Friday, February 20, 2015


He's feeling the last throb
Drop drop drop
Blood in his heart
Fingers on fingers
Rasp sighs a whisper
reflection of voice
Heart opens like eyes
He sees what is true
Nothing but love
Tell them I love you
I love you all
Love all of you
Drop drop drop
Fingers lose touch
This is his final

dan majka is famous!

Dan Majka is famous! reads the e-mail subject line-
nearly strain my index finger with a fidget to decline it 
and delete it- drowning in his well-wishes- 
could spend hours on the phone
finding ways I might compete with-
but I’m rusting in a coffee shop which may as well be home-
just biding time ‘til better ways appear for investment in my life-
generational angst transfigured ‘til it becomes my own.
Dan Majka is famous!; I’m just fulfilling my role-
simply falling apart here, fingers wet from pickle bowl
ears burning from so much baby-talky, Bible-talk treacle-
served up with sociological, heebie-jeebie rock-n-roll.
Dan Majka is famous! and I’m losing control-
cheap coffee shop napkin tears like my resolve.
dedication spent- greasy fingers make holes
tears in descent, I fondle untouched sandwich crusts-
overload for the stomach and for the soul.
Dan Majka is famous; my life is a sitting duck sinecure
I just don’t see the point of debate- 
if Dan is famous- what does that make me?
An eavesdropper on strangers’ tales of aftershocks and despair-
proving themselves they’re ok with “a quick prayer, then outta there.”
Could I be ok too- if I dared to believe 
in fairy tales and pop-psychology and comfort food?

Dan Majka is famous! Oh, like I really care…

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

yule, 2002

Honored mother, honored father.
We feel your presence in this season,
In a story told of a birth in a stable on a silent night,
in stories of antiquity,
of Isis and Horus, Ishtar and Tammuz,
Dionysus and Persephone, Maya and the Buddha.
In these we see the continuation
of the timeless cycle of creation,
of life from death and warmth from cold.

This was written for a Yule Service in 2002. I am a Unitarian Universalist 

(I'm a UU- are you?!?) We endeavor to see the similarities between all 

After all, we are all part of an interdependent web of life.

* * *

From the twilight
comes the snow;
from the snow
comes the lady
from her womb
to bring light to the world.

From the gloaming
comes the mother;
from the mother
comes rebirth
starts the cycle
to bring light to the world.

From the lady
comes a sigh;
from the sigh
comes release
born a child
to bring light to the world.

From the mother
comes a son;
from her son
comes renewal
joins the cycle
to bring light to the world.

From the frigid
comes a spark;
from the spark,
rise the sun
igniting fire
to bring light to the world.

From the darkness
comes the mother;
from the mother
come we all-
all are children
who bring light to the world!

waking immortal

Dozens of years
dust gathered
on the bridge of my nose
hard skin faded
to pallid from rose
lost atop the sphere.

Ad-hoc creeping
dreaming ceased
long ago lost the heart of life
not to snap the drum
nor toot the fife,
heart lost the will to sing.

Slumber I wept
inside the monster
the heart now pounds
in misery once again resounds
for something that was kept.

Belief in light
scarlet eyes blithely
seek resonance,
to once again shudder
rise and dance
joy unfurls in sight!

Focus returns-
shadow creature stands
bare-chested and wet
impulses fire
without regret
blood to body churns.


I was in Las Vegas at a vodka bar/dance club when I wrote this in my head. An interesting little world, the club scene... perhaps a microcosm of life. While everybody should be having fun, some are there to look good, others to wander aimlessly and others just to screw people. Then there are the people who are there to work. I sound like fun at parties, eh?

* * *

Disaffected starry-eyed angel
wears jewels 'neath eyes
to symbolize
her tears.
Walks on toes
to parse the shuffling crowd
of tomorrow's lost
wine glass above
trickling through her hair
turns jaded thoughts
to frost.
Long-neglected steely-eyed strangers
squeeze 'round her frame
mean to defame
her skin.
Mindless drones
set to rhythm
of a sycophantic beat
syncopation strains
their buzzing heads
and lulls their sense to sleep.
Redirected teary-eyed misfit
no fight within
only terror and strain.
Caught in stream
of spangled minds unkempt
slaving for the drums
pulsations throb
indenturing mixes
her battle a nil sum.

