by W.O. 1.9.13

Freedom from what?

To go your own way

without social impacts?


Unless you live alone, on an island and gradually starve to death.

We are all connected —

The rocks, waters, sky, plants, animals,

The people, the soil, the dirt on the floor,

The trash, the fallen leaves,

The cigarette buts in the gutter,

The plastic bags,

The gas from all the tailpipes,

and anuses of the world.

The flowers, the rainbows,

The raindrops, the dew,

The spider webs glistening in the morning sun,

The mornings, the days, weeks and years,

All the families of humans.

To go my own way without responsibility?



ONE WINTER NIGHT by Barbara Anderson


                 One winter night two souls meet
                 Keeping warm with body heat

                 Touching, feeling throughout the night
                 Makes everything seem so very right

                 It happens with ease
                 So easy to please

                 Time stops for awhile
                 Endless beguile

                 Strong connections
                 Many reflections

                 Two souls tight
                 One winter night

                                             Barbara Anderson

Spirit Guides, by Barbara Anderson


Spirit guides helping each other
        soul mother, soul father, soul sister, soul brother?

        Random greeting
        Chance meeting

        Broken hearts mending
        Emotions Blending

        Mysteries Abound
        All Around

        Spirit Vessels in Life form
        Love and trust-the new Norm

       Sprit guides meet in the park
       Fleeting moments, just on a lark
Comment from Bill

My friend Barbara has been writing poetry which seems more important than to just send it to me, so she has consented for me to post them.  I hope you will enjoy.

TOMORROW, a poem



The unborn times,

We plant them today.

But must water them, and

Prepare the ground,

and, when it comes up, harvest.


The garden we call life,

Needs fertile soil and labor,

care, regular caring care.

Are you up for it? or,

Will the cuts and slashes of chance

Wither and rot things before the bloom?

And what is there to plant?

What seeds are needed?

How to find them?

Who will help?

Who will do?

When, and where to plant?

How to cultivate?

More questions than time.





We’re weaving together our circle of life
Our hearts full of joy and plenty of strife

It takes more than one to do what we need
It will take time- no need for top speed

Opening doors closed so long
There will be no right or no wrong

Emotions untapped are springing forth
New insights into our self-worth

This process of love we can share
If we can dream, care and dare

Barbara Anderson


3 POEMS by W.O.


A box on wheels,

A book shelf,

A laundry hamper,

A restaurant,

A place to wash, shit and pee,

A space ship, that never leaves the earth.


A life of journeys,

Golden strings of friends,

A daily threading quilts of loves and laughs.


A bump or two,

A right turn, a left turn,


Let’s stop here.

We need more lives.


Summer of 03




Whorls around the Sun,

Rays moving through mists,

Shadows in the fog,

Petals, leaves, flowers and trees,



Summer of 03





Ideas pop

Words flop

Birds hop

Must stop.


Summer of 03

A Meeting While Painting

A Meeting While Painting

The knarled Bishop Pine pulls me,

To challenge skill and learn,

How to grow, paint, endure and hang on

To precarious life.


The lickened branches defy the brush,

Yet drape and curl on the blue bark,

In hushed forest, stately and stark,

Few come to see the beauty,



Trees people the landscape,

Olive greens, paynes grey and ochra.

Can I capture the hue?

For enough time to escape?


Or is it a true exchange?

Me gives attention and love.

The pine gives its presence and challenge,

Together there is more, much more.

Than being alone or just being alive.


A reach for more across eons,

Across the species barrier,

Through space time and thought,

To touch another sentient being.





The cycles spin;

The stars come out, the sun goes down,

Faces float through mornings,

Events strum the cords of memories,

Life is blended again in different tones.

The earth spins;

The lights come on, the moon goes down,

Beings touch you in their mid-day gropings

And forge delicately behind veneers.

One starts to sense the invisible within.

Life replenishes itself.

The kids grow up, we grow old.

A leaf falls to join its roots,

And one sees into the tree the invisible.

