We Were Young

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We Were Young

We were young when we first met
Many illusions I had then,
Many hopes and many fears
Many hidden lonely tears

We were company back then
While we chased our separate dreams
Vibrant feeling to be alive
Feeling powerful just to strive

After long time separate lives
I find you always on my mind
A true companion for last years
When memory replaces fears

Why so blind in frantic youth
Not to see you’re such a friend?
How could I miss such sterling truth
Even up to the very end?

Why did I fail to realize
What was there before my eyes
And not appreciate that ray
That chance had gifted in my way?

I the fool ran after phantoms
That always vanished from my grasp
Diving through illusions fathoms
Desires fading in my clasp

Looking back now I see the real
The solid and dependable
For an honest soul to feel
For pride subdued, and calm mind humbled

Young eyes dazzled by hope’s desire
Made invisible what I prize now
As rushing by in youthful fire
Through time I ripped, a steely plow

And to what? I must suppose
A mindless life-thrust seeking renewal
Another gamete that to fossil goes
With luck ere dusting to see life’s jewel

Now a spent husk I look back, review
What wisdom gained o’er this interlude
Savoring what from birth imbued:
A life fulfilled feels gratitude

Regrets too ancient to redeem the past,
Leave naught to salvage from but this
Our love and kindness given once may last
In forgotten lives which now we miss

That warmth sustains me and it stays
The sunlight of these dawnings days
It is beyond all I could say,
Sweet thoughts of youth’s unfolding play

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Ashes Stirred Into Light

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Ashes Stirred Into Light

The birds are quiet, where are they?
One small brown oakleaf spins suspended in spider-silk
In the stillness of a dried sage bush.
The rising sunset dawns soft orange splotches
Slanting onto crunchy dun-colored forest ground
Fading into a wider illumination of dead still pale yellow
As the few orphaned drops on the window
From last night’s moment of sparse rain
Evaporate invisibly into the slaty haze,
The cold smell of burnt distance in the air.
There are fires many ridgecrests away
And all are holding their breaths with vacancy
In this dried-out sculpture of a world
With all its filigrees dressed in muted tones
Of green and straw and brown, glintless.

24 August 2020

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Lost World

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Lost World

I was born in a world that was breaking apart
Its binding illusions steamed away in the sun

The cracks in the crumbling clay of its grounding
Widened to powder winds of what had been done

What I can remember is now a lost world
And preventable sorrows must all be rerun

The asking of “why” is from fatuous wisdom
Absorbed incubating enwombed as the one

O’er all I was given the power of suggestion
With never the power to persuade anyone

Humanity unable to think beyond oneself,
The critical nail in our coffined destruction

For not thinking that way lifts you out of your fog
And into the light of a just apprehension

Free of contentment and bared to self-judgment
The breathtaking threshold to fulfillment begun

Queequeg’s coffin buoyed Ishmael orphaned at sea
And saved him from drowning because it was empty

And so all their deaths for the awakened must be
Their lonesome ascensions from ignorance, freed.

21 August 2020

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Artistry

Natural Images of a Partial Annular Eclipse

Natural Images of a Partial Annular Eclipse, 20 May 2012

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Artistry

I am an artist in Karma
Sometimes successful
Often a failure
The canvas of my artistry
Is life itself
A composition
Of timing, thought and serendipity
That streams
Through the chaos and eddies
Of our times
Momentarily seen
Like glints of moonlight
On nighttime ripples of ocean
Otherwise faded into shadows
Of inalert distracted infantile
Naïve societal attention
Particular to my unique experience
Archetypal in its everyman generality
A flicker in human history
Like the flash of a red wing
Penetrating through a forest mist
Out of sight
The briefest part of a second
In one of countless infinite
Pulses of living Earth’s life
The heartbeat of the Universe
As instance of vibrance
In one miniscule organic expression
Of that fathomless total Immensity
A vibration passed among us all
As a sharing of existence

My art is to know that this is so
And to reflect on my immersion
In ripples of consciousness
That recede from my particularity
Crossing other rings of experience
Fanning out
From life-forms seen and unseen
Joys and struggles known and unknown
Awakenings and sleepenings
Scintillating the all-pervading
Field of thought and thoughtlessness
That forms the ocean
On which we each and all journey

This is my art
And I alone as Universe
Am free to behold it.

5 August 2020

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Long Term Worries Are A Luxury

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Long Term Worries Are A Luxury

It is impossible to think about long term problems when you are in the midst of an emergency. Who can worry about the balance of their bank account, or who should get elected, or global warming, when they are in the middle of a medical emergency, or a police nightmare, or a flood, or just the “normal” worries of a homeless person looking for food for themselves or their children, and a safe place to get some badly needed sleep? And this situation is repeated by the billions around the world.

