Wednesday, February 18, 1987

Last Run


I felt betrayed when John took me down that last slope knowing I was so tired. It was the last run of the day, and I had a bad knee. I said I didn't want to go down that slope several times. It fell on deaf ears.

When I asked him which slope he wanted to go down, I wanted to relinquish control, and offer him the choice as a token offering of our last run. When he chose that particular run, I felt I had to go through with it, though my commonsense said no way!

If I looked at it from his perspective it was possible to get down the hill. It would really please him if I said yes. I was doubtful, which affected my skiing ability.

When I took a nasty spill near the top, I should've said no, but I felt once committed, I had to follow through. And I was too tired to ski the run.

It was a nightmare getting down the hill. I couldn't turn to the right because the muscles in my left knee were fatigued. Snow conditions were terrible. Wet snow, an ungroomed slope, and lots of potholes and bushes. But I had to get down that slope.

I was more angry than scared. Angry with myself for going along with John's suggestion, angry that my knee wouldn't work, angry that my skills weren't good, etc.

When I got to the bottom of the hill, I hated John for getting me into this mess in the first place. Or for getting myself into the mess.

Yes, I could've exercise free will and said no, pushed John into a safer run, but I didn't want to do that – all because of my wanting to please him. So I got angry. I had worked myself into a situation I couldn't back out of for fear of losing face. And now I had a sore knee to babysit.

VALENTINE TO JOHN

VALENTINE TO JOHN

You, my valentine, never received this card
after a weekend on the slopes of Mt. Shasta
We skied on a form of pure light.
In the darkness of the car trunk,
the Lemurians kept it from you.
While we ate white chocolate
the pomegranate seeds within me
pulled toward the darkness
wanting their due.
This is what comes of childhood,
old broken paths, losing our way
but we can go on from here
because each path is always new.

2/18/1987

Saturday, February 14, 1987

Red Pepper


The red pepper I sprinkled on my brother's tongue glowed like rare earth and the tears rolled down his cheeks. I thought it was funny, how much water he drank to quench the fire. I traded him my pennies and nickels for his small thin dimes with wings explaining the nickels and pennies were bigger and fatter than his old dimes. Silver winged Mercury caught my greedy eye and I extolled the virtues of copper Lincolns, Buffaloes, and Indians. We traded wooden nickels from the general store.

Living on the edge of nostalgia !living in a house with wood heat, and the copper tub with its veridian streaks simmering on the stove for dishes laundry and our baths. Sometimes Grandma would lug steaming tubs to the real bathtub on the back porch with claw feet. One hot summer day we filled it with cold water from the spring but my cousin Bill pooped in it. We all jumped out screaming and he just sat in the cool white water not knowing what the fuss was all about.

The kerosine stove glug-gluging from the amber-pink wine jug with a biting odor, as I lay between the green enamel stove legs shaped in that classic turn-of-the-century harp curve. And the new yolk sunshine plastic bowl melted from the heat of the burner but the buckwheat pancakes my grandmother made filled the need in my stomach more solid than stone. I had no idea it wasn't to last, that I'd spend most nights awake, wondering where she'd gone to and the beginnings of invisible threads tugging at me during these countable rotations of the earth.

Hot Vienna Bread every Sunday, the bacon and eggs that always made me sick, but I ate them anyway—and reading the Funnies, rituals of childhood. After years of not buying the paper, I buy it each Sunday because there is a mortal comfort in that small insignificant action. I eat bacon and eggs that still make me feel sick and at the end of the week, the piles of newspapers, starters for the morning fire to keep us warm throughout the winter.

The first time I saw snow falling on these coastal hills—a white blanket transformed the known world into a place almost familiar, like visiting home in dreams where things aren't quite as you remember them. That’s how you tell the difference between the real and the unseen. My red robe bled against all that white !and, cold gnawing at my bare feet giving them a taste, a forerunner of the deaths to come.

And those winged dimes what happened to them? Did we spend them on candy or raccoon tails at the general store, or did their thin silver trails slip into cracks only to be rendered visible under the light of the moon that appears so infrequently in dreams?




I have no idea when this was written early 1980s. Sometime during the dot-matrix days. That makes it as late as 1989.


Saturday, February 7, 1987

FROM THE EGYPTIAN



FROM THE EGYPTIAN

Like young chicks without feathers, 
the wet birds skim under the moon
three nights later
a hawk measures the sky 
with invisible ropes
and in this deep pool
where the young calf dances
people come to drink
A heron raking the water with his legs
drags a stream of tulips
veed feathers of water in his wake.

2/7/1987
a transliteration from the Egyptian

BEYOND THE REEF


The siren in the night
The calling of a whale
And beyond the beef
A thunderhead gathers
and takes in the sea.
I am breathing beside my body
The distant earth is my blood.
The heart of this universe is pale.
White blood of the galaxy
And this crayon of the sea colors the air.
And I am working hard
Looking for something
beyond the reef.

2/7/1987
a transliteration

FROM THE EGYPTIAN