Sometimes, with people as with cats, it is not as hurtful that they turned on you or gave you a little whack, as it is that you don't get to know the reason for it.

Idyllic.. but wouldn't it be wonderful if there was no darkness of the soul, if there was no evil, and if all strangers could look to each other as if they were already friends to whom they had not yet been formally introduced!

Hooray! Another blessed morning. I hope I live this day an utter disappointment to the devil!

I remember many lovely songs. I remember the music of poetry, the beauty of dance. But somewhere above it all there lingers the sound of laughter and the words. "I laugh now. I will laugh later. I will laugh within every appropriate opportunity--- which is remarkably, for the most part, any time at all."

Do not focus so intently on the road ahead that you do not see the flowers growing beside it.

Laughter may not solve your problems, but it will clear your head.

Laugh often. Laugh out loud. Laugh when you fail. Laugh when you succeed. Laugh when you're still trying. Laughter leaves an opening for trouble to leave and joy to enter. Laughter rests the soul. So put a happy curve on your face and watch it set many things straight.

Laughter is not only a demonstration of happiness, but it can also be a weapon against pain, (We sometimes see alternate weeping and laughing at wakes), a means to manipulate grief until circumstances becomes bearable.

Although it is doubtful I will ever be able to tell a pigeon from a dove, or that I, if spun around in darkness, could accurately point out north from south, and although my hands do not always do good, I intend that they be gentle creatures disciplined against doing any harm.

Let your thinking be spacious, bully-free, and more than the rearrangement of prejudices. 

There's a windowless, gray room in my mind. The paper is peeling. Rats live there. The gray space stinks of feces. It's where I keep my rage. I locked the door and threw away the key, and stuffed cleaning rags in every crack to cut off sustaining oxygen, but sometimes still I hear rage nibbling, bargaining with me, scratching first, then pounding to get out.

The devil has had a long run, the index finger of his right hand curling, making little spasmodic scratchings in the air. But he hasn't got you yet. Choose wisely! Live well!

SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T TAKE A LOT TO ASSURE A SMALL STEP FORWARD: For much of what chokes her, she provides the tether. For most injuries, she first holds the club, the knife. And she knows it. And each day she sits down with the mirror, one enemy, and with a bottle, the other, to give a toast and take a drink. And she despises everyone around her because she first despises herself. It is very late..... She’s in her car now, at a red light on a bleak street of little traffic and fumbling with the radio, some kind of tortured blues. She doesn’t really want to live another day. The stars are under cover, so don’t take notice. The flowers are asleep, invisible. Her children are asleep at home, her husband, and do not know she left. There is nothing here to alter the dark curve of her thinking..... until a car pulls up beside her, and a stranger, perhaps a feeble but still stabilizing force, pauses beside her, mouths, “Are you Ok?” and smiles before he speeds away. BE THAT PERSON!

When I was nine, I caught the biggest fish I would ever catch. It hung at the end of my arm as heavy as an iron, with my hook at the corner of its mouth. It was a sad looking, homely thing, roughed up like peeling wallpaper, and frowning deeply. It had two other hooks and strings not far from mine. It didn't fight, just hung there, maybe tired of the battle for life, and looked at me, or maybe at something else, with a blank, isinglass eye. The sun hit it, and there was a rainbow on its skin. I don't know why (then or now) that the first minute my father wasn't looking, I let it go. There were consequences later. There generally were, and that's a good thing, part of the learning experience. As I recall, it had something to do with washing and waxing a truck until I was good and tired of it and could see my own, deeply frowning reflection.

The older I get, the earlier I get up, the less I worry about fashion, the fresher I feel when I observe kindness, the more I take time to pursue earthly and heavenly gazes and stand tall on one foot (providing it's not a day of wobble) to see it all better.


Each day we should listen to a little music, read a bit, admire artistic endeavor, appreciate nature, be reverent, and say a few kind words. 


1.Old Dolly Hawk never did drop the 60’s style, and she went overboard with it, clear up to Cher. Of course, it was her youth she was trying to keep, and the color of her hair. Oh, she had straight bangs sometimes, sometimes a perm, but it was always black. And man, that girl could dance! At the local hall, down the grocery aisles, or with the sky in the deep of night. She wore her years as colorfully as her clothes, kept a tight hold on her youth, and died at 66. At her funeral the busybodies said, “Her urine was black from hair dye by the time she died,” but she left a warm and indelible wrong impression on the rest who chimed, “Ain’t it a shame she died so young!”  

2. Andy Luttie was always at the river, fishing, looking at the plump brown water, even when Spring floods swelled up under its skin They said he was a sad man. He had Gold Rush eyes, as yellow-brown as fall. His focus was always heading west. Maybe there was a lost family in that direction. And maybe not. Irregardless, fishing was his life for over fifty years, from morning until the tunnel-black of night, and maybe he died there on that bank, or maybe he fell in, or jumped. There was a lot of speculation, but the only true report was that he was gone.

3.Jenny Feit always wanted to take somebody away for the weekend, to an art exhibition or a display of sculpture, and would lock eyes on each piece for as long as it took to see a dozen. And many of those who went with her would shift to keep circulation going, drain the last from their Styrofoam cups, and many would feel faint during the wait while Jenny precisely described each display. She had great respect for the past, but no expressed future, and only her outings in the present. Talk was she had one dream in life -- to walk up to Michelangelo’s David with a stretched loin cloth in her hands---which gave life to reports that she must most certainly be frigid.

4. At the Nursing Home, Angelina Brown stripped mattresses for years, often with bodies still in them, and old age bones rattling beyond repair. It was a slack flesh life, or a Buddha bloat, serving ghost lives, lives filled with thorns of bad memories, and tears for the good ones, everybody in some degree of lost. Scruffy hair and undone eyes, and white bedclothes was the centerfold of each day, and sometimes, in the break room, there was laughable exaggeration of conditions, circumstances, events, because there is always tension in stale air, and people are always people, often, but not always at their best. This was the way of things, with Angelina swearing, “This place will not be my end.” But Mondays turned into Fridays, and weeks turned into months, to years, and all too soon, there Angelina was in a narrow bed while a young girl held out a spoon, and Angelina poked out her pale lips for ice cream, the sweet taste of her time coming to an end.

5. They were a strange family, the Hillsons, so the fodder for lots of rumors. They walked six big dogs, and ran hard from religion. They were loud and it is told they regularly knocked the piss out of each other. Bruises here, dents there, from violence and incest, names always changing, nicknames added, talking in quips and codes, all huddled up in the back bedroom playing their sex games. At least that’s what has been reported by those who sneaked beneath the haunting moon, braved the spongy gully and tall weeds to peek into their filmy windows, then run like hell to pass their observance and extended vision all around the town.

6. Tina Billards left town, moved away like many normal people do. She disappeared into some bright, geometric place of wild imaginings. She’s been reported to be on a cruise ship in Alaska, in a cabin in Colorado, in California sun. There were hazy pixel reports of her on the arm of a Frenchman on Bourbon Street. Report changed but there was always the vaguely familiar face scarfed to privacy, but with pale skin, a rash and sickly cough reported as HIV that always gave the girl away.

7. Rumor spread that Fred Tinker’s four year old boy was sitting on the front porch, eating mud off his tennis shoe. Fred stormed into the local café and corrected, “Can’t you blabbermouths get anything right? it was a boot.”          

/Well, that’s the end of it, and all of it is bullshit. Not one word is true, though it is possible somewhere it might be. But... it’s all just gossip, something that we people too often use for our own amusement, and sadly, at the expense of someone else./

To improve your Country, live kindly-- as one leaf on a great tree, one drop In a vast sea, one blossom in an endless field-- equal in responsibility, equal by effort, equally worthy of rights and rewards.


Only little people belittle.


We can often learn through "opposites." We can learn silence from those who talk too much, patience from those lacking tolerance, and kindness from observing cruelty.


Even if fondness is missing, there is no excuse for being unkind.


