Napa Valley: Do We Really Need Another Winery?

Napa ValleyThis is a departure from my usual “M.O.”  I never considered myself to be much of an activist, even though I have some pretty strong opinions on many of this world’s injustices.  I generally get too twisted up by all the skullduggery, word trickery and outright mind-fuck that goes along with the politics of any given issue, and therefore find that I do much better behind the scenes, instead channeling those energies into things like reflection, power of thought and prayer.  But there comes a time when a person has to stand up and say “HEY!

So this is the deal:  a friend of mine lives in a quiet little community just outside of the town of Napa, California called Circle Oaks, and the quality of life there, not to mention the life of many animal and plant species, may soon drastically change for the worse.  In the tradition of ruthless, profit-seeking development, another big company wants to go in and build another huge winery directly above them, which would entail major desecration of the land and it’s many inhabitants.

We’re talking dynamite blasting, heavy machinery operations and run-off of pesticides right in their “backyard”.  Also, the water resources will be as good as sucked dry for the wildlife and  for the human community, depleting from a relatively new water reserve system that my friend was charged big money for and is still paying on!   This, smack in the middle of what has been dubbed a “drought” situation.  And, as though adding insult to injury, the company somehow finagled their way around the planning zones and will, if this all goes through, eventually build more homes on the “winery” land and rake in some astronomical profits.

Yes, Napa Valley is world famous for it’s beautiful wines, but let me tell you people, it’s not the love of the ancient art of wine-making that is prospering there these days, not even close.  The days of “poetry in a bottle” are long gone and replaced by, or metamorphosed into, for the most part, big money, obscenely big money, profit and gain and that’s it in a nutshell.  The people wanting to go in and destroy this land above Circle Oaks do not live there and do not care what this venture will do to the area.

Even many of the locals–of course wanting to defend the “local” industry–are defending the project, or at best misrepresenting it and the voice of the opponent, the people.  A Napa city sign positioned at the beginning of the road to Circle Oaks and stating that the road is not fit for heavy trucks has mysteriously disappeared.   The proposed “winery” and all the tearing up of the mountainside would be on the “back side” out of view from the downtown area and therefore not assaulting to the eyes of the purse-wielding tourist.  The Napa newspaper published an article mistakenly insinuating that the citizens of the communities which will be drastically affected by the construction are completely against tourism, cut and dry.  And, of course, buzz words and key phrases are being thrown around like dimes at a coin toss; all the standard ones like “creating jobs”, “personal freedom” and the “capitalist way”, etc. etc…capped off, in this case, by “wine-maker’s rights”…

So before I get carried too far away here on my soap box, maybe you could take a look at the website that these good citizens have put together in order to protect their homes, and the homes of many four-legged friends.  They can explain their situation much better than I.  Please take a look, maybe see how you can help, at least maybe by offering up a little prayer.  Too much of our beloved planet is being shamefully desecrated in the name of powerful big money.  The next brutal assault on Mother Earth may be in your backyard.

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Pennies On The Floor

This was originally written in 2003; a version of it appeared in 2004 in “Jewels In The Dust And Other Hidden Trinkets”, one of my nine self-published poetry chapbooks:

