Signs of life and musical adventures begin again

Phil Shiell is back with some new music. Tasty stuff!

Posted in Uncategorized

Philip Shiell with Bantaba X on Desert Suite, Teile 2+3. Awesome.


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments


The Sun hides and crystals that have piled up remain. Hidden or not, the mere presence

of his shy face sends the squirrels hurling down tree trunks and skittering

across the crusty surface of the snow. I have the window open and I hear them

scratching around in fallen leaves and scolding each other. My fingers are chilled

nearly to the bone but I leave the window open. It is a handshake between January

and me, making good on our agreement that as Time marches I roll

along with it, and together we will stump along towards Spring.

Posted in commentary, January, nature, Poetry, promise, prose, snow, Spring, Sun, time, Winter | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments


He’s got a green guitar, Emerald Isle green, and his hair is snow
white now, but his voice still rings like a Tibetan bell. I don’t care
that the decades have given him
more wisdom than he had when he made us giggle and wander. He is whole
now like an oak tree. He is bent in all the right places. He has us
all waiting for a miracle. And when it comes
if it ever comes
we’ll weep and add our voices, echoing
through the coda of humanity’s tragic history, boldly declaring
the moment we are no longer
pacing this battered cage.

Posted in adventure, appreciation, belonging, Community, compassion, Contemplations, desire, existence, freedom, immortality, mortality, peace | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

the long adventure

Stones are rounded by the caress of water, three hundred thousand years without me.

I am so small. I am so big. I am just a speck on the page of this long adventure.

To breathe in the dust of the ages and know

Everything is so sacred. Everything is…and yet is nothing. Only what we define

with our hearts, our longing, our ascent and our skittish minds.

Posted in adventure, Contemplations, desire, existence, life, Poetry, Social/Political Commentary, time | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Environmental Justice

I want to explain what “environmental justice” means to me. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency of the United States) defines it thusly:

“Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”
Sounds great.
In practice, it is the corporations (typically multinational conglomerates) that set the laws, exploit the regulations governing their business practices, and inflict their toxic means to an end upon the world we’re forced to share with them.

Too often the communities that suffer the greatest environmental hazards are those too poor to protest effectively, don’t have a tax base big enough for anybody to pay attention to, and are too stressed to worry about their environment. They have things like food and school supplies and heating bills to worry about. The quality of their air, ground water or food is pretty low on the list.
So far I’ve been talking like an American. The concept of Environmental Justice doesn’t stop at our shores. People in China are witnessing the polluting of their major cities at a level we couldn’t conceive of here in America because at least we have laws that protect us and our natural environment to a certain degree.

India is witnessing a complete erosion of a local, rural economic system that has been in place for centuries, while their government rushes to become an economic superpower on the same par as China and the US.

This race for global economic supremacy destroys communities, ravages the land, depletes natural resources at an astonishing rate, and annihilates any hope we have for maintaining balance on the planet.

Don’t take my word for it. Read. Learn.

Participate in solutions and movements and new visions for the future. What else have you got to do?

Posted in activism, America, Apathy, China, cities, Community, Corporations, Earth, economics, environment, Equality, global dominance, India, justice, pollution, rural, superpowers, systems | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

The Fun House

You wouldn’t know it from looking at the outside, but we live in a Fun House. That’s right, we do. Only the walls know what goes on when we’re not home, and they’ve managed to remain mute for nearly two decades now.

I’ll give you two examples of the fun that can be had:

First off, there isn’t a source of natural light anywhere in the house at 5am. So, when I go into the closet (always careful to close myself in so one of the cats doesn’t sneak in and hide in there the whole work day without a litter box) I carefully choose what I”m going to wear for work. Because of the light, though, I’ve frequently gotten the color scheme wrong. Let’s just say that it’s always a surprise what I’ve picked out to wear for the day, and I don’t know what that it is until I get into my office and look down. Frequently that means that what I thought was brown is actually green, and what I thought was black is actually blue, etc.

Second example: There’s always one cat out of five that has perfected talents unbeknownst to any of us. Today one of them exhibited the ability to set off a window alarm. As I plodded down the sleet covered flagstone that is my front sidewalk (with as much grace as a 99 year old), returning home from a long Monday in Hell (work), I heard a noise. “An alarm? WTF?”

