"Believe What You Eat"



            --Suite for Lars Clausen


Start with the Omelets
with Lars and Anne,
at their Mom's house,
lace-making, Temari-ball artist
Danish immigrant cook--
filling my glass
with fresh-squeezed
juice in a tall glass,
omelets from free-range
Happy Hens
chickens, raised by Lars.
Start there, talking
negative-waste small farming
north of Wenatchee,
past Entiat to Chelan and Manson.
Start with 500 chickens.
Call it what it is, vision.
You can have 3000 chickens
and still harvest those eggs
by hand, within the law.

The dream says, Believe what you see.
Lars says, Eat what you believe.

Gone a week, up and down mountains.
Time on skis with grandkids.
Time with a visionary chicken farmer.
Time in the car with myself.

Stop the car.
Get out and photograph sage
loaded in hoarfrost.

Driving into poems.
Driving out of America.
Away from the Marches--
story-streaming never-the-less--
                   Turning towards Ellensburg,
return in the middle of time,
off of Highway 2 over Blewett,
to taking 97--
                        Back and forth of 97
South in a snow-storm,
I climb the hill, pull off into snow shoulder
and stop, just before cresting summit
and down into Kittitas Valley.

I've been gathering eggs, filming chickens
with hand-held video camera, talking
with my friend and writer, Lars Clausen.
Chicken farming therapist.
Former Lutheran pastor, adventurer,
missioned with Inuit village near Nome,
living with gratefulness given to him
from Inter-arctic peoples,
one-wheel man, cross-country cyclist,
carrier of justice, working to calm-it-down,
turn-it-down, waste-not energy-of-joy.
Trying to hit that note.
To ride with it, riding into song.
That one, un-repeatable note.

Video One:
Lars Clausen, visionary chicken farmer, is also a writer and therapist who works with memory re-consolidation. He is a former Lutheran pastor and served with the Inuit community near Nome, Alaska. He is an Eagle Scout and a family man with a long marriage to Anne.


Omelets with the double yolk
before the camera, stuffed with mushroom
cheese and onion, not overpowering
home-made happy hen hollandaise sauce.
Toast from fresh bread. Butter and jam.

Stepping out of the car, looking into Valley,
half foot of fresh snow over my shoes,
boots full of chicken shit wrapped in plastic bag
in back of car. Cattle on country road
below, a long-bed truck. I'll stop
in Ellensburg, see my old teacher,
D.C., 86, Romantics professor,
who gave me all, hand-held
through graduate school, delivered
to the best teachers--Wordsworth's
spots of time right here in this lookout--
Tintern Abbey to C. S. Lewis,
from grief observed to surprised by joy,
John Claire, Coleridge, walking
and praying, crossing Alps, Hazlitt
in that slim, pink, hard-covered volume
all of it commissioning me to stop,
get out of the car--to empty myself
before going in. To be present.
To stop for this--
                             Create space
in snow mountain morning
big enough to see one who shaped
the early days.

                        I'm not just
with Lars and the chickens, either.
I'm driving in the dark with Tommy Orange,
There There, and the voices of young urban Indians,
Oakland Indians, the Indian Center, not only urban,
but Inter-net connected. Not the baseball team. Dene Oxendene,
Cali-talking Oakland voices. Regalia.
White guns printed out and sold.
Money on the table I'm responsible for.
On the way off Blewett I repeat
the being born song on Disc 5.
Laughing at white boys talking snow,
talking blunt, through and out the back,
When kids are themselves talking grown-up
cause they're taking as much care as grownups themselves.
OpanViola Victoria Bearshield
who chooses to expand instead of contract.
Roar and rumble. Sandy Ridge.
There's a bird for every hole in him.

If the chicken thing becomes a national model...

Baby chicks form inside the shell.
21 days. As they hatch,
they absorb the yoke
and can survive 3 days.

1000 chickens in the mail.
The US Post Office was created for baby chicks.

Compost mirroring itself
chicken shit mixed with wood chips
Mirrored in the stomach--
keep it healthy, keep it pink

I put the camera on the valley floor
and talk into a plastic notebook.

Video Two
We have 7 billion people on this planet. Every day we throw away 30% of all food—enough to feed an additional 2 billion people. Solving Food Waste is number three out of the top 80 solutions for a more sustainable world, but among individuals, it’s number one. Let’s make this happen—let’s train new farmers and build more FARMS IN A BOX. Let’s keep giving and working until the planet smiles back at us. Lars Clausen


Returning from the chickens
and the filming, making poor decisions
on clothes, leaving my Carhartt
sheepherding coat in the car
along with old ski gloves,
shivering stationary in light jacket
holding the camera stationary
blood settling in the absence of movement.

On the dining room table,
what look to be Christmas ornaments
from somewhere between stars and angels,
I pick one from the bowl
filling my hand. Where am I?
Lars’ mother,  83,
enters the room and sees my confusion.
Temari Balls. Japanese.

Staying open, after being opened
may be more grace and gift
than discipline and practice.
Living and practicing.

She starts to tell me,
then leaves the room,
returning minutes later
carrying a gallery and a workshop.

Originating in China and introduced to Japan
in the 7th century. Handball in Japanese.
Originally constructed from old kimonos.
Pieces of silk wadded to form a ball,
wrapped in strips of fabric,
becoming an art form over time.
Temari, toy.

Japanese upper classes, noble women in competition.
Deep loyalty and friendship.
Brilliant colors, wishing the recipient a brilliant life.
Temari given to children from parents
on New Year’s Day, filled with good wishes
and noisemakers. Bells.
I misspell it for days,
transpose consonants m and r
transpose vowels too
making a mess
Temporary pins and permanent threads.
Preserving memories.
Red and white together is good luck.
Learned in school
Comes from the wrap-around in the kimono.

I’ve come to see the son, and find the mother.

Speak to her and green the planet
Mother can we stay with you a little longer.
With your permission we renew
our broken vows to each other and the planet.

Composting and the river of life.
Compost is more interesting
than blossoms it produces.

Lars picks up the dead chicken
with the missing head.
An owl got in.
Strikes like this.
Only takes the head.
Flies quiet with serrated feathers.
Beak and talons working like scissors,
snapping the neck,
only taking the head.


What a distressing contrast there is between the radiant intelligence
of children, and the feeble mentality of the average adult. Freud

Of course my friends are fuel. Ones
I need, ones here, waiting. Finding each other.

Reading Keats and Ron Powers,
Negative Capability and Nobody Cares About Crazy People.

Being on the mountain with children skiing.
End with Li Po and chickens

Li Po looking in the mirror
looking at all that grey frozen grass

from his bed the moonlight
on his wooden floor appearing as frost

Banished immortal one with many names,
What happens to our children

is not always the survival of the fittest.
Wasting ourselves in the glut of all this food

we feed chickens better than we feed ourselves.
This isn't just about better eggs, Lars says.

Solving food waste ranks number three
in the world in lowering atmospheric CO2.

Happy Hens small chicken farm
is out to make a better planet.

Read Paul Hawken. There is no plan.
Personal food waste ranks number one.

Poor people don't waste food
but food doesn't get to them.

Small Farm in a Box is what Lars calls it--
the way to better eggs--

tastiest, tastier, and more.
And making a profit.

Drawdown. There has been no plan.
The Silver Bullet solution is corrupt

Paul Hawken says. But ideas surpass corruption.
Once you have a problem statement

you can pay attention to the solution.
Envision this, Lars says,

Feed all the people.
Do you know Candace Pert,

he asks. I don't.
Goddess of  Neuroscience

Candace Pert and the molecules of emotion
Biophysics professor leaving us too soon.

Why you feel the way you feel
Scientifically grounded

Listen up. Emotions run every system of your body.
Emotions hold us together.

When to divide, when not to. Peptides.
Your body is your subconscious mind.

Goddess of Neuroscience.
BodyMind, no hyphen.

Maybe it won't work out
Candace says,

but maybe seeing if it does
will be the best adventure ever.

She says this after discovering
the elusive opiate receptor.

He holds quiet, waiting
Nothing outside of this hold

Will reach through his shield
One note, bright silence

Brought forth from recessed song breath
Not announced as hope

Jim Bodeen
Yakima-Chelan-Manson-Ellensburg-Mission Ridge
16 January--31 January 2019

Video Three: Writer and therapist Lars Clausen combines memory re-consolidation and spirituality through a program he calls ICE--while developing a negative waste chicken farm called Happy Hens, who produce wholesome natural eggs, while being fed on residual food waste. This video combines some of everything wholesome, including interviews with Ruth Gerhard.



A month ago, he'd never heard of him. Or Drawdown. He didn't have a name in his book. He's there now, known, and spelled correctly: Paul Hawken. Paul Hawken, drawdown. Two plosive ds. Vowels before and after. Lars Clausen brought up his name. Lars Clausen, the ICE man. Reconsolidated memory. Small chicken farmer. No Food Waste, pasture raised chickens. The healthiest eggs from the healthiest chickens. Lars implementing Drawdown--what Paul Hawken says is necessary. Best ever climate change report. The only one. Lars Clausen is one.

Drawdown, the playbook. Educating girls. Women and girls. Women smallholders. Family planning. Re-sequestering carbon. Words we choose. Words we avoid. Military force and money. Water from wells. Placing the fate of the world in the hands of a few people no one knows very well. Solutions. Burn-out born from game over.

Solutions. What was that point in time, when devotion intervened?  You know--me too--this isn't adequate to the task at hand. 99.9% of the world's people are totally dis-engaged.
Watching YouTube, taking notes.
Rice farmers teaching rice farmers. With less water, paddies coming our way, erratic rainfall. Make the anaerobic aerobic again. Give up flood irrigation, direct planting. Destroy weeds. Save the water.
Yesterday he was in the mountains with Keats. You don't want a poet who has a purpose on you, who wants you to think a certain way. It had been three weeks since he'd been to the chicken farm. Since then, his closest friend from Vietnam, who died in December had been memorialized. He had travelled to be there. It grounded him. A 40-year conversation. He'd taken grandkids skiing and winter camping. He'd made those movies of the chickens. What else? He'd made Crème Brule out of the chicken eggs. Three times. He found himself studying yokes. Looking at the yokes in the one bowl and the separated whites in the other. He'd compared the eggs, texture and taste with eggs from chicken factories and eggs from pasture-raised hens. He'd read those letters of Keats, too. How many times had he read Keats' letters, trying to get deeper into Negative Capability, trying to open it up. To understand how much the young Keats had opened himself to. How he'd emptied himself first, in order to be open. At home there had been record amounts of snow. Snow he couldn't keep shoveled from his driveway. Every time he walked through the garage, putting the shovel away, he'd pass his work boots, the ones he had worn to the chicken farm. They were still full of chicken shit and mud. He had tried to clean them up by wearing them to shovel snow, but it hadn't worked. And here they were, taking him back to the chicken farm and the happy hens. Keats is dead at 25. He had read Keats at 25. Three times that now. Carry that Negative Capability, Keats says. Oh, John. A thanks so much in saying, Still? Can it be done? Are we this human?

