10 December 2014

Love, Bob & Susan

It's all a great loss

But the greater loss

is not wanting to have

a world without your dad

I've never been in

this world

without him
James Anthony Koller Jr.
30 May 1936 - 10 December 2014


I want only blue sky over me.
I want the clouds, so many
of them, variations, passing,
changing as they pass.

I want the blackest nights
filled with turning stars.
I want birds to find me,
want the hot breath of animals.

The wind too shall pass,
on its way to places
I have been.

                                            30 Nov 95
                                            Battle Mountain

from Cirrelda Snider-Bryan

here is another photo from that June of 2006 time in New Mexico … along the walk we found this sculpture
solidarnösc, cirrelda

from Richards Burhoe

From Patsy to Jim

Dearest Jim,
almost 50 years of knowing you
loving you
missing, greeting, apart,together
connecting, missing again and again
don't know where to start
can't get arms around you not there
not here
your voice
that precious voice on the phone
instantly making me smile
all is forgiven
all is just right

all the letters
later the emails,
filled with your narratives,
your poems

we married others,
had our children with others;
this was how it was
some things are never completed.
now you are getting ready to fly away
this is how it is

all who love you are trying to let you go,
to cheer you,bless you on your journey
I know I should too.
Am working on it.
For now am sending you all love
on every sparkling channel
I can dial in:
love to you
and to your dear family, encircling you.

In the woods I looked up,
saw two Flickers high in a tree.
Watched them a while.
Suddenly one took flight.
There was a little pause,
then the other flew after.
They were calling to each other.

Love, Peter Coyote


Shrouded in coast fog, the chitter
of Nuthatch and Junco
crisp as a  shaman’s rattle. All morning
late plums drum my garden
steps. I am mixing my mother’s ashes
with birdseed, elbow-deep
in a galvanized pail.
I am swishing the whispering
seed with ghostly flour
ground in the flower-blue bell
of the crematorium’s roar
pollinating each grain
with her smoky voice, the ghost
of her elegant pearls.

Plunging my hands into the seed
her flesh a gritty surprise
more sand than smoke.

The seed, the chaff, the hazing vapor
stirs memory --a downy puff dusting her angled cheek
the glow of her in a child’s eyes---
the scented fog,wobbling motes
                              hopping, waiting, head-cocked birds and songs
flow through my fingers,
ticking into the tinned tub

These powdery seeds offered
to couriers carrying her
through the dilated iris of the sky
rustle the tips of the grass,
slough off her exhausted flesh,
with acrobatic abandon
and detachment.

Rising from this meld of future and past
my spooky hands.                                         
August 17, 1999  revised 2003, 8-14-2013, 03-24-14


Lethal Grain
                                  for Daniel Pearl

Insoluble grit stimulates nacre
shielding tender oyster flesh from pain
creating the splendor of a pearl.
Suffering is lodged in the heart of beauty.

Conducting an interview
he never suspected the story
featured his assassin. A few quick strokes
sketched a plum-colored tulip of his throat.

Wide-eyed at the final instant
did he understand
the debt of red-ink pooling in his lap?
His head drops like a petal.

The camera he assumed would guarantee
a ransom, scooped him.
He became the last editions
of himself. He became:

“the Jew”, “the Journalist”, “the American”
and finally “the Patient”
in a straight-to-video snuff film.
Had he no notion that he would be held
responsible for the deaths to which others

had signed his name? No notion that rocks for
the Jews of Nablus and Ramallah were also pitched
at him? The ‘doctors’ struggling to vanquish
foreign disease mock his wife

compound bitter ironies from gall,
 inoculate their own hearts against remorse
 with homeopathic doses of their own
dismembered wives and children.

They cannot claw pilots from the sky
 so slice this Pearl
 or whatever they can catch.
 Feed it to their God, Kalashnikoff.

 The robed men milk poppies--  
calculate his life an overdue bill
resent the shade he casts on the goat
they’ve staked for slaughter. Their parched lips
calculate goat and reporter equal.

And the pearl is passed from hand to hand
the hand of the giver shadows for an instant
the hand of the receiver, passing
the darkness with the gift— the sharp-edged grain

disguised, transmitted through time
as an accumulating viral load.

                                                Feb. 25, 2002
                                                rev. April 14, 2014


Earth is a Woman, Sure
Earth is a woman, sure
but most beautiful when
she weeps. Tears shining, falling
from fluttering ravens lashed
to the cheeks of the sky.
Soot-streaked hills
softened by mist and stinging rain
the cries of wild geese singing
                     Avalokiteshvara’s pity for the passing world.
And you who know me well
who question my proclivity
for women in perpetual shade
hiding their flesh from the sun,
Beside the mystery of myself
I can only add that tears
are the heart’s juice, some balm
against the diamond chill
 of beauty.


