I give up one thing and then another,
stumble and, luckily, catch my balance before I
crash across the floor or end up against
the wall, always with the knowledge that another
time I will not be so lucky, that
the toe stub will, end up with a
broken bone. Toe bones cannot be set. I
have taken up the rugs to delay breakage.



One area in which computers far outdo reality
is in their “snap to” function., i.e. if you
get close to setting a line or a
point where you want it, the computer will
take over and “snap to”. But I think
that function is denied in reality. No matter
how close I get to the counter, if
I don’t set it on the counter, it

falls on the floor. There is no “learning”
in reality (in the way things are), no
“snap to” function. Or, if there is, it
exists over billions of years and is no
good to humans. A person, on the other
hand, will say, “Aha, I know what you
mean (whether they do or not).” So does
that mean people are more computer-like than gravity?

the strong or weak force? magnetism? electricity? empty
space? speed of the universe? of light? dark
matter? dark force? -- something has a different opinion.



In a winter landscape, a section of greens,
four feet wide and twenty feet long, a
forest of greens, collards, and mizume, fava, four
kinds of kale, two kinds of mustard -- winter
greens, deep viridian, emerald, all greener than grass
for the human spirit to browse upon -- and
there’s something about knowing a Southerner through a
Seattle winter -- hearty meals of greens and sweet

potatoes with quince and apple soup -- and for
late afternoon there was sunshine too -- golden, bright.
Meeting foursquare on the Ballard Bridge, the Olympics
to the right, the Cascades to the left,
all washed clean by the midnight rains,we
laughed our way to the garden and Susan’s
sunset facing home where the humming birds were
visiting, as was I. We ate and talked.


I go from not being able to stand
the silence to not being able to stand
the noise. The empty hollowness of an empty
house upon returning from the world is almost
beyond endurance. It challenges the ferocity raised by
the constant nattering of an unwelcome guest. At
least you can eject a DVD or send
the cat, if he meows, out to explore



I got to get me a loaded gun
and forget about making a mess. Suicide gets
closer and closer in this mad century. Now
I have a cell phone, but between it
and the phone book, I can not figure
out how to call the post office to
ask the price of a stamp. She died
for lack of knowing it cost forty-one cents.



Well, you can still do it, but it’s
not exactly an avant-garde-of-the-Third-
Millennium idea, but it might dig us up,
from the Post Modern pit of wallowing in
trash, triviality, intellectualize kitsch. Something, after all, has
to put us back on the path of
progress, lest the scientists get not only the
Scientific Body, but the Art Body and win
the Human Race as well.


“...a person engaged in or trained for spaceflight.” Random House, p. 42 -- a word lacking from my earlier dictionaries
For Toby Smith, Namaste


I’m up, unable to sleep any more this
morning -- after only about four hours sleep -- thinking
thinking thinking that Toby is going to be
lecturing this morning on the first moon landing,
Apollo Eleven landing on the moon. The facts
of my life, the facts of my remembrance
are simple. The night before -- I was sitting
in a box down front in the Hollywood

Bowl -- with James -- looking up at the full
moon, thinking: “ The last night of the uncontaminated
moon” -- we all knew they were going to
land. The next day I was driving out
the Pasadena Freeway listening to count down on
the radio: “-- five -- four -- three -- two -- one -- They’ve
landed!” I screamed with agony, delight -- heart bursting
-- and stopped to buy a bottle of Champagne.

Then later, on televison, Neil Armstrong, in bloated
moon suit, stepped daintily down, through jiggly transmission
lines to the moon’s surface, saying: “ small
step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Now, forty years later, we con its history.
I listen with tears in my eyes to
Toby Smith tell us about what we once
did, and did six times and did no

more: “...went to the moon, planted the flag,
picked up some rocks and came home.”

The moon is silver bright this morning, throwing leaf
patterns on my floor. I lie in bed,
calculating the age of the astronauts, soon there
will be no humans on earth who have
walked on the moon. In my plain jane
phase of poetry, this is all I have
to say about we, who once moved, weightlessly
bouncing, across the stones of the tantalizing moon.



