Reincarnation: Our Brains Were Very Disappointed

In the spring of 2005, on our way to Montana by way of the rest of the country, we stopped in the Hi-Desert of Southern California to check out an old movie set/town built by Gene Autry and Roy Rogers and others in the ‘40s. A lot of it still existed, some folks lived there, the infamous Pappy and Harriet’s was there, and there was an old motel.

We checked it out.

It was appropriately weathered, western, and very groovy. We left our card with the manager, should something ever come up.

A year later, when we were in Pacific Grove, something did.

The new owners were looking for managers. We answered their ad. This was a no-brainer. We were running another B and B. It was no fun. The old faux cowboy town in the desert? With Hollywood connections? Brains got nowhere near this decision.

Until we talked salary, which wasn’t nearly enough.

Our brains were very disappointed,

A week or so later those new owners were having dinner with the old owners. They complained about not being able to find new managers. The old owners pulled a business card out that was left a year or so earlier by a team of professionals.

We were the professionals.

The new owners called us with the story.

This was too cosmic to ignore. To hell with the salary. We took the job.

Four hundred and thirty-one miles later, we were in Pioneertown. Something in our tectonic plates shifted.

map 15 pacific grove, ca to pioneertown, ca 431 miles

Pacific Grove, CA to Pioneertown, CA – 431 Miles

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Reincarnation: Beginning to Feel like Destiny

Holed up in a small casita in Santa Fe, we tracked down a pitiful few job interviews, recharged the remnants of our batteries, and turned our attention toward the east. Ohio. Columbus.

Moments before we prepared to pack for this latest anti-reincarnation, we got a gig. Back in California. Pacific Grove. It was 1,090 miles away.

California was beginning to feel like destiny.

map 14 santa fe, nm to pacific griove, ca 1,090 miles

Figure 14: Santa Fe, NM to Pacific Grove, CA – 1,090 Miles

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This Life (and all the rest)

Standing outside
at the edge of the world,
staring off into space.
There’s an abyss,
there always is.
There but for the grace…

Here I am
faced with winter.
Suddenly it’s here.
It’s bad enough as it is
I played with my nuts,
rather than store them.

I remember you all
and I love you with all my heart.

I remember you all
and I love you with all my heart.

We’re all alone
sooner or later,
and it hurts so very much.
I lose interest,
fall asleep, and fall in.
I wish that I could fly.

I play host
to all the ghosts,
I’m at the center of their mycelium.
They will forever be
a part of me,
in this life and all the rest …
in this life and all the rest…

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Woodstock 50 Got Cancelled

woodstock 01

Woodstock 50 got cancelled. Woodstock 50? There was Woodstock, the “Aquarian Exposition,” and whatever the hell came after. But Woodstock 50?

It’s a bit like the Beatles and the eventual army of tribute “Beatlemania”s. I saw one of them in 1978, and they were pretty good, but they were hardly the real thing.

Woodstock 50’s a great sentiment, but it’s somehow like claiming to be the child of Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio. Who? Somehow, that’s kind of my point.

Woodstock was more than a long weekend of camping in the rain, food shortages, the Porta-potty guy, bad brown acid, and the grandest collection of rock and roll ever assembled in one place at one time, ‘time’ and ‘place’ being synonymous  from a vantage point of a half-century. It was 1969. Where we are today is hardly 1969, which is probably why folks wanted a Woodstock 50 in the first place.

woodstock 02       woodstock 03       woodstock 04       woodstock 05       woodstock 07

1973_senior_in_high_schoolIt was also the land of my youth. I realize, as an erstwhile young person, I tend to elevate and mythologize that which transpired during those days, but we’re talking Woodstock here, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Santana, Canned Heat…

Maybe I would have had more compassion if it had been called Woodstockmania!

–  – – – –

Editorial Outtake: “…the grandest collection of rock and roll ever assembled since my album rack…”

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What disappoints me the most is that there was no communal web spun of something more than just friendship; something much deeper. I thought there was a mycelium going on.

The relationships were, each and every one, little ephemeral spring wildflowers. I longed for something more.

ohio 02

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August in the Sonora Desert

ajo 2019 715.jpg

The breezes are like dragon’s breath, much warmer than the air they blow through. It’s pretty remarkable actually.

August in the Sonora desert. It feels like a long way from everywhere. And everywhen.

I have no idea where I’ll be this time next year. That either makes life an adventure or it’s the stuff of ulcers.

ajo 2019 686.jpg

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He is I

ajo 2019 721

Like Pellinore and his questing beast, I have spent many years searching for a guru. A shaman. A wise man. I recently realized, I have at last found him. He is I.

