If you're going to San Francisco
wear a flower


            for Karen on our 49th Anniversary

Karen, you've been with me
every day of the poem.
Before you, seeking the poem,
the poem is all I wanted,
I wanted to be a poet
but didn't know
what a poem was
or how to make one.
When you came
I knew it was you
knowing a poem
was in order, in fact,
an order, and a poem
was ordered. When
you came, the poem
came with you,
you were the poem
but I didn't know,
I knew but didn't know
knowing I didn't.
You embodied me
without my knowing.
I never made
what I found in you
finding out in time.
I never made you,
finding out in time
that you made me.

Love, Jim
23 November 2017


from painting by Rex DeLoney


Coltrane on a rainy morning.
Chasing Train.
A love Supreme. Acknowledgment.
Acknowledging. That big,

the music. Mark Karn
carrying music. Carries
Crazy Horse
calling up Neil Young,
Christ hunter Orion

calling on His Father.
Big love. Big love.
Bonhoeffer big.
Life Together. That one.

Joined by the stars.
One who wants fellowship
without solitude plunges
What we can't claim
right here in our hands.

Before the baptismal font
leaving worship
arms in wonder-reach
Christ secure.

A love supreme
A love supreme
A love supreme
A love supreme

Jim Bodeen

10 November 2017

Storypath/Cuentocamino: Larry Harwood Interview and Native Photos with Jim...

Storypath/Cuentocamino: Larry Harwood Interview and Native Photos with Jim...: Larry Harwood, 85, shows up at a book signing in Yakima, for Crazy Horse, the book by William Matson and the Edward Clown family. Harwood...

Larry Harwood Interview and Native Photos with Jim Bodeen

Larry Harwood, 85, shows up at a book signing in Yakima, for Crazy Horse, the book by William Matson and the Edward Clown family. Harwood has a box of photos and his grandfather's story--plus a story of his own. Jim Bodeen interviews and films him in his home.

Crazy Horse Cowiche Walk

Following the presentation of the book, Crazy Horse, The Lakota Warrior's Life & Legacy: The Edward Clown Family, as told to William B. Matson at Inklings Bookstore, Yakima, WA on 15 Nov 2017, Jim Bodeen walks Cowiche Canyon with the book, carrying the voices of Floyd Clown, Sr., Douglas War Eagle, William B. Matson, and Yellow Wash, Davis Washines.

After Martin Luther King's Murder: Letter from Vietnam


Opening these letters I didn't know what I'd find.
This one, beginning 6 Apr 68, from a stenographer's
notebook, page torn from ring wire, inserted
upside down into typewriter, Hi love. Anything

here? I'm wondering, the date not triggering
the war mirroring ours, in America. I write
from the 85th Evacuation Hospital,
Qui Nhon, South China Sea: After Tet,

when we had our turn in Hell. Language
of the times, to Karen: ...terrible about
Martin Luther King. Last night I sat in
with four colored guys and on the radio

we listened to the eulogies and sorrow
expressed concerning the assassination.
These guys were hurt pretty hard and they
are not going to take it lying down. They

are young and millitant and deserve
the rights that we have. They are going
to riot all over this summer. I don't know
how bad that it will be. I want you

to be very careful. We can do more
for civil rights by just being ourselves
to all of the people that we meet.
That's what the letter says. No changes

in spelling or punctuation. That's it.
Who I was at 22. In June, Bobby Kennedy
will be shot as we prepare to rotate home.
What's still to come

walking into November, 1967.
Not as many folks around as I ask
my question: Where were you in 1968?
Believe me, politicians emptying

the treasure chest for the powerful
know their numbers. So many touchstones.
I cite twocca every chance I get: Gary Snyder
in Mountains and Rivers Forever, this:

Then the white man will be gone.
His follow-up. White man is not
a racial designation, but a name
for a certain set of mind--when

we all become born-again natives
of Turtle Island. James Baldwin
before and after: No label, no slogan,
no skin color...The Price of the Ticket.