A young boy safe in the fragrant loft
of a tin-roofed barn, wrapped
in the blanket sheltering his sleeping father
from the fury pelting the roof—  
the heaving flank of mountain--   his chest--  
an unusual comfort.

                                                                        April 25, 2014


The Dogs of Bucharest

The dogs of Bucharest are dusted
with crumbled mansions, ash
of red flags. They doze
in ruined dreams abandoned
by their masters. They bark
whelp and die without
plan or permission. Occasionally,
like thinkers, like poets,
they are rounded up
and shot.

A bitch with flapping teats
haunts the ruined foundry
where I film an entertainment
for my country.
This feral dog eyes the roll I proffer
trembles, intention whittled
to a point. The whimpering
pups beneath a wrack of ruined iron
cannot soften her stiff legged fear.

Sad and sooty sumacs,
tattered sorrel, small luminous, lavender flowers
conquer the twisted rubble
vanquish the iron track.
Seed, stem, and  bramble
trump the stained concrete
trump all, except
the gnawing hunger of the dogs.

                                    June 26, 2004


Hunting Rubies
Empty even of hunger
the bones of your heels
are restless to leave the rail.
Loss is in the air
and underfoot.
A cord has snapped.

My love once sought
her rubies in the deep pile
of our scarlet carpet.

Eyes shadowed by loss,
Owl’s keen sight piercing the dark
She anticipates the finish
where pavement and clear sailing end
and her feet will seek mercy
between the stones.

My beloved,
my hands too are empty
dusted only with the pollen of your body.
Can you not follow my tracks
to where I’ve dried and stored the corn?

“You give me champagne and I’m starving.”

Has all of me been refused?
Have I stolen your portion of the bee’s gold--   
the bird’s songs from your throat?
Have I taken the best of you?

Oh, wait! Please just wait!
Can’t you see how feverishly
I am tying feathers.
to your arms?               
             June 30, 2008
            rev. April 14,2014 


The Dogs of Bucharest II

Romanian dogs have drum-tight skin.
Hearts slap the ribs drumming loss
through jungles of ruined concrete.
Heads down, clustered like jackals
scanning the broken streets
they are afraid of men.

American dogs shine like gold.
Are sleek with oil, have energy
confidence to burn.
They have vitamins in their feed
by law, are better fed
than  our own poor.

                                    June 26, 2004
                                     rev. July 11, 2014

Love, Ida

With his sons. 2000.

from Stefano Panzarasa

Noi cambiamo per mantenere tutto il resto uguale

Corvi riempiono l’albero, si alzano
Uno ad uno, pesanti, insieme
Ondeggiano neri attraverso il blu
Si posano, uno ad uno
Insieme, riempiono l’albero senza foglie

Io accendo sei candele
Candele bianche su un piatto bianco

Se cervi, neri sulla neve, le loro corna tese
Si voltano verso di me, & falchi
Volteggiano in alto, cielo blu
I cervi non si muovono

I tuoi capelli sono diventati piume di gazza

from Ana in Turkey

Amare la dade lu, kai san and-o ćèros!
Te sfintzil pes tirro anav!
Te avel tirri ïmpäräcìa!
Te kerel pes tirri vòia,
Sar si and-o ćèros kadiă, vi p-i phuv!
Amaro děsutno manro
De les amen aděs!
Thai iertisar amenghe amare bezeha
Sar vi amen iertisaras äl bezeha e amare bezăhalenghe.
I Thai na ingăr amen and-i ispita,
Thai skäpisar amen e nasulestar!

09 December 2014

Love, Joan Perkins

Love, Bob & Susan

                                                                                                                by alec mcleod

from Susan

2 winters in the green house
            I remember when I unknowingly said to you:
            "If you don't like me, leave me alone", and then
             you did not.
             I remember living in your green house where there was little
             difference between the out and the in,
             the pans and the bells hanging from the trees in the woods
             Reading by the stove in a room closed against the cold
             by worn blankets tacked to the door frames
             You told me that I would be Buddhist, and now your photo
              will be on the altar, and your friends will be there
              It doesn't surprise me
              Thank you for helping me along the way.  Here is a blazing sun for you.

Love, Joan

Love, Thea Koller

A few months ago, I was skyping with Dad and he read me this poem. He teared up in the middle of it and his voice cracked. Thinking back on that, it falls in place that we are now in the MidWest, and that all of this happened while he was on a road trip with those engines running.

