Saturday, August 13, 2016

Pogo 1968

1968
Florsheim am Main
We took leave of Deutschland
But I left myself behind
Little boy that I was
And lying in the driveway lay
My red springy pogo stick

Why do I think of this now?
In brown hot California hills
Forty eight years later sometime ago when I was a boy not yet a man

It was my dreams of what it meant to be a boy. Then …to become used to what it means to leave things behind. 
To grow up and become a man …So it bounced … so I did … from country to country and state to state in ceaseless quest. 

So now, with a woman that I love more than I thought I could, 
I can remember with some certainty,
A red pogo stick
And a childhood left behind. 

Monday, June 06, 2016

Roundstone, Ireland.




We are in Roundstone Village, North of Galway, Ireland. Super nice fishing village and damn small. Just a few B&B's and good pubs.  Not overrun with tourist like us …at least not now. In the distance, the Buren a gigantic outcropping of limestone, calcite and other minerals. Fantastic rock specimens abound and fossils. Last week we saw footprints over 385 millions years old in a ledge above the ocean. I'll want to come back here. You should too. 

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Great coffee cafe in Lisconnor, Ireland

I'm in Liscannor, Ireland at a wonderful cafe. 

Go to it. Sit. Enjoy and let Irish envelop you. We've had an unheralded 24+ days of no rain or fog. A record from what the Irish are saying. Its a wise man that carries a coat in good weather as a farmers wife remarked to yesterday. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Thoughts on Ireland

Tis a bit intimidating to write anything at all about Ireland after the like of Samuel Beckett, James Joyce and others of course.  But if everyone let that stop them we would all be screwed out of much fine literature.  That being said . . . I'll move on.  We have been on our first and far too brief sojourn through this lovely and lively country and is is not enough to take even a month.  I think we shall have to live here for a few years at least to get a sense of the place, it's time and lovely people.  Others have said it far better than I but underneath all the laughter, jokes and limericking around there is, it seems to me, a deep vein of sadness and tragedy that permeates the land and people who have so tenaciously inhabited it so many thousands of years. Not that it curses them by any means but it makes them who they are of course . . . Just like the rest of us.

We visited a lot of places while here - must I even say that? I think not but it's done well there we are.  Among them, surprise surprise to those of you have been, was a circle of upright stones.  I forget where and I am not looking it up yet.  But over three thousand years ago people cremated and buried a female.  Around her, either before or after the burial they erected stones (think Stonehenge).  It quite touched me . . . Wondering who she was, was she loved, revered, hated or what was she?  I want to think it was love and respect but that's three thousand years of projection going into that.  Me, like many are prone to romanticizing the past thinking that people  were closer to the land or happier or somehow more in touch with something better than what we are or are Not in touch with.  I am guilty of this but I reject it's basic premise.  For what we know from all the evidence is that it was / could be a very difficult life under what we consider difficult and less than ideal living conditions.  All that and the complications of the threat and reality of conflict, disease, starvation and shall I go on?  None the less, three thousand years later I bear witness to what they left behind, stand where they stood, wonder at their lives and look at some of the same stars they wondered at (in far different positions though) I like to project and think.

In that same moment, selfishly I wonder who will build my stone circle and than realize I don't care and that in the end, three thousand years from now these binary digital bits of information will cease to have existed and it will not matter that they were written in the first place. It will not matter that I lived or died nor how many lives I saved or failed to save.  We are all dust comes to mind and the fleeting lives we live . . .it is good to be reminded of that, that our time is short and we better get on with it - whatever that means. I think what it means for me is that I want to cosmic good while I am rooted here and I think I have. . .for the most part!  I need to carpe diem baby and carpe diem fast now that I can see the end (I like to think) a bit more close than I have seen it in the past.  

Maybe the Irish and the land have a clearer sense of it than I or the Americans do because they are surrounded and permeated by it.  With the troubles not so far in the past and thousands of years of invasions by the Vikings and English they have known far worse than many of us.  It is reflected in their music, language (which I have come to love the sound of) and culture.