Standing in the egg section at Fred Meyer, he reaches for a dozen eggs, reading the label, Vital Times. They would be Lars' competitive companions. Fliers inside the carton read Sunshine in a shell. The tone of superiority and ethics combined. He confesses to himself he would have done the same thing. Sunshine in a shell. Because our girls on grass spend a significant amount of time outdoors...He had seen his farmer-therapist friend make similar joy-responses. Give the nod to joy. There were differences too. What did these pasture-raised chickens eat, the ones producing eggs sold at Safeway and Fred Meyer? Fliers didn't say anything about their food. He had seen the food the happy hens ate, and he knew it was healthier, and had greater variety than what anyone in his family ate. His friend had asked him, too. How did you learn all this in a day-and-a-half? Well, he said, yes, but it's not that simple. This is compelling stuff. It didn't let go. He didn't know himself what it meant. It was supposed to have something to do with poetry. Beautiful Thing, William Carlos Williams wrote 75 years ago. Beautiful Betty is the Bird of the Month in Vital Times' flier. More than a little off--over the top. They strut their stuff...be careful, be careful...Not from the Frozen Food Section. What does Betty eat? It doesn't say. He knew what Happy Hens ate. His friend's hens ate better than he did.

That's how his day had gone. Leaving the house for the dental office this morning, he had looked for a book of poems to go with his notebook. He called it his shield. His armor, his protection. He had picked up the book of Rukeyser's, The Life of Poetry. Opens it randomly. Rukeyser as Rukeyser. Quoting Emerson. Poetry sounding like tin pans. Chicken shit everywhere.

He had ten minutes in the waiting room. Not even enough time to write the Emerson quotation he had randomly opened to. At first he miss-took it for Rukeyser's. It sounded so much like her. He had underlined it, too, sometime in the past. Now it came back and hit him. Did it jar his teeth? Something. Writing fast, the hygienist called him in before he could finish. He wrote it in his notebook when he came home. He wondered--What belonged to Rukeyser and what belonged to Emerson? Was it all one? He wondered how all this happened. What did poetry have to do with anyof it. Poetry sounding like tin pans banging. People despising the poet should make him happy. The temperature of things. Drawdown. Rukeyser quoting Emerson. Despising the poem he has taught them well. Rukeyser. Emerson. Paul Hawken. Drawdown. Pasture-raised chickens. No food waste.

Let me carry away the memory, Coleridge, of having pressed your hand!"--Keats writes, foreshadows.

Writing a note to Lars. Chicken farmer, memory therapist, writer. That's a beautiful thing. Yesterday was a yoking day. Post-mountain day, listening to Paul Hawken on YouTube. Reading a mss. novel by a friend, a Lutheran pastor in Pennsylvania. I made another Creme Brule with yolks from another pasture-raised chicken farm. Lars and Anne in my head--and reading Keats before turning in. I wanted to recall some prose images from the day, to carry into this morning. Tired. I wasn't expecting much, but a flood of images break forth. Whew, I say to self, going to bed with a Keats biography, by Stanley Plumly, my senior by half-a-decade, on the cusp of 80. Posthumous Keats. I'm drifting now, falling asleep, and I arrive at this final fragment, which I leave you with this morning, from the poet John Keats:

And thou be conscience-calmed--see here it is--I hold it towards you.

Jim Bodeen
Happy Hens Chicken Farm
Chelan, Wa--Yakima, Wa
16 January--10 February 2019

What he heard

After Saying Yes

to the hearing
it's not about

it's about practice

Jim Bodeen
27 January 2019

Umptanum Ashes


Khe Sanh to Qui Nhon
One conversation
Over forty years

Jim Bodeen
29 January 2019

Stretching Time


So much space
to breathe
the sound
of each bell

Jim Bodeen
26 January 2019

Winter Camp, Granddaughters


            for Sammie and Dheezus

My love to you is 'true as truth's simplicity and simpler
than the infancy of truth.'
            John Keats

Grandpa, I went Number 2 and I left skid marks.
            Samantha, 11

Finishing Keats' Letters this morning
before and after breakfast,
working in the notebook, after
wiping down the commode,
I tell Dheezus about Keats,--
She says, Are you saying
I'm dramatic? half-smiling,
turning her head. I'm saying dramatic
is a wonderful thing. But I've lost her.
She has moved on. Sammie says,
I had to sleep over in that ditch
because Dee kept kicking me.
That's poetry, I say. Oh,
I suppose I can say,
I left skid marks on the toilet.
She would say, That's not appropriate.
You're on detention, and a note
will be sent home to your parents.
You tell her your parents aren't home,
to call Grandpa.
I'll tell her what she can put
in her letter, and I'll repeat
what you say: Ditch. Skid marks.
Sammie. Dheezus.
Words of the month.
Words from our mouths.

Jim Bodeen
22 January 2019


Listening to Arvo Part on Skis


…I heard quite by chance for a few seconds
in a record shop a world that I didn’t know, without harmony,
without anything. In a music without anything, what path
a single note takes in order to merge into the next. That is at the core.          
             Arvo Pärt in Conversation
All things concerning what’s poor
going through the mother. Inexhaustible
inheritance. My mother coloring my light.
Living long enough to know
this is only and all, the harvest.

My mother and what she knew.
Storied in humility. God-head, poverty,
footprints in rural landscapes of family.
Plain song. Don’t get too full of yourself.
Getting. Curse-cancelling.
Mother’s litmus test, mine, beauty and generosity,
in systems, in people. Residing and residual.
Running through me, in this set and release of skis.
Silence and cover-up. Snow beauty.

Bridge and broken bridge that must be crossed.
I have skied here, to this mountain lodge,
High Camp, through windows looking—
this mountain, the One-For-Us-All—
It’s out—Rainier, that we call ours,
notebook and a book of talk with the composer,
Arvo Pärt and Enzo Restagno.
Falling for the mountain and the music and the word.
Stabat Mater. Mother-standing-there. Yesterday’s God voice
void of irony, people fleeing.
Gob-smacked and damned. Silenced in bells.
Voices in bells. (Karen a bell-ringer too!)
My way to Arvo Pärt. Bells of the Beloved.
Let me be wounded with his words,
inebriated by the cross because of love.
Say it twice. Say it again.
Recall suffering in coffee-shopped pews of hesitation.
Make me by his wounds to be wounded,
Let that cross inspire me with love for your son.
The mother’s words I failed to hear.
Calling for mountain cross words.
Bells at midnight, repeating themselves,
my wife ringing in front of me, if I can hear,
if in my practice, what practice allows.

Pärt discovering old colours, past epochs, lines with soul.
If Jesus is eternity…each word with equal weight,
Distance from the text, psalms of human imperfection.
Thinking like John Cage, How can one fill the stillness,
the silence that follows, with notes worthy of silence?

Childlike innocence juxtaposed with the cruelty
of the outside world. Tenderness wins.
When conflicts lose their power meaning is dead.

One line was not enough. It’s the same as flying,
you need a pair of wings. In the way a child resembles
its parents, the tintinnabuli voice carries the gene
of the melody within it. Perhaps I could say that the melodic voice
represents my sins and imperfections while the second
voice is the forgiveness afforded me.

Listening to music, skiing through silences of snow,
towards transparency, a participant, all my sins
transparent in all that I do.

                                                  In 90 minutes
of music, every weakness of mankind. Have I done
this, have I done that? All can be seen in me
checking my groceries in a Safeway Store.
Questions given in snow, on skis.
How does one express penitence?
Weakness of our condition, not one,
but ours, in me? Compassion
and sufficiency. This note. This man.
This one to the many. In waiting
where one discovers time.

Jim Bodeen
21 December 2018—7 January 2019
High Camp Lodge, Goat Rocks, White Pass—
Yakima/Yakama, Washington State

Standing with the Snowman


Quarter red delicious apple
for lips on Sammie's snow man
while remembering the three-colored
protest sign, In Our Family Love Matters.

Calendar jumping with Jim Harrison
these small gods explode
after the fourth poem,
and I'm forced to take a break.

