Not All Days Are As Good As Pie

Josh Blaney and I with a truck full of Iraqi men with sandbags over their heads and their wrists flex-cuffed behind their backs.

Yesterday I had a rough day. My counselor asked me what I was angry about and I said, “I’m angry about my fucking parents dying; I’m angry about going to war; I’m angry about still not being a paid writer; I’m angry about not being a paid farmer; I’m angry about feeling insufficient.”

I never learned how to process the grief that came from the death of my mother. And while people tell me, and I often feel, that my mother is still with me. How does one get over the loss of somebody so important in your life? And not feel that life is unfair because she died at 56…

And who knows what else I said, while my lovely wife cried beside and our baby crawled around the tiny cabin’s dirty floor. Not being able to sell eggs set me off. Triggered me and brought out my disappointment about resigning from the director position of a nonprofit organization called, 907VETS. I didn’t realize how bad I had wanted it to work out, how bad I felt after being pushed and pushed and pushed and not listened to and not trusted and bossed around by one of the board members. Until I just couldn’t take it anymore, and I resigned. I had one of those days where I feel like nothing I do will ever be successful. Where I felt like a “pussy bitch”, in my words. Not being able to hold a steady job to pay for my family’s dreams, and not wanting a steady job because I want to be a writer and farmer, the reasons I bought this place and moved out here in 2012. Because of those feelings of not being on the right track, I lost all sight of God’s plan for me, whatever that may be. While Savanna kept reassuring me that all will work out as it should and that we don’t need the money right now and that I’m doing the most important thing I can by being here for her and Primrose, I couldn’t shake the feeling of being a less-than-man.

I played the ukulele and officiated my friends’ wedding. While it was and is a highlight in my life, can I say that it was a “manly” thing to do? The definition of “manliness” is such a confusing concept to me, and I know that I am not the only person who feels much torture because of these made up gender roles.

My counselor said, “You did the manliest thing possible. You were a soldier during war time, and a good one at that.”
He is right. But those skills I used during the military don’t come in handy at all, and I can never talk about it with anybody, so nobody really knows beside my comrades who I never talk to, and myself. Instead, I’m sitting here worrying what people NOW think about me, and it makes me feel less than… I don’t want to be the hyper-aggressive man that I was…

Look at that baby face. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can be trained to fire a grenade launcher.

I can’t begin to understand how I am not supposed to compare myself to people. That’s what people tell me to do, all the time. I was raised comparing myself to siblings and neighbors, to other skateboarders, athletes, students and boys trying to get the girl. I compared myself to enemies in Iraq and to my comrades by trying to be the best soldier so I could not only stay alive and keep my buddies alive but kill the other guys and get quality training beforehand that was only reserved for the bad boys. Then in college, I was constantly comparing for scholarships, attention, rental places, and the like. And then after, I’m comparing for jobs, careers, jobs, spouses, and sending my writing to agents, publications and the such that reject me because they have somebody better. So all of the sudden I’m supposed to not compare myself to people? What?! I am a member of a culture that severely competes with our own people, and now it’s all supposed to change?
How am I supposed to do it?

It’s so damn easy to pray to God when things are good, to cry to God when things are super bad, to say I have Faith in the afterlife and all that jazz, but what about the in between states… When they’re not really good and not super bad… What about having Faith in not only the afterlife, but in the here and now? I kept repeating the paraphrased scripture in my head today, from Matthew 6:26-34 that says:

26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one [a]cubit to his [b]stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not[c]arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will Henot much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

If I could only full embrace these teachings and live them instead of worrying every single day about nothing and everything at the same time.

Sometimes I wish I could just sit on a seat like this in the sun and forget about all of my plans, dreams, and hopes for the future. How do you find a balance between pursuing dreams for the future and living in the glory of the moment?

Yesterday, after the counseling session where I was so damn close to breaking into tears, my two girls and I went out to the Homer Spit where I parked the car and Savanna sat inside with her seat leaned back while Primrose and I walked the beach for at least two hours. Listening to the waves, watching the birds fly freely without backpacks full of traveler’s checks and books, enjoying life instead of worrying about the future.

I loved watching these birds soar only inches above the waves in Mexico. They didn’t seem to have a care or worry at all.

No Person Should Treat People Like I Did In Iraq

I like to feel pain—
Not constantly for weeks on end,
but for a couple hours
every couple weeks
as a reminder for 
pain I caused.

I felt pain last night
During a Columbia University colloquium
about institutionalized racism against Palestinians & Muslims
in which I played a part.
A bayonet stabbed my heart,
it felt good to bleed.
I woke up at five unable to fall back asleep. 
Memories whipped around like tracers and shrapnel. 

The difference between thought and memory is the inability to control.

Life is constant-
Babies grow and poop.
Some days easy, others hard.
Smile, laugh, cry.
Smile, laugh, cry.
Smile, laugh, cry.

(Pause…Deep breaths…Sips of Coffee…Stare…Release…)

My baby fat cheeks flush with embarrassment
“Sorry my gun is in your face— you see— 
I’m terrified you’ll kill me.
Are you hiding explosives under that hijab? Take it off!
Oh, you can’t understand me? 
Here, let me help you…
Please don’t scream— It’s only hair—
I won’t get turned on by your hair alone— I swear—
You people smell funny anyway—
I don’t think I could #$@! you if you wanted me to—
Please don’t cry— It’s only temporary—
Your husband and sons will be back in a few days, weeks, years—
-Please, stop screaming- –
Don’t make me push you to the floor and put my boot in your back
You fucking bitch. Shut up!
Go stand in the corner with your forehead to the wall and back to the room!
We are not here for you, so shut your trap or I’ll shut it for you.”

My cheeks are sunken with malnutrition of spirit, mind and body.
I cannot eat enough, exercise enough, 
Pray enough or take enough vitamins
To become healthy like I wanted
Before war
Destroyed me. 

Pecan Pie

How did I marry the most beautiful woman in the world? Here is Savanna from the top of Alyeska Ski Resort in Girdwood, Alaska.

Every Wednesday Savanna, Primrose and I go to our good friends’, Barry and Donna White’s home for supper. We cherish this weekly routine as one of the only social events we do at all, especially during Covid Timez. Last week, I mentioned to Donna that my favorite pie is easily Pecan, and what the heck would ya know, she baked a Pecan Pie from scratch. It was the best darn pie I’ve tasted since living in Georgia! She gave us the half that was left after dinner to take home, I had a thin slice first thing this morning and two slices today. It was Savanna’s first time having Pecan, and now she can understand why it’s my favorite.
My prayer before eating the pie was simple. “Thank you God, for pie.”
I was trying to talk Savanna into baking a pie each week that we could have around to munch on but she thinks we’ll get fat, although I’m already thirty pounds overweight. I think I’ll have to take this one on myself.

We love living out here in the country, where silence is so loud it is like a real life character, an old friend who brings great wisdom. Today was a wonderful day. Warm (38 degrees), melting snow, buckets of rainwater to drink, I reseeded broccoli, Brussels, tomatoes, cauliflower; transplanted felt leaf willows and seeded marigold, cabbage, basil, nasturtium, calendula, toothache plant, baby’s breath and bee balm. Had a visit from a neighbor/friend who I always love to talk with. Sold a few eggs, harvested 25. Worked in the high tunnel with Primrose on my chest then set her on a big pile of straw that I was pitchforking into a sled to pull to the chicken coop. She sat in the sled with the straw and a huge smile on her face. I watched the puppy play with a ripped up sandal all over the yard, and listened to the two big dogs breath calmly from the living room floor. Savanna and I started reading a book aloud together Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, the sequel to The Shining. We are super psyched! We finished painting our bee boxes in preparation for the 28th, when the bees arrive, and Savanna made my new favorite soup, a French Onion. Being married to your best friend is the bee’s knees!

We are back in the egg business! Yes! Farm fresh eggs are the best! Every shape and color is so different.

I absolutely love our slow and quiet days out here in the country. And while I wouldn’t mind spending our winters someplace warm where we can grow food and swim and enjoy the sunshine, if we are never able to leave here again I would be happy. I have always been a homebody, especially now that I have a home of my own. Here’s another poem, this one is about the often overlooked wisdom that comes from Silence.