We have never felt more welcomed (except I have felt just at welcomed when I lived in Fiji from 1985-1987).  If you can - go to Ireland but go to just one to three places and linger in each as long at you can.  I respect and love this country and its people - they have taught me a thing or two and I am just learning what the hell that is and in a few years or so I just might know.  But go to Ireland, keep your mouth shut, your mind, eyes and heart open.  If your'e not careful - you'll turn into one of them, mind you . . . there are worse fates!



















Outside of Dingle, Ireland

The view from my window …


Monday, May 30, 2016

Cashel Rock, County Tipperary, Ireland

Cashel Rock. Look it up. Been around for a long time. Damn the English for screwing the Irish but the Americans have done our bit too in many places. And so it goes far into the past and future. 


Monday, May 16, 2016

Ireland, Kilkenny, May 2016

For a city that has been here for over 600 years They sure as hell are doing something right! Would love to come back and spend a lot of time here thank you very much Ireland. Where observations to, as I've got quite a bit to say about our experience thus far but for now I'm too busy drinking to do any writing I'm glad of it if you asked me for I think that's what the Irish are mainly doing is drinking more than anything else. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Poem: DO NOT FORGET

Do Not Forget



I have learned to love you more with each breaking day

and I tell you I love you more,

than I did the first year of our lives

we knew together.



now . . . . now that grief binds you tight

in remembrance of those who are dead or dying.

Try not let death seize you in it's embrace

to know that each moment you are alive to grieve

you are also alive to live



I am not here to bind you to me

but only to love you

and my loving embrace

in support of our lives

lived together (not alone).



Death reminds us . . .

make time for the living

let them love you

in the depths of your misery, love and pain



death reminds us that we are all suffering

in loss and love

in love and death,

in birth and living.



Do not forget me . . .

the dead whisper to us

do not forget

do not forget the warm lives and souls that populate your life

do not forget



I am here to support and love

we need each other

we need others

I have learned to love you more with each breaking day

I whisper to you do not forget me

do not forget them

do not forget

do Not forget

Shhh my love . . .

do not forget

to live.



David McCullough

November 21, 2015

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Poem Number Six in a Year of Poems

Uncle Mine

My Uncle is mans man
Not my uncle by blood
But more than that me
More than that to me. 

99 now and maybe a hundred soon
He's a betting man on the horses
Born 2/11/16 betting on making a hundred shooting high
Till the Belmont Gates clank open
He'll be in the running. 

He's stood by ailing wife 
As she sank into memoirs hole
Memories burdens laid at our feet
To comfort and adore. 

So off on his journey
With lung cancer to bear
not seen in too long
We all have our own burdens to bear
Nothing of compare

He's part of who I've become
Made by how he has lived and loved
Cared for and by
He is the one
Who's stood by

While others stared
And talked
Faithfulness flowered and grew
Worked and labored
Under love but not lost

My uncle is a mans man
But more than that to me
More than that to me. 

Running his last race
Shedding illusions
Spilling them
Leaves in the sun
A man .… so loved. 




Friday, July 17, 2015

Some Poem in a Year of Sailing

I've long felt the need
For the wind on my face 
Beating to weather
Wind whipped wave and fate

Give me a boat
And a sail to drive her
I'll show you happiness and challenge
A microcosm of life 
Upon a floating point calculation
In an ocean of lakes of liquid

I'd rather be thoughtless
Upon sailing a far reach
Following seas may roughen my passage
But it's where I'd rather be
Time out of mind

It's the sailing life for me my love
Too long left behind
It beckons sirens arrow
Straight to my heart and soul

How much longer must I suffer
These slings and arrows
Before listening to the beating of my heart?
To give in to what feels inevitable

To feel the unleashed power of wind and wave
The lines thrumming in my hand
Vibrating with expectancy and hope …
How long…

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Poem Number Five in a Year : Cleanup

Cleanup

I guess, I am thinking, that it is time for more
for more of a continuing goodbye
for I am trying to conclude and rid myself
of the detritus of yes, you guessed it . . .
paper and files and staples and old rubber bands
crackly with age and dissolution.

