Friday, April 27, 2007

Why Haven't Bush and Cheney Been Impeached Yet?

For those who wonder what it takes to impeach a President for real crimes instead of lying about a blow job, here are the articles of impeachment used on Nixon. (and if lying to Congress is as serious as the right wingnuts claimed when they were screaming about Clinton, why isn't it serious when Bush does it repeatedly?)

In reading over these Articles of Impeachment, I am struck by how many of the crimes listed as committed by Nixon could just as easily be listed as committed by Bush. In many of the statements, the crimes overlap so closely they could be the same man committing the same crime.

So I ask as you should be asking after reading this, why isn't Congress seriously considering impeachment against Bush? Who bought their silence and obedience? Why is this criminal still President?

Articles of Impeachment:

RESOLVED, That Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment to be exhibited to the Senate:


Article 1: Obstruction of Justice.

In his conduct of the office of the President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, in that: On June 17, 1972, and prior thereto, agents of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, District of Columbia, for the purpose of securing political intelligence. Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his subordinates and agents in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede and obstruct investigations of such unlawful entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities. The means used to implement this course of conduct or plan have included one or more of the following:

(1) Making or causing to be made false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States.

(2) Withholding relevant and material evidence or information from lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States.

(3) Approving, condoning, acquiescing in, and counseling witnesses with respect to the giving of false or misleading statements to lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States and false or misleading testimony in duly instituted judicial and congressional proceedings.

(4) Interfering or endeavoring to interfere with the conduct of investigations by the Department of Justice of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force and congressional committees.

(5) Approving, condoning, and acquiescing in, the surreptitious payments of substantial sums of money for the purpose of obtaining the silence or influencing the testimony of witnesses, potential witnesses or individuals who participated in such unlawful entry and other illegal activities.

(6) Endeavoring to misuse the Central Intelligence Agency, an agency of the United States.

(7) Disseminating information received from officers of the Department of Justice of the United States to subjects of investigations conducted by lawfully authorized investigative officers and employees of the United States for the purpose of aiding and assisting such subjects in their attempts to avoid criminal liability.

(8) Making false or misleading public statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States into believing that a thorough and complete investigation has been conducted with respect to allegation of misconduct on the part of personnel of the Executive Branch of the United States and personnel of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President, and that there was no involvement of such personnel in such misconduct; or

(9) Endeavoring to cause prospective defendants, and individuals duly tried and convicted, to expect favored treatment and consideration in return for their silence or false testimony, or rewarding individuals for their silence or false testimony.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

(Approved by a vote of 27-11 by the House Judiciary Committee on Saturday, July 27, 1974.)

Article 2: Abuse of Power.

Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, imparting the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposes of these agencies.
This conduct has included one or more of the following:

(1) He has, acting personally and through his subordinated and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigation to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

(2) He misused the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and other executive personnel, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; he did direct, authorize, or permit the use of information obtained thereby for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; and he did direct the concealment of certain records made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of electronic surveillance.

(3) He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, authorized and permitted to be maintained a secret investigative unit within the office of the President, financed in part with money derived from campaign contributions to him, which unlawfully utilized the resources of the Central Intelligence Agency, engaged in covert and unlawful activities, and attempted to prejudice the constitutional right of an accused to a fair trial.

(4) He has failed to take care that the laws were faithfully executed by failing to act when he knew or had reason to know that his close subordinates endeavored to impede and frustrate lawful inquiries by duly constituted executive; judicial and legislative entities concerning the unlawful entry into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, and the cover-up thereof, and concerning other unlawful activities including those relating to the confirmation of Richard Kleindienst as attorney general of the United States, the electronic surveillance of private citizens, the break-in into the office of Dr. Lewis Fielding, and the campaign financing practices of the Committee to Re-elect the President.

(5) In disregard of the rule of law: he knowingly misused the executive power by interfering with agencies of the executive branch: including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Division and the Office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force of the Department of Justice, in violation of his duty to take care that the laws by faithfully executed.

In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

(Approved 28-10 by the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, July 29, 1974.)

Article 3: Contempt of Congress.

In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, contrary to his oath faithfully to execute the office of the President of the United States, and to the best of his ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, had failed without lawful cause or excuse, to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, on April 11, 1974, May 15, 1974, May 30, 1974, and June 24, 1974, and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas. The subpoenaed papers and things were deemed necessary by the Committee in order to resolve by direct evidence fundamental, factual questions relating to Presidential direction, knowledge or approval of actions demonstrated by other evidence to be substantial grounds for impeachment of the President. In refusing to produce these papers and things, Richard M. Nixon, substituting his judgement as to what materials were necessary for the inquiry, interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by Constitution in the House of Representatives.

In all this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial and removal from office.

(Approved 21-17 by the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, July 30, 1974.)

Changing minds one t-shirt at a time. Visit Ursine Logic for more designs.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Thank You Mr. Vonnegut

“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

(Kurt Vonnegut, November 11, 1922-April 11, 2007)

The day that Kurt Vonnegut died I was going to write something around that quote because it's the one that I felt described what was so important about him as a writer and as a man. I was going to write how he knew about kindness because he also knew about cruelty, the kind of cruelty only another human can inflict upon another. I was going to write that Kurt Vonnegut the man had suffered the indignity of being no more than a name and number inside the enemy's meat locker so that Kurt Vonnegut the writer could try and teach us that all human beings have value. I was going to write that the sadness inside his soul, that unbearable sorrow you could see in his eyes was what made love such a vital force in his writings. I was going to write about myself and how I grew and found the courage to be who I am from reading his words grown from pain, suffering, disillusionment, and a life that went on longer than the man himself.

But the days went by as I kept saying tomorrow I will get to it, tomorrow I will write about how important it was to be kind. And I was going to write about the horrors, the absolute evil that happens when you are not kind. I promised myself that tomorrow I would write about how it feels to be disenfranchised from the human race by those who felt it was their place to judge another human being. I promised myself that tomorrow I would write about the sadness that held tinges of anger for those hurt by the perpetually foolish act of loving another human being too much, and the even more preposterous idea that you can love someone too much. I was going to write about the pain of losing a friend, a lover, a confidant, a heart connection because you weren't good enough, pretty enough, handsome enough to keep them in a world where second best becomes insignificant.

I was going to write about how Kurt Vonnegut the writer kept me alive during some of the darkest times of my life by reminding me that love was stronger than hate, that it didn't take everyone to love to make the world a better place, that it could be done a handful at a time if those people believed in the power of love strongly enough. I was willing to be one of those people, a sort of flawed missionary of love willing to help spread this amazing truth. It made such sense to me. It was so simple. All we had to do was be kind to each other and the rest would take care of itself. It made so much sense.

And I had been hurt enough by love, by false friendships, by people who only took and never gave back that I believed I could be an effective missionary. I'd suffered with the best of them, been wounded and betrayed by the worst of them. I'd loved the total bastards, befriended the selfish, trusted the wrong people, and I was raised by people whose bodies survived too many wars to ever leave their hearts intact. I'd been used, abused, dumped, forgotten, put at the bottom of the list enough times to have respectable credentials to flash when I said love was a choice we all make. I earned those credentials by continuing to love the abusers, users, shit spouting so-called friends for life who tried to take that away from me and failed. I wanted to thank Kurt Vonnegut for their failure to strip me of what he gave to me the first time I read his words: an unbreakable, unshakable, unwavering belief in the power of love.

And then a sick, twisted, excuse-ridden, disturbed discard of society shot up a school and I couldn't write a word until today when I finally stopped crying. I had to write today because there is this burning question in me that won't go away: would it have made a damn bit of difference if people had been kind to this sick bastard? Would it? And on the off chance that the answer is yes, then isn't it way past time that we start being kind, that we stop making war on each other, that we stop drawing lines in the sand and saying this is your side and this is my side, that we stop punishing those who are different, those who aren't pretty enough, those who aren't handsome enough, those who have no social skills to save them from all the punishments that can be inflicted on them simply for being who they are. Isn't it past time that we start living as human to human instead of thing to thing? Isn't it about damn time we started being kind?

Changing minds one t-shirt at a time. Visit Ursine Logic for more designs.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My Grandpa Snorts Dead People

When I was growing up the image of "grandparent" was this sweet little old person who smelled like lavender and served you tea in fragile and lovely cups if they were female, or if they were male, were always immaculately dressed, polite, and extremely Republican with perfect lawns. But I always suspected they had pasts that were far more interesting than our parents let on. After all, most people don't want their parents to compete with them for wild and crazy behavior and hooliganism moments, and our own parents were under that same pressure to conform to the Ward and June Cleaver role models provided for them as their parents.

But there were always cracks in that perfect TV world. My parents fought like wild beasts and separated multiple times. I came of age in a time when divorce became more common than long term marriages. The price for trying to maintain that picture perfect ideal was often alcoholism, drug addiction, and cheap, sleazy affairs that were more about relieving boredom than they were about love or need or friendship. Divorce saved lives because in many cases they ended the hypocrisy.

As I grew older I began to find out more about my grandparents and parents and little bits and pieces of wildness that slipped into the stories told late at night after a few bottles of wine and conversation. But there was always an underlying sense of normality to it all. They were the WW2 and Great Depression generation and that made them serious people. Sure, they laughed, but underneath that laughter was the pain of loss, the hunger of deprivation, and the appreciation of simple things like a home and a good job and money to take an occasional vacation somewhere.

I'm not naive and I have lived enough to know they did have lives that were anything but normal under the surface, but they spent a lot of time trying to convince everyone that those moments were reserved for the crazy degenerates which they most certainly were not. They embraced normality as a goal. They wanted to blend in because they grew up in a world where those who didn't ended up dead. They wanted the boring jobs that were the same day after day because stability was a dream after the turmoil they went through as they grew up and the country went to war. They wanted us to believe the myth for as long as possible because it was a way of sheltering us from the truth they knew far too well.

In return they raised children who would rebel against anything that was stable or normal. Instead of tranquilizers to make us accept our desperate lives, our generation took drugs that opened up all the crevices and re-arranged the thought processes. We refused to accept the ordinary jobs at the "company" and instead created a revolution of digital worlds our parents and grandparents looked at in awe, wonder and mostly lack of understanding. We protested against war, bigotry, hate and anything we perceived as an injustice. We became groupies to degenerate musicians and followed them around the country and the world in what our parents saw as hobo camps and we saw as communities. We joked that when we grew old all the RV parks would be taken over by painted hippie buses and dope-smoking degenerates.

Then we went to sleep. The Reagan years took our spare change and good jobs. We became wage slaves. We got married, started having children and forgot we were once free as the wind and wild as any animal in the jungle. We raised our children and struggled to stay together in the face of shattered illusions and partners who turned out to be ordinary. Just like our parents. And we got the punishment we deserved for this hypocrisy as many of our children became little corporate Republican fascists.

But every generation must be different than their parents and that is what is saving us now. Those creepy little robots our beautiful innocent children became gave birth to a generation of children who are what we dreamed to be and they share our values far more than we share our parents' values. This new generation cares about the planet, about human rights, about peace, about making a difference. And they are not ever going to be satisfied as Corporate Clones. They'll work for themselves in direct competition to those companies before it ever comes to that.

So what it comes down to is that I am who I am not because of my parents, but because of my grandparents and the children of my peers. My grandparents who spent most of the prohibition years drunk and dancing, no matter what they tried to claim afterwards, share that sense of rebellion with the current generation. That is a very good thing because we have enough little corporate fascists trying to take over the world and we are getting too old to fight them alone anymore.

And we are also more visible in our rebellion against normality. No one is ever going to accuse my generation of being normal. It's our children who disappointed us. Their children give us hope. Our children had the horrors of Disco and Reagan to shape their consciousness. We had rock and roll. And Keith Richards. No matter how many of my generation and those that came afterward like to pretend normality is good, we will always have Keith Richards to shake things up and remind us that inside us all lives one crazy-ass maniac. So for that reminder, that bit of laughter that comes from having such a crazy old man be the symbol of our grandpa years, I made this design. It's the least I could do to show my appreciation. Thank you Grandpa Keith. The world is far more interesting place with you in it.

Changing minds one t-shirt at a time. Visit Ursine Logic for more designs.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

I have to cut the ropes and fly free

A couple decades ago I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I went through all the rites of passage, got the pieces of paper, got the job, and after nine months realized it wasn't what I wanted to do. I was young then. It was easy to walk into the office and say I've changed my mind. I want to do something else with my life.

I count it as one of the smartest decisions I ever made. Recently I've made a decision that is about on the same level as that one for the potential to change my life. I have days when I shake in fear and others when I can't wait to get out of bed to begin my day. The deciding factor for me was realizing that if I want to do certain things with my life, now is the time to do them. I'm not a kid anymore. I don't recover as easily anymore. But the tradeoff is that the decisions I make now are based on so much more than I WANT. They are based on what happened in the past, what I know and don't know, and my ability to learn. I have a lot more confidence in myself at the age of 56 than I did at 30. It comes from knowing I can pick myself up from the ground, dust myself off, and move forward in any direction I choose.

I've shaken some people up with my decisions lately. They don't understand why I have to cut the ropes and fly free with no real destination in mind other than the desire to fly. Sometimes that just has to be enough. :-)

One of the people I shook up dug up this story I wrote the week I quit teaching. He or she chose to send it to me anonymously, using an old email address I long ago let go. They went through the trouble of re-opening it in my old pseudonym and becoming me and sending it to my current email. I cannot let such efforts go unrewarded. Therefore, I share the story they sent me that I wrote all those years ago. I was about the same age as many of you when I wrote it. Maybe it has something for you. Consider it a true gift from me on a date when people are less than serious as a reminder that those who fail to laugh at themselves never really learn what it means to be alive.

Peace! COL of Peace


Today my Zebra finches gave birth--round, pink, hairless bodies echoing the spring births outside my own nest.

“Rites of passage, rites of self."

I think how strange that your words should return now, weeks later, to blend with the sound of those new-born voices, the sound of the wind rising off the bay. I feel a quiet sadness as I watch the wind claim the last of the clinging blossoms from the small apple tree outside my window. As the fragile petals float past my window, my sadness brings back the memory of you sitting at the kitchen table that last evening we spent together, that last meal we shared with each other.

"We’ve grown apart," you said, refusing to look at me, refusing to touch me.

"I love you," I said. "Isn’t that enough? Isn’t love enough?"

Your answer was to go out in the garden and pick a branch of apple blossoms from the small tree. As you set the branch on my kitchen table you said: "You have shown me I will never understand writers."

I touched the frail blossoms and said softly: “Never is a long time. “

It is such a small tree, such a shadow of the larger one growing beside it. The large tree will one day give so much fruit; the small one will remain a memory of blossoms following the wind. For weeks, I watched that branch of apple blossoms go through the process of dying. Each day, as I watched that branch wither and die a little at a time, I knew something else was dying. Yet after all these weeks, the scent still remains, the memory of fruit is still so strong.

“Words...goddamn words," you said to me as you were leaving. I gave you a poem written on delicate tissue paper. “Leave before they steal your soul,” you said to me, crying, afraid to touch me because then you would no longer have a reason for leaving.

”I love you,” I said instead of goodbye.

“I love you,” I now say to the wind, to the finches, to the memory of you. Today is a reminder of passing time, a reminder that with the birth of my finches, I have been set free--from you, from my job, from my students, from my absurd life. If only I could somehow let you know. But, I could only do it with more words, and there are too many of those separating us as it is. If only you could have seen me today when I decided to celebrate birth by resigning from teaching. I did it so gracefully, with my first genuine smile of spring.

“I’m not coming back,” I said. It was so easy, so quick, so anti-climatic. Such a painless birth. I should have done it sooner; perhaps the day before, the day one of my students leaned in the open doorway of my office.

He stood there for several minutes, afraid to come in, afraid to reveal the words so painfully written on the pile of papers he clutched to his chest. His smooth face was too young for the despair in his eyes, the despair I recognized as coming from trying to re-create life, from trying to isolate feeling into lines of black ink on white pages.

”I want to be a writer,” he said as I pushed aside my pile of half-written stories, hunted for my overflowing ashtray underneath the pages of empty poetry--nine months of words which never came close to what I really felt.

“What on earth for?” I said with too much dismay in my voice, too much kinship with his pain. “It’s such an absurd thing to be.”

But, he came in, sat across from me, looked me honestly in the eyes--and I listened to his poetry, shared my scraps of thoughts with him. When we finally parted, it was as co-conspirators, loving the illusion, loving the role of fool, magician, spinner of dreams. That would have been the day to quit.

With the birth of my finches, I knew I could not return, could not face another pile of freshman essays filled with the agony of quickly spun lies, spinning wheels of thoughts. So often these last few months, I saw myself as the keeper of the zoo, the curtailer of free, unstructured thought. Who am I, I questioned myself daily, to tell my students their words failed to communicate their thoughts. As their essays waited on my desk to be graded, to be judged, their words mixed with my own discarded attempts at making life rhyme. After a time, I came to know their struggles too intimately--we came to know each other as fellow fools. We fell in love with each other because of our shared agony.

No, I cannot return, not since my finches gave birth, and my world grew to accommodate the span of their naked wings--tiny strands of flailing flesh fluttering in synchronized time. Parted beaks so small, like a lover’s kiss from a distant world. I thought of you. I thought of what I could say to you that I have not already said with a touch, a smile, a caressing of the eyes.

The other night, I awoke in the middle of a dream, a dream which carried off the last of my illusions. I dreamed of a woman in a red satin dress who said she was your lover as she lifted yards of material and exposed long, graceful legs. I could feel your hands lifting the dress from her body, touching her smooth, young skin, kissing her easy, accepting smile. She revealed her secret to me, the sacrifice she had made for you, as the material floated upwards, wing-like-- she had shaved off all her pubic hair. I cried, astonished at such easy innocence, such honest love, and I knew I could never be that young again--not even for you.

We all love someone else, I wrote in a story once. That story was a moment of honest illusion, a misguided message to a friend many years in the past, when I was too young to understand that love is not a limit, not a fence, but the open space between the clouds, the dreams we forgot, the people we once were.

Sometimes, now, I see you as another story in my life, one I have yet to write; or perhaps you are the poem I wrote at the age of twelve-- a poem that began with the words: "When I was a child..." I remember myself writing that poem, a child writing about being a child, and yet, when I needed to be a child, needed to become innocent and vulnerable in order to get lost in the depths of your smile without fear, I couldn’t bring any of it back.

“You are so serious about life,” you said to me one night as you watched me methodically reading.

“There is so much to learn,” I said, looking up from the pages of words.
“Don’t you realize life is not contained in those damn books,” you said angrily, grabbing the book from my hands, and throwing it against the wall.

Perhaps it was fortunate for us both to meet at a time in my life when the future had too much significance. Everything I did, I explained to you, was a preparation for something else.

“Someday,” I said to you, “my writing will not cause me such pain. Someday I will find the words I need.”

“I can’t believe you,” you said, refusing to understand. “Your eyes tell me your pain comes from deeper places--places you refuse to look at honestly. What is the true origin of your pain?”

At that moment, I quit trying to explain my life to you. It became so easy to lie to you, so easy to lead you to believe in my happiness. I began to wear a smile for you--a smile of lies.

“See how quickly I have recovered,” I said, laughing, hiding the torn up pages of words I had written the day before. “See how easily the words now come,” I said, typing lines and lines of words I did not believe.

If my finches had not given birth, if you had not failed to understand me, I might have gone on in this crazy world, might have worn that smile forever, that bizarre mask of lies. One night I decided I could not lie anymore, could not disguise my pain any longer.

I walked down to the water, waded out to a large rock, and sat on it, looking out over the dark bay reflecting lines of moon. My breath steamed in the cold, night air, and I started to sing: “Merrily, merrily, is but a dream." I felt my words echo in the darkness, and then, return in the voice of a stranger. His hand touched my shoulder very gently, and. I quietly motioned for him to
join me on the rock.

“Are you trying to drown yourself,” he asked me in a voice which sounded like the gentle waves brushing against the rock we both shared.

I turned to look at him, and he smiled cautiously, the tenderness in his eyes reflecting moon. “No, I assured him, “I’m just being born.”

He smiled, hugged me softly, and asked if I was lonely. I told him, yes. “We all need love,” he said, looking at me, understanding the origins of my pain.

“Then...make love to me, I said, “because I need to feel.” So we made love, on that rock, in the water, our bodies alive with moonlight. Even now, I think I imagined his gentle spirit, his pale, lean body touching mine. So much of him listened, so much of him understood.

“You gave your pain to a stranger," he said to me as we walked back to the shore, "because it was too awesome a burden to give to a friend."

I touched his hand softly goodbye, and thought of you again, thought of how amazed you would be at my freedom at that moment. I became a bird that night, rising towards the sky.

And, today I resigned, and my finches gave birth, and I called you on the telephone to celebrate birth--mine and the finches. But there was no answer, and I was relieved because the ringing of the telephone echoed the words coming from my heart: we all love someone else. And I knew those words would mean nothing to you, would never explain my freedom. So, I hung up the phone, and yelled the words loudly across the open space where my backyard meets the water in the bay, and I was struck by the peculiarity of that landscape, that Northwest landscape--beaches with no sand, just rocks, just happy survivors. As I looked out over the water, I thought that I, too, am a rock. I, too, sit in the water and let the waves brush against me, feeling their movement, but not their chill.

“We can never blend because our worlds are so different, our internal landscapes so much ourselves,” I explained to you the night you said the connection between us had ceased to grow.

You looked into my eyes, trying to find an answer in their reflected image of you. I looked away, broke the thread between us. You cried softly as I retreated further into my silent world, my inner world of miles and miles of silent desert.