Priceless Old Tool

Silence exists like rock in Earth,
Often mistaken as having no worth;
Trunks without treasure, useless old tools,
Silence avoided at prestigious schools.

Ice floe in layers over river beneath,
Fish swim in schools, chickadees peep;
Breeze rustles grasping cottonwood leaf,
Airplane flies over— silence beseeched.

Debate between sandbar and ocean a stream,
Of sound and expression, rip tides and screams;
Snore of two dogs, tea kettle steams
Frost inside window— seam between scenes.

Answers unheard with radio on,
Pandora playlist with favorite new songs;
Talking and talking to prove others wrong.
Secrets revealed in silence at home.

Importance of Having a Home

I am a very, very lucky man. I have a warm home with two heaters, a few small leaks in the roof and fresh air that streams through the trim around north facing windows. The floor is cold but not frozen. Our bath tub is currently full of dirty water from doing the laundry, our pipes froze under the house again due to the 7 degree temperatures this morning and yesterday. No big deal, really. It’ll warm up next week and unthaw, and next season I will get back under the house and fix the problem. A clothes line hangs in the living room with drying clothes just above our heads. Our three dogs have clean beds, plenty of food and clean water. Our cat has dozens of beds. All of the animals received plenty of salmon scraps today, and on a regular. We have a toilet inside that is used by Savanna for Number One and an Outhouse outside for Number Two. A well is powered by a generator that brings water upstairs into a 65 gallon tank that gravity feeds for us to do dishes, fill water to heat on the stove, and bring the chickens water. We received 15 eggs today. Our baby has her own bed in our warm room, both of our beds are made of Wool and handmade by Home of Wool in Bulgaria. We have THREE vehicles that run, one has a flat tire and needs some work. Our bedroom has two walls with inlaid bookshelves that are filled from floor to ceiling with comics, books and movies. We have a dozen buckets full of dry food in our food cache, a freezer full of fish and fruit and dozens of jars of home canned products on the shelf. We paid off our home last year and live off grid, and since we are receiving more sunlight we are using far less gas to power our batteries. We have a loft with a hide a bed, a tiny closet we share, a cook stove with pots and pans, and a small tool shed with enough tools to handle business. But most importantly, we have each other.

Yet still, human nature takes over and my mind wanders and wanders to faraway lands. I read a book set in France and I start researching travel to France. I look at a map of USA and I begin thinking about moving the family to New Mexico. I watch a movie based in Mexico and I check out every movie in the library on Mexico while thinking about moving there. At least every single day for at least one minute I think about leaving our home for a warmer climate, where it isn’t 7 degrees almost three weeks into Spring. Where we can swim!!! And where our baby can be around other children, running barefoot and playing in the water. A place where we can grow food year round instead of for our short growing season. A bigger house that doesn’t feel so cramped and cluttered even though we barely have anything compared to the Modern American.

And then I remember how many damn people all around the world are starving to death. I see their faces from my travels, and I know there are millions more. I remember the millions of people who are refugees, the millions of others who are homeless and the millions of others who live in big homes near sunny beaches and who don’t have any time to enjoy them because they’re too busy to work.

Savanna demands that we never sell this property and that we keep it our home. And while I can agree to not sell the house and land and to always have a home here in Alaska, I don’t want to close the door on God granted opportunities for us to be of service in other parts of the world. And to enjoy the gifts of the Cosmos, such as warmth, water, and wellness.
I wrote this poem sometime this year when I was getting a little stir crazy and angry about the Covid scare, food shortages, gun hungry neighbors and life. It helped me through a tough time.

What do you do to get through tough times in a healthy way?

Importance of Having a Home

Forty-four t-posts to keep out moose
From eating the fruit trees and killing our roots,
Seiner net fence cost two bucks in gas
Smells of old herring with plenty of gaps,
Pulled from the dump bin at the Gear Shed
Strung up eight feet above my head.
Bees collect pollen, I collect eggs
Wife collects pictures, dog has old legs,
Dandelions blossom, nettles sure sting
Life is too short—Just like the spring,
Life is too short—Just like our spring.

