Why all in the shape of poetry? -- I like the finite look of short lines, limited excursions. Bit maps! Straightfoward prose seems to me to demand a story, and I have no story to tell, just some rambles, rants, portraits and poems, odd bytes of the brain's activity turned into words, recorded on paper, crypted in cyberspace.

Jan Haag


Rants, Rambles, Poems And Portraits

Rants, Rambles, Portraits And Poems

Portraits, Poems, Rants And Rambles

Poems, Portraits, Rambles And Rants



Let's face it,
I started out with a dream
Of fame and fortune,
But another dream as well:
To think deeply.
To divert fresh dew into
The river of unmatchable
Pleasure I found in books.
Oh, I have friends enough,
Cyberspace buddies
Who've found me out
There in the void,
Who read and quote me.
But that's not the fame
I was looking for, certainly
Not the fortune. I have not made
A penny a poem in a lifetime.

What I did find was a way
To hone my mind, spend my time,
A reason and enthusiasm
To follow many curious roads
Exotic foot paths, trails,
Leading into the brush
Of my mind, untrammeled,
Untamed off-shoots, side-shoots
Fairly frequently a fortnight
Ahead of the pack, enjoying,
Like masturbation, a solitary
Pleasure, neglected, frowned upon
By those of the tenured path.

The world has got more cramped,
More criminal, more owned
By the greed and possession mongers.
There's hardly a place left
For a wayward thought
But a doorway pre-claimed
By the homeless. Scandal
Salaciousness have their audience.
Thumping music and howling
Song share the air with bells
And whistles, the tsunamis
Of traffic, machinery, the caws
Of the million crows, the screeches
Of seagulls, the mandatory
Preoccupation with coin counting
The tabla rasa of the soul.
I used to blame the British,

Those colonizers. For a long time
I blamed them for the ruination
Of the world, the siphoning off
Of difference, for the murder
And enslavement of the races.
But then the blaze of two planes
And two falling towers highlighted
The fuzz in our own navel,
The stink of rotting morals,
The putrefaction at the core.
Thus it was and ever shall be.
Times were not worse before,
Nor were they any better.

Is this that much sought after
Goal of life? To have the eyes
Pried open ever so slowly, ever
So painfully to recognize that goodness,
Truth and beauty, freedom and compassion
Are merely the placating words of murderers,
Enslavers, that the lie is total in this world
And in my own heart. Even my kitten Shiva
Is half malicious, blood drawing, a tiger,
The other half soft-pawed and purring.
The earth supports us and opens it jaws
Periodically to consume us or blast us back
To our constituent molecules. Is that
The lesson? Is that the goal of consciousness?
To learn that the division goes right to the core?
Is the core. To learn, as Sadhus know,
That there is nothing to do but sway

To the rhythm of the way things are,
Will ever be, sit in contemplation
Of the spectacle, enjoy the ephemeral view,
Dubious knowledge, dubiosity of hope
Dubiously conceived around dubitable thoughts
Dubitably executed. Dubitancy of motive of
Dubitant leaders, dubitate followers,
Dubitating ethics, dubitatingly initiated.
Dubitation the result, dubitative the future.
Dreams are gone, hopes are dead
Life goes on, nothing changes,
Nothing remains the same.
I still can't figure out why I go on

Entertaining myself at the concert,
The on-going-ness of life. It is still impossible
To believe that life is as ornately simple
As it turns out to be: Like a murder case
Requiring only motive, means, opportunity --
As fitting to life as to death. What will be will be.
What is is. Chance plays with dice.
Dice rule the world. To what end? --
You well may ask. To the end of motion
And pattern, energy's release.
To have lived so long,
written so much, to remain
unheard, humanity's anguished heart
is frozen like a ball. Dubitatively
Forming duble by dublers. The dublet heart
Cries against dubment, against duboisine,
Fate dubs each invisible.

Where will the anguish lead? Lay down
Your ploughshares, sheath your sword,
Nothing happens, but what happens
Today. Content yourself with your
Contentable life, wishing, striving
Produces nothing, there is no content
Tomorrow. The dubster plays us all
Dubul what we are, Dubya is what
We will be given a dubylle chance.
I'm not what I wanted to be. I'm not
What I seem. I am what I am
And finally may be
Content to be.



