move through the rooms
of my house at night
Yesterday I installed
a hat rack in my study
My wife read instructions
and interpreted diagrams
Something about this paper
isn't friendly to ink
something was about to happen
in this poem when of a sudden
I became very drowsy

Jim Bodeen
27 February 2019


LISTEN #1704

My brother
brings me
voices from heaven
Soweto Gospel choir,
says he listens
all night long
every night,
Nap a bit,
he says,
when asked

Jim Bodeen
26 February 2017



What is it that drives us from the fortress
of our self to seek the company and conversation
of other beings who mirror us endlessly
in the strange world in which we live?
            --First Digression,  Unpacking My Library
                        Alberto Manguel


Toasted marshmallow Greek yogurt
with raspberries, orange scones, bacon,
set plates for yellow yokes beside
baked egg bread pudding, mixing

Savory Boursin cheese and spinach
in ramekins. My sister’s life in wetlands
with husband Craig. Table blessings
of unguarded talk, books with surprising

titles, and song. Each other's eyes.
Places set for strangers, nobody holding
or petitioning milder and safer ways to enter
Sunday morning. Snow warnings


have been noted.  My sister and husband
live in a cabin-made home in wetlands
in Maple Valley, outside of Seattle, surrounded
by trees, pond, animals like bear and cougar--

for one's breath-sake--that's a starter.
Before breakfast we watch
Oregon Juncos, California Quail, sparrows
and a Towhee, red and white breasted

kind of robin-like. So many birds
who cannot hear the city, like my sister,
who has access through dark roads
known only by locals. Their old kitchen,

a galley, has been gutted, made new
supported by sturdy hidden rafters.
My sister and her husband
have crossed the Atlantic Ocean

in a small sailing boat. They are sailors
and have known loss and joy sailors know.
They savvy sailor-talk of storms.
They share long marriage, adult children,

grand children--and young as they are


my wife and I consider them elders.
My wife brought vases for kitchen window
flowers. I brought a book of poems
of love, longing, and loss, with illustrations

made to slow one's day. We find ourselves
before the meal discussing the word Supine
which was heard the night before
on Public Broadcasting Service

where the conservative spokesman
spoke about the Republican Congress,
calling them out, supine, suffering from
a learned helplessness. From dictionaries,

both online,  and book form, (a terrific
old library copy discarded and gifted),
we find mental or moral lethargy,
lying on one's back, indolent,

sluggish, mean spirited; indifferent
to one's duty. Facing upward,
I'll add that and be done with it.
Antonyms are not listed online

but they're here, on the page:
Keen, alert, proud, self-respecting.
I recall how Hamlet's mother
called her son keen as his play

unfolded. You are keen, My Lord,
she says. Not so much, as...well,
there's more in the footnotes in your Signet
Shakespeare. I've been called these words,

I say, all but self-respecting--
but we're here to celebrate this kitchen,
the light you bring, and the birds
you feed. This food is getting cold,

and this is table talk.

Love, Jim
Your brother
23-24 February 2019

Photos by Karen Bodeen


My way-walk rebuked
for who I say Jesus is

and poems dismissed
as Emerson recommends

Mountain fresh joy breath

Jim Bodeen
24 February 2019

Storypath/Cuentocamino: : The Shield Maker

Storypath/Cuentocamino: : The Shield Maker: Marty Lovins, Shield Maker Marty Lovins has been making shields for more than three decades. Being that I seldom l...

The Shield Maker

Marty Lovins, Shield Maker

Marty Lovins has been making shields for more than three decades.

Being that I seldom leave the house without one of his shields
protecting me, you might want to take a look.
                                 Jim Bodeen


            for Marty Lovins, Shield Maker

The artist wants to cause problems
Tell Karen what can’t be put into words
Tell Karen, anything you can get away with

An idea, like Picasso says,
but a vague idea

This photo, taken 1938 Coney Island
An over-crowded beach full of white people
A thing I found
And all these white people on the beach
Cancer on the way

Obsolete wire
Obsolete gloves
            Those stars

                        three black holes
                                    in space

            three missing stars

Karen knows all this, she’s a maker
Karen makes things
Things that can’t be put into words
Here it is again.
Eye and tongue at cross purposes.
Shape, texture, memories

This can opener. It’s texture, its feel
In the old days we opened beer cans with it
Drank the beer and threw cans out the window

Jim Bodeen
20 February 2020

If you view them as stars they make up the three
in a line from the constellation Orion, The Hunter.
(His belt.) But that’s real personal because of something
I experienced. You might see it as part of the design
to balance the composition with the red stripes.
Stars would never enter into your viewing. These
dots repeat the circles of the flute and circle at end
of black strip. But that wire-wrapped glove and a packed
beach of people is the main image I was trying to form.
“You have to like the mystery,” From a found poem
by Jim Bodeen

Statement by Marty Lovins
20 February 2019


Earlier today, visiting my jeweler
he showed me goggles that hadn't quite
made it into an assemblage
they were my size
and might work for me
on the mountain
If I had money I would write him the check
that one, the one matching the value
I hold for each piece of work
These shields have protected me
for three decades and when I mentioned
earlier that I seldom leave home
without wearing one, an artist
asked, Really? Really, which made me
think I could show him a few pieces
right here, pretty easy,
made me almost forget about Karen
sitting beside me as we ate
Here a few are then, belt buckle,
medicine bag, fetish, elk tooth,
they're all shields, some pinned
to vests Karen makes for me.
I'm not allowed to tell you
what's in the medicine bag
anyway it changes
depending on dangers
anticipating pleasures and joy
Jim Bodeen

Ah! What a Task!


Four days
on two mountains
new looks
historic highways,
12 West and East,
97 North and South,
familiar, mine,
2 in the middle
mined again
transporting images,
dream tracking.
not knowing
what's what
coming or going

Jim Bodeen
19 February 2019



Back from winter camp
with grandkids, new mail
waiting from old friends

Jim Bodeen
19 February 2019

Chocolates in the New World


Books and chocolates
after the meal with Karen
Outlanders picked from list of movies
asking What's Outlander
Someone from another country outsider
we've been talking
about moat around a man's home
Karen says keeping people away
me suggesting threats come from invitations
I'm having another one Karen says
Claire in catacombs on table
opens her legs give me a bath
as husband goes down on her
Everything out of order
in the living room our daughters
call at different times we turn off movie
Are you going to get the mail I ask
There's nothing coming she says
is it a holiday no I have a new app
on my phone tells me what's coming
Even letters I ask Even letters
You have just taken from me
anticipation of pleasure I say
You have taken the pleasure of anticipation

Jim Bodeen
16 February 2019

from "The Life of Poetry"


   despise his song.

As I come back in the house,
Karen asks,
What have you forgotten now?

I'm looking for some poems
I have the notebook,
a shield

but not armor--not

for the dentist--
She has soft hands
but my country--I--

Muriel Rukeyser
randomly what must
be listened for--

quotes Emerson,
Poets should rejoice
if he has taught us...

Jim Bodeen
8 February 2019


            --Zev Shanken

We grew out of that one
never out growing it
and that became problem's way
to practice.      Oh, Zev,
                        that you took me
to meet Jay Greenspan
sits with me this morning
before the Falls behind
the fence, calligraphy
emerging from mist,
that word Keats loved.

The first thing I do
If I Try To Be Like Him, Who Will Be Like Me?
is read Al Het, after looking a long time
at the cover, Beautiful Thing, looking at it
for a long time, asking for its permission
to open, asking its blessing as a way
            of asking permission to enter
                        perhaps opening myself
            as well, a ticket
                        to be transported--
       Bless my stupefaction

And the second thing--the second thing
is to look for is The Night Hillary Lost
overjoyed that first night you sent it
in an E-Mail--memorizing it and passing
it on to friends in letters--you've re-vised the poem,
            no matter--did you soften Leslie's words?
the thing is, you got out of the car and walked home.
I was so happy to find it on paper
            and in this beautiful thing of a book
and next-but-not-next, because
                        it all takes place
                                    in the same breath
is to look for Leonard Cohen, he did it better, but only better,
            and by now, I'm giggling like Karen does
                        so much better than me
                                    and I feel good

I won't be your shield. These are chilly days for Tel Aviv.
River-running poems. Your Ken Koch poem--
so much better than the man you call out at the Station.

            Israel, the idea was to become holy.

Your book is an archeological mound.

Jay Greenspan is inside your name, tattooed, on the cover.

from here and forever, 
13 February 2019

Child-Sheltered Gold Mittens


Beautiful thing!
Dr. Williams riffs
breaking through
recall, one,
one of them
Beautiful thing!

Beautiful thing!
going over the Falls
by the old reform school
Beautiful, beautiful thing.

kernel of gold
slipped into Ketari’s
mitten last night
at the Shelter
under a foot of new snow

a year-and-a-half
Easter-bunny jammies
Mom and Grandma
seated on folded
bench table

Bashert from Zev

A silver dollar
slipped in
with new mittens
yarn from all colors
of the rainbow
into old canvas Army tent
a single string
of lights
chile and cornbread
after new snowfall
15 record inches
and cold hard love

Hard gold to love
Dr. Williams wrote
a mother’s milk

Beautiful thing!
Hard gold to love

So beautiful
this finding
this Zev-poem
this bashert
one’s destiny
and soulmate
this man walking
with a satchel
full of poems

I knew they were there
I did I knew it
I didn’t know
they were there for me
Didn’t know that
until tonight
tucking them
into the child’s
pocket of mittens

at the shelter
new mittens
gold and silver
plated yarn

Jim Bodeen
12 February 2019


Jypsy Roze, Get it, she says, I do outreach at the shelter. Can’t tell you where they’re at. We go out just after dark trying to get them to come in. Last few mornings it’s been 6 degrees. It’s cold, but in the three camps, there are survivalists, and they help others survive. I leave a bag of food
hung on the tree for the Ranger. He is a Ranger. He don’t want to be found. I write him notes.
He’s afraid to come in. He don’t want to be found yet. He writes notes. I write back. Last week he asked me my name. Jypsy Roze. Get it?

Jim Bodeen
12 February 2019

Time with the Immortals


      --Contemplation, too!
            Van Morrison

My old teacher, wondering about Keats,
asks for a hint. He's re-calling Spots of Time
for his daughter. I write from High Camp,
6000 feet in the Cascades, empty midweek,

except for Ski Patrol, kitchen workers.
Keats walks through Scotland, dreaming,
sleeping on benches with dirty blankets,
a sore throat, becoming immortal

in his 1000 days--Shelley's Adonais
raising him, Beautiful Lord. Sun
shines on my notebook, each mountain
a star for mortals--where Keats says,

I live in the eye. Book before me
at lunch: Czeslaw Milosz's Witness of Poetry:
Poetry intensifies what is present but veiled,
pulled from my shelf carried in backpack,

surprise choice chancing rebuke,
perhaps inspiration, on a cloudless day
after 5-day winter storm. Milosz
remembers Jan Kochinowski,

Poland's first great poet, complaining
for Cassandra, Why this torture--
Who when thou lent'st me power of prophecy,
Gav'st to my words no weight! My spirit

friend, Lars, feeds chickens
with world's left-over food!
Snow beauty covers Cassandra
with 500-year old verse--wounds

reaching back to Kochinowski,
forward to food-drunk and sated people
dumpster-stuffing what they can't consume.
Back on skis after soup, I turn

and duck under the boundary rope
into the wild--looking, not into mountains
offering glory, but to sublime
pristine cover of snow silence.

Skis maintain me where I could not
but sink. The old professor cautions,
half-created, half-perceived, Wordsworth
too, out of bounds with the immortals.

Jim Bodeen
8 February 2019

Storypath/Cuentocamino: : "Believe What You Eat"

Storypath/Cuentocamino: : "Believe What You Eat": ONE WHEEL MANY SPOKES FARM WE COULD TURN THIS, IF WE WOULD             --Suite for Lars Clausen TRAVELING ON 97 ...

Telling Stories


            --for V. T.

You're telling stories now, my friend.
You're telling stories about our friend.
How well you tell them with your pictures.

29 January 2019