Mike’s Creative Works

Pele

She is the Sunrise.
She is the Mountain.
She burns with a Fire
Born Deep in the Ocean
That surrounds and holds her
And all she surveys.

Her dark hair stretches
Halfway down the mountain.
Her fingernails grazing
Warrior-shaped rocks
That bow as she passes
And continue to glow
With the memory
Of the Goddess’s touch.

With each powerful step
The Mountain itself
Shakes itself awake.
Each bush, rock, tree, blade of grass,
Bursts into the radiance
Of a newborn day.
As she steps forward,
Fire emanates from her eyes.

So easy to fall in love
With the beautiful form
She is wearing today.

So Dangerous!

The risk of being consumed,
With a raging love
Swallowed by her Flames…

On the mountainside
A lump of cooled lava
In the shape of a heart.
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Setting Fears on Fire: Resilience Lessons from a Chicano Community Festival

In this guest post by Michael Seliger, Ph.D, he looks at a specific practice that could be very relevant for how cities think about the actual process of developing social and psychological resilience for their inhabitants.
http://www.100resilientcities.org/setting-fears-on-fire-resilience-lessons-from-a-chicano-community-festival/
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Here is a piece I wrote originally for a friend who needed to recover in order to pursue her professional work. It’s shared here for all similar sufferers.

To Combat a Cold

Close your eyes, breathe deep, and see
A knight in shining armor
Kicking down the door
Where you have been held prisoner
By vicious fire monkeys
Who have ripped your throat
And stolen your song,
And now dance around the room
Waving it in front of you…

The heroic Knight
Moves with lightning speed,
Flattens the Monkeys
And tenderly grasps the song.
Then pours it slowly
Into a large cup of tea,
Steaming hot, with cinnamon,
Honey, lemon, butter, Rum…

As you inhale the vapors
Before the cup touches your lips,
You already feel its power
Flowing through your veins.
A musical sigh erupts
And the room reverberates.
Before you, the knight
Transforms into a big white dog
Who smiles and says “Welcome Back!
Now let’s go to Work!!”
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A Hopeful Message sent to a Texas Organizer

Some Day in Texas
The Armadillos who Die Today
Along the Roadside
Will Direct Traffic
While Flowers
Wave at the Cars!


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Mike has sketched more than 50 of these stone cairn-like figures. Contact Mike for information on a series of balancing stones notecards.

Ode to My Hawthorne Tree

I defy the urging
Of my wise offspring
To admit that this tree,
Now the tallest in my yard,
Is just an interloping Weed,
Lacking in saving graces,
Or any grace at all!

Its bark peels unevenly,
Perhaps a clue it’s not so healthy.
Like the Little Prince’s Tree
Alone on his small planet,
This tree has protective thorns,
Some subtly disguised
As little pointy branches
Daring you to touch.

Summer will bring the miracle
Of this tree having two kinds of leaves,
Growing side by side,
Some smoother, rounder,
The others angular
With multiple jagged points.

But this is Spring.
Two weeks ago, little buds,
Red and white interspersed,
Appeared, perhaps foreshadowing
The two types of leaves
Soon to adorn its branches.
Almost as soon as they appeared,
These buds were gone, replaced
By a wedding gown
Of White blossoms, everywhere,
Royally covering the entire tree
Every inch decked out in entirety.

Faster than fading peach blossoms,
That white dress disappears
In a single gust of wind,
Its petals now paving the path
From road to my front door,
The black pavement glittering white,
Winking until the next wind.

It all happens so fast.
It is all so easy to miss.
If missed, it is easy to say
“It’s a weed, take it away!”

I choose to hold onto pictures,
Some from cameras, some from my eyes.
With its thorns, it is not a tree
That even a lover would hug.
But I hold this weed tree
In my mind and heart,
Grateful for its gifts,
Unique, Offered Freely,
Repeated, year after year.
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Snow Ghosts

In the midst of a blizzard,
I watch the swirling snow,
From the warm security
of my home’s front window.

Chorus lines of snow ghosts
Snaked lithely from one side
Of the road to the other,
Small figures like white sock puppets
Exuding joy while chasing
After one another,
Racing to the rhythms
Of the wild whistling wind,

I recall the only time,
Uninvited I joined their dance, …

A night of wild winds and warnings,
Safety and sanity saying
“Stay home—don’t go out today!”
But I’d gone out, any way.

A mission. A promise.
Time the utmost essence.
Determined to get there fast,
Before the storm’s worst could pass
It was not the Iditerod,
But need of a friend,
Caused me to , literally,
Throw caution to the wind.

Inside my car, safe and warm,
Eyes wide open, into the storm,
Onto a major highway
With zero traffic going my way…

The road extending before me,
Its lines and borders hard to see,
A gale force wind and pelting snow
Made it very hard to go.

On the radio, music hummed,
While windshield wipers also drummed,
But the loudest sound there in the car
Was the rapid beating of my heart.

Rapid rhythms pounded there,
But driving slow was all I’d dare
Somehow by instinct I could stay
Inching along on that roadway.

It was then that I saw them
In my headlight’s beam,
They were dancing and waving
As if in a dream.

“Follow us”, they seemed to say
And so I followed them all the way
And while they rushed wildly, here to there,
They stayed on the road
In my headlight’s glare,
So I could follow
And hold to the road
Driving on, cautious, ever so slow.

They led me on a merry chase
And we finally got to the very place
That I had to reach on that stormy night
And there I was, still all right!

Afterwards, I tried to rest
With the radio on, that seemed best
To drown out the roar
Of that wind from the west.
Eyes closed, I tried to dream
But all I could see, all around me
Were hundreds of snowghosts dancing wildly.

Then suddenly a silence descended
The wind disappeared, the storm had ended
All those snow ghosts in my dream’s eye
Paused, then rose up to the sky
Where each of them became a star
Blinking down at me from afar

A peaceful smile crossed my face,
Feeling safe at last in this place,
I dreamt of dogsleds
Instead of wind blasts,
And crossing a finish line
In time, at long last…