Monday, February 29, 1988

KEEPING DREAMTIME ALIVE

KEEPING DREAMTIME ALIVE


In the Caribbean, fish once took rainbow directions 
from the sky to cloak themselves in magic 
and they wore the first colors to inhabit the earth.

In the Arctic and the Antarctic realms
blue invented itself because ice,
once part of the sky, was lonely for itself. 

At Ayers Rock the red of ancient stones
was dusted with chalk handprints 
to keep Dreamtime alive another 40,000 years. 
When the last artist died, eons slipped into dreamlessness. 
The shaman's grandson leaves a handprint, 
but he doesn't know the sacred rites or the stories.

A part of poetry has died.

The last keeper of the old ways to die 
is the man who knows the burial rights.
He cries himself to sleep knowing, 
because there is no one else left
who knows the proper way of burial, 
he will not join his ancestors.
No one will place his spinal bones in the cave 
so he too may enter into Dreamtime.

In Guatemala, the jungle dresses itself in green 
like parrots budding on branches. 
Soldiers absentmindedly click their machine guns,
the color of commerce and domination.


2/1988
slightly edited
added 9/15/2016


Tuesday, February 23, 1988

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

What's in a name?

Baba – my baby name, baby in Irish.
Grandmother in Russian. Babushka.
My grandmother's scarf. Baa baa black sheep.
Ali Baba. Enlightened thief. Either I named myself,
Or my grandparents named me teacher, Baba, holy man, sadhu.

I was called Baba to distinguish me
from my mother, also a Maureen. She hated her name –
but she hated her middle name even more. Helen.
She had a face that moved men to madness.
So she called herself Kelly, after working for the Kelley Girls.
She married a man named Tom Green, then she was Kelly Green.
An Irish colleen. Why Maureen? My grandmother's dead,
I can't ask her why, Maybe Maureen O"Sullivan.
Maureen meant I was in trouble. 
Baba was good baby, loved baby.

Little Mary – little bitter one –from Miriam – 
the rebellious dancer who took a timbril in her hand 
and all the women followed her with timbrils in their hands. 
Seek ye unto the Lord. The horse and rider were thrown into the sea. 
Maura, the little dark one. Or even Marinita, little one, she of the sea.

My school nickname was Mo
after the Beatles, Steph calling me Mo. 

Oh, you plant the pain in my heart
with your wistful eyes,
girl of my choice, Maureen
will you drive me mad for the kisses
your shy sweet mouth denies, Maureen.

That wasn't me.
Viola – violets, the sweet scent edible purple.
My unknown father's mother's name. Shy retiring flower –
and Johanna—God has been gracious, gracious gift of God,
 or victorious one in Sanskrit.

Hurley – a child of the sea and tides.
A bishop boiled in oil who would not denounce God for Ireland.

Someone once said to name your child 
with an astrological balance of elements.
Water controls wood and destroys mental.
To balance earth, fire, air, water, metal and wood
allows the universal order to run smoothly through one's life.

But I am fire surrounded by fire, born on the watered cusp of Scorpio. 
I am surrounded by lions, Gemini rising, the twins, the Piscean moon.
I flair, burning bright, then, retreat to the sea.
I am fire. I am most sustained and soothed by water.
Sagittarius, the archer, the centaur, half-man – half beast. 
And I dream in the coinage of horses galloping to the sea.

2/23/1988
added 9/15/2016

an expanded version
WHO BUT I

Thursday, February 18, 1988

Journal: Sonoma Mountain



I couldn't help but notice the beauty of late afternoon in early spring when enough winter light keeps a certain suspense in the air, shadows not quite juxtaposed in equal measurements.

But the yellow light of mustard in shadow, is moving into green, until you can no longer detect the difference of new grass in sunlight, or mustard in shadow. Both take on that greeny light that transparent depths of summer pools. 

Maps of the seasons on the grass, the edges of the mountain. St. Helena's shoulders. How much better I understand the earth when I hike in the hills. 

Sonoma Mountain. I carry a bruise the size of a football on my side when we panicked,diving for cover as a truck cruised by too slow on the fireroad—we're trespassers.

I have trouble with the notion of those, unworthy of the land, having financial ownership of it, imposing also spiritual ownership of the land. We are stewards here, all of us.

John's foot uncovers a flake of obsidian, a gift from the first stewards of this land.

imagine this place with no fences, no houses.

Piecing together the tiny yards into a quilt, I get a glimpse of what it must've been like here, but I want to see large tracts of unsliced, undigested land. 

I bring back pumice from the summit of Sonoma Mountain near the top of the ridge, there is a natural megalith, like a large tooth. I wrap my body around it clockwise, then counter clockwise—cycle of the seasons. 

So many dead to appease. Dave, my grandmother, Ron, the drowned man of Puerto Escondido. All those dead in the jungles and dirt roads of Central America. 

I have nine months more of grieving for my grandmother and within that time, I'll continue to move rocks from summit to summit because it's the only thing that seems worthwhile doing. I said a prayer for the dead, and the undead. And the wounded I think. 

The last aborigine who knew the burial rights, had no one to bury him, no one to pass the tribal information onto, and the last artist cannot share the significance of the stories to the uninitiated. So with his death, 40,000 years of uninterrupted poetry was put to rest. I want to tell him it isn't all lost, this voiceless approach to the universe, can you hear and understand it isn't gone forever?

Yes, 40,000 years of dreamtime lost. Look what we white folks have done to this place in 150 years. 40,000 years from now, will anything but plastic survive us?

And Homo sapiens, a mere drop in the bucket of time. We are the AIDS virus of the earth. Not much to be thankful for. The ozone it disappears, how much did I kill with today's cup of coffee, shared with Fred?

Journal notes Napa, Dave Evans' death


Driving back from the hospital, I couldn't help but think of Dave Evans, realizing he's dead and no longer living on Evan Street. Kristine and the new baby. Was it the arrival of the baby who killed Dave in the end? Born into this world with a heart problems, and the irony of Dave dying within months of his birth from a heart attack. Circular file. Kris is keeping mum about the inevitable questions that arise. Did I put in my foot in my mouth telling Dave's daughter, Lee, that her father had had a vasectomy? I thought everyone knew. And Kris saying: God had different plans for us. He sure did. More than we bargained for. But that's the way it is with the capricious gods. Be careful of what you wish for. And now she's a widow. My heart aches for her. And for the baby. And for Lee who has no one to help her shoulder this burden of grief.

Letter to my Napa State Hospital Poetry Students, 2 /18/1988


Letter to my Napa State Hospital Poetry Students
Castles in the Sky Poetry Reading and Book Signing

This is for Liebel, the one-legged, who remembered the poetry of Nazim Hikmet, who thought the T-12 group poem was good. Liebel who also thought our duet poem was also very good, Liebel who wanted to send copies of the poems out to all his friends. Did I have some stamps? Would I mail them for him?

This is for wall-eyed Cecil who came down to earth long enough to read his poem to the group.

This is for Mike who, after 14 years, finally has a new pair of glasses—trifocals—who said he didn't know if he still knew how to read, who like to read his poems out loud to everyone he met.

Ned who's still writing, said that got some love poems published and he proudly told me that they even took some of his earlier work too. No matter that it's a vanity press, costing him $40 a copy for the book. Why should I destroy his pleasure? Would I buy a copy, he asks. Ned, who set his poems to music, all of them, is reading his own poems and other inmates' works.

I learn that Liebel said some books of his poems are coming out – from the words of Bonnie and Brooke, the only two that showed up from his group. I wish more people had come. We signed poetry books and we wish each other well. The patients are wanting to work with me again. We faced the tenuousness of goodbye.

Bonnie tells me that Marcus is out of Napa and living in San Francisco. I have a moment of uneasiness, hoping men who murder their mothers keep it in the family, so to speak. But he is a good writer. I wish him well.

So many on the inside, so many on the outside. Who will survive in either place?

Patricia felt the patients really enjoyed the workshops. She begins to play her broken record complaint about the staff. I gently derail her by saying, we can't make the staff over. But with promises of future work, we part. We both know it won't happen.

