On Saturday afternoon, Brookie and I went to a park here in Carpinteria, which overlooks the ocean. We took a little walk as the sun lowered into the trees, then returned to the car to await the moment of the equinox – the end of summer and the start of fall.

Brookie likes watching sunsets.


It is done.



Time Reworked

I have reworked the poem I posted last night. I think it’s better than it was. Let me know if you agree.

When I’m alone, I listen to water.
My brother sleeps and my dog
sleeps but I am awake.
The moon is full, and the sky
is crossed by sleeping jets.
I remember I am loved.
Time is running out so
I sit on the bed, waiting.
Time will come for me.
It will not forget me, leave me.
It waits behind the door until
I arrive. It sleeps in the sink.
Tick-tock, it drips all night.
Time hides in shadows
through the dappled afternoon,
sleeps and stretches like a cat.
I smell it in exhaust,
in fruit cut yesterday,
in my shampoo.
I wait by myself for time to emerge
from my dusty luggage, to appear
in folded sheets, to speak among
long blades of exhausted grass.

Creative Commons License
Waiting by J. Kyle Kimberlin is licensed
under a Creative Commons Attribution-
NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Fall Back

Don’t forget to set your clocks, gentle readers. Here’s a poem I posted once before, but it’s been quite a while and it seems right for tonight.

When I’m alone, I listen to water.
My brother sleeps.
My dog sleeps.  I amalone.
The moon is full, and the sky
is full of sleeping jets. I’m here
by myself, beloved, alone.
Time is running out. I sit
on the bed, alone, waiting.
It will come for me. Time will
not forget me, leave me.
It waits behind the door
until I’m alone.  Itsleeps
in the sink. Tick-tock,
it drips all night. Time hides
in shadows through the dappled
afternoon, sleeps and stretches
like a cat. I smell it in exhaust,
in fruit cut yesterday,
in my shampoo.  I wait
by myself for time to emerge
from my dusty luggage, from
folded sheets, from long blades
of exhausted grass. 

Creative Commons License
Time by J. Kyle Kimberlin is licensed 
under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Time in a Blender

Remember the Bass-o-Matic, Dan Aykroyd on SSN?


Sometimes it sure seems like the days are being gobbled up, just that way. You drop one in the top about 7:30am, press Medium, and … there’s a horrible noise. Bones and scales. Nobody should have to watch this going on. And the result, when the late shows come on, isn’t nearly as nutritious as we’d like to pretend.

But I’ve over-blended the analogy, as usual.

I’m way behind on my blog reading. I’m behind on my blog writing. But while I’m waiting for consciousness to grind down to a nice, slow stir, here’s a little something to whet your appetite:

Finding your voice in your audience

I listened to an interview recently of the writer Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. She was asked about the genesis of voice and said that it’s important to think about the person you’re writing to – ideally, an individual. She pointed to examples in her own work, and to whom each piece was addressed.

“A consciousness of who you’re speaking to and why is crucial. … Storytelling without an idea of who you’re telling your story to is a voice echoing in an empty room.”

Gilbert explained that this is true because we are different in the way we speak and act, depending on the company we’re in. And I think that’s true. I know it is. I can be very different with different people, if for no other reason than that each relationship imposes a disparate dynamic.

William Stafford said it all best, in his poem A Ritual To Read To Each Other.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider–
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

Yes, yes. But doesn’t this contradict what we’ve so often and emphatically been told by the teachers of creative writing, that we shouldn’t consider the audience at all? Don’t even imagine that there might one day be an audience, they say. Write for yourself. Because worrying about critical reception, misunderstanding, hurt feelings, etc., will kill all hope of creating art.

Well, then, so be it. So it goes. Let it be.
Doo bee doo bee doo.
And in case you’re wondering, it’s true.
I’m writing it all to you.

time shall surely reap


Cole_Thomas_The_Garden_of_Eden_1828Click to Enlarge*

My mind is composting tonight; not enough vegetables to harvest just yet. I meant to stop by my parents’ house today and obtain some tomatoes – there are plenty and they look very good – but I forgot. This puts me in mind of a poem:

This is the Garden

This is the garden: colours come and go,
frail azures fluttering from night’s outer wing
strong silent greens serenely lingering,
absolute lights like baths of golden snow.

This is the garden: pursed lips do blow
upon cool flutes within wide glooms, and sing
(of harps celestial to the quivering string)
invisible faces hauntingly and slow.

This is the garden. Time shall surely reap
and on Death’s blade lie many a flower curled,
in other lands where other songs be sung;
yet stand They here enraptured, as among
the slow deep trees perpetual of sleep
some silver-fingered fountain steals the world.

— e e cummings

Isn’t that amazing? Read it aloud to yourself. Go ahead, it’s worth it, trust me. I did. Read it aloud several times.

Cummings was a master of his art.  And not the least bit shy about tackling the greatest common divisors of human life. After all, that’s the poet’s job, as it is the literary writer’s in any genre. As Stegner put it:

I am concerned with gloomier matters: the condition of being flesh, susceptible to pain, infected with consciousness and the consciousness of consciousness, doomed to death and the awareness of death. My life stains the air around me. I am a tea bag left too long in the cup, and my steepings grow darker and bitterer. [All The Little Live Things]

I’m saying we should not look away, those of us who choose to take the human condition as our reason for art. Nietzsche said when you stare into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you. And somebody said you should make the abyss blink first. I think that’s a motto of Twitter or something.

Actually, Nietzsche wrote, “He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” [Link]

Truer words were never writ. And Cummings has given us something like Heaven here in two stanzas; I couldn’t imagine it written more beautifully. But for me all this begs a question:

What is the abyss in life as we see it around us? I mean here, in the other world, where the slow deep trees may sleep, but fitfully for fear of our homuncular hammers and saws.

When I stare into the abyss, I see shoes. Old, worn, creased, dusty shoes. Ironing boards, cookie jars, jars of buttons and marbles. Old phone books with the numbers of the forgotten, scrawled on the covers in black ballpoint. I see dog collars, baseball gloves, oven mitts bearing the faces of animals as symbols of hope into the ever-retreating brave new world. I see the polished to glaring hell hallways of hospitals, peanut butter sandwiches and hummingbirds hovering before a rising sun.

How about you, fellow writer? What stares back at you, refusing to blink?


*Image: Thomas Cole The Garden of Eden,1828