Friday, November 26, 2004


thought weather trouble
blue house stand fast
last luck lord engaged
wife, she remained
respect finished
they point
surely part class drop
likely raised offer
fancy share afterwards
stayed period

millions had used
need among class

quick sound
nine ears hear longer
disappoint reason

court pale day
handwriting towards perfect passion
ladies ache
watched colour lying fallen
cannot lose afternoon knowledge

children fear gray
grandfather turning
walk round accident
nice spot

except   sooner
nobody down fool
ah says sake her,
took matter
four  close

repetition wonderful by not years shut,
luckily where rhythm grandfather
forget earth opportunity

wear once around
desire played lead
equipped full
awhile lightning scarcely allowed

fathers suddenly note their education
know continue passing early exercise,
speak ah note
strong writing start
ight he
laughter moved
height position shoulder
spirit field
doctor act god
line comfort obliged
stop following companion
comfort knew
lie any progress
fit continuous find.

found poetry vicodan

thought weather trouble offer last" luck lord fancy share wife nice hear house blue" stand engaged surely part gym respect finished stayed class! drop period court pale day, ears quick longer they handwriting towards perfect. passion likely class nine raised she remained fear gray, million had used degree fast among afterwards need. ladies ache point sound disappoint" reason colour lying fallen cannot afternoon lose. knowledge children watched turning accident grandfather nice spot walk round" second except fool close" down ah says sake her, took matter so sooner four. nobody repetition wonderful by not years shut, luckily where rhythm grandfather forget earth opportunity wear, once around desire played lead equipped full awhile lightning. scarcely fathers suddenly education allowed note" their presently know continue passing early exercise, speak ah note strong writing start hill mile, ight he laughter moved height position shoulder spirit field! doctor act god line comfort obliged stop following companion. comfort knew lie any progress fit continuous find.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004



’T’was the day before Thanksgiving
and all through the houses
plump turkeys were thawing, not petit grouses!
Though the cupboards were groaning
all the tables were laid bare. What? No carousing?
My birthday comes but once a year.
"We forgot," cried relatives and spouses
to friends and neighbors moaning in thin air.
They scolded their watches & their PDAs too,
"it's not that we don't care. Really, we do.
Forgive us. We really forgot. It wasn't a plot.
Forgive us, our memory's got dry rot. Or ergot.
We'll make it up to you at Christmas. Never fear."
Lest I complain, "let them eat crow," (or cake)
one year, even my mom forgot, alas, heartbreak!
I don't hold my breath lightly, nor do I lend an ear,
for tomorrow will come when pigs learn to fly
by all those pumpkin and mince pies in the sky
without gobbling them up, none for the throngs.
So much for the promises of yesteryear—
or even next year. Now, don't get me wrong.
Indeed I long for that glutton of a beast
with all the trimmings of a glorious feast.
I dispense fowl blessings reiterated with grace.
Hope springs eternal, so I save a small place
for dessert — because it might be a bit of cake.
OK, I’m quirky if I confuse turkeys with candles.
And tomorrow when we dismantle the big bird
I’ll blow out the drumstick with a wing and a prayer.
I won’t let this bailiwick of a pilgrim’s parlance,
betrayer of fowlish deeds, with dissonance absurd
occlude my birthday with a yam dance. Not a chance!
Conclude your fawning and hemming and hawing.
Pass the blasted dressing. For next year, never fear
my birthday will reappear on Thanksgiving Day. OK?
Pity my poor cousin born on Christmas Eve
and not to grieve on such a moveable feast.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

In North Beach awaiting Neil Jordan and Roddy Doyle

11/17/ 2004

Myles O'Reilly's pub at 622 Green St. in North Beach awaiting Neil Jordan and Roddy Doyle. Ha, ha, ha, we're all drinking somebody's open swill – Pinot Noir for breakfast. Ugh. I was hoping for food. The Jazz club band brings us in with a little swing, some Maria Callas, and the Tarantella and the Godfather meets the Irish in North Beach.

Nearly an hour later, Roddy Doyle saunters in and steps up to the microphone, says he's now a Yank, having been in nine cities in 10 days. We laugh.

Doyle is bald as a skinhead, it takes some getting used to. He read from Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, and a bit on Henry Smart, an IRA volunteer, from A Star Called Henry, and some stray bits from a play he's been working on, and then he thanked Elgie Gillespie for making this so. We're all fairly toasted.

Neil Jordan, looking upscale thuggish, wearing shades, returns from a TV interview, he's a rare bit of gloom, despite it being sunny, midday. Maybe the alcohol's wearing off. 

He begins with: I know when I died, May 1950. It was a rare whinge, the perspective is written from that woman. He ended on an upbeat note: George killed me... He reads from The Dream of a Beast, with a segue into Interview with the Vampire.

After they were finished reading, there was a Q&A. Someone asks: Would you like to write The Commitments today?

Roddy Doyle said, Well, I'd need to express the conditions along similar lines. The Irish, the blacks of Europe would figure into it.

Jordan said the USA has been good to me, re: The Crying Game

Unconventional sexual relationships seem to be a major attraction. I went into shock after seeing the movie—even though someone told me the ending beforehand. Perhaps the American audience needs that to hang onto as the intricacies of the Provisional IRA would be above their heads.

Doyle said, Yeah, the audience and booksellers and films here are great. The Commitments was successful which was a mystery to me. He repeats himself: As to why they read my books, it's a bit of a mystery to me.

Question: did you write for the stage, was it a goal? Doyle answered, No, I wrote The Commitments as a story. It was not a natural play. The joy was in watching the actors take it and then make it their own. A learning experience.

Jordan says: Money changes everything so quickly, the refusal to live in the real world was central in The Crying Game.

Sue Fry says to Jordan: it's a dark film and the US was shocked by it. North Dublin is dark. Are there cross-cultural differences?

He said: The American audience didn't get it. Movies have no nationality. The Americans certainly didn't get The Butcher Boy, because the accent made it difficult. And there are specific issues versus generic issues, so the nationality of the film interfered. 

She asks: What about Michael Collins?

Roddy Doyle says the distribution was underestimated. It was not tailored for an American audience. Doyle's Dublin street slang is not directly transferrable. The Snapper for example, Miramax had 17 pages of changes in the dialogue to make it more accessible to American audiences. They didn't know what a gobshite was. Readers like the Irishness of the books and then the media controls what's made. Now it's all about stars, not the story.

Jordan said most filmmakers did something else before they became filmmakers. I wrote short stories first.

If you're interested in film, write it as a short story first.

Then we celebrated Myles' birthday, and the party spilled out into the street until dusk fell.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004


Well, it’s come to that
flip a coin when stasis sets in
John the Ambiguous was always 
a great one for a coin toss to decide fate
like have a kid, or break up, or get married
So whatever flummoxed him was reduced to
a 50/50 chance, the odds were in his favor
because that way he didn't have to choose
A good thing coins aren’t dice cubes 
It would have increased the odds
We were a gamble anyway.

rev 1/2/14

Friday, September 17, 2004

Letter to President Bush on Public Schools

In the National Mobilization for Great Public Schools petition box provided for personal comment I wrote:

Dear President Bush,

Having worked in nearly 100 California schools since 1979, I can emphatically state that the public schools have NEVER been in such dire straits as they are now, thanks to increased federal and state legislation that has negatively impacted our schools—coupled with a growing lack of state and federal funding. A deadly coctail for education. As a result, schools are seriously overcrowded. New legislation, including the futile "Leave no Child Left Behind" campaign, has left schools so crippled, that we've lost sight of what a school does: to educate children.

