Saturday, November 21, 2015

Salvaging old files (again)

Having grown weary of scanning and transcribing old journals (from the pre-electronic era), for poems and journal entries, since mid-October I mosied on over to my MFA papers, and collections folders, where I found lots of material I'd forgotten about. A few of my missing poems from 2000-2003, for starters. The beggars!

I also found a treasure trove of folklore collections for Alan Dundes, and book synopses from my Celtic Romanticism class at UC Berkeley. Wish I had discovered them when I was prepping for my Celtic bard talk at Sacramento Poetry Center last month.

Some of those lean middle years of little writing posted on my blog, suddenly swelled to respectable numbers. But alas, there were few poems, and a few pieces I was hunting down an electronic copy of, were corrupt beyond belief. I took a few screen shots. Ugh. (See below.) The worst culprits seem to be from the Works 2, and Word 4 era; they were updated to Word 5, and beyond, but they ghosted themselves into ASCII oblivion anyway. Word 5 docs also didn't fare well.

The early pre-electronic years on this blog have gained many entries. It makes for an interesting timeline. I did that then? So while some writers are deep into NaNoWriMo, I'm spelunking the past for treasure, and revising some pieces. My NaRevWriMo.

In order to rescue corrupted files, I experimented with different applications, and discovered that sometimes those blank docs would reveal some of their secrets if I used other word processing programs (not Word, itself), and I opened them in TextEdit, RTF, etc.) Usually cracking a document open, revealed all the corrections as well as random ASCII bits. In other words, hodgepodge.

I am constantly correcting and updating my work. That's what writers do. Revise, revise, revise. Imagine every iteration you ever wrote, saved all in one doc., in fragments, like an old laundry pile. That's what lurks behind the scene on your Word.doc. (What you see is but a shell hiding the messiness of writing, rewriting, and endless saving—not to mention your printer's vital stats.) In other words, it's a word salad. Not useful. More like electronic cuneiform. In my attempt to salvage some of those docs, I've rewritten poems, so are they new poems, or old poems?

And since I've backed up all my old files onto new hard drives, I've merely copied the corrupted files there too. Yiii! I do have some old work on CDs, from 2000-2003, so that's my last hope, other than finding hard copy.

My advice to you all: don't assume your old files from the last century, are safely backed up on old hard drives and floppy disks. Open them up and air them out, then transcribe them to a new format before it's too late. Otherwise the cybergods will find them and eat them up—like moths to cashmere sweaters deep in the closet of time.

Save your stuff to current format. Or you might be facing something like this:

A mystery Letter of Intent, gone. But where?

The poem is gone, what's left are format instructions.


Paper Trail 10/24/2015 As I weed and ameliorate old copies of typed poems, & their revisions, with the electronic files on my hard drives, and with this blog (I've been posting my work by year as a means to keep track of it all—and it creates a nifty timeline as well), I have an ever-increasing pile of paper poems with no electronic files. No equivalents. Only hard copies. Makes me shudder. Makes me wonder what was lost....

Trolling Old Journals 10/23/2015 I found a stack of old journals mixed in with newer journals, and since I've misplaced most of my old writing, I took a peek, to see if there was anything I could glean, or steal. My 1981 journals, where I spent the summer in Port Townsend, the Olympic peninsula, and Pulsbo, were particularly rich, so I've been typing up (dictating) a few poems and prose pieces....

Updating Old Poems 7/16/2015 I thought I had lost my big black 3-inch manuscript clip binder with all my poems, notes, publications, awards, from last century, etc., in it....

Old Posts, New Posts 2/14/2014 (How I got into this mess) While attempting to consolidate my poems alphabetically on a linear timeline—I got the bright idea to store the ABC titled poems in January 2008, DEF poems in February 2008, and so on. It's a real pain in the blog to attempt to do this on Blogger, I can no longer find anything, and who remembers poem titles anyway?  As I was moving some posts, I accidentally typed 2005 instead of 2008 on one poem as I hit the publish button., it took off for the hinterland...

Friday, November 20, 2015

Snow Mountain Wilderness, our Newest National Monument

Sierra Club photo, The Davis Enterprise
In winter, whenever we traveled back from the Sierras after skiing, we'd look for the sun setting in the Berryessa Gap, and then we'd look to the north, where Snow Mountain stood out like a sentinel, dusted with snow in an otherwise indistinct long, dark ridge of coastal mountains. 

I always longed to visit Snow Mountain, but we never did. Whenever we were headed east to the Sierras from the Bay Area, it was too far out of the way. Returning home, we were too tired from skiing. When we traveled north on Highway 99 (what later became I-5,) in summer, I'd look longingly at the peaks, but farther, more exotic, mountain ranges beckoned. Again, Snow Mountain was too far off the beaten path to be a convenient side trip.

That is not to say we didn't visit many of the dirt roads of the North Coast, driving from Ukiah to WIlber Hot Springs, or Orr's Springs, on isolated forest roads to the coast. (I was sure we were going to die up there one time when we got lost on one long east-west ridge).

Or a hair-raising detour to Humboldt County's Lost Coast, when it truly was lost. And a memorable drive to the southern lip of the mouth of the Klamath River in Del Norte County. But we never made it to Snow Mountain. On my bucket list.

At 7,056 feet, the east peak of Snow Mountain, one of the highest mountains in the Northern California coastal range, supports an astounding array of biodiversity.

Surrounded by deep canyons and a steep elevation gain, several ecological biomes are compressed, resulting in biological sky-islands. Added to that, the geology, with serpentine, greenstone and basalt, as well as an array of sedimentary rocks, creates unique and diverse biomes.

More than 500 species of plants including mountain mahogany, rare Sonoma manzanita, pygmy stands of Sargent's cypress and serpentine willow, as well as 122 species of wildlife, including Tule elk, threatened species, Western pond turtle, and endangered sooty grouse, not to mention nearly half of California’s 108 species of damsel- and "kamakazi" dragon-flies, call Snow Mountain Wilderness area home.

BLM photo
In spring, a dazzling display of wildflowers that rivals that of Lancaster's Antelope Valley's poppy preserve, paint the slopes in impressionist splashes of golden, and lupine hues.

Tuleyome Conservation Group photo, The Davis Enterprise 
Part of the North Coastal Mountain range, the twin summits of Snow Mountain are the result of an ancient upthrust seamount. Sort of like my favorite volcanic plug, Morro Rock, and her 12 (not 7, or 9) Oligocene epoch sisters (23-28 million years old). Both were volcanos born from tectonic faults, but it seems that Snow Mountain was a slightly younger undersea volcano from the Miocene epoch.

Snow Mountain is an interesting melange, both genetically, and geologically speaking, with serpentine; greenstone, basalt and pillow lava—submarine volcanic rocks that commuted from far west of California, courtesy of tectonic uplift, as well as a full compliment of sedimentary rocks from the North American plate. Some, laid down during the Miocene epoch, when the Central Valley was an inland sea.

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument —of which the Snow Mountain Wilderness is a part of, includes portions of seven counties; Glenn, Lake, Colusa, Mendocino, Yolo, Napa, and Solano counties.

The Snow Mountain Wilderness, itself, is comprised of parts of Glenn, Colusa and Lake counties. Both Lake and Colusa counties share the remote summits of Snow Mountain. The highest point, the east peak (7,056 ft.) is ithe highest point in Lake County, and the west peak (7,040 ft.) is the highest point in Colusa County. One of the largest swaths of undeveloped public lands in the middle of all this urban density, Berryessa Snow Mountain is truly California’s undiscovered country.

Now that it's our newest (and largest) national monument, there's no excuse not to visit Snow Mountain. Along with Pinnacles National Monument (the closest I've been to The Pinnacles is Cholame, where James Dean died, and yes, that was on my bucket list). Both are located in our proverbial greater back yard. Time to dust off that bucket list.


  • Created: July 10, 2015
  • Size: 330,780 acres of public land 

  • (David Pierce/KQED)


    Snow Mountain Wilderness  USDA site (Mendocino National Forest) "Snow Mountain was originally formed during the Mesozoic era and are composed of sedimentary rocks such as sandstone, shale, and thin beds of chert....Mountain building forces deformed and faulted the rocks into their present position. The lower flanks of the Snow Mountain area consist of sedimentary rocks, while the upper portions of the mountain consist of greenstone.... small amounts of serpentinite are found, which may be remnants of the original ocean crust or may be later intrusions along the fault plane."

    Snow Mountain East A hike

    Snow Mountain, California Another hike

    The high peaks in Mendocino, Anthony Peak, 6954, and Humboldt's Salmon Mountain at 6956, are close contenders. However, Mount Linn, at 8,098 ft on South Yolla Bolly Mountain is the tallest peak in the North Coast range, at 8094 feet. The Klamath range slams into the North Yolla Bolly Mountain (7865 ft) and South Yolla Bolly Mountain, to form, not only the highest peaks in the North Coast range, but also a continuous crest all the way down to Snow Mountain. There are some incredibly steep canyons north of Snow Mountain. You can't see them on the map below, but St John's Peak has some seriously deep ravines.

    The Yolla Bollys were also on my bucket list but I don't think my knees could take the hike in. I'm afraid I'm more of a topo chair traveler these days.

    Mt. Tamalpais (where I was literally conceived), is the southernmost ridge of of the North Coast Range.

    California Coast Ranges Wiki

    Also on my California backroads bucket list is Castle Crags in the Klamath Mountains, and I wouldn't mind revisiting the Trinity Alps again, while we're at it.

    In his Geotripper blog, Garry Hayes has a couple of great photos of Castle Crags Stocks and Batholiths

    NOTE BENE: Because of the San Andreas Fault, California's coast mountains are geologically complex, and all is not as it seems at first glance. I love rocks, but I'm not a geologist, so any rocky errors are mine alone, I've been piecing together a geological synopsis from many, many sites, some of which, directly contradict each other. (Dinosaurs aside, is it Mesozoic (252 to 66million years ago)? Or Miocene (23 to 5 million years ago)? Or both?) FWIW, I did trot most my rocky horror show (except the epochs) past geologist Gerry Hayes who said it seemed sound. I will update the rocky bits as my understanding deepens.

    To give you a glimpse as to how complex the North Coast Range really is, read the geology section in the Wiki article on Sonoma Valley. I would like to think that similar geological patterns would also hold true for Snow Mountain, but until I hear from a reliable, comprehensive geologic source (I'm hoping Garry Hayes will take it on), I'm only speculating, or prospecting.

    Tuesday, November 10, 2015

    Revising Old Poems by Writing them Backwards

    Seeking poetry prompts for November, and finding none, I decided to go to NaWriPoMo 2015 webpage and work my way backwards down last April's prompts. The very last prompt (my first prompt) is/was to write an old poem backwards. (I'm not sure if it improves them any...)

     Here's the prompt:
    Start with the last line and work your way up the page to the beginning. Another way to go about this might be to take a poem you’ve already written, and flip the order of the lines and from there, edit it so the poem now works with its new order.


    Something about the measuring of days
    brings me closer to poetry.
    I feel the lines surge through me, 
    as I wind my way along backroads
    to my cousin's house in Nicasio,
    and I let every one of them go.


    MEASURING THE DAYS (original poem)
    23 Sept 1995


    Your hard mouth on my body
    Sweet breath on my lips
    Tell me, how would you play me
    If I were a harmonica?


    AURAL FIXATION  (original poem)


    With the coinage of fish
    the river is silvered
    and dreams crackle
    under the burden of the sky.
    Who sobs for untold fortunes
    with silver borrowed from the dead?
    Who will pay the gypsies fortune
    to line the dark side of the moon?


    FRAGMENTS OF THE MOON (original poem)


    When the price is up,
    never plant potatoes,
    someone's father said.
    All those eyes watching

    Did the astronaut's feet
    sink deep into the moondust
    and did they lose their way
    walking on the moon's face like that?


    BANTU RHYTHMS: MOONDUST  (original poem)

    —from Matisse's Goldfish
    —for Roger Kent

    Against the barely discernible rise
    and fall of sheets, small dark pebbles
    reflect a fiery sky along a dark shore.
    Oxygen tanks hiss, and fish lazily fan dance
    delicate fins, gape open-mouthed,
    where a jungle of philodendron vines
    climb skyward to a lofty ceiling.

    Roger is going down for his afternoon nap.
    The small dogs keep a slow 4/4 time
    as he shuffles off to the bedroom
    and his emphysemic breathing
    is like the wheezing lift that belches
    decay from the basement

    into the black & white tiled hall
    of the old colonial mansion,
    filled with stories and long blue shadows.
    & we stir baskets of dried maile leaves,
    mementos of island weddings.

    Near the weary rattan chair,
    a luminous fog hovers
    and settles on pale rocks.
    Four bored tangerine-colored fish
    in the glass globe, mouth their food
    and spit it out again, as they rise
    to the surface like birds
    and gasp for air.

    Philodendron, and red hibiscus,
    explode in a tropical sunset
    against the coral wall.
    The oxygen tanks rhythmically hiss
    like waves pounding on the far shore.


    DARK SHORE  (original poem)


    On La Avenida de Reforma,
    tall hotels swayed and sloughed
    off their balconies, like beaded dresses
    and from those hanging gardens
    an abundance of flowers danced 
    and jilted to the buckled streets—
    terremoto shimmied into
    Teotihuacan's quaking bed.


    SE ME CAYO   (original poem)
    Sept 19, 1985


    Mt. Rainier floats, sublime, at dawn.
    Yesterday the face of the glacier 
    gave way and 11 people were gone.
    Evening sky, the color of salmonberries.
    House finches nesting in the eaves
    rearrange themselves and chatter.
    Volkswagen engine valves clatter.
    People make long-distance calls.
    Slot machines collect change 
    at the end of the line.
    the Straits blend into fog,
    the horizon, indistinct as this morning.
    I awaken in a glass house,


    Short haiku of sorts  (original poem)
    July? 1981


    Hunting under cover of darkness
    for prehistoric prey in a literate world,
    will my eyes reflect phosphor tubes,
    or will I pass for a feral night animal?
    If I work in total darkness 
    with only a limited memory,
    Is there total enlightenment 
    at the end of the screen
    or is the dark worse than the byte?


    RANDOM ACCESS MEMORY  (original poem)


    To far horizons, distant shores
    her eyes wander, dark
    shadows drawing her in,
    but he interfered with space and time.
    Our history lies with God, he said.
    But her eyes wander anyway.
    When the breath dies, she said,
    it leaves a fingerprint on the soul
    like a potter's mark in clay.
    Don't draw on the windows
    he said, it leaves ugly smears.
    In this fogged breath, she said,
    breathing on the window,
    & drawing two hearts entwined,
    this whole history is contained.




    Tonight there's a thin promise
    of rain in the air. More of a veiled threat 
    of clouds hovering over parched earth, 
    teasing the horizon into submission.
    But her eyes gather in the storm.
    As he turns to go, her image ripples
    in all the ponds of the world, leaving him 
    stranded behind those lichen eyes. 
    By the green pond, she stands,
    impenetrable as the surface, 
    & conversation drifts and snags 
    amid the reeds. She's still waiting for him
    to make a move. One way or another.
    But a storm gathers in the direction of her eyes,
    & I awoke holding onto this small fragment
    like a raft. 


    GATHERING STORM  (original poem)
    June 29, 1979


    a breath of sunshine
    liked a snake tasting
    a slipstream of thought
    carries me to where I wander
    and I learn from breathing in.
    What is there to conclude
    if logic is deduction,
    and deduction, logic?
    I take my breathing slow
    and wake to the dawn.


    3 Poems from Michael Dow workshop (original poem)

    What, no NaNoWriMo for Poets?

    Expecting to see a poetic equivalent to NaNoWriMo, I waited for those writing prompts to magically appear on Facebook. Not even a peep from Molly Fisk (unless she took it offline, and I missed the announcement).

    What, there's no NaNoWriMo for poets this year? After what Canada's new Le Dreamy PM said today, that the world needs more poets?

    “…we need poets to change the world.” -Justin Trudeau, PM

    So I decided to go to NaWriPoMo 2015 and work my way backwards down the prompts. The last (my first prompt is/was to write a poem backwards.
    Start with the last line and work your way up the page to the beginning. Another way to go about this might be to take a poem you’ve already written, and flip the order of the lines and from there, edit it so the poem now works with its new order.
    What tickles me about this assignment is that I've been combing old journals and posting old work to fluff out my blog timeline all month long, so this is write up my alley! (*Stet.).

    It's so hard not to tear into that old work, and rewrite it. I'm thinking archivilly. Well, strangely, this gives me permission. I may not even get past this first/last prompt. (OK, so I do tweak them a bit, but I put a rev. note at the bottom, OK?).

    I've been using Scannable with my iPod (eyepod?) to take a snapscan of old journal entries as the ink's migrated—especially where I used black le Pens, black ink with breakaway yellow auras, almost unreadable. Some of the lavender and green pens were fugitive colors. Dark cobalt blue ink stained right on through to the other side. Usually on the pages where i did little marginalia drawings that I'd love to have a clean copy of. Another task for Photoshop. Later.

    Scannable, though quirky as all get-up, does a decent job of eliminating most of the notorious ink bleeds so I can at least read the text. But the cleanup job in Photos is mighty tedious. Then, I discovered I could send them to iBook and make a PDF. Soon I will have an online collection of my old journals from 1979 to 2000 on my iPad. To say the least, I am suffering from eyestrain, so every little bit helps.

    I've got a photo system rigged up with a music stand for the iPad, a podium for my journals, and wedges of black cardboard to mask unwanted sides and portions—as the app goes wild and takes photos of plaid pillows, my hands, etc., and a light array, dampened with paper shields to cut the glare. Very ad hoc. But it works. Until it doesn't work. Then my pages look skewed and drunk.

    This also means that I can rescue the journal that took a dive into the Szecheny Baths in Budapest, rendering my Austria and Hungary travel writing into a series of Rorschach inkblots. (LOL, I wrote Rorschit, my Freudian slip's showing).

    Now if only I could figure out how to get those huge PDFs of my journals off the iPad, as they're ghosts in the machine, only visible in iBooks. No way to access them. And I prefer the big screen and my old Mac for reading and writing. 

    Also, if I can read my texts on the big screen, blowing it up huge, so I can see it, then I can use my Dragon Dictate iPad app to turn that hen-scratching into an editable format. 

    Alas, Dragon Dictate is very hard of hearing, and somewhat senile, or it daydreams of being in Herorot, so it's no marriage made in heaven. It capitalizes all common nouns, and can't understand simple words like hair, ear, sea, etc., though it records all my Oh fer fucksakes, just fine.

    It's like a bad case of tin can dictaphoniitis. Alas, they're not very interesting aural mistakes, either. Most of the time I'm left puzzling over what on earth I was saying. So I make something up. Or eliminate it altogether. Needless to say, I've a lot of gibberish posts stuck in draft mode. The Blogger's version of the Twilight Zone.

    Changing the world, one poem at a time, I am.

    Sunday, November 8, 2015

    Writing Down the Bone Soup

    A writer friend, Penelope la Montagne, posted on Facebook, that she was grateful for the "clean your refrigerator kind of soup." Nothing quite like homemade soup on a chilly day, made from fridge leftovers and a can of chicken broth. You can never quite replicate the exact goodness each time you made it. But it always warms the "ccckies of your heart," said Penelope. That made me giggle. What kind of cookies? Oreos?

    I guess the fridge leftovers are crucial components of making decent stone soup. Sometimes it's called nail soup. But stone soup has a better ring to it than nail soup. Eww, not those kind of nail parings. Though if you had enough of hooves, I suppose it would work. Or you might wind up with a pot of glue to hang that hideous wallpaper you've been saving. 

    How to make stone soup. First, you begin with a large pot, better wash it out. When's the last time you used it? I mean, really. Oh, the cat was hiding in it? Now, nearly fill it (the pot, not the cat) with some water, and then add your well-scrubbed magic rock. No, not the pet rock! Then wait for your guests to arrive bearing gifts for the pot. And maybe some pot.

    I made some magic soup the other night. A poet friend was sick; but we were having a CPITS meeting at my house, so I offered to make chicken soup. 

    First, I emptied the contents of my fridge into my soup pot, and then added a box of vegetable broth and another box of chicken broth. But, to my dismay, I discovered that I had no stashed chicken, not in the freezer, nor in my emergency food stash.  

