33 poems written in the Boonstra Brain Function Form
Word count: 11, 10, 9, 6, 4, 2, 1




Well here's the new year -- and I need a new body,
new brain, new hope, courage to get on with it.
Without memory, the computer must serve
as my retention facility
-- like Einstein,

asked the speed of light, replied: "You can look it up
anywhere." As the Hubble peers into the universe's history, but
remembers nothing, I, too, can respond: My past can
be read in cyberspace. I remember
nothing. As my yoga
teacher iterates,

like every other particle, have been here, brain, flesh, memory, since
the beginning, since before the Bang, the Big one, growing,
evolving, ever recreated, but never destroyed, eternally chaining into
molecules, long, short, complex, concave, immortal,
a delight for those
who want

live forever. But the body, wretchedly aching, does not. I do
not mind my molecules being immortal, but I, the I
of I, has discerned that I am here solely
to amuse the gods, say witty
things, act in adorable
ways, entertain

invented witness, add to the accumulation of thoughts, things, transmute, transform
molecularities from point to line and back again, locate things,
trace trajectories through time and the temporariness of knowledge.
We are here today with only
vague ideas of what
will be

tomorrow, and needn't trouble ourselves to care about past, future, or...

Written in the Boonstra Brain Function Form,
word count: 11, 10, 9, 6, 4, 2, 1
with an 11 word coda


The story of a nomad trapped in an eyrie with a
miniature lion is hard to tell. Nothing happens. The weather
comes and goes and nothing changes. It gets hot
and cold. Everything remains the same.
Some days the mountain
drops her

Leaves appear on the poplars outside the window, go through their
multi-catkin phases, turn gold in late autumn and denude themselves
to bark in winter. One can see the mottled
Cascades. Rain falls like a river,
wind blows like a
vacuum, ice

The body of the earth tells few tales to an eyrie
high in the sky where nuns used to fly. Blessings
crowd the air, moist, dense, strangulating, like the
burning incense of piety, of contentment,
incarceration -- like the last
pips of

11, 10, 9, 6, 4, 2, 1



At the foot of Persia’s Zagros Mountains, a single text in three
scripts, in three languages is inscribed on sheer rock 350 feet above
the sand. This Rosetta Stone of Cuneiform, stretching 50 feet high and

80 feet wide, also pictures King Darius, his God and his conquered
peoples. No women, of course. (No doubt there were many immaculate
conceptions.) Men manifested and leaked their seed. From the ground sprang

up warriors ready to make war not love. Old Persian
and Elamite (like Sumerians, an isolate) and Akkadian or Babylonian
(which had Semitic roots), were carved in large letters on

the cliffside. Darius' stone beard, using
iron pins and lead, was added
later. Fortunately, Old Persian lasted long

enough to furnish the key
to deciphering the Behistun Inscription.
To make it more visible,

to make it inaccessible,
Great King Darius had
the mountainside and ledge

on which
the scribes
had stood


515 B.C.

Variation on the Boonstra Brain Function Form


January 26, 2005


"256 people trampled to death in a Hindu Temple near Wai..."*
The moon was full and huge last night, hiding, partially,
behind high blowing fog. Before the sun appeared yesterday
morning, the sky was an incandescent
crimson rose from horizon
to burning

Later, speaking about the sunrise, I gestured toward the sky, saw
a "sun-dog," rainbow hued, brilliant, bursting through wispy clouds,
its colors more dazzling than the blue sky's luminosity.
Such celestial phenomena reminded me of
my walks in India
twenty-two years

Through Wai, under a full moon, I wandered beside the Krishna
River as it ran dark, swirling around eroded pillars, through
ancient temple arches. Foam sparkled, singing rose, drumming penetrated
the night. Laughter. Worship. Dancing could
be guessed. After my
walk by

river, I sat high in a window watching flour being ground
beneath a dim globe for one last dust covered woman.
I did not know of a temple on a
hill where, a quarter century later,
256 people would be
trampled, suffocated,

*"India stampede kills hundreds, by Jeeja Purohit (AP), Seattle Times, 01-26-05, p. 1
"Relatives blame police for India stampede" by Jeeja Purohit (AP), Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 01-26-05 online



Life is problematic. Spend your money. Life as we know it
is going to be gone by 2007, end of oil
end of America. I wonder if it will be
the end of greed. Not likely.
I live like the
Second Law

Thermodynamics -- or is it the Law of the Conservation of Energy?
Whichever. Nothing is ever lost, nothing is ever to be
gained (except body fat). Like a Ferris wheel, we
ride into the sky and crash
down, explosively, deep into
the ground.

earth becomes -- not bored -- but ticked off. Who can blame her?
Wouldn't you? She doesn't mind chastising us with a Tsunami
or two, but you can bet she's miffed when
we split her atoms and quarks.
Why do it, humanity?
The spinning,

We're intently bent on saving deformed babies, the mad from execution
and the sane from suicide. We set aside our humanity
for war, our good sense for fear of death.
The world spins around its axis,
a concatenation of changes:
Tomorrow becomes



It's time to incarcerate myself (again) in a form. I haven't
been writing lately. Life has been too beautiful and too
bad. I have been going over my history, my
own and the world's. But now
New Orleans is obliterated,
sunk, drowned.

upon thousands are homeless. Who knows how many dead? -- a president,
vice president, secretary of state all on vacation, having too
much fun to pay attention to, to care about
the suffering, dying, drowning. Day 1)
Slow response. Maybe they
will all

and the problem will be gone. Day 2) Wait a little
longer. Then -- here we are! -- at Day 6) The survivors,
the refugees, the victims are now eating and drinking,
many -- most? -- in some kind of
shelter all over the
U.S.A. The

In the future, one may ask: When did America turn black?
When the poor, the black were washed out, rinsed from
New Orleans -- to spread the gospel of survival, hope,
goodness and helpfulness across the other
49. Tuning out the
incapacitating bureaucracy

capitalists, returning their humanity to Americans everywhere, giving the cut off
world a chance to pity, to aid the Americans. Thank
you Australia and Britian, thanks UN and Venezuela. Bush
may be too arrogant to accept
your help, but the
rest of

are grateful.



As if there were someone to ask as the darkness falls...
The mind grows blank and one gropes around, kicking, swimming.
The water rises, the wind howls, there're only three
stories. The attic's full of ghosts.
I have never touched
the rafters

Chop at the ceiling. Let in the sky. Let God's breath
loosen my grip on fear. Shut my mouth, lest I
drink the toxins. Shout! Shout now. There must be
someone to hear. Marooned alone in
life and the hurricane,
is anybody




What if the world came to an end and I -- sitting
here in my paradise singing -- didn't know anything about it.
The main talent our present dictator has is to
get everyone involved, get everyone so
mad that they jump
up and

at his stupidities, his cupidities, malice, machinations, willingness to murder ten
thousand. It's a great talent that tantrum-throwing children have, cultivate.
Nobody gets to do a thing but watch and
bewail the ugly, ornery child, the
dismantling of his life
and one's

Like old movies of the OSS in France, in attics, clicking
the keys, tuning the radio, waiting for a signal that
the invasion has begun, the boats are landing, the
Brown-shirts are downstairs -- the high old
adrenaline excitement, that keeps
me radio

As if there were something to do as the darkness falls.
The mind grows blank and I grope around, kicking, swimming.
The water rises, the wind howls, there’re only three
stories. The attic's full of ghosts.
I have never touched
the rafters

Chop at the ceiling, let in the sky. Let God’s breath
loosen my grip on fear, shut my mouth, lest I
drink the toxins. Shout! Shout now. There must be
someone to hear me marooned alone
in the hurricane. I
listen, hear



One of the differences between the '60s, '70s and the aughts
is, back then, the kids attacked the schools, refused to
be educated in the way that had brought their
world to its splintered, bony knees.
They fled academia, wrote
their own

sang their own songs, new songs, blew the bright flames of
idealism, wove flowers through their hair, walked barefooted, joined the
poor, got the no-bid contracts on compassion, spread hope.
Now we retreat in horror. Our
world has become so
skewed that

daren't loosen our grip on school, job, clawing our way to
the top, lest we lose, not only the prize, but
water and food as well, a place on the
boat, a seat in the foul
smelling Astrodome, feet mired
in human

In five short years, king george has created a world of
scarcity for everyone but his buddies, who get richer, richer
and richer and the poor get poorer and poorer
until they die. Everything's just fine,
he says, everything's going
according to

