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I’ve entered the Inner Passage

Thought of as the safe route to Alaska
Protected by friendly coves and sheltered bays
Shields voyagers from the uncertainties
Of the tectonics of a heaving Pacific

The Inner Passage
A compass point of
Jack London’s imagination
Spinning fantastic adventure yarns
of audacious Sea Wolf sailors
And rugged fortune seekers
Answering the call of the wild

The Inner Passage
Fraught with hidden shoals
And submerged rocky promontories
Lay just below the water line
Jutting on the steep banks
Of a glaciated mountain lined sea

The Inner Passage
Precludes an easy escape
To the boundless freedom
Of the open seas
One cannot sail away
One must firmly
grab the wheel
Guide the rudder
map the terra firma
Of a misconstructed life
The hazards and mishaps
Buried in the unconscious sands of the mind
interred to protect the heart
From the walking ghosts
Springing to life
The daily aches of living

The Inner Passage
Seemingly the safe route
Yet the hidden shoals
The ship wrecks
crews of stranded castaways
Call out for recovery, resurrection,
Watchfulness and recognition
Careful navigation is required
To salvage the wreckage
Rescue the unfortunate victims
Of the disasters and gales
I engendered along
my life's journey

The Inner Passage
A promise of rebirth
Reconstitution, recovery
“Can a man enter the womb again?”
The Gospel writer asks.
This inner passage may yet
Deliver me to a reinvigorated life
Let me uncover
What lies deep
In my tell tale heart
Let me tame
the mighty beasts of the sea
That rule the fathomless waters
Of my tumultuous emotions
May Thy Will and a better course
Heal my restive soul
My I finally free
my grounded vessel
From the false sanctuary
Offered by shallow shoals
Freeing me to dive deep
Into the hidden reefs
Of my heart and mind

May this pilgrim make good progress
May I accept life on life's terms
May I practice a well considered
engaged stewardship
May I never arrive at a staid place
And become wholesomely satisfied
with a serene state of being

The Inner Passage
Indeed a difficult voyage
Is underway
a new course mapped
I will pass through
The dark ranges where the
Commanding heights of
Fear, anger, resent and regret
Become nothing more
Then the precipitous peaks
Of a harmless silhouette
Fading away into the mist
Of yesterday's twilight

The Inner Passage
Aboard the Kennicott
Near Ketchikan, AK

Michael Nyman
The Piano
a note made on the Kennicott...
street lamps
ionized the
indigo blue
haze charging
the night air

sparking the
city’s eclectic
currents coursing
through the
abandoned raceways
and empty streets

energizing the
phantoms of
the city’s
restive spirits

the ghosts of past
Great Falls Fests came
jitterbugging back
to life

veils lifting
and falling
with it, a voltaic
indigo blue
billowed out of the
abandoned stadium
pouring smoking
oboe moans
into the cavity
of the great gorge

“I was one of the last
to perform at
Hinchliffe Stadium”
Duke proclaimed
with his usual  
distinguished air

“it was also one of my
last concerts”, he added
with a tinge of
sorrow in his voice

“the band was rockin
the Art Deco tiles,
splintering and shattering
into bits of earth toned graffiti
the last vestiges of
a bygone Jazz Age
dissolving into the
disco fizz of the

the indigo mood
clamoured off
the rocks absorbing
the sonorous waves
like a stand of

“I’m trying to
remember what
my last tune
was that night.

was it Caravan?
or a Prelude to
a Kiss?  No no
too mellow
we always ended
on an upper
a real crowd pleaser,
I recall the boys swung
a medley before the grand finale
that medley included
Mood Indigo, Caravan,
Sophisticated Ladies,
Prelude to a Kiss.
We opened with Kinda Dukish
Rockin and Rhythm
we closed with
Satin Doll
Yes I’m quite sure
I waltzed them
off the floor
that night with
Satin Doll”

Duke ran his
fingers through
his processed hair.
He grabbed my shoulders
raised his baggy eyelids
And looked me straight
In the eye

“Yes, we followed
Tito Puente, he killed it
we upped our game
He was just starting out
But at this time Silk City
was going Caribe
Juan Tizol was
out of his mind that night,
I thought him and Babs
we're gunna jump ship
and join the Salsa Circus
Yeah El Rex and Celia Cruz
were that good

El Rex had the place
jumpin and jivin
it was a glimpse of the old days
livin in the here and now
just like the old days
I couldn't compete with that
so I waltzed them off
the floor with Satin Doll
a little cheek to cheek swoon
maybe some guys got lucky that night
and maybe some girls fell in love
Yeah Paterson was changing,
the ***** Leagues long gone
the last ****** Auto Races
crossed the final finish line weeks before
when the raceways in the stadium
replaced the raceways to the factories
we knew it was coming to an end
and with it all the good paying
jobs, whatta shame
just like me and the boys
watching El Rex
the Duke was dethroned by a King
just like Silk City
we had our day in the sun too
a Satin Doll Sun
Those were some good times,

Duke scratched
his head,
and he looked down into
the swirling noise
of the Great Falls
“on a night like this
the mood indigo
takes you into the
darkest hues of blues”

fragment from
Silk City PIT 6:
The Great Falls

Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins
Mood Indigo



Part 6 of extended poem Silk City PIT.  PIT is an acronym for Point In Time.  PIT is an annual census American cities conduct to count the homeless population.  Hope and Labor is the city motto of Paterson NJ, nick named The Silk City.

Part 6 of extended poem Silk City PIT.  PIT is an acronym for Point In Time.  PIT is an annual census American cities conduct to count the homeless population.  Hope and Labor is the city motto of Paterson NJ, nick named The Silk City.
Xmas light angel sparkling bright
Walkin on the rooftops
Got someone in sight
Gunna flitter and flutter
All through the night
Eyeing a weary sparrow
till all is well
till all is right
till that lil sparrow
be ready to take flight

Bonnie Raitt &John Prine
Angel From Montgomery
inspired by an Xmas light rooftop angel perched atop a roof during an early April twilight
Behold San Gabriel!
the far mountain is
stunningly ascendent
the city's smog
dissipates into a
a welcomed hiatus
white glaciated peaks
bespeak nature’s regency
a City of Angels’ crowned
in a mystic halo once again

Thunderous roads are silent
highway death tolls nose dive
life expectancy for the driven grows
Mother’s cry a million less tears
Tollkeepers palms are left wanting

For the uberites
the celestial scales
of supply and demand
have tipped gas prices in our favor
A litre of petrol costs but a few pesos

cars roaring down side streets
coating curbs with
noxious exhaust has stopped
Street running stick ballers eye
2nd base manhole covers
as safe to steal again

Some have been granted
A reprieve from a harried life
vexations of frenetic ways dwindle
The welcomed respite of downtime
Salves a bruised and battered soul

We’re invited  to dip our toes
Into small pools of leisure time
Escape to a hobby’s fascination
luxuriate in childlike frivolity

Time has opened for families
An evening’s repast
is holy communion
The wholesomeness
of a home cooked meal
Manna from heaven our daily bread
We share a sip from a cup of salvation

Climb up slide down
some shoots and ladders
Gingerly remove a funny bone
Without the red nose buzzing
Spend time in Abuela’s old kitchen
Learn her secrets of family recipes
Passed down from ancient
Borinquen forebears

Challenge creative sensibilities
Let the muse whisper a song
Into your willowy ear
Draw a portrait of a loved one
wash a buena vista watercolor
Compose a poem of perfect simplicity
record the glorious fictions of family history
Place yourself at the center of its epic struggle
Go noodle a tune on the old upright
Dust off that old guitar and flash some new hot licks
Take out the bongos and bang away
The blues are routed for another day

Sing a family circle song
where Daddy sings bass
Take an afternoon nap,
let the cat purr you to sleep
Enjoy the escape
of an afternoon delight
Than walk the dog afterward
in warm eventide twilite

The skies are resoundingly silent
Gushing engines contrail plumes gone
Jets blessedly overthrown by
silhouettes of crows on the wing
Listen to a new meditative lullaby, the
splendid symphony of avian adagios

Plug in to your body electric
Learn to breathe as deeply as you love
Listen to the rhythms of your heartbeat
And fine tune the condition of your soul

Eschew usurpations of politics
And tyrants that cajole to oppress
Seek solidarity in common citizenship
Take refuge in the courage of integrity
And dwell in the unity of the holy spirit

May a pandemic of love consume you
May your crisis open a portal of grace
May the closeness of friends and family
Restore you to a much better place

San Gabriel Mountains beckon
His halo crowns us all
stirred by the trilling trumpet
Wholly affirmed and filled
We answer his call

Bob Dylan: Thunder on the Mountain

Puyallup WA
pandemic downtime affords some time to reflect and open portals to new places....
We were teammates
We suited up
We showed up

We weren't stars
But we rolled in the dirt
With the best of them

Our blood ran red
Like the rest of them

Our sweat tasted salty
As the most athletic of them

Wounds and bruises
Ached like the most
Stalwart of them

We were Bulldogs!
We anted up our
Gifts and talents to
Forge a winning season

A flair for humor
Wry observation,
Encouragement, fortitude
And intelligence were as
Valuable as speed,
Agility and strength

We all pined for the
Affection of cheerleaders,
Bandmembers and the
Adoration of fans

We equally joined
In the chorus of
locker room banter
And honored the
Confidence of camaraderie
Such intimacy bares

We endured thankless
Adversity, while wending
through anonymous toil

As brothers
We grudgingly drank
From the vile cup of defeat

And passed the chalice
Of victory among us
To share the savory
Taste of triumph
As champions

The Duke of Wellington
Said “the battle of Waterloo
Was won on the fields of Eton”

I trust my teammates and
Not forgotten friends
Tasted sweet victories of
Happiness and success
As they coursed through
Their prodigious fields of life

And at games end
I hope their heart swelled
With pride to know they were
A beloved and Valiant Bulldog

David Irving Korsh #75
BCSL Champion 1973
Rutherford Bulldogs

Well done Valiant Bulldog

God bless and Godspeed

Music Selection:
Bruce Springsteen
Thunder Road

the passing of a former teammate
I saw a banner
“See something say something”
bestriding a Union City street
raising eyebrows of suspicion
in a hood’s ***** retreat

I see blood red MAGA caps
embolden distemperate fits
ready to answer jingoistic dissings
with an *** kickin liberty chit  

I see a Blue Line stained flag
It slices a field of united states
a wall to seperate us from them
God save us from reprobates

I hear shouts hailing militarism
saluting troops marching to war
Patriots offer sons and daughters
from families of the nation’s poor

I see a hoisted Gadsden Flag
boasting Don’t Tread on Me
true liberty a hissing asp
venomous country tis of thee

I see the stirring marches
aggrieved white nationalists sing
Confederacy of Blood and Soil!
cries for freedom ring

Lotte Lenya in Alabama Song
by Kurt Weill recording 1930

George Grosz
Vienna Street Fight

i saw something
i said something
just saying
I am a refugee from the City upon a Hill.

My homeland once a resounding light to the nations; has become a convulsing black hole, threatening to devour any semblance of civility.

My City, once a radiant promontory of enlightenment, its illumination of liberty’s searing torch revered, it’s practical striving for democratic wisdom shaping the long arc of the moral universe emulated by people of good will across the globe; now lies in state as a mordant corpse, serenaded by a funereal chorus of laughing griffins, a dead patriarch surrounded by the ruins of a once opulent now sacked city, a bygone home to the scattered disassemblage of a once noble people.

I recoil from the rancor of extreme partisanship, the gerrymandered apportionment of citizenship rights, the buoyant vindictiveness celebrated by small minded ignorance.

The blind allegiance to jingoistic nationalism, the adulation of Blueline authoritarianism, the fealty to imperial militarism and the dangerous trajectory of it’s awful consequence yet to come, enthralls me with dread.

Compelled patriotism enforced by threats of faux patriots, amoral ammosexuals, their small hands stroking quick triggers of long guns, genuflecting in mastabutory glee to the preeminence of 2nd Amendment atrocities, angling crosshairs of resentments to firmly fix a promise of ghoulish body counts, a rationalized apocalypse a captive people must suffer to underwrite profiteering gunrunners who blindly defile the constitutional tenets of life, liberty and happiness, the blood splattered keystones of our true exceptionalism.

Xenophobia and racialism, are stoked and celebrated by the City’s chief executive, his impish smile mouths Blood and Soil sloganeering, he solemnly salutes the Confederate flag while cheering torchlight processions of enraged White Nationalists marching to the drum of the Grand Republic’s midnight dirge along the once hallowed trail of Jeffersonian Democracy and a sacred place of secular enlightenment and higher learning. His gleeful decrees tweet the destruction of families and his police agents mouth holy scriptures to justify the imprisonment of children.  These vandals rhapsodically paint images of phantasmagoric nightmares trampling and mocking democratic ideals, resurrecting long settled conflicts, terrible tests a once great City rose to extinguish, now swelling numbers of craven citizens ardently embrace Klansmen, insurrectionists and ****’s as righteous brethren.

The madness of chauvinism and racial supremacy has fully metastasized within the body politic, polluting the mind, infecting the bloodline with a virulent strain of a white blood cell disease coursing through the veins of republican citizenship.

A City stolen from the Native inhabitants, ethnically cleansed and its former inhabitants remanded to the prisons of reservations, a City constructed on the backs of chattel slaves, erected on the graves of exploited wage laborers, provisioned by the ruthless denigration of the earth’s bounty, law and order mandated by criminalizing the marginalized, repressing the civil liberties of outliers and subjecting women to a perpetual status as the second *** underclass; has failed to repent and steadfastly refuses to make reparations for its sinful past has made the City uninhabitable.

The embrace of tolerance and diversity is the balm, the curate that can salve the oozing sores crippling the City. Nativist prejudice is a long protracted path that City citizen’s find impossible to exit. The malevolence that consumes the mind and moves the soul of a desperately spiteful people, who take delight and find it necessary to dehumanize and imprison alien races and creeds to maintain vapid notions of superiority, profane the ideals of a republican calling. They ruefully ignore the beacon of light warning of the dangerous shoals that lay ahead. The ideals of the great democratic experiment on course to be dashed on the jagged rocks of ignorance, fear, and anger. The doomed City has set a course that endangers its embargoed citizens. Travelling in steerage, a captive body, believing they are on a course for the rebirth of the City’s greatness are emboldened and chained by the delusions of their self destructive steadfast resentments.

My home City has become unknown to me.  I have become a stranger in this strange land. What was once beloved has become insufferable. What was once treasured has become burdensome. The familiar has become fully alien. A terrible avenging apparition haunts and mocks people of good will. My heart is disheveled. My spirit bruised. My body literally aches from the wounds exacted from the deconstruction of my beloved metropolis.

I stand stranded at the border of incivility. Bewildered I peer through a protective wall of concertina wire, eyeing the imprisoned haughty souls of fully enfranchised citizens, bellowing self righteous psalms, singing interminable lamentations of terminal ignorance.

Condemned by their belief in the salvation of violence and recrimination, secure in their faith that their moat of self righteousness shelters them from the gulags of perdition they eagerly proclaim for others, feeling recused from the bane of sinfulness by meager tithes, tumidity and scriptural specificity and the sweet delusional conviction they are the chosen tribe of God’s favor; their aspirations viscerally dashed in blizzards of metaphysical illusion strewn like meaningless confetti onto a passing parade of barbarians who have taken the City as its grandest prize.

Sadly I must withdraw from my beloved City. I retreat to a refuge where the barbarians dare not enter. Their ignorance and stasis weds them to a place far from my sanctuary of choice. May my sanctuary restoreth my soul!

I find refuge in the temples of jazz. I sing arias of lucent improvisation. The freedom of unbridled expression reinvigorates the mind, alighting the emanation of our better angels. The music calibrates my soul with the syncopated beat of an irrepressible life force, the humanity of my welling heart swells on the sonorous oxygen of a lyrical free spirit.

I take refuge in our vanishing mountain wilderness. The natural world offers a solace of solitude, a unrequited impression of scale and a transcendent communion immune from the trampling cacophony of gleeful vandals running rampant through the streets of the City. In winter the summits are capped in crowns of viginal snow, spring awakens a dormant flora, autumn leaves shout the chorus of a seasons glory and summer flowers bloom in multitudes of brilliant colors marking a startling contrast to the fifty shades of gray tattooed onto the City’s restive souls by the purveyors of power.

I find respite on the friendly banks of rivers and breeze swept ocean shores. The perfume wafting along a rivers streaming eddies or a briney snort gulped from the foam of a cresting wave invigorates the lungs, strengthens the heart and clears the mind. The flow of living water heals lifes wounded spirit. It quenches a thirst for justice and nourishes the hope of freedom for all incarcerated souls. The ceaseless roll of the ocean waves prove the enduring power and inevitability of liberty.

I find a good refuge in books. Here I discover a fleeting glimpse of our forgotten love of knowledge and pursuit of truth and rational thought. Enlightenment is the plot of every storyline.

I take refuge in art. I escape into the multiple dimensions of aesthetic beauty trouncing the twittering banality of fad, pornographic affectations and consumer fethishism. Glimpsing beauty while beauty is there to behold and the diligent practice of its creation is an answer to a higher calling.

I take refuge in my dog. Unconditional love and trusted friendship are values at peril in a transactional world; virtues nobily demonstrated and freely given by our canine and feline friends.

I take refuge in late night comedy. Working the midnight shift, whistling past the graveyard with a hearty laugh helps to while away the desperate hours. The rancid fruits of our labor leave a bitter taste in our mouths, humor is the bread of life that clears the palate and makes the terrible sufferable.

My lasting sanctuary is the stronghold of faith, forbearance and tolerance. I trust the long arc of justice will bend toward the righteous and offer a pathway of redemption for all desecrated souls.

I take refuge in the Blues. Let my lamentations turn to songs of joy and deliverance.

I take refuge in prayer. May my places of exile restore and heal my denigration. May God deliver us to a good destination. May our generational wanderings in the desert of desolation end in the discovery of a good place of habitation.

In the solitude of prayer may I experience catharsis, may my petitions find an open ear, may I achieve clarification, may my pious supplication be genuine , my conviction firm, a direction found, a decision made, a call to action clear.  May I become a healer of the breach.

May Your grace be sufficient for me.

I declare my exile over. I will return to my City. I will attempt to rekindle the extinguished flame of liberty to dispel the darkness enveloping my City.


Mark Almond: The City

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