My country is also taking some time off.
Temperature in the homeless tent
last night, despite those two heaters
did not move from 32 degrees

during dinner. The award-winning
Mexican restaurant came through
with tamales if our group picked up tab
for the rice and beans. Lucky

for me, I had brought clothes
including the black Eddie Bauer
down vest just back from cleaners--
settling with my anger long enough

to arm up prayer shields during meal.
This vest will fit you better than your Dad
I say to the red-head ten-year old boy,
and those Dockers will look good on papa.

Nothing for the Mexican woman
or two smaller children.  These pants
will go right into the washer
and come out like they're just ironed

I tell the woman. Get those kids up
for school in the morning, OK.
Time was running out on all medicine
people coming back for rice and beans,

We'll leave these tamales for snacks
and breakfast. I had the hand-copied
Harrison poem in my pocket where
he uses astonished twice in a poem

he calls simply, Tomorrow,
mirrors everywhere in music
I've turned to for depression.
Earth has agreed to sleep with us

for the time being, Harrison says.
That part put me over the edge.
Sammie and I had two grown-up
talks, before and after

I place that protest sign
next to her snow man.
Read the sign, Sam. If you say so
I have to take it down.

Jim Bodeen
15 January 2019

Sharper than needles

Satsumi oranges for eyes

The land moves with you
Snowman's protest sign stops cars
Along these drawn lines

Jim Bodeen
15 January 2019



On one page God makes all things right
and on the next one, sin like tempered steel
remains after earthquakes, unbreakable.
On the eleventh day in January, 1611,
Brother Lawrence is born in France.
He gazes at a barren tree in winter.
Shakespeare presents The Tempest to King James.
At High Camp, I stand my skis away from wind.
Brother Lawrence sees grace and providence
in the tree's desolation. In the Carmelite
kitchen he scrubs plates practicing before God.
After noon prayer I will seek trees
like the scarred ones Brother Lawrence sought.
Trails, traces, tracks be my way. Snow path
extending forward, trails returning to home.
Follow and make. A form of wisdom
between living things. Most trails form
on their own with no help from man.
Bands of sunlight form on lower SE slopes
of Mt. Rainier. Back on skis, through spires
of grey-barked trunks dead longer
than history's time in my country.
Mushroom and rice soup warms my stomach
during my search for trees in small groves.
Movements in mountains, deserts and slums,
places most difficult to follow Jesus,
take place on winter snow. January
is Jubilee. Rebirth and re-distribution
cross mountain terrain in silence's swoosh.
The dead trees wait for signs of new life.
Give your other coat to the homeless,
the angel tells me. Get down
on your snow knees and ask forgiveness
for the coat you have stolen from the man
who has been left with none. Extreme
weather has prepared you for this.
You have found the deposited signals
in this wilderness. Pheromones
in the body are chemical triggers firing.

Jim Bodeen
11-14 January 2019



You have granted me this brief existence,
which is almost nothing in your sight.
            Psalm 39

Muy breve es la vida que me has dado;
ante ti, mis años no son nada.
            Salmo 39

You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
            Psalm 39

Skiing into fog's white light
fall line disappears, vertigo's
dizziness tips balance, skis
turning into mountain
as the body falls gravity-led.
I don't know, Lord,
am I remembering or forgetting--
stateless, without being.
Out of breath in beauty.

Back on skis, time returning,
towards High Camp,
backpack carrying your word
with coffee, oranges
and promised sunshine,
I recall another poem from an earlier time.
Up top the Mountain's out
above tree line. Glasses pocketed,
one lens fallen from frame.
I see some of what you've given me,
this day's un-rationed range,
Cascades gleaming behind Hogback.
Sitting on blond mahogany bench
matching  finished pine boards,
a table built to hold what we bring.
So much silence presents itself.
Me, a one-eyed man.
How will I listen to even a portion
of the music you provide me?

