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jrlewis's blog

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The Tree


Here is a tree hoping

to be struck by lightening. 

It seeks relief from these dog days, 


when more water is rushing away than

is rushing toward it.  The river is leaving;

the tree can not. 


The tree is feeling invisible, to everything

Save the sun. 


Once a friend, the sun is now a foe. 


Isn’t dehydration, under the summer sun,

the worst way to die?


Here is a tree wanting

to flee from life, it was wanting to

flee from suffering, until she came into its life. 

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Copper Mine

If horses were wishes… 


I would have taken the horse

on trial, for two weeks before I left for Iowa City. 


Would he stay sound?

He has four off-white hooves and they have tender frogs


in the spring grass.  I’ve never had a horse with so much chrome. 

He was very fancy. 


How would I win the hack? 

This horse would tell me how to ride him, not why.  His mouth was soft,

but his head was hard.


Was he too much horse for me?

Sometimes, I would have to be closing my fingers on the curb chain,


hoping to hold him back, back him off, half halt.  I must make contact from

my hands to his head.  I was afraid of failing. 


This horse as he was?

I was afraid of falling from him.  I was afraid of falling for him. 


What do I know?

I am afraid of heights, though this horse, he has kind eyes.


How like a bridge is a horse truly? 


A horse can carry a person across a bridge, closing up the distance.

Oh dear, difference is seductive.

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A Night Late

A night late…

(poetic license please)


After the night when you turned off the light; after

the night, when you couldn’t find your Peru radio station. 


She wanted most to be your pleasure,

to alter your breathing, to build an altar to your breathing. 


Her breathing faltered because she was wanting too much

most.  Overwhelmed was she. 


Overnight, she left it to the poet to tell you. 


She is berating herself and she is elated.


She has tried your hospitality; she is hoping

despite impolite blood, rude blood red, rust, risk, revealing, reveling. 


Learning, leaching, sucking, teaching,

will you teach her?  Teacher, will you let her teach you?


She is learning to teach a little philosophy of knowledge;

knowing her is about getting it less wrong. 


She is teaching to learn something new, you. 

This is some serious play. 


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Getting It Less Wrong

Hey now, he had to be aggressive,

always pressing.  For she saw him as her


older sister, bearded, holding a gray sieve,

and knowing everything.  She was resisting.


He wanted to be pressing towards her;

was there something else he wanted to ask?


Always.  He was trying to teach her;

his eyes were quiet and his body was calm.


His eyes are grey, brown, green; she sees

and her greenness makes her forget the color


of her sister’s eyes.  So she is yielding,

and becoming the student to whom


her teacher is true. Where he is close,

to her, oh so close.  Here he is the man


whom she is leaning toward, walking toward,

because she wants to be always learning.


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I need a goat,

to eat the gifts,

of the first year of my relationship,

I thought.   



knee socks,

green and pink lemons,

a solar powered butterfly,

et cetera …


Once, I was green. 



I know better

of our growth together,

the second year of our relationship


the goat.


I will leave

the real baby goat at Bartlett’s Farm,

April Fools,



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Is it our culture?

Microsoft Word Thesaurus connects the word forceful

with the word persuasive

(and powerful).

This thesaurus is a great dinosaur.

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“I think;

Therefore, I am,”

Said the philosopher, Renee Descartes.


“I think;

Therefore, I am;

Therefore, I can change who I am,”

Argued the neurobiologist, Paul Grobstein. 


I write;

Therefore, I know;

Therefore, I can change what we know.

Might the poet, Martin Espada, write. 

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Neurobiology and Behavior

Neurobiology and Behavior

(Thank you for this conversation Paul Grobstein)


“Maybe, it isn't

That there is something

To behavior other than the brain; but,

That there is something

To the brain other than behavior.”


“But aren’t neurons black boxes?”


“I suspect so,

Still neurons are not the storyteller.”


“This is the story of science as a story?”


“Our undertaking is subject

To the VAGARIES of the currents, winds, and tides

And our own will or lack thereof.


We must return time

And again, not only to find

But to create, and again to find and create.”


“Neurons are stories.” 


“The nervous self system…”


“Now I see

How science is living by the sea. 

Where, washed upon the shore are stories;

There to be captured

And dropped down again. 



Littering the terrain, so

The terrain is never the same, so

Know that truth and time are interwoven,”

I wrote. 



Rich powerful writing

Part of you

You have been keeping under wraps,”

Wrote the neurobiologist.

“Stories are black boxes.”



When I am storytelling my life,

People often ask what happened, and I reply,

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What Transpired (X Series)

He is solid wood

Seasoned with wind and fighting

To light sodden logs

Bright is life and death is steam

Fire alarm am I. 

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0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21...

Jack of all trades, master

Of none, taught me that love’s not

A zero sum game

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