And we cross the space of a day.

We each get up and go to sleep.

Each is born to pass a message,

To be born again and see the star as your neighbor.

And the spiral spins itself into other spirals.

It goes up beyond sight and comes into the light.

Once realized you fall, touch and float into all around you,

And all becomes the same, one, anywhere and

All the tones of life — Past, Present and Future.








White witch with mystic charm,

Healer of sore souls,

Incant for thyself.

Cast thy spell on me.

It’s already done.

The web of memory

Binds us in your nest,

New beginnings mean forgetting,



Loving to love.

Kiss the roots of fantasy.

And make thy home where eagles roost

Burn happiness, burn.


White witch with warm soul,

I put my watch on because of thee,

And I see the winged hands circle,

Thy tender breast and touch your heart,


But for the moment.


After the first nite at1307 Acton St, 9.15.1969




Gratitude’s a thing of the soul;

Enjoyed my stay more than can be told,

Staying too long is not best;

it’s just a test for an unexpected guest.

Sure hope I didn’t.

Only did as I was bidden,

Your return could only be

FOR ME To treat others as you treated me.

A giver without pay will have happiness til the last day.


date unknown



by William Olkowski, Phd, 12.26.12


Life, a walk between pleasant nonsenses?

and the chasm of no return?

A tightrope balancing act?

A journey on a knife edge,

with reason as a companion,

or just beliefs?

A quest, a maze from extracted truths,

Amidst black fangs that snap shut with a wrong turn?

What a wonderful world —

What could be and what is.

With the goal of a star gleam on a grave stone.

With no visitors, or what?





by William Olkowski, PhD 10.1.12

The outside of the box,

The unexpected,

The black swan,

The unknown to be known.

When will it strike?

Will I find it?

And what will I do with it?


Maybe it’s already here.

Lurking, waiting to jump in.

It could be a car accident.

A new friend,

An old friend,

Something new,

Something blue,


Something special?

Let’s hope.


JUST THINK by Robert Service


Just think! some night the stars will gleam
Upon a cold, grey stone,
And trace a name with silver beam,
And lo! ’twill be your own.

That night is speeding on to greet
Your epitaphic rhyme.
Your life is but a little beat
Within the heart of Time.

A little gain, a little pain,
A laugh, lest you may moan;
A little blame, a little fame,
A star-gleam on a stone.



Comment on Just Think, by W.O. 5.4.12

Apparently I am doing one of the things other people have done for bereavement – write about it.  Except now I also share it with you.  That is if you are interested in the subject.  I put the poem up front to entertain you, sort of like they do now in between a streaming bit for Jon Stewart’s program replays.  I love Jon Stewart because I get more political information that is easy to receive his way than from the newspapers, and even the web, which I think is the greatest thing since mother’s milk.  But I get the same irritation I felt in the last years of viewing TV with interruptions for bad products that I don’t want, nor will ever need.  We gave that up maybe 40 years ago.  That was a requirement if I was to live with Helga.  It was easy to give up as we always had our gardens, chickens, and lots to do.  She never watched TV, but I saw my first TV in 1948 and was captured.  That’s a tangent, maybe I should invent a symbol to warn and provide so as to not interrupt the main story.  That’s something to think about, but nobody would know unless I told them and that would be mostly too much.  I get gobs of ideas when stoned, but must weed them before presenting them publically.  Later we used DVD’s while traveling, mainly because they had no advertizing breaks to disrupt the story being presented.

But I think Just Think is a great poem because it’s short, easy to memorize and carries a good thought to remind you of your mortality without a religious connection.  I think the Catholics, or maybe it was a cultural thing about Polish people, or maybe my mother was the problem – it seems – she was always thinking about death.  Maybe growing up during WWII did it.  Religion has been one of my bug-a-boos for many years.  But just now I realized one of the great services religions offer comes at the death of someone close.  It provides a sort of band aid to cover the cut from the loss, talking away your responsibility for your own emotions, unfortunately.  After all, when the well ups come they are involuntary, tiny little surprises which take away your speech.  I warn my friends that this may happen as I am mostly concerned about embarrassing them.

