Our Good Fortune

Even though she was royalty
We continued to stare
At the lines
Her blue eyes
And at the
Shape of her
That encircled
Her delicate mouth

Meeting her was
Our good fortune

She showed us grace
And mercy
We did not

Little did we know then
Just how good
The Queen would be to us

Or just how difficult
Fortune can be
For those
Who have received it

The Sea Before Dark

Hovering over the water
Weightless over the face of the deep
The storm rides silently off to the hills
To darken the eyes of the cattle
And drown out the country music

The light that remains
Clear and unfiltered
Falling from above
Reveals an orchestra of liquid geometry
At once carnal
Yet also divine
Each note the offspring
Of a passing storm
With the laws of fluid dynamics

We’re drawn to the symphony
The melodies ring beyond the hall
To the cliffs high above
Calling us to a quick dip in the sea before dark

But once inside the concert hall
We’re swept away in a mass movement
Of salty sweat and black leather
Nearly drowning in the mosh pit
Bruised, bloody, and broken

From there we glimpse the orchestra more clearly
Four awkward teenagers
And a mountain of noise
Who allowed these kids to take the stage?

It is here that we learned this law of the sea-
It’s always bigger
Than it looks from above

Mourning and Remembrance

By day they theorize, philosophize, and lay their eyes
On this predicament
From old lawn chairs
Behind a makeshift barrier of plastic tape

By night they await the higher tide
Under the spotlight
Searching for answers
But generating none

Once a proud vessel
Named for nobility
Now on the rocks without the gin
Or perhaps because of it if the wind spoke truly

Each morning brings a new revelation
Coffee and binoculars the psychoactive agents
Of this daily vision quest

She is a solar eclipse
Her shining brightness now darkened
By the lesser light

Shucked like an oyster
Removed from her shell of open water
She now sits waiting for the ocean to swallow her hull

The heiress watches on
A mix of rage and longing
As she carves an homage of color
To the one she once knew

All the while they watched this maiden work
And no one said a word

It is no different with you or I
While our voyages may end differently
Still every voyage must end
And we can only hope there is
A daughter by our side
To mourn and remember us when our day arrives

Continue reading Mourning and Remembrance

Washed Away

We came to this mountain in search of gold
We’ll leave with pockets full of solitude
We speak to the wind
We are here now
Everything else is gone
The cars and houses
The monies and the media
The interconnected web of information that
Ties us all together
None of that can truly exist at all

We know because we’ve listened to the quiet
That raged so loud our ears bled
We know because we’ve stood on the edge
And peered over
And seen everything we ever held on to
Smashed against the rocks
And washed away
Only to be returned as the treasures of
Small children on the outgoing tide

Dream on, dreamer, but when you awake
You’ll find nothing here
And that will be all that you need

Sweet Cherries for Sale

One hot afternoon I was digging a roadside view on the coast beside a nearby produce stand’s sign announcing "Sweet Cherries for Sale" and had just gotten set up when the cherry slinger walked up and told me I'd have to move.

He said I was blocking his Sweet Cherries sign. I wasn't, but I could see how from over at his stand it might look that way. I began to tell him about my road trip and how far I’d traveled to paint this spot, which he seemed to immediately take as a challenge and interrupted to inform me bluntly that he'd driven all the way from Modesto... Ouch, he got me there.

And furthermore, he informed me that he had a permit to set up there, and even furthermore that since he was there first there was no point finding a mutually beneficial solution.

He was real good at cussing too. His parting shot was

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More than Wind

I had just finished a piece from the other side of this hill looking up the coast to the north. As I painted that one, what started as a windless day quickly changed. The whitecaps had enveloped every piece of water in sight, inside the kelp, around the headlands, pretty much game over for painting outdoors.

But before leaving, I wanted to see the view from the other parts of the hill and when I looked out over this side, I saw this painting. Right then, right there. The warm iceplant in the foreground, the cool windcapped sea, the distant fog bank, all of it.

I knew I wanted to paint it, but I was fighting a stubborn cold, and after wrestling my previous painting to completion in the wind, I was rather beat. It’s a character flaw I’ll be the first to admit- I am rather lazy. I look for reasons to not do things. And today there were about 35 knots of reasons howling around this mountain by the sea.

What to do? Come back another day? But there was plenty of daylight still left. The surf wouldn’t be good anywhere in this wind, so it’s not like that was an option worth considering. What else was there to do?

But still, nothing in me wanted to push on at the moment. I headed back down the hill to the van to consider my options.

Now, I’m not too good at religion, but still I often talk to God and believe God speaks to us as well. Call me nuts. It’s all good. You may be right. I asked God what I should do, unsure if it was a good idea to push myself back up the hill and keep working. The answer wasn’t an audible voice, but it was clear all the same, it was a thought that really did not seem my own...

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Sunday morning.

Somewhere under a cathedral ceiling the choir is singing an old song.
Out here under the open sky the choir sings the oldest song.

Somewhere under a cathedral ceiling, a choir is singing a new song.
Out here under the open sky, the choir sings the newest song.

The angels sing softly on the wind, they roar like thunder on the water.
They’ve sung from the beginning.
They’re still singing now.
They’ll sing until the end.
Maybe even longer.

I worship out here with color, because I usually sing out of key.

When I am finished, I will go sing badly in the cathedral.
I enjoy those songs too.
Or perhaps I won’t sing at all, but I may still hum along.

But one thing is certain- on this Sunday I will go at night
Because the morning
Is full of light.

Welcome Home

One night while out on the road, I stepped into a small bar in an even smaller town to sip a beer and charge my dead phone.

Open mic night was raging for a handful of locals and passer-throughs like myself.

Nursing my beer in the corner by the pool table (only spot near an outlet), and watching a few Mexican fellows play their game, I must have looked a bit too interested because next thing I knew a local had me lined up to shoot a game with him. He chose a poor opponent, I nearly didn't sink a single shot even after he cleared his from the table.

We got to chatting a bit and I mentioned I'm down from Humboldt, and he says he knows the guy that painted the Humboldt Surf Company sign years ago when they were on the plaza up there. I'm tripping out a bit because he doesn’t even seem slightly familiar to me, but he described the sign I painted pretty well.

At one point he turns to me and for some reason says...

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Demolition: Speed of Love

I see them on their good days
And it’s hard to believe
The damage that the fairer of the two
Sometimes inflicts
When she lashes out
On her darker days

The gaping holes wrecked into the seawall here
Speak of forces beyond comprehension

I go out here like everyone else
Just to watch on the really big days
But the seawall always seems to hold

Yet the evidence is there
That on some days
It isn't so strong

Maybe it’s like most of us
And it only tends to break down
In the dark of night
When no one is looking

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Rabbit Trails From the Sky

As the old roads evolved into flight paths
We considered the implications
Of exploring
Rabbit trails
From the sky
And determined
For all the expansive visions
That pass through an elevated state of mind
There are other paths that are still better
Traveled on foot
Where you can hear the
Crunch of gravel
And feel your blood move faster
With every uphill step
And be reminded
That nothing worthwhile comes easily
But for now
Just sit back and enjoy the views
We’ll be landing soon enough
And besides
Here comes the flight attendant
With snacks