Untitled - 1987

The real world stretches between mountains.
Big rivers run through it.
On summer nights it is lighted by fireflies.
In the real world
small towns are filled with kids eating icecream.
Their moms wear cotton dresses
and talk of the children to come.
(I hear laughter as the sun goes down)
Late at night after the kids are asleep
there is cold apple pie and hot black coffee.
(I smell the gasoline - hear the engines running
engines that never stop
that run from mountains to mountains
out over the flat land
through the dark nights
over the steel big river bridges
through the blinking fireflies)
The real world is one I've carried within me -
forty years gone by and the engines still turn
and the wheels they drive still turn and drive me
and carry me through these summer nights
(I hear the women in their cotton dresses laughing)
and there will never be another world
quite the same.

from Agnes ( a Greek friend in Geneva)

Agnes held a poetry reading of Dad's at her house near Gex, France in 2003. Words from her now, on 9 December 2014:

"I am now close to the North Pole - best place to be- and saw the Aurora borealis. 
I send him the magnificent light dantelles -pinkish - which I see in the  skies."

North Central College, 1958

Jim, good morning. It's me, fortuna

from Rita Degli Esposti - gorgonzola, gnocchi in the Grotto

"you can't eat gorgonzola every day"

"I do"

08 December 2014

Ida's altar

Ah, Jim ~ love, Bob & Susan

message to Jim from Alba

Dear Jim,
   Here I am in our new house.  It's full of boxes.  I hope you're feeling better and better.

Jim with his friend Giuseppe Moretti a Bologna (Italy) in 2010

From Dianella with love

Love, Roseanne Rogosin

Dear Jim,
we want you back in Pavia as soon as possible. Take care!


Thoughts about grandpa from Otis Koller

I miss my Grandpa very much! I wish I was there with him and everyone that is there! He is the best Grandpa ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!       

with lots of love otis


07 December 2014

Love, Theadora Koller

Dad always loved this photo of the Sami, since it reflects family. It reminds me a bit of us here in Joplin. It also reminds me of all of you - his blood family and his wider family - connected online. What a family he has...

love, Jessie Koller Miles

here are some pics you may or may not have
the two hands are maggie & dad during the chrismas visit O took that one & while over exposed is one of my faves
the one at grandmas was right after she passed
I think we all have the xmas one
dad me & Will during a visit to ca in 2009
if I find any others I will send them along most are packed or lost forever but I will see what I find
Love you all

Love, Peg Swift

A photo of the corn that Jim and I grew on Back River, Georgetown, that still hangs on the wall of my house, now close to 40 years later, and his poem. You can use this for the blog, if you wish. Love, Peg


If I weed & I water
If I weed & I water
& the drought don't get you
then the corn worm will

If I weed & I water
If I weed & I water
& the coons don't get you
then the blackbirds will


medicine buddha from Peg Swift

a poem by Jaime de Angulo

she came into my dream
tall and young
with hair of gold 
and glaucous eyes
and she made love to me

thank you my dear thank you
but why make love to an old man why

i am death
she said

i waited for you these many years
and now i will take you to my home among the swinging stars
where the atoms dance their saraband and numbers become real
where there is no time no space no joy no pain
only that which is
serene … come, my love

tall and young 
with hair of gold
and glaucous eyes
she made love to me


love, Bertie

from Leslie Hoffman

Jim - so so much to say, but it is that sparkly eye i wish i could see again. been much too long.

did we all learn to talk, laugh and cry at the same time from you? oh my, what a gift to have shared. i am doing it with you from afar, but in reverse order now.



Peter Berg and Stefan Hyner
Crossing the river Rhine
Spring '98

traveling thoughts to Jim from J.D. Whitney


birdfeet point
the way--
                 3 toes
front &
1 back
Roadrunner wants
2 & 2
But can't
bring herself to
             he can
ways at once.

Jim's Poem - from Stefan Hyner

Fire built up, I step
new snow between my toes,
out, quiet night, under huge pine,
wonder, how many, right now
piss in the snow.
There are no beginnings
& no end. It is written
in yellow snow

                                for Nanao

(app. Winter1984
from: Great Things are Happening)

from Shannon Rose Riley

Here’s how it is, old crow man.
You float high above me.
There are some things I know about you now, so listen.

Each from Illinois,
we both played accordion (or did I make that up?)…
You read your first poem the year I was born;
your first novel was Shannon, Who was Lost Before.
But now I’m found.

And I found you in Georgetown, Jim.
Endless conversation around kitchen tables,
moss fern cold stone photographs.

When we saw each other, we would cry.
Talk while laughing, tears in our eyes.
Intensely holding each other there:
a shared custody of luminous liquid light.

We made appropriate ritual, friend,
and today, in your honor, my voice cried out;
I know you heard it.

Thank you coyote, old crow man.
You know the way home--
just fly one time over my head before you go.

Shannon Rose Riley
For James Koller, December 6, 2014, Chicago