Sitting, trying to catch up on gmail, running
for to catch the bus, a vicious glitch
in the knee, miss the bus, can’t go
to Mark’s 50th party, and so to bed,
nursing the knee, finishing reading for the first
time in at least a dozen, maybe two
dozen years (its been at TWU) my JOCASTA
script, registered with WGA on winter solstice, 1970 --

in the last millennium, finding, like God
who, having created light, saw it and knew
“that it was good.” In my childhood, I
was, by 36, talented. And then what? Even
as we tramped around on the moon, darkness
had began to fall across the face of
the earth, eager to reach its epitome by
the millennium elected a sly and devious devil

to bring down the Western World, by 2008,
today, all that was of possibility, hope and
joy has turned to bloodshed and fears, hatred,
such as neither the barbarians nor the slave
traders had ever dared anticipate or even hoped
for. Millions of laws and rule and taboos
later, we sit on the edge of doom
or glory -- the slightest shifting of weight can

lead to life or death. I salute you,
planet earth, O neutral giver of all life.
Does she suffer from delusions of grandeur. Oh
yes, so would you suffer, if you had
written Jocasta and it had never been produced.
A new view of life, a new view
of the world’s way, a new view outside
the corruptions of time and jerrybuilt civilizations past.

But the world doesn’t want change. There’s too
much investment in the way things are. Change
would ruin fortunes, bring great men down. Better
live with the way things are -- call it

human nature -- than risk equality, justice for all.



So, when does the day arrive? What day
do you choose? The day the quart of
Coffee Mate splashes a dragon-semen-like swirl
across the Oriental rug, the kitchen floor? The
day your knee glitches running for the bus?
And it aches and aches and aches for
weeks afterward. The day you forget how to
spell -- any old word -- “millennium,” for instance. They

all look peculiar. Or the day you can’t
quite withstand one more attack from the computers --
not allowing what you want to do. Which
day? Which of the minor agonies will suffice
as an eviseration device? Which one will suffice
to send you to the Christian’s heaven, where
you don’t want to be, or into one
more body in perpetual samsara as the Hindus

predict, where, again and again, you have to
contend with everything going wrong, before it goes
right. And right? -- for a few minutes, a
day or two, a week or two, a
year or two, or even a millennium would
be, apparently, too little time for things to
go, and stay, right the first time. Interesting
that Westerner’s long for reincarnation and dread it’s

impossiblity, while the East knows it is not
only possible, but probable, and longs to take
a high jump off the wheel, into Nirvana,
nothingness, the bliss of not being, of knowing
nothing ever goes wrong.



Bed all day yesterday. Good God, you’d think
I hadn’t slept for a year. From noonish
of Monday to 4:00ish A.M. on Tuesday. I
guess I do feel a bit better, but
not exactly refreshed. And I think I forgot
to mention that last Saturday, 4 days ago,
I did wake up feeling awakened in the
whole body. What a sensation! That must be

the difference between youth and old age -- that
pleasantly hallowed out, completely refreshed, awake, alive feeling.



Well, it: Langer’s, After-Dinner Gardening Book, tells
you everything about a papaya except whether or
not it needs a mate to fruit. That
seems to be the way with books. As
if they wanted to keep back a market
for the next one. So Hooray for the
NET! If you can’t find it on one
page you can find it on another. Or

if it’s not there yet among the billion
sites, you can post a website yourself or
put it in Wikipedia. Oh, it is so
refreshing to get rid of the secrets of
the human race. This morning, I have an
urge to step out among the monumental stones:
Stonehenge, the Brittany coast menhirs, Carnac, the aisle
at Avebury
, the carved, stone lidded table tombs

at Painswick
where I ate chocolate frosted Digestive
Biscuits and lemon cookies in the early glowing
dawn of the English countryside. I have touched
these stones, I have seen them. I have
even lain in a stone coffin at Conques --
much to the shock of my friend, who
is not as amused by death as I
am. But, really, I want to tell her,

it is the only enduring thing. And even
then, the pyramids crumble, centimeter by centimeter through
the Egyptian aeons. I have a longing for
old tastes. The crisp crumbing of yeast muffins
with raisins, and coffee. I think of sitting
with Eva on the terrace in that other
stone town, it was red -- almost all red
stone. Breakfasting on a white damask table cloth,

being so civilized -- as one can be with
Eva, who doesn’t find death amusing. But, I
cry, so many have come and gone -- filling
up the earth until the enlightened ones invented
the pyre, the bird picking disposal, the overboards
at sea, slowly developing the ability to leave
the mountaineers frozen on their highest mountains. Next,
we’ll learn to leave body parts in the

ocean after the airplane crashes. Goodness me! What’s
a body? At 75 one is well versed
in what a burden it is, its urgencies,
its appetites, still seldom willing to participate in
the slower processes, the accretions, the barnacles, swimming
about, wanting to adhere, and the mind, still
wanting to pop high out of the surface
of the sea after a good long dive.

