Friday, December 29, 2006

Process not perfection

recording new music gets me into the zone, no time, no distractions, focus into the moment and creatively play with movement, sound, layers of information, nuance, letting go of what my imagination wants to hear exactly and allowing what my imagination creates wholly.

i now have the basic tracks completed for 2 of the new pieces - built from combining lyrical ideas with pure experimentation. both melodies are very simple - and probably as a result my sense is today (i have some time off this afternoon) and next week a more complex structure will emerge for at least a few pieces - those sounds are ringing in my ears when i walk to work.

its like filling a vase with wine and flowers, and oddly my soul is very quiet, deeply meditative and prayerful in the early morning and during the day - an anchor keeping my ship in the harbor, safe, while tidal rise and fall, currents, winds, all tugging and pulling, blend the active process with dark tones of gratitude and reassurance.

its challenging to not have everything sound like it sounds in my head. my historical pattern is to work hard on a project, complete it, and then let it go, or perhaps even despise it for awhile, then come back around eventually and see what good work it is - driving me to begin anew.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Fog and clarity

thick mist rushing chill underneath chinstrap motorcycle helmet dark wet morning ride vestige beholden factorial demolition mud slinging white dress urgency rubbing ribcage nails terminology dance whalebone vertigo hibernation lebam personality tongue banished anonymity drunken horus mechanical slop-trough dibbling nature current
tollbooth melanoma pal hasping log into chromium delicato estrogen by internal elevator lascivious opalescent harbinger dutifully cracking mealworm alterations gyrocopter dance tune lavender dependent shoelace turniquet belljar intertwined with melted volvo pandemonium

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


yesterday was a struggle. my lunch hour was spent weeping. the beauty in this is how much intensity my emotions now carry and the depth of release that is acheived by sitting with my feelings. within myself each day there are factions making their plea for attention: the poor me, which drives me toward isloation and trying to control everything rather than asking for and accepting help, and acceptance of each moment on life's terms - was my mantle yesterday.

phone calls, weeping, doing laundry, cooking/eating nourshing food, a pleasant visit with virginia once i was regrounded - all of these wrestle the poor me to the ground and give him a hug. i was suspended for decades in the emotional age group of 5-14 and it remains astonishing when the adult nurturing and comfort from within my soul kicks in. glad glad glad to be alive now.

it will be a quiet and internally lit new year's celebration this year.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Snow roof crush

much tenderness in feeling and challenge to serenity came out this weekend - travel through ice and snow, helping create meals for a dozen people in a small chalet with no running water, many phone calls from recovering beings wanting support, trying to balance my ability to give and receive, taking in love, accepting with grace each nuance of each day.

this morning everything is new, like it was yesterday at 5:15am, shoveling snow off of the van, knowing i would make it out the road, make it to the ferry on time to visit the kids, make it back in time to prep the turkey for christmas dinner - and the sleep, the closeness with my true lover, the distance we take and allow, the depth of understanding that ended the day, yesterday, have settled into experience like snow on a roof, and will slide, melt away to eventually pool, flow, join the ocean of moments past. gratitude for all.

it appears that there is no visa required for portugal travel, we leave on march 30th. small steps need to be taken prior to the trip, all of the big ones have been taken care of. one of the things i enjoy about sharing time/space with virginia is that being prepared in order to avoid last minute rushing and stress is valuable to her too. we have yet to determine based on flight timing and baggage transport options whether we will carry everything on or check a bag or 2.

i'm hoping we can check one shared largish bag all of the way through to faro from seattle although we change airlines in boston. that way we can pack lightly for the flights but keep everything we need in case the checked baggage is delayed or lost. also we can bring things such as nail scissors and files, shampoo and toothpaste (in more than 3-oz size). but if we must carry on everything we will have enough space in our bags for all that we need.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Venison taboo

my blog today will be simply to point you to someone else's and hope you find it as amusing as i did. this is an entry from halloween this year - but his more recent and further past entries also have some gems. the best part for me - comments from his regular readers and his responses to them. which reminds me... ahem... feel free to comment, criticize, creatively add on to or generally play with any ideas you read on raininghorse. i do get a chance to edit any comments but don't let that intimidate you. if i have a question i'll get back to you before i judge or delete. of course, if you are a spammer you will get nowhere on my blog :)

enough talk, here's the link:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Equatorial serenity

around your middle
along your meridians
your extremities
your sanguine lines
hills, valleys, streams
patterned fields
groves, orchards
temporal oceans
vast mountain ranges
curtains of ice
flashing lightning
crystaline caves
each temperature
all surfaces infinite
turning over my hand
today again
front to back
tracing and traveling
paying close attention
heart connected
mind alert
body alive
deeper than ever
sleeping within
fragments assembled
a drift of snow
a penny in a cup
bending iron capstans
valuable gem
dancing shadows
candle descends in vibration
water glass vestige
heliotrope bracelet
your ribs weave fervent vows
blankets, serene winter
little knowing gasp
cry of wolf

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Saddle vanish bake sale

this ghost of a moment
whispered into your difficult sleeping
recalling snowy mountain drive
with head in lap
conversations invisible
vanishing after aberdeen
trails uncovered by
long saddle sheen
crisp apple
in a ricky ricardo tempo
daily life bake sale
scruffy on dancing platform
grass train organically gravels
vintage armor-plated bird cage
sip through orange straw
a vanilla sweet-tooth version
crafts value
ark-and-animal melancholy
homer voicing siren wheels
ragamuffin whirl
entire garage door dream
shut too tight to breath
in masks we trust
daughter of the nile
wendy opens her window
give me that spool
all my thread is gone

Monday, December 18, 2006

One for one

determination, answers framing testimonial gaze, trained by 2 lives, a delicate balance whose edges are smoothed, river rock virtue, sculptural pillars of stone on a northern seascape, standing in water when lightning strikes, but its been seen before, grounded before, and so this sky of ever-changing timeless scrollwork breaks like waves, follows through with lazy grey voluminous clouds cooling internal fear, or rage at melting suppositions by lending a coat, sharing shelter beneath some range of boughs lain gracefully by the storm upon this shelf of white lace unraveling, opening, exposing some part of persephone's body that no light below the sky has seen, talent for rolling past wreckage, dandelion versioning package store, hobo suited up forwarding address intense wreath-application in egg, the game spills over the edges of shoulders, down the back and breasts, heaving a sigh out onto the lake with a naked hook, burnished with a nail, tapping out a song on ancient keys of cedar. talk again with me, talk again with me for this is turning so beautifully, dancer, caroller, talent scout.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Winding down

the week, the year, settling into creative, meditative and organizing work. i slept cozy and warm last night while the winds blew furiously outside. today most of our management is out at work due to power issues, so its a bunch of mice playing - oddly i'm getting a huge amount of work done and its several hours later than i normally blog.

last night's session was fun - exploring some piano and tabla loops as well as finding patterns to pick on both my classical guitar and the bass/dobro hybrid built by gene gilliam. i had not printed out any lyrics so was going blind - knowing that the musical ideas would be a match for something i had written. i titled one piece "corona" as the tabla mood was perfect for what i had imagined and open-ended enough to allow for vast interpretation.

most of the time when i work with drums, be they live or be they dead, i end up finding some counter-rhythm, or some internally-linked key to reinterpret the downbeat. dave schiel is so fun to work with because he actually relishes this madness of mine - and keeps in his own world of beat, yet connected to me through intuition and experience.

i may include a piece or 2 from our recording session in october as part of this album. there were certainly a few "keepers" - as most of our process of playing together is for the moment only. its always a good reminder to me that life is like that when lived fully, the moment is where all points of magic exist, and in gratitude i am alive within it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

First recording session

tonight i'm beginning the process of creating a new album of recorded music. it will integrate improvised pieces that were initiated in the last 6 months (one titled "wander"), new compositions using the lyrical ideas i've been blogging combined with some musical riffs that have been coming around regularly on the guitar, and a few older songs that want to be captured at this time.

its been a roller-coaster this week. holiday joy, holiday stress, success at work and feeling impoverished battling each other, more depth in recovery, in love, in creativity and in time with self than ever before in my life, a sense of peace about the children contrasted with a sense of futility and powerlessness that is hard to swallow sometimes.

music has been my refuge since i was about 9 years old and began composing and improvising on the piano. my formal lessons had ended at age 8. i had also started playing clarinet and would switch to oboe and english horn, then continue them all through my school years. this album will be more piano-centric than my last dozen or so. i've been enjoying the simplicity and power of guitar and piano combined that rick rubin uses in his productions with johnny cash and neil diamond, as well as the robyn hitchcock album "eye" - (one of virginia's favorites) quite the masterpiece of lyrical intelligence and folk-pop songwriting genius.

the main thing i've learned from doing this over and over through the years is that focus on the process is essential - focus on the product is a mousetrap. whether i love or hate the product - and this will change from week to year, fickle boy that i am, the process is magical and provides points of reference for my life that i can look back on later. it's fun!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

