“Back Into Music” Notes

is a eulogy for Richard’s beloved blood brother and infinite friend James Stark Smith. Jim was his brother in law, business partner, mentor in the recording studio, and creative sounding board. Richard describes him as,”The smartest, most loving human I ever knew.”  They became friends in 1965.  Their friendship grew like a weed until 2015 when Jim stepped off the earth.  Richard considers one of his greatest honors to be that “Back Into Music” was read at his gravesite.  He says, “I miss Jim all day long every day.”

Back Into Music

The vast land
with no surface or sky,
language or edges,
inhales life
and exhales mystery.
We pontificate,
pray and supplicate,
wage love and war
on men, women and children
in the name of the owner
of this ephemeral turf.

In the end
all warriors and oratory,
lovers and poets
get inhaled,
all debate snorted
like snuff particles.


I watched my most beloved friend,
My shams, my R. Waldo Emerson, my St. Peter
vanish over the horizon this morning
into the invisible.
There is only a smoky ring now
where there once was a human giant.
Only an echo
of the beloved song,
still ringing in the dumbstruck, shattered window.
Our symphonies all race
to this coda,
these last few notes
that empty the mind
leaving the concert hall
in quiet reverence,
tears sliding
into our beards, our stillness.
We are too stricken to applaud.
With time,
we all leave the concert
one by one
with our tidy umbrellas and jackets,
throw open the great ornate concert hall doors
and enter that vast land
with no surface
or sky
where we all turn
into music.

6 Feb 2015

Written on Richard’s most beloved friend, Jim Smith’s Graduation Day – the day he passed through the veil.


“In The New Garden” Notes

This is a poem from the hyper effervescent Jukebox era – 2010. Richard wrote the poems and (with his over heated mind) soon concluded that they needed context, so he created a ‘Greek play of sorts’ to frame them – or make them more understandable to non poetry addicts. We’re hoping soon to create a book – The Divine Jukebox – which contains both the raw poems and the ‘greek play.

The Jukebox poems have drawn praise from both renown scholars and  famous poets.  “One of the finest love poems I’ve ever read,” Daniel Mark Epstein.  You can find more quotes in the “References For Richard’s Writing” link on the Writing page


In The New Garden

miracle made flesh,
flesh made miraculous.
i love turning you into manna,
throwing you out on the hot desert floor
and watching you sprout
thunder and day lilies.
love studying your valleys
teeming with painted turtles
and rich, red, dripping with dew tulips,
the still waters where King David
found resurrection
and poems beyond language.
love the frankincense you exude
you cathedral of flesh
you with the swinging smoking thurible,
high priestess in her holy robe.
love putting my hand up to your flame,
your beeswax honey flame
burning in the dark high holy chamber,
lighting you like a votary candle
in a nook off to the side
where Mexicans pray
unintelligible Nuestro Padres,
old women wax poetic
polishing dented, oxidized histories
with Christ compounds,
and children drop quarters
just to play with fire
and watch.

Truth is, we are the Magi
and the Messiah is love itself.
we offer our rubies of light
to the invisible baby in the funky birthing barn,
cow dung, straw and the occasional diamond.
ourselves, our rays, our suns
careening, yelping through clouds
and creation itself.
there should be no shame
in transubstantiation.
every human alive buys into this church,
these altars, these vast cathedrals
of electricity and blood.
there is irrational shame
but there are no atheists in this faith.
we are holy books,
it’s all in how you read us.
we are poetry
occasionally escaping from pages
of drab, distracting

in making you holy
i light the alchemist’s fire,
burning the tired, mortal flesh
in the crusty retort of language
under sustained high heat
until the profane, the fallen Eve
emerges as light,
more beautiful than eyes can behold,
radiant bonfire, exquisite sanity,
transfigured flesh.
most would turn away
but I gape at you
Shekinah, Saraswati,
Holy Mary, birther of living metaphors,
Mother of Eternity.
Soma, I call you.

i have found the Garden of Eden.
come! let us enjoy apples
and this new beginning
of civilization.
this is all new,
this union of estranged polarities
in the holy land
of Words.

i am a son of creation
a humble servant
at the banquet of gods
building this garden
for you.
don’t tarry
in confusion.
that’s where the snakes
come from.