to butterfly wing, tether my soul

To butterfly wing,
tether my soul-
face-to-face with multieyed foes
travel is maelstrom
past orb-weavers' weblines-
I'm tattletale taught a new-fashioned role.
Heart-to-heart with the vaporous din
enter the passage
and view my kin
beckon forth and free,
past martyrs expired-
reconcile my yore to absolve any sin.
Land in a flesh-filled lounge plenteous-
eye-to-eye with
the umbra inside us
descending is bliss, to cognizance hie
call the crooners of paeans
to continuance callous
On butterfly wing
I lose inhibition-
mystically coupled in cryptic union
traveling paths to dwellings sonorous
with my confederate won.

time off

She gyrates astride the stage
arms like feathers tossed in the wind
as the harsh lights gleam
off the fine sheen-
perspiration on her tired body.
Muscles quiver taut
with expectation of excitement
and reward when it is soothed.
She greets me with a dove-coo,
all rhinestone eyes
and half-tossed hair,
grazes the side of my face
with her breasts bared
and the smell of floral nectar.
I crane my head in anticipation
smelling her sweet curve of neck
where it meets the ear-
she giggles girlish-
the motion swaying
her breasts as I leer.
She squats like an indian before me
an awkward alien in
high-heeled boots and naked flesh.
I step aside and halfway wave
pondering myself, embarrassed.
But even then,
even then my brain
tricks my nose into sniffing
the sweet scent of her skin
and I hangdog to the table
to sit among my sin.

stinging on wing

Bright trees ahead
don't make me wander
that road again
I'll traverse beyond
this tangled strand
my synapses sing
ready for your command.
I am a scorpion
stinging on wing
like a fire in the trees
reality I defy-
fortuitous tidings-
into frays I fly
trill the voices of waters
raging catastrophe
contaminant disease
my plague is born
whisk flower to flower
snap seed unshorn
pollen kingdom before me
I would be in ecstasy
but honey of harmony
dollops out of reach
automaton smile
hovers just below eyes
not meeting nor moving
a drone's dull trial.

the phoenix in decline

falling, falling
down in a spiral
to the heat-beaten streets
from a sky so blue it burns the eyes
hypnotic gyrations from
a star-spangled nightmare
called justice or truth
and we cry for you
lost in a fugue-like cohesion
a semi-solid malady of being
a wounded scavenger
scraping the basement
of reeking desert valleys
where carcasses lie
bleached bones on which it dined
juxtaposed right and left
now shining in triumph
receiving their due
with the remains
of their destroyer.

garron opens the door

Boy pauses,
hand on a doorknob,
puzzling mind
awash with possibility,
alight for discovery,
hardly aware of
what he’s achieved.
The hinges squeak,
o perfect harmony!
A fitting anthem,
curiosity his creed.
He spies a sliver of
backyard daylight,-
tempted, he peeks
a squeal of glee
escapes his lips,
upturned for adventure,
twenty-month-old tumult
and ambition his lure.
The glint in his eyes
matches sun in a
triumphant June-
he’s grasped what eluded-
not much
will stop him soon!

room, time & space

Cracked plaster ceiling
brooding, gloomy
over my position
in this empty room that's
tempting me to sin.
Wails of phantom sirens
slowly descend
and ring like the drops
of condensation off the windowpane
north of the dusty table.
Trace a finger in
the fine gray haze-
patterns and stars
and things not meant to fly
scraped raw in smut I
raise head and growl reply.
Fat humidity drops
spoil the dirty canvass
extinguishing my stars
with hushed and anguished plops
makeshift bed merely
receptacle for my rebellious
drunken head-
more satisfied to sit and watch
then save the ashen asterisks
now scorchmarks
pithy sorrows etched
indelibly on wood.
Window painted shut-
see only gray shadows
ingrained where visitors stood-
trail clumsy fingers on
sludgy table full of grime
that colors lungs and
souls filthy hues
and seethes of crime.
I scratch at cracked plaster
revealing however slight
through fingernail trails
resounding rays of starlight-
oh to pierce this dull abyss
to surge over tonight
the desolate precipice.

old hands

Old wrinkled hands held me up
helped me from the water
coughing, frightened
new naked soul.

While we walked down
a periwinkle street in a picture
from your past, a message-
never be afraid to fall
you will stand without a waver
with the hands beneath your feet.

And took did I their strength of age.
The wrinkles hills of green
fertile with hope of growth
of a grandson's dreams.
And there I planted
to grow from the hands
ascending to the heavens.

The soul that smiled
and the eyes that laughed
as a child in the treetops
now says to them:

Rest tired hands
you have earned your reprise.
Withered, shriveled under my feet
your ground I have swallowed
but still strong you held
like the era that colors your wonder,

Beautiful old wrinkled hands!
Talk to me with wavering voices
tell of your stories, your secrets
your heroes, your desires. I'll sit.
Hours are nothing when hearing from you.

Maybe then some strong young hands
fresh as a bright summer moon
orange in a foggy sky
can lift you to the height
you lofted me long ago.

indian song

Their spirit lives inside
though invisible on the surface
I feel a warrior- all pride and honor
keep a stoic gaze on the mountain above
as water falls and great men shout-
chests ripped open by buffalo skull-
but never give these stalwart men
from which my blood flows
albeit a trickle
I feel a kinship with them
as life hangs me by buffalo skull-
I bellow to the wind
but never quit.

new colonial

Newspaper flash
On the screen, fascination
Might be a hero,
might be a villain.
A steamroller crash
and the world is forgotten-
the voices of reason,
they fade and they hoarsen.
With newfound panache
nonchalant explanation
reasons variegated like
the roots of a banyan.
A homicide cache
the words chosen maudlin,
the future foreshadowed;
conclusion forgone.
A mendacious gnash,
grievous conflagration;
ethics and ambition
in haughty combustion.
Now lamentable ash
Brown powder like pollen
lauds victory, and beckons,
spread on newspaper fallen

brings the thunder,

brings a new colonial.

natural flavors

Winds take me away from here,
drop me in a grove somewhere
beneath a cypress that's old enough
to recall ancestors deceased,
proceeding my birth.
Take me to a tranquil stream
float me quietly among
the gentle water lilies
to an unknown destination
so my mind might flow and
be at ease beyond its station.
Let my hair grow wild, fall about my neck,
Like the swarthy mane of a lion-
to adjourn from garb I wear when
enveloped by asphalt and simply go bare.
Let the scent transpose my body
smell the fragrant air
let it capture me through mystery
penetrate the confines of skin and veins
let my ears hear the bay of wolves
as the witching hour reigns.
Let my reply be a rasping yowl,
view Orion overhead and full-
spirit one with this land, on the prowl.
It feels what I feel
and when I kill it howls in excited fashion-
immaculate air filling my lungs
with an unbridled passion!
Satisfied I curl in repose
needing no blanket or covering;
Let my breath be your nocturnal breeze-
our silver-throated serenade notes
sighing in air, softly hovering.
Let them light then slowly fade
lifting our dreams in contented slumber.


Like left versus right on a metronome.
It's true your view is monochrome.
Plutocratic, pallid, 
aristocratic whore.

Organizing curt opinions for your microphone.
Harboring deep genetic code in your chromosomes-
the fount from which your kitchy ramblings flow.

When state-supported succor's scheduled to be excised.
But no ferocity to generosity Mr. Pennywise,
with your expenses drained on defense campaigns abroad.

Your agenda past constituents' you've superimposed.
And what flag-waving flagrancies are predisposed?
Jingoistic deeds; your materialistic war.

Like left versus right on a metronome.
It's true your view is monochrome.
Uncharismatic, invalid, achromatic bore.

just rewards

On white lace she lies, a victim
like on the night I first touched her.
Wettened by the
perspiration of my body,
locked into tumultuous
throes of passion,
excited by the perilous motions
of lust under the stars.
Lady underneath whore's mask
fingernails slice through
my false merriment.
Underneath the skin is a gawking child
confused by the stir caused by her,
enraptured by her saliva
drying in the wind,
insatiably pleading his case to
her obstinate ears,
searching for escape even while
arriving at his destination.

Next morning coffee slowly perks
alarm rambles on and on and I feel weak.
Covers stained, jumbled up and she is gone.
I struggle to convince myself I felt her touch
if only for that one night.

journey while twirling his hair

Shock. Scream.
Image pressed
into wood of mind
lost journey marred in fog
broken mold of past undressed
revealing reasons it is

Soft. Sweet.
Flowers in her breath
scent rose slowly dogs bite at toes
between her fingers
petals brown in death
like her smile in a mind

Buried. Graven.
Lost under dirt
ages passed by skin withered, wrinkled
ghost floated by
beauty in faceless smile
or else it has been

Crept. Cracked.
Chained to tree
cold lithium snare upon fresh snow
when raped and bleated
spotted red long ago
cold flower parts under ice
with a smell since

Sit. Sit.
Stare ahead straight
splotch 'tween eyes hued brownish green
laugh a cackle of unleavened bread
in the big house
'Uneasy Rider' in my head
my self, my story

highway mantra

Wheels whistling
down four-lane blacktop,
moon reflects off some chrome.
Steady singing of pavement's angels
calmly reaches into my head, the drone
cradles my conscience like a mother.
Spent too many miles away
embracing anything but her, the whine
of my tires lulling me to
contemplate the earthly and divine,
wrestling 'round my thoughts 'til
they break away and combine
brilliance with the headlights
of the cars in the far lane.
Tiny moving towards,
gargantuan as they wane;
a Doppler effect of
deity and humanity
careening up the Interstate.
Remind myself to breathe the
hot night air to stay awake
as ever towards a destination
I drive.

eagle again

I want to believe
in the eagle again
like I did as a child
soar along on golden wing
stride the sky on fairytale wind
and weep tears of hope
as from heart its cries ring.
I long to regain
a sense of the wild swoop
hurtling breakneck quick down
craggy mountain daybreak ken
cloud plumes delight as they caress
and moisten my face
as careening we ascend.
I wish that talons
held me tight in their grip
instead I fall to ground
forfeit my allotment of blue
brambly barbs puncture naked skin
dust caking in mouth
tunneling to thoughts,
then bulls through.
Alone on the ground
I gaze up towards the lid
crows’ feet furrow with squint
white hair rumpled and messed
feathered giant now a fleck-
cold shadow of hope-
sky assumes dusky tint.
I wander feebly
ambling to my demise
mind teeming hunger
hankering for eagle’s flight-
the liberty I cherish dear
and weep tears of rage
my body falls into blight.

In death I believe
in the eagle again
as I become child
mount up on golden back
ride the chill of air with zeal
and shout cheers of hope
as anew we attack!


In memory of Jack and Bonnie Owen and with love to Gladys Owen, their mother. I miss you all.

* * *

Six strong men
lower him into
the hole in earth.
Swallow him down
crumble, return to soil
on a cold day
to colder ground.

And still tears flow
and blackness creeps
the land of light
misty rains turn fog
on a February night.

Old woman sitting
old daughter with her
crying inside
melting the facade
gotten older in a week
wrinkles newly dug

No tears
like a tree
lest weariness
take her down
into the mouth
dug by machine.

Dealt him cruelly
below the murk
the man
shredded to bone
his son saw all
on TV.

And confusion
and horror
and silence
and grief
and crying.
And crying.
Black hugging his body,
spirit touch heaven
and finally



Every time I
hear the word
I hear letters
spoken in her voice,
helping with homework
etching them forever in head
while scribing in pencil
on triple-lined paper
a testament to dedication.


Not by degree
but design.
Her mind an acrobat
in perpetual motion
two moves ahead.
Always absorbing,
setting a model
for two generations
of children she loves.


Hard to imagine
what it is
to lose an eye
to be near-blind
to face brutality
from a killer within
and return victorious,
smiling, standing fast
to face challenges ahead.


Her way and life
letting you know
with hugs and cornbread
and fresh clean sheets
Johnny Carson and
Thanksgiving dressing
and songs in a rocking chair
late at night
how safe you are
inside her home
reflecting her love.




Shards of glass
what secrets do you hold?
I see my reflection
in your jagged face
possessed of
a most evil malaise
tempered by frustration
deeper you bore
down to the core
spouting forth growths
and setting free blood
the hole left
once you’re gone,
the black void
echoes your shape
the shadow of your might.
The hole you make
when puncturing me
matches nothing
but a streak of crimson
on the cold morning floor.

sandstorm phantom

In his tortured eyes-
sheer terror!
Devout apparition
wrapped tightly in sheath
dark red and camouflage
amongst the blackness
what consequence affirms
your endless grief?
Appear before
the naked tribunal
a nightly sojourn
to spook the diurnal
fantasize we know
your modus operandi
but no esoteric knowledge
do ghostly lips feature
in your rage,
incessant phantasm,
its a just solution
you neglect to see
I watch your visage
float by serenely
your intangible teeth
bared in scowl or glee?

versus the beast

It skulks in the shadows- the lesser places,
the entrails of that we imagine is us-

It's the erogenous esoterica
we clutch to the side while slinking away-
embarrassed, engorged and excited-
the dirty magazines under the mattress.

The desire to witness the fracas when
two cars slam head-to-head-
the carnage that follows, the limbs
on the blacktop- that's what it is-

Showing its nakedness-
leering over shoulder at
the mirror of the poet’s inclination
to glimpse a rounded buttock-

With impudent pride, to entwine
its tentacles inside the mind of the writer-
lure to warfare- ultimatum-
a wrestling match for rights of control-

Humbled by pierce of pen, in palpitant accord,
until its seclusion again is breached.

no death comes to me

Wrote this one many years ago. Originally it was about a girl I had broken up with, but seeing as how I have forgotten her name by this point that couldn't have been  ALL of what ended up on the page. It is true that many times we do something that might seem silly at the time but somehow works in the long run. Trouble is, by the time they show success we're often long gone.

So, there is a raging debate whenever this has popped up in readings as to whether the writer is finally found by death upon his momet of triumph or whether he simply is asleep, the creation of life from nothing having tired him out too much too see his creation shine.. Opinions?

* * *

I wept a tear
for an unspoken promise,
its thorny stem dying
the rose may rest.
Scent once made
my senses heated
caused implosions
in my head.
Now chance for new life
to bloom is deleted.
I sniff at new roses
but raminfications of
the bouquet of death
linger in recollection,
robbing me of breath.

I sink in seas of memory.

I plunge my head deep
below the waters.

No death comes to me.

I read a verse.

I pierce my skin and in flows
a chemical flush.

No death comes to me.

I see a photograph.

I bathe a blade in flame
then sink it through my chest.

No death comes to me.

I make myself a flower
out of tinsel and paper-
I worship at its knees.

No death comes to me.

Instead the pseudo-rose
springs forth with greenery and poise,
begins to ripen in the sunlight
of a cracked window.

And I, lost in brooding
fall silently, sleeping upon
the freshly grown thorns
and resurrected blooms.

empty suit

An afternoon
snaring minutes
in an empty suit
an oversize vestige
of a realm reviled
a place I lived,
some thought thrived
sipping bourbon on-the-rocks
laughing, snorting violently
boy how I could fill a doorway

Persuade you silently
eyes piercing over rims
commerce my role
my unmistakable quest for goals
dangled off hook past
fingertips' reach, unassailable
then retrograde pounce
into breach, unavailable
boy how I'd ask for the sell

Jettison the garment
it no longer fits well
it wrinkles where loose flesh
has disappeared
buckles in cinches at the waist-
a true waste- of woolen mastery
material soup-thin
like septugenarian skin-
a thing deceased
time to entomb this empty suit
trundle roads to new territory
unhinge and unleash
salvation acceleratory
man what I'd give for a sign

it all bleeds

The more our sword cuts
the more we all bleed
off forty in a mosque
for four dragged through the street
Israel or Iraq
Palestine or Tikrit
tomorrow a synagogue
what the hell- it all bleeds
a wet crimson torrent
human decency bereaved
past virtues tossed over
wracked by fear, hate and greed
different places found holy,
different ethnicities
counterpoints in our mindset
tell you what- it all bleeds
death lands a sickening impact
that we feel collectively
souls buckle in response
brought by force to our knees
and we gasp at the gallows
at the guillotine we scream
but the poison we still swallow
here’s the rub- it all bleeds
call a halt to insanity
call reason, justice and peace
we have outgrown crusades
to revenge we pay no heed
can we justify the slaughter
of sons and daughters for a creed
doesn’t matter what the theater
or the land- it all bleeds.

caffeinated souls

You scorched our caffeinated souls
With your bulwark,
groove shop rock-n-roll your
“hang on it’s a just cause”
steal the show your
“walk tall it’s all vindicated”
but brrrrrrrr- it’s cold!
Black helicopter radiance you
burned in rows your
heart-attack ventricle is
expounding to explode in
a rude cardiac benediction
avarice you extol-
Bowing down to rub a Buddha
slathered in gold,
a weird attraction to tension-
your jonesing, on-the-dole
of bloody bull-market hypocrites-
It takes an axe
to chop the friction
but it doesn’t take a poll,
your shotgun malediction
hunting blindly for a strategy
or maybe a goal-
Spyglass focused on the citizens
but missing the mole-
film vibrant like a train wreck
brandished bold,
karma’s got a wicked half-life-
time to pay your toll
buckshot scares up the grassroots
and back we grow
like a scab that keeps
getting rubbed over-
kinda sore and hard to hold-
our bootstrap citizen judiciary
truth will uphold.

autumnal invocations

What say you
spirit of the warrior
father, protector, hunter
provider and purposeful dyer?
As you surrender your spear
on this final harvest eve
to your honor
and sacrifice we pay our heed
for you mortar a brick path
which our feet will all tred
as they up kick the dust
of the spent and the dead
and we listen to their thoughts
to their stories and lore
on this night with our lost
can we seize a rapport
in tribute to your labors
your trek past the divide
as the gates melt away
and the barriers subside
on this night o'er all nights
can we sit round the fire
the proceeded we embrace
thanks to your funeral pyre
so what say you, God
we invite your spirit to observe
in due time to be reborn
and return to the earth.

What say you
spirit of creation
mother, queen, waters of the wise
great light of nature and griever this night?
Crone lady whisper in our ears
in wavering tone
that in loss we may gain,
we must first fall to rise
that in the dirge for your consort
you merely seek reprise
that your cycle never ends
and can never conclude
for in your womb tonight
grows a victory pursued
on this night with our lost
comes a triumph o'er demise
a new hope for the future
in your breadth you devise
we can see those we've lost
seek their knowledge in kind
on this night o'er all nights
are the worlds intertwined
what's past is made moot
thanks to your creative fire,
so what say you, crone Goddess
we invite you to observe
in due time to be rejoined
and grant your blessings on the earth.

sleeping goddess

See her sleeping
among the greens-
ears heedless to the
blaring bleats of
careening traffic-
delicate hands cradle
her head, bejeweled by
lips in a radiant pout-
she revels in the rapture
of tentative serenity.

See her naked arms spread
wide like brances of a tree-
she's unfurled-
dreamy creases etched
in the marble of her face,
her blessing to the world,
caught in sub-rosa gaze
she's less distant of a goddess
than the others I've known
even as I worship discreetly.


She wakes-
halcyon fantasy disrupted-
nose sniffing frangrance
of undulating greens
corrupted in
surreptitious esteem
eyes pursue my presence,
her antecedent devotee,
but I escape-
occasion ensconsed
in memory, may it live
to see consequence!

ghost smells

musty-trusty scents
ensconced in ancient boards
a store less clientele
or else
they're all gone
traveling cracks
trailing through warped glass
behind which lies
dust of decades passed
expired deadlines
on old documents
and pieces of
city life that was
webs in corners-
spidery residents
watching as we brave
the broken boards
of a sidewalk
long rolled-up
rays beating flesh
bleaching wood and stone
baking our shadows-
weathered leather
against warm brick walls
breathing the ghost smells
meeting nobody else
inhaling the particles
of a people lost-
perhaps they see
'round ruined facades
or crumbling chimneys
lonesome in empty lots
as we, like everyone else
take our leave.

the apostate

His hand extended, closed in a fist
'round vellum twirled in disarray
of felicitous autumn winds-
the hanging hide-blend flaps, decends
spangled crimson, for epochs astray-
an undoing of man and beast-
his rough damp calloused fingers strain,
deluged by stuff of gore and he
sprawls in pasture of obscure crop-
scythted by pinions of industry-
an oblique skinny grin when he
ponders both pimp and whore he’s been.
Lines both huffed and those newly dug
in crude blanched skin- he’s laughed and scratched,
knotting the pain with stained standard-
his quickened veins nodding in time
taciturn turned-on brain succeeds-
rebels in seizure, rendering wastes-
when caught by cruor, he grunts, relieved,
wiping shit with a hand-penned creed-
and fluid spilled from an ewer.

Air in motion hefts soil and wisdom
the patterns it weaves recall the lace
of a wheat flower cast in amber.