"Sand in your eyes"

you have been lied to
broken down
left to find your own way

you have courage and yet
you are fragile
its getting more crowded

only one voice
is allowed in your home
sad and fearful

trying to blind you
sand in your eyes

controlling, imploding
its not easy
anywhere you go

you will find your way
trusting your courage
is my hope

sand in your eyes
wind and water
let your tears wash them

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


tell me something
carve my question
with your handmade
set of knives
details are not yet complete
outward from the sun
probable now
led to suggest
someone is traveling
upon your wave
those colors fly and run
like a painting
begging you to be
my only one
hello corona
your darkness shows
the light around you
two theories
heart temperature soaring
cantilevered blinds are drawn
in the morning
where we take our time
looking in your eyes
hundreds of millions
sounds accumulate
when a tear is drawn
through a laughing gate
its your history
my excursion
gradual magnetic reconnection
through the chromosphere
to the corona
light around you
darkness showing
have you heard
its a question
no one ever gives away
the first direct observation
lecturn willow vase
sun dividing
over western hills
you are sky-born
let the weather come

(for virginia)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Happy Birthday (belated)

in case your mother has not done this yet, i'll do the traditional telling of your birth story.

it was an icy winter, not snowy but slippery out. we lived about 1/2 block from stevens hospital in edmonds where you were going to be born - we had found dr. snow who was willing to do a natural birth and was older, kindly, gentle in demeanor. on the night of december 7th contractions started and got quite regular, so we were up all night putting together everything for the birth, timing the contractions, rubbing her back, trying to rest a little. we waited until morning then walked over for an examination and by the time we got there the contractions had stopped - you were not ready to come forth yet, it was a preliminary labor.

so we got a little napping in then i went to work at 3:30pm as usual. i knew when i left the house that it was going to be a short shift for me and a long night for the 3 of us. at about 8pm melanie called and said the contractions had started again and this time they were stronger - she sounded a little frightened. i came home immediately, started timing the contractions and by 9pm we were packed up and walking through the woods to the hospital. there was no doubt this time that we would make the return walk with a baby in arms.

the labor went well, retrospectively, it was my first time. we had taken lamaze classes, i had paid close attention. i was up on the bed looking straight into melanie's eyes going through the different stages of breathing, helping monitor the dilation of her cervix, recognizing as the transition was about to hit, dealing with the nausea and everything else associated, and was alone with melanie when her water broke - kersplash!

then the nurse came back in and we went into the delivery room - an old fashioned arrangement with everyone gowned and masked, bright lights, yet still it felt like, energetically, we were in the middle of an old-growth forest. i divided my attention between taking pictures (with don hazeltine's camera) and rubbing melanie's forehead, giving encouragement, trying not to react too strongly to her labors. knowing what i know now i would have had someone else do the photography or skipped it, but by now there were 2 nurses to help me help your mom.

she was given an epistiotomy to help things along a little. then you crowned, then your head was birthed, then it was one more push and the remainder of your shining miraculous body was in dr. snow's hands - all very quickly, at about 5 in the morning on december 9th. a girl (we did not know ahead of time) and perfectly healthy in every way!

they took you away to clean you up - i followed and watched while melanie was stitched up and then you were returned to her. we went back into our room for most of the day - there was some sleep in there for all 3 of us, then we packed up everything and walked back on the little forest path to the house.

here are the lyrics from the first song i ever wrote for you (it wasn't the last) that we used to sing together (melanie, don and me) at the essene church:

i beckon to thee o morning sun
who shines without questioning why
in light of your love, beyond your kiss
the mystery opens to me

new one, shimmering sun
brought unto birth
and blessed by the spirit of god

the sky is so far from my embrace
yet i touch the clouds with my hand
the earth is our home
our father's own expression of heaven above

new one, shimmering sun
brought unto birth
and blessed by the spirit of god

the wondrous voice who speaks so clear
the truth which uncovers our pain
will walk with our tears to sorrow's end
and render us joyful again

new one, shimmering sun
brought unto birth
and blessed by the spirit of god

so deep in my heart the seed awakes
to bring forth its blossom of love
no sweeter a rose could ever live
then that which is given to him

new one, shimmering sun
brought unto birth
and blessed by the spirit of god
spirit of god

Friday, December 08, 2006

"Hottie with a hoody"

at times its important to inject a little humor into any creative process. last evening prior to walking around greenlake with virginia we entered into a brief discussion of clothing options and somehow this phrase popped out. i knew immediately that the opportunity to write a "white boy rap" had dawned. also we have been watching robert altman's "popeye" whose truest shining star is the child playing swee'pea, wesley ivan hurt; excruciatingly cute, the wackiest grin in all of hollywood history. also my daughter's 30th birthday is tomorrow - she was the first person who ever used the term hoody in my presence - all of these influences are percolating today. here be the rap:

sentimental you know me a telephone a pattern emerging take me on a walk take me to your mother's easter sunday pink and fuzzy ears taking all those pictures moving you around and around in slippers versatile that's what it is and pinker than a bunny's lips full and special motion turn it round and round going to the show on the bus on the radio captivating all of the impersonators waiting and waiting for their turn turn it up like a collar when the wind blows hoody on the lake in a rowboat with your homies taking turns at the oar getting floored getting shifted to the left to the motorcycle town when theatrical trailers tear it down help is on the way courtesy of elephant car wash villages running out of water carrot top delegations to the left on the border on the run diving into pink pajamas when the sun goes down everybody knows your license is expired keep it current keep it driving all the way around the lake new and different the first take take what you know who you are in the moment so determined to be everybody who ever you would be be yourself call a doctor get elected burn a car in the street kind of rough and kind of sweet its your birthday its your life in immediate display call it in to this opening ring of joy sing of happiness take it to the world to your magical whirl of energy again and again ring of joy sing of happiness take it to the world to your magical whirl of energy again and again ring of joy sing of happiness take it to the world to your magical whirl of energy again and again