Just Think is by Robert Service who I was introduced to me by my first major professor back inDelaware, Paul Catts.  He knew the poem The Shooting of Dan McGrue, that may be spelled wrong.  I enjoyed his recitation so much that I learned that poem and could repeat without review over many years.  It’s a long one.  But now I need a copy, can’t find one, but I did find that all his poetry is on the web.  Incredible!  I will look it up later.  When I first arrived at UC,Berkeley, I went to the library to acquaint myself with what was there.  That was my first blow-out experience at graduate school.  The library was fantastic, big but closed to undergrads for wandering.  That’s unfortunate, but fortunately for me I was a graduate and was allowed to wander in the stacks. and they had maybe 15 of his books.  He had a great life and everywhere he went he wrote poems and even a few novels which I may look into now that I can access them on the web.  In my book searches to clean out the house I ran into a single volume of his poetry but nothing I was familiar with.  It was a volume I put next to the bed to read someday.  It seems that day has arrived and I don’t like the few I examined.  But that one above was another favorite.  I could see that star beam and knew there might be a stone for me, but the idea was get busy and live and keep on living because it’s over too quickly.  Helga proves that.

But Robert Service had a flair for rhyming that the “real” academic and big time poets, whoever they may were, dismissed him as trite, a rhymer, or worse.  So Service never got big kudos, but just became wealthy from his best selling books.  That’s too bad for him, no Nobel prizes.  It’s those rhyming words at the end of his lines that are the fun, but who does not like The Shooting of Dan McGrue?  There s another by him that comes to mind that is similar.  Both have a lightness, and tell a tale about theYukondays with its craze for gold.  This other poem is called the Cremation of Sam MeGee which goes like this at the start: (good to have a spooky sound background as atmosphere at the start):

Strange things are done neath the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.

The Arctic trails have their secret tales that will make your blood run cold,

But the strangest I ever did see was the night on the marge ofLakeLeBarge

I cremated Sam MeGee.

The story goes on to tell what happened to Sam and how he was cremated.  Its fun and a tall tale, surely like the entertainment available in bars and saloons before TV.  People used to recite stories and poems, sing and tell tall tales.  It was fun and Robert Service sure captured that life back in theYukondays.  We used to sing similar songs in a saloon in Wilmington that had a barman who would frequently burst into songs like When Irish Eyes Are smiling Its like a Mornin Spring, the Whole World Smiles with You.  That was before Helga, my lonely days on the East Coast.

Poetry went thru a phase freed from the need to rhyme word at each line end and if you study his stuff you can see that he contrived some of the lines to rhyme at the end, sort of like a punch line, but some of the words are “reachers”.  I am making that word up for want of a better one.  A “reacher” is a word either made up, used by the common folk he wrote about, or something old that is no longer used, but he found it because he was looking for a word to match the last word in the last line.  It’s part of designing a certain type of poem.  Now one seeks to rhyme by a cadence while telling a story.  The ending rhyme words are no longer in style.  It must be why some writers are so popular, they have a special cadence.  Hemingway is like that.

Reacher words to reach but don’t really fit except for the rhyme.  But it could be a word for me to look up sometimes, too as my vocabulary was greatly diminished, or maybe enhanced by science words and styles of writing.  I never before took the time to ramble like this before, so that’s a good thing.  Reading his rhymes is like playing with a real scrabble player.  These people have special dictionaries full of wild small words so they could do better at the game.  That’s a part of the society we live in that I like.  I am working on some sort of old age program to avoid becoming an old grouch. Fukushimais destroying this plan, but I will slug on anyway with one eye to the worlds problems.

I was always this way – carrying a bit of the world around.  Like the famous god  Sisyphus rolling his stone up the hill only to have it roll back when he gets to the top, and then he starts over.   There was more to my madness however, as I had an idea that for career development one positions him/herself between a human problem area and the rest of the world.  In this sort of space jobs are available and if there are none yet known one can always invent a position.  That was not a spurious thought but one I dwelled on during my search for a career – that’s a big story for some other time.  That’s what Helga and I did with our careers: made up an Institute, we called it The BioIntegral Resource Center, its still going under other management.  Its still a non-profit helping to reduce pesticide us.  See our website:



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For other uses, see Sisyphus (disambiguation).

Persephone supervising Sisyphus in the UnderworldAttica black-figureamphora (vase), ca. 530 BC, Staatliche Antikensammlungen museum (Inv. 1494)

In Greek mythology Sisyphus ( /sɪsɪˈfʌs/;[1] Greek: Σίσυφος, Sísyphos) was a king punished by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this action forever.

The word “sisyphean” means “endless and unavailing, as labor or a task”.[2]


Enough about the poetry, but it creates some new personal foci for the healing process.  That’s a good word as I have been damaged by a loss.  Vic Baranco, according to Helga, called such experiences Loss of Stable Data.  You have a routine developed and then it is smashed.  The speed of the smash and loss is directly proportional to its impact.  Fortunately, Helga waited to die until I  really knew she was going.  And I could help her pass as all the nice people who came to help me say.

I mentioned Vic in my last note in regard to the sexual/sensuality class Helga and I met in and later taught.  Vic was called in frequently as a crisis interventionist when certain psychiatrists’ in the SF Bay Area had a special problem case.  He was called in by parents of Helga’s former husband, Bill Cassidy, when he went nuts, started breaking things, setting fires, etc.  Helga and Bill were partners in a puppet theater called The Berkeley Puppeteers.  There’s a story there too but it can wait.

Helga came out toCaliforniawith another guy she married after graduating fromBarnardCollegeinNew York Cityto continue studying Chinese at UC, Berkeley.  Many stories there too.  But she had a baby with this guy who turned out to have serious mental problems as did her boy as he grew older.  He left her a few weeks after the birth and was never seen until 10 years after we met.  She was over him by then and didn’t feel anything.  He actually gave us a wedding party and we and his new wife went on our honeymoon toMexicotogether.  If we were going to drive toMexicoothers could drive as I did our driving.  She could not drive very well, got too nervous and made silly mistakes.  I couldn’t take her driving.  He was nice as long as he took his meds.  His wife we are still friends with.  Her daughter with him is in many ways just like Helga’s boy.  Genetics is powerful in setting up some maladies.

We lived with her son from that marriage for 22 years and finally I threw him out.  I did it because he was a most angry and critical person who never said anything good about anybody and all the problems in his life were caused by others, and he loved to sue people.  He certainly was mentally capable, being a sort of genius, but most difficult to live with.  He got a chemical engineering degree fromCAL(=UC, Berkeley), which is an accomplishment.  They had a special program for dyslexic people, giving them more time for tests.  Lots of dyslexics are unusual, creates some great things, but we did not want him in our life.  It saddened Helga every time we had contact with him.  Somehow I thought she blamed herself for something.  She sure loved him when he was little.  Little boys and girls are made for loving, even baby animals are all lovely, even baby alligators.

I class him as a sociopath but He would not seek help and despised anyone suggesting he needed help.  He was without real violence, although he threatened to kill me one time which was a fright.  But the real killers don’t talk about it, they just do it.  And mental disease is hard to diagnose, after all there is no external damage visible.


Ok now I can look over the silly sories of religions with their fantastic claims, after all they provide solace.  So that could be why we still maintain them – for they served us in the past.   Such social institutions, although they may carry good information across generations as the theory goes, still can serve a useful function.  And that is my best rationalization for religion.  Perhaps the death of Helga is mellowing me because I can see unconsciousness can work on consciousness without a rational direction.  In fact, it could be a good thing to mellow myself, that’s me talking to me.  But I don’t encumber myself with religion now that I have shucked off the beliefs that held me when young.  Did they ever hold me?

Well that’s the ramble for today.  I intend to continue, hope it remains interesting.

Dead Yesterday, Unborn Tomorrow,…


A Musing to Self.

By William Olkowski, PhD,  7.15.12.

Apologies to Omar Khayyam but …

this is how I remember the quote:

“Dead yesterday, unborn tomorrow,

Who cares, if today be sweet.”

I have been thinking about these lines ever since I read it.

Sure today is where the senses detect the world around each of us.

And sure, we all make whatever we will of that sensory information.

And if today be sweet who needs the past and who has time to muse about the future.  Today is where the action is.


While I live all who I can remember live again and again as I recall them.

Sure, what I make of these memories can change and even be improved as time passes and that is interesting.  That makes even a bad experience useful, sometimes.  And sure, the past is gone, so all the more reason to live today for that is all we have, ultimately.


Without a past, no learning is possible.  Yes, one can learn something new each day, maybe a new mix of colors, or to find a new great paint brush, even meet a new friend, which can change your life.   They can all be important.  But the past is always present, whether you recall it or not.  Its part of who you are.  Its part of who I am anyway.  Who can forget the beauties of living?  Why forget them if they can live again and again.  It’s easy to forget bad things sometimes, sort of as a deliberate act of neglect.  It’s probably a good thing too.  Why carry garbage around, why not recycle it into something useful?


To live without a future means  you are dead already.  Plant a tree and die if you have to.  Seeds in the ground can sprout without you.  Seeds into trees leave a memory for friends.  Who planted that tree?  Someone may ask.  I will say, I did and I didn’t care who gets the fruit.  An old teacher told me: “There is no limit to the good a person can accomplish if he/she does not care who gets the credit.”  It was directed at me, I thought erroneously, but that memory popped up while I was musing about the BIG THREE today.  The Big Three, The Past, The Future and Today are intertwined; we separate them with our words, which divide up inner perceptions for focus.  It’s OK to focus as long as you remember that all three make up a life.  And as for credit, well we can see by our fiscal disaster all can be wiped out in a flash, just like your life.


Like Woody Allen also says: “Whatever Works” to give some modest pleasure, grab it, cultivate it, see it for what it is, and be happy.  For this is all there is.  All life is in your hands, heart and mind.  Sing about it, paint it, mold it, store it, laugh with it all, love it all, for when you are gone, there’s nothing.  Emptiness will descend, and cover all your dreams and thoughts.  This everlasting vast moonscape will not know you or your thoughts and dreams.

“So tear your pleasures with rough strife through the iron gates of life;  and though you cannot make it stand still,  we will make it run.  (Another apology to Andrew Marvell (1621–1678), from To His Coy Mistress).

Khayyám at work:



She, A Memory, A Poem.

SHE, A Memory

by William Olkowski 8.16.12


She warned me,

Before the summer.

“All we have is this summer”.

“I am leaving then,

“OK”, I said not knowing–


I would agree to anything,

Cause I was so needy.

It was delightful to have

A sleeping partner.


We parted as planned …


She showed up today,

In a meditation — why?

The need is back.


I am happy to have the memory,


Where are you today?


Written in 2005? but refers to the 1967-67 period

Poem from a Friend, Jose Cross (deceased)

My Life: A Friend’s Poem Found Amidst My Stuff

My friend Jose Cross (formally he called himself Jose Manuel dos Santos Cross) passed away just after Helga this year (2012) in the late spring.  He was an iconoclastic artist who did not really care to sell his creations, which were unique wood carvings, paintings (charcoal, oils), sketches, pen and inks, photographs and writings, which included some poems and essays.  He was a Portuguese immigrant who came to the US at age 9, later joined the merchant marine and roamed the world via different boats.  One of his favorite writers was Jack London who wrote stories about the ocean world.  I found some of London’s work gloomy at times which seemed to pervade Jose’s dark house as he built it himself while he and his wife Virginia raised two kids, Amalia and Valon.  He worked building the house by building ramps to hold a wheeled chair he strapped himself to which he would use to move around the structure on ramps as it was built.  This itself was a great accomplishment.  The house constructions too reflected his sculpture work which filled the place on the walls and a whole studio attached to the house.  Many pieces were real masterpieces, which when I showed them, with his permission, to local artists and friends all were blown away.

I joked with him that he should convert to being a paper artist as all his stuff required transporting if anyone else would see it.  And that would be a challenge.  And I emphasized that paper was very light to carry.  He smiled.  There was one piece which the world should see.  He called it: Tootalltabletootall, all one word.  He was a great word smith who loved to make up word combinations and long sentences which produced a sort of twinkle in his personality and certainly in my mind.  The TALL Table was actually a tall table, beautifully constructed and painted (3 coats), about 14 feet tall with a full course meal with wine bottle and roasted pig, something like over 100 pieces of dinner wear all carved out of wood.  The table was too tall to actually view so he installed a mirror so a viewer could see the setting.  I though it deserved to be in the Smithsonian or somewhere important so millions could see it as it spoke vast truths about hunger and the distribution of resources.  It was displayed one time in a local gallery.

Helga knew Jose from her Beatnik days when they would all take various substances together and remembered her friend as a tall delightful handsome guy who had lost a leg in a boating accident involving a rope.  He settled for a one time payment and used it to buy a bar in Oakland which he eventually lost someway.  Then, he became an artist after going through the art college in Oakland, the College of Arts and Crafts.  We gave a talk there once.  These are just fragments of what I learned from him when we talked late into the night as I lay down next to him to view his TV, and watch Jon Stewart, a PBS show or a dance or whatever. And we would talk.




This opportunity to connect up came about when H and I came down the coast on our first big journey after we retired back in 2000, or so.  We followed the West coast up and around the coast of Washington and came back down stopping at various places.  We had a Lance camper on the back of a big Ford diesel pickup then.  The Mendocino Coast seemed to me to be the most spectacular scenery we saw on the entire coast, especially because it was accessible.  The coast was always a fascination for us, and I believe it’s why Jose settled in Mendocino.  In the old days Mendocino was a rather isolated artist colony mostly, but over the years it built up into a tourist local with its group of galleries, small shops and restaurants it became when we visited there from about 2000 to 2009.  Jose let us park and we helped him with food purchases in exchange for an electric supply for our RV.

Jose was what I like to call a Luddite, because he refused to use a computer, and there was no reception for a portable phone, and he had no answering machine, things almost everyone had in those days.  He typed on an old clunker (like Woody Allen) and wrote many funny things which I hope to add to this memorial someday.  But here is the poem I started out to copy.

First a bit about how I found this in my things.  I keep all sorts of things and have accumulated gobs of paper, mostly, all sorted into various categories which I stumble upon now in my decrepitude.  I am determined to not leave a mess when I go, so I have recycled over 60 or so boxes so far.

In this array of stuff I found this poem and thought it was one of mine as I was in the habit of dashing off something now and then amidst the rush of life, and not taking the time to adequately file it so I could find it again someday.  But then I saw Jose’s name on the bottom and realized it was from him.  I tell you this because we had a mutual viewpoint about belief that I don’t think his wife, nor children had, although for that I am speculating from rather meager evidence.  Here’s is the poem I wished I had written: (it has no punctuation nor a title, but I would title it Matter.

No Title

We are doomed or blessed with limited perception about



How Much



Does it matter

Does it really matter

How much does it matter

How much matter is there


Is there enough time to find out

Is there enough space

To encompass time

Is there enough time


And do i care

And do i need to care

And will matter be affected

If i do not care


And will time matter

But matter will be timely

From the beginning

Onward to infinity


And i … and you

Will matter

As matter

Throughout time