So I run into and run over the memories of you,
lingering traces of your life and others and mine
inextricably wound up in, muddled and woven
a midst each others.

What shall I keep and disregard?
what paper should I shred, read, not read and scan
scan into its particulate digits and electronic emphemera of
scattered bytes of ones and zeros that make up memories and lives?

so this is not goodbye but a way of remembering
that between the tears and melancholia there remains happiness
that I loved you, you loved me
and that this idea cannot be vanquished

even as the years dilute the things we collect
and they become other people's memories
dear to their hearts and so on and so forth.

I still miss you though.
I still love you.
It is nice to see you again
but I miss your voice
I miss your voice.
I miss your voice.


     David McCullough
     July 11, 2015

Poem Number Four in a Year

Knew this would happen
that I would be late
then I thought I just don't care
any
more
then I have to.

Because there are not Poem Policeman
except in my heart that judge so harshly
so it is a day late
so it is
so it is a day early

quantum chance just spins and spins
in the end and beginning
it is all the same
quarks wink in and out
singing of missing muons

You are late and early in reading this
Poem Number Four in a Year
written on day somewhere between
the beginning and the end
the fourth and fifth day

it is written
that is enough
to make me smile
and shiver.

     David McCullough
     July 11, 2015

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Poem Number Three in a Year (Productivity Points)

Productivity Points

I'm sick of productivity points 
The endless bean counting bastards
Assigned me to hell .…
To take sacred care of dying patients
Expecting me to ask…
how can I love?
How can I serve?  
When the only question corporate gods ask is …
Why are your points so low?
Why aren't you seeing more patients?
Go faster, be better, be more efficient. 

This ain't bout love brother 
this ain't about serving sister
It's about bottom line profits in a supposed nonprofit world. 

I want to love and serve
Not be driven by corporate Machiavellian bean counters 
When their family lies dying in my arms should I rush to judgement and say to them that I have no time?
That my points are lacking?
That my corporate overlords are monitoring my implanted chip and movements across the cratered landscape of insurance ruled medicine?

My heart bleeds for their malfeasance and lack of compassion and cold hearted  practicality. I accuse them 
of NOT serving
of NOT knowing how to love
I'll weep for what we have lost and rage against the dying and loss. 

     David McCullough
     July 9, 2015

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Poem Number Two in a Year

I wrote a letter to my daughter late last night. 
Late at night my thoughts turned to her and to daughter or son never had. 
Hours spent writing of the love we share
Of hopes and dreams
I want the best for her and whatever that means
But knowing nothing is not much
Or it is every thing. 
We get caught up in the knowing
Sometimes it's too much and leads us to ignorance of another's path. 

But knowledge is power
Freedom from oppressions chains
And I'll preach the power of that till the State executes me for the power of those words.  

All this I tried to say in love so she may listen. 
Knowing in the end that these words on paper or not may echo down the years to the woman she will become. 

Don't live in ignorance. 
Do not ignore history and think you are not OF it. All this. 
All this. 
All this and much more
Of the love we share. 

     David McCullough
     July 8, 2015


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Poem Number One in a Year

I have been thinking now
for a year or more that I
must write more poetry
or something creative for god's sake
if not my own
lest I go crazy with noncreativity
sadness
and pain.

my bright idea of writing a poem
once a day
one a day
for a year.

Ah yes I can hear my wife now
muttering in the rafters of her mind
'he will not do this thing, he will just talk of it'
and then my sweet,
my own doubting begins.

Except for tonight
no doubts escape
smashing them flat as they scuttle . . .
and I write.

