I. Your Romero shirt's in rags? I'll send you mine
after one more wear. I feel like I've been bawling
all over town. J flew to El Salvador Sunday
to see her father. Remember talking to him
on the patio that afternoon after the Habitat
build? What's your favorite word, building
Monsignor's portrait on that shirt? Mine's
del Pueblo, in narrow white letters
between the eyes. I'm going to re-claim
a word, hoping it arrives from the heart.
Sad. Joyful, too. How funny La Raza
can be in tough times. One of the young
Mexicanos on Facebook says, Does
Taco Time have to go too? And we have
a new Beatitude: Blessed are the Dreamers,
from a pastor in Yakima, niece of Ken Kesey.
Sometimes I get great notions too.
What shall they inherit? She leaves that to us.
Another question: What do White people get?
James Baldwin, talking about the price of the ticket:
As long as you see yourself as white,
you force me to be black. I remember that day
we parted in El Salvador, you handing me
the Wendell Berry poem, last words,
Practice resurrection. I'm trying.
We peeled back some skin on that build.
Me, in Jon Sobrino's words: Where's God?
And his response: Don't know, but not in the Empire.
I think he means God doesn't sit his ass
on gold toilet seats. I believe Sobrino
gets his faith from Dreamers. I've re-read
his letters to Ellacuria in Heaven.
Getting toilet seats for all shouldn't be that tough.
I'll get you a letter. Karen sends her love.
We miss you and Erica so much.

II. You just celebrated your 11th?
In a tent? Tent traditions.
You and Erica plus those two dogs
won't leave any room for Cane Ridge.
Kentucky, 1801, by the Muddy River.
I don't know if that's right side
of revival or not. On our 11th
I got Karen Nordic candle holders,
wrote a six line poem
of love's legacy. Ashes fill
our mouths out West, nine States on fire,
            We're still trying,
wrapping our arms
around a half century of America:
From Nagasaki to Washington Ave.
The neighbor behind me flies [incorrectly]
a Nationalist flag made in China. At Cane Ridge
20,000 gathered outside Lexington
hungry for communion,
Christianity at a low ebb, people
falling, groaning, praying. 1801.
I imagine your dogs howling.
No Cane Ridge in Yakima.
Keep dreaming. Your tent waves
to us from the East Coast.

III. Ashes in our eyes today.
Ashes from burned-up trees.
How should we carry them now?
Where shall they be dispersed?
And who will lead us in ceremony?

Is there no more to be done?
Is this all?
Shall no more be done?

IV. Just before 7.
Working on a poem. Revising.
Becoming more 4-legged in the poem
becoming more one with trekking poles,
descending, shortening, full-weight bearing,
elbows becoming knees,
baskets a kind of hoof.
Studying goats in pictures.
Ridding the self of thought.
Riding the goat down over stone.

Toward alternative witness.
The common goal lived in common.

V. I think often of the hour
Erica and I spent in the basement coffee house
on Front Street drinking tea. How an hour like that
changes the world. Our time, Jim,
wilder in its free-wheeling--
Jesus loves you so fucking much!
arriving with such perfect pitch.

VI. Last week Bruce and I
drove to Quincy to see an old pastor,
the one with the jail ministry, 86,
who finds Jesus most authentically
in Flannery O'Connor [What Americans
want is Christ without consequences.]
O'Connor dead at 39 as was MLK.
The three of us met at the Idle Hour
(let that one ring in your ears),
and talked about men and meaning.

We are at best, rusty tools in the hands of the master,
our friend says. He thanks us for visiting him.
That was Jesus riding with you to visit me
in my darkness. Bringing him forward.
Recalling my visit from a decade ago, he says,
You asked me then where it says that in the Bible.
It's Matthew 5:16: Let your light so shine before men
that they may see your good works and glorify your Father...

From here he walks us to freedom.
John 14: 6.
No one comes to the Father except through me.
Warning or promise? Has it ever been
anything but a bomb? Hell and fury
the likes of which we've never seen.
Did he know this is why we came?

This is the gracious promise he says.

"No  human being will ever find her self,
no human being will ever find himself, alone,
in the presence of God. I'll be there at their side.
That's right. That's what Jesus said."

VII. On the 26th of March, this year,
I began keeping this notebook.
(I'm transcribing from it now, from last night.)
These notebooks. Three of them now,
beginning two months into the Trump Presidency.
Not a detailed notebook of Trump,
but a notebook, a commonplace book,
during his time. They do not make it
a notebook of Trump. This the third,
as I've mentioned. Should I continue,
I asked myself on finishing the first two.
Haven't I made my point? Checking
on this date tonight, 26 March 2017.
I come out to the Rattler Room
where I write to check on this fact.
I'm surprised to discover
this was only two months
into his Presidency.
I thought I began it much later
into his term. It all seems so long ago.
Only five months here.

VIII. I return to you both here, in closing,
sending our love. Greet your parents.
This a day of preparation for us, a day of leaving.
Steve was here early for tea. Francisco called,
drove his bike up. He leaves Saturday for the UW.
He pledged Delta Upsilon, clear and open.
Making men of character. Jazmin
is in El Salvador visiting her Dad.
She'll be back in time to start school with Francisco.
Karen and I leave in the mothership tomorrow.
Wish you were here to bless it with sage.
Art quilt collage workshop at Emandal Farm
north of San Francisco. I'm off grid that week
with Thoreau's journals. Then the city.
We found a beach that runs buses into the museums.

Love you guys so much. Jim
2-7 September 2017

Blessed are the dreamers

Blessed are the dreamers, Rev. Kerry Kesey says, in Yakima, the day that DACA died. Blessed are the dreamers, 5 September 2017, for they shall be citizens of the world.

Harvesting Water

Box Canyon to Longmire, Wonderland Trail on Mt. Rainier. Two brothers on the wonder trail. After record snowfalls, after losses, water washing. 13-mile leg of trail. August, 2017


Shutter speed priority
on the stone
deciding to stay, falling,
not falling,
the water. Finishing
something in each of us

as we change into boots
in a parking lot
before heading into
into wonder space.

After five hours
of elevation gain,
the trail levels off
at Reflection Lakes.

Fields of wild flowers,
Queen Anne's Lace, Daisy,
Blue Bells, and Paint Brush,
all flush with bees,
and blueberries!

My brother says,
I'm kind of goofy.
I'm fine with that.
That's me.

Jim Bodeen
August, 2017


My brother only slows
for Salmon Berries, ripe and orange,
mid week, mid August, he knows
this mountain where we bring
what we've lost, feet on the ground,
paradise with switchbacks
and elevation gain, only
a couple of miles off road,
and after a record snowfall
we arrive in time
harvesting water and light.

So much light inside the light.
Milton talked about this
and we remember, this light
interpenetrating light.
He was talking about angels
and how they make love
without elbows and knees.
Water over us and on us,
my brother surrounded,
light-soaked, takes one step
towards the vision
receiving him. He wobbles
once, unbalanced,
trekking poles
holding him to stone.

Jim Bodeen
15-18 August 2017

I'm Right Here, reading and poem by Barry Grimes

Barry Grimes reading his outlaw translation exchange broadside, part homage to Burton Watson, honoring Watson's Four Huts, and part elegy/requiem, this poem and reading is one-of-a-kind moment. One-of-a-kind poem. 30 August 2017



These trails have always been trails.

I try and talk
something else comes out
where I've never been
and where I don't know
where it is. Here is here.
Every time.
That's where we went.
So much fast water
falling over itself tumbling
off rocks bigger than men
ever tried to look at, take in.

All that speed over what won't move
over an aging body.

Why is the spoken sound better
than the written word?

Water washing water harvest sound
what we had with spilling light
coming out all sides like fire.
Maybe that's what is was, fire--
and fire-light flaring--


After a morning going up,
picking a tread way up over stone,
going down. Before trekking poles
this was hard work. Man work.

Water-stormed in wonder space.

Trekking poles, now, there's something
beyond water worth considering.

A man talking to a man
harvesting water.

Going mountain down after five/six hours
of climbing, mind already free
of what it knows and what it thought it knew.
It's changed, altered, endorphins, new-mind,
synapses, dopamine, everything spent
and mind falls out of itself, no-mind.

And the poles--poles adjusting the body.
and man body bent low, trekking
poles turn one as close
as one can become,
into one of the four-leggeds.
Man-drawn body,
body tight. Drawn in and four-legged
The man-elbows
act as knees--act--that's what they are--
knees. Front legs shorter
than man-legs trailing Muscle-work,
not touch and fly work Those knees
walking/jumping around rock and root,
fast--animal reflex fast. Those trekking poles
even look like antelope legs--
not as fast or quick, but the mountain rhythm
dance-hop reaches towards that kind of grace
in the descent-dance.
                         Keep it until you're changed.
It travels time-corners, connecting to other,
earlier times, trace element beyond time
splashes of awareness, pre-cognitive, connect time.
Precognitive. Animal dream
worth striving for--dreaming about--
those short front legs,--
those elbows turned goat-knee
surefooted off rock, goat-knees
            jumping rock
hoof-turned into plastic basket.

Just what is that, walking sidewalk in the city?

Jim Bodeen
25 August 2017--1 September 2017