Sunday, January 30, 2011

Flux Density

This poem was originally published in The Watermark 


With different rules, under a new order,
the slant may tilt at an alternative angle,
the floor could become the ceiling,
creating a whole new set of circumstances.
Try imagining for a minute your life then.
Nuances, while not so subtle,
could save your life.
Then again, the very thing that wants
so badly to turn everything upside down
may very well be the inverted idea
of an idea already standing on its head.

And yet, with another set of rules,
the order could slant towards other,
more fantastic angles, where the weight
of change may grow too troublesome to bear.
And so, in order not to be crushed
by the process, another change
becomes necessary, leaving things
as they are, in a permanent state of flux.

©Peter Birckhead

Friday, January 28, 2011

According To Thomas Cook


the bullet train leaves before you're ready.
It hauls everything people say you need.

The rest of your life's going back: circular
notes & fees exchanged from barred windows,

scrawl scratched onto old boxcars, half-remembered
conversations in-between destinations.

At the station the lines are moving fast and slow.
Gentlemen in bow ties & mustachios are collecting tickets.

Try leaving ahead of time or showing up late.
The excursion's just the same.

With all the whacks and thwacks

that correspond with consciousness, just say
whoopee to that dog and pony show.

The bullet train arrives before you're ready.
It will wait for you the rest of your life.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


This poem was published in the Beacon Street Review in the fall of 1999.


“I’m not even trying,” Azalea said, as she zeroed in on the target.
Everyone was either limping or crawling
through the last five miles of the day.  Our mouths were dry
with the dust of past generations.  Dreams had been kicked
and scrambled into oblique forms against the red roofs
of our town.  Oceans were being drained
to re-fill the old vat of marketable rebellion.
There was no separation between the senses.

“Too many outfits,” someone else said,
as Azalea lifted off the ground in her blue swan feathers.
The dark November wind had settled her breathing
back into fire.  We took bets to see which alley she’d turn up in.
I couldn’t decide whether to turn away from the view or be sick
in my socks.  It was getting colder and all the tattooed
lovers were selling their stocks to keep their place
in line before she crashed. 

“It’s a world economy now,” I said, burying my father’s
hospital bills in the backyard.  Every hour was sponsored
by Microsoft or Mobil.  We wore sandwich boards to work
to ward off the inquisitors: “I am not a socialist.” 
Meanwhile, I dreamed of Azalea’s blue flight
as the last editions of independent thought
caught between my teeth like raw meat.  For now,
we wake to the lovesick strains of mediocrity
rubbing its dreary wings together. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Memorial in Arizona

The President gave a moving speech last in Arizona on behalf of the victims, victim's families, & the nation in the aftermath of the horrendous shootings in Tucson last weekend. Watch the full speech here:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bolin Forest

I moved last summer into a great community in a forest abutting a wonderful creek.  I spend a lot of time walking / running in these woods with my dogs.  Daily I'm stopped in my tracks by something beautiful.  Here are a few photos from my little corner of the world.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Rosendo Romero - FANTASIA

In light of the previous post I wanted to share this piece of fine accordion music from South America.  Last year I picked up a great collection of Colombian accordion music, "Ayomobe! The Heart of Colombia's Musica Vallenata" (Smithsonian Folkways) which I keep coming back to.  Truly wonderful music!
Check it out here: