Category Archives: Writing Projects

a library in process holding collection of my writing projects including expository essays, articles for counter-culture magazine, sudden fiction and freeverse poetry – organized by form or collection

Napoleon Conversation

Hey Napoleon in your caskets
why did you hafta mess it up
it’s not that i’ve reason to care
here on top of your arch of triumpaht celebrating the farmers, dead bastards
buried cold, scattered families told to feel pride as your consolation prize
did you feel unloved or just condescended
you under willow tree squared up in st helena’s rocks
was it ever enough
when did you plan to stop?

perhaps in your next circuit
we have a baquette and talk about the good times, you know them all
listed in marble next to your heaving pompitude
over wine on the Siene
tell me when the fire started
when did you know?

just a couple answers for me because i’m greedy too
thirsty for life
questing for quiet and paints over battlefields and
coerced congratulations
did you not realize the power of restraint?
the art of deflection?
now on champs im’ not sure
your reflecting face
at odds with the deriliction
now where you are
do you room with caeser or the saints?

Beers in Bruges

Drinking beers from Bruges to Paris
ah you like good beer he says in halted words
punching ticket in boxy hat
winking, “i’ll be right back
six small cans of Stella Artois
They fell off a truck
gratis
not as good as Grimberger
but free

He said, i am french but i haven’t a plan
just a guy doing what i can
i’m not a hater, i’ve been to the forests and plains
and i like my wine and friends
i wonder what is like to be there
a little envious perhaps
but not ready to trade

Mona Atlantico

Si si si you’d say
and disappear through a door
me looking –
finding you alight
and aflitter
anxious to avoid your iodine stare
its not i that i try to please you – i just do
something always new

Interludes and anecdotes
from Florida or yesterdays’ shorelines.
you pull the blanket over
over your shoulder
in the aftermath
vanish into dreams of olives,
mountainsides &
Manzanita sunsets.

Yes indeed i’ve found you
and you are my Andalusian girl today,
Catalan girl tomorrow

Si si si you say
in another terrace cafe, another beer with another name
sure enough, you’ve met a new friend but are
always half of me

Tell me Mona
how did it make you feel?
That time in Esposende?
was it more than the night train ride into Coruna
all night blowing smoke from the only open window
from time to time
red wine with strangers

After sleepless days
and forgotten nights
sandy strolls, missed turns and just caught trains
April palms and cascading church bells,
crumbled castillos and fields of the cows

Inspired by your tenacity
stunned by the honesty
confused by the intensity,
Mostly thrilled by your smile from Malaga to Granada
through tunnels, over bridges
and crossing waterways from books

Portuguese Snapshots

Red roofs falling cliff high
into foaming waves

old man watches sheep
who don’t seem to mind
wondering where atlantico
turns into the inland sea

the signs say no tractors
or this way to ferries

brick stoves & clay ovens
widely shown
the man with the donkey wanders by

she’s happiest when moving fast
and straight
or eating small tasty thing with sauces

“you are saying these strange things to me but i don’t know why”

concrete poles
houses thick and white
red clay courtyards
wrapped in blue tiles
guarded by saints with forgotten names
protecting palms and blue fired tiles
melted bold yellow walls
churrascaria in empty yards
wood cut even, stacked in jumbles

posters of singers and toros
workmen piling into tipico
early lunch, dried cod
chicken blood, sardines,

waving she doesn’t watch
crossing shady lane with tiny cars
the dog with the shortest legs.

adieu Karol in color
Cerverjai dark, vino blanco
she opens it cold & hands it
sits down.
obrigato

The swarthy one points us
Saint Virgilio of Figuero de Foz
who we call Jack for Joaquin
Patron of wanderers, spicy clams and cold sangria
eyes like grutas of secrets
grottos holding reflection of monoliths
and winters lasting into spring

If i recall from the haze of the sangria night
Virgillio of the soulful eyes,
the fatima awaits
maybe we’ll see it past the horizon clambered up the gates of treachery

like the nice boy told us
sue the Sud towards the 15th of April
i’m not sure they might be trees for figs or nuts
squat on fuzzy gnarled hills

I’m not really sure
just keep the ocean ot the right
i’ll watch for antelope or impalas
past the grutas with the piney amnesia smell

Santiago, April

Skin of bright olives, quizzical eyes
reflection flashing on a bike with bread
or books
cold on rocky step ledge
three spires fade into drizzly twilight
the bells ring again

Walking sticks clunking into a square
via sacred stairs
the bells ringing in dischord
and grief
as the galacian girls laugh down a impossible alley
twisted with greens and orange
where las templars hunkered
hiding three sets of bones through generations of darkness
now in a silver box of seashells.

Secrets Intact

We’ll die apart
with secrets intact
you winking to the end
me twitching my nose

an arboretum afternoon
english bay interludes
second beach under feet

driftwood delivering anecdotes
caught your hazel eyes last night
moonlight reflected from two-thirds
a world away

you told me about the hidden cafe
burning spoon and sugared rim
we both hold pencils and
somehow remember to breathe

our lives are fiction of
what we dreamed might be
but you must remember these moments
are sequestered
not imagined

San Francisco Afternoon

Waiting thirteen minutes
for a 2nd rate beer

sunday afternoon
the empty bar
the one with the pretentious name
trying to be too smooth
but i’ll submit to comfort
low-slung leather lounge
glass table top reflection

the menu has martinis
but i am drinking beer

this menu lists tapas
but i am no where near

not eating, just drinking
and thinking
somewhere far away from here

thinking on a san francisco afternoon
finding her walk-up
brick and stone tiny room
redwood walls and chinese food
somewhere near the embarcardero
waiting for red-headed tina
who i ran from years before

leaving in a hurry
and coming on too soon
admitting that in retrospect
you meant more then i let on
so i continue
waiting vacantly
sipping slowly and sitting low

the menu has martinis
but i am drinking beer
this menu is listing tapas
but i am no where near
hardly can guess where i’m strolling
suppose i am going home

a lost afternoon for me
belatedly exchanged for the
broken heart i gave you
like that foreign film
where the subtitles might say
i’m erred on a cloudy day
by the well near the olive hill

but really now
if you happened by
i just want an afternoon
of coffee, weed and your tangled sheets
like times before i ventured
drifting literal oceans away

unsure if you even remember
salt lake nights in the avenues
climbing oaks and sneaking into
that mansion thats been for sale forever
drinking port wine in the broken attic

or maybe you noticed me out here
peeking through a curtain
hoping to stumble like a coincidence
holding crocuses like missed
conceptions
and faltered connections

the menu has martinis
but i am drinking beer
this menu is listing tapas
but i am no where near
i am gone elsewhere
somewhere far from you
and here

High Times Names Evergreen Top 10 Cannabis College 2002 – featuring Dave O

TOP TEN COUNTERCULTURE COLLEGES | High TimesOriginally published as High Times Top Ten Cannabis Colleges in September 2002 featuring skateboarded Jen Grant on the cover. Archived version is more accurate to original and is republished – and attached as a .pdf – below for the record.

Story by Chris Simunek and Preston Peet
Photos by Comso G. Spacely

Evergreen in High Time cover

These are not party schools for stupid stoners, but places where intelligent users of cannabis can receive a quality education. What’s the difference? Smart stoners use the herb when appropriate, either as a tool to enhance creativity, or as a medicine to relieve stress, while stupid stoners abuse it through inappropriate use.

#1 EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE
Olympia, Washington

The Geoducks

Founded in 1967

4,100 students

$12,264 non-resident tuition

Fiske rates it the #4 public liberal-arts college; student-to-faculty ratio: 22 to 1

evergreen.edu

Mother Nature reigns supreme in the Pacific Northwest. Sure, the lumber companies have been trying for years to turn its beauty into napkins and newspapers, and there are the unnatural acts committed by the odd serial murderer–Ted Bundy and the Green River Killer were both particularly fond of the Cascade Mountains–but after mankind is done carving his mark on this particular part of the Earth, the forest is sure to swallow him up body and soul. This sense of permanence is perhaps one reason Washington is called “the Evergreen State.”

Walking through the rainforest that separates the Evergreen State campus from the sea, you get the feeling that you’ve found the halfway point between Darwin and Eden. The forest is primordially damp, insects swarm your head and the terra firma beneath your feet is exploding with life. Sitka spruce and western hemlock trees arch towards the sun, dripping with vines and moss. At the same time, the rainforest is reclaiming the borrowed molecules of the dead, slowly folding them back into the soil from whence they came.

Occasionally a hairy figure can be seen darting between the flora and fauna, causing my heart to leap at the thought that I’d finally fulfilled my lifelong dream to observe a Sasquatch in its natural habitat. Upon further inspection, I’d see that the beast was actually wrapped in colorful, loose-fitting clothing and that its long hair was matted into dreadlocks–the de rigueur look of the Evergreen student. Maybe next time, I think, then continue walking.

high times dave
picture by Cosmo G. Spacely from High Times article about Evergreen State College

The leader of this rainforest expedition is Dave Olson. I first contacted Dave after a Google search of “Evergreen State” and “cannabis” spit his name across my Macintosh screen back in New York. Though his hair is kind of wild these days and a thick beard covers most of his face, you can’t pigeonhole Dave as a hippie.

He’s kind of a Renaissance guy who can speak at length on anything from ecology to music to pro hockey. A Vancouver, B.C. native, Dave is a member of what’s known as “the extended Evergreen family,” which comprises grads, non-grads, part-time students and people thinking of attending part-time. As part of his curriculum at Evergreen, he wrote, produced, directed and narrated a video documentary, The Hempen Road. The movie explores hemp from all angles, including the activist community, hemp products, food and history.

