a tribute to Kambiz Abbaszadeh

He always made a place at the bar

Dan I would show up

And with a flash of his warm smile

Kam always made a place for us

He would serve us a knock-out cocktail he dreamed up

And then, after attending to other patrons and washing a few glasses, he would fill us in on his family

In this way, he made us feel like family

Kam did that for people

For any of us

We sat in his presence

Whether it was on the bar stool

Or at the BBQ grill

Or at the family gatherings that were so precious to him

Wherever it was, we sat in the radiance of Kam’s playfulness, his spirit, his heart

Kambiz in the Kitchen

Kambiz enthralled with the cosmic

Kambiz with the shaker

Kambiz with magic massage fingers

The warm heart

The Love for the art of good food, good drink

The Art of Family

He gave us nothing short of love

He gave 100% to work, to his obligations but also to playfulness and to fun

Kam’s life was an adventure story from Tehran to the U.S.

From the Caspian sea to the ski slopes of Tahoe

He lived his dreams with all his heart

But as much as he loved adventure

Kam

 loved his family more

Nothing more cherished

His presence with his kids, with all his loved ones

was unmistakable

and even us. Just a couple of friends

he always gave us a seat at the bar, the table

But mostly

Kam gave us a place at His heart

That’s just who he was

how lucky we were to be in the orbit of his shine

The flash of his kind smile.

his steady gaze that held ours gave us a place

a special and coveted place

at his heart-filled table

He showed us nothing but Love

He gave us nothing but Love

You opened our hearts, Kambiz Abbaszadeh

You showed us how kindness worked

the importance of family

and how love prevails

Shine on, Loved One

Thank you for the seat at the table of your heart

We are better for your lion roar of laughter

Better for your imagination of the perfect cocktail

Better for knowing there is nothing better than Love

Better for the place we now hold for you

at a permanent seat in our hearts

all the poetry was written in white on Avakin Road

white against white, only a third eye could see

the trail of the words

spelling the code

that if arranged just right could set you free.

in blindness we step our feet down on stiff pavement we have laid

and trained our eyes to the emblazoned color of brick dramas

believing we were not written from the delicate writing undulating beneath our soles.

It’s the second white snake you see in the industrial revolution

It’s a big band song where the floor drops out

It’s the marching band playing

on Avakin Road

Where we follow behind to walk those stories out

Stamping on the delicate poetry, hidden white on white

Oblivious

to the current of lyrics that undulate beneath us

in tandem with the white snake of illusion

on the imaginary walk

on

Avakin Road

Honored to be included in the current San Mateo County Poet Laureate’s project with my poem “12 Miles.” Thank you to Aileen Cassinetto, Poet Laureate. See link below to read various works, find poets by first name.

Click here to read San Mateo poets works!

For Jerry & Lorraine Olson on the closing of their beloved Mountain House Restaurant in Woodside—a landmark in our area

those wooden boards

that

soaked in the laughter

held the warm bellies and scraping chairs

creaked beneath the heels dancing

they hold a love story

a love story between a community and their retreat

between a man and a woman who loved it into being

the forest fairies circled

and the wood nymphs stomped

as patrons filed in

bright smile Lorraine greeting, buzzing, tending

if you were lucky, even Brett!

Jerry, gracious smiling eyes also greeting, also buzzing, and tending, tending

those boards took a lot of tending

the menus a lot of wild imagination: Venison, Elk, New Zealand Lamb

the wine list took your breath away and a great fraction of your worries with it!

the dream was fueled by a lot of heart as this landmark grew and fed, evolved and stayed

bringing a dream to this community, a home

a spirit in the woods

we carry this gift you gave us in our hearts

we carry it forward as we walk away with you, remembering

reminiscing, appreciating, relishing

the Good Times this place graced

a spirit in the woods will echo on

the boards, like our hearts, they remember

those epic times

the blazing fire

the warm drinks

the camaraderie

the love of this place

a spirit in the woods

the boards of this place are marked, like our hearts

and The Mountain House

we will, always, always remember.

For joe & veronica

As plump as a fig—bite like a snake
The banter of love started about 8 years ago and:
SPLATZH!*

It hit them like a headline: Island Girl meets Texan Troubadour

It all began on the wrong side of town
when Fiesta time was ripening on the vine

He danced with her once
this goddess divine
he danced with her twice
and the banter began

As Joe says they had everything and nothing in common—as is the way of the most colorful kind of love

She liked Prince and leopard pattern
He, Beatles and classic design

But plump as a fig, bite like a snake
the muse of quick wit and artistic sensibilities took over

Like no one else before, this Bard of Bexar County caught Veronica’s banter
and raised her five
then behold, this Goddess with spirited heart,
she met his bet with … a kiss

As plump as a fig, bite like a snake
the banter intoxicated
it bubbled
it thickened

This brew of Love made up their life of two beautiful, precious daughters Paige and Yvonne, beloved pets, love of family and musical notes
speckled with artistic expression
these two are True Originals, all Texan style

And the banter plays on, it somehow carries them

It may strike like a snake
or mix into a comical fruit salad
But it’s NEVER ordinary

It’s their secret code
it’s that exotic  fig

A symbol of their unique love
that belongs only to them

So today we celebrate with you, Mr. & Mrs. Killough

We raise a cup
to the banter
to the madness
to the art and the music of your
Crazy Indescribable Love!

*Joe & Veronica met at a bar called “Splatzh”

Happy Wedding, Love Aunt Maurine

gliding in this naked canoe

sinking me into the mists

no shores to steady me

just the ripples of lost meaning breaking the water before me.

whether this vessel is propelled toward muddy swamp

or pristine lakes of bliss i do not know,

the current has been directed

and the mists bog my mind

tease me into confusion

rock me between trepidation and bold embrace.

god save me from this slippery slope

how dare i tread on these waters?

but it is too late for that, this journey has begun

the current has been directed

and for all the fear, i can’t deny that love softens these waters

the surface so smooth and the body so warm

this boat glides easily into the depths of the unknown.

i can shiver or sing, no matter

the current has been directed.

perhaps these waters will lead me to trust the mysterious river of love

to call the sun to burn away the hazy fog

to see through the fear that i imagine in front of me

yes, i am traveling into the mists, it is no accident

this current has been directed

and i am the passenger

duly appointed to this voyage

this post by guest poet, Tim McKillop

l

The wind blows with out them these days.

I used to think we would always ride on the wind,

all of us, wings out, eyes forward,

a squadron of feathers tip to tip

doing roller coaster rides over

our favorite mountains, the ones with all of the oaks

and pines and the grape vines

lined up into runways

of green pastels and orange poppies.

do you remember those peaks

white frosted and cool where

we would ride the highest branch tips

back and forth on the highest trees

singing all together as one

while the wind painted and fused us

into a sky of exaltation and being,

and all of it was ours.

funny, I’m smiling now

thinking about the look,

you know, the recognition one

a nod, a slight tip of the head up

from one of us to the other to the other

until we all knew right then

that this was good really good

and we would swing up into the air

and play and dive and loop the loop

and barrel roll and laugh and laugh

and laugh or was it singing

i can’t remember exactly

but it was fun.

ll

is everyone still here? i’m not sure.

i don’t think they are.

there once seemed to be so many of us

hanging right up here

at the very edge of the world  

turning all of our favorite pines and aspens into

big loud debates of being

and chasing everything

everything else away.

oh how we loved the air

its coming and going seen and unseen

on warm days and cold

i wonder

are we breathing in

everything we are

and expelling all we’ve been

or trading places with ourselves

into some kind of cold vapor of invisibility

i don’t know

i think.

do you see?

i’m flying pretty high now.

I can feel everyone right there with me

the edges of our wings massaging the sky

and dipping down into the deep valleys

and riding the face of the mountains

right up to their very peaks

where you can see so much. everything is here.  

watch closely I may just disappear

i don’t know

i think.