Jim Bodeen
13 January 2019

Along these drawn lines


Each breath graced desire
striving refused admittance
Dressed nests threaded

Jim Bodeen
13 January 2019

Each breath graces


Where wind's edges rest
after accessing dream spots
snow psalms feed song birds

Jim Bodeen 
13 January 2019

Mist Mountain Temple


Leaving for mountain
Locate now in deeper time
Turning to the Psalms

Jim Bodeen
11 January 2010

The Third Dream : Dreaming the News


This is not a popular song but a structure.
Located in Lake City, Seattle, Gary Snyder country
before we moved in, my parents,Wayne and Lucille,
wood, with slanted roof, the Paper Shack—
with tar paper roofing—there could be no rain
on those papers—on the corner
of Bartlett Avenue and 115th Ave NE,
one block off Sand Point Way
and a block down from Homer’s IGA.
Delivery Point for The Seattle Times.
Papers would be there before carriers
would be home from school,
and on Sundays by 4 am.
Ninth Grade. After jobs selling
Christmas Cards and products
made by Lighthouse for the Blind,
and boxboy at the grocery
on 145th and Lake City Way—
where they dressed deer—

The one job
I quit because I couldn’t clean the cooler
where maggots bred in those deer hides—
the paper route was my ticket out of band—
I regret that now, giving up that trombone,
and carrying it set me apart—like Mormon boys
in white shirts door to door with their hair
all cut short dressed for Heaven.
I carried right at 100 papers, a few more
on Sunday, and had the lake route
up and down and back and then lake front
itself where tips were good collecting
at the end of the month. Always uphill
on the way home. I learned to smoke
at the paper shack, and I had money
for the first time, and that money
went into my pockets. All carriers met
at the Paper Shack. We carried The Seattle Times.
Boys who carried the Post-Intelligencer
were up every morning, went to work
in the dark, called us pussies. I was 14,
more Tommy Dorsey at the Paper Shack
than I was in band.

I’m upside down,
hanging from wire and twine
used to bind the papers. Three blinking words
coming off the papers on the floor.

Meng Hao-jan,
the tiny bell in his boat
rings for me crossing water.
I found the unborn inner pattern early.

This is the poetry dream.
Dream of the workshop—the poetry workshop.
This is the third dream. This one,
Dream of the Poetry Workshop at the Paper Shack
arrives a week ago. Clear like the others.
The Dream of the Long Skis 
and the Love Story of Sue and Fred.

Chosen, elected or called. Those three
blinking off and on. Beginning with one
other, face obscured, but others
would come and go. This wasn’t
about competition. These words,
the three of them, available to all.
Chosen, elected, called,
locating itself—Anybody!
Anybody could have this job.

It’s not uncomfortable, hanging here,
a kind of arrival, reverse levitation
and left-handed vision bringing clarity.
Meng come for me in his boat.
Unborn inner practice
painted on his oar.
He could write on water.
Permitted to be mad for the poem.
With others in the boat.
His others and others come for him,
appearing and disappearing in mist,
all this without being gone.
The Abbot. B., and his family of friends.
The women. And the ancestors
setting the table of books before them.
Conducting the sorrow songs.
Jody and the Itinerants,
the one-woman band crossing north.

The Paper shack itself, stuffed with papers.
No room for anyone has room for all,
far and away and vanishing, seated
here on the Seattle Times. Allowances
and everything going on with everybody,
allowed to be themselves, allowed to be myself.
Jubilee and the child. Allowances.
Harold Bloom driving the truck to all parts
of the city, this grandfather delivering
and respecting the poem too much to write one.
Let him say whatever he wants, we know
he is all and only the poem.
Reporting into being with Karen’s breathing,
her exhale, At last,
voice in blossom, dream coming
around the corner with Ella and Etta James.
One I can call my own, one I can speak to.
paper shack being and becoming,
girls and boys on bicycles
beginning their routes,
carrying papers, slinging them into doorways
and on porches, their cigarettes
lighting up the sky.

Jim Bodeen
30 November—6 January 2019