Flowers in the Cracks

The Flowers in the Cracks
Express the joy of renewal of our spirits
With beauty, truth, and love

The Flowers in the Cracks
Is a cultural arts program
Celebrating the renewal of our spirits and communities

Thursday, July 23, 2015



Saturday, September 11, 2010

I did not forget

I did not.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I will never forget.

never will.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Salvation

Here’s a poem I wrote today. May you all enjoy St. Valentine’s Day.


Forestry of Hair

The flowers have been neatly trimmed
Brown stems and more buds going grey
The hedgerow below has been severely cut back
Made pleasing again with a fair even level

The canopy supposed to keep the light dimmed
Has faded and thinned in foliage display
Yet sprouts here and there require a huge hack
Grown so random as to confuse even the devil

What a mess was my garden, and so overgrown!
Yet now it's been trimmed, raked and clipped
Weight of the undergrowth reduced by a ton
Trunks rescued from dangling debris

Fresh on my face is the winter wind blown
As stray weeds are gathered and snipped
The gardener tisking at the task so undone
At last pleased by the sight of the tree

This forestry of hair I submit to fair teasing
To be made dapper for decorative display
All done in hopes to make myself pleasing
For possible venture this Valentine's Day

Yet where is my truest gardener to tend me in life
Who would submit her lush flowers in becoming my wife?

12 February 2009

Copyright © 2009 Peter Corless

Saturday, February 07, 2009


Music pumps in my blood
Quarter notes amongst the corpuscles
Driving beats of heart like drums
Feeling lyrics liquid in my muscles

Music floods in my ears
Whole songs parsed in manic minutes
Ballads muttered and bridge hums
Dancing irrationals and belting infinites

Music flows through my soul
Half-listened to and too much forgotten
Gaining interest with compound sums
Beautifully wrought or misbegotten

Chaos and beauty wrestle in my ears
Yet music remains after all these years

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Flower Bedtime Story

Once upon a time
There were three little flowers.
A red rose,
A bluebell,
And a yellow marigold.
The red rose loved the bluebell.
They paid all sorts of attention to each other.
Yet this made the marigold feel left out.
Because the other two flowers ignored it.
Then came along a bee.
The bee couldn't get close to the rose or the bluebell
Because they were face-to-face with each other.
So the bee made friends only with the marigold.
The marigold was happy to have a bee for a friend.
In time, the marigold made more of its own kind.
Suddenly there were many, many little marigolds
To keep it company.
Yet the rose and the bluebell,
Because they ignored the bee
Had to wait a season
Before the bee came back
And became their friend too!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rockaway in December

Ilona posted a photograph on Facebook. Quite a stunning image. (Please let me know if you cannot see the Facebook link.)


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Flowers for Barack

The man of the moment
Who moved the stakes in the ground
The new face in a new race
Won the road to the White House

Radio filled with sagacious comment
Groundswell of support welled up all around
Now the nation has done a complete about-face
Moving forward again in grace without grouse

We, the majority minority vote
Sixty-three million united in strength
November night souls now each in full bloom
Brought together assembled to share without fear

Today is a day of historical note
For flowers to soak up the sun in full length
We are the blossoms overflowing the room
Enraptured and raising our faces in cheer

Yet for fifty-six million we also honor their voice
Those who chose different for various reasons
For these too are our brothers and sisters in nation
With whom we shall have to forge our new fates

Thus we celebrate everyone each in their own choice
Winners and also-rans waiting for their own seasons
America is a bouquet made of rich compilation
Of spirits united from all fifty states

Whether you’re from a red state or maybe a blue
When united we stand, all America wins
This achievement calls us all onto the field to play
To make further advance of human emancipation

We’ve traveled so far, yet have more to do
Today is the day when the future begins
So wherever you are this November day
Enjoy this multicultural celebration

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I met Niloufar Talebi in Mountain View, California on 9 October 2008. She spoke at Books, Inc. that Thursday night. The night of Thor, god of thunder. Before going to Mountain View I had just met a used car salesman, a friendly and nice guy named Ali, at Saturn of Stevens Creek, who is Iranian by heritage, yet actually Christian. Though he is Christian, his parents had given him the Muslim name Ali as a child to avoid persecution in Iran. I suggested to Ali to drop by Books, Inc., and headed up to listen in.

I had also invite another Iranian acquaintance to the event, Monir. She was unable to make it. She is studying very hard at school and thus did not get my message until after the reading was concluded. Yet I was there for her. I bought an extra copy of Belonging, signed by Niloufar, for my friend Monir.

After the poetry reading was done, Niloufar, myself, and another Iranian gentleman went for Mongolian Barbeque. We spoke about her new life in New York City. How one cannot leave their door without spending $100 or more. Between taxis, cleaners, shopping, and so on. Some friends, she was saying, spend more like $500. I don’t doubt it. NYC can be very expensive. So can Mountain View. Any place in the country can now be expensive with gas somewhere between $4.50 - $5.00 a gallon.

Yet rather than focus on the typical issues of Iran—Muslim politics, the price of oil, and geopolitics—we shared stories far more personal. We spoke more of universal culture and arts that bind the peoples of the American and Iranian nations together commonly as humans. The emotions and experiences of love, of loss, of longing, of enlightenment, are true regardless of the languages we speak.

It was then a double-privilege of mine to go see Niloufar perform in ICARUS/RISE at the Red Poppy Art House, along with Bobak Salehi, Jeff Stott and a dashing Iranian “playboy of the western world,” whose face I can see yet whose name escapes me presently.

For various reasons, my mind was a mix of emotions, focused mostly on love and loss. The red poppy is the symbol of the dead of World War I. The symbol of Armistice Day. This will be the 90th Anniversary of the end of World War I on November 11, 2008.

Furthermore, I had just come away from a memorial service for my friend Jeff Tibbets, whose wife Stephanie Tibbets recently past away at the beginning of October.

So it was somewhat natural for me to shed some tears at the beautiful poetry. Filled with images of the Phoenix, references to flowers here and there. Lemons and oranges. Celebrating what was seen, or acknowledging being ignored. Yet this was not a night to be ignored! It was an awesome performance. Followed by a good late-night discussion at Cha-cha-cha late into the night.

I believe if we listened to the poets of the world more, we would have a far greater appreciation for the cultures we are currently fearful of. War would evaporate as an option if we saw the world through their eyes. For many in the Iranian international community long to see their homeland again. Intact. As beautiful as it was when they departed for foreign lands. As intact, or better off, as they reflect upon it today.

This poem is written in context for those who wish to reflect upon World War I. This, the upcoming 90th Anniversary of the end of the “War to End All Wars.” It is also in recognition of those who suffered on all sides in the horrific and costly Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988, which, through its deadly use of chemical weapons and trench warfare, mirrored the older, prior war in far too many ways. It is in recognition of those who strive now to live in peace, and seek to make peace the norm of the Iranian experience. Above all, it is especially for my inspiring new sister-in-the-arts, Niloufar.

My sincere thanks for all the musicians and poets involved in the making of Icarus/Rise. It was a truly marvelous and moving experience for me.

The Red Poppy shed its life for the fallen flower of England
This San Francisco potted soil for fair English-speaking Persian
Music in the dark hole of soul plucked by passionate hand
Light combined with voices raised to forge fantastical immersion

Icarus climbed the sky
Upon his father's waxwork wings
The music groaned a birthing sigh
Bowed and plucked from strings

Then rise to join the souls aloft in aerobatic mirth
Landscapes of silky black and brown and hazelnut
Survey the skin and hair the hues of richest earth
Crestfall then at the news of Icarus' tragic scuttlebutt

Daedalus flew the middle way
Neither fully safe nor all endangered
Music sweet and bitter ended day
A love and longing deep engendered

Thus is how I came to be now an honored brother of Iran
When me, a man of Mountain View, shared imagery with a woman from Tehran
Onwards to adventure!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Out of the Darkness Community Walk

Help support Peter’s walk Out of the Darkness

Donate Now!
• Pete’s Calendar:

Out of the Darkness is helping people regain a sense of calm, levity, and normalcy for those at risk of suicide.

Sponsor Peter in the Walk!

September 27, 2008
Crissy Field, San Francisco, CA

• Check-in 8:45 AM
• Walk begins 10:00 AM

• VIP Speaker: Senator Tom Torlakson
• Emcee: John Sasaki, KTVU (Fox 2)
• Diamond Media Sponsor: KTVU (Fox 2)
• Sponsors: John Muir Behavioral Health, Palo Alto Medical Foundation, UCSF

Each year, people commit suicide when they lose all faith, all hope, all enthusiasm. Interests and cares do not drive them to greater things. They burden them down with such weight that every day is a struggle. Very little is simple, calming, content, sweet or joyful. Very little ameliorates the pains, angst, ennui or dissolution they feel. All is dark: life, themselves, their loved ones, their fellow beings, the world, the spiritual and divine, the mundane and daily. They feel lost, or they have lost everything that mattered, or the causes and purpose of their life have been lost or defeated.

Even then, there is hope.

Even then, there can be flowers in the cracks.

Even then, life, and the joy of life, can be restored and renewed.

This is the mystery of love, and the mystery of the human spirit.

Help me raise funds and awareness on behalf of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), so we can lead others Out of the Darkness.

Help, by your donations, to lead others back to the light. Give so we can help restore that sense of a fruitful, content, productive existence, so they can eventually be once again filled with enthusiasm, joy and love.

“A friend in need is a friend indeed!”

Given the immediate and present crises around the world and here at home — especially during these economically and politically unstable days — it is vital that you give to this cause.

You may never know who is contemplating suicide:

• A family member.
• A relative.
• A friend.
• A neighbor.
• The person who sits next to you at school, at work, or at your place of worship.

Either that, or you do know someone. It may even be you, yourself.

Get help today!
• If you are in crisis, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Poppies, And The Flower of England

I wrote a post for the Legio X Fretensis blog, “Poppies, And the Flower of England” which directly applies to the artistic themes of Flowers in the Cracks.

It also applies the Global Understanding movement, and the issues it wishes to address between 9/11 and 11/11 of this year, 2008.

More on that another time.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Marrakesh Mint Green Tea

Server: Purnima
September 14, 2008
Done: 3:32 pm

One walks into Zucca and they are in Paris
Which is strange when one can see Mountain View beyond
The music curls around your body like a cat
Sleek and black and furry
When one dines here they dine a le monde

The mint and the pepper both burn as they soothe
The echoes of the kitchen provide percussion and clatter
The pluck of guitar and the clarinet smooth
Improvisationally accompanies the brunch on the platter

I sit here in bliss as I eat the sweet citrus
The waitstaff converse about both life and work
The siren in French sings with soft voice like a mistress
I’m a voyeur upon a grander life in which I merely lurk

The lovely Slavic princess calls me then
And I step back into the street
We talk about homecomings and make plans for when
We’ll have some time for leisure to once again meet

She’s been around the world while I’ve been just milling here
Sitting in Mountain View in the heart of the Valley
My mind whirling on the American Dream so dear
As I speak on the phone looking at trash cans in the alley

Then with gentle and laughing “Ciaos!” we part in mind
Her to her recuperation and me to my scrambled eggs
I return inside, my virtual Paris to find
“What is real, what simulation?” my confused heart begs.

They chat about true troubled psyches
As I sip my Marrakesh Mint Green Tea
About men and power like feminine Nikes
Victorious women fully independent and free

I hold in my fingers the tag of Mighty Leaf
The Green Knight alone at Zucca’s stone bar
And I reflect how the atmosphere in my heart steeps
Saturating my being like being bathed in a star

Light and pure, truly restoring my soul
Feeding more than belly already sated
Leaving me a bit closer to a sense of being whole
Pondering now what future is fated

The cars and the trees and pedestrians now
Reflect on to me the call of Outside
Yet the quietest conversations of waitresses somehow
Holds me fast to the place like a gravitational tide

Drifting in time as exotic music arabesques
Swirling around my ears as brunch disappears
Celebrating the world free of work tied to desks
Relaxing as women’s chatter flows past my ears

The time for all words is now nearing end
They are insufficient to capture the moment
The taste of the eggs and the beat of the drum send
Harmonic perfection beyond further comment

Copyright © 2008 Peter Corless

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lunch at Hobee’s 9/11/2008

Three people by the window talk about town
The bicyclist in blue near the back
The delivery guy with the big box in brown
The beautiful music from small speakers in black

Today is 9/11, though you wouldn’t know it here
Mexicanos serve with a smile or shy grin
Sipping ice tea in comfort without worry or fear
To enjoy life again is natural, not sin

The patter of music and the soft pats of butter
The soup and the salad, the orange in slices
The bills and the thank yous, and do you want another?
The words and the tones and the light and the spices

“Hasta luego,’ mi amigas y amigos
Enjoy a new day unlike the ones prior
I am free to enjoy however the day goes
To raise my sights and to raise my prayers higher

To ceiling, where plants hang along with a banner
“Fast, fresh and friendly,” a motto for life
To consider a life lived in civilized manner
Enjoying a brunch without worry or strife

Crescendo the symphony in placid release
Then start a new movement in lyrical vein
Take a deep breath and now exhale in peace
Step into the sunlight o cross tracks for the train

May you all find a Hobee’s to nourish the heart
And a flower in the cracks to inspire your art.

