March 2021

The dog loves you, clearly. You are the one whose door she sleeps in front of. You stare into her eyes and rub her ears against her skull.

She ended up on the love seat next to you tonight laying pointedly on your thigh. Her gleaming fangs shone at attention. Her eye looked at you, wide to the whites.

You stuck your finger behind her fangs to tease her. She sighed and sneezed.

I did not tell you that I buried a mostly whole cat today. Shook to death with a rip down the neck below the chin…


When I heard on the radio that Lawrence Ferlinghetti had died on this day 22022021 I was driving and I knew just what to do to extend him further. I noticed things. The blackberry tendrils in the unkempt city space by which I was stopped awaiting a light. The sound of two streets, one an interstate street, crossing each other. The debris of this intersection, exposed rebar tendrils in mid-air over spare sky where an old gas station now a detail shop

Where you must buy details for your too vague life

Clings next to our newest spur of the…


Joel Barker

February 2021

Showing the blanket by tearing the blanket,
I am the first one that crossed that field.

I am the one that walked mute past the sleeping geese,
leaving them still where the snow cradled them.

Last night as this whole thing started,
from the overlook of a little used street I looked down on The Interstate.

Their powerful down-facing lights
cut a pie slice of South-churning chaos.

I watched and my fingers grew cold from the watching.

This morning from the bridge each bank was new drawn by the
incomplete snow.

I turned North to take…


I am asking for the vote of my fellow Multnomah Democratic Party PCPs.

When the pandemic hit, the volunteers of MultDems were ramping up the critical work of the 2020 election. We had to win, so we had to swerve. Every committee, every volunteer, stepped up with commitment and creativity.

Lover of dogs big and small, runner, writer, and pretty fun to have a cup of coffee with. Curiously rather bad at Scrabble.

As the Communications Officer, my job was to support and help bring to life these ideas. We did. Video candidate forums. Contact-less voter registration. Over 90,000 slate cards dropped for neighbors.

We have learned how important being open and accountable is to building coalition. …


Today, Christmas 2020, is a dark time for me and for so many. There are no decorations in my life today. All the normal traditions have been scrapped as they require being in person, traveling, eating together, and all these other activities that put people in danger this year.

I am not happy about it. I am in a pretty serious funk. My poor darling Steph is stuck dealing with me in this terrible mood.

Without all the noise of normal American Christmas, I am thinking into the vacuum left behind.

I am thinking about the first Christmas, the birth…


November 2020

The harvest can become forgotten
As we grab at the saltshaker, the fire poker, the wireless mouse,
the last-emptied bottle, the rug the door, the gun from the closet the knife from the kitchen.
The torn apart calendar that marked the moons and days crossing,
grabbing at the plans we had as weapons run low before anger.

The harvest can become forgotten
Shortening stubble fields coffee brews and television news and ready for school
the not-worry for one thing that makes room for another.
That press of evening is forgotten. …


You know those checks you love to write? The people you love to pay because what they do matters? I got to write that check today to Green Ridge Solar. For months they have been working towards this moment when my house is generating more energy on a sunny day than it uses.

I now own my own power

I started working with Green Ridge at the beginning of the pandemic because I wanted to vote for my community and strengthen us all. Installing solar energy generation with local contractors feels like a great way to do that.

I chose well. My project was complicated by…


Department of Homeland Security is failing in its role

On August 21, 2020, the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “rebuke” of their finding, saying “DHS has not shown…either material errors of fact or law, nor has DHS provided information not previously considered….”

That makes sense, since the DHS response to the GAO finding was a decidedly ad-hominem attack to a 12 page document which cites law and precedent.

Note that the following bluster is on a government website, DHS.gov:

The Report takes the reader on a march through a marsh…the morass thickens and the water deepens, as crucial questions lurking just underneath…


This morning, while drinking this cup of coffee, I am preparing to present to a Quaker Quarterly meeting in Pennsylvania via a Zoom teleconference. They invited me to speak on the topic of digital outreach.

I have felt challenged by this invitation the moment it was extended. I reached out to trusted elders in my own Quaker community for insight and sat with it in silence. Although Pennsylvania Quakers are a foreign and intimidating unknown to me, I felt both a spiritual movement to be present for them in whatever way we find together to do so.

I know not…


From where you sit, from the socially distanced vantage point of your interet-connected home, you can collect anecdotes from history and from Italy. You can get data from China and from the CDC. You can look at the tea leaves and ascertain a possible outcome. You can be an analyst by dint of making a prediction so that you can decide how to act. It is a process of setting up imaginary dominoes from the present to an outcome. That outcome is your target.

Do you believe that you help to determine what that outcome is, or do you believe…

Joel Barker

Prefers discussion over debate. Like all people, more than one thing. Opinions expressed here are ready for transformation from new information.

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