“Where’d you get the idea for your film?” I ask.

“I lived in the Pacific for three-four years, mostly Japan. I was doing hemp stuff the whole time, doing research. When I got back to America, I realized there weren’t any contemporary films that showed the products and the people and the culture. So I met this Japanese film student and we started talking about this project. He wasn’t really familiar with hemp, and was a little apprehensive about getting involved with it because of the negative connotations. I wrote up a proposal and shopped it around to different faculty.”

Though Dave found his faculty sponsor to be less enthusiastic than he would have liked, he was motivated enough on his own to see the project through to completion. He printed 2,000 copies, did a little publicity and sold them himself at hemp events.

“Before I came here I thought it was going to be an arts and literature and humanities focus, but that’s not really the case,” Dave explains. “The science stuff seems pretty heavy. There’s a lot of marine biology. A lot of people come here wanting to do stuff about forests and conservation and that kind of ‘ecosystem, organic farm and herbology’ kind of stuff. The strength is the multidisciplinary approach. It weans you into learning something that you didn’t really plan on learning, by bringing it in with something that you really want to learn.”

 “Multidisciplinary” is the buzzword at Evergreen. It basically means you choose a subject you want to study, then the school encourages you to tackle it from several different angles. You find a professor at the school who you can work with on an independent-study-type basis, then go off on your own. There’s no tests to cram for, just a final project at the end, which can be anything from a paper to a performance to a piece of art.

We finally make it through the woods to the beach, which is empty on this day because most students are busy studying for their finals. The beach is clothing-optional, Dave informs me, and on a hot day you can often find undergrads smoking herb and working on their tans.

“I spent my college years in New York City,” I inform Dave. “For entertainment we used to watch the rats outside our dorm-room window teaming through the McDonald’s trash piles.”

“Evergreen provides a country-club atmosphere at a state-school budget,” he cracks. Tuition goes for $1,008 per quarter for Washington residents, $3,588 per quarter for out-of-staters, relatively cheap when compared with other schools.

I asked a few kids I’d met to estimate what percentage of Evergreen students smoked pot, and most answered somewhere in the 80% range. Given the surroundings, it just makes sense. There are no frats and little sports, so the bonehead scene is thankfully kept to a minimum.

My head is still buzzing from the William’s Wonder we sampled before arriving on campus when I ask Dave if Evergreen is a serious school or a refuge for burnouts.

“People work hard and play hard here,” he responds. “You see them at the bars until late, and then you see them on campus working late the next day.”

From the beach, we wander back to Evergreen’s own organic farm, kind of like a living textbook for their sustainable-agriculture program. According to the Evergreen bulletin, sustainable agriculture provides instruction in “soils, plant propagation, greenhouse management, composting, green manure, the use of animal manure, equipment operation, small-farm economics, pest control, livestock management, weed-control strategies, irrigation-system design and management, basic horticulture, machinery maintenance, vegetable and small-fruit culture, marketing and orchard systems.”

I can see where that might appeal to certain HIGH TIMES readers.

We tiptoe past the chickens, through the fields and greenhouses filled with lettuce, beets, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and tomatoes, until we find easygoing, bespectacled Pat Moore, professor and director of the farm. I ask him about how Evergreen differs academically from other schools. He explains that self-discipline is the key to success here.

“We get students who don’t fit in highly structured programs, and because of that, we’re going to get very bright and innovative students and we’re also going to get the exact opposite. If a student is motivated and interested in what they’re studying, they’re going to get an excellent education. If they’re trying to slide by, they’re going to find a way to do it.”

“As a faculty member, what was your reaction when you heard Evergreen had been voted counterculture college of the year by HIGH TIMES magazine?” I ask.

“Was it really? Gosh, it’s a little disconcerting actually. You probably won’t put this in your magazine, but I watch students as they arrive and what happens to them. A lot of them work for me three-four years, and it seems like they start getting a lot looser in terms of their ability to be reliable workers.”

“‘Cuz they smoke a lot of weed?”

“They don’t confide in me that way, but I wasn’t born yesterday. I’d prefer to see that than binge drinking. I mean, Washington U. had this big riot in the streets because of binge drinking, and a couple of kids died. Smoking a little pot, that’s not going to happen.”

That’s not to say Evergreen students don’t drink, and after we’re finished with the good professor, we head back to town and agree to reconvene at the Eastside later that evening to sample a few of the local microbrews.