You betcha. It may be time for another tea party.
Follow Gandhi all the way -- until it comes time to
butcher the butcher. The United States' Constitution, it seems,
made no provision regarding the deposing
of a ruthless fanatic,
an unelected



At first she was almost not there, a seedling, perhaps, a
sperm, a zygote. And almost throughout her life, whenever she
met another human, another person, she all but disappeared.
She froze, she got very tiny,
she had nothing, absolutely
nothing to

not even peaceful silence. Her body remained, but it was empty.
An empty body sat before the stranger, even the friend,
the newly acquired friend. And she never found out
what happened between then and the
loquacious creature she could
become once

knew someone, felt safe, secure, uninhibited. Sometimes, when she had lept
the initial barrier and could speak, she became a nervous
babbler. A whole Tower of Babble, because she was,
indeed, stuffed with knowledge. Tiers of
it, layers and layers
of esoterica,

boggling amounts of information. But the presence of another person was
almost always stifling, she felt quashed, intimidated, fell mute or
spoke a few inanities in a strangled voice. Every
encounter was painful. A failure. Somehow,
one was supposed to
like ones

man, but she never did. She burned with fear and nerves,
unable to speak, afraid if she spoke she would say
the wrong thing. They all gossiped about each other.
Durga had no gossip, almost no
awareness of others, and
only very
late --

almost doomsday in any friendship -- did she feel free to talk
about herself, her disappearing, insignificant, silent self. After seventy, she
began to wonder where this muteness, this mutation into
fearful silence had come from. By
then, of course, she
was often

to speak, indeed, had began to get over the terror of
uttering clichés. Everyone else uttered the same clichés over and
over and over again. There seemed to be no
war crimes status attached to uttering
clichés. So she timidly
tried a

Sure enough, she survived. But how idiotically! If this was what
human communication was about, she could easily do that. But
by then she was more nauseated by clichés than
she was by silence. Silence was
not so bad. Maybe
in her

she would speak.



How do we get so behind schedule -- me and the body,
out of sync, bedeviled by a shrinking feeling of going
nowhere. There is nothing to do but watch leaves
individually, opinionatedly turn dried blood red,
one after the other.
The trees

given up the concept of a season, the unity of autumn,
the likeness of a carpet, the splendor of a forest.
The orange and red, yellow and blue-hued liquid amber
turn separately. Inside out, the new
color spreads, seeps along
the veins

tauntingly, knowing, like me, their next imperative is nudity. Falling, falling,
striping the colorless, finger crooked branches to their black bones,
they lie moldering to soil. Soon they will be
seen nowhere on winter's neutral landscape.
Their molecules, scheduling for
spring, rest



November stands on the edge of the crisp wind. The rain's
pattering rush in the night steals my sleep. The poplars
sway and howl. Thoughts of death, sickness and desire
override the music, the whining dance
of melody, the rhythm.
I long

India, the bare earth, the possibility of sitting on the river
bank, listening to the silence of the water, the moon's
flickering light revealing another time, a century of other
ways reflected on the slick surface
of sliding time, slow
moving detritus.



ignited my life, shoved the darkness aside for the light, lighted
one vista and then another, illuminated the moon's reflection, moved
into darkness, scorched the fingertips of dawn -- bright red.
Like wounds from a cat's claw
it opened, gushed blood,
revitalized the



The human hand was made to scratch the cat's high cheek;
the human heart was made to part from what it
loves. I never believed love that left to live
in other cities, yet I have
known nothing

As a child I clung to others, as a girl I
did as well. As a woman I began to discover
that my heart sang its high pitched melody above
man's range, soaring sharply in solitude.
Sweet, poignant, piercing, its
jewel became

And man? He, too, flourished alone among his books, with blood
on this hands and in his heart, conning nether end adventures.
Returning only to assure canon fodder, he follows his
annihilating path forked always toward self
destruction. The cat comes
to the

call, accepts its petting, its brushing, its food, expresses its gratitude
with a swipe of its scimitar claws trailing bright blood.
Then, soft-pawed, he pads across earth, trailing silent instruction,
grins with his lopsided two-colored grin,
purrs with ensorceling affection,
sleeps comfortably



Sitting close to death now, inside my mind, Googling the names,
plus "obits" of my silent friends, here and world wide,
to ascertain if they have gone off before me,
it seems it is time for
a liberating infusion of
life altering

My guts, my heart tell me I was sent here to
do something. But what? Each thing done, little, big or
extravagant appears as nothing. Nothing yet requires the sisu
-- that I long for. No accelerated
emotion explodes loud enough
to become

Will there be a time before death when the energy will
return, when the desire (one has worked a Buddhist lifetime
to be rid of) will return to fuel the
eruption heard round the world I
cry for? -- the eruption
to be

What unimaginable project will require one to pull that something forth?

*Finnish, "sisu -- the desire for something extra that you pull out of yourself."
Unfinished Business, Jorn Utzon returns to the Sydney Opera House, Geraldine Brooks,
The New Yorker, October 17, 2005, p. 111.

Another meaning of sisû, in ancient Akkadian, is/was "the horse."



Rain pummels the heart leaving lava tubes where the sun shone
yesterday at sunset through spangled aspen in the mountain meadow.
The patter awakens the keen smell of fresh, fresh
air, fresh water, fresh wild wind,
and the clairvoyant shimmer
of evening's

awakens you,
asks you to dance,
drinks up the energy of purity.
Nothing sits over the lip of the mountain's crevasse.
Nothing winds a shear trail up the mountain's scree slope.
Nothing, lightness nor darkness, ever seeks me out in my seeking.



I keep a stack of old newspapers to read. I simply
never get through the lot. It makes little difference if
I ever do. Their contents are pretty much the same,
day after day after day after
-- the murders, the rapes,
the warmongering

doing their lying, nasty, secretive, racist, fear-mongering thing day after
day after... But one thing was new this morning from
The Daily,* just four days old. It was titled:
"Mushroom-eater talks to trees." But, even
more enchanting than the
tree talk

"...the man was looking up at the sky and screaming at
raindrops as they landed on him." Oh those all-forgiving rain
drops, I bet they continued to fall, day after
day after day -- after all this
is Seattle, day after
day after

I can hardly blame the papers, of course, I too, have
said about all I have to say, day after day
after day. It wears me out to talk human
to human, so we all talk
about events, foisted on
us by

culture divorced from the trees, the raindrops, the mushrooms and life,
by making and shopping and whirling around, powered by internal
combustion engines. Would we could all slow down enough
to hold a decent conversation with
the falling, lightening-like raindrops
coming down

*From the Police beat, The Daily, University of Washington, Friday, November 4, 2005, p 7.



Each individual note so separate, each singing its own raging beauty,
plucked as if from the wind's soughing sound, drifting, silent,
splashing, the cascade of the music rings, slips, flashes,
spirals, disappears from the black stones
the water’s fall, leaves
the world

haunted by the beat of the drum, the kriya* captured, translating
sound from your ancient language to mine, the infinite sweetness,
the longing, the high notes disappearing like the thin
white whiskers of the purring cat
against white fur in
the morning

Kriya*“...the pattern of claps and waves that delineates a tal...”
North Indian Classical Music Handbook, Haag manuscript, second draft, 04-22-94, p. 11



Ann is going to New York. “Staten Island,” she says smugly,
“Next to the water. Right on the water. Looking across
to Manhattan -- the lights of the city.” She doesn’t
travel often, but usually the same
distance: across the continent
to visit

her son, her one son not in Seattle. Perhaps the most
affectionate son among the four -- three thousand miles away across
the continent. “Everyone I hear about lately,” she says,
“is dying at 78.” “Funny,” Jan
replies. “Everyone I hear
about is

at 73 -- or 4.” They both howl with laughter, wondering if
the 3,000 mile wide continent might smother both before Ann
returns two weeks or a month or a month
and two weeks -- “I’m not making
any plans” -- hence. Their
eyes meet,

laugh again. “I’m going by train. In a little room. My
fare includes meals.” “In your little room?” “If I want.
But occasionally I might go to the diner. Company,
you know.” They laugh again. Who
needs company while traveling
across a



Up here with the wrap around mountains, snow to the south,
snow to the west, snow along the low-lying eastern Cascades,
and Rainier -- hiding. Odd how capable she is of
hiding her face with the valley
fog or the valley
brightness between

and Paradise. Waiting at the bus stop: up walks Omar Sharif-
lite -- golden skin, but short, blond, young, with huge, luminous,
green eyes -- snow flakes coming down catching in his
new-grown, sparse mustache, restless, pacing
the slush, gray, wet,
icy cold

I never knew there were so many angles to reality. With
the snow gone the angles reappear. Everything catches on the
acute angles or the obtuse angles, everything catches and
snatches one back to reality, hard-
reality flaunting

Ignored, of course, by Buddhists and Hindus and Muslims -- and Gods
as well -- who call it paradise or maya or hell
or heaven or earth or dirt, or law or
inevitability -- all marching to the fall
of never-the-same snowflakes. Unique,
non-replicable ice



Lake Union is as deep as Seattle’s tallest towers. The hidden
sun’s luminosity sends black, topless reflections into grey waters.
The unfinished buildings are transparent. Rectangular contrails of smoke
flow upward. Glass, maybe melted snow,
on flat-roofed, faceless,
low, dark

momentarily, here,
then there. The cat’s
tall white boots shine satin against
the white damask duvet. His black velvet ears, like
reflections, stick high above the soft cotton folds. Snow has
nearly halted the diamond/ruby flow across the flying freeway arches.

Not even the single cry of a seagull breaks the silence
of commerce’s hum. A prop plane approaches, passes, disappears beyond
Queen Anne hill, the Sound. The cat spreads his
claws wide, gently kneads the bed
thinking of two new
friends arriving



Shiva lies in the hall to the west, Mr. Fred Red,
quite old, stands against the east wall, Tiger Woods strolls,
tail high, kittenish, here and there. He’s black, small,
sports one torn ear, pertly knows
he is allowed to

he pleases. Shiva-purna, since leaving his mom, brother, and sister as
a kitten has never seen another cat. He’s been forced
to live among humans -- an alien, alone. Once he
had Jimmy, the dog, to talk
to, to love, unrequited.
But Jimmy

Now, Shiva-purna, has two new friends, a broad hall to meet
in, a feline curiosity to fulfill. His three years of
life suddenly seem long, and nothing but a preface
to soft, cautious-pawed, sniff-sniff-
wonder, a meuw, a
growl. Sudden



I was lying today. I’ve been saying for so long that
“I’m almost 72,” that when the day, my birthday, came,
I thought I was 73. Lying. Yet, 73 sounds
better, rounder, fuller, with the happiness
of 3. So maybe
I’ll be

until I yet get 73 again. In a year’s time,
who knows what hay in the sun or delight in
the night I might glean and feel grander about
switching the clock, switching the time,
the age. 73 might
be my

I’ll do it twice and not despair. In skipping a year,
one might skip the attendant strain, the aches, the fear,
the disparity of the age within and the age
without, the girl who hums, the
woman who hobbles, lying,
passing, ignoring



...or is he rejecting my, the feminist, equivalent of a drinking,
wenching, wild, exuberant ride through the what and the who
of life’s offerings. Some big, some small, but not
so different from Gilgamesh,
Beowulf, Odysseus,
who’d be

to learn that life went on at home on the hearth
and in the breast of each woman, wife, human, passionate
soul. We have Penelope’s story, Clytemnestra’s loneliness, Helen’s grief
and murder that festered in abandonment,
neglect, the self actualization
of each,

human doomed, blessed to walk alone on earth finding fulfillment only
in the reach of one’s own soul -- if there is
such a thing -- and the dailiness of one’s singular
dramas and delights. If history weren’t
written by men, it
would be

But for now, it is not rejectable. Every human’s story is
the truth. It may not be art or artifice, but
it is, by the telling, the truth -- irreducible fact
even if fiction or formed poetry.
What a shock to
know that

is unacceptable to those one might have thought were one’s friends.
The women abide, but the men drop slowly like drugged
flies, they drop inevitably for they cannot imagine life,
different than their own, woman centered
on the brilliance of
her own



"No no no no no!" called the little old lady from
down the hall to the Fed Ex man as he dropped
a big green and green-white-floral box at her door.
She was expecting nothing. She was
talking to Jere, laughing
about her

Nonetheless, it turned out to be for her, the big green
and white, monogramed Calyx & Corolla, subtitled Luxury Bouquets box.
calyx image
Stargazer Lilies -- for her -- no one else -- a bouquet
from her law school buddy, her
mentor in mysticism, her
always extravagant,

friend A-M. The story is worth telling: Paul Ronder, a favorite
filmmaker-friend had a girl friend/colleague Kazuko. And he
died very young. No one knew why. Kazuko remained
my friend, in touch. She in
New York, I in
Los Angeles.

one year when I visited New York, she couldn’t be reached,
didn’t answer the phone, didn’t return calls. Sometime later, she --
and a new husband: thin, tall, with wispy black
hair, pale as a ghost (he
had almost died on
their honeymoon)
-- came

to visit me at my office in Doheny’s manison -- built with
the ill-gotten gains of the Teapot Dome scandal. The young
husband wore a khaki trench coat, packed a WW I
shoulder, kit bag heavy with colored
pencils. Remaining almost mute,
he flourished

pencils across the thick, white sheets of a drawing pad. Ceremoniously,
he signed, ©-ed each created thing, then gave them, with
a deep Zen bow, to me. There’s a large
envelope of these drawings archived at
TWU under Haag. [As
she began

make exquisitely expensive jewelry to sell at Barneys, Kazuko told me
he, the silent husband, was the best artist she had
ever known.] They came to dinner, but said almost
nothing. Nervously, I chattered. Later, several
small envelopes, with delicately

of thanks arrived, followed by other silent, calmer, dinners. They moved
to Los Angeles and, some time later, parted. A-M, as
he was known, rented vast spaces with empty surfaces
on/off Bay Street. Behind screens, in
drawers he kept a
large collection

plucking, tapping, blowing instruments for guests to play. By then
he, and others, had given me Muktananda’s Play Of Consciousness.
We frequently met at the 4:45, afternoon Arati. We
clapped and chanted in Hindi and
Sanskrit, ate fragrant, home
(ashram) baked

crisp salads and, occasionally, dahl. Tears fell from my eyes like
the rains of Seattle, poignant, everlasting. Thus began a friendship --
the first among many which, gathered together as in
a bouquet, took me to India,
to sitting in Zen
for kyol

three months at Su Dok Sah [I’m not Buddhist. Buddha was
too Christ-like for me.] A-M wrote, declaring a plan to
start law school. Horrified, Buddhist-like, I chastised. But, when
I got home from Korea via
Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand,
Nepal, India,

too, went to law school. Now, after eighteen years and endless
adventures the Stargazer lilies arrived from the Angel’s City for
my Seattle birthday. The twenty blossoms bloomed, one after
the other, for twenty days in
a stone-heavy, green glass
vase that

lent me. The pollen stained my hands and my food from
time to time, calling up other memories of days gone
by and inbetween. The scent so strong that even
I could smell it; the long
lasting rucus leaves remaining
velvety, dark



‘Healing with Whole Foods” is bowed from its binding, jagged-toothed
at the cut end, it’s paper gone curved and crackely
with spilt water, written all over, cross notated in
multicolored pen and pencil, dog-eared
telling me what I
need to
eat, consume,
avoid, fear, moderated or
elaborate, about amino acids, enzymes, vitamins
diets, pastimes, bad thoughts, good moods -- essential, real information.
Schooling, when I was young, skipped over food, money, work,
law, health, play, physiology -- today’s basics -- knowledge one wants -- to live.



This dawn is like morning at Tahoe, or on a fjord.
The thick fog cancels all but the tall poplar’s top,
tapping-the-window branches. By noon, the sun illuminates
a halo of light -- that spreads.
I can see again
a bit

the lake at the near shore, still, the mist eliminates everything
but a distant ring of cedars and pines. I, in
my nunnery, glide like a ship through a winter
sea -- far to the north -- perhaps
up to Iceland. I
stopped watching

the buildings, houses, big blank condos, new scaffolds began to appear.
I needed that icy mid-day voyage to start again --
from some other shore. Later, the lake has disappears
again. The foggy, luminosity seeps into
afternoon. The city will
not appear

today. Perhaps there’ll be no sunset tonight. At 2:13 Capitol Hill
appears as tall ghosts of dark buildings sun lit theatrically
from the right -- but still, no lake. The fog
lies low, fastened to the lake’s
dark surface. Will Bellevue’s
towers reflect