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Reincarnation: A Difference of Opinion

This is where the Universe and I differ. Following up the best job we could ever hope for in this fickle milieu, gypsy innkeeping, with the shit that was South Lake Tahoe, well, the Universe seems to take pleasure in such things. Me? Not so much.

Rarely have I felt such relief as when we crested the mountains six months later and dropped down to 395 South. We were vaguely headed toward New Mexico. Eleven hundred and twenty-seven miles later we were in Santa Fe.

map 13 south lake tahoe, ca to santa fe, nm 1,127 miles

South Lake, CA to Santa Fe, NM – 1,127 Mile

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Reincarnation: Nearly Perfect

The summer of 2005 was nearly perfect. The job? Nearly perfect. Glacier National Park? Absolutely perfect.

In the end, we were asked to consider a five-year contract.


Given this dizzying high we were on (and unaccustomed to), we had a long way to fall, and we drove 1,108 miles to do it, our splattered remains to be found in South Lake Tahoe. And we topped 20,000 miles; it took a mere six years to do it. Who’s the beatnik now?

map 12 west glacier, mt to south lake tahoe, ca 1,108 miles

West Glacier, MT to South Lake Tahoe, CA – 1,108 Miles




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Reincarnation: No Place to Turn Fifty

I turned fifty in my mother-in-law’s condo in Columbus, Ohio. Worst birthday ever.

We also were notified that our storage space in Asheville, N.C. had been flooded. We checked it out. It was about a 90% total loss. It was also a relief.

We worked the system for the first time, collecting unemployment. The drunken shadow of a woman who owned the inn in Washington fought it. She lost.

And then we landed our first motel gig. Also, our first seasonal gig. We began taking control of the narrative in this reincarnation business. We were going to West Glacier, Montana. We turned it into a 4,458-mile road trip. We took the long way.

map 11 columbus, ohio to west glacier, mt 4458  miles.png

Columbus, Ohio to West Glacier, MT – 4,458 Miles

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Reincarnation: Is This How It Works?

In Washington, I harvested oysters, raised chickens and gathered chanterelles; we lived in an old trailer heavily draped in moss in a small primeval rain forest, Willapa Bay ten feet from our door at high tide, Bald Eagles and all manner of water-friendly birds in constant attendance. If ever we crossed paths with a place ripe for a commune, this was it. Yet nine months in, we were relieved when we were unceremoniously downsized out of la-la land.

We spent a month tying up a variety of loose ends and looking for a job. We were unsuccessful on both counts.

Jobless, loose ends dangling, we threw some stuff into storage in Astoria and proceeded to meander down the Pacific Cost. Three thousand two hundred and forty-three miles later we were back in Ohio.

Is this how reincarnation works, I wondered?

map 10 nahcotta, wa  to columbus, ohio 3423  miles.png

Nahcotta, WA to Columbus, OH – 3,423 Miles

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Reincarnation: Boulder, Colorado, Land of the Pretentiously Hip

The people in Boulder were distant and pretentiously hip. Even the homeless treated us like something they had stepped in. The job was neither here nor there, though it definitely favored there. The whole package left a lot to be desired. It was time to go about fifteen minutes after we got there. We lasted six months.

After a road trip (1,680 miles), which included a spur to Devils’ Tower, which was the grooviest thing ever, our new incarnation got under way out at the end of the Long Beach peninsula of Washington, on Willapa Bay.

map 09 boulder, co to nahcotta, wa 1680 miles

Boulder, Co to Nahcotta, Wa – 1,680 Miles

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Reincarnation: 10,000 Miles, and We’re Just Getting Started

In Long Beach, the owners, elderly, conservative, right-wing, Christians, mostly gave us the keys and stayed out of our hair. They even went to Amsterdam for a month. That was a good month.

In July, while we had a week off, the owners filled in. They enjoyed themselves. They missed being involved. They wanted to host Victorian teas and Ladies’ Biblical Message Quilting Club luncheons.

No, thank you.

That was why we left Southern California.  And we were so close. So very close.

One thousand and thirty-seven miles later we were in Boulder, Colorado to manage a motel not-so-cleverly dressed up as a B and B. La di da.

This road trip in the fall of 2003 – our fourth year on the road; our seventh reincarnated life – put us over the 10,000-mile mark.

I thought Long Beach was it. It wasn’t.

Boulder wouldn’t be it either.

map 09 boulder, co to nahcotta, wa 1680 miles

Long Beach, Ca to Boulder, Co – 1037 Miles

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Reincarnation: Southern California

Now it gets serious. Our next gig, post-Kernville, was in Long Beach. For two bumpkins from Cincinnati, Ohio, it was ineffable.

I thrived in Long Beach. The energy of the city made my fingertips tingle and singed my eyebrows. My batteries were molten and smoldering. I had become everything a zombie was not. This was it. This was where I wanted to plant my banner.