When you realize that kindness is bigger than intelligence, your intelligence is already getting bigger.


I say, "Get even! Get even! Get even with everyone who has ever been kind to you!"


Do not mistake silence for ignorance, reserve for acceptance, kindness for weakness.


Kindness observed in unlikely places gives me hope for the world.


Kindness is often the result of suffering.


The kindest people are those who can give away what they need themselves.


Rather than being born with abilities, we are born with potential. When mixed with consistency, blended with virtue, the result is kindness.


Healing the world should begin with curing yourself.


Conform with expectation of others, take the same direction, and it is possible everyone will like you, but likely you will no longer like yourself.


If you offer someone else a hand up, you will also be lifted.


In a bad situation, I found myself reaching for a revenge of words, thought about it carefully, merged into indifference, then settled on the kindness of silence.


Although it is difficult, if not impossible to love everyone, kindness is a good route toward achieving that intent.


Short-Shorts dealing with kindness.



Yesterday, the day before that, and today, Marvin stands across the street and pretends activity with cats.

Marvin is quiet and shy, but longing builds his confidence.  Perhaps today he'll knock, and not run away.

His pain is first love and great for Beth's daughter Amy.  His growth is rapid and lonely, and love is new, and useless. 

Amy's interest is occupied elsewhere, on a ten-speed. She shows his poetry and his heart around, and they giggle.

Just as Kent Bentley laughed over twenty-five years ago when Beth offered her heart like a gift of glass, and he crushed it. 

Beth recovered slowly, incompletely. She could not look at Kent Bentley again without embarrassment.

A part of Beth would spare Marvin, but she is just a mother, and not his.  She must not touch what she can not fix, nor hope to soothe.

There is a knock at the door, an apologetic tapping. 

Beth sighs.  She must leave Marvin the complications of normal growth and pretend she doesn't know the pain of it as she answers the door to his goofy grin, or again his back as he darts away.


Abby watches.

The dog is crippled.  He can no longer jump onto the bed, and it cripples the child more and more often found in blankets on the floor.

Abby doesn't know what to do. She adds blankets, medicates the dog's pain of old age, a condition without cure. Nothing is left except... 

No, not yet. Destroying him is still out of the question.

And yet, the child doesn't want to go away to college, but it is arranged.

Abby stands at the window.  She rubs her eyes and watches the young woman her daughter already has become coax a black dog too tired for obedience, but not affection. They lay side by side in sunlight,

Abby wipes a tear. "Dammit," she says.  It is inevitable. A friendship that started when a child was five must end. There is no other recourse.  Still, day after day, Abby puts it off, knowing full well she must soon choose a place to dig  where her daughter will be the most comfortable sitting.


Good Morning, Opie. Opossum, shed custodian.  I forgive your shocking morning appearance, just as you forgive me mine, and stall to give you right-of-way, as do you, in this lovely magic of harmony and mutual respect.














A Little Religion Wouldn't Hurt

(From the Cocklebur Chronicles on


Where sunrise ravels timberline into a metal sky

and puffs across the mouthpiece of horizon,

black woods ooze from darkness.

Feathered woodwinds perk and rustle sheet music.

Incisive voices in three octaves of announcement

set center stage for sun.

Water finds seeds or seeds find water, soil and sunshine,

however partnership begins to build an all-faiths chapel.

Something honest shakes a seed sack.

Something holy splashes water from a pan.

Woods from one seed unshackled, spinning,

bursting with good intention,

Then more;

From one cone, then two that hit the ground with inner promise,

a home, and woods begin.

Here lie the rudiments of life---

Opportunity for broadleaf, needle leaf, evergreen,

hardwood and soft,

For mosses, shrubs, herbs, and wildflowers.

Ground bids some come, and others go,

insects, birds, mice, turtles, snakes,

the raccoon, deer and man,

To where water places hope within the saplings,

Saplings hope with wood to make a stand,

And each new seed sets a new example

and falls, rises, drifts, falls rolling as it learns

to believe the dream of peace

And trust an aching heart to land.