ensconced into the wall, some kind of kiosk. Approaching it he looked at the screen and the keypad below it. Screen was dark, keypad triggered nothing.

He walked back out and farther into a wide-open space of uncertain purpose. An old pond with a fountain that had gone dry, made of the same bland stone as the rest. Vast concrete yard more vacuum than anything else. Here and there weathered signs that read: Nurses needed Teachers needed Cooks needed Bus Drivers needed Daycare Workers needed Harvest Workers needed Mental Health Providers needed, Cops needed.

Photo by Fillipe Gomes on Pexels.com

There was motion and sound to his left and he turned to see a caravan of curious figures parading from a wide paved walkway that fed back into a stand of trees that seemed to be quite alive. Gradually these motleys filled the yard and set up an instantaneous carnival or some such. Hawkers pulling wagons of wares, someone juggling, a bearded conehead walking deftly on his hands, smiling upside down. Children roaming aimlessly, laughing at things as if on cue. Music from somewhere made on cheap string instruments and tin horns, thin music of medieval peasants maybe, meant to be forgotten tomorrow.

He turned again to see three women atop a platform hastily erected and wearing sheets wound haphazardly around their frames, looking for all the world like puppet theater fertility goddesses, and one of them – a big-figured gal – lost the top of her cover and a pendulous ash-colored breast flopped and jiggled as they danced an improvised jig.

He turned away, partly in disgust but mostly in surprise. Another moment of witnessing this entire spectacle and it occurred to him that the world had maybe shifted on its axis and he hadn’t seen it coming.

He was back in his car before he was aware of it. He turned a tight U and gunned the engine and as he drove away he took a deep breath and thought: well, you never know until you try.

the rules for mules

the mules aren’t there

they’ve been put up

I don’t know the rules for this

oddly, I’m a little disappointed

they’re a fixture of my morning

picture of peace

when I was a child in the toy drawer

there was this picture

yellowing shellac over a cheap print on a

biased cut slab of cheap wood

mare and colt in the pasture

and even then I thought it was peace

and comfort and everything was going to be


of all the things in that boyhood drawer

this is what I still have

I don’t know where it is right now, though

and don’t care because

there’s the mules, may they safely graze forever

an enduring link to a child’s dream

that often did not come true

and they’re not there this morning

they’re put up

I don’t know the rules for this.