Eight months later, buyer’s remorse kicked in.

In between, Southern California was experiencing one of those rare “super” blooms. Sheri and I drove all over the bottom of the state in pursuit of wildflowers. We were like two teenagers in love … with botany.

The drive from Kernville to Long Beach was a drive to the corner market, a mere 188 miles.

map 07 kernville, ca to long beach, ca 188 miles

Kernville, Ca to Long Beach, Ca – 188 Miles

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Reincarnation: A Big, Wet, Piece of Synchronicity

In Mississippi, a neighbor named Dick dropped by most mornings to have a biscuit, a cup of coffee, read the paper, and chat a bit. One morning he brought a friend along who was a consultant of some sort. He was also a pilot and so flew to jobs around the country. When California came up, he asked if we had ever been to Kernville. Upon hearing our “uh uh,” he proceeded to wax rhapsodic of its incomparable beauty.

At the other end of the day, when we  went home, we  found a message on our answering machine. It was an inn in Kernville. They wanted to hire us. If all of that wasn’t a big, wet, piece of synchronicity, then, by golly, there is a god.

It was a temporary gig until the new owner could take over, but that was okay. It got us back to California. Two-thousand and four miles later

map 06 bay st louis to kernville, ca 2004 miles

Figure 6: Bay St. Louis, MS to Kernville. CA – 2004 Miles

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Kind of Like a Twinkie

It was discovered, early this morning, that social media mega-star Kimmy Megan Kutcher has been dead for nearly two weeks contrary to her recent appearances at a charity car wash during which she washed cars nearly clad in dental floss, and at laundromat grand opening. She was clad in laundromat appropriate attire for that one.

bad plastic surgery.jpg            In a hand-written note given to the first person who happened by, the Sheriff’s Dept. said: “Kimmy had so much nipped and tucked and augmented that she was often mistaken for a disfigured mannequin. Very little of her was actually her. She passed back on the 3rd, or thereabouts. It took her lips and breasts two weeks to catch up. Kind of like a twinkie that way.”

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What Can You Expect?

big ear.gif

We have received our first verified communication from space. It reads: “What is a Kardashian, and why is it in your news broadcasts more than climate change, which strikes us, the out-of-towners, as being odd?

“And why is the village idiot in charge?”

mad scientist

Scientists were baffled and embarrassed to admit that they, in fact, did not know what a Kardashian was, or why it was in our news broadcasts more than climate change, which they knew more about than anybody. Upon further inquiry they were more baffled than ever as to why a Kardashian – whatever the hell that is – is in our news broadcasts more than climate change.

What can you expect when the village idiot’s in charge?

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Reincarnation: At the Bottom of the Country

The drive down to Mississippi was a mere 894 miles. Quite a bit of it was very lovely. We broke it up into a two-day drive.

We signed a three-month contract and that’s how long we stayed in Bay St. Louis. We were Yanks below the Mason-Dixon Line, completely out of our element.

Folks were polite and friendly. The summer humidity and heat were a burden. We spent a few of our days off in New Orleans. There were orchids and pitcher plants. There were alligators. My wife got to be called “Miss Sheri.” I bird-watched in the aftermath of a hurricane. And I got up before dawn to make biscuits from scratch. I got good at it.

It was also the first summer since 1978 – twenty-four years – during which I didn’t watch the Perseid meteor shower. It was a small thing, but it was evidence of the changes taking place in our lives as we reincarnated our brains out.

We left the Deep South for the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.

The inn we ran in Bay St. Louis floated away three years later on a storm surge courtesy of Hurricane Katrina.

map 05 ohio to bay st louis miss 894 miles

Columbus, Ohio to Bay St. Louis, MS. – 894 Miles

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Reincarnation: Back to Ohio

Barely two years in and here we were, heading back to Ohio. We spiced up our return with a robust dose of staying with Sheri’s mother. I survived by getting a job at a local garden nursery. To this day, the best job I’ve ever had.

We didn’t loiter in Ohio. After two months and a near-miss with Hawai’i, we were off to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, to manage a six-room inn.

The drive to the bottom of the country wasn’t nearly as steroid engorged as all the miles back to Ohio.

map 04 soda springs, ca to ohio 2,517  miles.png

Figure 4: Soda Springs, CA to Columbus, Ohio – 2,517 miles

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Reincarnation: Having Our Genes Altered

The drive across country was gene-altering. So was a winter spent a mile or so from Donner Summit.

It snowed in feet. Often. It was beautiful. I never wanted to see snow again.

As new beginnings go, this one was a keeper. Eventually we gave it back. We had fallen in with another lunatic.