    And to add insult to injury, I'd used up the rest of the good garlic for the last of the summer pesto. I had garlic, but it was Chinese, and I wasn't about to use it. Never buy garlic sans roots, it's Chinese and it never sprouts, or grows, if you plant it. They do something to it, and that can't be good.

    So I asked John Oliver Simon to bring me some real garlic. Then, I asked him to bring me some chicken. Then, I needed some celery, and parsley to go with it. Parsley is great for the heart.

    Perhaps I should interject here that John is an ex. I never thought I'd ever see the day when John would be sitting in my kitchen waiting for the soup to boil, without my wanting to murder him. Ironically, I'm scamnning and transcribing bit of old journals so his name keeps popping up. Must be the homing pigeon return cycle.

    Tobey Kaplan brought potstickers, spring rolls, and wine. Lots of wine. You know how poets are. We tossed some potstickers into the broth, drank some wine, and bowed down to the soup pot, grateful for its bounty. And we said yum. The thick chicken soup was divine, and it fed multitudes of poets. Well, it fed almost a dozen of us. The wine, not so much.

    For dessert, Fred Dodsworth brought bananas and crisp persimmons that glowed like low winter suns on the horizon, no cookies, though. Speaking of cookies, nobody brought any—not even the Chinese fortune kind. No cookies or cockles to warm the heart.

    (I've been obsessed with cookies lately: zapping computer cookies and obsolete deep file preferences, after I discovered a Firefox add-on I was using to watch BBC, was a disguised botnet.

    All Maxine Chernoff's files were held hostage by Bitcoin malware and she had to pay a poet's ransom to get her writing back. That also happened to Eileen Malone too. I was terrified at the thought of losing all my writing. Maxine got all her files back. Eileen was not so lucky.

    Sure, I've got all my files backed up on separate hard drives, but they're attached to the computer. Piece a cake for a botnet to access it via the back door port, firewall be damned. Yeah, I have a Mac, it's less likely to be attacked by botnet malware. And my friends are both are PC users. Friends don't let friends use Windows. I guess I deleted an important file, the Finder keeps crashing.)

    Which led me on a circuitous path from cookies to cockles and muscles (stet), to canned soup, to a former neighbor's noisy young urban balcony-raised cockerels (no coop), whose bones probably made the best chicken soup ever.

    I witnessed their demise (the chickens, not the Ethiopians) one Sunday at dawn. Well, I witnessed their shadow's demise on the wall, as the Ethiopian woman sang to the rising sun and held the unlucky fellows up to the sun before the coup de gras.

    I was horrified to see an article circulating on Facebook by a young urbanite chef on how to make "bone" soup. And folks cooing: oh, I wanna learn that, or shrieking: gross! (There was even an "I know, I know," eye-rolling ewww /squee component embedded in the article.) The tin can generation is dumb and dumber. Even the phrase, tin can is lost on them. Foil-lined box generation. How do they think chicken broth is made anyway?

    In our house, soup was a pilgrimage of sorts. My grannie never threw bones away. Into the pot they went. We always saved the skin, gristle and connective tissue too. Nothing wasted, except the squawk a doodle do.

    Add onion skins, garlic, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaves, and wine, or vinegar, and simmer slowly 1-2 hours, until the gristle falls off the rubbery bones, and skim any scum. Strain broth into a clean pot. Add fresh vegetables (see above list), orzo, or barley, bring it to a boil for 15 minutes (barley needs an hour), skim, season. If it jells when cooled, you made it right.

    Well, what about the dawg bone, you might ask: fuggedaboutit. It was a case of get in line, after the stewpot. Sort of like Saturday bath night (one tub of water, and three people waiting in line). Yep, it was a stiff broth, all right, by the time my little brother got into it.

    And what about warming the cockles of the heart? I always thought it had to do with spoiled mollusks, so that saying always puzzled me. Then I thought cockles were associated with Molly Malone's cockles and mussels in Dublin's fair city. Cookies and cockles, alive alive, oh. Uh-oh, the Cookie Monster....and the tart with the cart.

    Then, speaking of pilgrimages of the heart, I thought maybe the cockles were a reference to St. James. Pilgrims wore cockle, or scallop shells around their necks as they walked the Camino.

    So I joked, mussels is muscles, which is true, as muscle, mussel and mouse all stem from the same root word. Warms your mousy little heart muscle, doesn't it? I never associated it with ventricles, or cochlea. Some Easter egg hunt that was. 

    All this to say writing is never a very straight line. 

    Cockles, shells? Is St. James being invoked? Or the Cookie Monster?


    The Old Forest Ranger; Or, Wild Sports of India on the ...

    Walter CAMPBELL (Colonel.) - 1842
    exclaimed Mansfield, in astonishment. “ Aha, lads !~thcre 's something to warm the cookies of your heart. I hae been sair stinted in my drink, since I left the Hills, ...

    Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine

    1886 - American literature
    "Ellen, we'll open that last jar of the old potheen, and I'll brew a bowl of punch, fit to warm the cookies of your heart, Geoflrey, my lad." "All right, father; it's cold ...

    The London Journal: and Weekly Record of Literature, ...

    “1 like a well-seasoned sentiment which warms the cookies of your heart, like scorching spit-ed ale." “Ay, ay, sir !" shouted the boatswain, jumping to his feet, and...

    warm the cockles of someone's heart - Wiktionary

    17th century, Unknown, possibly due to resemblance of cockles to hearts. Alternatively, may be corruption of Latin cochleae in cochleae cordis (“ventricles of heart”), or of Irish Gaelic origin. Possibly also inspired by mollusks opening when exposed to warmth,

    "The cockles of the heart are its ventricles, named by some in Latin as "cochleae cordis", from "cochlea" (snail), alluding to their shape. The saying means to warm and gratify one's deepest feelings."

    Mac ransomware is nothing to worry about—for now Apple computers haven’t been impacted by ransomware, a pervasive and insidious class of malware that encrypts files on a computer in exchange for a ransom. That’s not because Apple’s operating system is any more secure than Windows; it’s more that malware writers haven’t gotten around to writing ransomware for OS X since infecting Windows machines has been so profitable.

    Saturday, October 31, 2015

    WALSH folklore


    Walsh is a old Irish family name that refers to Welsh soldiers who were the troops that settled In Ireland after early invasion by Norman English troops. This happened around the 11th or 12th century. The Kings of this part of Ireland are Sullivans. The branch of our family is O’Sullivan Coom Beir. 

    I visited with my relatives in County, Longford and County Cork, Bantry, Ireland. I was able to meet my Great-great Aunt Mary Driscoll Walsh, as well as cousins from both great-grandparents.

    Paddy Walsh was born in Ireland, he came to America as a young man. A pioneer of 1860s Nevada, he founded Home Ranch and supplied the miners of the Comstock in Virginia City, Nevada, with oats and grain, making more money than the miners ever did. The Reese River Valley was improved with the existence of Home Ranch. 

    Walshes dot the landscape in cemeteries and phone directories. He had two families during his lifetime, his beloved son died in a blizzard. He had two daughters, Julia and Mary (Marie)—one sister was not “all there,” the other was a genius. 

    Mary was whisked out of school, was educated in Chicago and began working with “like minds.” For the next few decades, The Manhattan Project, became her life. The Hydrogen Bomb of WWII and all the testing and development affected her life, she died in the sixties of cancer.

    Great-grandma’s aunt came to Ireland on a visit. My Great-grandma worked in Dublin as a tailor’s apprentice. Aunt Mae Walsh Forbes wanted her niece to come to America. Great-grandma said “yes” —only if her brother Joseph could come too. 

    The family scheduled a passage on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. The ship was built in Belfast. Family plans changed her passage plans— “thank God.” The next ship they booked passage on was “The Baltic” which had a fire. The last voyage of the Lusitania to New York in June 1912 was their passage to America. 

    They went through Ellis Island, trains were taken across America to Battle Mountain, Nevada and Galveston, Texas. Joseph took a boat around the tip to save some money. Great-grandma went on to Battle Mountain, Nevada, then she took a stage to Austin. Great-grandma always enjoyed her time at Home Ranch with family. She traveled to Home Ranch often on vacations from her domestic service in San Francisco.

    When my grandmother was a little girl of 5 or 6, she was home, making chocolate on the stove. She lit the stove with a match and threw it into the wood box. The kitchen caught fire and destroyed the room, but the house was saved. Great-grandma was upset. 

    When Great-grandpa got home, she told him the story. Grandma was expecting Great-grandpa’s anger, instead he handed her a Hershey bar and said nothing about the damage.

    (Dang, I never finished this... I think I'm telling it form Sean's perspective, so it becomes a monologue using folklore. A lot of my files lost bits, this may be one. MH 11/2015)

    Saturday, October 24, 2015



    As I cull copies of old typed poems
    & pair them with their electronic kin, 
    a pile of paper orphans grows. Lost poems.
    No equivalents. Only faded dot-matrix hard copies.
    Seedy little islands of ink on paper,
    the last stand of the printed word.
    I've gone and disturbed those old poems.
    They no longer dream of the past.
    They've become a chattering wilderness, 
    they invade my dreams, all jumbled up 
    and juking about out of order.
    Unreasonable harvest.

    It all began last summer when I was laid up.
    I couldn't open a file that had lain fallow,
    it reverted into a gray Unix brick,
    like a digital weedy cultivar gone rogue.
    (Yes but think of all those trees I saved
    by not printing them out. Now what?)
    And other poems have lost vast tracts of text. 
    Words just went missing. On walkabout.
    Words no writer ever wants to hear.


    Paper Trail

    As I weed and ameliorate old copies of typed poems, & their revisions, with the electronic files on my hard drives, and with this blog (I've been posting my work by year as a means to keep track of it all—and it creates a nifty timeline as well), I have an ever-increasing pile of paper poems with no electronic files. No equivalents. Only hard copies. Makes me shudder. Makes me wonder what was lost.

    So, I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that the dearth of work from 1995-2000 may be due to hard drive failure? This insane archiving process all started a couple of summers ago when I realized I couldn't open some old poetry and prose files, they'd reverted to gray Unix bricks. Other files, that I could force open, had lost chunks of text. Sometimes vast chunks of text. A writer's nightmare. And so, it continues. 

    I had typed most of my old work from the early 80s into Appleworks, which later created a translation problem, but I was able to salvage most of it with old Macs I had rebuilt, but this paper trail is an entirely new dilemma as I contemplate what writing was lost. 