Most of the things I try to think about are
unthinkable conundrums.
Like when and why did this warfare among humans start?
Why is it that we are born into a world where the best thing
we can do is try to undo, nullify, rectify what has been
done by those who have gone before: governments (all corrupt)
monarchs (all corrupt), the unfairness, the starvation, the slavery
imposed upon people by their own species, tribe, country, town,
Was there ever a time when we were fair with each other, gentle, kind?
Oh yes, daily, often in your life and mine.
Why does this not translate into larger collections of beings being
humane, one to another.
How many times do we need proof to believe that there is plenty of food
in this world, so that no one need starve, and already too many goods,
so no one need do without their gewgaws. The problem is they
are owned, the food and the goods, by people
who. having too much, don't eat the food or use the goods.
They'd rather have food stored (awaiting a good price) then let
starving people eat?
Who must profit by every dollar sweated off the backs of employees
in societies poorer than we are, lest their profits fall below the maintenance
level of Their Life Style.

If Bill Gates is worth 60 billion dollars
( that's the most recent figure I've heard --
down from 90 billion a few years ago) than it seems
self evident that he has overcharged the public
to the tune of at least 59 billion.
Imagine a world where everyone had complete computer
access for pennies a year, as if the computer were
simply an extension of the human brain.
It could be thus. BG could give everyone in the world
his software now and still live like a king far beyond his death.

But that's not the point. Profit! is the point. Pointless profit,
power, enslavement, anxiety, stress for and envy from the human race,
let it spend its time on earth scrabbling for food and hating one another.

I say nothing new, my mind races around like the serpent who
swallowed its tail and gave rise to comprehension of the benzene ring.

And in conclusion:
Why are you so unhappy, my dear, you have enough to eat,
a fabulous place to live, enough to do whatever you wish,
having, years since, got rid
of grandiose dreams, desires.
Why are you not jumping up and down with delight -- daily?



Maybe it is time to just bag it.
I stand here at the very edge,
the periphery, alone, looking
over a landscape strewn with
our civilization, gone, not with
with wind, but with the mad
power drive of a Cheney or two.

Why? one asks bewildered. Doesn't
he have enough money to eat and a
place to sleep, a place to wake where
the birds sing? Where the sun creeps
along the wall making shadow clones
of the leaves' brightness. I have
little money and no power

and I miss neither. How can Cheney
keep feeling so insufficient, so
deprived that he must conquer
the world, destroy civilization, set
up a new one, create new laws
to bind everyone to doing
his will rather than

their own. Why? Thursday they
looted the Iraqi Museum -- treasure
house of some of our oldest bits of
civilization. They brought in wheel
barrows and boxes, carts and intention
and took away 4,000 year old cuneiform
tablets, stole gold and stone and no

one -- not the U.S., who had been asked
to protect the museum -- there to stop
them. Hauled away our very beginnings,
some into oblivion and some, no
doubt, onto the market where, Cheney,
when he finally feels he has enough
to be curious about other things,

will probably buy them as perks
belonging to his dictatorship of
the world. Status symbols. They
will be even rarer by then. For,
does anyone know who took them
and destroyed the museums records?
Or maybe we'll find that Cheney
has an antique business on the side,
stores dealing in ancient artifacts,
the value of which, beyond his
singular monetary vision, he cannot
conceive. But then again, perhaps
he is right, and it is time to just
bag it, give up on our civilization,
cluster bomb it all to smithereens.

I stand alone at the periphery, watching
the devastation. He stands closer,
causing it, planning his next war.


Which leads again to my second speculation
on dark matter and that inborn untreatable
genetic defect, that male desire to make war.
We have a few hints in a few places of non-
warring civilizations, a matriarch or two,
lands of peacefulness, pleasure. But always
marching along, come men with the trumpets

and the axes, making exercise out of it, or
a religion, Ah the camaraderie of it all -- to be in
the trenches blasting the skulls off babies.
The breathless fights, where the pilots end up
envying the smart bombs, free and outside
the womb of the plane, aimed at infinity
through that building, exploding it into

fragmentary bits of the big bang. It's in
the blood. It just is! War is man's noblest
game. They used to have the guts to just
say it. Now they pettifog it, but not our
Cheney. If we get his tapes during the trial
we'll probably find that he was very clear
about what he was doing -- the greatness

of empire, even if it means enslaving
the world, perhaps especially if it means
enslaving the world. His other choice.
Well, having driven us mad enough,
we could all become suicide bombers
leave him to enjoy his spoils on a
blank and spoiled earth. But I'm not

lonely, perhaps he wouldn't be either.
"Just bag it, boys, throw it in the wheel-
barrow, pack it on the mule, walk this
treasure out of here. Meaningless to me,
we can probably sell it to help finance
the oil. [How quickly he'll forget there's
no one else alive.] Hell," he'll keep on
yelling, "maybe we'll drink the oil
from the ancient cups of gold.
Just bag




I live in an Ivory Tower,
but the view from here is extraordinary.

Everything, national security, patriot act,
axis of evil, is being set up, installed
on a permanent basis.

What do you think can possibly happen after
a regime change election in America 2004,

Pull out of Iraq? return the oil? apologize to
Afghanistan? take away the armaments boys
guaranteed dole? discharge Halliburton? Bechtel?

Is there going to be a regime change? Will Jeb
Bush, his Floridians, and the Supreme (Republican)
Court allow it? How are they going to manipulated,
and propagandize the election this time to attain
their ruthless goals?

There are two problems.

The second one is:

Who? Who in our supposedly Constitutional run
America can we turn to to impeach the Bush,
refuse more pre-emptive wars, when the
Congress itself, both houses, is strangled
by the manipulation and propaganda
of Bush and his Gang of 4
already multiplying out to
8, 16, 32.

Who'sgoing to interfere with the "AmericanDream"
of, into perpetuity, being the only super power
anywhere in the world, keeping the earth at
perpetual war, so we can exercise pertual
dominance and pump up all the oil,
siphoning the profits into the
pockets of the 200.

Why have we heard no one speak of
after the election. As if, even if the
Democrats win, how can they NOW
alter America's course toward
Hitler's dream of
Ayran dominance.

The present is a total loss
Is anyone thinking of the future?
The Project for a New American Century
author's of course are hard at work,

but we, us, the protesters who have seen
who see the horror of their vision.
How are they going to stop the
inertia toward dictatorship,
totalitarianism, whether they win the 2004 election,
or lose it.

Is there any path back? And if not, what is the
alternate (to total, endless war) path forward?
Who's thinking about this, Kerry? Dean? certainly not the
turncoat Liberman,

enemy combatants, striped of civil rights
and non-combatant enemies

The insanity of billions in taxes cuts
as we plunge trillions into debt
into the total ruination of our economy
with rising tides of unemployed,
people living in the street.

How do we undo these precedents?

Is the only answer to Impeach Bush

I could see the Iraq war miles off, troops in the gulf
mad justifications of weapons of mass destruction
facist talk by the Pres,
and no one paying any attention

This Iraq war was planned! more than a decade ago,
once the wheels started to turn,
no one was going to stop them,
not the UN, France, Germany, Russia,
not reason or clear motive, or even guilt.

Secret incarcerations, illegal detentions, plots
carried out in subterranean ways.



it is meant to be like it is and we humans
should give up our puny efforts to interfere.
Geology is an instructive subject

-- quite new, and it now tells me
that Paleozoic time, 570 to 200 million years ago,
"...ended with the extinction of at least 90%
of all the animals on earth during late
Permian time."* (255 million years ago.)

And again, Mesozoic time, began 245 million
years ago "...ended 65 million years ago,
when another catastrophic extinction wiped out
about 65 percent of the world's animals..."**
including the dinosaurs.

That first 90% makes me think of the 90% extinctions
of the population of the Americas that the European
invasion by sword and by smallpox caused.