You always brought me flowers, flowers to remind me that I came from a lifeless place--a place where nothing grew easily except the voices of spirits in the night bouncing off the moon, and the distant wailing of coyotes echoing thoughts.

“But, I too had flowers,” I said to you the day you gave me the apple blossoms, “only I had to crawl on my hands and knees to see them.“

I tried to explain to you how most were not to be picked as they were protected by thorny, impenetrable barriers. In my world, in that silent desert filled with the music of mirages, things remain forever in their place.

In your world, I wanted to say to you, things are too easy; everywhere you sit, your senses are overwhelmed by color, by beauty, by the ease of reaching out and plucking a flower with no thorns. I wanted to give you roses filled with thorns so you could understand, but the rose bush outside my door had not yet bloomed.

“Be careful,” you said to me the night you watched me rewrite a line of poetry over and over again. “This world will steal your soul because of its obsession with words, with meaning, with the need to define life too clearly.”

"But, I love teaching,” I said to you, knowing how much your own students loved you.

“I teach magic,” you answered and smiled, waiting for me to compare my rigid world with yours.

I looked away from you, annoyed that once again, you had pulled me towards you with your eyes.
“I used to be like you,” you continued. “But one day I quit. An institution is no place to practice art. One day you will understand.”

I listened to your words quietly, trying to understand and yet remembering the student who came to my office a few days before with a beautiful paper which had no conclusion--at least, not in the Standard English sense of the word. He had ended his essay with a riddle: “What did they see?”

The words stood out, blatantly, dreadfully wrong--yet so right. “This is not a conclusion,” I said in my best teacher voice, my voice of respectability. Please, I thought to myself, let him believe I know what I’m talking about. “You must tell the reader what he sees.”

“But, why?” he asked me. “Don’t they have eyes of their own?”

This student, who was from a tiny island in the South Pacific, told me his language had no adjectives. “When we say flower, all the flowers of the world are within our hands, not just the red and yellow ones.”

He was my first moment of rebellion. “You’re right, of course, I said to him. “Leave the ending as it is...just don’t tell anyone." I gave him an "A" simply because he came from a place with no adjectives.

“And, what will you do?” you asked me that last day, that day I told you I wanted to quit teaching, that day I imagined what it would be like to bask in a goal-less state of mind.

I laughed and said: “I’m going to visit my friend in Hawaii who wanted to be a Philosopher, but ended up teaching Remedial Religion instead. I’m going to live on a goat farm in Northern Arizona, and learn about living through my body instead of my mind. I’m going to love a beautiful man for no reason other than his beauty. I’m going to India to search for my friend who disappeared three years ago looking for enlightenment. I’m going to make complex sculptures out of clay which will have no meaning. I’m going to eat pounds and pounds of fresh salmon. I’m going to write another novel. I’m going to write poetry again. I’m going to complete the circle, make it come back around to where it all began. I'm going to dance, and love, and feel, and walk upside down, inside out. I'm going to touch everyone I know, and everyone I have yet to know. I’m going to love my illusions, my mind, my life, my madness--I’m going to do anything but think. I’m going to leave the business of making sense out of nonsense to the Philosophers, and I’m going to dwell in the beauty of insignificance.”

Very quietly, you got up from the couch we had been sharing, kissed me lightly on the forehead, and walked out my door. I wanted you to look back, wanted you to see my tears--the tears I could finally cry--but it was too late. Instead, I sat alone on my couch, my hand over the warm spot where your body had rested, feeling it grow colder and colder, like a corpse, like a dying storm. I watched the sun set over the bay through the window, through the branches of the bare apple tree. As the room grew dark, the silence grew louder, and all my memories became one feeling. I began to mourn the death of apple blossoms, the passing of time, the futility of words explaining feelings.

“We are parting from each other with a sense of relief, a sense of having escaped from each other,” you said to me over dinner.

“But, such feelings are meant for those unable to love, those unable to look into the eyes of others and see themselves,” I answered, trying to make you understand. “Don’t you see that in this running from each other is the illusion of freedom,” I continued, reaching for your hand, and finding it cool to the touch, cool as indifference. I let you go. In that moment, I let you go in order to free myself.

And today my finches gave birth. Their tiny, trembling chorus fills my room, and from their vulnerability, their need to be fed, I find my own strength. I feel my own frail wings grow strong, feel my heart fill with new freedom. I sing softly to myself: “Merrily, merrily, is but a dream.”

Earth Day is coming. Will you be ready? Ursine Logic