On The One Hand… And On The Other… And In Between


Patterns in Glacier National Park



A pattern of waves
lapping against the shore
in rock, and the waves
undulate a dead foment
that’s evidence for us.
We were absent when
an express shuttle
to Logan’s Pass never came
until we wanted to stay
overnight in Campground
C, and make the volunteer
count at 7 a.m. fifteen


to hike the Highline trail.
A pattern to adjectival
usage and modifiers like
beautifully sublime is sort
of desperate, don’t you
think... as if the Belt Sea
were made of Genuine
Imitation Leather and
luridly loosened a notch
by some crotch-curious
Goddess who appeals
through stone striations
for three graduates of
Niagara Falls to make
the pilgrimmage from New
York and to wear yoga pants
upon a Haystack boulder
and then to gossip about
friending a former middle-
school teacher who still
looks buff when they saw
him working out last at the
Fitness Center? Age-
differences aside, there’s


a definite pattern to such
flings that’s haphazard
and never ends happily.






For Utnapishtim’s Wife, Who Is All The Women in My Life! (You Know Who You Are!)

enlil-wifeI have a secret crush on Utnapishtim‘s wife!

That is, I have this affinity or this affection for a mythological character in the Epic of Gilgamesh.   You may know of whom I speak and not even know anything about Mesopotamian Flood Stories.   You may know through the ethos of the divine feminine, which lingers like a sweet perfume on the mind…

And how does it (she) work its magic?

Well, the spouse of Utnapishtim has this way about her.   She recognizes how exhausted and existentially spent Gilgamesh is, as he searches for the secret of eternal life.   In some sense (as much as an idyllic goddess can) she empathizes with this lonely character, and can appreciate how the loss of Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s wild companion, has sent the man spiraling out of control.    And so, she nudges her divinized and indifferent husband and cajoles him into offering the whereabouts of a certain plant.   This plant, of course, once consumed, will renew the youth of Gilgamesh, and in effect, keep him on a even-keel for the foreseeable future.   But that, of course, is the problem.   Gilgamesh, once he locates the mysterious vegetation, can’t prevent the serpent from stealing it, and that would seem to be the end of that.

Not so!   Utnapishtim’s partner in eternity has made this archetypal gesture for everyone of us who looks  back at a lifetime of effort and wonders if the travail has been worth the sweat and blood.   Is it time well-spent to exert one’s mind in question after question?   Is it occasionally (or even frequently) appropriate to weep and to carry on with great emotion?   And might the creative weary-kenny-chaffinexpression of this angst be have value in and of itself?    Utnapishtim’s significant other is more significant in responding to any one of these dilemmas.   She has an angle on the truth of the human condition that I find consoling in my bones.   And, you see, it’s this very breakthrough that makes me want to apologize for what men and male-kind have done to the facility we all have for critical thinking.

What I mean is as follows:   for every macho-manly-man who prides himself on leading a principled life, and on valuing justice, and on creating an atmosphere where just relationships can be celebrated with authenticity–for this alpha icon of masculinity–there is a counterpart who is not afraid of seeming or of being weak.   In other words, you, who have lived as a driven CEO need to hit the wall.  Utnapishtim’s woman has a word just for you.   You, who have nearly died in your efforts to control every outcome (in family life, in business and in government policy)… you, who have shamed yourself and other men-folk with back-slapping and glad-handing, you, who sniff the cigar-smoke of Russ Limbaugh and like it… you, who admire the brawn of Sly Stallone, but who are ashamed of Michael J. Fox… you, who imagine it to be your role and your right to exercise power over others simply because you can…  YOU don’t need Eve, and her gossipy ambition to be in the loop of divine omniscience!   What you need is the solace of conversation with Utnapishtim’s contemplative spouse.

say-im-weary-say-im-sadWho is she really?   Who is the mythic-female tethered to?  It’s dangerous to speculate, but I suppose she could be your own saucy-little spouse…   your honest-to-goodness mother…  your truth-telling daughter…  your straight-from-the-hip sister… your feisty friend…  your cantankerous colleague at work…   She could wear the pants and the panties…  Anyone who can see you, with all your depleted resources, and not be ashamed of you for being depleted…    Anyone who can’t be fooled by your bravado, by your pull-yourself-up-by-the-boot-straps ideology…   Anyone who loves you for trying… and who may try to help…  Will you accept the help when it comes?   Will you believe and receive it when it’s offered?

And, yes… I suppose, in all of us, male or female, there’s a little of both (the differentiated male and the enmeshed female)…   Utnapishtim’s wife helps us ponder that too.


The Muscle and The Mythos Who is Diana Nyad

Diana Nyad has done it!

And, if you’ve been reading this blog since September 26th of 2011, you understand how amazed I am with the tenacity and the fortitude of this colossus of a woman…


The only thing left to say about this endurance-athlete is that she’s accomplished what she’d always wanted to do–swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida–and now, she may turn her sights to those Portuguesemen of war” in the U.S. Congress…   That is, now that Diana has conquered her own demons and dealt with the jellies of the Caribbean, which might have embodied those Jungian archetypes quite nicely, my sense is that she is well-suited to take on the debates and the deliberations that ought to be happening (with results) in Washington, D.C.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, but I thought I’d make the pitch to Nyad’s handlers, whomever they are, or if they’re listening… younger

And yet, is it unfair even to inquire?

Well, I don’t assume that she’ll change out of her swimwear and into her congressional outfit overnight.   I’ll give her the time to allow that swollen tongue  to shrink down to its civic size.   A year or two should do the trick.  Next question…

Is there precedent for this sort of thing–the drafting of a pop-culture celebrity–someone other than the late, great, Sonny Bono–someone who’s performed with amazing stamina?   Ummm…  Charles Lindbergh, we know, never ran for office, but sure made his political views known.    And… ummm…  John Glenn served from 1974 to 1999  as the Democratic Senator from Ohio, with his only qualification being that he orbited the earth in 1962…  He had, of course, what Thomas Wolfe called, “the right stuff” for his generation, and saw the mythos of his life as the means to muscle us all to an even greater end.

Ummm, Diana?   Are you listening?

I know for a fact you have a social conscience; your plans to swim in a pool for the benefit of Hurricane Sandy victims is laudable.   Rock on for Rockaway!   And yet, after that, it may be time to kick Marco Rubio‘s ass…   I don’t even know if you have a residence in Florida, but my guess is the state would be glad to have you represent its constituents, which (did) include (as of your 3rd attempt to swim from Cuba in 2011) nearly 10,000 gay and lesbian households in Broward County alone.

You see, while you’ve been doggedly pursuing your dreams in the ocean, another sort of undulating sea has been churning and churning and we’re desperate for a heroine like you.

Plus, when I look at your face and ponder the elegant wisdom of its brazen wrinkles, I sense something wholesome and healthy that never really ages; and if it does, it grows old with a beauty that I’d like to honor in some sort of social contract.   Teach us to swim, Nyad.   Many are just treading water and don’t know how.