We lasted nine months before the lunacy raised its wicked little head. After a week in a Reno Motel 6 having Taco Bell for dinner every evening, we drove off to Ohio.

There was a job interview in there somewhere among the Redwoods. Philosophical differences made it an impossible fit.

Our trip back to Ohio wasn’t going to be the mind-blowing experience it had been the previous summer. That was 2,553 miles of pinch-me-I-must-be-dreaming glee. This trip wasn’t going to be anything of the sort. This trip had the bitter taste of failure.

map 03 Asheville, NC to soda springs, ca 2,553 miles

Asheville, N.C. to Soda Springs, CA. – 2,553 Miles

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What Has E.T. Learned?

Extraterrestrials have been hanging around for more than 70 years at least. We don’t seem to have made much progress in identifying them and, if they have learned anything in all this, it’s to not fly during a thunderstorm.



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Cereus jamacaru

Ajo is one foci of a snowbird’s ellipse. I guess those biannual road tripppers aren’t interested in the center of the Milky Way swinging across the sky each night. Or the wonderful variety of herps racing across the desert almost as if flying (I watch; their feet never touch the ground). Or the wonderful things that transpire in their temporarily abandoned yards.

ajo 2019 542

A couple blocks from where I sit there grows a non-native titan: Cereus jamacaru. It’s from to Brazil. It’s blood kin to the locally native and ridiculously aromatic Queen-of-the-Night (Peniocereus greggii). Both bloom beneath the stars,  collapsing into the flaccid spent aftermath of a night of debauchery by morning. They’ll remain open for business later into the morning if it is cloudy.

The snowbirds who abandon this home each summer, they miss these fabulous flowers.

That would be their loss.




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Reincarnation: A Month in Hell

Our second job lasted one month. The owners were pathological.

She was relentlessly abusive.

He perked up at every emasculation.

At one point we had words.

Eventually there were more words.

Presto change-o, our month in Hell was over. And we weren’t even supposed to be there in the first place.

It took some mad scrambling and a handful of near misses, but we eventually got jobs and rented a small cabin on the side of a hill outside of Asheville. I think the landlord’s name was Jerry. He was a good guy. In June the hillside erupted with a super nova of fireflies. It was magical.

We hung around awhile. Our lot in life gradually improved. And after a heady flirtation and false alarm with Colorado, we were hired to run a four-room B and B in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California.

Now that was a reincarnation I could get on board with. Still, I pulled away from Asheville teary-eyed.

The drive from Indiana to North Carolina was an exhausting 652 miles, which was do-do compared to the trip ahead.

map 02 duneland beach inn to Asheville, NC 652 miles

Asheville, North Carolina to Soda Springs CA. – 652 Miles

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An Alien Abduction

The phone buzzed. He answered it.



He held the evil little piece of technology away from his head to read the screen.



“Calm down, baby, calm down.”

“They’ve got me BILLY!?”

“Who’s got ya, baby?”


“Did you say, ‘aliens’?”

“I’ve been abducted!”

“By who? Mexicans?”

“Aliens! ALIENS!!!”

“Calm down, baby. All these exclamation points aren’t doin’ anybody any good.”

“Quit fucking around, Billy!”

“I’m not fucking around. I’m a little confused…”

“I. Have. Been. Ab. Duc. Ted. By. A. Li. Ens!”

“Yeah, so ya said.”

“As in flying SAUCERS!”

“… oh … shit …”

“I know, right?”

“And they’re just … lettin’ you call me?”

“They don’t give a fuck about me. Where’m I gonna go?”

“Where are ya, baby? I’m comin’ for ya.”

“I … don’t know … exactly.”

“Can you see anything? Are there windows?”

“Yes! YES! There are WINDOWS!”

“What do ya see, baby? Tell me, what do ya see?

“The … um … yeah …”

“What, baby? What do you see?”

“The Earth. And it’s getting smaller. Quickly.”

“The … WHAT?!?”

“The … Earth.”


“Christ, Billy, it’s no bigger than a dime!”

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Yer calling me … from space?”

“Yeah. The internet’s crazy good up here.”

“There’s internet? In space?

“Of course, there is. Jeezuz, Billy, yer such an antique.

“Baby? How big’s the Earth now?”

“Small. A pale blue dot … it’s hard to believe there are zillions of people on that little … oh … it’s gone. Billy, it’s gone. Billy? Billy?”

A big-headed stickman, with the color and complexion of pumice, appeared in the sparkling, polished corridor because corridors in spaceships are notorious for being sparkling and polished to a razor-sharp brilliance. It – the alien – held a long-fingered hand up to the side of its immense head and said, very slowly and with a thick alien brogue, “Can … you … hear … me … now?”alien abduction

The spaceship then leapt from our space-time continuum and was gone.