The only thing fascinating left on earth is
the process, the close watching, day by day,
of the body wanting the spirit’s territory and
vice versa. The nightmarish thoughts: “What if I
can’t walk in the morning?” But morning comes
and up you get, not remembering it was
going to be a trouble. But problems do
come, sit on you, like the menhirs, the

blue stones and the saracens at Stonehenge, pressing
you down to the earth -- where you belong. Don’t
roll up the sod! -- you’ll find my bones --
along with my great grandmother’s tears under her
sod house. And to, at last, come to
the conclusion if the only thing you’re interested
in is reading, lectures and human doom, what
else is there to do, but laugh about

it -- and write a poem -- about papayas -- who
may or not need a mate to propagate.



“7 1/2 million lbs of thrust” -- a note
from the edge of The Daily, 1-17-08. From
the Astronaut’s course, no doubt. The Moon course.
Some of the most exciting listening days of
my life. Trying to imagine the capacity to
imagine an engine so powerful it could shoot
a rocket to the moon -- and come back --
positively marvels my mind. Mankind, for it most

certainly was mankind -- not a woman in sight
on the ground or on the rocket -- for
the 3 1/2 years it took to
go 6 times to the moon, to send
men walking around on the moon -- then stop!
It was a closed, Men Only, club then.
They built engines with 7 1/2 million pounds
of thrust -- it must have been as mad

a burst as sex for them. The idea
of it, the accomplishment of it. Truly unbelievable.
Now, of course, we, men and women, do
feats as remarkable yearly, even many times a
year, at times, to Mars, to Venus, to
Saturn, to Jupiter’s moons, to the space shuttle,
and we only kill a few. One of
the few professions you can get killed in

and one doesn’t hear a hue and try
to stop it! Or, rather, the cry is
always there but, so far, not the stopping.
Some things are worth doing, even though they
are dangerous. War for instance. Most men wouldn’t
think of stopping war just because it kills
people. The shiftiness of our values has just
about 7 1/2 million lbs of thrust behind

it. The human mind is capable of almost
anything, except to find a way to stop
the killing of each other. Odd, isn’t it?



What a magnificient life I lead! I can hardly resist jumping up and down with glee. Shiva the cat is on a spree, being nice to me! Each lightly treasured day reminds me that May will come again someday. The tiny leaves are greenly budding, and the ice grey pussy willows purr. The wind has a hiigh pitched, utterly distant, horn-like sound. I don’t live, I write. To live is to write. I’m sure by now that words flow in my veins, not blood. The alphabet courses along the nerves. The knees? For god sake, what makes them so stiff? Grammar? The rigidity of grammar?



My 20 pound kitten, the six year old,
huge, amusing Shiva purna, will come and get
me -- persistently -- when he wants to eat his
dry-food. He’s nor so much interested in
eating, as he is in being petted or,
preferably, scratched -- a three-fingered scratch, deep and
hard, along the spine of his strong, muscular
back. He knows exactly what he wants -- and

I’m sure he doesn’t quite see what amuses
me so. But it is his very specificity.
He doesn’t want to be just scratched/petted
while he eats, he wants to be scratched/
petted, just when he eats his dry-food.
Not when he’s busy with a kidney, nor
when he has that moist crumbly stuff out
of a can -- just when he can crackle

and snap as he chews the hard little,
donut-shaped or triangular or star shaped, bits.
Crunch crunch -- the harder I stroke the better
he likes it. How do I know how
much he likes this? How do I know
the extraordinary specificity of his tastes? Well, when
he wants to eat his dry-food, he
finds me standing or walking some place usually

in the big studio room, and he comes
and taps my foot with a paw, with
retracted claws, tap tap and, at times, a
little soft-pawed push -- which means: “Follow me.”
Then he hunkers right down and starts to
eat his dry-food. Crunch crunch crackle crackle.
Once in a while he tries to purr
and eat at the same time. He also

makes an excessive amount of noise, scratch scratch,
when he has pooped in his litter box.
Scrape scrape scrape, scratch scratch -- making no attempt
to cover up the little turds, but simply
creating a noise to attract my attention to
tell me that he would appreciate my coming
and cleaning his cat box -- NOW! I guess,
he is rather an auditory cat -- he likes

to rustle papers in the night -- and certainly
a cat of great patience -- training me to
respond exactly to exactly what he wants.
-- and fastidious.



I have no idea, is the answer to
most of life’s questions, especially the big ones.
Like: Do I believe in God? I have
no idea, nor does it matter one way
or the other. It is part of the
structure of my mind, of my learning, of
my upbringing -- not too big a part, but
part of the world I live in. There

are always arguments, century after century, especially in
the western world as to whether god exists
or not? Who cares, he’s, it's, part of
our structure, so one, practically everyone believes in
god enough to invoke him/her/it once
in a while or to argue fore or
against the thing, concept, the grey bearded man
or the enormous breasted woman. So I have

no idea if I believe in God, nor
is it a question that ever starts up
in my mind, it is always an outside
questions: “Do you believe in God?” I have
no idea, and it certainly, almost single handedly
has nothing to do with how I live
my life, or look forward to my death.



That in itself is a strange construction: “I
have no idea.” An idiomatic phrase used by
everyone or at least most one’s -- and what
does it mean? I have no concept? of
what you are talking about -- but I do.
You meant something by God and I mean
something by God. We each have our investment
in just that word. But it more than

likely is not the same investment, meaning, arguable
point. Essentially in this context it has to
mean: I have no ideas about the idea
you are questioning me about. But I do,
I have ideas about God whether I believe
in him or not, because I live in
the language you live in and we both
have grown up, and have become quite old

in the belief that what we talk about
has to have a bit more reality than
a tiny puff of air -- starting down in
the teeth of “ga” and ending up on
the lip of the “da” cave. But, nonetheless,
we may be wrong.



I do realize that if I were to
stop to do everything that needs to be
done as it crosses my path or comes
within touch or eyesight, I would never get
anything done. And what is “anything?” Writing, musing,
JOCASTA, wondering about the world, reading, walking, admiring
the cat’s stiff-legged prance -- all so much more
exciting than putting away the papers, dusting (haven’t

done dusting in 5 years -- but I’m aware
the wind blows through often enough to keep
the surfaces visible). And the poems pile up
in the notebooks and on the desk -- hundreds
of them, maybe thousands, just on the desk,
Yet I’m still organized enough at 3/4
of a century to find most things (poems
that is) quickly, even though I have no

remembrance of most of them. Thus any hunt
becomes an expedition into the forgotten, and up
come, like archeological artifacts, time after time, Great
Poems!, written just as I would write them,
saying things I want/wanted to say, saying
things that need to be said. Then the
Ah-Ha! -- the realization that never does quite
wholly manifest, doesn’t quite jell -- that, of course,

they say what I want to say! and
suddenly, I do realize: I wrote them!



The shock of a lifetime. Ever since I became interested in Tibet, perhaps 50 years ago, or less, and represented in every photograph of the Potala, have been the dozens upon dozens of structure of Tibetan town life. Lhasa was a town that snuggled up very close the to high slanted walls of the Potala. This morning, in Google Earth, Vikram showed us some 2008 pictures of Lhasa/Potala, the high slanty walls coming down to manicured ground, and what they called other monastic buildings, but which is not true. All the houses and shops and tangle and history and cattle and people of Lhasa have been erased from its feet -- which are now, huge formal grounds, one could not tell of what, but reminiscent, O most definitely reminiscent of The Forbidden City. And these formal grounds went out to and beyond, a gigantic swath of a highway, 6, perhaps 8, lanes wide from and across other main highways, so that one could see for miles around that Lhasa, the ancient capital of Tibet, the center of Tibetan life has been all but entirely erased, their town their buildings their lanes and roads and paths, their yak sheds and pig pens -- the mess and sprawl ofintense Tibetan life totally totally erased, to a grand picture postcard display of the Potala and roads going by, at a distance, so that tourist can see it and its grandeur without stopping, so that, as on a postcard, it can be displayed without all the agony of the genocide of the Tibetan people even being suggested. As if the Potala had been built that way as a great display of wealth and power instead of the fountain head of the Tibetans culture, the birthplace of their benign life and religion.