Masks on the shifter, disinfectant in nook
People with gloves on pass us weird looks,
Shifty hands—fingertips 
Repulsive eyes—hidden lips
No more teeth—expensive beef 
Aisles too small—carts stacked tall
Riots erupt—virus spreads
Over 300,000 dead!!!

Yarrow dries inside our home
Wife and I share a phone
Watch the dogs chew a bone
It sure is peaceful in our home.
Eat and watch bees collect
Baby moose stops at net
Our baby drops—Not just yet!
Savanna’s hips are almost set.
In a dream, the natural world
Berries, sunsets, family curled
Up together in our bed
Today’s memories in our heads.

It’s nothing fun to kill a pig
Pluck a chicken, wear a wig
Cancer kills—don’t forget
To watch the moon rise and set.

Sometimes I want to move away
To a warmer place, to swim all day
With board shorts on and toes in sand
Wifey smiling, white teeth on tan.
Speak Español on the reg
Beads of sweat drip down my head
Mangoes, piña, avocado, bread
Raise our child…
Away from the cold, gun heavy hearts of incessantly shooting neighbors!!!

But right now… 

Our home is here;
In the woods with water near
Safe and happy, a little cold
Love that warms from the soul.

A buddy of mine sent this to me the other day and I had to share. I am DREAMING of summer!

Thanks for reading, I hope everybody reading this has a place they call home.

Evidence Intake Center

I received mail today denying me of any form of disability from the VA relating to my ankles, knees, upper back and neck, and hearing. There is no evidence that my four and a half years as an airborne infantryman, with two years in Iraq, had any impact on those parts of my body. I guess that’s what happens when you tough it out and don’t complain. Only thing I don’t understand is how I have met some people with 0 combat time who receive 100 percent disability? It’s a strange system, one I don’t trust. I would be laying if I said that this doesn’t upset me, but hey, what can I do about it?
My baby slept in her own bed for the first time last night, my wife and I played a game of Kings Corner today, we ate salmon with chimichurri and had a really wonderful day. Life is good.

Here is a poem to honor some of the secrets we all keep. What secrets do you have that you write about? Writing is the most effective way I have found to confess and move forward. What tricks do you use?

Secrets of a Cop Killer

Sometimes I want to tell people that I killed two cops in Iraq, 
but it would be like telling them that I write poetry; 
I won’t admit either.

Occasions arise to gain street cred from hard folks 
who swap tales like pictures of girlfriends;
I listen to them brag, and smirk.

Occasions arise to gain street cred from rich folks
who ask me to drive after a cop passes by.
“Unpaid tickets,” they say. “I hate cops.”
I take the wheel.

Should I tell them I killed two cops in a firefight? 

I laugh hysterically at their imagined reactions 
then visualize cold bodied facts;
If God and Karma do exist, 
and I sometimes believe in both,
I should not laugh about killing.
So I stop laughing and feel guilty instead.

“What were you laughing about?”

“Oh, nothing.”

Do I tell standing trees 
about killing and burning their kin 
for heat in my wood stove?

Bristol Bay Circa 2008

I went commercial fishing once and the only thing I came back with was a pocketful of poems and a new pair of Grundens. It was worth it. Here are two poems…

My baby’s favorite food is salmon. I cannot begin to explain how happy it makes her father!

King Salmon

Arrived to King Salmon around three o’clock,
Hitched it to Naknek and walked dock to dock,
Searching for Snopac to send me to sea,
Unlucky today, tomorrow maybe.
The Jean-Ann is awaiting, her deck all agleam,
For this hard working greenhorn to fulfill a life’s dream.
The sea has been calling since before I can tell,
My time has now come, I’m not willing to fail.
Am I anxious? Hell no! Fear will not grasp me today,
I will burst from her clutches and earn a fair pay.


Tofer cooks rice and taters
While Skip and I sit and wait,
Watching the corks bob up and down
Trying to concentrate.
Picking ain’t easy it’s an art in itself
To peel back the entangled net,
But these two have done it
For plenty of years
While I haven’t done a full set.
I pitch the sockeyes two at a time
Grabbing them each by their cheeks,
Keeping track in my head
The number of dead
Is not such an easy feat.       

