Russell Brand & TM

This is an excellent interview with Russell Brand on why he learned & practices Transcendental Meditation.
It also thoughtfully touches on an amazing amount of pertinent topics–social justice, addiction & recovery, creativity, spirituality, children and education…
Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving!

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I was “planning to write more about Thanksgiving in the next few days,” along with this:

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
     There is much to give thanks for, to be grateful for, so enjoy what is      delightful and homey and delicious and convivial & celebratory about life, every day. We all have each other as friends and family, acquaintances and neighbors. As loved ones. As community, as planetary global family members. And that is the best and greatest thing. Dig it. Share it.
And just one day a year, eat til you sleep!

I had in mind to write perhaps a little more on the history of the American holiday, especially in terms of American Indian history and contemporary conditions. Perhaps combined with some foodie-feasty things from a vegetarian lifestyle perspective (I’ve been a vegetarian all my life).

Maybe I’ll get to posting such entries, yet. But for now I’ll simply wish you all again  a most happy holiday.

Here’s wishing you Many Blessings!
Jai Ma Annapurna Devi Ji!
(Salutations to the Goddess of Nature, to Our Dear Mother Earth, Abundant Giver of All Food!)

(the photo is from Thanksgiving last year.)

Has the entire world gone utterly insane?

Has the entire world gone utterly insane?

There is a rumor going around that I am mad and I answer: “Of course I am mad, but my madness is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Other people have Sanity No.1 on Monday, Sanity No.2 on Tuesday, Sanity No.3 on Wednesday and another Sanity next week. Of course, I cannot accept that kind of sanity.”

—Murshid Samuel “Sufi Sam” Lewis (1896-1971)           letter, December 12, 1961, in Sufi Vision and Inititiation: Meetings with Remarkable Beings [1986]

Has the entire world gone utterly insane?

The only rational answer, of course, is: Yes.
There may be a few exceptions—you know, enlightened saints, holy sages, and such. Most very young children. Maybe even a few more or less isolated communities scattered in overlooked pockets around the planet, tucked away quietly here and there. But otherwise, everyone sure seems utter full-blown batshit crazy looked at from the belfrey rafter I hang from.
How does it all look from where you hang?

Forget, for a moment, the Christian jihadis like Cruz and Carson & Huckabee and all the many other angry clowns & klanners packed into the GOP “Insane in the Membrane Campaign” bus, Keystone Cops car. Forget, for a moment, the Islamist jihadi Daesh battalions of death, the drone-striking Global Death Squad Oil Drug Cartel that is the Pentagon & White House. The henchmen of the weapons manufacturing profiteers, Big Pharm, & Fuel corporations raking in trillions while they destroy life everywhere on the planet. Forget, for a moment, “loner” students turning assault guns on their teachers and fellow classmates all across America. Forget, for a moment, racist cops shooting unarmed black youth in the back eight times as the youth run away or are kicked handcuffed to the pavement. If you haven’t figured out yet that “It’s Paris Everywhere Now” everyday, day after day, then you just haven’t been paying attention. Bombs aren’t going to stop any time soon. More bombs hurled back in any other direction aren’t gonna help those of us who are left. Not for long. We have to figure out something else, something deeper and more effective. Everyone knows this.

We’re all attending a concert or sitting in a sidewalk café in Paris, or sitting in a classroom anywhere across America. We’re all attending a wedding in Beirut, a peace rally in Ankara, sitting down to family dinner in Kabul. We’re all running the Boston Marathon, and the backpack-bombs are set and ticking to go off. We are all on a plane flying home somewhere. We’re all in this together.
Buddha described it as like being inside a burning house and your hair is already on fire. That was over 2,500 years ago.
Of course it all drives one insane, the crazy scarey way things are today. The way they’ve been for a very long time now. Are things getting worse? Doesn’t matter, really—they’re bad enough already.
Way past bad enough right now.
All we have is right now and right now is crazy deadly.
But no one gets out of here alive in the long run, anyway.
And we all know this. We’ve known it all along. This is what Buddha meant by the fire.
And yet, even though we all know this, still, when you realize that you may be blown up this very minute, or be gunned down later this afternoon, it can drive you crazy.
It can block your ability to move forward in this otherwise beautiful world.
It can make it difficult to know how to start your day.

I long ago found my own ways to deal with this. As we all must. I would try to pass these along, but each of us must find our own path, of course. Still, some possibly helpful little hints can be shared from time to time.
Naturally, it simply all has to do with love. Love more, and things will be better. Less crazy. More love, less fear and violence.

One form of love is music. Of course. More music.
I love this piece of music (posted below) and often find it helpful.
Give it a listen. You may enjoy it.

And I certainly had, and have, lots and lots of help finding my own way.

Sufi Sam, quoted above, was a classical musician, and the founder of the Universal Dances of Peace, among other things. He was an American Jew, the heir to the Levis-Strauss blue-jean fortune. He did not accept the inheritance, instead preferring to make his living as a gardener in the San Francisco Bay area, and later as a world-renowned permaculturalist. As a young man he became a personal disciple of the Indian classical musician and teacher of universal Sufism, Hazrat Inayat Khan (1882-1927).

Sam traveled the world for decades presenting his vision of furthering world peace and ending world hunger through organic permaculture farming and gardening.
He also met and studied with traditional spiritual elders and living saints from many of the world’s religious traditions, and eventually he became  traditionally-trained-&-recognized as both a Sufi murshid (master-teacher) and a Zen Buddhist roshi (master-teacher).

He may also have been indeed a bit mad. But only in a most loving and blissful way.

Murshid Sam was a personal friend and mentor, though my principal spiritual teachers were others—some of whom Sam and I shared.

He was a most lovable, and also at times irascible, madman, a goofy sufi.

One of Sam's travel journal entries:
When you meet real saints, real qawwalis, real sages and real Sufis and feel that marvelous spirit, you can ask for no more. But neither can you devote yourself to less....
July 24, 1956
Dacca, East Pakistan [now Bangladesh]


Massive anti-Muslim backlash

(photo: armed US right-wing vigilante citizen militia members terrorize US Muslims attempting to worship at their local mosque)

I just got this email:

From: Ben Wikler, Civic Action <>

Today at 1:34 PM 47

House Democrats have joined Republicans to pass a shameful anti-refugee bill, with a veto-proof majority.

47 House Democrats have joined Republicans to pass a shameful anti-refugee bill, with a veto-proof majority.1

Our last chance to stop this xenophobic anti-refugee backlash is in the Senate.2
Will you chip in $3?
Click here to chip in: Stand with refugees—and against anti-Muslim bigotry.

For more details on our emergency campaign, see Anna’s message below:

Dear MoveOn member,
The Paris attacks have sparked a massive wave of anti-Muslim bigotry.
We need to speak out against this racist, xenophobic backlash. Now.
At least 29 Republican governors—and even one Democrat—say they want to close their states to Syrian refugees.3 Indiana’s governor has already turned a family away.4 Presidential candidates are talking about shutting down mosques and discriminating against refugees on the basis of religion.5,6 A state senator in Tennessee is proposing rounding up all Syrian refugees in the state.7
And now Republicans in Congress are threatening to cut off funding for refugee assistance while 4 million Syrian refugees are begging for help.8
This is immoral. And stupid. Because shutting out refugees doesn’t make America safer—just the opposite: it fuels hatred at home, and resentment and extremism around the world. Will you chip in $3 to help fight back?
Click here to chip in and help fight the GOP’s racist, anti-refugee backlash.
The first thing we need to do is hold governors accountable for attacking refugees. We’ve launched rapid-response campaigns in all 30 states, calling their governors out for this xenophobic pandering. More than 115,000 MoveOn members have already joined the call to stop attacking refugee families.
Second, we need to block Republicans in Congress from defunding refugee resettlement. This is the most cynical, immoral act you could imagine in response to a refugee crisis of this scale, and we’re flooding Capitol Hill with phone calls and petition signatures to stop it.
Finally, we need to show the world that the hate mongers and racists don’t speak for us. So we’re teaming up with allies on college campuses and mobilizing MoveOn members on social media to show the world that we are a welcoming nation—and to push back against anti-refugee and anti-Muslim vitriol.
But this xenophobic anti-refugee backlash has intensified fast, which is why we need to raise at least $150,000 to enable all this work. Will you chip in $3?
Yes, I’ll chip in to stand with refugees and against anti-Muslim bigotry.
This is an incredibly dangerous moment for America. If we don’t push back against this outpouring of hate, it could spiral out of control into a wave of hate crimes like what we saw after 9/11—or get us stuck in another foolish war.
Republicans are telling people to be afraid of refugees. But over the past 40 years, America has taken in 2.5 million refugees.9 Not one terrorist attack has been committed in America by a refugee.10 Even the reports that the Paris attackers included a Syrian refugee are likely false.11
The truth is, attacking refugees makes America LESS safe by feeding extremist propaganda as a massively chaotic situation spills from Syria into Europe.
But the American people are scared. And they’re being misled by shameless politicians pandering to hate. That’s why we need to fight back now, before this gets out of control.
Will you chip in $3 to help stand against the anti-refugee backlash?
Click here to chip in and join the fight.
Thanks for all you do.
–Anna, Brian, Corinne, Milan, and the rest of the team
1. “House OKs GOP Bill To Curb Syrian Refugees With Veto-Proof Majority,” TPM, November 19, 2015
2. “Senate Dems Try To Shift Focus From Syrian Refugees By Backing Visa Waiver Limits,” HuffPost Politics, November 19, 2015
3. “30 Governors Call For Halt To U.S. Resettlement Of Syrian Refugees,” National Public Radio, November 17, 2015
4. “Syrian refugee family bound for Indiana forced to relocate after Gov. Pence’s ban on refugees entering state,” November 18, 2015
5. “A Complete Guide To How The GOP Candidates Reacted To Syrian Refugees After The Paris Attacks,” ThinkProgress, November 17, 2015
6. “Donald Trump: ‘Strongly consider’ shutting mosques,” CNN, November 16, 2015
7. “Tennessee GOP leader: Round up Syrian refugees, remove from state,” The Tennessean, November 17, 2015
8. “Syrian refugee fight sparks government shutdown threat,” Politico, November 16, 2015
9. “Refugee Resettlement in Metropolitan America,” Migration Policy Institute, March 1, 2007
10. “We risk more in not accepting Syrian refugees into the US,” The Hill, October 29, 2015
11. “Here’s Why You Should Stop Worrying About Terrorists Entering The U.S. As Refugees,” The Huffington Post, November 18, 2015
Want to support our work? MoveOn member contributions have powered our work together for more than 17 years. Hundreds of thousands of people chip in each year—which is why we’re able to be fiercely independent, answering to no individual, corporation, politician, or political party. You can become a monthly donor by clicking here, or chip in a one-time gift here.
This email was sent on November 23, 2015.

To Feast Again


Autumn is free-falling into winter already, and the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us again.

I celebrate this festive holiday pretty much like any other American. Well, pretty much like any other vegetarian American. Who also hates football. And refuses to own a TV. And who also is partly Indian (Native American) by direct family ancestry, and who was a supporter of the Indian activist occupation and reclamation of Alcatraz Island as a Gateway of Welcome to the entirety of the Free American Indian Homeland (ie Turtle Island, ie all of North America). That occupation by over 400 “Free Indians of All Tribes” lasted for 18 months, from just before Thanksgiving, November 1969, to June 1971, until U.S. Federal Marshals came with automatic rifles loaded and leveled and forcibly removed the peaceful, unarmed Indian occupants from their reclaimed island land.

My celebration of the holiday, since 1969, is always in this context. The conventional celebration of visiting and feasting is preceded by a day of more somber observance in recognition of the “forgotten” side, the hidden side, the tragic dark side, of the history of the holiday. Every since the Alcatraz occupy movement proclaiming the island as the Land of the Free Indians of All Tribes, and the Home of the Braves and their families, I have continued, along with millions of other Indians, fellow Métis (“Mixed Bloods”), and supporters, to annually observe what has been called by some “Unthanksgiving Day”—also known as National Day of Mourning and Reconciliation.

This is done with fasting, silent meditation, prayers, and more than a few tears, on the day before Thanksgiving (some years beginning as early as Monday or Tuesday), and ending at sunrise on Thursday, followed by the more or less conventional celebrations of visiting and feasting with family and friends, neighbors and strangers, as generally kept throughout the whole of our American society.

As we all know, Thanksgiving Day is said to be founded in large part as a memorial for the autumn day in 1621 when 91 members of the native Wampanoag tribe of Massachusetts and the 50 or so surviving English Pilgrim immigrants who had entered the nation the previous year joined together to enjoy a harvest feast which lasted three days. In addition to my Indian ancestors of several Native American nations, there are among my many other ancestral grandparents four who arrived in America in 1620 as immigrants from England on the Mayflower‘s first voyage. So my family has celebrated Thanksgiving Day right from its beginning 394 years ago.