Maybe we are just one more bit of ammunition in
nature's arsenal of extinction. Our record is pretty good,
even just for this and the past century, 6,000,000 Jews,
9,000,000 in the India/Pakistan separation as well as 9,000,000
women in the witchcraft purges, 1,000,000 in Rwanda, 2, 000,000
in Cambodia, to say nothing of the creations of the conditions
which allowed us to wipe out 25,000,000 via the bubonic plague,
the colonizations that dealt with the 1,000,000 original aboriginies inhabitants
of Australia, the millions of original inhabitants of Africa,
to say nothing of the 90% of the New World population that was killed by mass murder and disease.

I could dig up another 100 statistics of mass killings,
via sword and disease -- maybe 170,000,000 total:
62,000,000 by the Soviets,
36,000,000 by China,
21,000,000 total by the Nazis.
One wonders how many millions the U.S.A. has killed in its struggle to Democratize the World.

But perhaps all of these are simply nature's manifestation of
earthquake and volcano within the human spirit.
There we are, possessed of awesome demons,
that send us on murderous rampages
year after year after year.

If so,
what's to be done?
Sit back and enjoy the spectacle?
Maybe this is the answer to my poignancy
expressed in Cosmologies.
We are here, we watch these events of time-lengths
perceivable by us, and weep and weep,
while we can ignore the inchy creep
of continents one upon another,
the mass extinctions of long ago.

Who are we to think we can -- or even should --
prevent the death of species here at this time in this place.
A bit of hubris I would say,
instead of looking directly at what we do,
how we behave, notice our
instrumentality in the hands of nature
to effect what she has always done,
will always do.

*Northwest Exposures, David Alt and Donald Hyndman, p. 48
**Ibid, p. 51



Why is it that man cannot think in multitudes?
I begin reading The Future of Life by Edward O. Wilson.
Knowing I will love it! First and foremost
because he has used Isabella Kirkland's painting
of which I, most accidentally, wildly and passionately
possess a small, exquisite copy --
have for years, before the time, even,
when it appeared on the cover of an
"earth" or "nature" magazine.

Why do people clutch this
particular painting to their bosoms?
It illustrates the Endangered and Extinct Species
on this earth. And it is beautiful!

In the nineteen-seventies, I believe,
when there was an exhibit of Women Painters
(through the ages, the first of its kind)
at the Los Angeles County Museum.
In it there were several paintings by
a woman, I believe, named Rachel.
They were the most beautiful, exquisite and detailed
still-lifes, mostly of flowers, I had ever seen.
But there was not even a post card to buy.
Since then I have craved
to have as a companion to my life
to own, in my place of habitation,
a still-life equal to the beauty of Rachel's.

One day, visiting California, climbing into
my friend Craig's van in Sausalito, there on the back
seat lay a very small picture of the most
exquisite still life (equal to Rachel's) I had ever seen.
I said: "What's this?"
He said "A reject. Have it if you like."
I clutched it to my bosom,
where it stuck to my heart.
Craig prints on the computer, in color, exquisite
reproductions of art.
The best I've ever seen.

And he has a bad memory,
almost as bad as my own.
He didn't, just off hand, remember the artist's name.
So, from time to time, I heard her name and forgot it.
But here I see Wilson's use -- the book has been given to me
by a departing-for-the-woods-friend -- and I will, I know,
now know Isabella's name forever --
as long as my own particular mind lasts.

Wilson begins by calling Thoreau an artist, defining
(with my own definition)
what at artist is, a definition I will quote on the
opening page of my website.

Then he begins to define generations, using the father-son
routine of well-known lads of the arts and sciences
and leaving out the rest of humanity, as if --
because he happened to know about them --
the one's he knows were important and the ten million others,
who lived and died and thought and wrote and painted
and suffered and rejoiced and died, were not worth mentioning.
I bet there have been a million Thoreau's -- of his thought, and life style,
his ability to write -- dotted here and there over the earth
both before and after T's habitation at Walden Pond.

Why does "history" offend me so?
Would I be so offended if I were actually there in its annals?
Is it only sour grapes? Or is it the missing of the sweetness
of all other grapes except the limited, limiting, small
crop of historical figures, studied and restudied and restudied
as if there were no other grapes, champagne grapes to be known.
The known ones, often mediocre, often outmoded,
are almost never discarded
even when proved wrong or obnoxious.
Even when, occasionally, it is shown that some other obscure
figure did it first or better or more beautifully or more lastingly,
history is remains a set, almost static, a rote recital, of a certain
number of events and inventions that a very small
coterie of people created and wrote down in their personal diary and others were forced to or willing to call history.
Very exclusive, excluding almost everyone else in the world,
seldom welcoming or embracing other geniuses than their
own. As if billions of lives could be summed up by the single
citing of the achievements of one.

Now, I must read a bit more, and see,
after he's done placing himself on the knee of
Julian Huxley and thus unmistakably in the line of history,
how he gets to talking about the future
of life -- which surely, if there ever was one,
is/was a multitudinous affair.

In the meantime, I will try to pay homage to the millions of
Thoreaus, before and after the 19th Century
who lived elsewhere than on this scrape of Massachusetts land
beggared from the Indians --
all of whom were Thoreaus, observing, noting, for thousands of years.


Yet one might say I am obsessed with obtaining my place in history.
But I do not want to play their game their way.
It is not that I want their -- those in history's -- company.
I just want the "readership".
I don't want to hawk my wares, I don't want to plant myself
squarely within their findings on human life.
I do believe that everyone,
though they are often discouraged,
and may not be very good at it,
has something unique to say about living.
But almost everyone else's thoughts
get lost by the ownership of the small coterie
who write and fight their way into history.


Well, naturally, by the time I get to page xxi,
I am proved wrong and skee-wah,
a jumper-to-conclusions, a not-willing-to-listen-
to-the-other-guy (except under duress and after
I have expressed my own limited opinions),
a prototype of jealousy that T is famous and I am dumb...

Well he's not, just read his motivation as quoted
by Wilson on pages xx and xxi -- what else are they
but my own? He just did it first and better,
or maybe not better -- he just got famous for it
and I am still obscure up here in my eyrie-nunnery --
working away on the same: What the hell is it? --
this life stuff!!!!! This minute by minute and
galloping by generations stuff!

It never seems to get any place,
it goes round and round, and each
round different? Civilizations come washing up
on shore, not better, not worse, just different --
with all the little creepy/crawlies that are the passion of
Wilson, and all the crows and birds of Thorough! -- as
W is at pains to tell us he pronounced his name.

Once again, it's my all-but-seventy-years-battle
with innovation and tradition.
How I love beyond imagining the fanatically traditionsl,
classical purity of Swapanji's drumming.
At the same time, how I love,
in my own art, not to follow anyone who has gone
before, to experiment night and day, poem by poem,
silly and profound, trying, always, to peer into what
comes my way day by day. And trying to glue it together
with what I KNOW. To answer the riddles of Thoreau
and my own.

Always ending up envying those first humans who began
to make, not only fire and dinner, but who began language,
began weaving, began writing, began tasting the plants
around them, even envying those who began killing
the other animals to swallow their flesh.
Ah, to start with a clean slate!

Not to be taught all that nonsense
which I have now lived long enough
to discover in a discouragingly great number
of cases are opinions, not facts,
simply the opinions (no better than my own)
of others. The classical example I can cite in 2003,
is the now forty year old example of geography
-- in 1963 the geographers of the world,
gathered together in San Francisco and finally began to believe
in plate tectonics, the perpetual movement of the continents of the earth.
(And even this is questioned again by some today)

But imagine all the nonsense that was taught to us,
me included, prior to 1963 and is still in cited history.
Historical People
become famous even for being wrong,
while the ten billion others, live and die
in silence.
"The silence after a lifetime of talking and the silence
after a lifetimes of silence is the same silence," says my favorite, Nisargadatta,
(who I recently learned must have been known to Gandhi, as
N's recorder, Maurice Frydman, for awhile lived as G's disciple).

So, for my envious soul, cheer up!
We all end eventually in the grand hall of
-- which is what you liked, a lot, and a lot of, all along,

Copyright © 2003 through 2015 Jan Haag
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: or



Lament II, 01-27/28/12-13-03

Profit and Loss, 04-10-03

Just Bag It, 04-13/15-03

I Live, 04-19-03

Maybe, 04-19-03

The Future Of Life, 11-29/12-02-03








21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B.C., A Context