Nothing against coffee drinkers…

I put down my cup of coffee. I was frustrated. I don’t even drink coffee. I suppose though except for that particular day. I like the smell but care not for its taste. A touch too acrid.
It was our conversation rather than the beverage that lead to my displeased state of mind.
Coffee wouldn’t make me frustrated like that, shaky probably, but not frustrated.
We finished our passing back and forth of sentences, and I turned to the door. 
A series of revelations poured over me like a rain of nails and glass.
To say to me what she had said would most certinaly have required;
That she had never read a single poem I wrote, never heard a single note or verse of any song I loved.
She hadn’t looked into any drawing I had rendered.
She hadn’t listened to anything I had said about who I am and what I mean.
It can be painful to learn the assumptions others have made of you.
That’s a realization that’s a lot more frustrating than any cup of anything. Save for a cup of angry fire ants, though that too would be more physical pain than frustration.
What is one to do?
Well I didn’t drink any more coffee, instead I listened to 100 verses of ragtime, and conjured up every imaginable bird under the sky.
Because, all joking aside, I don’t drink coffee, I draw birds.

A farewell to…

Finding ghost birds in the grain, while walking home in the rain.

And an ending hand written by Hemingway.


I had originally planned on using this piece of wood for a hawk drawing. After several sketches none of which proved up, I cleaned the surface and started anew. The Warbler shape is always a good go-to. I used a similar approach as the recent large hawks in flight. Leaving openings to let the wood do some of the talking.

Sunshine daydream

A shot from the field today.
After breakfast I set out on my mountain bike to go look for trouble (birds, bugs, snakes, and the like.)
Various trails and fire roads brought me to my favorite stretch of tracks in California.
While I didn’t spot too much of note, the sky was clear and the day was a fine one.
Back in the lab tonight brought an interesting take on a flying owl.
"Tell me all that you know,  I'll show you  Snow and rain..."

“Tell me all that you know, I’ll show you
Snow and rain…”


A poem and a pencil drawing.

That was the summer our kite strings tanged up together.
The one that dragged me through the years and one hundred thistle patches to right here standing on your front porch.
No flowers in hand, just some dried Bull thistle stalk.
Standing before you, I can hear the years start to talk.
I’m lost without you I wish she would say,
truth being I can see without you clear as day.
Nothing echoes for tomorrows sake, no words from either of us.
My mind races towards the first fire escape, looking for a way through the red tape.
I’d rather be anywhere else, maybe in Chicago waiting for a bus, or East St. Louis waiting for a train.
but for this everlasting second staring into her eyes brings an unnerving sort of pain.
I could be in South Dakota, drinking a can of orange soda.
Or maybe a Laundromat in California, counting change, hoping my thoughts could re-arrange.
I look to my feet to curse whichever shoe, for bringing me here to stand before you.
My goodness though, the visions of our shared past.
An idea I knew could never last.
Laid on the desk and ignored until now,
once pausing to wipe the sweat from my brow.
And all the while under the eaves of your front porch.
Where we stood in this unending brief passage of our time together apart.

No poems, only birds. My classic contradiction.

Sitting at my desk after work tonight. I reckon I could write you a poem, or something of that sort. But I’ll hold onto any words I have in that nature for a day or so. Trying like I do with a pen drawing. Before I begin with the pen work I let the drawing sit in pencil and examine it for a few days. Each time noticing things I hadn’t before.
I like doing that with words too. This helps me find their power or something like that.
I finished another large flying hawk. The layout of these drawings is simple but holds lots of texture. I feel good about this approach and would like to now put these birds into other positions in the natural kingdom. No easy task, but tonight’s pencil studies show promise I feel.

The most recently finished of my 2’x4′ hawks on plywood.


Climb the ladder to bring her the Moon.

It’s that vacation, or trip you went on. You saw something beautiful that reminded you of somebody you care a lot about. Maybe you wished they were there to see it.
That strange dream of a wonderful place and you thought, “My goodness if only I could bring all my friends here!”
Tonight I sit down to my piece of 2’x4′ plywood. It sits on my TV dinner tray that I covered with goofy stickers from here and there a layer of shellac on it helps keep the stickers down, and allows me to spin the plywood around with ease to get at any angle needed.
I get some headphones out of their hiding place. They are quite huge and sound like wrapping a concert hall around your head.
My pen is sitting next to my phone on top of a book of poems.
When the headphones plug in and that just-exactly-perfect song is rolling through them into my mind. I grab the pen off the book and I go on that vacation and have that strange beautiful dream. I think of many different wonderful people. And while I can’t take them to that moment of joy. I can show them the bird I caught in the wood-grain during. To turn off time, leave California for a few minutes to find something beautiful for the people you love.
I like that Idea, it seems romantic.

I think I’m going to walk home now.

After I cooked her dinner I was standing in her kitchen, only acutely aware of the time I was wasting.
On the walls were frames hung with nothing inside them.
I walked out the door and into that night, walking down the street my eyes looked to the rooftops.
as I walked my mind turned up thoughts,
“That fire that burned down the old clock factory wasted less time than her and I.”
Well, that time was mine, and that time was hers. Just like how now doesn’t belong to yesterday,
I guess so long as my eyes don’t look that way.
Home alone again at last my sweet splendid palace of isolation by the railroad tracks.
My mind echoes back again to that time we rode in the car down to L.A.
She drove and I pretended to sleep all the way to Santa Barbara.
I remember the specific way the irritation rose from the ground and up my spine.
If given the choice, to ride again with her down that stretch of highway or drink a glass of chilled turpentine.
At the drop of a hat you’d find me heading to the icebox to get this empty glass cold.
And why?
Because She did an awful job at listening to, as I did a horrid job at seeing,
That we were just two skeletons meeting for brief moments of nurturing medicine and a make-believe peace-of-mind.
yes, even somebody who isn’t that you sold yourself was.
This was the less-than delightful nature of her and I.
It was some 90 miles from Los Angeles I knew I didn’t want to see her face again.


“I’ve been gambling here abouts
for ten good solid years
If I told you all that went down
it would burn off both your ears…” -Robert Hunter


I laid out another life size hawk in pencil on plywood. Then I saw this tree in my head and heard The Grateful Dead coming through the branches. I tell you if I had a dime for every time that happened I’d own the bank.


On a branch in the back of my mind.

I walked to California in concrete shoes,
Midwest boy with the nothing-certain blues.
She walked right past me with a halo made of lead,
I turned to look when I should have tied my shoes and fled,
She looked like spring and I looked like a thousand winters.
whenever I got near her my thoughts turned to splinters.
I’m not often sure who “she” is, but that’s an owl, I can tell you that much for certain.  

It was her again, but it was all right.

She promised me poetry on my grave.
Or at the very least, to try and behave.
And as she stood there in the rain she made good.
I write my own poetry on a piece of wood.
Time yet not for a bed of dirt.
her words only echo they do not hurt.
Sifting through these ashes I found the words,
Bringing to page the largest of birds.
In my noblest of efforts to think ahead of my pen.
My thoughts drift back to her again.