Because so many people are struggling to deal with their basic survival and personal security needs, which are under assault from so many directions by the forces of human malevolence: political, economic and racial, they have no mental capacity nor psychological reserves left to expend on long term worries like global warming. That long term worry is a luxury enjoyed by people who are fortunate in life, secure and safe, and even prosperous. They are also likely to be the kind of people who are in the most anthropogenic greenhouse gas emitting classes on Earth.

I consider global warming to be an emergency, exactly as Greta Thunberg has so brilliantly broadcast to the world. Many professional “Green” activists, bloggers, book writers and internet “influencers” have advanced a variety of social behavioral adaptation schemes, and technical schemes, that governments are urged to mandate and manage in order to “transition” our current profits-above-life-itself economies to a “post carbon” alternative energy mode. In general I agree with such ideas, but I realize they are just fantasies of luxurious long term worries (LLTWs). I suppose my Marxist friends would call LLTWs a class interest.

It has finally dawned on me that the route to real action on global warming climate change is through a complete social revolution that meets the immediate survival and security needs of the great mass of humanity, and which spectrum of aspirations is being vibrantly voiced through the worldwide George Floyd protests. A psychologist might phrase this as the need for a climb up the ladder of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The smaller the fraction of the world’s population that is overwhelmingly taxed by scrambling for their survival and safety needs, the larger the fraction of the world’s population that can begin to enjoy the LLTW of global warming climate change.

Because meeting those many aspirations for societal renewal and social transformation are technically the easiest and quickest remedies to begin addressing the root causes of the LLTW of global warming, they should be pushed for hard by everybody who gives a damn. Thus, the George Floyd protests are really for much more than just their essential and vitally important calls for anti-racist anti-capitalist and public health actions by governments, they are also the trumpet fanfares and bugle calls for a worldwide charge up the hierarchy of popular needs, from physical survival and personal security through societal reconstruction based on indiscriminate human dignity and the wide availability of opportunity that affords achievement of personal fulfillment, and ultimately up to us “all” having the luxury to worry about global warming, and then actually act on it.

I do not think there will ever be useful action on global warming until the social needs of the masses of humanity are vigorously and effectively attended to. This is not a utopian fantasy, this is realistic hard nuts logical thinking. The first and foundation step for everything that should follow is for all of us to actually become “we.”

So, yes, I realize that implies many wished-for political, economic and social revolutions and changes, but there it is. That is what “we” need to do if we want to make “anthropogenic” a positive adjective describing our stewardship of Planet Earth, instead of leaving it with its currently negative connotation regarding our massive fouling of the most beautiful jewel known to exist in the entire Universe.

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Sunshine Girl, and Good People

Nit’s Cafe is a small, wonderful Thai-themed restaurant in Fort Bragg.

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Sunshine Girl

I saw the granddaughter of Jim Morrison and Janis Joplin today —
Beautiful girl —
Lives in Berkeley sometimes
Sometimes in Fort Bragg or Albion
Not sure what she does for a living
Maybe work part-time in Nit’s Cafe
But she’s a good singer
Makes up her own lyrics
Loves animals —
Feeds the hummingbirds
Has a pet skunk —
Not bad at gardening —
Trades with her tomatoes at the Farmers’ Market —
Even knows Spanish!
Said Zapata was an ancestor, it’s likely true
Said Santa Monica is like golf:
A Republican pig playpen
Lights incense to read
Rings a Tibetan bowl-bell when the Moon is full
Does her own math even, I’m impressed
Keeps bees I heard, earns her honey
Hikes the hills to see the hawks
Watches waves from the cliff
A tough cookie with a sweet disposition
Free spirit
Always fun when she’s around
Glad I lived long enough to know her

4 June 2020

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Good People

I do not think it is fair to ridicule people of modest education and sophistication, who are otherwise good-hearted, right-thinking and right-acting. Wisdom is not the same as intelligence, which is not the same as education. Education is the product of opportunity, and thus usually an accident of birth; intelligence is a product of genetics, and thus a blameless accidental attainment; and wisdom is a product of rationality coupled with good character. It is rationality and good character that are essential to the making of a complete person, and to the making of a good society.

4 June 2020

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Global Warming is Nuclear War

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Global Warming is Nuclear War

The average global surface temperature rose by 1°C during the 110 years between 1910 and 2020.

During the 50 years between 1910 and 1960, the average global temperature rose by 0.25°C, an average rate-of-increase of 0.005°C/year. Another 0.25°C of biosphere heating occurred during the 25 years between 1960 and 1985, a rate-of-rise of 0.010°C/year. During the 20 year span between 1985 and 2005 another 0.25°C of temperature was added, a rate-of-rise of 0.0125°C/year. During the 15 year span from 2005 to 2020 another 0.25°C of temperature rise occurred, with an average rate-of-rise of 0.0167°C/year.

While the average temperature rise of 0.25°C was the same for each of the four intervals, the first (between 1910 and 1960) required 45.5% of the 110 years between 1910 and 2020; the second (between 1960 and 1985) only required 22.7% of the 110 years; the third (between 1985 and 2005) required the smaller fraction of 18.2% of the 110 years; and the most recent period (between 2005 and 2020) took the smallest fraction of 13.6% of the 110 years.

Given that a 1°C rise of the temperature of Earth’s Biosphere (EB) is the equivalent of it absorbing, as heat, the energy yield of 109 billion Hiroshima atomic bomb explosions, we could imagine the EB being bombarded by an average of 1 billion Hiroshima bombs per year between 1910 and 2020 (within 109 year-long intervals). If that yearly bombardment were done uniformly, it could represent 2 Hiroshima bomb explosions per square kilometer of the Earth’s surface once during the year; or it could represent one Hiroshima bomb explosion per day in each 186 km^2 patch of the Earth’s surface, for a worldwide bombing rate of 2.74 million/day. Global warming is very serious!

Let’s refine this analogy so it reflects the acceleration of global warming since 1910.

The 27.25 billion Hiroshima bomb equivalents of heating that occurred between 1910 and 1960 would represent a bombing rate of 545 million/year; or 1.5 million/day spaced out at one daily explosion per 342 km^2 patch of the Earth’s surface.

The 27.25 billion Hiroshima bomb equivalents of heating that occurred between 1960 and 1985 would represent a bombing rate of 1.09 billion/year; or 3 million/day spaced out at one daily explosion per 171 km^2 patch of the Earth’s surface.

The 27.25 billion Hiroshima bomb equivalents of heating that occurred between 1985 and 2005 would represent a bombing rate of 1.36 billion/year; or 3.73 million/day spaced out at one daily explosion per 137 km^2 patch of the Earth’s surface.

The 27.25 billion Hiroshima bomb equivalents of heating that occurred between 2005 and 2020 would represent a bombing rate of 1.82 billion/year; or 5 million/day spaced out at one daily explosion per 103 km^2 patch of the Earth’s surface.

The heating rate for the 1°C temperature rise of the EB since 1910, averaged on a yearly basis, was 5.725×10^24 Joules/110years, or 5.2×10^22 Joules/year, or 1.65×10^15 Watts of continuous heating. This rate of heat storage by the EB (into the oceans) is only 0.827% of the continuous “heat glow” given off as infrared radiation by the EB (mainly at the Earth’s surface), which is 1.994×10^17 Watts at a temperature of 288.16°K (Kelvin degrees; an absolute temperature of 288.16°K = 15°C+273.16°C; absolute zero temperature occurs at -273.16°C).

If we were to imagine impulsively infusing the EB with the same amount of energy, by a regular series of “heat explosions” each of energy release equivalent to the Hiroshima bomb, then the 1 billion explosions per year (the 109 year average) would have to occur at a rate of 31.7 per second.

Atomic bombs release their energy explosively within 1 microsecond, representing a radiated power of 5.25×10^19 Watts for an energy release equivalent to the Hiroshima bomb yield (5.25×10^13 Joules). In this hypothetical exercise, I am lumping all the atomic bomb explosive yield into heat, but in real atomic explosions energy is released in a variety of forms: heat, nuclear radiation (gamma rays, energetic neutrons, X-rays, radioactive material) and blast pressure. The energy forms emitted by atomic bomb explosions ultimately heat the materials they impact and migrate through, and this is why I lump all of the bomb yield as heat.

An explosion sphere with a 56.4 centimeter diameter (22.2 inches) radiating heat at 5.25×10^19 Watts during a burst time of 1 microsecond would present a 1m^2 surface area at a temperature of 5,516,325°K = 5,516,051°C. Imagine 32 of these popping into existence at random points around the world during every second of the day and night since 109 years ago. We would certainly consider that form of global warming a crisis deserving our attention.

Because the invisible low temperature heat glow style of global warming that we actually experience does not rudely punctuate our lives with random blasts of such intense X-ray conveyed heat that any human standing nearby would simultaneously be vaporized while the molecules of that vapor were atomized and those atoms stripped of all of their electrons down to the atomic cores, we ignore it. But the heating effect on the biosphere is energetically equivalent to what we are causing with our greenhouse gas and pollution emissions.

Thermodynamically, we have greenhouse gas-bombed out of existence the pristine biosphere and its habitable climate that first cradled and nurtured the infancy of our species 2000 centuries ago, and then fed and protected the development and growth of that fragile chimera we call “civilization,” which our potentates have been proudly boasting about for at least 8,000 years. And we’re still bombing, now at an ever increasing rate.