The fat man sleeps in the foxhole,
His slaves work away on the stove,
Dreaming of fish that we don’t catch,
Maybe his own garden grove.
His laziness sets the whole crew back,
Kristofer, myself and the glut,
Afraid of cork-lines around us,
We don’t really fish, merely putt.
“Teaching” us men how to do things,
Simple little things yes indeed,
From frying an egg to black coffee,
Wake up! It’s not Z’s that we need!
This guy is driving me crazy,
If I have to last longer I can’t,
This is me letting it all out,
Each man is obliged to a rant.

The Antithesis of Fire and Brimstone

I did not grow up going to church, temple, or any other religious place to practice or visit, mainly because my mother felt judged and inadequate. I can certainly understand why, although I have come to believe that judgmental people are everywhere, including sitting here at the computer typing this ditty.
However, as I have grown into an adult, it has become a passion of mine to visit churches and temples all around the world to feel God’s presence. Sometimes the temple is a sandy beach where I listen to waves and feel the sun, other times it’s a shady forest where I visit with squirrels and watch my baby’s eyes brighten as she sees a new animal for the first time. Other times it is dropping to my knees inside a Buddhist temple, singing with my soul inside a Church or admiring the architecture inside a Mosque. The world pulls me this way and that, but I keep coming back to God to keep me centered.
This became especially important after going to Iraq as an American Soldier and being involved with dehumanizing hundreds of innocent people in the name of “peace.” Guilt kills, and only through faith have I found forgiveness. Not to mention, after losing my mother and father, and having a very small family, I needed to feel that somebody has my back no matter what. And I truly believe that God does. After my visit to India in 2009, I started to call myself a Buddhist because of the ethics, afterlife, rituals, meditations and deities. They really clicked with me! Not to mention the incense, chanting, acceptance, and colors! But there was always something lurking within that kept me from diving into Buddhism wholeheartedly, and that was a belief in a God who created everything.
So today, I am not a Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Muslim or Christian; I am not Bahai’i, Pantheist, Wiccan or Sikh; I am a human being who believes in an all powerful God who created the Cosmos, many lesser Gods who I choose not to worship, and an old saying that says: “What goes around comes around.” I try to be a decent person, often times I slip, and I believe that the Good will come back around… Heck, it already has!
As to what happens after death…
Well, I certainly don’t believe that this life is the end…

I wrote this poem after going to a sermon where the Pastor used the word “War” at least fifty times while yelling at the congregation.

How I feel in regards to understanding God and the Cosmos

After Church

Don’t preach to me of enemies
I don’t want to be at war
It’s too early to be yelled at
I’ve been yelled at enough before

I won’t duke it out with the devil
I like red, fire, and bones
My God loves gays and transgenders
Drug addicts, and those without homes

Eruptions of words stir emotion
Blood is not red, white, and blue
Acceptance of difference is potion
Don’t tell me you know what is true
It may be only true to you

Don’t yell at me on Sunday morning
I’m not first string quarterback
My God is peaceful and loving
A friend to help when I slack
Brown, yellow, red, 
White and black.

To a Mother who Passed On

I miss my mother every day. I don’t talk about her very often, or really at all. Since she died on October 1, 2015, I have not posted any pictures about her online for her birthday, none of the cute “Miss my mother” posts. No, I seem to have closed off that side of my heart because it makes me too sad to think about. Since having a daughter, I’ve been trying to tell her about her grandmother but every time I do I start crying. Ugh… It’s just not easy being without a mother, especially when you had the best darn mother ever.

Here is a poem I wrote a few months back for my mother. She was my biggest fan and I miss her everyday. If anybody else out there has lost their mother, I feel for you. And if you haven’t, please reach out to yours and let them know how much they mean to you. You will not regret it.