      David McCullough
      July 7, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Firelit

in firelights glow i sit
surrounded by redwoods over 500 years old
who dwarf me in thought and mind with all they have endured
while immutable testimony resides
they are speechless as I am not

i gaze into these flames
flames real and yet of my heart
and wonder at the hands that formed this burning post
from the redwoods i love and gaze at each day
who formed the iron lock?
still with hammers blow inscribed therein?

who formed their life and loves and what remains?
except the silent testimony of a life lived and a hammer
beating metal that last for a century
buried in wood revealed by fire
fire once so intense metal flowed
love blossomed,
shaped by hands long dead.

I am brought closer to my own past and future
forcing questions upon me of what matters and what last
while answers are uncertain
i ask the questions.
creating a life well lived with love
with community and answers answered
as best they can.

as i gaze into firelights glow
the raging love in my heart
for you, for what was and will be.
I'm tied to the past with fire and love,
Love and fire.
i know not where it leads …. only where i will go.

david mccullough
October, 2014
Camp David West

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Whats up and a Moral Manifesto (or what the hell's it all about Alfie!?).

For the moment I am still living in Sebastopol, California in the United States of America.  That said . . . I have always had a restless heart and wandering wondering soul.  That is wehat I call a rich persons problem, understand?  Most of us in the world do not have that luxury - their day taken up by an incredible and unrelenting struggle to survive.  There is no luxury of thought or philosophy - just the struggle.

I am still working as an RN case manager for the Advanced Illness Management program for Sutter Care at Home part of the incredibly huge and supposedly 'Non Profit' health care system.  I love the job in some ways, I love the patients who all have a life expectancy of 12-18 months.  I hate the miles I am putting in, I am polluting our air sometimes driving a 125 miles in a day and an average of 100.  That is at least three hours in the car a day.  Would that be good for any of us? I know not. 

So without going into details I know that in the long run this job is not for me.  My legacy of patient care is good - I lessen suffering, relieve pain, make people laugh in the most dire of circumstance.  I am fulfilled in this way.  Yet lurking there, somewhere in the background of heart and mind is a lingering satisfaction and disatisfaction and wondering of what else is there to be lived?  And where? And how?

I believe that these are universal questions that we all want, sometimes knowingly, sometimes it may be just a vague unknowing discontent.  Similar to that idea of damn it, what the hell is going on here?  Why am I here? What IS it all about Alfie (one of my favorite songs so bittersweet in its melancholia)?

Viktor Frankl wrote about this in his seminal work, Man's Search for Meaning (http://www.amazon.com/Mans-Search-Meaning-Viktor-Frankl/dp/080701429X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431051937&sr=8-1&keywords=victor+frankel).  For me the take away was that people search for meaning in purpose, that we need both and they are inseparable.  We find our purpose in what has meaning to us.  Without either we drift in incomprehension and more of a meaningless existence unremarkable in it's ordinariness. While occasional flashes of meaning and enlightenment may occur, in large part, we tend to live our lives punctuated by the sadness of living a life without purpose.  Hence, society, the marketers, the Ad Men and corporations step in to fill the void filling our hearts with the promise of temporary fulfilling desire.

So I have purpose and meaning.  Yet I feel I am stuck in some ways in my daily ordinariness.  I am so rich by some standards yet I am guilty of that too . . . I consume too much, live in too large a house, get caught up in snagging the latest Iphone or hooking up with a fantastic audiophile system that makes me cry the music coming out of it is so beautiful and soul shaking.  I live for those moments.

Yet other moments exist too . . . the simple human experience of shared lives and moments and destinies.  I am not quite sure where I am going with this so bear with me a moment . . . think back to your past and what moments meant the most to you, what memories carry the greatest emotional resonance?  I submit that lives led in quiet desperation occur everywhere across this planet and that desperation takes differing forms.

I submit to you that we have a duty, nay even more than that, we have moral obligation to find our purpose, our meaning in life.  And no, tis not to shop my sweet.  We have a duty and moral obligation to make the world a better place, to improve it for others and not just ourselves.  We must look beyond our own shallowness and selfish desires as much and as often as we can.  This remains a challenge - at least to most of us.

For me it could mean simply downsizing and using less in every way possible.  Riding my beloved bicycles more (note the plural use there people?!).  For me it would mean traveling more and I do not mean booking a stay in the Hilton while the poor people scrabble for food out of my trash cans and wasted food thrown out of the fat people. Yeah, just a tinge of bitterness there my sweets, just a tinge.

Things are a brewing inside my pea brain.  Ready for a change, anxious to move on see the world be of service to more people.  I am raging hungry for change and challenge, to race across the plains of this planet like a mad dog howling barking at mother moon crying out of justice and love, majesty and forgiveness, for political justice and righteousness, to crush the invaders and haters under the boot heels of loving kindness and meet them with a steely heart and endless resolve. 

There will be more of this later.  The only thing that remains is to take the action behind all the blah, blah, blah and more blah.

Thanks for reading. What will you do? What is your purpose and meaning? Don't cop out. Put it on the line and live it. I'm trying.  I invite you, all of you.

David

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Contemplation

I'm sitting here at Plank Coffee in Cloverdale, California having just left my dying patients beautiful peaceful home where his wife, with so much grace awaits the inevitable. My heart breaks at times at the pain of loss, it's beauty and the sheer living hell and grossness that can come, sometimes, with dying as we move slowly toward what may be next. 

As I move through this oh so gorgeous country, listening to my most loved Hawaiian music anchors me to my own past and winds together with homesickness of my past and memories of the people that have made me and are making me who I am. I'm doing good work these past years, blessed work, at least for me and this choice still resonates with me to this very moment. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Flight

Flying, to me, has always been about the realization of freedom, a sense of excitement but most of all the thrill of movement and new possibilities of beginnings.  It is a flight above the clouds and induces awe and wonder at the world, it's people and the myriad of possibilities inherent in being human.

Flight is a privilege that only a certain number of very fortunate people have been able to experience.  It induces a perspective check in my heart . . . for looking down upon this cherished planet and realizing the immensity of it all and yet the intimate smallness that we occupy in the universe - makes me humble.  

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Thanks Billy Collins

I once had my house in the country but it burned down recently. Thanks to Billy Collins, damn him! I put his poem up on my wall to read over and over again, chortling as I read his tail of the mice to grab the match ran through the walls and burned the house down.

I thought it was a joke I thought it was hilarious thinking of the cute little mice but then in the remains of my house I found Billy Collins poem Carefully chewed into tiny pieces and then reassembled again on the last remaining inside wall of my house. 

Clearly my country mice had read Billy Collins poem. And somehow, I knew they thought that would be funny to reenact the famous poem. I no longer have a countryhouse thanks to Billy Collins.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Bourbon Heroin


Bourbon and Heroin

Bourbon and Heroin
It's the way I want to go
when I'm a hundred and alone

Eighty or Ninety may be the new young
but ask the old what they think
as they sneer at the youngsters sayings

Don't be a patronizing asshole to me young man
I'd rather be having sex with your beautiful smoking hot wife
than be called a 'cute old man'
screw that into your head and remember it when your'e the old man!

This cute old man has seen a thousand things you have not
Done a million you cannot conceive of
held the hand of a dying child, man and woman
and wept for what was and was not,
what will be and cannot.

So pour me a glass of my finest bourbon
Give me a snort of that smack
crank up some Stones, Gustaven, Miles and Vivaldi
and lets get this done.

Regrets, I've had a few but any life . . . well lived . . .
better have some damn regret,
Without one there is not the other.

Bourbon and heroin
it's the way I want to go
living to be a hundred
if I'm all alone.

I'll have a few friends
who'll join me in those last drinks
and I will love them all forever
and hold them close, so close,
close to my heart.

So pour me one last glass
of that dark and smoky blend
I'll see you on the flip side
of gravity and rainbows end.

    David McCullough
     June 2014




Saturday, May 31, 2014

Friday, May 09, 2014

Star filled night, Scotch, fire and Love

I've loved a lot of women in my time. Not a boast or wish or anything at all except a fact.  I'm sitting by a fire, sipping a single malt cask aged 23 year old scotch looking into my past and futures. So reflections come easily with Blackadder scotch, a fire, half moon rising …. Johnny Hartman with his marvelous smooth velvety voice beckoning. What perfection awaits us if only seen. 

So the woman I love, have loved and will love. I'll wish upon that star of yearning to carry me off.  I'll yearn for every true love I've ever had and will have. 

I once loved a woman ( and who hasn't?) that did not love me ( and who hasn't had this?).  Hawai'ian and she captured my longing and the pain of being adrift sans love and softness. What poems I wrote for her!  She asked me ….  Why can't I love more than one?  Who decides?

I've no answers. So I love without thought or reckoning of what may come. 
I think of you night and day, my one and only love, dead but also not yet born. You know I love you but words cannot do justice. 

I've loved a lot of women in my time. But none more than you and I'll always wish you had loved me in return. You'll go through life.  Wishing for the love I have for you…never knowing. But I know you my love and all the foolish things that remind of you on this smokey scotch star filled night . . . sitting by our fire . . . and loving you in the quiet raging solitude of my heart. 

Don't fall in love with a Redhead  - for sure she will break your heart.  Then again I've never been loved before. 


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bicycling

My week days are spent riding my bike, Yellow Fever, to and from work.  I average about 11 -12 miles a day based on what route I choose.  If I get a fifty miles in a week I am happy but sure would like more.  I love to ride in San Francisco because I mainly go through Golden Gate Park.  Many times I busy myself scheming how to get longer rides in.

In addition I finally pushed the button and bought a Water Rower and you can check them out at  www.waterrower.com

It is a hell of a workout, fun and the sound of the water is one of its chief pleasures.  This was unexpected although I had heard of it.  More on exercise later.

I do miss swimming but don't want to drive to a pool in a car and drive back.  Hate that!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Drugs, Old Age and Poetry in the Rain

If you don't already know I am an ER nurse. Often, patients really touch my heart despite attempts to hide in a secret and protected place. This is one of those times where life and the people in it just crack you wide open.

My first patient today is in their 50's. Very polite, nice, crying at times so quietly. Heavily addicted to methadone, oxycodone and a host of other substances over the years. First needle in the arm at the age of fifteen. So sitting there talking describing the life to me . . . 'So yeah, I was fifteen and it seems like yesterday and I wish I could really go back in time and tell myself to stop, make that choice not to and live it different. But then, a little bit at a time you find yourself walking along the streets and soon there's no place to live and every single thing you do . . . and it sneaks up on you . . . till you're just a hustler that you've hated your whole life . . .and every single interaction you have is trying to score, to get something up on the next guy, working every angle until finally . . . you're just another addict, there . . . alone, on the streets . . . standing in and staring up at the rain'.

This job breaks my heart more often then not. And I am used to some patients, maybe one percent - trying to hustle me, to lie, cheat and steal their way to enlightenment, the next big score and high. But sometimes they break through in an open and searingly honest plea for help. And then we both laugh, because they and I know there is nothing I can do . . . it is all up to them - I can only help pave the beginning of the path.

Later I get another patient - in their late 70's. Living alone, multiple medical problems of which thankfully drugs and alcohol do not play a role. This person fell out of their bed and woke up later and found he had urinated all over himself. So much upset, sadness and shame came upon him. We are doing our best, as he is, to find out where he can live in a place at a higher level of care so he is not alone. As I wrapped a warm blanket around his all too thin and shaking shoulders he looked up at me, with tears in his eyes and said 'Thank you so much David, I am really sorry to bother you'. And this finally brought tears to my eyes.

 It is people like these that bring deep meaning to my life. I recognize my luck and fortune. I am grateful to bear witness and in some small way bring relief, a sense of hope, humor and caring to another human being. Because in the end - none of us should be alone, in a room by ourselves at the end of our life. None of us should be homeless, alone in the streets . . . standing in and staring up at the rain.