Tag Archives: poem

“smiling on the inside (holding on)” #poem

[poem about where i was, where i am, now – and not letting go, for various reasons & dentistry]
+ Smiling on the Inside (holding on) +

Dave Thorvald Olson

Closing loops of past lives
errors & eras alike
epochs – at the time
now, defunct addresses on file

Accidental safe houses
Each with a similar go-bag
Essentials: postcards, pens, inky stamps, pipe, various disguises
Importantly: toothbrush and floss

Despite all of that,
a goofy grin'd & metal-free mouth
now features a Grand Canyon
- verily, unwanted

“Oh nimble fingers of well-educated and highly-skilled women, patch me up with porcelain and drills"
Then maybe dust off the front
so i’m not biting my lip in snaps
[Yes I know: late night snacks, Chinese medicines, endless cappuccinos, something something]

Yes, I disappear from time to time
I pretend to share it all,
But I don't – this of course is obvious
There are parts of me unreconciled
“i'll assume you are the same, because assumptions are underrated”

For your correspondence:
“country by country”
Former ‘homes’ (mostly demolished), crash pads, storage lockers, mail drops, way-station, guest-houses & occasional warm-water bed-sits

I collect the items and artifacts
file into files
despite Buddhist insistence about "letting go"
Blerg! Ole Buddha, i’ve seen you on the currencies of temples and banknotes

Yay, I am a maximalist! A curator of ephemera
{justified by creating things from the materials cast aside}
*Everything* has many lives until reaching a perfected exalted state, ergo:

The hotel stationery, the coasters, the match packets, well-stamped postal covers with such dreams and intentions written in my native language yet a script which I can't quite figure
These were created with affection and I would be unaffectionate to cast them into a bin or decomposition

Amongst, most salient:
Notes to future self
The "when written, unaware"
When opened, the ringing of a bell
the thwack of a read stick imploring zazen posture
when legs are too numb to carry-on

So i composite
Substrates upon items
In reverse
though various, nothing is random
Everything is an intentional act

Little Bay, Pacifica, Olympia (Washington and Greece), Esquimalt, Alas Manis, Victoria Drive, Phitsanulok, Pokhara, Aqaba, Karapitiya, Thrippunithura
– all not lost yet certainly un-found
Until Tsuchida

So, paid the ferrymen the extra cargo charges
willingly, for safe return
of memories & materiel

Artifacts required to answer:

How well did you love?
How well were you loved?
How well did you let go (of the things which did not serve)?

I say rather, "how well did you hold on?" Or “did you *at least* hold on?”

Letting go is easy, I try often-desperately daily to "not let go”
(ignoring the incident at Royal Jubilee)

You've heard me scribble,
"We are the stories that we share"
As such, “through chisels in Tenino, pencils in Providence, scissors and glue in another hospital and so on” are all measured with the same weight

I've made a song and you have too.
Old Uncle Walt call it "a song of yourself”
Yet "letting everything go" means that even old Gautama's musings would've faded with
an unapplied patch, without indexing, without copying and pasting

Without required updates in communication medium,
The message is not for simply: Existing

So, well-stocked with what appears – at first blush – easily replaceable shoeboxes
Requiring labels, folios and drawers for sort-ganizing
I remind: I’m here forever, my address will remain unchanged
I'm not going to come visit, but turns out the ships and planes both go both ways


Last night before bath
I wrote shodo ink for wife
teaching beloved tea ceremony
in English (practiced several times exactly a year ago with folks who came to Okayama rather than just asking for "what are the best things to do in Japan in three days")

Accompanied by a tiny version of me
Rambunctious, swinging with thoughtful inquiry
[We eat cheese and crackers, warm milk and sit close together in the bath, 42° C]

Rocking gently, magnetic smile
“reminds me of his mother and his grandmother” the one he won't meet,
and reminds “me of me” as reminded by bold love
and packing a variety of poses which he declares as "Mine"
// off-limits to use without permission, only verbally granted

Now for me (and you in my satchel in a field notes book)
after oatmeal, comes a bus ride, earplugs and an eye mask


The items are sequestered
In a solid storehouse
Blessed by a Shinto priest
white robes and a fabulous hat
Awaiting katazuke
best with records and incense

Yup, less pretty for a minute
“nothing is temporary, nothing is forever”

Sure Love, be loved,
and – critically – “You Must Hold On”


53 years, a big goofy grin
A mouth, proudly full

O-furo with #io + #poem

I have very rudimentary arithmetic / math skills but I do know:

Ichiro is 41-ish months old so about 1,230 days +/-

So, minus days when he was brand-new baby or i was critically ill / crashed &/or mom/jiji/baba filled-in, we’ve *easily* passed the 1000 bath threshold. 38°C in summer 42°C +/- in winter.

he’s much bigger now, not so appropriate for public snapshots :)

Bonus: bit of poem snippet

Question mark eyebrows
Old man shuffle walk
Baba Jiji Sho-sho
Double ups words to talk

Skipping walking
From crawling to running in a flash
The best hour of every day
When we slow down in bathtime
Reciting introductions to ancestors

Bonus: not just baths, also kitchen

yes, he was using that big knife, safely

Poem / notes: ‘recalling a scene’ #handwritten #draft

I’m always filling up notebooks: sometimes there’s a “system” where I have one that’s like a diary, another a scrapbook of a ephemera stuck in with tape and glue, another for logistical annotations, another for *pure poetry endeavors* or sometimes – well usually – the books of all sizes and shapes all kind of get smashed together.

So here we are, keep your expectations and chat, i certainly have.

Some other writers, documenters or general scribblers keep their notebooks well organized: labeled, chronological, even weighed or at least dated / whereas mine are scattered everywhere, sometimes spanning years/decades… opened to random pages, with undated riffs and what have you.

Especially recently with my delightful barn studio, endeavored to transcribe the often-illegible pages and sometimes i come across snapshots taken of a book which I’m not quite sure where it is or why I took the snaps but i can only surmise the pics are a message to my “future self” (meaning now) to put these pages somewhere where won’t lose the words – as insignificant as they may appear at first blush.

Poem / notes: ‘Suppose the Malaise…’ (handwritten, draft)

When a poem comes, you grab the paper and pen that’s closest & scribble the muses’s desire – and then I think to myself “you better organize this and put it somewhere systematic to later transcribe and you know, edit or whatever” / but since the *system* always changes and things disappear quickly, sometimes i find snapshots of the first wild poem sparks in process so, rather than forgetting about the whole thing and recovering some decades later, i’m stashing here. I may or may not ever be able to read this and who knows when will transcribe, but might do it here in a minute… or maybe next year, or maybe a robot will do it for me.. or the biographers. Who’s to say? My job is to write it and archive in some manner or another.

Poem: ‘Served my Heart’ #draft

Served my heart

Suppose its petty
And surely inelegant
but I’ll spill it anyhow
As i recollect

“I still think of all the stuff
I suddenly gave away
When I I though I will die”

All the paintings I sent away
Hoping to be remembered
My hand or another held
The brush and decision

Thought would bring
Safety net and affection
And watchful eye on escape
A photo shows up sometimes
In a flashback and fleeting

Fireworks or factories
On a Spanish coast, a grotto
Fig de Foz or Gandhi beach park

Lions gate in a windstorm
Pretending i was Varley
Taking late night ferry
Over between drunken tug boat races

All gone but for the snaps
I try to make anew
But hand only knows how
To forget and the paint
Goes on in errant blobs
Maintaining current mood

Painting: Tom Thompson

Fresh out of defiance #draft

One is as good as the next I suppose
Fresh out of defiant slogans
Too exhausted to scowl
Done with rhetoric and angst

Given up on raised firsts
Just my eyebrows for now
I run but slowly
On the hamster wheel
Stroll languid towards oblivion

Lay flat, do little
Let the system squander and powers collapse among
Hubris, greed bah!
“i’ll Take apathy to go”
With a side of indifference


A poem on a postbox at a goat farm, fading

{I feel somewhat obligated to use the often overused aesthetic term “Wabi Sabi” (beauty in decay)}, yet at Rural Caprine (goat) Farm…

Visiting what is probably my most seen art piece –a haiku on a post box (there’s a haiku on the other side with a postal theme, as well as a painting to match inside the café at the goat farm). Obviously the first line is more and more weathered. So,…

Do i I repaint it or just let it fade into oblivion and let future visitors imagine their own five syllables?

Finding Home #transcription (repeat)

No longer daunted
By subterfuge
Payola schemes or even
Assassinations by a religious stooge

Still enamored by overbites
Pretty lies, feathered caps
and Japanese super cub motorbikes

Confused by burning coals
to alchemize
and quicksilver mines
in a triangular ruse

I don’t need a course
To tell me to be happy
I already know what wealthy means:
Have you a garden, a pen and Wood stove?

The answer to the biggest question is:
“to love, and to be loved”

The pathway to go there is: kindness, tolerance, empathy, intrepidness, weakness is strength

All this is to say:
Cynicism avoided, reality reinvented, consensus subverted, admiration for the usual
Savor the regular days, notice the magnificence in nonchalance & common place.

Get down on your knees!

To look closely
The tactility of grass
The softness of sand
The circles and cycles
The shards of pottery
The ants smaller than the other ants
The lichen, the moss the dirt
The rivulets
The worm holes to everywhere else

Will lead you back to exactly here.

At the library, observations #poem

A spangled Cub Scout in his short pants and neckerchief
check out a book, holding
little sister’s hand

Elder lady clutching armload of books her shirt says

“please please protect the love“

Posters for the J2 futbol club (with a solid blonde import out in front) sponsor laden jerseys on display

(the sign reminds you not to touch, inexplicably
But instead
write celebratory messages of
support on a preformatted card)

a message for Italian pheasants

oh look! kid with a jumper covered with excavators, mixers and cranes (just like mine wears)

Pamphlets to play baseball, or table tennis or some kind of martial art… I know none of these things

Magnets attaching, all right angles, no overlap, tidy

“Literature Okayama 2023” - some kind of event I missed? (Momotaro and his monkey companion gaze nonchalantly holding a banner I can’t read)

I should pay better attention, on second thought…

Or rather festival at a temple which involves a large bonfire

And now my little guy comes running out with a book to check out

later, outside the boy with spectacles, a bright vest straps on his backpack, does 20 Achilles tendon stretches before unlocking his bicycle

we walk past and purchase three pieces of Chilean salmon from a man in a converted kei-truck