N a p a l m H e a l t h S p a : R e p o r t 2 0 0 8






Breath Is Like the End of Breath


Breath is like incense-stick smoke末

both trails eventually die off.

The forest trees are like a giant refrigerator

cooling off the universe.

Bears are like invisible space aliens

who sneak up when least expected.

Food is like a thermometer末

best in moderation.

The president is like a pile of wood chips

burning in anger with a single spark.

Civilization is like a slab of concrete

wired for unpredictable electricity.

The internet, like a new motorcycle,

is best driven with helmet & high alert.

Cell phones are like microwave ovens cooking the ear末

like microwave ovens cooking the ear.

Love is like fleeting love末

lucky if followed by more fleeting love.

Death is like a down-filled sleeping bag末

the end of shivering.

All in all, it's a beautiful world

like the mountain lynx one never quite sees.




We Are Trying to Change


Twenty percent of Iraq is dead or fled

and the moon over the Pentagon is purple


with glee. The war mask is on

& Congress has decided not


to de-fang it. There are desert valleys

and polluted streams all across the planet,


but the flames in Iraq have grown hotter

than the sparks in an old Albanian kitchen末


and this is a fire that we have seen

people we once knew light. So we spend


five nights each week doing our best

to extinguish. On nights six and seven,


we get no rest, but must place our minds

onto a different set of bedpost spikes.


A new British study says 1.2 million

civilians have died, a figure so stunning


it barely gets reported. Bad knees

and all, we are walking in the streets


hoping to help arrest our president. The city's

police think we are their private comedy club,


but at least we are rushing the stage

& trying to change the color of the moon.




Dear Senators Obama and Clinton


The health insurance industry is a tumor. Remove it

from the picture & the national stress level

will go down 43%. Clogged arteries will begin

to race. Dirty lungs will shower and take

a deep breath. Incurable liver-cancer cure rates

will rise 32.92%. This damn back pain I feel

when walking was caused by Oxford hiring

Triad, Inc. as gatekeeper to avoid paying my

chiropractic bills. My file cabinet is now refusing

to hold envelopes filled with HIP's contradictory

paperwork. These private health insurance companies

are the reason high school reading comprehension

skills are down 26% across America. Break

the insurance companies of their habits and there

will be no more reason for Star Wars weapon systems.

I know the campaign trail must be exhausting. But try

to follow the mind's math. Poetry statistics never lie.




With Body Another Year Older


Back on Nose Mountain with body another year older

& falling apart. Post-surgery knee is swollen & painful,

making it nearly impossible to walk. Left leg unable

to hold weight of the rest of me, back achy as usual,

but Vivian & the mountaintop beautiful as ever.


This year, a raven has been hobbling along the cabin road

ever since I arrived. Is it a symbol of Poe telling me

death is near? Or perhaps a career as a mystery writer

is near? Or maybe the raven carrying a miniature

recording device & unable to fly away so Cheney

can keep me bugged while I'm out of the country?


Luckily, doctors tell me the knee will heal, and sky

tells me the raven will soon find its circling flock. In long

term, I'm not sure how well this boreal forest will survive

climate heat stroke or pine beetle breakfasts, but hopefully

some of these elder trees will fare better after surgery than

I have. I'll type up more wish lists if I don't die first.