How do Senses Bleed out Sense

How do senses bleed out sense?
the more I lose my sense with you
the more full my blood
and swollen sense with tender touch
roughly takes the smallest shape
and makes a hair of time
tremendous weight.

Troy After Helen

If the moon reflected the grief of the sun, so I could reflect the grief of a beloved. Written imagining a secret cult of the Persian Goddess Inanna lived in Troy, and fled, secret, throughout the world.

Warriors of the goddess, find strength in tears.
All braided Helens that were or will be 
shadows, O’Hara, Dido, Carmen, Rachel, 
Rachel, Sarah, barren princess, Medea,
tiny, the beauteous bundles of will,
in which we saw her face reflect her own.

Ten ten thousand goddesses launched to bring
her aching images, all kinds, not one,
war with herself, 
the goddess is not one, many, not forms
or forms only, say connections, mysteries
singing behind music, beyond my words,
and sometimes tears. Did she feel most betrayed,
by her own kind, when, on toetop, peering 
over our parapet she saw Athene, 
and Hera, over to Minoa’s side?
Or did she feel a victory knowing
even goddesses sailed over the fray
more, goddess may oppose goddess, and not 
be false though one too-true god cracks the world.

Did she know then that now, she, Minerva, 
Hera, Diana, and Inanna, be, 
with us, sailing from mansacked much-walled Troy?
To dig ourselves in Rome and wait merry
remembering a moment we beheld 
the shegoddess beyond her eyes and though 
that not to call her back, but to carry through
changing so as we shed shadows.

Vulture, Phoenix, and Snake, though not the same
they harmonize a sliding song of change.
Victory’s not our end, nor is defeat, 
and though the battle’s not without regret
and though sometimes we guard the shedding snake
only to be bitten in that struggle 
we are alive through all the little deaths,
stung, singing, glad the snake has shed its skin,.

And we, warriors, crying behind our shields,
beaten, without defeat, undaunted yet
through mourning we carrying the rosette 
to that eight-pointed star. Draw swords, and cut 
away our skins, and shed, survive by death,
sever an anchor rope, and sail away,
airing our still-smouldering, ashy wings.
The goddess lives, in all, a multitude
can always die, and always be reborn.

We weep for her, and she will weep through us,
us to each other and to everything
as everything to us. This is goddess,
and she is shedding her shadows.

And does the moon

And does the moon love the sea?
nightly it pulls her from her thousand beds
daily circles her, draws and presses her.

Does the sea love the moon?
she crawls up the shores
she climbs the hills.
She wears at mountains, and tides follow the moon
round the earth all with desire.

And deeply?
don’t you know,
tides pull the depth of the ocean
much as the surface.
the force of the moon
drives in the depths of the sea.

Fragments from: 1001 famous views of home

As so often, I bit off more than I could chew, and wanted to write 1001 poems about the gratitude and mystery of home-ness.

A doorway.

Once, maybe, you were trees.
A pine on a far-flung early century northwestern hill,
that sprouts, now, apartments like boxy grey shrubs.
The wind touched you, played with your pine needle hair;
you were an oak too, carrying water
from ground to leaves, quiet veins,
filled with transmuted sunlight.
Sheltering smell, and mystery.
Today, you are a doorway,
and thank you, doorposts,
doorframe, door, for being my doorway.

There is something wrong inside you,
a door-doctor told me so once.
but you stay my doorway nonetheless,
the trouble is not urgent.

And you let me in.
To every doorway,
through every tree, transmuted sunlight,
linteled close, or a world apart,
each homes’ a miracle,
of isolation and connection.

The corner.

That is the corner.
That is the corner.

No one knows what you did,
in that corner.

Fragments from: A Children’s Book of Neuroscience Poetry

Speaking of biting off more than I can chew… Back when I was working on neuroscience projects measuring children’s reading, writing, and word-recognition, I worked on poems for children about the techniques we used.


