Blue Culvert

This week's theme is Blue. I believe I found this grafitti'd infrastructure on the beach in San Diego. The color makes it look like a rather inviting portal!


Trailer Trash

Someday the old mobile home park at Lake Boren will be redeveloped, but for now, it's a ghost town.



A veritable paisley of shapes on this California university parking lot.


Lovely as a Tree

Well, some poems are lovelier than some trees, at any rate.

Missile Peak


The veins of leafless alders arch toward hard weather
As mine stretch into my own occult interior.

We encounter stairs, pavings sober as fishbones, amid
Moss (uproarious, chartreuse), amid profuse but pallid weeds.

Ghost rooms outlined by this simple maze, mystical
Glyphs strewn in the grass for hawks to apprehend.

One day, down came barracks and latrines; now only picnic tables
On the bluff look west where Russkie rockets remained intangible.

From this hill our missiles were to arch to that heavy weather--
Our trusty equipment defending our children, the interior.


These America's sacred ruins, scenes of glory: gizmos, dogma, loathing;
Our blighted history, of ever-defunct artillery, vigilance without end.

At Forts Casey, Worden, Ebey, Nisqually, the Great War's sepulchers
Are ammo dumps and concrete bunkers, gun emplacements altars.

Our boy will clamber their cannons, explore each blasted warren
In the cliff, try to heft painted shells jaunty as bollards on the vast lawn.

Tonight we leave the austere park from which Our Boys, no doubt
Disgruntled, carried out their recessional from holy war -- phased out.

Along this forest trail, breezes cruise through lean young trees;
Tonight bullfrogs will chant their love in Tibbett's swollen creek.

If you're interested, here are a few of my not-so-recent works...



I had what I gather was an unusual childhood. All the while I was growing up, both my father and mother read, wrote, and taught poetry. From birth I was steeped in poetry — I was read Milton in my crib, for example. My father insisted that my first words were, "Of Man's first disobedience..."

Rather than bunnies and doggies and moo-cows, I loved to identify the photos of the authors on the Oscar Williams anthologies, and knew Yeats and Auden by sight as some kids know sports stars. (I still can't tell one sports personality from another).

Here you can see the University of Washington's mock-Gothic Suzzallo Library out the window, and to the left, the original Edmund Meany Hall, doomed to collapse shortly thereafter in an earthquake.

I got an early exposure to my parents' tools of the trade. When my mother graduated to an electric typewriter in the 1970s, I inherited the this old Royal and wound up typing my poems on it for fifteen more years. I still have it, though it's barely usable...anyone know a typewriter repairperson? I also still have that African mask in the background.

I became accustomed to being included in their writing life. I attended their parties (Theodore Roethke was a family friend) and readings (I sat on Lawrence Ferlinghetti's lap once) and had guest appearances on the local "Northwest Poetry" TV and radio shows which my father hosted. Like I say...rather unusual.

About the caption - I was christened "Shawn" because at that time, my parents felt that no one would know how to pronounce "Sean." In fact, even years after the James Bond series was well underway and I felt the time was right to start signing my name the Olde Irish way, I still was often called "Seen." This however was preferable to being called "Sharon" (not only was "Shawn" so uncommon that no one was familiar with it anyway, but no one could read my writing).

Anyway, there was still plenty of opportunity to be a normal kid. Here's my second Christmas. Looks like I was fairly pleased with the loot. Check out the vintage telephone on the back wall!


I Want Candy

The Medieval village of Anghiari clings to the side of a hill at the southern edge of Tuscany. As with most towns of any size in Italy, it hosts a weekly market. Here the local farmers come to sell fruit and vegetables from tables they set up in the piazza; meat, cheese, and fish vendors ease their vans through the serpentine lanes. The townspeople also browse through stands of kitchenware, clothes, linens (the Mussolini dishrags are particularly impressive), shoes, cellphone covers, antiques, and wine. You can pick out live chickens, rabbits, and ducks for your Sunday dinner.

And if you're lucky, the candy van, with its complicated unfolding canopy, will make an appearance.


At the old Sand Point Way Naval Air Station, now Magnuson Park, in Seattle.


Green Folks

A few human interest shots from the Green Fest.

Giant salmon.
There's something rather Marc Chagall about this scene.

Giant octopoid.

Giant clam.

Sparing the water.

Sparing the chemicals.

Sparing surplus fetuses.


Sixties - Sepia to Digital

In 1972 the Vietnam War was in full swing. I was approaching draft age. And I was pissed off. In the preceding four years, since I was 13, I’d been seriously affected by the Eugene McCarthy presidential campaign, appalled by the Robert Kennedy and M. L. King murders, and precociously outraged at Nixon and Kissinger’s Strangelovian politics.

I cut school to attend peace marches, I hung out in incense-infused headshops and bought their dayglo druggy posters (while doing no drugs other than the occasional aspirin), and made up for lost time by scarfing up oodles of used LPs of the most esoteric or iconoclastic bands I could find.

I’d also discovered rock and roll and, although still living with my Mozart-obsessed parents, was emulating as best I could the hippies I saw daily in the University District. My hair was long and frizzy (I’d been growing it since the Kent State University shooting of 1970), and my politics were thoroughly Lefty. I did bathe, however.

My outfits were idiosyncratic, as evidenced by this photo taken by my friend Nancy, whom I'd met in Photography class. As you might expect, I was wearing the flag shirt out of disrespect, though I don't know that it was manufactured with that intent nor whether any of my classmates figured that out. Some of them called me Captain America. Captain Anti-Amerika was more like it.

My friends and I frequented the farmers’ markets and summer streetfairs, where I stocked up on homemade belts, leather rings and headbands, scented candles. The revolution was coming any time now.

Today I went to the annual Green Fest in downtown Seattle. The organization my wife has recently co-started, Sustainable Bellevue, was helping man a booth. And down the aisles there they were: the hemp products, the candles and lotions, the handmade clothing from Nepal, the alternative architectural notions, booths promoting alternative fuel or offering to convert your car to electricity, products made from recycled tires or potato sacks or tennis shoes or pop bottles or newspapers or old Bollywood films (seriously). Lots of longhairs, sandals, and wild outfits. It felt like home.

The revolution we were hoping for never exactly came, but maybe there’s still a chance.


Silver White Light

Rattlesnake Lake, covering what was Moncton, Washington.

The flooding was the natural but unforeseen outcome of the government building a dam above an adjacent lake.

Story and historical flooding photos

Visit the Cedar River Watershed visitors' center at Rattlesnake Lake.


All a Blur

Wandering around after last year's tradeshow...

from business district...

to residential...

from hilltop...

to the turntable...

from the festive...

to the spooky...

from the monumental...

to the humble...


Darkness, darkness, be my blanket.

A taste of posts to come...