As long as you think you're white,
I'm going to be forced to think I'm black.
It is the unalterable truth. All men are brothers.
A painting of Coltrane hangs in my room,

inspired by A Love Supreme, painted
by the artist Rex DeLoney, given to me
when he went home to Little Rock.
A love supreme. Acknowledge it,

bright paint. When my friend dies,
what I send his son. When I'm alone,
what I listen to at night. Returning, then,
some of us didn't go back to that country.

Jim Bodeen
15 November 2017



I. Ears for What's Coming

During the day-to-day life,
not just hours on the trail
solid with your trekking poles,
There ain't no man righteous,
no not one, Dylan live
from 1979, in my head
heading out. Sunny,
cold and windy. Photograph
sage on top before descending
to Cowiche Creek. Intersecting
creek and trail in canyon,
eat just-picked Yakima apple
down to seed caves, then eat
the seeds, all of it, watching
two hawks circling sky
shelling peanuts into paper bag
before starting back up.

A Merton quote from one friend
exploring Chuang Tzu's letter to Wu:
One thing is necessary. Merton quoting,
What is your original face before you were born?
And then an advent poem from an old pastor friend,
with a line from Barth,  with Jesus saying
the divine life is all, Without you
I do not care to be the Son of God.

Brilliant Barth. My defensive question
surfacing between steps, Did Barth
make it easier for professional clergy
to get rid of Bultmann? I don't know.
I call the hike a Van Walk for Morrison,
then after I unpack my lunch on a rock
above the canyon, change it, now
Van Sandwich. Sending an image
on my camera phone to a friend,
he writes back, Van Louse Stairway.
This every day music every day.
Below this rock
the bridge is out.
Counting syllables
fresh ground peanut butter
and apricot jam sandwich.

II. 50 Years Ago This Day : The Battle of Dak To

I've been incountry
at the 85th Evac Hospital
3 months,
a quarter of a tour, 90 days
to prepare for November
and the 33-day battle of Dak To.
Torn-up eyes and uniforms
mirroring what can't be said
coming off stretcher after stretcher
from chopper and planes.

Intimate stuff. Kon Tum Province
in the Central Highlands
in a series of never-ending battles.
Initiated again, emotionally shut-down
nurses lead medical teams
through acts of love, passion
unleashed and without measure.
Training and practice
enters collective primitive.
3 Nov 23 Nov, 1967 then, starting then.

Intimate in the
Central Highlands of South Vietnam.
The 110-hour fight for Hill 875.
Border battles to distract American
and South Vietnamese forces away from cities
in preparation for the Tet Offensive.
Today it can be seen on the Internet.
Search and destroy.
4th Division where my friend was
and the 173d Airborne Brigade--
Westy's fire brigade all shot up.
Intense fighting until the NVA
seemingly disappeared.
On one day November 23,
the day I would be married
the following year,
107 dead, 282 wounded.

The 4th Division too, my best friend's location.
So many different casualty counts--
here's one--208 dead, 645 wounded from the 173d.
Friendly fire alone killed 41 GIs on November 19th.
Earle Jackson, 173d medic who served on Hill 875:
"There is something gut-wrenching
about severely wounded men
that I will never forget.
It is that most become delirious and almost
always cry to their mothers."
All of this coming through us in men's eyes,
dead trees embedded in fear-filled faces,
torn and bloodied fragments of uniforms,
battle images that will make our country
one of the casualties. Wild terrain,
half the mosquitoes in the world
and a million leeches on sharp ridges covered with double
and sometimes triple canopy jungle

Dak To Vietnam photos,
Trees without limbs.
Trunks of a holocaust, a memorial in themselves.
The black and white photos in the museum in Saigon.
The dead journalists. Ho Chi Minh City.
Reliable ferocity. Dante's 3d Circle of Hell.
Karen takes me back for our 40th Anniversary
ten years ago today, 50 years ago, too, from today.

These are facts, and some of them, partially mine,
partly collective, adhering to each of us,
counting 50 years from that day to this one,
on a hike, eating apples. The love those nurses
gave to those incredibly young men
passed through us that November,
some like me, accessing possibility
beyond anything we had known.
Cost and blessing in clothes giving
themselves away each day
from hospital wards to sky flights,
up the Northern Loop Trail
of Cowiche Canyon.

Jim Bodeen
14-15 November 2017