For years, Billy used the story of his girlfriend’s alien abduction and disappearance to garner sympathy and get laid.

Billy was a pig. He died alone, with a shoebox. It was empty.

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Reincarnation: Not Part of the Job Description

How the hell did I end up in southern Arizona? It’s one hundred degrees at ten o’clock at night!

It feels like, somehow, all paths led here. It was inevitable. And it’s possible I made this happen through years of subconscious mechanizations. A carefully woven fabric. It could be my superpower.

But why in god’s name would my subconscious do such a thing?

The night sky. A chance to stare up into the Milky Way where it still exists. The opportunity to count Perseid meteors from mid-July until late-August. Perhaps get abducted by aliens, enough with these tepid flirtations.

If this was the result of my subtle and sublime subconscious, these mechanizations included the manipulation of my wife because this was all her idea in the first place.

There was a woman we met at the laundromat one afternoon a couple years back. We were going about our business. She dropped something. I picked it up.

What ensued was talk of reincarnation and a gift of herbal medicine. She to me. I think she may have been a shaman.

When she spoke of reincarnation it wasn’t of lives lived in ages past, but of the many times we are reincarnated in this lifetime.

Interesting notion, but it didn’t resonate with me.

Until recently.

I am at a stage of life with which I am having a difficult time. It’s existential. It’s cliché. But when I look back, which I often have an irresistible urge to do, I recognize that I have been reincarnated multiple times.

Without knowing it, my wife recognized it as well.

Many years ago, in an entirely different century, in a distant land called Ohio, my wife decided it was time for a reincarnation. Why this came about has been swept away by the sands of time dispersed by the winds of change and is no longer relevant in any case.

Her dream was to go to Alaska. Mine wasn’t.

We went to Indiana instead, a consequence of the first of several profound synchronicities we would experience over the next twenty years. Other than a Great Lake a block away, it wasn’t much different from Ohio. That was the point.

March 2000 my wife and I began our reincarnated lives as innkeepers at a nine-room bed and breakfast outside of Michigan City. We were naïve and ill-equipped for what, on the surface, appeared to be a leisurely endeavor. We were beaten to a pulp many times. Our highs were too few and our lows suicidal.

It was a stupid idea though the evening walks along the beach were always nice. I enjoyed the Jacuzzis as well.

When our six-month contract expired, we made for Asheville, North Carolina after a job we thought we had in Grand Marais, Minnesota fell through. This would be the first of many occasions when our journey was wrested from our control and we were forced down a different path. This has rarely turned out well.

If this sounds ominous it’s because sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows are more a rarity in hospitality than one might realize. Or they’re exactly as rare as one might expect. In any case, they are not part of the job description.

It’s like a magic show. While you’re watching the magician’s left hand, his right hand is doing something unspeakable.

That first road trip, from central Ohio to northern Indiana, was unremarkable and depressing and only 296 miles in length. We had no idea it was but a drop in the bucket. The first drop. Over time it would flood our seaside villages and swamp our suburbs.

We had no plan.

It was obvious.

map 01 kilbourne to duneland beach inn 296 miles

Kilbourne, Ohio to Michigan City, Indiana: 296 Miles

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My Girlfriends’ Moms




Most of my girlfriends’ moms seemed to really like me. All the moms are gone now.

Now, nobody likes me.

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Intelligent Design, Not

Proof that Intelligent Design got nowhere near us? I’ve got it in one word: Testicles.

If you’ve ever been hit in yours, you understand.

hit in the balls


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Open Gallery

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We hosted an Open Gallery recently. We sat around all afternoon. Two people stopped by. The first asked directions. The second wanted to know if we had seen Gus.

Such is life these days.

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Beat Poem #14: 6/28/19

california_192My senses have been dulled

by the sands of time

dispersed by the winds of change.

The years have piled up

like papers on the doorstep

and the neighbors don’t find it strange.


We don’t see each other anymore,

yet all we want is to be seen.

All we want is to be acknowledged.


I can’t sit on concrete very long.

The sands of time have stripped me of my ass.

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Beat Poem #13: 6/18/19



The Summerland, the Summerland.

Isn’t that the afterlife?

If it is, uh oh.

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Beat Poem #12: 6/17/19

Rotes Geschenk



Even the moonlight isn’t cold in the desert,

where the night is a gift.

I love gifts.

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Meteor Showering in July

It’s July and that can mean only one thing: Meteor season!

While most are aware of the Perseid meteor shower in mid-August, fewer are aware that it begins on July 17th, or that it lasts until August 24th. Fewer still are aware that the Perseids are but the dramatic peak among the more pedestrian though no less beguiling meteor showers during the month.