There is a little lightning-storm
contained inside your brain
it’s ordered and it’s magic;
the splitting spikes of fire,
transmitting chemicals,
leaping from wire to wire.

If we can get these little ears
just as close as we can
we can feel the lightning
we can hear the sound

We listen for the signals
that tell us when things strike
to understand what words are
and when the word is right.


Your brain, your brain, your beautiful brain,
it’s got trucks and cars and boats and trains,
neurotransmitters, rocketing off, 
it’s got hubs, intersections, starts and stops!

It’s got every manner of tiny traffic
in chemicals, electrons, bases and acids,
but how can we tell what’s going on there?
It’s much too small to just part your hair.

(Following verse only for children with a sense of slapstick humor)

We really don’t want, I do suppose,
to open your skull or peer up your nose,
to inject you with a tracking radiation
or connect your brain to a radio station.

So what do we do, well we get really tricky
we get as smart as the situation is sticky!
We wait a while till some neurons are grazing
or gassing up their trucks, or have their rockets blazing,
and then we watch, really, really close –
and wait to see where your blood goes

The blood is the fuel, the food, the blood is the fire
the brain keeps burning it, to keep you inspired
and we can see the places it stays
by bouncing little magnetic waves
then doing some really fancy math
that’s cool, but puts out quite a big graph

An voila, there we have, a movie of
Your brain, the center of reading and love
and where in the brain, what little blood-carts carry,
the wonderful things, that make everyone merry.

Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods is a fantastic mushroom (or, really, a species-group of mushrooms). It grows rather extensively in the Pacific Northwest, particularly on dead trees. When hiking, in certain areas, you can see (and eat) great colonies of it.

Ref (particularly for images): Kuo, M. (2010, March). Laetiporus sulphureus: The chicken of the woods. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/laetiporus_sulphureus.html

First flame of autumn
orange fruit of orange sky,
like layered clouds, unmistakable,
sailors’ delight in the ocean of trees,
though promising, perhaps, more rain.

Frequent fire, eating away,
what is life to us, to trees, slow decay,
friendfoe of forests, feeds on the dead,
clearing for the living,
feeding traveler on travelled,
guiding the woods to newness.

True fruits promise winter in sweetness,
finding your realness is hard, 
as finding your body is not – 
We once thought you were one 
scattered round the globe – now you are five (or six)
and will not mate with each other
with exception of that special slutty conifericola
where fifteen percent will greedly cross-breed huroniensis-way

Sulphureus, huroniensis , gilbertsonii, cincinnatus , conifericola, all laetiporus,
almost indistinguishable to the naked eye, all edible
through some few report distress, 
but only mild, so don’t mind, try:
Best when new, fleshy, even juicy,
cook, eat, this is the forests’ body
given gratefully, 
as we all eat ourselves
and live, gratefully.

Time Taken Together

Taken together, time trips and trickles,
immeasurable as an indigo stream, sprung,
high in mountain moonlight, mesmerizing,
till motion stills the heart, somewhere in
the streamsongs, quiet beat your eyes.

We stretch together, silent save for silt-soft sliding,
breath, heartbody opening, lengthing, broadening.
My heart has had more yoga than my hams,
and stretches easily into stillness with you,
like streams stretch, waters’ endless electric elasticity,
glad to gush down this granite grove,
going, into itself, and, in time,
into thunderous torrenting,
till mountaintops, snowing,
start sliding the spring stream again.

The rhythm repeats, rising, relaxing,
rising, like us, to speak truly,
time will make all rivers repeat,
all streams murmur our names,
till the smooth wrinkles one day,
filament our faces,
reflecting rivers of joy, passion,
of every happy word
which bow immediate to
we who bear the feeling into being.

Time being

Written while pondering how we might live the implications of the unity of space and time.

Time, being time,
for the time being,
being time’s time.
Beings’ being, being times’,
by times’ being being being.
For time, time being time
times times’ time.
Being not for time, but time,
for being.