I’m going to die of fury. Too much that I attempt
goes wrong. Picking up the coffee-jar, still a quarter
full of my morning brew -- boiled lemon, maple syrup
and Peet’s Fair Trade Blend coffee --
the big red straw
nabs the

knocks the jar from the plate, spills the sweet, sour, brown,
biting liquid across the sheet, the rug. I rant, trying
to dab it away before it wets the padding.
This, a typical manifestation, is the
essence of old age.
I bend

tie my shoe, begin a headlong fall, smack the table on
which the bronze, slightly green-with-disease, Quan Yin sits,
one foot across her knee, knock the yin yang
balls, setting then atinkle, and she,
with a gentle thud,
falls on

face. Nothing gets broken not even my bones. But my temper
flares like the thousand flames atop the Anaconda Copper refinery
we -- driving toward, around and beyond -- once saw magnificently
ablaze throughout the wild Wyoming night,
benign and beautiful. But
I am

benign. I rant, rage, fume, cuss and misspell the words as
I attempt to turn my life, my fury into an
ameliorating, calm-down poem. What else is there to
do? -- after learning that, up to
now, my life was
magical, blessed

I could walk through whole days with hardly a mishap. But
now, temper rising, each step is a pitfall, a disaster,
which turns me into a kind of shrew. I
used to wonder how humans could
be so full of
poisonous fury.

didn’t grow up into raging awkwardness, didn’t develop into full-fledged
fury until 72. “Be nice to each other,” I heard
from sweet reason. “Crucify each other,” cries this new
total lack of control, this fall
from grace blinded by
gawky, nattering



I did none of all those things I meant to do.
I created no order, recorded no poem, thought or plan.
I slept and mused and had a little ecstasy.
Walked around and found, after close
scrutiny, that my mind
was completely



I shall give up this form in the new year, seek
another, another way. Having found my mind empty, I will
pay more attention to the body. Let the brain
fend for itself. I’ll stroll streets,
alleys, paths, cross over
the grass,

in yoga asanas, read Goodall’s timely book, come back to earth,
excavate deeply into life’s rhythms, yowl, cry sweet cries from
housetops, sound my drum, dance, imitate Shiva-purna’s aplomb,
welcome scratching, petting, brushing, purring, stretching
white-booted across time
and the

Welcome home, Jana Maria. We’ll eat our favorite foods, play our
music day and night, forget the disintegrating of civilization, rejoice
in the “California” result of global warming in Seattle,
stop having opinions, stop trying to
reroute the world’s inevitable
and constant



For Linda, who sent me Basho's:

“The temple bell stops
but the sound keeps coming
out of the flowers.”

I’ve been through hell this year, as if my muse has
gone someplace else to sit, as if at 72 all
the Buddha’s dire laments -- old age, sickness and death --
came to weigh in on both
shoulders, as if they’d
been waiting

the wings to cry “Gotcha!” But, having waited this long, aren’t
they a pointless prod? A week or so ago -- each
day waking from my deep and deeper dreamless sleep
of distress or dreams -- my mind
began to empty. It
simply dumped

thoughts, plans, hopes, anxieties, remembrances, devious schemes of escape. Empty! Empty
of mind. Empty mind. Here it is! And, if it’s
not a great draft joy funneling in, at least
it’s a giggle of: well, well,
well, here we are
with nothing

think about, nothing to do, nothing to not do, as perfectly
clean as a new polished window, an invisibility from which
to watch that quick of the earth called man,
to enjoy the sound of the
flowers -- when the temple
bell is



Two little old ladies live in the sky, high up with
their views. Ann (78) loves the underbellies of seagulls as
their wing tips whoosh, all but brush her immense
sixth story window looking out above
the tall, awkward, orange
cranes along

waterfront -- to the Sound, the Olympics beyond. Jan (72), with Shiva-purna
the cat, muses through the rehung windows of her 100
year old nunnery. They see mostly crows. Only occasionally,
high in the blue dome, do
they see dipping, teasing
seagulls riding

fronts from the Pacific to Mount Rainier. But it’s the sky!
The sky! The nothingness of the blue sky! The nothingness.
Jan and Ann agree: the view is the glory
of the nothingness, of the blue
sky, the white clouds,
the sheer

A preface, a vision, a recollection of the nothingness to come,
the vacant blue sky is lightly sprinkled with birds gliding
up, away, down, past the windows, past the two
views of the little old ladies
winding down toward death,
rejoicing in