Now I’ve thought it over long and hard
The ways of this world
Dog eat dog, survival
Get ahead, get more
This high-dollar mentality destroying the globe
Now I’ve lived in poverty
and in grandiose places
Stepped high into the night
on a gilded path, into a golden skyline
Begged for my dinner, dined off of gilded wares
Sailed the high seas of luxury
Counted my pennies on the floor
Threw my coins to the sky
And all I have now
is what I’ve learned from all those lifetimes
That riches don’t come from the ground
or the bank vault or deep pockets
Learned the hard way
just how much money matters
And now here in this world spinning out of control
where everyone grapples for another dollar
and too much is just never enough
I sit barefoot in a human garden
where strange hungry souls
grow up all around me
directing their passion and their inquiries
toward capital gain, a basic mockery
of the system of life
(it will all wash away soon)
Now I sit counting pennies on the floor
Always just enough to get by
Counting on my good health
on a beat to beat basis
Counting on the angels
for my heart to keep pumping
Thankful for the simplest things
in this ruthles, fast-moving high dollar society
This isn’t an excuse for not having nothing
(there never was an excuse for me anyway)
I could have easily acquired all the trappings
of a cushy bloated life
Could have gone through the ruthless channels
But wanting all that stuff
fat money, power trimmings
It never did feel right to me
It always felt so incredibly wrong
And so here now I merely exist in the moment
while the years keep spinning on
and generations of whoremongers and super achievers
dash and spin past me
like fiery meteorites blazing past
a clumsy old planet stationed in time
into the nothingness of space
at incredible speed
to their inevitable demise
I step aside and let them go by
And it really doesn’t matter much to me
Everyone has their custom-made lessons
their legacies to leave
We all have to go sometime
Me, I have my “what if’s” like anybody
Wondering if I’ve used my time wisely
to meet the requirements of this soul’s education
But when all is said and done
one has got to stand firm in their heart
knowing that they have
And as I stand beneath an endless sky
watching the stars and planets as great as our world
So huge and great, and coming across to me now
as tiny points of light
When I look upward into this magical void
it seems only natural to me
that none of the earthly affairs
we strive for and worship and dwell on
could ever be as important as we make them
And the only thing that matters at all
would be the riches of your heart and soul
the light that burns inside
I would rather die knowing this
than live for the things that destroy love’s true worth

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Sacred Timeless Moment

Still trying to capture a little bit of that sacred timeless moment…

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The Levee

Here is a very old and personal poem I thought was lost forever but which has in recent years resurfaced.  I originally wrote it in February 1977, at 17 years old:

Jewell says the river will bewitch you if you’re not careful
but I don’t think it’s what will have me to my knees
The levee will possess me in a while
and though I’m not a native
it will become as thought I was raised
right here on this earthen wall
Snow is so rare here
When it snows the schools close
Children slide down towards the muddy Ouachita
on cardboard and wet asses
The levee will never let them down
it watches over the town
it will see to our well-being
Jewell says I’m protected here
like a child at play
But I don’t know
insanity can occur any ‘ol where
The levee will see to it
that I don’t float away
until I’m ready
Jewell likes to walk it while the sun leaves him
He’s never walked it with me
He goes home alone and in silence
he’ll talk with his Bible
And I’ll most likely be somewhere up on the levee
following a stranger or writing poems or
singing lyrics of trials and lifetimes into the wind
Jewell loves his solitude
Uses it like his Savior
indulging in holy stories and psalms
matching each character to the roles in his mind
While I’m probably up on the levee
or hanging over the bridge
feeling this same sacred power
experiencing similar enlightenments
yet from within my own soul
Jewell says he’s a loner
He won’t let me touch him
and is afraid to touch me from a scar
that has opened and closed over and over again
Still, I know he loves me
and I know he feels more intensely than most folk
Time is the only natural fertilizer
for this collection of his, this garden
Jewell gave me a pendlem made of clay
Last night I dreamed that he hung one too, from his neck
reproduced from mine, both magical
But on awakening there was only one
it hung singular between my breasts
Perhaps he hid his under his vest
or somewhere deep inside
I went up on the levee
and sat staring at water and brush
and I found it
Jewell says when he’s on the side of the sea or
the line of the road
what he longs for at home is the river
It’s no wonder
I’ve seen his clay heart there
fully illustrated by the muddy Ouachita
Jewell says he’s crazy
He won’t listen when I tell him
we all are
I know he’s probably more sane than most folk
He pays much attention
to the sacrifices and glories of existence
Yet isolates his own from the whole
and says it’s different
and crazy
Jewell told me the river has bewitched him
Says it like I am not aware of this power
If only he could venture to the center of me
my spirit is so very close to his
and with the hands and mind of this life
I don’t think he’ll ever really know it

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The New Jerusalem

Serpents hissing and spitting around the crown
just like with our poor Sweet Jesus
in the desert and on the Mount
Raw wisdom pours from the deep inner well
Surfaces in fractured truths
in books and language, eons of stories
childhood rumors and heated speculation
It comes in words and symbols, color and form
in songs of the etheric condition
perpetual drama of the heart
reaffirming what the heart always embraced
Things make sense now
Things are more clear
Recognizing those demons’ history of antagonism
their tired story, their sad and sorry plight
somehow makes them scatter then fade
Radiant bits of knowledge from a higher Brotherhood
messages littered throughout our days so long ago not
quite yet pertinent take on full dimensions now
take on form and meaning, generating only good will
Language of the spirit and of the seasons’ passion
speaks to us through cherished emblems
of the turning of years and centuries
Now is the time of understanding
Even that of ourselves
we only lonely had glimpses

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Quarter Century Sober!