All of the numbers quoted here come out of the results described in my report “A Simple Model of Global Warming” that I produced to help me understand quantitatively the interplay of the major physical effects that produces global warming. I invite both the scientists and the poets among you to consider it.

Global Warming Model

70% or less of the sunlight shining onto the Earth reaches the surface and is absorbed by the biosphere. From this absorbed energy, in combination with the presence of water and organic material, all life springs. The oceans, which cover 70.2% of the Earth’s surface and comprise 99.4% of the biosphere’s mass, form the great “heat battery” of the planetary surface. All weather and climate are generated from the heat glow of that battery. A portion of that heat glow, equivalent to the solar energy absorbed, must escape into space for the planetary surface to remain in heat balance, at a constant average temperature. For that temperature being 15°C (59°F), 62.31% of the heat glow must escape.

30% or more of the incident solar energy is reflected back into space, with 24% of that reflection by clouds, and 6% of that reflection from land and ocean surfaces. While snow and ice are the most nearly perfect reflective of such surfaces, they only cover 10% to 11% of the planet and that coverage is slowly being reduced by global warming, increasing the solar heating.

Our introduction of greenhouse gases and pollution particles into the atmosphere has added to the already existing load of naturally emitted humidity, organic vapors and grit from volcanic eruptions and windblown dust. These components of the atmosphere absorb and retain heat (infrared radiation), blocking some of the necessary heat glow loss, and thus warming the planet. The increasing accumulation of these components — because a warmer world has higher humidity producing more clouds, and because of our continuing emission of atmospheric pollutants — scatter an increasing portion of the incoming sunlight back into space, which is a cooling effect called “global dimming.” The imbalance of all these effects is dominated by warming and the biosphere’s temperature is rising at an accelerating rate.

My life is a race against the clock of a certain though indeterminate finality. The COVID-19 pandemic has made me very conscious of this inevitability. After seven decades of existence I cannot do everything I want, in terms of living, fast enough. This is not irrational terror, it is awakened appreciation and understanding. There is all of Shelley yet to read, and Keats, and so many more; and so many more birds and flowers, and daylight and nighttime beauties of the Nature to see, and so many more differential equations and physical problems to solve, to not want to go on living. The urge for continuation is innate, genetically programmed, whether in robotic virus particles or in cognitive life forms like cats and human beings. For me, that cognition includes the irrational emotional desire to combat global warming so that future generations of all Earth’s life forms have decent chances of continuing.

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Tsunami, & Pangaea Resurgent

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Tsunami

Does God have an ego?
Does God’s ego need acknowledgement?
Does It have a preference on our form of worship:
— Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, free-thought?
Would not such a needy God be limited?
And if so, from where arise the people and beliefs
— outside God’s limitations?
How could such a God create a nonconforming world?

The water comes in frothing, foaming, white,
Throbbing with agitation,
Pulling out the very roots of ground underfoot,
Suffocating light under a flood of black gravity,
Time compressed to timelessness its heart stops,
Parallels converge, infinity sleeps;
The waters suck back into distant depths
The souls of earlier dreams,
Leaving only the wreckage of their hearts.

Why has God abandoned us?

You have not been abandoned, merely awakened —
Loss of a dream — nothing more.
The life and death themselves are real,
But they were never certain.

Truth is indifferent, I am sorry this is painful.

Release disillusion and tend your proper grief.
May the bitter rain replenish the well of compassion,
For who is untouched?

3 January 2005

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Pangaea Resurgent

The earth quakes
Olympus breaks free
Floating west an island,
The heights rise
The shoreline plunges
The wine-dark sea runs to blood,
Old lands wither unseen
Plato is upended.

I wake cast upon the rocks,
Find the edge of town
Meet the Prophet by the tracks,
Where am I?
Everywhere, he says.
How?
Capitalism is Theft
Suburbia is Segregation
God is Murder.
I have no money to pay him,
Is there no hope?
He smirks:
Blood dries.

20 January 2005

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Awakening, and Reopening

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Awakening

Fresh sun warms morning
Light splash crisping forest green
Hush cool dark fading
Life revealed that was unseen
Bird trills dance from silk web gleam

Dawn fills air so clear
Green light blades thrust up from hill
Bees spark glints so near
Breath of life in birdsongs thrill
Open mind to timeless still.

24 April 2020

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Reopening

Is watching Fox News
Pre-existing condition?
And dying trump
Making America great?
Will Dow Jones itch spike
Enslavement volition?
From happiness chasing
To make a clean break?
And kill off the old
With free conscience cold
Re-spinning roulette
To let the plague strike
So gold dreams can shit
On a world dump as toilet
Where you’re a condition
Of easy dislike,
Forgettable ache,
Eventual coal lump,
With hurried ambition
Our dead primal ooze?

24 April 2020

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