Thursday, December 07, 2006


chinese lamp
this translucence
tender shadow
wings apart
open virtue
by my heart
grafted willow
dirty linen
training winter
out we fall
into carbon
terraced hill
layers moistened
by the kill
bees are humming
taking poison
cavern dripping
building stone
deep within you
o my stance
lake of oil
touching coral
chinese lamp
shogun fractal
you discovered
we display
tempered sand
pale and smooth
you are sleeping

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"To earthward"

this is not a new lyric, or even my lyric, but several years ago i wrote a guitar progression that found its way to this poem by robert frost. i literally picked up a poetry anthology at the end of an hour or so of picking the tune over and over, a process that is common for me, and the match of mood and phrasing was a perfect fit. such magic is life.

i have never recorded the song to my satisfaction and plan to on this new album project. plus last evening i had a brush with the beauty and fragility of life, so am feeling my mortality this morning to an acute degree. here's the poem:

To Earthward
by: Robert Frost

Love at the lips was touch
As sweet as I could bear;
And once that seemed too much;
I lived on air
That crossed me from sweet things,
The flow of- was it musk
From hidden grapevine springs
Down hill at dusk?

I had the swirl and ache
From sprays of honeysuckle
That when they're gathered shake
Dew on the knuckle.
I craved strong sweets, but those
Seemed strong when I was young;
The petal of the rose
It was that stung.

Now no joy but lacks salt
That is not dashed with pain
And weariness and fault;
I crave the stain
Of tears, the aftermark
Of almost too much love,
The sweet of bitter bark
And burning clove.

When stiff and sore and scarred
I take away my hand
From leaning on it hard
In grass and sand,
The hurt is not enough:
I long for weight and strength
To feel the earth as rough
To all my length.

From "New Hampshire", 1923

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"A western sea"

savor a motion into the floor
in case of god belonging
torpid values, who's beating my drum
no risk no invitation
unwilling to discover
green lances volume ride
the carmeled apples driving
along a western sea
a western sea
a western sea

three o'clock where are you hiding
i lie beside your waters
tracing relics, ecstatic divide
a piercing magic circle
my tongue is aching sweetly
plow is turning fertile soil
when calibration pointed
toward a western sea
a western sea
a western sea

visit your chamomile forest
elevate legs in a chorus
wishes escaping my loony
carved on a whalebone - i'll tell them you knew me

blackened direction, into the void
whose soapy mule is croaning
a lock of heaven unlocking my soul
you keep the undertaker
don't polish off the liquor
imposters blinding mission
they send conquistadores
into a western sea
a western sea
a western sea

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Blinding horse"

that old familiar conversation
trading cards across the phone
bargain chips and deals
those old familiar wheels
are rolling past a graveyard
full of mud and aggravation
if it wasn't for the children
i would never ever
talk with you again
if it wasn't for the children
i would put this all behind me
you're a mirror that can't find me
it's a travesty
a blinding of the horse
with a scythe
anger reins
in the sky
rage enfolded in a flowerbox
it shames me just to take this walk
i call upon my guides for help
i call upon my highest self
remain in light
bring peace into this window
in the night
let courage breathe
if it wasn't for the children
i would never ever
talk with you again
if it wasn't for the children
i would put this all behind me
you're a mirror that can't find me
it's a travesty
a blinding of the horse
with a scythe
anger reins
in the sky
anger reins
in the sky

Friday, December 01, 2006

"If you listen"

three profound wishes balanced on a spire of glass
evidence of healing, spinning wheel
turned towards each other, three exquisite dancers
more fickle than life, hurt from the womb
spreading fingers in the air, peering at each other

you can hear them if you listen
their moving breath, their footfall
if you listen to your heart
they will call you in and feed you
mothers to themselves
giving shelter to us all

november cantilever flashes of light
placed into a circle, making a map with your finger
there are no sorrows too large to bear, dancers know this
fling themselves like arrows toward the task
these 3 intimates connected, flaming in the sky

you can catch them if you listen
break that rudimentary vacuum, cradle change
if you listen with your eyes
with your palms in circles resting
captivating fortress
pale and wintry night