Public education is no longer about educating students but it's about crowd control, and it's about teachers jumping through meaningless administrative hoops in order to meet legislative mandates. A teacher's politically mandated curriculum teaching hours leaves little or no troom for actual meaningful teaching.

In addition, to become a credentialed teacher is now an expensive, time-consuming, meaninless pursuit, harbinger of things to come, namely, dealing with bloated school beaurocracy. Compound that with overcrowded classrooms, lack of funds for basic classroom needs, and poor salaries, no wonder new teachers are leaving the profession at alarming rates.

Thanks to government lip service, our children are becoming increasingly illiterate with little or no critical thinking skills, let alone, basic job skills—and they are America's future! Public education needs massive state and federal funding incentives ASAP to save the current generation from being left behind, because, Mr. Bush—and you are not  MY president: My president would give more than lip service to education, he would nake it a top priority.

Your lack of foresight and negative legislative actions have all but crippled what once was the best education system in the world. Sadly, these children are the victims you have left behind with your policies and they will be our future citizens of tomorrow. Alas, they will inherit this future.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Lesson Learned: Vote

If there was a lesson to be learned, the Presidential election of 2000 taught us that every single vote literally counts. Some cast votes were counted incorrectly and some chads were pregnant, spawning an election where, several days after the polls closed, we still didn’t know who our president was. It proved to be a bad omen, and here we are, four years later, convincing friends to vote in 2004.

There’s a saying, Friends don’t let friends vote Republican. Here, in the Bay Area where, where the majority of voters are liberal, we’re preaching to the converted. But what about preaching furhter afield, what about family? What do you do then?

Like a dark secret, lately many of my liberal friends are confessing that their families are staunch Republicans. I have never before admitted in public that my enormous ecelctic, whacky family too is Republican to the bone. As in Orange County Republican. We have more than our fair share of laywers, judges, policement and doctors. 

At family gatherings, politics are always a hot subject. One of my earliest memories is of my grand uncles and aunts pounding the table, whiskey jars jumping in unison like amber soldiers. But you can’t divorce an entire family. I tried that for a few decades but it only isolated me from my roots. I mourn those lost years when many of my relatives died.

There’s a popular anti-Republican joke set in the Midwest, where a Republican teacher asks a class to raise their hands if they’re Republican. The whole class raises their hands except a lone student, Mary, dissents. She claims that she’s a Democrat by virtue of the fact that both her parents are Democrats.

You wouldn’t find me raising my hand in that classroom either though I’m from a family where both my parents are Republicans. And their parents were Republicans. And that’s about as far back as it goes. 

In Ireland, before and during the 1916 Rebellion and the development of nationhood, to be a Republican meant you were against the tyrannical rule of Britain. When my grandfather came to America from Ireland in 1904, he was a freedom fighter. A Republican. It meant something different in 1904 as compared to today’s definition.

 It was during the Vietnam war that I cut my political teeth. I was from a generation of young activists, who were children during the Civil Rights movement. Though the action was happening on the Eastern Seaboard, California  was a long way from Washington DC, or the South for that matter.

While an entire high school, marched from San Anselmo to San Rafael and shut down the Draft Board. We made the national evening news. That was a big event  when there were only five TV channels to choose from.

In fact, my partner, who is from Scotland, said he could never live with a woman who smoked, or who was a Republican. Well, I was a registered Democrat, I didn’t smoke (not even after intercourse, and pot by that point, was passe), but I lived with him seven long years before I confessed to him that my family was Republican. We were having an argument. He was dissing. Cat slipped out of the bag.

The next family gathering, a wedding, I noticed that he was looking at my family with new eyes. I think he was looking for horns and cloven hooves. These people he’d grown to like and love. But what he discovered was that they were merely human with all their foibles on their heart sleeves after all. Like our Cuban friends 

in Miami. If you’re Cuban, you’re Republican. If you’re Black, you’re Democrat. If you’re Irish, your Party persuasion depends upon when your ancestors left Ireland, pre -or post-Famine years. If your family managed to survive the Famine, and they weren’t Protestant (pro British), then they were Republican. As in The Republic of Ireland. The IRA.  

How do you talk to rabid Republicans, fighting Irish, who volley back Republican vetted sound bytes as if it were truth? There’s no room for meaningful conversation. 

All I can hope to tell them is that under the Bush administration, social welfare issues have been all but destroyed. I can no longer make a living, after 25 years of working in the schools as an artist in residence, the repeated recessions have all but destroyed the funding sources, and gutted the schools to such an extent that arts education is no longer offered in most California schools.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


The old one bent over the fire feeding the pulses, one at a time into the cooking pot. End of summer, and the green beans that bolted  and grew towards the sun in the hopes that the great beanstalk in the sky would find them a ladder to the heavens, were unceremoniously shucked, their corns tossed into the stew pot for the evening meal. This evening, the next, it didn't matter. It all wound up in the same place eventually, thought the old woman. Her thin gray hair hung down in thin ropes, like bedraggled feathers. Soon she too would go the way of all things. The fire popped and hissed. She watched the film rise from a crack in the wet wood. Stranded bugs did a frenzied dance on the rotted log she'd used for starter wood. She marveled at their amethyst color, so like the bauble of the Chieftain, who was always yammering on about his own self importance. The hot bugs curled into tight balls, and rolled off right into the coals like berserker warriors leaping into the fray. She was still puzzling over last winter's tale about a dragon, his mother, and the dragonslayer. Something about bears. No, that wasn't it, the warrior was more like a bear or a wolf. The last moon of summer rose over the new mown wheat. the ache in her bones spoke of another story trapped in the silence of the earth. Soon the teller of tales would return to the village and pick up his tail where he left off. And, the beans, their remains would turn up in the pot until they too dissolved into yesterday's stew harboring the last of the summer sun in their skin. She hoped that this winter he would finish the tail so she could put the story to rest. But she worried that the dragons mother might be waiting for her during the longest nights.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Letter to Sigrun in Iceland (Helgar the Horrible)

Icelandic Horses in the rain

Alas I have no photos of Helgar the Horrible, who by this time is probably in Icelandic horse heaven! He was a gelding, not a stallion. I suspect that's why he was allowed to come to the US in the first place, no danger of gene pool problems.

He was unusual, some of his behavior was unlike that horses. Closer to pony or donkey behavior. Unlike the donkeys, he was not revengeful & didn't carry a grudge. BUT you never knew quite what to expect from him. He wasn't as wily as the Shetlands. Boy was he sometimes thick-headed: both metaphorically & literally! He once tried to take me right through a water tank. Guess physics wasn't his strong point... We never quite knew what made him tick. He was pretty enigmatic. Sometimes his brakes didn't work right so we never knew what to expect....

He was surefooted...except whenever he had a momentary lapse with physics, that is. He never needed shoeing, his hard hooves were like flint. You could ride him all day long and he never would tire, no matter how steep the mountain, and believe me, we rode hard. We took our assorted ponies, horses, donkeys and an occasional lonesome stunted (dwarf) bull calf named Mr. Smitts out for miles over the steep coastal ridges of Marin County, Northern California, as far as Point Reyes national seashore, and Bolinas (from Forest Knolls)... (we called the bull calf that because he was smitten by our Shetland ponies, and didn't know he was a bovine... which was downright embarrassing in the spring when his hormones began to run... he'd hop up right behind me, and the danger of being impaled in the back by his horns was...but I digress.)

Helgar preferred to trot and could trot almost as fast as a cantering horse, even Gay Girl, the thoroughbred. It was like riding a jackhammer....not smooth at all. He must've had at least three very distinctive trotting speeds. We used to sing and our voices would go uh-uh-uh in time with his trot, sounding like a car ignition unable to turn over (start) in winter... It was very hard to get him to gallop (hitting him or drumming your heels into his side didn't work) but the horses would eventually leave him behind in the dust and he'd eventually come tearing up from behind all worried looking.

There was a particularly mean Walking Horse named Brandy I occasionally rode (with some well-grounded fear, you had to get past his teeth to get on him), who did pace, so they were a happy match together. Brandy must've been 17 hands, and Helgar 12 hands. They looked ridiculous side by side. Helgar's trot was very distinct, and I can still see him in my mind's eye, looking like a little cartoon character with his head thrown back and his hairy little legs flashing out like a Walking horse. In retrospect, he probably was pacing in that I do remember us talking about it.... It was not a comfortable ride, not like a Paso Fino which I also once rode.

Helgar had a thick head, not at all refined like the Welsh pony that carries an Arab gene or two. He looked a lot like the horses in the cave paintings of Las Caux & Altamitra. Black tail, upright mane with dun (sandy) guard hairs, so it was two-toned. He was fairly stocky, thick-legged with long guard hairs on his fetlocks and jaw. And when winter came, poor thing, he looked like a chia pet he was so hairy. He never ever adapted to the milder California winters. Rain ran right off him. He refused to use the shelter, preferred to stand out in the downpour. We thought he was a little daft as we got a lot of rain (as much as 30-60 inches) and a surprising amount of frost in Forest Knolls. Not like Iceland, of course, but cold. Sometimes the ground in the shade would stay frozen for weeks.

He was a summer camp pony, so he was probably picked up at an auction somewhere during the early 1960s. Gregg's Forest Farm Summer Camp leased out their horses to us locals from September until June. Brenda Fullick, a friend, always got Helgar, so he was her horse, except in summer. (Gregg's daughter, Linda Gregg became a famous poet....)

We were told from the very beginning he was an Icelandic pony, so whoever originally bought him, at least knew that much. His pedigree followed him. We never thought to ask WHY he came to America. Many year later, I read articles on Icelandic ponies in America, someone was claiming to be the first to import them, and it wasn't true. I remember being outraged by the statement. Maybe he was a the first to develop a breeding herd.

I recently saw a documentary on the ponies; they all looked just like Helgar. I was surprised to see so many variations of Icelandic ponies. I originally thought the ponies were mostly duns like Helgar. The dun gene, incidentally, is an archaic one. Dorsal stripe, dark ears/nostrils/muzzle and legs (like a Siamese cat markings), faint stripes in the insides of his upper legs. All recessive gene markers. Duns often have the stripes. Like the now extinct Quaggia which was a type of zebra...

As a child and a teenager, I was fairly well horse crazy and I ready everything I could get my hands on when it came to horses. So I was fairly well informed. I have also seen in zoos the Eurasian Prezwalski's Horses, ancestor to the modern horse, and I was struck by the thought that Helgar looked a lot like them. Even his head shape was similar. I have seen Fijord horses and they're bigger. Our neighbors were Norwegian and they never thought Helgar was Norwegian!

If horses were brought to Iceland in the early middle ages, there would've been a good chance that they would be of the native European "cold blooded" stock, unmixed with the "hot" breeds of southern Europe & North Africa, which makes them a special breed. Maybe someone should do a genome project on them. See if there are any special genetic markers. Or find that they are indeed modern horses after all.

My renewed interest in the Icelandic horse is due in part to my Celtic Studies. I went back to school in 1998, and took Celtic Studies at UC Berkeley. For at least 3000 years, horses have always been central to all Celtic cultures, they/we were/are still famously reknown for horses to this date. And because I've done translations of the ancient Irish and Welsh epics, and have read translations of some of the Icelandic epics to boot (and am well aware of the ancient Irish-Icelandic connections even id the rest of the world isn't), I realized, suddenly, that I was looking at the same/similar ponies that the Irish would've been using during the time the epics were being transcribed!

Even many of the ancient Celtic/Gaulish warrior and Matronae/Epona sculptures of horses have the look of Icelandic ponies. The Gauls were so famous on horseback that Caesar eventually recruited them into his armies. His calvary were all Gauls, and most Latin horse terminology comes from the Gaulish, a relative of the Irish language. The modern word "car" from chariot is originally from the Gaulish. As is the word pony from the goddess Epona.

Thank you for this stroll down memory lane...I always wanted to come to Iceland and go pony trekkiing...all because of Helgar the Horrible.


Sunday, July 4, 2004


It was fair great meeting in the Marin (F)art & Garden parking lot even if your are the landlord in the Seagull and Anna is nowhere to be found because you've eaten all the apricots in the tree like thieves in the night and what was left but unripe peaches and you know what kind of bellyaching ther'll be if we'd et those and the bird has flown while we searched for Chekov's cherry trees--and how many times did he rewrite it? A lesson to persevere one's sullen craft.


Where the sun is shining, and the sky is that incredible cerulean when you stare straight up at its infinite blueness, and you forget everything only to have an egret enroute to the lake cross your trajectory and you remember it's in the city after all: the distant pounding of surf, the cars on the freeway while I hold vigil for my cousin in hospital, a victim of that same stretch of road. With shaking hands, I made three silk scarves, the gutta forgiving. Roses, egrets, orchids, sky emerge from the void.


Friday, June 4, 2004

Eugene Ruggles 1935 - 2004

Gene Ruggles  and Shirley Kaufman in Petaluma

Gene Ruggles was an old friend of my mom's from North Beach. My mom, she got around, sometimes she'd bring her City friends home to meet my grannie and me in Forest Knolls. Gene Ruggles and my grannie got on like a house afire. She would make Irish sodabread and brew a pot of strong tea liberally laced with Irish whiskey, which she kept hidden in the bedroom closet, for Gene.

They'd talk of things Irish and politics until the sun slipped behind Mt Barnabe to bathe in the ocean. Then, when the stars studded the sky, my mother and Gene would stagger down Arroyo Road, half-lit, to Sir Francis Drake Blvd. more than a mile away, and hitch back to the mysterious City. Sometimes I wonder what they talked about as they wandered down that dark country road to civilization.

When I became a practicing publishing poet, ca. 1980, in Forestville, Gene had moved to Petaluma, we became reacquainted at poetry readings, and I occasionally produced a few readings for him at Sonoma State, Cotati Cabaret, and for the Russian River Writers' Guild, but he was a liability—falling down drunk, so I never knew what to expect. No one could keep him sober. It was always a harrowing experience.

Gene used to call me up late at night, out of the blue, roaring drunk on Red Mountain, to have a little chat. One time he called to tell me that Joseph Brodsky had died. The evening's libation had run dry, so he sought solace over the phone. Brodsky wasn't that old, he said. Only 55. Heart failure, he said, but his stout heart never failed him. Nor did Gene's tired heart fail him until he was evicted from the Petaluma Hotel, right after his open heart surgery.

After Gene died, everyone jumped on the poetry bandwagon producing memorial readings and benefits for him, they, who had largely ignored him during his lifetime, and didn't offer help when he was down and out and desperately needed their support. They were pompously making the poetry rounds, as if it were a badge of honor to host a reading in honor of Gene. It was as if he were more important to them dead, than alive.

Last time I read with Gene was at the Cafe International, in 1997. It was too soon after my car accident. I had PTSD, and I couldn't control my breath (a punctured lung), so necessary for reading poetry aloud to a large audience. Stars on the edges of my eyes, I didn't know whether to pass out, or run for the hills. It was a long time before I was fully healed.

I dropped out of the poetry scene. I don't think I ever saw Gene again after that reading. Of course, because I had fallen off the poetry map, no one even thought to invite me to read at Gene's memorial readings. So I never got closure.

Sometime, late at night, when the phone rings, and there's no one there, I think it's Gene on the other end of the line, calling up to say hello.



The moon’s tears splashed into the ink dark lake,
a harvest of light rippling the sky
She leans down, offers it up to the stars.
They say Ithuriel’s spears watered heaven with his tears.
They say Blake saw God in an apple tree when he was four.
He spent the rest of his life looking up in the orchards
But God was busy saving Ireland, the land of saints and poets.
And the fey world fled with their celestial constellations in tow
to take root in Blake’s orchard. The apple fell far from the tree
and flourished in Avalon, Anglesey, the Isle of apples.
Amid the oak groves, druids climbed towards the sky
harvesting mistletoe with golden scythes under an equinox moon
But this island was their last stand, their last resting place
Before the Romans drove them underground for good.
They became fossil stars trapped beneath the skin of the earth.

6/04, 9/08

Saturday, May 15, 2004

3 Hams at a Bread & Roses Party at the Nagy's

Bread & Roses Party at Toby & Phil Nagy's, Piedmont, CA.
Will Durst, Maureen Hurley & Michael Pritchard  May, 2004?

Michael Pritchard Director to all three, all right take the joy of life thing down a bit you three. This is an artistic photo, same result can't help these faces they show years of laughs love and Bread & Roses compassion. Plus, of course, three hams. A hamilicious photo!

Maureen Hurley I need to find the original of this photo and see if I can make a better print—this is a terrible copy—from when digital was in its infancy. I've been saving it all these years to send to you but in those days you didn't even do email, O great gorilla-fingered one! Welcome to the digital age. And Facebook, no less!

added 4/24/2016

Monday, May 3, 2004

Housesitting for Shiva — prose

I awoke in a strange house, in Atchison Village, in Richmond, CA, to the sound of someone walking on the roof. I awoke to am empty house and a strange garden where the night before, I had been introduced to all the roses name by name, the owners having left me a carefully plotted map with precise watering schedules and soaking instructions for tender new roses versus the long established roses. But they left me no information that the electricians were coming in the morning. Or the name of the cat or that the mail needs to be let in once a day too.

An electrician let himself in by the front door at dawn, looking for the fuse box. I thought the house was being robbed. I lunged for the phone. No dial tone. He didn't look like a thief but he came to rob the electricity from the house. His eyes were like St. Elmo's fire against skin the color of shadows.

Luckily I was dressed, I'd fallen asleep watching TV on the couch. Sleep came in limbo in a strange house. He was as surprised as I was. He informed me in a lilting accent that there will be no power this morning. Tthis means no morning tea, no computer. Only the garden, the cat, and my notebook for company.

Yesterday’s record heat wave threw the watering schedule asunder. The northern sky was lonesome for the tropics. It paled and flashed and whined with longing. St. Kitts, said the other electrician, that's my home. My island. Are you far from home? he asked. Being from far away, the island man assumed everybody was from somewhere else.

I was all tangled up in answers, should I say where I was born, where I was raised, where I’ve lived, versus where I live now or where I would want to live in a parallel universe and why I can’t seem to answer the question? All I could think of was the color of the sea on tropical reefs. Turquoise longing versus the prison of our steel slate gray bay.

Incongrously, I began humming an old Holly Near/Ronnie Gilbert song to Steven Biko as I fed the cat who was furiously weaving figure eight shackles around my ankles and I remembered the cat's name was something like Biko. God, I hadn't thought of that song in 20 years. The cat didn't care what I called her as long as I give her full measure of kibble (and then some) plus equal petting time. Gurumai and Baba and all the bodhisatvas stared at me from photos and niches on every wall, the mantra eternally whining like a famished mosquito on the CD set to replay until infinity or the next power shortage, was mercifully silent.

We think in terms of color, I was defining my morning in pantone scale. The roses were like florid schools of fish. Circe the nymph, shared a plot with Just Joy. Mme Lombard was in bed with Tolouse Lautrec and you know what that leads to. Alliance de Franco Russe was next to the quartet: Peace Rose, Gloire & Eglantine, and Mrs Choux, but Aloha was off sulking all by herself in a corner. No island welcome there.

I found Charles de Gaulle tangling in the same heady bed with the Tipsy Imperial Concubine. An international scandal. Leaves and branches entwined. I imagined a collective lovers knot of rose roots under the rich loam. I followed the hand drawn map, watering each rose for exactly five minutes, avoiding downed power lines suspended from the pole by yellow lines tied to the roof. It was as if the house was a boat anchored to a mooring line, snug in a harbor of crabgrass sea.

When the watering was done and it came time to pick some roses for my class, I forgot the eminent danger of water lines and high voltage lines intersecting, though the hose and extension cords were crossed in fated lovers’ knots. I forgot the possibility of electrocution greeting me by traveling up a silver highway of water to the hose, will my rubber and wooden shoes save me?

Should the lines cross, and the electricity arc, then I stood at the intersection of an improbable death. As I picked roses, I forgot all about my plans to run away from the trajectory of power line and the yellow rope, should it break. My plans to avoid imagined deaths was dismantled as I flitted from bloom to bloom like a drunken bee with shears in hand, gathering heaps of roses of every description, color and name.

There were nearly 150 varieties of roses to tantalize and entrance, their heady odor, narcotic. I was like the cat, stoned, staggering from each imagined heaven to another, oblivious to the ghettoed and armed hordes of Richmond's Iron Triangle, death capitol of the world, gathered around cars right outside the fence, with rap music vibrating car windows like a gale against sail lines. Doin' coke lines on the hood. Watching us watching them through the iron bars.

Who is locked in, us or them? San Quentin in the distance, shining like a reverse Mecca. The holy sepulcur of baddies. Worse than Al Capone's Alcatraz, holding thriller memory for the tourists. I felt a lasso of premonition and dread circle and tighten around my heart and nothing eased that pain. The power was out but I could still hear the om mantra chant from the dead CD player.

I was distracted, the house gave off an electric moan, as if testing the anchor rope mooring. I was thinking of rescue ships in the night. I recited, bowline, jib line, I chanted another line until I got to the radishes with their rosy-spanked bottoms peeking sediciously out of green petticoats. I liberally doused them until their leaves became slender green fins in the mulch. I tried not to think of orphan stray bullets that have planted themselves in the gardens, in the walls of this historic Rosie the Riveter village surrounded by railroad yards, Chevron tanks, and urban ghetto.

Sometimes I still dream an old lover comes in the night to put his arms around me. Last night I played succubus to his incubus, and opened like a rose, only to awaken to a confused history of decades slipping upstream, under the bridge of time, caught off guard, finding myself in sleep, unfaithful to my mate. The exponential dance of cumulative lovers had not corrupted that dance but old habits die hard, like all the rest.

In the infidelity of sleep, we are all infidels. Meanwhile, my cousin will turn up missing, victim of a hit an run on the Richmond Bridge, and I will find her registered as a Jane Doe at the NICU ward, in a coma, where I will begin to hold vigil and pray in earnest to any god that will listen that she will wake up whole. And the electricians, on island time, will forget to show up and the refrigerator will thaw and christen toe floor to become a white island of rotted food surrounded by a baptismal moat of ice water.

2004 may



I wake to a strange house, someone walking on the roof.
I wake to the garden where I have been introduced to the roses by name,
the owners have left me a plotted map
with watering schedule and instructions for new roses
versus the established roses
but no information that the electricians are coming in the morning.
Or the name of the cat or that the mail needs to be let in once a day too.
An electrician lets himself in by the front door, looking for the fuse box
Luckily I’m dressed, but asleep on the couch, he’s as surprised as I am.
He tells me there will be no power, this means no morning tea, no computer.
Yesterday’s heat wave has thrown the schedule asunder.
The northern sky is lonesome for the tropics
St. Kitts, said the other electrician, my home,
Are you far from home? He asks.
I’m all tangled up in answers, do I say where I’m raised, where I’ve lived,
versus where I live now and why I can’t seem to answer the question?

We think in terns of color, the roses are florid schools of fish.
Circe the nymph, shares a plot with Just Joy,
Mme Lombard is next to Tolouse Lautrec
and Alliance de Franco Russe is next to the Peace rose
Gloire & Eglantine, Mrs Choux, and Aloha all by herself in a corner
I find Charles de Gaulle in the same bed with the Tipsy Imperial Concubine
I imagine a collective lovers knot of roses under the rich loam
I follow the map, watering each rose, avoiding down power lines
suspended from the pole by a yellow line tied to the roof—
as if the house were a boat anchored to a mooring line
snug in a harbor of crabgrass sea.
When the watering is done and it comes time to pick some roses for my class
I forget the eminent danger of water lines and high voltage lines intersecting
though the hose and extension cords are crossed in fated lovers’ knots
I forget the possibility of electrocution greeting me
by traveling up the silver highway of water to the hose, will it save me?
Should the lines cross, the intersection of an improbable death
I forget my plans to run away from the trajectory of the line
and the yellow rope, should it break
My plans to avoid imagined deaths are dismantled as I flit from bloom to bloom
with shears in hand gathering heaps of roses
of every description and name
nearly 150 varieties to tantalize and entrance
their heady odor, narcotic, I’m like the cat, stoned,
staggering from each imagined heaven to another
oblivious to the hordes gathered around cars
with rap vibrating the cars like a gale against sail lines
bowline, jib line, another line until I get to the radishes
with their rosy spanked bottoms peeking out of green petticoats
Sometimes I still dream he comes in the night to put his arms around me
I play succubus to his incubus, and open like a rose
only to awaken to a confused history of decades slipping upstream
under the bridge, catching me off guard
finding me in sleep unfaithful to my mate
the exponential dance of cumulative lovers has not corrupted that dance
but old habits die hard, like all the rest.
In the infidelity of sleep, we are all infidels.


Sunday, March 21, 2004

Alternator Blues Coyote

After teaching Fri. at Alexander Valley School, the new-to-me Nissan's alternator died on the freeway in the rain at dusk, in Cotati, and I was miles from either home...I had to literally rely upon the kindness of strangers (I was Blanche(d) alright!!! with fear)...

Filling up at the gas station, I spotted a stranger wearing a Harley cap, named Jim O'Hara (I knew I was in good hands: he looked like my cousin, luck of the Irish) after an ordeal, Jim got me headed toward home (Tara? Was I Scarlet?) with a new Kragen battery and an admonition: "don't use anything electrical" and I got to my cabin in Forestville some 25 miles away, using the wipers only when I couldn't see anymore...I couldn't make it back to Oakland (an hour) with the headlights on.

The Kragen guy said I could go maybe 20 miles on a battery & no alternator...and of course my car has ALL the idiot lights (all using up precious electricity).

Anyway, after numerous phonecall, and "hold please", I located the part I needed on Sat. from Smothers, and a neighbor mechanic put it in, but everything I earned the last two Fridays and all my emergency wallet money ($100 bill) was spent on the "free" car.

I think my mad careening around with Coyote the other night (see below) sent an already fragile alternator over the edge. So that's why the engine light was on... of course, being an idiot light, it didn't specify that the alternator was bad...

What a night. I need a cell phone.

Still reeling (in Oakland at present...)


(SPIN is a silk painter's conference in Santa Fe; Isabella Whitworth (UK) is making a wall hanging for the conference with pieces from all over the world...My Coyote in Alexander Valley is one of them.

Maybe I should fix my original SPIN square and see if it'll shrink so the image will fit. I tried to peel off the affixed Pellion no avail. I prefer the original piece to the second 11th-hour piece, unfixed but now safely in Isabella's hands (vs. in the mouth of her mad howling collie named Collie with postal aggression issues)...

There's a story attached to my piece...ironically, my SPIN square is of a coyote (trickster) howling at the moon. Coyote's been in my pocket ever since the last full moon

in my other life, I'm an artist in the schools. I began a series of new silkpainting workshops, and evening storytelling gigs at schools after months of no work... Real live coyotes were howling at the full moon at my first evening gig at the Alexander Valley grange, which gave me the inspiration for my piece.

Amidst the sleeping vineyards, small leaf hands opening to the prayer of spring, Mt. St. Helena, backlit by indigo & moonlight, the Russian River murmeling to the crescendo of crickets & coyotes.

* * *

The other evening (3/18/04) I was to tell stories at TWO inner city-schools back-to-back (someone cancelled at last minute) for Oakland's Family Reading Night. So I put on my storyteller's costume, I made it to the first school ontime (despite a massive traffic snarl on 580). In a sweltering gym packed to the gills with kids and grannies, I told Anansi & coyote stories, and we all howled like mad, invoked the rainstick.

Timing was very tight. I was assured the 2nd school was merely "minutes" away but MapQuest gave the WRONG directions. Some demi-bright city planner named all the streets & avenues as numbers...AND all the avenues & numbered streets have an extension East in the title...which gives any given address 4 possibilities, all in the dicey part of East Oakland.. And I don't like numbers.

I couldn't find the second school, at Highland Hospital (gunshot capital of CA), it skipped from the 1300 to the 1900 block, no 1700...  (it was an unseasonable balmy night for March, indigo sky, crescent moon).

The Brothers and the Cholos were all hanging out in the 'hood with their cellphones permanently glued to their ears: lotta shit goin' down. There I was, caught in the crosslight of a cultural conundrum called East Oakland, but I was desperate. All those kids waiting for me somewhere nearby. I was griot. I was poet. I was brazen. I was there to tell their children stories, dammit. Magic was afoot and would not be impeded.

So I had all these bad-ass guys all calling my school contacts, only no one was answering their phones. I told one cabrón (who spoke no English) that I was to tell the kids a story about el Coyote Azul, and he just roared with laughter and shouted, buena suerte! as I sped off like a madwoman possessed, myriad silk scarves wafting like Isadora Duncan's. Madre de Dios!  Gawd knows I needed good luck. Who scripted this night anyway?

So I tried the other end of town, in the industrial flats, on the other side of Amtrack, by the shipping yards, (Port of Oakland, not a place to hang, even by day), I was literally airborne over speedbumps, careening around corners in a friend's new-to-me car, a Nissan the size of General Patton's tank.

I eventually found the school, but not at the given address, it had moved several blocks west to the new Cesar Chavez Center...I spotted droves of kids leaving a barred compound with pizza boxes...and I followed the reverse tide back several blocks to the school only to find an empty gym, reeking of new paint, and I just burst into tears, howling like Coyote himself.

The good news, the school invited me back to do another story. Should I tell them about Coyote? Lately I've been thinking about making a bilingual Spanish kidbook of Blue Coyote, with silk illustrations... He's been very busy these days. And we artists obviously lead charmed lives, boldly going where the sane fear to treadÑespecially in the barrios after dark.

I poured myself a rather large glass of last year's wine when I got home. Peeeled the label off the bottle, it said where I've been, Alexander Valley vineyards, Mt. St. Helena rising up to touch the sky.

Friday, March 12, 2004

FOUND POEM lists —aphohorism chain poem

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink
You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear
A chain is no stronger than its weakest link
A rolling stone gathers no moss
After the storm comes the calm
All aren't hunters that blow the horn
As green as grass
As is the gardener so is the garden
As you sow, so shall you reap
Better to go back than go wrong
By hook or by crook
Deeds are fruits, words are but leaves.


boisterous bastard conception
obsessive blight
immemorial  glamor
pedagogic rune 
build synthesis
spark rabble overture
azalea thaw
darwin colosseum
diminutive pitilessly
sharecrop utopia  
blend appetite rot
besiege bacterium hour
cypriot diesel
affluent  crescent
secondhand dessicate shop
abdomen dirt company
forestry africa



Thalatta, thalatta, the sea, the sea…
& Ulysses asleep, as I write with a pen, blue as thalassa. 
Thalatta, old sea, thalassa, new sea, both wine-dark. 
A drunken boat rocking, rocking, that slap and thunk.
As if a fist against a slab of meat… Industrious measuring, 
the blue eye on the prow plumbing the depths for signs of danger, for luck…
it’s all the same thing in the end. What sailors, what shore?

I write with a blue disco pen shedding blue light, 
a gift so beautiful I can hardly bear to write with it, 
I can barely contain myself. Homer was blind. 
What would purlblind Joyce have done with this distraction? 
The novelty of a pen lighting my words in the darkness…
I can’t wait to turn off the lights and see if my words, 
written in darkness, in knower’s ink, 
shed a different light when written thusly, 
will I find new metaphors at the end of the sentence?

And her lost sandal greeting the lip of Venus in the rosy-fingered dawn…

My hands, dyed woad from today’s art 
would be the same equation as darkness. 
I am mesmerized by color, traffic light amaze me, 
the green but not really green, teal blue, 
the color of epaulets of wild ducks 
and the red verging on magenta, 
venous blood from the inside of the wrist. 
And the yellow of the sun trapped behind glass.

These colors we use to invoke all other colors, 
to call them forth. Light, prisms, 
the edge of a broken bottle behind the hospital 
casting rainbows on the far wall.

Newton was right, light so amazing 
that he theosophized eloquent and the poets, 
when the saw what was possible, 
abandoned their dreary palette of words, 
drab browns and greys, and invoked color, 
pure prismatic color in their verse, 
liberating it from the mundane 
so that I may write this nonsense 
about the sea, the sea, 

all that blue uinleashed in this pen, 
it was a business gift from
one Japanese business man 
to another, to curry favor…

And Ulysses still sailing home 
heroically after all these years, 
Stephen Daedalus trading in his oars 
for tt’s taken from thalatta, for thalassa, 
having arrived in the 21st century 
a hundred years hence, the sea, 
Demotic Greek, the Olympiads 
returning home to Athens in time for the Games. 
Sea, sea and sky are one thing on the horizon. 
Look how Bloomsday approaches 
at the speed of sight.


(I know this says March but I suspect it was written in June, Bloomsday. Rescuing old bit of writing from the void—1/2/2014)

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Moonlight Over Alexander Valley

I did a poetry lesson at the local school and silk after school, we did hoops for the annual spaghetti feed art auction that raises money for the school—and the arts program. It's so fun when everybody bids on these big barrels of wine... California's finest...and the wine flowed liberally the Alexander Valley grange, at the foot of Mt St Helena, under a full moon, coyotes singing in the distance...after a dismal winter, hope returns in the tattered jackets of flowers by the roadside.

I passed the math(s) test! Something I've never beem able to do...I can't believe I had to wait until I was 51 to pass a math test! Only now is my mind ready...I too hated writing, didn't write at all until I was 30, then something happened...a dam burst, maybe it's because in art, I have no words, just color and light and shape.

At present, I am reorganizing my silk a lot of stuff on Fri...I feel like King Midas recycling the gold gutta....actually I'm stalling/ procrastinating on my SPIN square...acaicias (wattles?) in bloom, and my eyes/nose(s!) running. welcome to spring.

When writing, write faster than you can's usually better that way Besides the big censor kicks into overdrive if you give it the time. Me? I take no prisoners! I'm dyslexic so it's interesting, if not odd  that I write as well. I believe that with art as a basis, that one can learn, become proficient in writing. You already have the honed skills. Words are just a new kind of dye.

But hey, the  moonlight was incredible over Alexander Valley, coyotes serenading the full moon in a distant canyon, the daffodils nodding their heads in the Chinook breeze  (we plant them by the rural roadsides here for cancer victims, etc. It began as a fundraising campaign, a dollar a bulb, and now Marin and Sonoma County roadsides are ablaze with yellow. 

After 9/11, many people planted a bulb for each of the fallen. In our small church yard in Nicasio (think George Lucas territory), thousands of blooms nodding their heads in agreement.)  

I not only have math anxiety, but I have math rage...I get homicidal when I read some of the inane trick questions...and wonder what's the point of testing us? So many math questions are so poorly written and I have dyslexia and so I have to be ultra careful with the reading part. Then if my eye sees a number, it does strange computing—that has nothing to do with the problem. It's like I'm schizophrenic when it comes to math in that I have moments of lucidity, amid hours of confusion... (did you ever see Beautiful Mind with that gorgeous man, Russell Crowe?)

When it comes to math, I do absolutely nonsensical stupid mistakes ...though I understand how to solve them. Then the shytes who make these (teacher) tests, make up questions where they don't even want the answer, they want you to come up with another alternative (algebra) I mean who cares as long as you understand the problem and can solve it. 

I saw a (woman, thank god) math tutor who was fascinated by the way I solved problems...she said she was classically trained, and me, well, I circle as an artist does, from an oblique angle. (how's that for a rant???) Oops. I beg your pardon... Lately I've taken to cracking codes and dropping cyphers off in abandoned warehouses...(just kidding).

OK, so here's the burning question: so why does everyone refer to math in the plural, schizophrenia, royals, or because there are many forms of math(s)? Where is Pythagoras when you need him? I actually discovered I was good at and liked geometry...of course, we artists understand form/volume at the ground level, right?

Alas, the PO is closed now, so I'll send gorgeous rainbow colored pens out via carrier pigeon tomorrow!!!

Monday, March 1, 2004


May you bring nature to us all
May the seconds pass by
like graceful birds
floating in the sky of you
May the birds build their nests
\in your bed of dreams
May you bring nature to us all.

no idea of date, found in May You poet teaching folder. Paper is somewhat yellowed, but not funky. sI'm ticking it in March 2004, but it could easily be1994 or 2014 for all I know.