Copyright © 2008 Peter Corless

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Flowers in the Cracks / Global Understanding - Take Pictures on September 11, 2008

A long post. A good post, I pray.

Peace be unto you all!


Thursday, September 04, 2008

The American Dream

This weekend, the first movie influenced by the Flowers in the Cracks will enter production: The American Dream.

Tune in to to keep abreast of production developments. This short film will be comprised of an all-volunteer army of cast and crew.

Yes, it is happening.



Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Flowers all over the place!

I recently have been exposed to tons of flowers bounding out of the cracks.

The San Mateo County fair had oodles of them. An army of pretty, sedate, calming blooms and vases of Ikebana, specifically Ikenobo.

The College of San Mateo had a lecture of their particular flower arranging aesthetics. I sat on a bench in front of the Homeland Security booth advertising the services for agricultural import safety and customs inspection, and listened to a placid discussion on how to snip flowers in the crisp and precise way to please the eye and sooth the soul.

It was after this experience, that lovely day I wandered with Jodi Shepard & Son & Daughter at the County Fair, got a ticket for the Al Yankovic concert, and wrote my poem for our departed friend Terry Young, that life bloomed for me in so many ways.

Yet life was not being as fruitful for other friends of mine. The brother of a dear friend of mine had been, unbeknownst to me, suffering from cancer. I caught up with my friend and her family recently. This includes my friend, her son, her brother and his wife. A small family faced with a big challenge. Liver cancer.

It wasn't time for theoretical ideals any more. I knew this man. I know what this means to my friends. I can feel it in my own skin. I know what it felt like when my own mother was diagnosed with cancer, and we were facing the treatments. I had to take some days off before writing about this because this is serious.

Right now, I still await to hear word about the surgery my friend's brother, hence, my friend, was planned to undergo. If all went as planned, he's recovering. Yet it will take time to discover whether the cancer is in recession or not.

As it stood on those days after I first learned he was sufferering, I just knew two things: 1) people who have hope to survive stand a far better chance of pulling through and 2) I was going to give my friend every hope to hold on for the sake of his family. His loved ones.

Right now, my two Ree Slocum prints, the first of the brilliant orange California Poppies (with some dazzling azure flowers interspersed) and the second of the subtle purplish-to-blue Blue Peter, are on loan to my friend's family. They need these beautiful flowers more than I do. They can look down on my buddy, and say, “It's alright. You rest up. No need to water us. We're just pictures. We'll watch over you as you watch us."

Yet I also went to Fleurty, on Central Avenue, right next to Hobee's, to get some good flowers. Arranged. Tina and I considered the seriousness of the situation. I was near in tears at times. My voice caught and squeaked a bit.

I asked for the Gladiola (pl. gladioli, Latin). Because they are the “sword flower.” From the same Latin that we get gladius and gladiator from. Swords and swordsmen. Because the sword represents insight — cutting through to see what is inside. Like the doctor’s scalpel on his cancer. And because this guy is in for the fight of his life. I wanted the gladioli not to be funereal, as they sometimes are, but triumphant. A masculine return to their meaning.

Next was the rose. To represent love. Love of this man, my friend, even if I met less times in my life than there are fingers on one hand. Because I know how much he means to his sister. Because I know how much his sister means to me as a friend. And how close this family is to each other. This is the war of love over despair.

Finally, the chrysanthemum. These were light green-gold. Lighter green than limes. Somewhere between yellow lemons and lime green. Delicate, curled in on themselves. They symbolize a form of ever-blooming life: “optimism and joy.” I knew they were the symbol of a fictional imperial family, from Legend of the Five Rings. I did not know until I read this right now:
“A symbol of the sun, the Japanese consider the orderly unfolding of the chrysanthemum’s petals to represent perfection, and Confucius once suggested they be used as an object of meditation. It’s said that a single petal of this celebrated flower placed at the bottom of a wine glass will encourage a long and healthy life.”

If that's the case, I’ll get my friend some more of these precious pompom flowers!

If you’d like to get more flowers from Tina:

2320 Central Expressway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Tell them “I read about you on Flowers in the Cracks.”

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Balls of furry.

Bees are furry little yellow balls full of energy. And I can prove it to you.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Black and white.