                                   – tim

reposting this poem which got 1st place at the 2021 San Mateo County Fair

in the dream i am picking meat off a human skeleton
it is miniature, but still anatomically correct

i am consuming the last morsels off the bones, picking it clean
and i marvel at the structure, the bony foundation that held this life for all the years–
living and breathing, it was perfectly designed to hold so many things
the skeleton of what held us

and at the same time, i’m calling his number
one digit different from my cell number, that’s how we were linked

it’s been so long since i dialed those numbers
the ones i relied on countless daily
they always got me through
but now, i try his old number and then,
another man’s voice is at the end of those sacred numbers
and i’m not surprised, was just testing

it is a confirmation of the crossing to some kind of foreign frontier
and i find myself here in a new world
with a phone number that no longer connects me
our worldly code dissolving into infinity

i’m picking what little is left off the bones
of our past
it is getting thinner every day.

for sue and terry – who met “Rico” on a post “Hurricane Maria” beach in Puerto Rico. His outgoing nature captivated them as did his situation: starving, abandoned on the beach with no food or water and in bad physical shape. Through no small effort they rescued him, flew him to California and began to restore and care for him. The ear infection turned out to be terminal cancer but he got the finest care and was able to befriend every creature he boldly introduced himself to, including me. The “gait” refers to his severe body injury that left him with a walking disability which deterred him not at all.

Rico with the twirly gait

stepped a tender foot to the exact spot, the intersection to you

Rico with twirly gait walked a jagged, hungry line

straight

into your hearts.

who knows what his eyes have seen

in the poverty of riches, hurricane winds and thirsty ocean

how many hearts has this soul gazed upon

rubbed against and touched

only to be left behind in empty sands.

and yet he never gave up his quest for love

to give love

to receive love.

it only took a small army to bring him to a new land

for his eyes to see no small miracle

to welcome him to a house of love

and a place for him to rest and give love, receive love

for that’s what his soul was meant to do.

a soul that never gave up, never ran away and stayed steady in his crooked walk, never complaining, showing us the meaning of gratitude.

blessed being, your work is done here

we see you

we acknowledge you.

and now,

Rico with the twirly gait

has run off to Shangri-la

Photo by Sue Munroe

aparagraha, the poem inspired after losing our place in the 2017 Sonoma fires, has been included in the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s installation “From Fire, Love Rises: Stories Shared from the Artist Community.” Sponsor, radio station, KSVY 91.3 will also feature the poets reading their work. The museum show begins September 29th and features 30 artists and poets who created art about their experience of the fires. Show ends January 6th. I will be there on Saturday, September 29th from 6 to 8 p.m. The poem is below.

aparigraha is a sanskrit word expressing non-possessiveness, non-grasping or non-greediness. it is the opposite of the desire for possessions. our beloved cinque terre, our retreat in sonoma, has burned to the ground. this poem was born from that experience. 

shiva came through this place
smoke signals foretold

Destroyer
wiper of slates

Destroyer, you hit your mark
smeared your body with our ashes

crumbled our city
of material dreams, security illusions.

that which you have reduced to settled piles
disintegrates my grasp of worldly form

with one fierce sweep you’ve left me clinging
my fist clenching

nothing but material ash

oh shiva, open my eyes sealed by
beholding the “Plan”

my hands wail, they pound futile rage,
but all that is left is suffocating ash, a strangle of fear.

run! shiva has swept through here.
run for your life. run until you collapse in the horror stilled by the dissolution
and stand in it, melting like ice in fire

stand in the loss, in the center of it all, in the calm eye of the hurricane
release my false grip

travel through shiva’s eyes where destruction offers a path, that if taken
shows the soul beyond the pointless grasp, false security

aparagraha

shiva, destroyer
cut the cords to my grasp of that which is not my soul

leave only the cinders of what never belonged to me
force my hand open to lay on my heart
embrace eternal heart beat

let what has been taken
blow away in the winds

leaving me standing with palms open
on shiva’s purified ground.

Heart

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