    Words no writer ever wants to hear.

    Weird to revisit that old writing, if I can find it, that is. I came across a pile of poems I had workshopped at Napa Poetry Conferences and realized that I didn't have electronic files for most of them. But clearly they had been electronic files as the hard copies are printed out in faded dot matrix.

    I also found a few lurkers in back issues of Sonoma Mandala and other old publications from the 1980s. I still have a few more boxes of papers to sort, so hopefully the missing work will resurface. It's bad enough that I've lost most of my news stories and photo tear sheets from the Sonnoma County Stump and The Paper. But not my poems. Not the gumdrop muffins!

    I figure I have a fighting chance to keep my work electronically current by using my blog! Alas, most of of my work is not on paper. Unfortunately it would kill the equivalent of an entire forest to print it all out. It was wildly liberating to know that you don't have to print out hard copy. My writing output grew exponentially.

    Remember those electronic printer typewriters that printed out a line at a time? Expensive little film ink cartridges. Some of my work was from that machine, so there would be no electronic equivalents. But even still. Sheesh.

    Some of those poems I had saved from the he 5 inch floppy disks to the the 3.5 inch ones. Even files on the 3.5" hard floppy disks are a challenge to rescue. The floppy dist themselves are reverting to ferrous oxide. I trolled them a while back.

    I got a USB floppy disk reader (hard to find!)  from Craigslist. I met an Indian fellow in a San Jose parking lot at sunset. Very clandestine. But I suppose I could attempt another trolling. No matter how we back up our writing, it's all temporal. 

    I think I decided a lot of my old writing wasn't worth upgrading to .doc files. I left it go fallow, not realizing it's all part of the matrix. 

    A friend said: it is alive and well on some cloud out there... perhaps entertaining multitudes in outer galaxies.

    Along with those old Jackie Gleason reruns.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015



    My grannie taught me to write
    old school Gaelic League Irish
    with dots over the muted consonants; 
    they were marked with a sí buailte,
    a diacritic hangover from Old Irish.
    Sí buailte means strike—not to strike,
    no infinitive verb in Irish. Drop the fada 
    Seán becomes sean, which means old, she said.
    She didn't like reformed Irish at all. 
    Modern typography couldn't  handle those dots
    so haiches were added after the consonant.
    "There are no Haiches in Irish, she scoffed. 
    "Haich is a ladder to the sky, 
    Haich is silent, holy, haich is like God." 
    So I learned the old style writing
    with long-tailed rs and esses
    I learned to dot my Ts and Cs to soften them.
    Then we had some tea with milk and sugar
    as we silently worked on our letters.

    Oct, 24/2015

    sí buailte (she bool-che)
    síneadh fada (shinea fada)

    My grannie learned to write Hibernian Gaelic (yes, that's what it was called) with the dots over consonants muted with a “sí buailte.” But one wrote in Irish. "There are no Haiches, she said. Haich is a ladder to the sky, Haich is silent, like God." She didn't like reformed Irish at all. So I learned this style. with the long r and long s. I learned to dot my Ts. Then we had some tea as we worked on our letters..

    Tuesday, October 20, 2015

    Trudeau the Younger

    “Many of you have worried that Canada has lost its compassionate and constructive voice in the world over the past 10 years. Well, I have a simple message for you on behalf of 35 million Canadians. We’re back.” —Justin Trudeau
    When I was in Vancouver in August, I was shocked by how much Canada had changed: it was gritty, cynical, and contained all the negative attributes of the US, and those attitudes had supplanted what made Canada unique. OK, so Vancouver isn't all of Canada, but I could really see/feel the change. Not so much in Victoria (I was last there in 2009), but then, Victoria is a tourist destination. Easier to hide the homelessness and desperation. The Canadian dollar may be worth less than ours, but everything is grossly overinflated. Food costs an arm and a leg. Makes the homeless in Stanley Park fear for their limbs. Much of Vancouver is now owned by multinationals. Here's hoping the corporate tide can be reversed. I have visited Vancouver scores of times since the early 1970s, I was there before Gastown was turned into Ghirardelli Square North. When It still really was a rough neighborhood. I even slept out in Stanley Park. Different times.

    Sunday, October 18, 2015

    White Peacock

    This morning I threw on my Las Vegas Highland Games teeshirt, with its eulogized mascot, the missing white peacock. He's been missing from Floyd Lamb State Park for a couple of years now. Either a coyote got him, or maybe he was birdnapped. White peacocks are exceedingly rare. He was leucistic, not albino, he had expressive dark eyes.

    I miss that old bird. Every time Neil would get on stage to sing, the paycock would hop on the black stage and join him. Then he'd do the I love you fandance tail thing. It was hysterical. The unlikely duo performed several sets like this together. We speculated that it must've been Neil's white hair that set the peacock off. And maybe his honeyed voice. Kindredness. But the peacock's version of singing was atrocious. Yelling Help! Help! when it wasn't even a Beatles song.

    We all prefer to think he was birdnapped, someone stole in during the night and climbed one of the tall cottonwoods and grabbed him while he was sleeping. We curse the mysterious thief and wonder what kind of life that peacock is living now. That scenario is infinitely preferable to the other alternative, coyotes crunching bones. Of course, that whole wash is awash with bones—huge dinosaur bones, that is. You'd think they'd keep the coyotes busy and at bay.