Horrifically, three years after the Wampanoags had saved the uninvited newly arrived immigrants from all starving to death during the first winter, and two years after having shared their first Thanksgiving Day together, the Pilgrim Christian immigrants from England organized another harvest feast to which they invited their friendly Wampanoag hosts and saviors and many other Indians from several neighboring tribes to join them in celebrating their mutual “eternal friendship.” Shortly after the feasting began, over 200 of the Indian guests suddenly fell dead, having been secretly poisoned by their Christian hosts. The history of America’s Thanksgiving holiday quickly gets even worse and worse after that. (More on this sickening history of systematic genocide and ongoing terrorism later, but for now, let’s celebrate. Aho!

Join me in spirit on Wednesday then, if you wish. Along with millions of other concerned Americans, both Natives and immigrants, I’ll be privately praying and fasting from home as I do every year. Then let’s all remain joined together in spirit from wherever we are on the next day, Thursday, along with millions and millions of more Americans, both Natives and immigrants, when we all shall feast as we do every year. Happy Holidays, all y’all !  AHO!

Last year, I thoroughly enjoyed being taken out to Thanksgiving brunch by two of my lovely lady friends, A.S. and C.V.  We feasted at a groovy, intimately tiny, family-owned-&-operated natural veggie eatery. We stayed through the top of the morning til the place closed up at 1 pm. Then we took a nice long, leisurely postprandial walk-‘n’-talk together, three abreast, arms around each others’ waists. It was a touchingly intimate holiday visit. Unfortunately, I’ve only been able to visit with each of these two dear women once or twice since then.

At one point on our walk, I was overcome with my fondness for A & made some declaration of the affection I felt. She stopped walking, turned her face up to mine and kissed me, but didn’t say anything afterward. This little exchange prompted C to declare with some exasperation, “For heaven’s sake, you two, why don’t you ever finally just get it together? I can’t understand you guys!” Neither of us knew quite what to say. Fond as we both are of one another, somehow things just never seemed to solidify that way. Mysteries in life abound.

Hard to believe an entire year has gone by already since then.

A. and C. in some ways are each others best friend. CV is an intensely earnest, loyal, spiritually sensitive and questing soul. She has a gift for healing and always sees only the good in others. A lovely & tenderly-strong woman and devoted single mom. We became friends through our mutual friendships with A.

Sweet A. is quite lovely & loving, strongly sensitive & perceptive. Earlier this year, she moved back home to NY to care for her parents. I miss her.  A. was the first new friend I made after my dear beloved sweetheart passed on. A & I first met literally only 3 or 4 days later. My Beloved had said toward the very end, “Go out right away and mingle. Meet new people. Make new friends. Don’t be stuck. Don’t hold back. Embrace the future. Be open to love.” I will always have a very soft spot in my heart for A. She is such a fascinating & kind person. An original, with an always-curious intellect, a naturally sensuous verve, and is a creative and accomplished cook. She’s also an insightful and magical painter (MFA studio arts), world-traveled photographer, and a former modern-&-jazz dance trouper, among other good things.

When A & I first began to spent time together in earnest, I was afraid our age difference might be a little too great for us to feel completely comfortable relating closely to one another. And perhaps it has been a factor (?), though it has never seemed to be. Little did I know then that in the next 2-3 years I would go on to also date &/or find myself strongly crushing on a few other women, each one of whom was born later than A. The difference in age has not seemed to matter at all in my experience of spending time with each of these rather remarkable persons and in our sharing  mutual interests & friendships and joy in getting to know and care about one another.

Becoming life-partners might be a different matter, of course, for any two persons.

But I see no reason why it necessarily should be the case even then, perhaps especially then. Stranger things have been known to happen. As real as such a consideration of age difference can be, there are other more important compatibility factors—mutual love, and mutual shared attunement, being on compatible “wave-lengths,” and all that. Other factors than age may be more significant in their impact on, or contribution to a dating friendship, romantic relationship or life-partnership. There are mysterious forces at work in bringing any couple together.

For Thanksgiving Day this year, I have accepted the earliest of a few invitations received to join friends and their families for feasting & celebrating. I’m looking forward to visiting with my friends G & R, a somewhat new-ish couple. G runs his own consulting firm and R has recently started working for the Uni. having given up on a job with The Gummit. Her main calling, though, is writing romance novels with a metaphysical twist. G & R met online last year. One of the amazing online dating/ matchmaking success stories. They really have made a good match, quickly-&-easily fitting together into a dynamic dyadic duo.

Last Christmas/Hannukah, R invited me to join them and her folks and kids for holiday dinner. Her parents were living in the coach-house, her three teens were half out of the house & on into their early college forays. But this year G & R are living alone together in a new place all their own. R’s kids are close-by but not too close, her folks close-by but not too close. R & G make it all seem simple and grown up. Impressive. Moving right along, they recently visited China and are already shopping for a vacationary second home in the mountains. They are playful, always gently joking & teasing a lot. Fun friends to have.

We share a love of books, an interest in history, philosophy, politics, and spiritual considerations—all with enough of a light touch, an overlap, and a difference of taste and views to keep things interesting. And an enjoyment of good food and good company. It also helps that R is from the old school of mom-mentored Jewish American home-cooking, resulting in a ton of holiday food to share, especially desserts. So off to R & G’s new place it is, next Thursday.

I’m planning to write more about Thanksgiving in the next few days, but for now,

                  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

There is much to give thanks for, to be grateful for, so enjoy what is delightful and homey and delicious and convivial & celebratory about life, every day. We all have each other as friends and family, acquaintances and neighbors. As loved ones. As community, as planetary global family members. And that is the best and greatest thing. Dig it. Share it.

And just one day a year, eat til you sleep!

And here in the links below is a brief video and article about the Free Indian Land of All Tribes that was Alcatraz, and an article on the history of Thanksgiving.                                                                 Learn thou (edge-you-muh-cate yo’ bad-ass self) and thrive!  Emaho!

A little history of Alcatraz All Tribal Free Indian Home Land:

A little history of Thanksgiving Holiday:



Viggo, man

from  Thursday Nov 5
Late this afternoon I watched/listened to the wonderful live on-air studio interview from Democracy Now!—The War & Peace Report, conducted by journalist hosts Amy Goodman & Nermeen Shaikh with the amazing Viggo Mortensen. Just lovely, heartening stuff. Serendipitously, I’d just had a conversation earlier in the afternoon covering some of the same topical details with a musician/theatre acquaintance I hadn’t seen for several months. We’d talked of artists and art as activists and activism, what some have coined “artivists” and “artivism”. And then almost immediately afterward I went online and there was the interview with Viggo addressing some of the same topics.

Lovely Viggo!—what can’t that guy do? Accomplished actor, musician, poet, painter, essayist, photographer, publisher/editor/anthologist, multilinguist (English, Danish, Spanish, French, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, and Catalan!). And activist. After college and before turning to acting, Viggo worked driving trucks across Europe & selling flowers on the street. Became friends with the late Howard Zinn. Was married to Exene Cervenka! (who seems recently to have gone somewhat loony, poor thing). For past several years now, Viggo has been partnered with a Spanish actress & has adopted her kids. He writes about his respect for, and personal bonding with horses, and has purchased some of the horses who starred with him in films so he can continue his daily bond with them. He also bought another horse-star to give as a companion to the stunt-woman who had ridden & bonded with the horse in one of his films. That makes me so happy. Such a generous, thoughtful thing to do.




a little night music

Listening to some very fine music tonight:—some more night ragas, some wonderfully goofy 60s surf music, some Mongolian overtone throat-singing fused with the Bulgarian Women’s Choir, various other things delicious to my hungry ears and heart.
Here’s a couple of the Mongolian fusion pieces put to very nice videos by the Transglobalist, Jim Bennett.

Mongolia Portrait Teaser

Mongoliad (2015) – Teaser

So proud of “the Transglobalist,” Jim Bennett! I’ve been enjoying his thoughtful cycling & paragliding travel-adventure videos for a year or so now, but here, he shares his openly activist heart. There are 6 billion good causes on Earth. Jim’s project is one of them. Good on ya, Jimbo-Ji !

I’d Love To Change the World


Is your beard up-to-date?

(the accompanying image, above, should read:                                    “Someday soon, This…Will be remembered like this.”)

Last week, after a day slogging through endless grading, I decided to rejoin NB, a friend and former game-night teammate in an indoor mind-sports game of “team trivial pursuit” at a local sports bistro. For a few months, earlier this year, I was playing on a team with N twice a week. He admits to being addicted to the game & actually still plays six nights a week, every week.

Though it was definitely fun at times to hang out with our team every week, and to meet and become friendly with some of the other teams, the game itself never rose above PFB for me—Pretty F—ing Boring. Capital F Boring. I just couldn’t keep going. But this particular afternoon I ran into N; he was resigned to playing by himself as a one-person team until I happened along; he didn’t look thrilled about it, and so I volunteered to join him after dinner.

I got there half-way into the second round, and over the next hour managed to supply a few of the right answers N didn’t happen to know, including the name for a female fox (“vixen”—how did he not know that?!) and the name of the lawyer & future US president who stood as public defender for the British soldiers who had murdered colonial citizens at the Boston Massacre (“John Adams”—why do I remember stupid details like that, which I’d not thought of since the 3rd grade?). We won $35 for the first place prize against about 20 teams of university students (mostly guys, very few gals playing that night). But they’d all been drinking, and we hadn’t. Maybe that helped.

At this particular bar, all the wait staff are college males, most of whom were sporting the new “lumber-sexual” style of beard, etc. A good many of the college guys drinking and playing there were also sporting this Paul Bunyan bearded look, completed with crew-cut or stand-up-thatch on top with shaved crew sides and back, with plaid wool shirt, cuffed stiff bluejeans with or without suspenders, and sturdy lace-up faux lumberjack work boots. I find the look ridiculous here in the urban desert, especially when it’s identically reproduced by two of every three guys in the same crowded venue. I suppose it’s way better than all of them still looking exactly like the same Marine recruit or used car salesman or CPA or I.T. nerd or faux boho hipster.

But it just seems so comic to me. This silly fad of the fake urban lumberjack look has become mainstreamed here just in the course of this semester. It almost makes me want to shave my own ancient beard! …and throw-out any plaid wool shirts I may still have left over from my years of living in the woods of British Columbia.

I was late in arriving for our effortless trivial team win because half a block away from the venue I got pulled-over and cited by a (beard-less) campus policeman (a mile or two from campus) when he noticed in the dark as I passed his squad car in the midst of a busy traffic intersection that the very tiny registration tag on the corner of my license plate was outdated.

Follow-up Note:
Two days later, and almost $300 lighter in pocket ($20 for renewed smog-testing, $135 for renewed registration tag, and $125 court fine for the “traffic ticket”—discounted by the court clerk from the $500 standard fee), and I’m good to go. All public servants involved, including the young campus-based cop, were polite, thankfully. But keep your tags up to date. That ~$300 was my food money for the month and beyond. “Watch the parking meters,” Bobby Dylan sang. A storefront bookstore I used to frequent had a sign just inside the door: “Is your meter solvent?”

going, going, gone…gone beyond

Lovely KS arrives as soon as I’ve found a table at the fashionably funky coffee joint in the snood (student hood). This naturally elegant critter is becoming one of my favorite persons, and a big crush.
As soon as she comes in, she catches sight of me, breaks into a big smile and rushes over, calling my name. We had no plans to meet, but I’ve been thinking of her a lot over the past few days, and especially strongly for some reason during the past hour. And suddenly here she is! I couldn’t plan this much good karmic kismetic-magnetic co-inky-dinky stuff if I tried!

K is an enchanted slip of a sylph who always just appears when she appears—you can’t often expect to pre-arrange solid dates with her! Exasperating as this is, I don’t mean to suggest that she’s a flibberty-gibbet; I’m sure if she found me half as appealing as I find her (as if that were possible!), she’d find a way to schedule considerably more solid together-time for the two of us. It’s been a couple of months already since we’ve been able to enjoy much more than a quick sit-down hello and lingering stand-up hug, and since our last meeting I’ve been missing her.

But she is legitimately super busy, finishing an honors degree while also working full time at a straight job (not a very healthy straight job, IMHO). She is also running her own start-up, a one-woman enterprise that is impressively sophisticated with a sprig of zingy, and is beginning to get traction. Spring semester will be her final term, and so she’s cranking up for graduation in May, after seven years of study. “Once I graduate in May,” she assuages me reassuringly, “there’ll be lots more time for us to spend together!” May?! Meanwhile, for winter break she’s headed to Italy with her best girl friend, something they planned years ago.

K’s quiet dynamism, her confidently determined manner,—her overly-full plate!—is duly impressive. She is also what one can only admit is stunningly gorgeous, with a side profession as a sought-after model—a career she’s enjoyed since she was fifteen. When I first looked through her catalog, I realized “Wow! she’s always been striking, but her beauty emerges more each year.”

But what I like so much about K is: she’s pure-hearted. There’s a rare goodness to her cultivated personality as well as in her natural being. Always genuinely friendly, there’s an almost palpable inner quietude about her. She is unaffected/unaffectated at depth, despite an early surfacey interest in playing semi-seriously at various roles, & despite all the goofy nonsense at the core of the professional fashion/ modeling scene. Also, even taking into account a campy vampy early teen immersion in some gothy dark-cloaked music-related scenes, K’s been deeply interested in genuine spirituality and enlightenment since childhood. “If only I had more time for yoga these days,” she sighs to me today.

Did I mention that in addition to all this, she’s also an activist, spending part of every busy year as a volunteer, working with programs that directly aid the truly suffering and desperately needy members of our community? If you haven’t started falling in love with her already from what I’ve been sharing here, you just don’t know what’s real. K is smart and reflective, and her strongly quiet good-natured presence makes me a little more woozy each time we meet. She sheds delicious sunny happiness in an effortless, un-selfconscious way.

But she’s only rushed in to this place just now to grab some coffees for her office crew. After lingering for ten minutes to trade news of developing events in both our lives, she finally goes on up to the counter to collect her team’s hot cups-to-go. And then she’s off, slipping gracefully out onto the street, trailing galactic clouds of star-dust in seven glorious hues and flavours.

And I’m left with the deeply rich flush of having stood once again for a few moments in her full-length embrace. An embrace in which everything other than simple happiness disappears and time & space melt into each other, fill to the brim, and overflow into boundless Rich Immediacy. Lost in this warmly radiant transparency for a few moments, I hear K actually coo my name! So softly…  She makes no move to shift away, so we continue to stand with our bodies pressed together, holding each others hands for another long moment. Finally, concerned that I’m delaying her, I clasp her slender hips between my hands, and gently give them a slow little turn back and forth like we’re dancing a subversive Twist, and confess, “I’m sorry, but now it seems I must be keeping you! …” She’s tickled by this little word play, and it brings to her lips a sparkling laugh, like the sound of white coral bells. And that’s when I realize acutely, “Yes, dear fellow, you’re a gonner now…”

The Costly Cup


Thurs Nov 12
Had to scootch down to Main Campus to take care of some silly admin things. Which went rather quickly. So then decided to trundle forth into the big dark loud hipster coffee hangout in the snood (student hood). It’s really not so bad, but is the kinda place where they charge $5-even for a rather smallish size “large” simple chai or coffee. Reminds me of Lew’s great poem, one of my favs, though I’ve never been a drinker:

for Neil Davis, Innkeeper

At 50 cents
I can buy my second drink
with change from the first.

At 60 cents
I have to wait for my third drink
before I can buy it
with change from the first two.

At 70 cents
I have to wait for the fourth drink
before I can buy it with change.

You have left me penniless,
and drunk.

—Lew Welch [1970]

Poor Lew, it was drink finally got to him, largely. That, and life. Generally speaking.
Anyway, the drink-inflation poem is particularly apt to my visiting this over-priced coffee place, as the only other times I’ve been in here, twice, were to meet-up with my beautiful friend Xy X. She was once a bar tender herself, in a distant mountain town, and some months ago, when she was exploring one of my own old happy haunting-grounds, riding a rental bike over the Golden Gate into beautiful Marin, she happened upon the country inn (still in operation) which is the unnamed setting for Lew’s 50 cent drinking poem. It’s a quaint eating establishment that has long held a special place in my heart (though not for its bar!). My fondness for the place is only tangentially connected to Lew’s poem: I met Lew before I discovered the inn, on my own steam. Didn’t realize he’d once been a regular there until later still, when I first discovered this particular juicy little poem gem of his.  I think Lew’s ability to cut precise little gems like this was partly connected to his years as a carpenter–able to pound those long nails all the way down straight with two quick blows–Whap! Th’WHONK!!

The poem appears in Lew’s posthumous volume of collected poems:

Ring of Bone: Collected Poems (New & Expanded Edition)
Lew Welch
Foreword by Gary Snyder
published by City Lights, San Francisco