(Written by my mentor and best friend James Rogers April 3rd, 1946-October 6th, 2009)
Elusive love, you call to me
like brown skin called Gauguin.
For colors unknown, of fish and flower
and breasts so unashamedly bare,
he abandoned everything.
Where is my Teha’amana, now that all
has been explored? A face that begs
my brush loose its beauty on the world,
polished like the finest silver, my redemption
in her Mona Lisa smile.
I can tell by your eyes that I have asked
the wrong questions. As the leaves
fall from the trees near the creek,
as silently as you look at me, as surely
as winter approaches, we both know
you are not the one.
I will wait like a freshly dug grave
and dream of starfish,
while birds search out tiny morsels in the
upturned earth of this damp redwood forest
that leads down to the sea.
A multitude of crows turn the cold sky to night,
blocking even the crescent moon
with the sound of their wings.
I am old now and spring may not come again.
The Eyes Of Jehovah ~ By James Rogers 2009
And your eyes won’t close and the sun won’t go down and the dishes are dirty and the bed isn’t made and the car is parked in neutral without the e brake engaged and the telephone ringer is set on high and your lover is talking about the finances in their sleep and you forgot to clean the oven and turn off the curling iron and you remembered to feed the dog but forgot to pick up the poop and the bathroom toilet is running and the bathtub faucet is leaking and there’s a science project growing out of control in the refrigerator and the chocolate chip cookies are burnt and your favorite white shirt, the good one, has yellow armpit stains and you want to go to the Nordstrom Cafe for lunch but can’t drag yourself away from the B movie that’s playing in black and white on your 14″ television and the sun is stuck behind a cloud bank that starts in portland and goes all the way to china and the music repeats itself over and over and the hum of humanity is a broken record in your ear and the computer update is slow as molasses and the year is new but you’re feeling ancient it’s been a thousand years since you fell asleep and 100 since you’ve been awake it’s time moving forward and time stepping back inside itself and the ravens are circling high up in the foggy sky a kestral hawk lands in a tree above you and drops a piddle of whiteout on the top of your head and suddenly you go from a sultry brunette to a platinum blonde and you’re using parking meters to steady yourself after the weight of the world falls upon your noggin and the church bells of saint peter begin to ring and the luck of st. christopher is with us all as we awaken to a new earth a universe uplifted where we become wholly together on planet earth and let’s say you fell asleep and woke up enlightened-would you be one with the buddha?
The world is busy. Loud. Unrelenting. Time has a way of evaporating. Years become months. Months become weeks. Weeks become days. Days become hours. Hours become minutes. Minutes become seconds. Seconds become milleseconds. Milleseconds become microseconds. Microseconds become nanoseconds. Nanoseconds become picoseconds. Picoseconds become femtoseconds. Femtoseconds become attoseconds. Attoseconds become zeptoseconds. Zeptoseconds become yoctoseconds and yoctoseconds fold back into infinity.
In silence, there is clarity. Time stretches back into itself and the cycle begins anew. Bending forward, stepping back. Taking the rush out of hurry. With intention-right foot first, left foot follows. Allow slowly to slither silently into your breath and take notice.
Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” equals the living room of 751 Country Club Drive, Nakamichi sound system. I could die listenting to this song. Hallejulah by Leonard Cohen equals Zen James. Diamonds and Rust by Joan Baez equals Momble. Creedence Clearwaters Susie Q equals early childhood, dirt bikes and my dad. Carry on my wayward son by Kansas equals Brian. Journey’s when the lights go out in the city equals Brian. Slowride by Foghat equals Brian and hot sex. Good sex. Hard sex. In the back seat of his parents white 1964 Corvette. Benny and Bill are both dead now. Sting’s fields of gold equals Mikey. So does leaving Las Vegas by Sheryl Crow. Gene Loves Gezebel’s 20 killer hurts equals my sister Randel. The one who got the good name-Randel Rae. John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy equals Hudson. Sir Mix A Lot’s Baby’s got Back equals Michaela Rae. Blue Motel Room by Joni Mitchell equals Michael K. Leonard Cohen’s Anthem equals Ruthie. Baker Street by Gerry Raferty equals Bruce Darling. The Loner by Neil Young equals BGN. Hey Hey what can I do by Led Zepellin equals Bobman. Hard to handle now by the Black Crows equals the Little King. Finest Lovin’ Man by Bonnie Raitt equals Alex. Love me do by the Beatles equals Ruby T. Nothing Exceeds like Excess by Dude equals Dude. LA Woman by the Doors equals Kristen A. Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves equals Sean. Porcelain by Moby equals Nancy H. Do you Feel Like we do by Peter Frampton equals Elizabeth and Anne Marie. REO Speedwagon’s Take it on the Run equals Manhattan Beach days. Put on your Red Shoes and Dance by David Bowie equals The Rainbow Bar and Grill. Pink Floyd’s Wish you were here equals Sebastopol. In The Evening by Led Zeppelin equals Tony V. Cold as Ice by Foreigner equals John G. Gonna Miss you by the Rolling Stones equals Ader. Misty Mountain Hop by Led Zeppelin equals getting stoned for the first time with Rob M. Knock Three Times on the ceiling if you want me by Tony Orlando and Dawn equals Pam L. and La Crescenta. Cool Jerk by the GoGo’s equals Kirk B. Renegade by Styx equals Sumi/Tara. Riders on the Storm by the Doors equals the kitchen on Country Club Drive. Tin Pan Alley by Stevie Ray Vaughn equals Kimmie and Lake Arrowhead. You Dropped a Bomb on me by the Gap Band equals Yosemite. Low Rider by War equals cousin Melinda. Brick House by The Commodores also equals Melinda. Back in Black by AC DC equals Cousin KK. Nobody’s Fault but my Own by Beck equals moving to Sedona. Ryuichi Sakamoto’s Energy Flow equals the Kory’s. Isis by Bob Dylan equals James. Weather Report by Tom Waits equals staring out the window overlooking Navarro Beach. Summer Breeze by Seals and Crofts equals Nibley Park. Somewhere over the Rainbow, all versions, equals Mikey and XTC. Gypsy Woman by Tim Buckley equals Mom and Jim. Superunknown by Soundgarden equals A&M Records. Cat Stevens Peace Train equals sitting on the ledge of a bedroom window. Carly Simon’s Your So Vain and Elton John’s Rocket Man/Benny and the Jets equals first record albums 1974. Music represents movement, revolution, romance and mystery. Most music equals Me-DJB.
San Francisco street art
I so longed for emptiness. I desired to crawl into the space between the space. 24 hours lay ahead of me like an open sea. The tea kettle whistles a sweet song and the cat is curled up in an epic dream. I sit. I do nothing. I stare out the window. I inhale the silence. I pinch myself. Can this be real. Solitude makes its home inside my bones. I stand. I walk. Into the kitchen. I reach into the cupboard and take out the golden love goblet. There is ceremony in a simple task. I open a Russian River Pinot Noir and pour the strawberry red liquid into the crystal bowl- slowly lifting it to my lips. I sip. I notice how the fruit of Sonoma County snakes its way down my throat. The finish is long and smooth with just a hint of smoke leftover from a 2009 wildfire. I walk from room to room. I assess the walls with pleasure and pain. There is art. Art mixed with symbolism. It’s too late for me to ask why. Why the snake tattoo covers your spine from tip to end. What does it represent. Why the egg in the mouth of the python. Why does Buddha wear a mustache and a smile. Is Carlita’s heart on fire or broken by shame and doubt. The glass pyramid has become a reliquary containing ash and bones of the artist. You are not a memory. I stop and sit crosslegged on the floor. One by one tears stream down my face like tiny rivulets. It feels like rain. I’m soaked with grief. I’m lost. Without you, my world has become a barren landscape and you are the one I yearn. Silence thickens. Time stops. In quiet meditation I find solace in the word. Words. Words. Flowing in and out of my head. New words. Old words. Words teeming with life. Dead words. Words of dead poets. They bring me comfort. Grief spills into the mighty river below. I sit alone with aloneness – free at last. For the first time I am truly alone. Alone is an art I must learn to paint. I am not afraid. I do not shun this master of darkness and light. Alone at last.
Checkered body suit. Hot pink triangles. Black and white. Colorful geometric patterns. Mama comes home. Newborn in arms. Teensy baby sister. Shafts of light. Filtered through trees. Scattered pine needles. Let it be. I am 4. Inquisitive little girl. There is mystery. In the hills. Owl is perched. Upon naked branch. Across the street. I am thrilled. Wonder and amazement. Fill my head. Parents are married. Mommy and Daddy. We are family. The 4 Jepsens. Sunday dinner gathering. Great Grandparents home. Catholic catholic catholic. Danish and German. Life is simple. The Beatles dominate. Music filled home. Happy 60’s hippies. GaGa stops by. We visit outside. He’s my hero. Dies too young. Cirrohsis of Liver. Sterile VA hospital. Dead at 53. By this time. Parents are divorced. My innocent heart. Sad and hurting. Not really comprehending. Life goes on. Enter Zen James. New step father. Our world changes. I welcome him. He is different. Kind and gentle. Miss my dad. But I love. The artist man. Thankfully wonder exists. In my 8. Year old heart. There are words. There is art. I am exposed. To unique people. Strange exotic characters. Buddhas and psychics. Writers and photographers. Land Rover drivers. Meditation guru stoners. Life isn’t ordinary. We eat meals. Prepared with love. And good intention. Weird vegetarian inventions. Freshly juiced carrots. Silver dollar pancakes. Inside out Snoballs. Cream of wheat. Laced with sugar. Pin wheel steaks. Wrapped in bacon. Bye Bye vegetarian. He is unconventional. Mom worries alot. Big pink house. Silver Bentley Aimo. Ego and pride. Hold things together. Mom’s the glue. James the paint. Me and sister. We’re just kids. I’m no saint. Randi is perfect. I can’t compete. I am incomplete. I don’t care. Really I do. Jealous flowing river. My leaking heart. Cries for attention. I go outward. Outside I play. With my friends. Mother may I. Duck duck goose. Hide and seek. Rollerskates and moonwagon. Bike and skateboard. I’m growing up. Sixth grade arrives. Misty Mountain Hop. I smoke pot. My first time. From a pipe. A handmade thing. With Rob Mamede. He’s a neighbor. Up the street. He lives in. My first house. In the canyon. Country Club Drive. When I look. Back in time. I see myself. As a rhyme. An artistic child. Elementary school plays. Poetry writing girl. Still the same. Older and wiser. I turn 13. It is 1978. One more year. Then I leave. Mom is exasperated. I test her. Challenge every nerve. She asks father. To take me. Away I go. Up the street. Into his home. With my stepmom. His third house. In the canyon. There’s some relief. For my mother. And for me. First things first. Ears get pierced. Used to be. The rule was. Holes at 18. Taste of rebellion. Tastes so good. More freedom now. Girl is blossoming. No goddamn rules. Except a few. Shiny golden rules. I could obey. Some were broken. Life is better. For me anyway. Not so sure. About my dad. Or my stepmom. Took some time. To settle in. I would occasionally. Visit other family. Two family street. Nothing normal about. Me and them. Us all together. Separated by houses. Lining the canyon. There is vast. Cloud filled sky. Growing pains stretch. My every fiber. Much to learn. Alot to gain. Embracing her rhythm. She discovers herself. Unearthing the manual. Beating her drum. Making her mark. Uncovering her truth. Straddling the border. Youth and puberty. Tug of war. Summer of 1979. Cherry is popped. Oozing honey walls. He’s quietly dark. Brown eyed male. Twice my age. It’s new territory. I am exposed. Naked and trembling. Heady with anticipation. Unsure but steady. Questioning yet ready. Head and heart. Beat as one. I’ve come undone. Unraveling the secret. Sacred prized spot. Has been taken. Suddenly a woman. No longer girl. A sensual world. On her way. Into life’s experiences. She opens herself. Like a book. Each new chapter. And every page. Becomes an adventure. She is creased. And well worn. With tender age. Read the lines. And in between. She is woman. She is queen. Of the slipstream. Van Morrison song. Reverberates through out. So much life. To be lived. Long road ahead. A good road. Long quiet highway. Loud raucous song. Blaring from speakers. Traveling along freeway. 70 miles per. Hour after hour. She’s got power. And the world. By the tail. She’s on the. Trail of discovery. Who she is. Will be uncovered. Will be discovered. Welcome next decade.
In my family, there was no clear line between having money and not having money. There were arguments. There was worry in my mother’s clear blue eyes. There was a silver Bentley named Aimo parked in the garage of our huge spanish style house tucked snugly onto Country Club Drive. There were hippies and joints being passed around the antique coffee table. My sister and I never lacked for anything. Yet I could feel the tension-palpable underneath the facade of the moon. My mom was a good mom. She made our school lunches from scratch. No canned or frozen food in our house. Dinners were prepared nightly using the freshest ingredients from Full of Life-the local health food store. We were always dressed nicely and had all the current toys and books. But the tension never really went away. Not even when I sat on the window sill of my second story bedroom listening to Cat Stevens singing “Peace Train”, the gentle summer breeze rolling off my shoulders, ruffling the Picasso print bedspread with the dove pattern that I so loved.
My stepdad James was unconventional when it came to earning money. His idea of a job was restoring old war planes with his best friend Milt (a pilot and the only one he trusted) and selling them to Mexican drug lords. Or maybe they were Columbian-of this I’m not sure. My favorite plane was a beauty with a glass nose and camoflage paint job, a 1940’s pinup girl painted on its left side. James was an incredible artist and lucky to be alive. When he and Milt went to deliver the plane, my mom was a total wreck for several days. My seven year old self sensed that something was wrong but had no idea the magnitude. Years later James told me the truth about what happened the day he and Milt flew the plane to the tiny island of Bimini located in the middle of the ocean near the Bahamas. When they landed the plane on a long stretch of deserted white sand, they were greeted by banditos brandishing semi automatic rifles pointed directly at their heads. Somehow they were able to talk their way off the island with their lives still in hand. As far as I know, that was the last of the old war plane restoration.