  This day marks 25 amazing years since I quit drinking, an enormous feat in my life of which I am very proud.  This time last year I posted a little story describing the circumstances surrounding my permanently giving up the bottle.  Today, to anyone who may be struggling with a drinking problem, I would just like to say this:  There is no one magic bullet to overcome this obstacle, it’s different for every single person.  You do what works for you, not anybody else.  Try not to worry about all the outside influences; let the rest of the world take care of itself, while you just keep taking it one day, hour, heartbeat at a time…

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Number Nine: The Chameleon

So now we have worked our way up the spectrum of numerology vibrations to number 9, last of the single digits and completion of the base numbers scale.   9 is definitely about completion:  of life’s cycles, chapters, accomplishments and missions; of old patterns, life lessons and karmic trends.  With this remarkable number, outmoded energy circuits are brought to a close, loose ends tied up and the ultimate plateau is reached wherein lies infinite spaces for fresh new endeavors.

Number 9 has come so far to be where it is, working its way through the entire progression of creation, and so is indeed a very old and very wise vibration.  Observant and well-learned, it sees all and holds fast to its vision.  This can sometimes result in a rather obsessive state of mind, as 9 is very certain about what it perceives and will not be swayed.  But empathy isn’t lost in the knowledge here, and numeral 9 is nothing if it’s not compassionate about all that it bears witness to.

At the heart of 9 lies a high degree of wanderlust, for this vibration embraces all culture, customs, language and geographical wonders that the world has to offer.  This desire to roam and to accrue diverse experience is by no means limited to planet earth alone; 9’s mystical mode of reckoning extends out to the stars, other planets, galaxies and parallel universes, within and without.  Its wondrous byways include the journey a soul will take inside of itself as well as from one lifetime to the next.

Considering the maximum exposure to all lifestyles, its holistic attitude and beatific interest in all life forms, 9 is the most understanding vibration and feels very deeply for every creature to share its space or even its consciousness.  9 is therefore capable of resonating all things to all beings, adapting easily to many different surroundings and situations.  In this light, we are dealing with a sort of chameleon of number vibrations here, as it blends naturally with any environment while allowing all that exists there to continue in its unique and specialized manner.  This endearing function is illustrated on a mathematical plane:  place 9 next to any other number or derivative of that number, and the digits of the sum will always add up (or down) to the same original single digit.  Also, multiply any number by 9, and the product, when added down to a singular, will always be 9.  These organically occurring rules of arithmetic reflect the tolerant, resilient, open-ended character of 9, which occurs on any plane or dimension.

9’s charming ambiance is indeed magical and touches upon all facets of living, but none as much as the truest magic of forgiveness.  Being the least materialistic number–as it completely transcends material ties–being quite virtuous in its teachings and holding the highest of principles; 9’s most golden function, outside of its selfless unconditional love, is that of forgiving and letting go.  Thus, allowing for the healing transformation of absolution to take place.

9’s corresponding color is a golden hue and all pastels.  Its gemstone is opal; its soaring alchemy is also contained within the precious metal of gold.  The 9th chakra is a vibrant, glowing energy center that we may not even fathom in our dreams.