The alpha Capricornid and Southern delta Aquarid meteor showers both peak this month, on the night of the 29th/30th. Neither produces the gaudy number of meteors of the Perseids, but they are not alone in the mix. In addition to the early Perseid activity there is also the Anthelion source, which is a fancy moniker for the meteoric particles – meteoroids – that are in direct orbit around the Sun and hit us head-on. The radiant of this activity is 195 degrees east of the Sun.

alpha capricornids

The alpha Capricornids are active from the 3rd through August 15th, with a broad plateau rather than a distinct peak. It produces only a few meteors per hour, but it is no stranger to producing bright fireballs.

The Southern delta Aquarids are active from the 12th through August 23rd. This shower produces hundreds of meteors during the course of its activity. Radiating from a more southerly location than the Perseids, while also being slower and fainter, it provides an interesting contrast with the more famous meteor shower.

delta aquarids

Meteor showering, as I call it, requires very little of an observer: An observing location well away from the obscene glare of artificial illumination; a comfortable spot beneath the stars; staying awake. And no special equipment is needed, just your eyeballs.

It’s always best to go out after midnight, when the Earth has rotated us headfirst into the direction we are traveling through space – you get more bugs on the windshield than on the rear window. And beware the Moon. It devours meteors. Not literally of course, but its glare outshines the fainter meteors. Stay as far away from the Moon as you can manage, and if it is out there, simply face the opposite direction.

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Any night is worth a bit of stargazing, summer nights perhaps even more so with the smoky haze of the Milky Way billowing above us, a handful of meteor showers, and, this year, Jupiter and Saturn join the festivities.

Your meteor showering awaits.

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Beat Poem #11: 6/16/19

curse you death

I curse you, death,

you inevitable bastard,

you cold and indifferent popsicle.

I hope you melt slowly

in your demise.

I hope you weep uncontrollably.

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My Sponge

springboob squireprints

I’m trying to wring this silliness out of my sponge but, Christ, my sponge is wet.

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Briefly, Jupiter’s Moons and Meteor Season

I have discovered how few folks know that that bright “star” currently in the sky is Jupiter, never mind that you can see its four Galilean moons (discovered by Galileo) with a small telescope or a pair of good binoculars.
The images are far from perfect, but the cosmic grooviness of it is obvious. And while I have your attention, we are heading into “meteor season”: alpha-Capricornids, delta-Aquarids, Piscis Austrinids, kappa-Cygnids, the Anthelion activity, the usual odds and ends, and of course the Perseids, which are active from July 17 until August 24th. The Full Moon on the 15th isn’t great news for the peak on the 13th, but that’s no excuse…
Jupiter 2019 with labels.jpg
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Saturn and Jupiter (and the Summer Solstice)

jupiter saturnSaturn, the Moon, and Jupiter were stacked up in a tidy row last night. This particular monthly arrangement will change over the next year as the apparent distance between the two planets shrinks until, on the 21st of December, 2020, Jupiter and Saturn will be in conjunction. They will pass within six arc minutes of each other. That’s whiskers-on-a-face close.

2000 jupiter saturn 001

I wrote about the 2000 conjunction in the Michigan City, Indiana News-Dispatch.

This lovely and cosmic event occurs every eighteen to twenty years. It takes the planets that long to catch up with each other in our sky. This will be the fourth such conjunction in my lifetime. I’ll probably not be around for the next.

1981 jupiter saturn 001

Jupiter and Saturn, July 28, 1981, Cincinnati, Ohio, from my journal.

While I’m feeling marginally wordy and astronomical – I guess you could say they are in conjunction –  the Summer Solstice is upon us in the northern hemisphere, and, as I wrote in a song a few years back, it’s “a better reason than most for a celebration,” so get the hell out there and celebrate. It occurs on the 21st, at 15:54 Universal Time.

And now I’m going to throw music into the mix, making it a triple conjunction. Here’s a somewhat less terrestrial bit of my music to honor the first day of summer, A Summer Solstice. It’s taken from my indie album, Existential Terrors.



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Nothing at all to do with the Captain and Tennille



I took an emotional maturity test recently. I was not surprised by the results.

I have the emotional maturity of a muskrat.

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Warning Label

skull and crossbones


The warning label on a tube of Herbal Annie’s Home-Grown Liniment reads: For External use only. If swallowed, pull the sheet up over your head and wait for the end.

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“Halfway to Jesus”

It’s not what you think, unless it is.

What it is is this, my latest demo, “Halfway to Jesus.”

I tried dwelling in the House of the Lord,
and after years of my prayers being ignored,
I joined the circus and saw some stuff,
and some stuff saw me back.

She was halfway to Jesus when I found her.
She was halfway to Jesus, don’t ya know?
She was halfway to Jesus and out of control.
I caught hold of her just so.

I followed the Great Mother Bear.
I would’ve followed that woman anywhere.
But I’m no follower. What’s wrong with me?
I turned around and was on my may.

I was the neighborhood UFO expert.
I was the guy who went to college for ten years.
I peaked earlier than I care to admit,
but, Christ, it was a hell of a time.

… halfway to Jesus when I found her,
with a deer-in-the-headlights look on her face.
She was halfway to Jesus and slowing down,
but nobody said it was a race.

I tried dwelling in the House of the Lord,
Rarely have I ever been so bored.
My dad might have dug but it wasn’t for me.
Now I’m going straight to Hell.

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Desert High

ajo 2019 457

It’s a still desert night. There’s a gentle breeze like dragon’s breath. The silence lends itself nicely to my mood.

I was going to write “high” rather than “mood,” but it is the mood. Anything herbal contributes.

Ten years ago this would have been unthinkable. I was unabashedly anti-any drugs and alcohol. That was my Southern Baptist Republican upbringing holding sway.  I never would have imagined I would ever  be a part of the Cannabis culture, but the times, they are a-changing.

And because I’m high, I’ve forgotten what I was going to write.

getting high

Anyway, I’m having a very pleasant meditative desert high. It’s not the same as a Hi-Desert high, but it’s an arid gain in altitude none-the-less.

The night hawk is a nice touch.

And there was a falling star.

I made a wish.


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The Milky Way

I seem to have emerged from my latest battle with Existential Angst scathed but ambulatory. What pulled me from this latest funk was a power outage which, in turn, lit up the Milky Way.

It’s a staggering, awesome, sight, our galaxy, particularly as we head into summer in the Northern Hemisphere, when the center of the Milky Way is on full, glorious, unabashed display. It is ineffable. It is also a typical, run-of-the-mill, barred spiral galaxy. One of billions. And it is our home.

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Many never get to see the Milky Way. Hell, many don’t even know what the Milky Way is. Light pollution, something at which we have excelled, completely obliterates it, as well as most of the stars. This probably doesn’t actually matter now that everyone has his or her nose buried in a hand-held electronic device, which clearly demands most of every waking moment. Light pollution or no, nobody looks up anymore.

The Milky Way is about 100,000 light years across. It contains about 200 billion stars. Our solar system is 30,000 light years from the center of the galaxy, and about 20 light years above the galactic plane.

Douglas Adams once described the Earth’s location in the Milky Way as being in the “unfashionable end of the western spiral arm.” Actually, we are in the Orion arm, tucked comfortably between the Perseus and Sagittarius arms. But that’s science. This is poetry…

ajo 2019 457

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Astronomical Hyperbole


Super Moon! Blood Moon! Mars Bigger and Brighter than the Moon! Jupiter will be so near the Earth we’ll feel the breeze as it goes by! And Retrograde! Don’t forget retrograde.

Between astrology and hyperbole, I am a complete nervous wreck. Okay, maybe not a complete nervous wreck, or even a nervous wreck. Annoyed is more accurate. I am monumentally annoyed.

This current annoyance has been stoked by the latest Jovian news.

Jupiter is at opposition on June 10. This simply means  that the largest planet in our solar system is directly across our sky from the Sun. Jupiter will rise as the Sun sets. It is a consequence of where we and Jupiter are in our respective orbital trips around the Sun. It has absolutely nothing to do with how near or far the gas giant is relative to us.

jupiter opposition

The hyperbole kicks in because this year’s opposition coincides nicely with Jupiter’s closest proximity to the Earth in 2019 – 398 million miles – which occurs two days later. Granted, this does all work out nicely for those of us interested in such things; those of us with cameras or binoculars or telescopes. Or those of us who simply marvel at such things sans hyperbole or astrology. Current news banners are suggesting a close encounter of staggering significance and rarity. That’s my hyperbole complaining about theirs.

Certainly Jupiter is brighter when it is nearer. And its Galilean moons are easier to spot. And, through binoculars or a telescope, more details can be observed. But all this misleading exaggeration often leads to disappointment. In these instant gratification, short-attention span times, how many are going to go outside expecting to experience something out of Guardians of the Galaxy and try to take a selfie with it?

jupiters moons.jpg

Sure, the exaggeration gets folks’ attention, which I’m all for, but the night sky is a wonderful, beautiful place. It shouldn’t need that kind of P.R. Folks should just want to go outside and look up at the night sky now and then.

In the meantime Jupiter will fill the entire eastern horizon as its moons whiz about it like angry wasps. Duck if you don’t want to hit your head. And sunglasses, don’t forget those. It’s going to be blinding. And it’s in retrograde! Who needs science when there’s all this astrology and hyberbole going on?

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The Human Time Machine

I paid to see the Human Time Machine at a county fair years and years ago. A well-dressed older man sat at a small table and reminisced.

Worst seventy-five cents I ever spent.

old man at library.jpg

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The latest on the time-traveling time capsule

This sleepy little hamlet in the middle of America remains faithful to its adjective – indifferent even – as most locals seem to just not give a damn.

“I only got two teef. Whadda I care ‘bout some fuckin’ time capsule?” said one such local.

Even the more dentally blessed remain unmoved by the news of what is being called the first positive proof of time travel.

While the folks of Meh, Missouri seem to genuinely not care, the rest of the world is stunned by what was discovered in the town’s time capsule recently.

beta max     “A video tape!” Dr. Hemmingway, leading expert on time travel, squealed, pissing himself as he did so. “Beta Max!!”

This in itself is remarkable; the tape was found in a time capsule stuck in a church’s foundation in 1839. But that’s just the beginning. On the tape is a recording of a live broadcast of wholesome 1950s’ television fare. The videographer’s face is reflected in the Philco.


“This adds up to time travel not once, not twice, not even thrice,” Dr. Hemmingway’s assistant tells us as the doctor changes his pants. “This proves someone has traveled in time four times. Four. Times!” He, too, wets himself, unable to contain his joy.

The timeline begins with someone traveling back to the 1980s to procure a video camera; video camera in tow, the mystery time traveler goes back to 1956 to record an episode of “Reverend Detective”; the tape, wrapped in cloth (to hide its identity, no doubt) is included in a time capsule set in the town’s church in 1839. Presumably, the time traveler returned home, time-wise.

“That’s four trips we know of,” Dr. Hemmingway’s assistant points out while he dabs at his pants with a hanky.

All of this means nothing to the gentle folks of Meh.

“I didn’t even know we had a church,” a bystander was heard to say.

“I seen Jesuses foreskin once, at a travelin’ road show,” a companion added.

While scientists and historians search for the identity of this mystery traveler in time, a portion of the tape has been released. It contains the end of the T.V. show. It’s snowy, but watchable.

Family gathered around television            The episode ended thus:

“You solved the case of the missing grade-school hymnals, Reverend Detective. Gee whiz, it was almost like you knew where they were before they even went missing, like you could see into the future!” Sally exclaimed with giddy pubescent glee.

            “What? Me? A palm reader? More like a Psalm reader, you mean. Now, who wants s’mores?”

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Manson Cult Van Houten 1969, Los Angeles, USA

Hollywood-handsome California Governor Gavin Newsom has once again locked the door and thrown away the key on Leslie Van Houten, the 22nd time this has happened in the last fifty years.

At least she won’t have to bother with a change of address.

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Not Woodstock

2019 05 18 music 03

He stuck an Erik Wollo CD in the player, hit ‘play,’ opened a window and took a hit off his glass pipe, and proceeded to become one with the night.

It was overcast, a neon ring around the Blue Moon. That had absolutely no significance whatsoever though most of the folks in the building were lightheaded and alert.

Earlier in the evening a handful of them had gathered to make music. They strummed guitars, banged on drums, blew into a didgeridoo and harmonica, and sang. Others milled about, chatting quietly, listening to the music.


This was no Woodstock, but it was their offering to the universe. No one would celebrate this night, this music, fifty years hence.

I don’t think that was on anyone’s mind.


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The Gods



The gods play rock and roll. How do I know this? All Along the Watchtower, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. If that’s not the gods, then there are no gods. End of story.

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A Shout Out to Jim Croce

jim croce


If I could save time in a bottle, I’d have it all drunk by now.

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Planning for the Future

I didn’t plan very well for the future. I knew money would be a problem. I expected that. But everything else is proving to be a problem as well.

I did not plan for that.

planning for the future

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One Night in August

This is my happiest, best Perseid meteor shower memory. Of course, at the time, we had no idea that was what we were seeing…

Blah, blah, blah

One night in August back in 1972 a couple of friends and I went to the Academy Drive-In north of Cincinnati for a rock and roll double feature: The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter and Joe Cocker in Mad Dogs and Englishmen. We made it through the Stones’ film, but by the time Joe Cocker lapsed into his first spastic tune, David, Jeff, and I were lying on the hood of Jeff’s Dodge Dart, puffing on blueberry cigars, gazing up at the stars, and pondering life from the perspective of seventeen-year-olds. While such thoughts typically involved girlfriends, ex-girlfriends, and girls we really wanted to date but were too shy to ask out, our thoughts were marginally less corporeal that night.

We were two and a half weeks away from our senior year of high school. Our lives were changing in a fashion we couldn’t begin to comprehend, or had very…

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