Peering through the front windows, there wasn’t a cat to be seen anywhere. Normally there are at least 3 snoozing in the sun at one pair of windows, lazily gazing at me with annoyance. “Did you have to come home now and wake me up?”

Not this time. Not a fuzzball anywhere, but the window alarm was screeching merrily. Enough to drive even the cats crazy apparently. How that talented individual managed to accomplish this without the other 4 cats meowing a hairball out of him, I’m not sure. I doubt, however, that he’ll pull a stunt like that one again anytime soon.

More later. Cheers for now!

Posted in cats, humor, mundane life | Tagged , ,

Harvest Me

Fingers and toes begin like kernels of corn and pods of peas, making

the grown ones giggle and coo. I never knew any of you

when the world introduced you and you were so new. God kept count

of each inhale that brought you closer to Fate and every exhale

that propelled you closer to Heaven. I counted on my fingers

and then my toes, the number of times I found you

through the laughter of your words, hiding in the shed to ward off the rooster

or skating down the thin ice on the smallest of hills, your shoe soles

not enough to keep you rooted and upright. The hands that dug

the ditch so well that could never be promoted. The gentle man

that played cards at the firehouse, waiting for a turn at the hose.

The many that have scattered seeds that scattered seeds, or fell

where they would never germinate. Each of you will harvest me

like a fruit so ripe on the vine, a blossom that conquers Winter.

And in this way I will be yours. I will be yours as I so rarely was

since the beginning of my day.

Posted in appreciation, belonging, Community, compassion, Contemplations, family, life, love, mercy, Poetry, Respect, Responsibility, Uncategorized, Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Horizon

We go our ways, don’t we? Cut the chord, turn out

the light, change direction, lock the door. Sometimes the heart

skips a beat and before you know it your feet are clinging

to a tightrope and your hands are grabbing air. I saw you

down below, laughing. Your eyes sparkled as they always did, merry

meet and never part because you just are. There. No need

for shouts or whistles, your encouragement carried on a laugh

a hand to hide the smile that couldn’t be shuttled away.

I’ll thank you now because I’m a dolt who didn’t possess

enough sense to thank you before. You funny little court jester

not afraid to speak your truth or twinkle at twilight.

When I was up on that wire you were my horizon and I would fly

to the edge of any cloud to greet you again.

Posted in Uncategorized

What the world needs now: Trans-parency

I’m one of the lucky ones; I believe that to be true. When I was a kid, growing up in a conservative, religious household, I struggled with my sexuality. It wasn’t easy, realizing that I felt differently than what I was taught to feel. There was a lot of self loathing to work through, and no way for me to effectively communicate what I was thinking or feeling to the people closest to me.
But like I said, I’m one of the lucky ones. At least I, being born a girl, still felt like a girl and identified as a girl, even though I hated the pleated skirts and the patent leather shoes. I can’t imagine the confusion and despair and self loathing I might have felt if I’d been born transgendered.
If I had been born a girl, but felt like a boy, how hard would that have been? How much pain might I have inflicted upon myself then, or might others have inflicted upon me?
Too weird, right? Such a strange concept to most people, and not something that “normal” people choose to understand or concern themselves with. After all, those people are freaks, and most of us don’t know anybody like “them”.
The truth is that there are hundreds, thousands, ten of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people around the world that feel like they’d been born into the wrong bodies, and the pain and confusion and despair they feel are enough to make them attempt suicide an alarming rate. For transgendered people, the suicide rate is an astounding 41%.
Luckily for me I only had to tell my parents that I’m a lesbian, and despite their religious beliefs they showed me love and support and embraced me. That was hard enough. I can’t imagine struggling with gender issues and having to muster the courage to tell them about that.
Why the hell am I posting this? Because my heart aches for all those people out there who hate themselves and feel they are forced to live a lie. Who feel trapped in a body they despise, and have been assigned a gender they don’t feel is their own. The brave ones who choose to live the way they feel risk losing everything, including their lives.
Trans people go into prostitution at a very high rate because they have difficulties finding work otherwise. This puts them at a very high risk for violence, sexual assault and murder. Those are worst case scenarios, of course. Daily living, for openly trans people, is wrought with discrimination from all corners: health care professionals, police, landlords, employers, family and community members.
I’m bringing this up to shine a spotlight in my very small way, in the hope that someday being transgendered will carry no more stigma than having red hair.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments