Category Archives: Faith (or not.)

Physics makes me feel like part of something beyond belief…


Maniad 1996



August 24, October 5, November 8
These festivals were held to placate the Manes. It was believed that on these days the Mundus, the passageway to the underworld, was open and the spirits of the dead were free to roam the earth.”






Choices overwhelming me,
buried in variety,
the arms of my discretion pinned
as the freight train of snow
pinned the skiier Pompei-wise.
Will, so lauded, over rated
in the manageably filtered
kindergarten called America,
when straws of disrespectful reality
pierce the surgical steel
doors of our perception.
Cramming the options
into the stove-pipe girdle
of manageability, caring
not one byte for the offal
sluicing away into disregard.
Natural is as entropy goes,
the nicely arrayed toys
scattered by naughty boys
flung joyfully into chaos,
their destiny in play
until the weary Mommy
slumps at the new-made work
and chastizes the bra(h)ts
with tearful swats
groaning under the burden of neatness
in her magazine-dictated style,
thinking of Sylvia’s tresses
arrayed on the sad oven grill,
another beleagered woman
sacrificed amidst the rotten egg
smells of a man’s world,
her naturalness held out
like a supplicant’s fearful offering,
bleating, bearded and soon to be clipped of horns
at the Adam’s apple,
a cute, cuddly sop
to her neighbors’ perceived taste.
Her once-proud and feisty
Amazonian self-regard
and faith in future
fumigated like a lousy refugee
by “the easy way.”
Perversions said to be natural too,
since blackness is nothing
without light.
The holy need the sinners
and losers make the winners.
BUT how did the order
that entropy breaks
come to exist
in the first place?
A moebius luge-run for all time?
Variety destined to break down
into homogeneity?
Conscience can fade
and be rationalized.
It’s seen in the eyes
of women paraded
in the streets of Vichy,
the shaven heads
of the mothers…
NO!  WHORES of the Bosch,
whose sweet looking babies
are spawns of the Devils
whose Teutonic and arrogant
disregard for our
sorrow and pity
must not be forgotten.
Not seen as innocents but
as symbols of that which,
though once tolerated,
(“You can’t fight City Hall.”)
by millions of French,
who miraculously swelled
the post-war legions
of Resistance, evaporated
into righteousness
when the “modi anglais” liberated
the fleur de lis, flower of lily-
livered, any way the wind blows,
supercilious, frog-principals.
Through time the sun shines
on all of our weaknesses,
meanness and guilt.
Womankind bound to take
stitches in quilts
to cover the acts of men
who do their bidding
slaves to the wound
ever-festering in the
wet dreams of their jerkiness,
such a threat when self-removed,
and all the pretty ones are gay.
(Makes me wanna scream!)
Not enough that the supply
is whittled at by war
and the infirmity of stress
in A-Type compulsion,
hunting and gathering
all the choicest …
Watching leaves blown in the street
like a herd of Wildebeests
or Mustangs turning beneath
the rotors of a modern cowboy’s mount;
first flowing to the left,
then to the right,
as of one mind.
Fused in fear and congealed
by the knowledge
that separation is mortality.
As lasting and as concrete
as important in their selfness
as the crinkly leaves swooshed
down the gutter
by the winds gusting
before the front,
bringing the hard rain
that turns them
into the sodden paste
collecting against the curb.
Homogeneity realized out of many;
Elm, Maple and Oak
Leaching into the fissures
to nourish another generation
with their stew.

Joe Jackson’s “Evil Empire”

My first effort at Powerpoint…

All Souls Day


Another arm-load churns the trapped water.
The stove’s jacket invests a thermal glow,
circulating stored sunlight, years later.
Summers turned to snowy crust long ago
now wedges, gold-orange alder firewood.
And the stock-pot aromaticates,
savory chunks the children masticatre
chattering schoolyard gossip through their food.
Then Momma allocates the clean-up chores
while Dad sits back, index nail to his teeth,
deciding work’s unstructured load’s a bore
and, since his wife bespoke the urge to sleep,
promises another night of the drudge,
packing his bean with law’s illusory rules
believed to be compelling by the fools
who, lacking knowledge, swallow that foul sludge.
All work, he thinks, and no play dulls the blade
that five hours daily commute, full time Wall
Street and night school’scerebral muggings made
of what, once, Eden’s apple tripped to fall
now left behind as victims of new wars.
So glistening is the moonlight on the frost
as the broad pasture, in the Ford, is crossed.
Then, turning upstream, dozen miles, no cars
are met, and yet his first glimpse of an elk
as it dove down the stream bank to the right.
An older man, a hermit. Yurt’s warm spell
an herbal refuge from the State’s might.
A patronizing side-kick for the ride.
Good company while driving rough log roads
to where the sneaker-wave and the rip-tide
abut the Californicated coast.
“You know,” the driver said, “the portents bode
well since I’ve not seen elk in all my days
but did see one tonight, while on the way
to pick you up, as it leapt off the road.”
Just then, cresting a rise, they saw lots more.
A herd munched on a clear-cut’s fare beneath
the sparkling spectral moon’s crystalline wreath
which promised snow-fall surely was in store.
“It never rains but that it pours” he sighs
as, passing him a beer, the hermit grinned
out through his long gray beard with elfin eyes
and the car traced road’s track ’round gravelly rim
of vertical drop some hundreds feet down
to valley some actress was said to own.
The hermit told of driving off and groaned,
remembering one night’s return from town.
“The pick-up hung up in a Hemlock’s branch”
he said while staring out into the past.
“Ten hours twenty feet up don’t pass fast.
I thought I’d bought the proverbial ranch.”
So, chatting, swigging beer the miles wound down
and roads widened from gravel to hard tar.
They popped out of the hills to a coast town
and parked the auto across from the bar
whose owner was, that night, seventy-seven
so the town had turned out for the fete.
Whereas most nights it offered peaceful haven
this night it proved a hoppin’ scene, you bet.
The hermit once had often spentnights there
just slammin’ PBRs and talkin’ trash
to women who were charmed when he would flash
his smile. This night you couldn’t find a chair.
The driver, not a pushy sort, hung back
as old friends welcommed hermit, long not seen.
He bought a beer, then two more, tipped his hat
onto the back of his de-pressured bean
and found himself the object of the jibes
of an old regular, sheet-rock hanger,
not recognizing him from local tribes
of immigrated hippies and head-bangers.
With winks for the crowd he attended to
some xenophobic local ritual:
To NOT nose wrestle made a man a girl.
The driver made the red-neck quit first. “Guy
had never lost before” the hermit said
“You made a lot of friends, not backing down
when those ham-like hands took hold of your head
and he started to flog your face around
with his inflated, red potato-nose.”
The peace-pipes passed around the bar without
the locals’ paranoia bleeding doubt
and, twisted, tribute to the owner rose
to toasts about his cowboy past and how
he’d weathered fifty bouts inside the ring
and nobody messed with him, even now
though he was quiet, past remembering.
And winding up the party later on
the daddy-driver and the hermit split.
The sea-salt air had thickened, starting to spit
a sleety rainfall in the early dawn.

The car warmed up and they reviewed the night.
They laughed over outrageous womens’ lies;
who sought relief from macho-donkey guys,
and swore to deliver of their delights.
His second dozen elk the driver’d see
as they drove East into the Coast Range, home.
The herd surrounded one huge Wapiti
then scattered off while he remained, alone.
He glared at the two men then turned around
and for at least a mile he proudly strut,
the swinging, soft-ball sized roots of the rut
presented rearwards as he traced his ground.
© James T. Risdon 1991