I confess to the patients how I was terrified to come here and work with them. I came away pleased with what I had learned about madness, myself, and my own work. I came away with far more that I gave. Everybody so open and vulnerable. Such is the soul of poetry.

It was interesting to be able to compare the adult Napa State Hospital patients' experiences with the high school boys this morning. They have no idea how much freedom they have. Or how good they have it. 

The teacher keeps repeating how they have low skills (say it enough and they will believe you). But none of them are anywhere near as disabled as the Napa State Hospital crew. Poets who rose to the challenge and opened their hearts to poetry.

I marvel at how much closer to poetry the Napa State Hospital inmates are than these out-of-control teenagers—some of whom will eventually wind up here too. Their spirits having failed, their veins filled with drugs, their bodies will become a shell, not a home. 

This much I can't tell them. They will need to work it out for themselves. I wish them well. And am on my way down the long road home for the last time...long shadows in the canyons.

2 /18/1988 (I think)


Sunday, February 14, 1988

Woven Valentine for Sonoma State Art form the Heart Art Auction

After traveling in Guattemala, I made several woven paper valentines for Sonoma State Art from the Heart Art Auction. Not sure of the date.  Watercolor on morilla board, collage, 8x10" I wrote a poem round the edge, but I can't read it. This is a photocopy, so I guess it sold.




Not sure of the date on this one possibly 1987, or 88.




I was making these, and it's probably where I got the idea.

Tuesday, February 9, 1988

Journal Entry, CPITS, Mendocino Oil Spill

2/9/1988 noon on Tuesday.

This place I have come to after sporadic attempts to write in the altered state with the 20th-century pressing upon me, expecting to learn tools to make managing time easier, I discover I have slowly begun to learn to spend less time on the struggle. Though I do not write daily or even weekly, I am not as concerned though I vowed to write more often.

Cecelia's workshop inspired me to find the original pleasures of writing.

Yesterday I spent rewriting my notes from the Mendocino offshore oil hearing. Tom shortened my piece by at least by 1/3. Still, I think I will be pleased with the end result. He promises a double truck spread replete with photos. That's a big deal in the newspaper bizniz.

So, though I'm not writing, poetry every day, I am involved with language, whether it's teaching kids, or grant writing, or being a paparazzi.

Celia said: Consider all writing your work.

Though I have a grant due come on Thursday, a CAC artist in residency grant at Mark West school, and I've just barely begun to crack it, I'm not worried. The coast took first precedence.

I'm fighting back in the only way I know how, with media. Maybe I will do some more journalism. Though it makes me even busier than I already am.

Today I managed to pull 14 pages of writing from my journals. Some are poems already, others have decent material. I'm surprised by how much good material I do have. I tend to think of that my unconscious writing is not real writing. Because the Muses haven't properly tortured me enough until I have no choice but to write.

If I do more of this, will I have lots more poetry? People are all asking for work. From the birth of a poem to final product, it's such a slow process. I've had an extraordinarily publishing record as of late, not the rejections of course, I didn't send that many poems out but then I don't write much either.

I continue to send poems to small journals. My desire is to publish a single poem several times if it's good, it should be out there. I'm not of the single poem, single journal school. Poetry journals have such small print runs. Usually less than a thousand copies.

Cecelia Woloch wants more work for Blue Window. Green Fuse took some work and Creative Discourse took work as well. They took Tocaloma Road, and another piece—I think. On April 23rd, they want me to do a reading with David Best. I'm very pleased and excited to read with my old College of Marin friend.

I wonder how much my two valentine sold for at the Sonoma State art auction? I heard that  a lot of people attended. I was too sick to go myself and besides we were at a CPITS meeting at Point Bonita. John felt so sad that I had misted as my own art show, was as if it was my fault. It was the CPITS logo's fault. A brouhaha over a logo.

Anyway, time is pressing in on me and I feel I shall have to return to my grant if I want a job next year. Pure and simple.

Friday, February 5, 1988

TURNING STONES (layer of Marine Haze)

TURNING STONES


I am a mover of small rocks.
From Monte Alban I bring small pottery sherds
to Mount St Helena. I leave volcanic rocks
for my dead grandmother and take quartz crystals
from the mountain.

On the ridge facing the ocean
I've made a triangle of stone cairns.
Four vultures wheeling, circling as their want—
shiny black feathers in the deep forest
and blueschist
converging over my altar of stones—
I left them corn and bread,
water and sage smoke.

We invent ritual.
The elequence of necessity crystalizes all thought
into the single vortex of the sea
churning and rising like a cover
over sleeping bodies.
The sea answers, she is our mother.
These shells, these rocks are our gifts.

The passage of a soul is marked
in the muted silver of bracelets,
dentalium and jaspar.

In the firepit, rounded cobbles—
What quarry gave them birth?
I've begun to speak of things
I never knew I knew.

We are learning new languages to keep us on shore
and I am a camera facing the iris of my eye—
the diaphragm, open and close, open and close
like the contracting and expanding universe.

I dream of machine guns in the jungle
and of falling over backwards.
I dream of sickness
and of rolling with desire on the grass with wolves—
After all, we are pack animals.

On the day Robert Duncan died
I dreamed of the green meadows I am called to
again and again.



2/5/88



first draft

MARINE HAZE

Layer of marine haze tinged with rust  
the ozone layer growing, 
closing in biological rhythms
dedication to death
the healing power of green
and the magenta fire 
The man in the garden with the guitar
surveys his handiwork strums a few chords 
to make the sun rise
and Euridice looking back over her shoulder
where darkness sat waiting to find
the center of her eye to dazzle her 
with paradox
How much of this world 
we savor without knowing it 
The word beauty had little meaning 
for me as a child
In the firepit, rounded cobbles
what quarry gave them birth
the comforting chirruping of robins 
scratching for a meal in the chaparral
The dead arrive on my doorstep 
a present from the cat
now in cybernetic sleep in my freezer
so I can paint it later
It's time to draw robins again
Four vultures circled
three from the east and one from the south
they converged over my altar of stones 
I left them corn and bread 
juice and sage smoke 
instructions from the north  
I am a mover of small rocks 
from Monte Alban in Oaxaxa
I bring a small pottery sherd 
to place into the niche of rock on Mt St Helena
named after a Russian princess
We invent ritual
I take back five rocks and the huge crystal 
I find becomes my talisman
At my childhood rock
the megalith in the hill on Christmas 
a ritual to my grandmother who first brought me here
and the sorrow hanging over me in waves  
caught between laughter and rock 
I leave volcanic red rocks from the princess
and take quartz from my natal grounds
On the ridge facing the ocean I build
my third cairn with rocks from the princess 
and from home
I've made a triangle of stone cairns
a web to keep me safe  
At the rock &a bluejay mimicking a hawk 
was my gift
that same bluejay stealing my poems
four vultures wheeling, circling as their want
shiny black feathers in the deep forest and blueschist 
I understand something more about the geology 
a have become an obsessive conniseur of rocks  
igneous, franciscan, metamorphic
that' s rule no. 7 but I've forgotten all the rules
and the american flag over the bunkers 
keeps whipping out prayers to the wind 
what does it pray for invasion at this old army fort? 
The sea answers, she is our mother
these shells, these rocks are our gifts
and we will clean oil from the dead wings of birds
if necessary because we were born into this
the passage of a fellow soul is marked
in the muted silver of my bracelets
dentalium and jaspar 
the churning breathing sea
I've begin to tell of things I never knew I had inside
the whispering of women all those sea sounds
surcease of wave crunch of rock
rolling of tires on pavement 
coyote bush in bloom
time out people laughing
Just keep going one says and I do  
the whisper of the sea, the flag 
we are learning new languages to keep us on our shores
and I am a camera facing the iris of my thoughts 
the diaphragm open and close open and close
like the contracting and expanding universe 
I capture frozen snippets of emotion 
after two days of testemony for the sea I still cry
the elequence of necessity crystalizes all thoughts 
into the single vortex of the sea
churning and churning 
rising like a cover over sleeping bodies 
and I dreamed I was in the city house again  
the twin beds of my grandparents
hiding their forms under blankets as if dead, in sleep
The man who rises from the bed is 
not my grandfather
he looks smooth with the ladies 
he tells me not to disturb my grandmother 
she needs to sleep and I comply
But who is this man? 
Is he my father 
whom I have not seen in 15 years? 
I dream of guns in the jungle
and of falling over backwards of sickness
and of rolliing on the grass with the dogs
all this on the day Robert Duncan 
died and I think of the meadow
  that green meadow.

the first part of the prose piece
(It's similar to the version above):

Point Bonita

The scratchy sound of pen and white page, the drip drip of noses, and the scratchiness of the throat. Brokenhearted Sharon sighs, and I wonder how much my art piece sold for. Layer of marine haze tinged with brown, the ozone hole growing, closing in biological arithms, dedications to death, the healing power of green and the fire of magenta.

The man with the guitar surveys his handiwork in the garden. With a few cord changes, Eurydice is looking back over her shoulder where darkness sat waiting to find the center of her eye, jostling her with paradox how much we savor without knowing the sense of vision.

Mount Vision in Point Reyes with its strange helicopter pad and orange mushroom radar. Like a Stonehenge of sorts. What's strange quarry gave birth to them?

The chupping of a robin in the chaparral, such comforting sounds – the dead one on my doorstep. I guess it's time to draw the robins again.

I am a mover of small rocks. From Oaxaca, and Monte Alban, the small pottery shards fit into the. niche on the north peak of Mount St. Helena. We invent ritual. I take back five rocks and find a huge quartz crystal, my talisman.

At the big rock, with no other name, this megaliths on our hill, the Christmas day ritual, was to visit it with my grandmother. The sorrow washing over me and waves, caught between laughter and rock.

From Mount St. Helena I take volcanic red rock and leave it there, and from this place I take ouartz from the ridge outside of Guerneville. I placed both rocks in a pyramid, making a triangle. Cairns to keep me safe.

At Armstrong Woods, after my ritual, four vultures came. Three from the north and one from the south. They converged over my crude altar made of stones – I left corn and bread, cranberry juice and smoke from sage. My crystal rocks pointing north receiving instructions, the rocks I brought back from St. Helena, the one from the top of my childhood hill.

At the big rock, a bluejay and a hawk were my gifts. On the volcano, a crystal was my gift. On the ridge, for vultures circling and weaving feather and sky with shiny black feathers.

Blue schist slabs. I understand something more of geology. I have become a connoisseur of rocks, igneous, Franciscan, metamorphic.

I have forgotten all the rules. The club flag keeps whipping out prayers to the wind.

The sea answers. She is our mother. These shells, these rocks, are gifts and we will clean oil from the wings of birds because we were born into this passage.

The passage of a fellow soul is marked in the striated silver of my bracelets, dentalian and Jasper. The churning breathing of the sea, I've begun to tell the trees things I never knew I had inside.

The whispering of women, all those sea sounds. Surcease of wave, the crunch of rock and rolling of tires on pavement. Coyote brush in bloom. Timeout. People laughing. Just keep on going, one says. The whisper of the sea, the flag, we are all learning new languages to keep us on the shores.

 I am in a camera facing the iris of my thoughts. The diaphragm open and close, open and close, like the contrasting and expanding universe. I capture some snippets of emotion after 20 days of testimony from the sea. The elegance of necessity crystallizes into a single vortex, the sea churning and churning, rising like a cover for sleeping bodies.

I dreamt I was in the city house, the twin beds of my grandparents hiding their arms, were they dead? No, only sleeping. I say, excuse me I didn't know you were there.

My grandfather is someone I don't recognize, he looks Italian and smooth with the ladies. We talk soft so not to disturb my grandmother, she needs to sleep. And I comply, but who is this man to tell me this? He is my father whom I have not seen in 15 years. I dream of guns and falling over backwards, of sickness, and rolling on the ground with dogs. All this on the day Robert Duncan died.


2/5/1988
Point Bonita

On the Day Robert Duncan Died


Point Bonita:
The scratchy sound of pen and white page, the drip drip of noses, and the scratchiness of the throat. Brokenhearted Sharon sighs, and I wonder how much my art piece sold for. Layer of marine haze tinged with brown, the ozone hole growing, closing in biological arithms, dedications to death, the healing power of green and the fire of magenta. 

The man with the guitar surveys his handiwork in the garden. With a few cord changes, Eurydice is looking back over her shoulder where darkness sat waiting to find the center of her eye, jostling her with paradox how much we savor without knowing the sense of vision. 

Mount Vision in Point Reyes with its strange helicopter pad and orange mushroom radar. Like a Stonehenge of sorts. What's strange quarry gave birth to them? 

The chupping of a robin in the chaparral, such comforting sounds – the dead one on my doorstep. I guess it's time to draw the robins again.

I am a mover of small rocks. From Oaxaca, and Monte Alban, the small pottery shards fit into the. niche on the north peak of Mount St. Helena. We invent ritual. I take back five rocks and find a huge quartz crystal, my talisman. 

At the big rock, with no other name, this megaliths on our hill, the Christmas day ritual, was to visit it with my grandmother. The sorrow washing over me and waves, caught between laughter and rock. 

From Mount St. Helena I take volcanic red rock and leave it there, and from this place I take ouartz from the ridge outside of Guerneville. I placed both rocks in a pyramid, making a triangle. Cairns to keep me safe.

At Armstrong Woods, after my ritual, four vultures came. Three from the north and one from the south. They converged over my crude altar made of stones – I left corn and bread, cranberry juice and smoke from sage. My crystal rocks pointing north receiving instructions, the rocks I brought back from St. Helena, the one from the top of my childhood hill. 

At the big rock, a bluejay and a hawk were my gifts. On the volcano, a crystal was my gift. On the ridge, for vultures circling and weaving feather and sky with shiny black feathers.

Blue schist slabs. I understand something more of geology. I have become a connoisseur of rocks, igneous, Franciscan, metamorphic.

I have forgotten all the rules. The club flag keeps whipping out prayers to the wind.

The sea answers. She is our mother. These shells, these rocks, are gifts and we will clean oil from the wings of birds because we were born into this passage. 

The passage of a fellow soul is marked in the striated silver of my bracelets, dentalian and Jasper. The churning breathing of the sea, I've begun to tell the trees things I never knew I had inside. 

The whispering of women, all those sea sounds. Surcease of wave, the crunch of rock and rolling of tires on pavement. Coyote brush in bloom. Timeout. People laughing. Just keep on going, one says. The whisper of the sea, the flag, we are all learning new languages to keep us on the shores.

 I am in a camera facing the iris of my thoughts. The diaphragm open and close, open and close, like the contrasting and expanding universe. I capture some snippets of emotion after 20 days of testimony from the sea. The elegance of necessity crystallizes into a single vortex, the sea churning and churning, rising like a cover for sleeping bodies.
I dreamt I was in the city house, the twin beds of my grandparents hiding their arms, were they dead? No, only sleeping. I say, excuse me I didn't know you were there. 

My grandfather is someone I don't recognize, he looks Italian and smooth with the ladies. We talk soft so not to disturb my grandmother, she needs to sleep. And I comply, but who is this man to tell me this? He is my father whom I have not seen in 15 years. I dream of guns and falling over backwards, of sickness, and rolling on the ground with dogs. All this on the day Robert Duncan died.


2/5/1988
CPITS wokshop

LAYER OF MARINE HAZE (aka Turning Stones, or Mover of Rocks)

LAYER OF MARINE HAZE

Layer of marine haze tinged with rust  
the ozone layer growing, 
closing in biological rhythms
dedication to death
the healing power of green
and the magenta fire 
The man in the garden with the guitar
surveys his handiwork strums a few chords 
to make the sun rise
and Euridice looking back over her shoulder
where darkness sat waiting to find
the center of her eye to dazzle her 
with paradox
How much of this world 
we savor without knowing it 
The word beauty had little meaning 
for me as a child
In the firepit, rounded cobbles
what quarry gave them birth
the comforting chirruping of robins 
scratching for a meal in the chaparral

The dead arrive on my doorstep 
a present from the cat
now in cybernetic sleep in my freezer
so I can paint it later
It's time to draw robins again

Four vultures circled
three from the east and one from the south
they converged over my altar of stones 
I left them corn and bread
juice and sage smoke 
instructions from the north  

I am a mover of small rocks 
from Monte Alban in Oaxaxa
I bring a small pottery sherd 
to place into the niche of rock on Mt St Helena
named after a Russian princess
We invent ritual
I take back five rocks and the huge crystal 
I find becomes my talisman

At my childhood rock
the megalith in the hill on Christmas 
a ritual to my grandmother who first brought me here
and the sorrow hanging over me in waves  
caught between laughter and rock 
I leave volcanic red rocks from the princess
and take quartz from my natal grounds
On the ridge facing the ocean I build
my third cairn with rocks from the princess 
and from home
I've made a triangle of stone cairns
a web to keep me safe  

At the rock &a bluejay mimicking a hawk was my gift
that same bluejay stealing my poems
four vultures wheeling, circling as their want
shiny black feathers in the deep forest and blueschist 
I understand something more about the geology 
a have become an obsessive conniseur of rocks  
igneous, franciscan, metamorphic
that' s rule no. 7 but I've forgotten all the rules
and the american flag over the bunkers 
keeps whipping out prayers to the wind 
what does it pray for invasion at this old army fort? 
The sea answers, she is our mother
these shells, these rocks are our gifts
and we will clean oil from the dead wings of birds
if necessary because we were born into this
the passage of a fellow soul is marked
in the muted silver of my bracelets
dentalium and jaspar 
the churning breathing sea
I've begin to tell of things I never knew I had inside
the whispering of women all those sea sounds
surcease of wave crunch of rock
rolling of tires on pavement 
coyote bush in bloom
time out people laughing
Just keep going one says and I do  
the whisper of the sea, the flag 
we are learning new languages to keep us on our shores
and I am a camera facing the iris of my thoughts 
the diaphragm open and close open and close
like the contracting and expanding universe 
I capture frozen snippets of emotion 
after two days of testemony for the sea I still cry
the elequence of necessity crystalizes all thoughts 
into the single vortex of the sea
churning and churning 
rising like a cover over sleeping bodies 
and I dreamed I was in the city house again  
the twin beds of my grandparents
hiding their forms under blankets as if dead, in sleep
The man who rises from the bed is 
not my grandfather
he looks smooth with the ladies 
he tells me not to disturb my grandmother 
she needs to sleep and I comply
But who is this man? 
Is he my father 
whom I have not seen in 15 years? 
I dream of guns in the jungle
and of falling over backwards of sickness
and of rolliing on the grass with the dogs
all this on the day Robert Duncan 
died and I think of the meadow
  that green meadow



see 
so revised that it's another poem


TURNING STONES


I am a mover of small rocks.
From Monte Alban I bring small pottery sherds
to Mount St Helena. I leave volcanic rocks
for my dead grandmother and take quartz crystals
from the mountain.

On the ridge facing the ocean
I've made a triangle of stone cairns.
Four vultures wheeling, circling as their want—
shiny black feathers in the deep forest
and blueschist
converging over my altar of stones—
I left them corn and bread,
water and sage smoke.

We invent ritual.
The elequence of necessity crystalizes all thought
into the single vortex of the sea
churning and rising like a cover
over sleeping bodies.
The sea answers, she is our mother.
These shells, these rocks are our gifts.

The passage of a soul is marked
in the muted silver of bracelets,
dentalium and jaspar.

In the firepit, rounded cobbles—
What quarry gave them birth?
I've begun to speak of things
I never knew I knew.

We are learning new languages to keep us on shore
and I am a camera facing the iris of my eye—
the diaphragm, open and close, open and close
like the contracting and expanding universe.

I dream of machine guns in the jungle
and of falling over backwards.
I dream of sickness
and of rolling with desire on the grass with wolves—
After all, we are pack animals.

On the day Robert Duncan died
I dreamed of the green meadows I am called to
again and again.



2/5/88