How do I know this? I have never been there, but I know it in my bone for 200 or 300+ years of photographs and paintings, etc. have shown it always mired in the higgly piggly buildings of a hand built city of the hardworking self sustaining people of Tibet. So mired, it often distressed me and I wished to see it a little set aside. Well, apparently, so did the Chinese, so they slaughter not only the cultural life of Tibet but undoubtedly thousands upon thousands of the people who used to inhabit Lhasa. If you want to see this for yourself. Go to Lhasa via Google Earth (dated 2008), and then check it against the hundred thousand pictures of Tibet 20, 30, 40, 50, 100, 200 years ago. The Chinese genocide of the Tibetan people. The erasure of Lhasa by the Chinese, is comparable to the Taliban’s blowing up of the Bamyan Buddhas -- only worse since it involves living people and a living people's heritage. We read about these things in the 20th-21st Century, but until now, we assume the day of unimaginable cultural destruction is passed. But not so, raze their buildings rewrite history.

If the will of 10,000 generations had gone into saving what a treasurehouse Earth would be, instead we have bone yards, endless bone yards, created by those who march in the footsteps of the Glorious Warriors of Greece, all those who went out to kill each other and destroy each others works. One of the most guilty of this art of war and destruction is, of course, the Americans -- over there systematically destroying 5,000 years of Iraq’s wealth of buildings and archaeological history so that we, like
the Chinese, can steal their oil and mineral wealth.



Dear Google:

Nobody loves you more than I do. So it is hard for me to believe that you would be party to, not only the genocide of the Tibetan People, but the total obliteration of their cultural heritage.

I had occasion to google “Lhasa” and the “Potala” lately and could find only the post-Chinese images of this historically central city of the Tibetan people. I could not find one image that showed Lhasa before the whole city was torn down, and replaced by Chinese style avenues and super highways. I googled around using as many terms as I could think of, like “historic,” “ancient,” “1940,” “pre 1958” etc. etc., but still could not find any images that showed the city as it stood for some, at least, 300 + years, the mud wall and stone city or relatively small buildings that snuggled up close to the Potala, and was the very center of Tibetan life.

I can understand that you made a deal including censorship with China, but I am appalled that censorship includes censoring what we in the United States and, no doubt, the rest of the world can find about historic facts on Google Images.

The destruction and rebuilding of Lhasa has been done. Please don’t obscure the fact it was done. Don’t, like the Chinese in Tibet, simply erase history and prevent people from knowing the past. There are thousands of images of Lhasa and the situation of the Potala before 1958 (pre-Chinese Tibet) in books and perhaps, I would guess, on various museum and library sites, as well as many images on scholarly or travel sites. Please make these images searchable on Google Images. And let me know what terms to use to google to get to them.

You are, as I am sure you know, “history,” “archaeology,” “the past,” to the younger generations now alive, and to all future generations. Don’t allow the past to be wantonly rewritten.

Maybe it means a review of how sites find placement on Google. Perhaps the most popular are not always the ones that “need” to come up first -- if we are to keep a viable perspective on human life and human history.


Jan Haag



When one reads chinese history, one is struck by their, down thru all the ages, passion to razed conquered land (within or without China -- although they do think of Tibet as Chinese), strew it with salt and nails and build anew. They have done this, if their history is to be believed, with the most extraordinarily elaborate of buildings and cities -- why should they not do it to Lhasa. Even with all our ubiquitous information, no one will ever remember what Lhasa was like before the broad avenues. Why ever should they? Isn’t it more “beautiful” now, more monumental, more elegant, more Chinese. But the culture of Tibet was in that jumble, of that inmeshment of the Potala in the life of the people. The people are erased, the city is erased, the culture, what’s left is transferred to India -- and the rest of the world. Bits and pieces. The dream of Shangri-la is dead. All corners of the world are inhabited.

Copyright © 2008-2015 Jan Haag
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail:



29 -- Astronauts, 01-24-08

15 -- Greens, 01-14-08

23 -- Idea, 01-20-08

231 -- I Do Realize, 05-18-08

207 -- I Have No Idea, 05-04-08

208 -- I Have No Idea II, 05-04-08

239 -- Lhasa, Potala, History, 05-25-08

195 -- My Kitten, 04-27-08

33 -- One Thing After Another (Idam Ch'dam Cha), 01-27-08

22 -- Over The Edge, 01-19-08

67 -- Papaya, 02-13-08

187 -- Seven And A Half Million Pounds Of Thrust, 01-22/23-08

234 -- Shock, 05-20/21-08

13 -- Snap To, 01-12-08

16 -- Sounds, Or Their Lack, 01-14-08

44 -- So When, 02-01-08

10 -- Tactical Delays, 01-09-08

53 -- Today, 02-05-08

190 -- Today II, 04-24-08

243 -- When One Reads Chinese History, 05-27-08







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