Rose Scented Sheri Lynn

Happy 61st birthday, mother—
Your body is ash in Resurrection Bay,
Your soul & memories live on.
I miss you badly everyday
Unsure of the way 
To show it— To share it.
Your quiet laugh; Your humble smile; Your endless support;
You listened intently; Loved unconditionally; Leaned heavily.

I have a baby now, mother—
Do you see?
She shares your middle name & sincere smile.
She loves her mama like you loved yours & I loved mine.

I am married now, mama—
Do you see?
I finally found the woman I was meant for, whatever that means.
Or did she find me?
She is tough, tender, kind, hard working. She values family, food, silence, nature.
She speaks softly when I need it, firm when I’m unwell.
You would love her like a daughter.
Or do you?

I want to believe
You are watching & protecting us from unseen forces—Protecting me from myself;
Teaching us in our sleep states.
I want to believe
You still love me as a son & Primrose Flora Lynn as a grandmother— 
You are not only 61 years old, but 61 billion years old. 
You are in the birch leaves & trees, the whales & eagles. You touch my feet as I stand in Cook Inlet & cast & I catch you every time I reel in. You are the warm sun kissing my baby’s cheeks, ripening our berries & vegetables, drying our clothes on the line. You are water in our well used to do laundry— 

How you loved doing laundry.
You are the blue moon & blue sky, looking out at all beings in omniscient & omnipresent equanimity.
You are You, and that was always enough.

I want to believe
You exist outside of body & mind— 
Yet sometimes I question all of it. 
Sometimes it feels like you are dead & that is that so I lace up my boots & work the soil without Speaking your name. But if I bottle up the most important influence in my life, 
My baby & wife 
Will miss out on your life & I will stay sad and explosive.

Do you see my actions, mother? 
Are you shaking your narwhal head from heaven, covering your eyes & ears as I yell mean things at innocent people like I am back at war?

If you can hear my thoughts, please tender my heart & mind. Help me to be more like you;
Less angry.
Help me to be kind every moment, satisfied with what I have & where I am. 
Fully present with my family— 
Here & Now.

Savanna smelled roses in our room last night. 
You always said the smell of roses indicates an angel or guardian spirit.
You were here… 
You are here… 
Aren’t you?

At this point my mother had Stage 4 Cancer throughout her entire body. Huge tumors and massive swelling. In this picture, she didn’t even know it! This is her planting flowers on our farm. The dogs loved her almost as much as I did! When she died, there three of us went into deep hibernation.

Dear India: When Will I Come Back?

We hope everybody had a solid Easter out there in the wide open world. No matter what your spiritual path/religion/culture is, getting together with family to share food, fun, and fellowship is healing. If you weren’t able to unite with your family and friends or you don’t have any family or friends, please write us and we will send thoughts your way.
I (Bob) traveled to India back in 2009, and while I was there I kept two journals. One for poetry and one for prose. After six months, both were full and I was working on seconds. India is the most inspiring place I have ever been both spiritually and artistically and I long to return every single day.
Due to everything that is going on right now in the world, my wife and baby are planning a trip in the fall to travel around our own country, but just below the surface I am seething with desire to bring the family to India and Nepal. Hopefully sometime in the near future.
In the meantime, I will share a poem with you that I wrote while I was there. This was written the day after I finished a 10 day Introduction to Buddhism Retreat at Tushita Meditation Center. It may seem quite elementary to any reader above the age of 12, all for a good reason. My understanding of Emptiness and Interdependence is on a beginner level.
Take care all, and I hope you are writing and smiling!

Dharma Bus

Everything is empty, 
It’s all within our mind,
We create these odd delusions, 
There is no such thing as time.

The tree is not just a tree,
It is the sum of many things,
Sun, rain, and moonlight,
Countless living beings.
Nothing is like we think it,
For we have not thought at all,
Nothing is independent,
Not a birch tree or a doll.
Because we are all empty,
Yes, I am certain it’s a fact,
Entirely interdependent,
I will not fade in tact.

My name and where it comes from
Is a story in itself,
And I shall try to tell it,
While I have my health.
First my parents, they were born,
But before that don’t forget;
Their parents’ parents’ parents’,
Now the story it is set.

So let’s just make this easy,
And start it off with me,
And then— oh yes —I do believe
You will begin to see.