When I was young, Michelangelo Antonioni had me falling in love
with the exquisite (1961) black and white glamour of love
lost, love hunted, infidelity sought via glamour’s love
-- the yearning, the pain, the love
through angst, the love
of love.

a whole universe of nothing but love wrought devastation of love,
by a single emotion universe of love and lost love,
in black and white, slow motion, La Notte, love.
Moreau, Mastroianni, Vitti, all in love
or out of love.
searching love,

scorned. Nothing to be prized or delighted in if sexual love,
the glamour of man and woman, fail at fashionable love.
The angst, the mourning, cyclical revisiting of painful love,
spinning round and round the love
wheel, gyroscopically pumped love,
up love,

down. What a world of remorse and waste, as if love,
20th century failed love, were the sine qua non love,
without which life is worthless. Beyond and besides love
there is much worth doing. Love
is life, the love
of love



I don’t want today to go by without reaching my goal
of 33* poems for 2005. Why 33? I think in
33s, I like 33, I was born in ‘33 --
last century. Who’d’a thought life would
go by so quickly,
so completely?

can keep count -- at 33 1/3 merry revolutions per... ?

*This, already, is #34. There are, actually, 35 2005 Brain Function and the Body Poems. The count got off because two overly ambitious poems, Behistun and New Orleans got waylaid on their way to completion. I thought I had lost them among my ten thousand things, but everything turns up again, eventually.



Well, here it is, Shiva the cat, dancing on his white
paws, and I celebrating another 33. He purrs and I
propound. The only thing I wanted (as soon after
‘33, as I can remember) was
to live every place
in the

and write. The companionship of the Great God Shiva-purna is
an extra, a gift thrown in for no good reason,
for love. Love is what happens in the night
when I wake and he wakes,
stretches, exposes the lighting
on his

belly; when he allows me a pet or two of that
silk-soft belly before his claws flash. And then he goes
back to sleep, and I, too, shall sleep again, until
2006, a new year -- undoubtedly full
of more trials, more
tribulations, more

33 poems written in the Boonstra Brain Function Form,
word count: 11, 10, 9, 6, 4, 2, 1 --
at times with a raison d'etre coda,
word count: 1, 1, 3, 2, 2, 1
or otherwise

Copyright © 2006 through 2015 Jan Haag
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail:



08 -- Addicted To The Radio, 09-19-05/01-08-06

24 -- Agni, 12-07-05/01-30-06

09 -- Ahimsa, 09-19-05

07 -- As If There Were Someone To Ask, 09-18-05/01-07-06

03 -- The Behistun Inscription, 01-19-05/01-05-06

02 -- The Body, 01-18-05

01 -- Brain Function, 01-10-05/01-01-06

32 -- Deux Dieux, 12-31-05/02-20-06

13 -- Diwali, 10-21-05

10 -- Durga's Birth, 10-03-05

11 -- The Fall, 10-29-05

20 -- First (Or Last) Snow, 12-01-05/01-29-06

28 -- The Furies, 12-17/27-05/02-19-06

25 -- Gift, 12-08-05/01-30/02-18-06

34 -- Goal II, 12-31-05/02-20-06

35 -- Homage Au Cat, 12-31-05/02-19/02-20-06

36 -- Landscape, 12-11-05/02-19-06

33 -- La Notte Love, 12-31-05/02-20-06

14 -- Mind The Cat, 11-01-05/01-22-06

05 -- New Computer, 01-27-05

06 -- New Orleans, 09-05-05/01-02/07-06

18 -- North Indian Classical Music, 11-19-05

12 -- Raga, 10-31-05

16 -- Rain, 11-07-05

17 -- Rain II, 11-08-05

26 -- Read A Lot, 12-09/17-05/02-19-06

30 -- Resolution, 12-29-05/02-20-06

23 -- 72, 12-06-05/01-29-06

22 -- Shiva-Purna, The Cat With Two Friends, 12-04-05/01-29-06

15 -- Sisu*, 11-05/07-05

31 -- Temple Bells, 12-30-05/02-20-06

21 -- Today II, 12-02/04-05

19 -- Travel, 11-26-05/01-29-06

04 -- Wai, 01-26/10-29-05/01-02-06

29 -- Year's End, 12-28-05/02-19-06







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