Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Long Walk on the Beach…one of my first Charman stories and included in “The CharMan Chronicles”


A Long Walk on the Beach


Late in the year if you time low-tide just right

Time it just right

You can walk almost all the way to Hobo Jungle

Past the Fair grounds and around the last jetty

And run-run for your life over the railroad trestle


People board their horses at the fairgrounds

It was never locked we’d just walk in and feed apple to the horses

We never thought about it then

It was never locked

We’d linger by the big gentle animals

Kind of feeling like we may not make it back from our long walk on the beach


Charman is said to be in the jungle this time of year

And he walks among the wind blown juniper

And the air smells like sumac and fennel, salt, low tide

And the air smells like something beyond death

When Charman walks the beach

Crows and seagulls silent

Waves break on the shore


We’d never tell anyone where we were going

Bye! I’m going into the hills by myself

Bye! I’m digging fossils in a lonely cave I found last week

Bye! We’re walking ten miles to Hobo Jungle to look for snake bones and hang over the train trestle as the 3:17 screams by because we didn’t time our crossing just right. What was the point?


And Charman moans, his bones clink-rags and burned flesh

And he howls a lonely sound like a seagull-a phantom

Like life’s last breath escaping into the mists

Burned in a cabin fire a century ago he ran in  to put out the blaze but it was a lost cause. Nothing to save but bones and dust, burnt to the ground yet nothing of him was ever found

Lost everyone everything lost- lost

And yet he did not could not, die


A scorched nightmare, a phantom of Foster Park

Traveling up and down from Minor’s Oaks, the Avenue, and the dark stretches of beach in fact, Charman could just about be anywhere. You could feel him if you began to tell his sad story. He knows when you are alone.


This time of year when the fog is thick

And strange things wash up on the beach, little sharks, man-o-war jellyfish, weird little blue things that stick to the dry whiffs of foam and other rotten flotsam of low- tide  

And it is pitch-dark night before you can sense the twilight


Charman’s image in the corner of your eye

His sliding bone step to match your own

He stops when you stop he is silent when you hold your breath


Footprints in the sand, they belong to someone big, someone heavy. They disappear behind the windswept dunes. Bits of charcoal and a trail through the tall seedy grass. A scrap of an old shirt stained and chewed with holes.


Heart pounding in your ears; that name on the tip of your tongue

Because you feel compelled to say his name three times in a row

Charman-Charman Char—wait! Don’t do it!

He longs for you in his unbearable solitude

Call three times and you will never be seen again

Think his name three times and he will know

He will know!


This time of year

In the jungle of juniper and tall fennel

And too many places to hide; tunnels through the rushes, holes in the sand, matted patches of low growing manzanita knarled and twisted from the wind

A far off seagull cries

And the ancient cedar tree is covered in monarch butterflies

Orange flutter fog- a twig snaps-

 Whiff of distant cigarette smoke

Slither of snakes –rustle of feral cats

A rattling cough

Hermit crabs and something else


It could be 2:30 or it could be nearly 6:00

Train whistle and that terrible rumble

If we’re going to get out of here it better be soon

Nearly invisible in my army surplus sweater

Beads of moisture- fog- cold sweat


Scramble over rocks dodging waves in soggy Converse

The trestle just wide enough-just barely enough for the train

Not there yet, can’t see it, close though

I can smell the creosote and something else

Something burning-something damp


Far away a rat shrieks

I can almost see the bridge- the tide’s coming in

This time of year rip-tides and eight foot waves

The gull soars overhead and it sounds like it’s crying

Charman- Charmen! It cries a third time and for a moment all is silent all is still. All I can hear is the sound of you breathing, all I can hear is the sound of your heart beating. The mist closes in around us as we make a run for it over the trestle along the ties.

Deep in the fog-a train whistle.




Wednesday Blues. Published in 2013 We’Moon. What is more scary, going off all alone in search of ghosts or demons; or following your bliss to live a creative life and not give up no matter what- Don’t be afraid to be the artist that you are.


Wednesday Blues


Out of the void of the artists’ way

Running indigo Thai Uruyu paper through my teeth

I fold it, wet it, crease it, taste it


People seem to like blue as I tear it into fibery shreds

I’m not supposed to sit on the floor when I work

But somehow I find myself there


My low back groans, thoughts return.

Pain into thought, thoughts into nightmares


Ghosts and nightmares standing over me like carnivores

Ready to run my heart through their teeth

Ready to spit me out all over my worktable


Trapped in the middle a dream come true

Struggling between the magic and the reality

Alone with cold feet, getting ready for an exhibition

Adrift in layers of blue


No sales for a month, running out of time, supplies, money, courage

Alone in the company of ghosts and nightmares and Visa collectors

Thoughts and tears and muscle spasms

Me, falling to pieces like carefully torn paper, for a minute, I’m falling to pieces


But, something breaks through

The cacophony of negative sound tract thoughts

And, because I’m Dutch I stand up and stretch, straighten my workspace


In a daze I study a special order drying in the sun

Shades of rose quartz and amethyst touched with pearls and Kwan Yin reflection


A center piece for a healing altar

I hear a voice that’s always with me when I take the time to listen:

“Whatever you think you can do begin it- remember the magic of boldness”


I begin again and again every day

My art has touched someone like bits of semi-precious emotion

Helping one person to have hope and inspiration

For me, today, that is enough to begin to continue to follow my dreams


Goddesses and angels channeled their way into existence through me

And yet of me, exist to guide me.

Candle light glows through sky colored tamarind paper

The cat gives me a gentle green-eyed stare from her basket on my worktable


And I am quiet and I am Dutch, cat purrs and I unplug the phone

I pick up the pieces of carefully torn indigo Thai Uruyu paper

Like pieces of my life


Collaging them into a composition of inspiration and faith

Add a little cobalt; add a little turquoise, maybe some lapis

People seem to like blue.









With Kid Gloves… For my Friends at Artech


       With Kid Gloves


These guys barreling through Belltown

In over-sized Izusus


These girls in vintage bowling shirts

Hefting their own weight in bronzes


Wearing Doc Martins and glitter shadow

To the Christmas party

One polite Spritz cookie always left on the plate


Masters of satire and art history

Handling with kid gloves

The treasures of local heroes- the archives of museums


Pausing for a wink, a sound-bite joke

Bubble level in back pocket clipboard missing again


And then at night like cats

Slipping into dark alleys- drawn like Cyrano magnetism to the moon


Men and women ascend to their studios

To paint – to print – to sculpt


Working into the night

The fume woozy red-eyed night

Hurry carefully to finish by First Thursday


We turn out midweek for each other’s opening glories

Nibbling veggie-platter and cheese dinners

Beaded sweaters and nails scubbed


Kiss on the cheek and slap on the back

Looking our best in orange Converse and praise



We dream Bohemian dreams of fancy

Showing up on time the next day


If only we had more time

But pleased to have made the cut

There’s a lot of competition to work in a place like this


Oh-to send postcards from Paris- from Barbados

From huts – flats – digs


Yet misty-oh so misty

When we really have to say goodbye


Belltown espresso fueling double lives

These guys – these girls


Big smiles in top heavy vans

Careening down First Avenue


Gilded times in float frame display

Handle my memories with kid gloves

Installed securely in my heart



A Night With Ray Bradbury: For Tina and David…


Aah, Halloween- the falling leaves, cool long foggy nights, reading some Ray Bradbury and a little CharMan to make it extra tantalizing… 

A Night with Ray Bradbury


As if drunk on dandelion wine

We savored the terror

Of a haunted circus

Of a gypsy fortune teller made of wax

Who could see your soul


Something Wicked This Way Comes

And the dark ravine surrounded us

As we made long dark drive home

Telling the true tales of horror

All the way to your house


Sister stay it’s spooky tonight!

When we got there the door was wide open

And that was just the beginning


In those dark windy nights before Halloween

The stories of the mummy’s curse

The doomed Carter excavation

Body snatchers from Mars

Snakes that writhed from the open mouth

Of a long dead skull

They seemed more true than usual


And your door was wide open and

 The curtains blew in the breeze


Inside a demon, a minion of untold evil lurked.


Run for the car drive for help

Help – help the door is open

The circus is in town and the carousel is run by Satan himself

Help was very sleepy- had to work the butt-early shift tomorrow

Cat’s still in nothing’s missing gotta go see ya!


And the night wind howled terror- monsters-

Invisible boys in time machines

The beating of the tell-tail heart


I turned my head in a slow 180

Whistling a few bars of Tubular Bells

Charman- Charman- my eyes open wide

Auhhhhh she screamed

Shut up or ride the bus home!


Davey save us and Davey did he was on his way

We each burned a butt to ward off evil

Davey arrived well armed;

Baseball bat and tattered teddy bear

Long john jammies with button-up backside


We poured him a glass of dandelion wine

And in the safety of blankys and pillows and sleepy cats

Told tales of lonely sea serpents, midnight circuses

And of course- Charman