The air alone is reason enough to move to Olympia–crisp Pacific winds that smell like fresh-cut cedar. On a clear day Mt. Rainier dominates the horizon from 100 miles away. It’s the capital of Washington, but still manages to keep a small-town atmosphere. It’s got a pretty happening nightlife scene–Fourth Avenue is plastered with flyers for reggae jams, karaoke, gay parties and retro nights. When we walk into the Eastside, it’s packed with undergrads playing pool and drinking beer. Kurt Cobain used to live here in the early days of Nirvana, and the grunge look is still alive, with flannel shirts covering parts of the crowd.

Kenny the bartender pours us a pitcher of Rasputin, a dark brew that’s as insidious as its mystic namesake. When word gets around that HIGH TIMES is in the house, I’m descended upon by so many students I can hardly remember anyone’s name. Without exception, everyone wants to tell me how cool their school is.

“I’m really glad that there’s a school like this in the world,” says Emily, a senior. “I wasn’t going to go to college. I was just out of high school. I’d spent my entire life since I was five years old in school. I wasn’t about to go back. Then I came out here, visited this school, walked around the campus, met some kids, talked to them, looked at their classes… I was like ‘dude, this place is awesome!’ It’s chill, you make your own classes up, you don’t get grades, people are mellow, it’s in a really beautiful place, there’s good herb, you know what I mean?”

Emily started out studying comparative religions, then switched to art and hopes to become an art therapist someday. When I ask her for a few tips on places to go off campus she suggests the Staircase (an outdoor nature refuge), Elwa hot springs, Mt. Rainier, and the Olympic peninsula.

I ask another senior, Sarah, what sort of an education she thought she was getting. She told me Evergreen taught her “the things that high school left out. Such as how fucked up this world is. I’m kind of a glutton for the depressing stuff, so I mainly concentrated on things like, you know, saving the world. Really simple stuff.”

I ask her the names of a few classes she took and one stands out and cracks up everyone at the table–“Whiteness, Maleness and the Immorality of Wealth.” “The big myth is that kids at Evergreen major in underwater basket-weaving or hacky sack,” she explains. “But it’s true that my roommates spent a semester building eight-foot-tall sock monkeys.”

I start the next day with a tour of the Evergreen dorms. The kids are genuinely shocked when I knock on a few doors and announce HIGH TIMEs’ arrival. It takes me literally five minutes to find the herb–in this case some B.C. commercial bud. We speak a bit about the local strains, William’s Wonder and the Gangsta being favorites.

Talk turns to the campus police, who carry guns and who’ve been encouraged to step up their profile. The campus cops even print their own trading cards, and the kids actually show me a few with cops posing next to their favorite drug dogs.

“I heard the DEA was here,” one student informs me.

“I have a hard time believing the Feds are snooping around dorm rooms,” I tell him, but he insists it’s true.

“The cops are pretty cool, though,” he continues. “A fire alarm went off and the cops came in and found some dope on a kid. His punishment was to write an article about how to hide your shit in your house!”

I have a feeling I’m being treated to a few herban myths, but it’s true that the school is not too pleased about its cannabis-friendly reputation. In fact, after I left, the traditional graduation 4:20 on Super Saturday was shut down when rumors abounded that HIGH TIMES would be there to record the event for posterity. We were 3,000 miles away at the time, but the cops chased the kids into the woods. Sorry about that.

After the dorm tour I return to Red Square, the center of campus. There I meet Conner Kenny, a political economy major from Austin, Texas, currently in his first year at Evergreen. Conner is cranking a Bob Marley tape as he tries to get students to sign a petition to close mercury loopholes in the state’s clean-water laws. There’s a strong activist community on campus. In fact, the college caught a lot of flack a few years back when they invited Mumia Abu-Jamal to give a commencement speech via satellite from his prison cell. In the last year of his life, Ken Kesey also was the keynote speaker at graduation. Declaring Evergreen “the college for all hippies,” he gave a rambling speech that ended abruptly when he realized he’d lost the last two pages.

I’m running a little late for a planned photo shoot of the favorite local cannabis strains, but before I leave campus I ask Conner what role he thinks marijuana plays in the Evergreen education.

“It’s just part of the culture. People get together who feel the same way about things. Here, people would rather spend their time doing something other than spending money, making money and worrying about making money. It’s a rejection of the norms of consumer-driven society.”

Practical Guide to Hemp Cannabis – Guide for Policy Makers

Created and published by hemplobby.org in June 1999 – over a decade before legalization of cannabis would come to the USA – this collection of history, agricultural information, plant botany, legal frameworks, factoids and further readings was distributed to legislators, policymakers, teachers, and activists around the world but primarily in Washington (State and DC) and Oregon.

Now that legislative change is sweeping across America – focused primarily on medical and recreational use – it’s important to also remember the benefits of low/no THC industrial hemp which can be made into literally thousands of different products and help negate many conundrums around modern agriculture, climate change, and survival of family farms.

While much of the information is out of date, take a read through to see where Cannabis legalization and education were at the end of the last century.

Created by Ed Saukooja, Dave Olson and David White.