I thank the sperm for traveling,
A path I cannot grasp,
Reaching an egg and fighting,
I am sure it had to gasp.
While Ma was pregnant she ate tons,
The food it fed me, too,
Which came from many places,
Boiled into a stew.

The sun, moon, and stars,
Soil & blessed trees,
Insects, truck drivers, oil drillers,
Factory workers who canned the peas.
People who made the plastic,
Rain, clouds, and sky,
Every object that exists
Came together so I did not die.

After my birth I was cared for,
But never did my parents know,
Where we would call home,
We were always on the go.
Only because our van,
Which was made by many men,
Gas, bars, quarrels,
Forced a split which happened then.

We moved to Nome, Alaska,
To live with Uncle Don,
Airplanes, workers, and food again,
The list goes on and on.
We settled in quite nicely,
And spent there many years,
Ocean, natives, four wheelers,
Sand, gasoline and gears.

For some strange karmic reason,
I was born with hearing shot,
My speech developed poorly,
Tongue always tied in a knot.
The R’s were W’s which meant
That every time I said my name,
“Woberwt” came out— older boys laughed,
All thinking that I was  lame.
Don’t forget their parents’ parents’ parents’,
Or they never would have been,
We are all entirely dependent,
On each other again and again.

After a long day of harsh teasing,
I ran straight home to Mom,
Asking for a nickname quickly,
She thought real sturdy and strong.
“Well Robert, there’s many a’ men 
With a Name like yours
And you know what most of them do,
They go by Bob, to make it short, 
And I’m sure that you can, too.” 

That night I changed my label,
No one could tease me again,
All of these things had happened,
Thanks to billions and billions of men.

We are all one, there is no I,
Quit fighting over useless fuss,
Come on and see, come join the crowd,
Take a ride on the Dharma bus.

Being in India taught me what ritual, faith, and gratitude are all about. This photo was taken 12 years ago, I’ve wanted to return everyday since.

In Honor of Poetry

When somebody asks me, “What kind of writing do you do?” I always say the same thing. “If I could only write Rhyming Poetry for the rest of my life, that is what I’d do.” But nowadays, it seems like Rhyming Poetry (with rhymes at the end of lines) is something of the past. Something that is only for Songwriting, certainly not for Serious Literature Aficionados or anybody who really knows something about Poetry. While Rhyming Poetry is not the only Poetry I enjoy writing and reading, it is my favorite.

Growing up in Alaska, I have always been a fan of Robert Service.

Much of the Poetry today seems to be written in a way that can only be understood by the writer, which makes them seem like they are on some kind of Deeper Level of Consciousness than the rest of us mere mortals.

And then there is the image of a poet… UGH! So serious and melancholy, mysterious and self-sabotaging. I went to a Poetry Reading a couple years ago where I was the first person to walk into the door. The lady at the door asked, “How are you doing?” When I said, “Really well. It’s been a beautiful day! And you?” She looked at me, in her black jeans and black shirt with black eyes, and said, “Really? Ha! With all that is going on in the world, you’re doing great?” I mumbled something and walked away to hide among the bookshelves. As the other Poets entered the Book Store (Last Word Books in Olympia, Washington), she asked them the same thing and every one of them Sighed deeply and complained about their misfortunes. Because of these “Poets” who “Know Poetry”, I have refused to consider myself a Poet just as I refuse to consider myself an Artist.

Langston Hughes has also been a great inspiration to me as a writer.

Well, I’m sorry to tell you Ladies and Gentleman and Non-Binary Friends and Family. That’s not the type of poetry I enjoy reading or writing. I have enough dark shit and happy shit to think about everyday, I certainly don’t want to try and figure out what a Poet is trying to say. However, I will admit, I am not the most intelligent of all Humans, my IQ is probably in the lowest percentile, so while I don’t enjoy reading Poetry that I don’t understand, I do give kudos to the WordPlay that many poets use. And hell, I enjoy reading and writing almost as much as growing food, raising a baby and being married… sometimes even more, but don’t tell my family that…

Because April is National Poetry Month, I decided to write and post a poem everyday as something to motivate me to share some of my own life with others. Take it or leave it, I really don’t care. I just hope that it inspires you to write your own story down in Poetry, and to break free from the Reins of Fine Art.
Who are some of your favorite poets? Are you willing to share your poetry with me?