    I miss the one that used to hang out at the Las Vegas Highland Games at Floyd Lamb State Park. Every time Neil would get on stage to sing, so did the paycock. Then he'd do the fandance tail thing. Hysterical. Must've been Neil's white hair that set the peacock off. And his voice. (Peacock is leucistic, BTW, not albino...think blond. I guess polar bears could be construed as leucistic. We won't mention those pesky Irish bear genes in the pool.)

    If,there's melanin around his nose and eyes. He's leucistic, with blue eyes. A true albino has no pigment whatsoever, so everything's pink (except feathers/fur), including his eyes. 

    Saturday, October 17, 2015


    Our firewood lady
    was hatchet-faced, hard as nails,
    drove a hard bargain.

    See, Mrs. Bellefuille's
    husband died young, leaving her
    to raise three daughters.

    All alone she was 
    with no way to support them—
    a grim countenance.

    Amazon women
    stacked wood to the sky and kept
    Daphne in the trees.

    The hunters mourned them
    for longing kindled a fire 
    deep in the heartwood.

    But those cords of wood
    kept us warm against the cold,
    kept the night at bay.

    17 Oct. 2015

    Monday, October 12, 2015

    Trolling Old Journals

    I found a stack of old journals mixed in with newer journals, and since I've misplaced most of my old writing, I took a peek, to see if there was anything I could glean, or steal.

    My 1981 journals, where I spent the summer in Port Townsend, the Olympic peninsula, and Pulsbo, were particularly rich, so I've been typing up (dictating) a few poems and prose pieces.

    I was able to date several old poems, having found the original draft. What I discovered is that the writing is much more solid than I expected. Funny how you think your old work is inferior. And your new work accounts for shit. Perception. Not what it's cracked up to be.

    I am enamored with my Port Townsend prose piece, and my Mt. Olympus piece, where I had a very, very close encounter with a Rocky Mountain goat.

    These prose pieces would've never seen the light of day, as I only typed up poems. Prose scared me. But for the most part, it's solid and muscular. What was I thinking that it was all so bad? Part of why I began this blog was to teach myself to write prose. But the urge for story ran parallel with my poems. Anyway, should you want to peak, this link is a shortcut. (New work also in 1997, 98, and 2000. Not a lot. Yet.)

    ►  1981 (29)

    It all began when I was uploading old poems to this blogspace, and I discovered that many of my files were corrupted. In particular, the electronic version of the HOH RIVER VALLEY file is toast. And I still haven't found the hard copy. It exists, but I don't have access to it.

    My other long-term goal was to fill in the posts where I have too few poems for a given year. I am/was a prolific writer, so this is a search for lost work. Retyping old work is a bit like reinventing the wheel. But on the other hand, I'm treating it like revision.

    Most of the 11 years I need more work for, are the years I don't have journals for, they're tucked away deep in a box in storage. 1998 to 2000, the years I was in grad school are particularly paltry. I know I have writing, but where is it? 1982 I was in a car accident, so I probably didn't write much. Ditto 1997/98. Some of those years I was in Amsterdam, or Russia, so it may be a case of typing up work that I never had a chance to make an electronic file.

    Still to do:
    (I've fleshed out 5 years' worth of poems).

    1988 (9) 
    1998 (6) 

    Sunday, October 11, 2015

    Transliteration gone awry

    I was practicing a poem aloud in Irish, but my speech recognition software, Dragon Dictate, was sneakily recording me. It made for a superb word salad of Misa Rafteri. It's so freakin' bizarre, that I had to record it three times just to see if there was any pattern or sense at all. I might go back and see if there is a phrase or two to salvage. But I think it's safe to say that Dragon Dictate does not recognize Irish. Not even tiny a little bit. So much for the Indo-European continuum.

    Cilla long dogfishes crawl the spoiler
    Gonzalez to another skunk
    wrong thing though she is a master list
    soulless for three PhoneMag
    if Tisha could get them on the fifth
    and May the Mimiga Walla eggs cinnamon

    the data must be finished by then
    Mimiga Kuala eggs cinnamon

    Michelin study Cilla long.
    this is crawl the spoiler Gonzalez
    to enough skunks wrong
    they don't see a set of master list

    soulless monthly phone
    could get them on the fifth
    and May the Mimiga Kawala eggs
    cinnamon soiled of 4K follow

    Study Cilla long Dulces's crawl
    the soil or Gonzalez two and a skunk wrong
    they don't see is that a master list soulless
    monthly phone could get a monthly bill finish
    May the Mimiga Kuala eggs cinnamon oil
    the funky follow

    This is the poem:
    Mise Raifteirí, an file, lán dóchais is grá
    I am Raftery, a poet full hope /love

    le súile gan solas, ciúineas gan crá,
    eyes without light silence without heart

    ag dul síos ar m'aistear le solas mo chroí,
    at going down on my journey to light my heart

    fann agus tuirseach go deireach mo shlí;
    faint and tired to the end of my road

    féach anois me lem aghaidh ar Bhalla
    look now my face at/against at Balla (a town) or wall

    ag seinm cheoil do phócaí falamh.
    at making /playing music with pockets empty