Deeper Knowledge


“We’ll know as children again all that we are
destined to know, that the water is cold
and deep, and the sun penetrates only so far.”

– Jim Harrison


How long can I hold
my breath?

I sink — muffled
silence of water.

The Sun’s dapples

A pressured ring –
white noise in a dark place.

I understand now.

I want to reach

The sun is forgotten.
Pain is assuaged.
An absence of light.

No Sun to light my way.
No moon.

Pluto is here; I’ve crossed
to the shore.  Without permit,
the oarsman takes me back.

I am all flutters
as my heart tries to beat again.

You are here, waking
me – can I tell it so you’ll understand?

* * *


Today is Day 18 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason,” celebrating the creative insanity of the late poet, Jim Harrison.  As we approach each prompt, we are told to run as free and as crazy as the rivers that served as part of his muse….  We won’t go into the rest of what gave him inspiration!

Wise In the Way


“Prolonged exposure to nature
gives one a sort of…wisdom of the soil.”

– Jim Harrison


The soil knows.

The smallest seed knows what it is meant to be.

Every creature learns its place and purpose, given


I have faith you’ll eventually figure things out.


* * *


Day 17… can you imagine?  Already?  Day 17 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason.”  …anybody else’s butt dragging, or is it just me?



“You can’t write the clear biography
of the aches and pains inside your skull.”

– Jim Harrison


“I imagine one of the reasons people cling
to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense,
once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”

– James A. Baldwin


The icons erected before the altar
are triune: Anger, Hate, and Prejudice.
And every keeper of every altar
know that they are righteous in their keeping.

Each morning and every evening
the devout enter their private sanctuary –
they enter, every one of them, on their knees –
and bow and pray and praise them;
for they are graven in each worshipper’s image.

At the end of their devotions, they offer
petitions in the name of each image –
Anger, Hate, and Prejudice –
and they wave a censor, wafting holy smoke.

Before the censor is lit, the penitent takes
a square of paper which they will light
on the flame of a candle of willful ignorance.
On that paper will be written their greatest fear.

* * *


Day 16 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason,” where we respond to prompts culled from the writings of poet, Jim Harrison.



Lingua Mortua


“I’ve spent a lifetime
trying to learn the language of the dead.”

– Jim Harrison


Moth:  [Aside to Costard] They have been at a great feast of languages,
                   and stol’n the scraps.
Costard:  O, they have liv’d long on the alms-basket of words.

– Love’s Labour’s Lost Act 5, scene 1



It took not all my wit,
not by half, to assess
my way out of the class
of linguists assaying
languages both dead
and ailing.  Indeed,
the more ale’d, the deader
the tongue that tried –
and ended not in learning –
the knotty passages
that left the tongue tied.

What then?

To take up the language
neither dead nor ailing,
but the speech dead
drunk and continued
in ale’ing?  In hops
and spurts our knowing
grew with the hops
of each subsequent
brew.  Our tongues in
knots, but loosened
too.  We buried the
deadened tongues
and – after bidding
awake adieu –
recovering on the morn,
began anew!

(Did you follow that, Chirrah?)


* * *


God knows what gets into me when I butt heads with a poetic prompt (perhaps butt-heads is more to the point).  It’s Day 15 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason” challenge.  It’s been an interesting run!

Losing Streams

Lost River


“The hardest part is when the river
is too swift and goes underground for days.”

– Jim Harrison


Walk the bank.

The karst of reason feels
solid underfoot.
Take the branch
and toss it again for your racing
The river, a stream, rippling –
alive with your many consciousnesses,
eating conundrums that touch
the surface.
Songs wing overhead, hiding
too soon.

The river slips down a hole.
All of it drains from your head.

You are left to wait.


* * *


Day 14 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason” challenge.  Once again I’ve avoided the sink hole of creativity, floating another offering from a Jim Harrison prompt.





“I took a nap and wept for no reason.”

– Jim Harrison



Life asserts itself; intrudes.

The mother cries
in the night when she is sure
everyone is asleep.
The stepfather draws
in a deep breath –
once an hour –
releasing a sigh
for the lost life,
the lost first family,
the lost wholeness
of body and mind.
Your mirror is no longer
the friend it used to be;
the sculptor has chiseled

Your best resort
is a few minutes sleep.

Just a few minutes sleep.

Just some rest.


* * *


Lucky Day 13 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason” challenge.  




Persistently Faithful



“The mountains are so dominant
that some days the people refuse
to look at them as children
turn away from the fathers who beat them.”

– Jim Harrison


Though I live where mountains never were,

I understand the motivations of the eagle

who mounts skyward each morning, higher,

to brush the peak with the tip of her wing.


* * *


Day 12 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason” dawns brightly, and with a prompt that offers more than a poet can see by reading it.  In my case, I tore it apart and inhaled the confetti of a dead poet’s intent.





Haiku – Short Story


“Nearly everything we are taught is false except how to read.”

– Jim Harrison



cloud   writing   at   night
rainy   season   hiatus
only   a   fiction



* * *


Shifting gears for day 11 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason” challenge.  I wrote two other poems for this prompt — didn’t like either one.  Not really.  So what do I do with rejects?  Let them lie like a sleeping alligator (“Do not feed or harass…”  Think about how stupid someone has to be to feed an alligator… that’s like feeding a kitten; now they’re going to follow you home… or harass an alligator… isn’t that like harassing a heavy weight boxer or something?).  If I’ve managed to spread any gold dust in those rejects, I’ll grab my pan and take them to the river… or some other mining thing like that.

Yeah, I’m a writer!



Google images


“I’m hoping to be astonished tomorrow
by I don’t know what.”

— Jim Harrison


However, I live for the surprise.

Prescience obtrudes.

Ultrasound gender check.
X-rayed birthday gifts.

I’ll not be amazed by what I already know.

The drama is gone,
all electricity sucked

The flash, the bolt
takes away the jolt
of the thunder.

One year I went
out into a thunder
snow storm –
lightning red, lightning green…

who knew what was coming next.


* * *


Day 9 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason” challenge — SURPRISE!!!  Nah, just funnin’!  Anyway, it’s been a great ride thus far (so far?  this far?).

En Passant


“So I sit on the edge, wagging my feet above the abyss.”

– Jim Harrison

“Reading like writing, hangs over an abyss.”

– Mary Kinzie


I noted you as I passed
on my way, wondering
if you somehow found
a way to avoid being
swept away.  You, lost
in the view – hanging
high over perdition
or kingdom come –
God knows.

And I was so certain
the way to avoid it all
was to keep moving.


* * *


Ah, it is Day 8 of Jilly’s “28 Days of Unreason” challenge, and there haven’t been any casualties.  Jim Harrison’s prompts encourage bad behavior — tell us to be unreasonable poets.  Yeah, why not?!?