Maya Angelou’s life and words have taught me how to love myself, forgive others, and Write Write Write!

Easter Bunny

You crawl like an ant from tall blade to deep hill
Chewing on bark, fur, oats and books.
Smiling and laughing you shout, “Up, up, up!”
While looking up to us for guidance, support, love and fun.

Attacked by the cat then licked by the pup
Drinking hot maté from Dad’s special cup
You wail when outside of Mother’s Long reach
And suck from her nipples like the first human leech.

Primrose: You are my volcano next to the sea
Spewing hot lava out in the country
Your father and mother will continue to be
In love with each other and our Easter Bunny.

Books of 2020

We LOVE books in this family. We are so so so fortunate to have all of these books to entertain, learn, and escape with, to stir our imagination and inspire change. What are you reading? 

This first picture is to illustrate that point. Our bedroom has 3 entire walls filled with books. At the beginning of 2019 I decided to start keeping track of the books I read, because I like lists almost as much as I like books. Here in my list for 2020

I obviously and understandably read a handful of birth and parenting books and on this list I did not include all the baby books I have read to Primrose since her birth (and how many times I’ve repeated some of those books)

I looked at this list hoping to give a favorite or two, and you know, it’s just so hard to pick! The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis was amazing because Bob and I read that together. It was so romantic, and for that, it made the already incredible story even more fun to read. I can completely understand why people have a book club…..HEY, anyone want to do a book club?! 😛 

Reading The Winter Room by Gary Paulson was also another romantic endeavor, as Bob read this little by little to me each night. The story was beautiful and tough, and reminds me a lot of our life out here. 

Anastasia and the Ringing Cedars Series by Vladimir Megre is a book series I have been wanting for a few years. I read the first book when I lived in Hawaii and heard a bunch of hype about it, but that it was difficult to find. Upon looking for the series, I realized it was difficult to find, only online, and pretty expensive….and if you know me you know I don’t like to spend money (on hardly anything, especially my own wants). I was so excited Bob bought the series for me last Christmas and we read the first book aloud. I really enjoy the thoughts in the book, however, there in no plot and the writing is redundant…still I enjoyed it. We delved into the second book, and I haven’t picked it up again…it’s once again, the same story, retold and retold. I think if I keep reading, and reading it to myself rather than aloud, it will get through the feeling that I don’t like it. This reminds me of some advice I read recently on feeding a baby solids. The advice was saying if the baby doesn’t like the food, feed it to her 10-15 more times, and eventually they will start to like it. I thought this was funny because maybe the baby doesn’t end up liking it but realizing it has no choice……I don’t want to totally disregard the rest of the series (8 books!) Based on this first impression…so I’m going to try again but…….when…….we’ll see.

We listened on Audio book to Idle Hands by Cassondra Windwalker. Not only do we love the author as a human being, but this story was so fun. We would put it on at night after the baby had gone to sleep, and from what you’ve already seen, we like to read things together. This was a nice change, we didn’t have to have our tired eyes do the reading but we got to lay with each other and be read too. An equivalent of what couples do with TV I suppose. We were so entertained, and gosh, we just love Cassondra and her works.

And of course, my Stephen King books. My 2019 list I read 5 stories by SK and 1 by his other name Richard Bachman (so 6, really). This year I only read two, and am still happy with that progress. As much as I love his writing it is ALWAYS good to branch out and experience others. But there is no reason to completely give up your favorites. 

This year I’ve started out boldly different, once again all thanks to my husband who continues to gently nudge me and encourage me to form into the person I’m becoming more and more. I’m currently reading a book about America’s Women and a couple different art books on nature journaling, painting, drawing and color. We’ve been reading books in Spanish to Primrose and the language really makes her happy.

So again, we are so so so fortunate to have all of these books to entertain, learn and escape with, to stir our imagination and inspire change. What are you reading?