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Wild Seed (The Night Is My Friend)

The night is my friend
Gravity my alibi
Under cover of the stars
I watch my dreams fly
away out of here over some mythical horizon
where the sun always sets
and the mirrored moon rising
always fills the darkness
with what would have been
with time’s infinite treasures
like old records, the music
of our cells as they spin
(I listen to the songs over & over again)
The night is my only friend
Gravity my alibi
I’m a wild seed drifting
beneath the loyal stars
watching my dreams fly, one by one
under the constant tone of the setting sun
The night is my friend
’cause the sun, it always sets
and I can disappear into darkness
That universal melting pot of scratch
of lost fantasy and broken illusion
(The love never left my heart
even when tortured or muddled
by so many unsavory intrusions)
The love is all I recognize
My only true vow
All the rest of the drama behind me now
I had to leave it all behind
I had to, knowing full well
there is no special place for a wild seed
no home or plot of any kind
It just grows where it will
Blown away in the wind by the pull of the stars
and a massive, relentless tidal heart spill

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Look Into The Sun


Look into the sun
Feel the magnetic anomaly
Look into the moon
where all your memories are hidden
Your eyes will shine like gems
Every vibrant soul a precious gem
in this golden cosmic adornment
Every star in cold dark space
a diamond in the dusty treasure chest of time
Strung with beads of fine rare stones
Glowing with the passion of infinite hearts
Look into the sun if you dare
Our destinies orbiting around one another there
Your eyes will shine with secrets
of other worlds
Every planet’s legend
will beckon to your call

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Mirror Tricks

Have you ever looked back on some of your own past creations in awe as they speak to you now louder than ever?

While recently thumbing through an old poetry journal of mine from 1997, I saw traces of a certain pattern:



To judge someone of anything
any crime so heneous or violation
down to the most basic personal level
Is simply bringing that same judgement
in amazing exact proportions against oneself
This is a truth which penetrates the veil of living
and is so far imbedded into every thread
which holds the laws of the universe and
our own little worlds together
This, a truth which could not be simply read here, or anywhere
and then absorbed down to the molecular level
The Bible
The Kabala
Keys of Enoch
Book of The Dead
The Course in Miracles…
How many mass-scale scripts?
They all have recorded this golden law, I’m sure
But you will never learn it that way
The words are empty, a mere cliche
Until you find yourself in the midst of your heart
It takes a lifetime of pure raw energy
to see to know to feel to really understand
any action or thought
brought against any being
outside of oneself
brings oneself
against the self


Forgiveness is the golden nectar
The essential rule of humanity
What actually keeps us going, keeps our souls glowing
Yet can become quite a tricky concept
when brought down into our own little modes of perception
We understand this precious rule
even activate it in our lives
Feeling the true meaning of forgiveness in our hearts
And yet there always seems to be an exemption
Always that one thing burning away at our sensibilities
that we think we could never let go
We do this without even knowing it sometimes
Keep our own little private score cards
with that which is so hard to pardon, inexcusable
But in reality there are no special cases
And this basic function of our souls will save us
because it applies like the strangest of medicines
to the tiniest scrape and the coldest, meanest blow
our heart could ever take
The true test is to forgive
that which seems impossible
to bestow forgiveness upon
The darker the deed, when undone
will bring the most satisfying peace


When I said you may not have liked what you’d seen
if you looked at me so many years ago
All I meant
is that my confidence and self-respect
were at a very low peak
Hope was running bleak
and I poured into my flesh every poison or crude medicine
every numbing agent I could get my hands on
Treated my sacred temple
like a mad scientist’s chemical lab
like a clown punching bag, beat down
and right back up in your face again
Over bearing, whiskey cheeks
and kind of mean
That’s all I’m saying:
you may not have liked me much
’cause I didn’t like myself


How can I walk with lost souls
or sit with fallen angels
without becoming the fallen angel I am?
How can the light shine from within
when I refuse to see that same light in others?


Only happy ghosts hang around today
watching through the woodwork
and the shadows which always know
but never tell
Only happy ghosts
’cause my heart is lighter and stronger
and I’m not afraid to see
I know this old house from both sides of the mirror
where these phantoms are watching
and they recognize me
from inside my dreams


Mirror tricks
Is it really so tricky?
Those two-way mirrors
how many ways do they reflect?
Defying the law of miracles
Something so good turns out so bad
Then could the darker illusions really be golden?
Will the universal laws ever function in my favor?

Mirror tricks
There’s really no trick to it at all
See the good & the fine
and you are good & fine
See the evil
and there you go

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