Friday, February 27, 2004

You'll Always Have Parrots

You'll always have parrots, he said in a white room filled with raucous laughter. You know, the deep kind where you laugh from the belly, from the spleen, and all is forgiven. I can just see Bogey on the runway, the fog closing in, and Ingrid's eyes, luminous with something other than hope. it was a time of noble deeds, a time when sacrifice meant something. Sure, there was a war, life was short, and uncertain, but there was a nobility built into the psyche—even the most jaded of men could do something noble—even Rick's piano music in the distance was liberating notes, and Sam at the keys, whispering them home, until they flew off the keyboard like flocks of parrots, in black-and-white. This was before color films encircled the dreamless, and snared those trapped in waiting rooms between worlds, homeless, without a country, allegiance. Notes circling in a room seductive with smoke, wheeling banking, landing in the nascent shell of the ear. The shore and the sea were one thing—like horizon and fog. Yesterday it hailed so hard that Oakland was covered in a blanket of white. I stood under a tree and let the hail pound me, I was raucous with laughter, filled with the delirium of a child waiting to witness nature up close. in the swirling eddies I gathered up hail like handfuls of peas, and lobbed them at passing cars. The freeway came to a standstill, you could hear the sounds that the city usually swallows, unbelievable. I could hear the neighbor's parrot having a laugh after all. Parrots in the rain on a Thursday, in the rain. Aguacero, a real downpour. I am reminded of César Vallejo's Paris in the Rain. Did we ever have Paris? A parrot is speaking poetry to the rain, flocks of escaped parrots in the eucalyptus trees are dancing on the branches, gaudy fruit. I'm thinking of Dante and Beatrice, and Bogey and Ingrid laughing raucously, because they could.

St. Daffyd's Dafodils

What makes us come to attention suddenly for a brief moment, like the sun channeled through a magnifying lens? Then, as if a cloud crossed the sun's gaze, nothing, we are left withn othing but shadow and amnesia? We could call it indifference. If the shoe fits. Or temporary amnesia.

My gaze shifted, blurred, focused, and it was as if I were seeing the daffodils for the first time. Saint Daffyd's bells. Sunlight dancing in the meadow on the cusp of spring, when sap and hope rise eternal. 

These moments recollected in tranquility that Keats was so fond of, honing words until they shone bright as the sun, burning a path to the brain.

Someone once said that nature is indifferent, we bestow it with grandeur, and benevolence, because it is our nature to give relevance to arbitrary events. Because we can't bear the thought of all that aloneness, without pattern. 

We are all smithys at the forge, hammer and tonging out patterns or paths for others to follow. What about that moment when the universe was formed when angels danced on a pinhead? Call that momentary silence before the Big Bang, a ditte.

Crystalline structure, the music of dancing mathematics, and fractals make the up the matter of the universe. It goes on with, or without us—only we can't bear the thought, it's too deep to hold onto for very long. And so we rise up momentarily, with a glimpse into something we can't quite get a hold of. Can't quite remember. And are left wanting. 

And suddenly, daffodils are nodding their heads in the sunlight. We come to, we come to for a moment, and pay attention. Then the clouds cover the sun, laden with rain. 

We planted daffodils by the side of the road for cancer victims, for those already dead. After 9/11, we planted a daffodil for each victim. Now there are thousands of daffodils nodding their heads in the churchyard.


I said arbitrary indifference, to see if there were a distinction between the two words, and I played with the paying and then the not paying of attention. Arbitrary. Indifference. The Arbitrary Indifference of Trapped Sunlight.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Letter to Whitman McGowan, Math Rant Night Before the CBEST Test

Letter to Whitman McGowan: a Math Rant, Night Before the CBEST Test

Hey Blue Dawgge,

As ever I am amazed by your steadfastness....bravo on CD & all the gigs...

I really wish I could see youse all tonight at Cafe Amsterdam. I was also invited to see a play, Helen of Troy...but alas I have a CBEST test in the morning (math which I've already failed once; I aced the writing, a dyslexic writer, I coulda passed the whole test on my writing ability alone but Noooo, I need to pass each section) the test which tests my anxiety over math, not my ability. 

It's not about logic. They're nuts asking stupid, illogical questions...splitting hairs or maybe atoms. They're the ones inventing the next wave of dumbass teachers and we wonder why our schools are so bad? If you pass the CBEST, congratulations, you're teacher material or maybe even George Bush material. And you know where that leads to. So I keep failing the practice test by a few points...

I even went to a tutor and made amazing inroads, I learned several years' worth of math literally in days, with a 95% accuracy rate—circumference, volume, equations, you name it...I even taught myself beginning algebra. My head hurts constantly: geometry hurts above the ears, algebra at the back of the head, and volume/area, the top of the head...I should be in a MRI scanner while doing math, my head is melting, no, exploding.

I have been doing math 6 hours a day for a week, I dream in mathematical symbols & equations. I even took the 12th grade math exit exam...& passed w/ flying colors (w/ exception of higher algebra which I got 100% wrong). It's all about decoding language. I haven't yet found the key, the Rosetta Stone.

I've studied dead languages. I can translate from the archaic Irish. I can tell you of the battles of Fergus and Cu Chullain, the Hound of Ulster and of Medbh's arrogant pride. Or of Pryderi's follies, the one who knew for naught, in medieval Welsh.

But I can't pass the fucking CBEST so I can't substitute teach in the schools...and artist in residency programs are up shytecreek, thanks to Bush & team. In other words, I'm broke, outa work for way too long (any leads?) first time in 20 years, and I'd really rather come hang with youse guys but am feeling positively homicidal (a side effect of doing math—why the fuck they want to test us with dumbass trick questions, they don't even want the answers...the most senseless hurdlejumping I have ever done, otherwise why would I be doing this to myself in the first place, worse than Soviet bureaucracy and I speak from personal experience there too...)

So I'm wondering what patron saints to invoke tomorrow morning, maybe you, maybe Helen of Troy, I mean I can't take this too seriously, right? You guys are the doctors of irreverence. And then I thought of my second cousin, Marie Walsh, the one who died of cancer, right? I mean, she qualifies.

I come from a family of geniuses. OK, so they're all whacked, eccentric. But brilliant. My mother's ghosts: her father taught himself algebra, read at the speed of sight. He left her with other genes more insidious, the random Foresight upsetting the linear logic of the present. I can even tell you the words for it in several dead Celtic languages.

And her cousin, Marie, the math genius, was whisked away out of high school, she had the highest math scores in the state of Nevada, my family didn't know where she was but she had all these weird addresses: Los Alamos, Alamagordo, White Sands, Oak RIdge. We never saw her, only occasional post cards. 

My grandmother said as a child she was like a little angel, always worried someone was going to blame her. Saying I'm a good girl. I'm a good girl. Really I am. Maybe it was the Foresight having its way with her. They say Julia, her eedjit cousin, still haunts the International Cafe in Austin. She makes coffee for the unexpected travelers from the other side.

Wooden horses aside, ask Helen about those names. Helen was my mother's middle name. That expains a lot. Ask her why my cousin lived so long in secret in the desert heart of New Mexico and we had to wait until her death to find out the code names. 

Say it: Manhattan Project. Say it: the Age of Light. Say it: fusion/fission. Say it. Fat Man, Little Boy. Big Bertha. Mea maxima culpea. 

She died for it, she died for it, the equations glowing in the dark like star patterns in the geometric vortex of the sky. The dark cancer growing in exponentials, growing toward the light. The white desert sands of Alamagordo melting into kryptonite at her feet. Emerald green like her lost homeland, her lost blessed isle of green. No Superman to save her. Just her fate. All the pure numbers and equations dancing in her head.

Just let me pass the fucking test!


PS Tell Gary I miss long is he here for?

(And so I did).

Dear Hurley,

Yeow, I am way behind in some emails!  I'm sorry, you asked me at the bottom how long Gary was around and I didn't read that in time before he left for San Jose or something.

I hope things are turning better for you, I really do.  Have ye a paddle at least by now?  Are you clinging to a branch about to go over the falls?  I hope not.  C'mon you genius descended of geniuses, you will think of something.

I've got a buddhist name now so I can probably burn the candles of least three religions for you now: Christian, heathen or buddhist. First I was an alter boy, then a born again nutter, then I went in a couple of other directions. I was made an honorary Druid the day I met your Mom and now I am Trungpa Bumbleshe, according to my minister friend, as of yesterday!  Now all we need is a power outage.  I forgot to tell you I'm part Scottish?

You missed a rather poor showing by moi in Marin. Gary and Margery were good, but I am not a great team poet, and the group presentation has a different set of problems than a solo set.  I guess I wasn't as into it as I should have been and I didn't like being a part of a sideshow of a three ring circus.  The rest of the show was pretty good, a jazz band and a human beat box, not to mention a balloon lady, a magician and a poetry slam, which was kinda of cool, kind of lame.  But it took forever and the service sucked.

If I owned Cafe Amsterdam I would hire some extra help and sell a thousand drinks. Nobody came to our table for two hours. It was kind of stressful, not knowing why I was waiting to be told to cut our set short, playing the poetry fool, paying for my dinner and dying of thirst at the same time.Had a couple of real good session since then, so I'm over it now. But enuf about me!

Are you okay?  Are you dancing barefoot because you passed the test?  Are you cutting yourself because your cousin helped blow up some atoms?  Your mind, is it still full?  Your body, is it all systems go, in harmony with itself, healing you?  You were going a mile a minute when crammed full of info for the test; do you have a brain chock full to the brim with something tonight?

I think I may take a bubble bath now, and I suggest you do the same.

Whitnaked "T.B." McGod, Doctor of Irreverence

Dr. EyeReverence,

Well burning candles at both ends leads to a hot arse, but at three ends? What does that lead to, Trungpa Bumpershoot? T.B.rolly in the bath with bubbles? How does that affect the outcome of luck, good, or otherwise?

I already knew about the Scottish bits...probably one of the first things out of your mouth when I first met you... It was the blue woad thang.... I'm trying to remember when/were that was? Do you? Was it thru Gary at that place on Roblar Road in Cotati-Petaluma? I remember later, being surprised that you knew my ma. She moved in exquisite, if torturous circles.

I haven't much felt like performing ever since the car accident with fucking Verona Seiter nearly 7 years ago!!! I think I tried to perform too soon after, I remember gettting sick, throwing up, the shakes, my pain threshold overmaxed and absolutely no reserves. My candle at both ends was very nearly snuffed out, now it's only lit at one end these days...yo pienso que si pero...

I still get back spasm from stupid stuff, probably from sleeping wrong, spent Mon/ Tues (last fortnight) in amped pain module trying to break spasm with Flexeril. Genius? stupid as a fish comes to mind.

Cafe A'dam sounds like a 3-ring poetry-circus.  And a dry one at that.

May 9 I'm off to Miami to perform with world-class pianist duo Kirk Whipple & Marilyn Morales, from the Unconservatory. I wrote a suite of poems as Kirk was composing them: 12 nocturnes, Elemental Portraits of Sonoma Co. musicians. 

I used to lay under the piano and freewrite as he tried out riffs, read from his dreambook, etc, then wrote, and then I interviewed the people. Wove the story around them. We were going on the road when the accident happened, with a punctured lung, I literally had no breath by which to read.... 

They moved to Miami (bigfish/mudpuddle syndrome; Mari's family is Cuban--she missed them) and enroute, they got sorta famous. Played at the Kennedy Center. So, we're resurrecting the old show (vs saw?) for da SnowBirds and Republican JebBush supporters. Oughta be real interesting.

And yes, I passed the effing CBEST math test with 18 points to spare (55 out of a total of 80; 37 was passing) and no, I can't remember much of what I learned other than E=mc2 but I already knew that fission/fusion thang. We're having a rare Walsh clan gathering in Santa Rosa June 27. Home Ranch & Marie Walsh will be invoked at one point or another.

I got a few CPITS gigs in Fremont, Healdsburg, and a YABA gig in Clayton so I'm spread pretty thin, I'm working but earning diddlysquat and resenting the shit outa the govt thang, etc...fuck taxes, the irs, etc....

Other than that, all quiet on the western front. We're still on spring break. More like broken spring for me with the rental manager hanging me up for days on end while fixing the sink (it was literally falling thru the counter) and he took apart every faucet in the house, while painting the closets with sealer as the roof leaked, and ALL my clothes & things are mouldy. 

I won't mention the mondo moth attack. Well, I needed to downsize and get rid of sweaters (the past) anyway. I had to wash every stitch of clothing and the dryer isn't working right. Talk about being the Irish washerwoman! I've wet clothes everywhere.

And last week, the ONE day I left my silk painting manuscripts out of the portfolio, leaning against the piano bench--as I was scanning them--and I wanted to redo them--I went off to teach a class in Healdsburg and when I came back they were all wet!!! The ceiling had to leak in that one spot in the whole house. Luckily, they're covered with visquine but the mats got wet and I was afraid of migration...not one color shift. I must've used fixer in the dye with them, thank gawdess!! I had to spread them out all through the house to dry.

I'm borrowing a digital camera (from my aunt) and I'm having a blast taking pix of flowers, cats, etc. I was worried about not having the software, drivers, etc., for it, and of course, I couldn't find Toshiba drivers for it, but it showed up anyway on my elder Mac's (8.6) USB card, like a little itty-bitty hard drive. I was so thrilled! Now I can document my art work after all these years.

Neil returned home Friday from Scotland last night reeking of cigarette smoke, (his mum is a chimney) and I'm so allergic it's not funny, so now his clothes are all outside as well...what a time for the dryer to break!

About the Scots, to avoid Longshanks (Braveheart comment), Neil got inducted into the Caledonian Club...they put on the Highland Games, oldest in the nation I gotta be Scots born AND male!!! we went to the Tartan Ball...I just don't DO that sort of put on a dress, nylons (hose) I refused at that...let the men do that, skirts, I mean, not hose unless they really want to.... Anyway, they were toasting this and that...And I about gargled when they toasted "our dear President Bush," the office, yes, but NOT the man. Needless to say, the mayor of Pleasanton (where the Games are held), my tablemate and  I abstained from toasting.

I thought I was in for a right torturous dour evening, until about the 10th toast, when they shed their wee dour selves and the party began!!! ... isn't there something, say, a nice medium between dour and stroppy/ lunatics? Anyway, it really did take them the entire evening to warm their cockles, the real party or should I say, ceildhe, began in someone's hotel room after midnight, with Neil on the guitar and all these drunken Scots caber-catching themselves in kilts...mine wasn't the only stray hand feeling the underside pleat job. And hotel security (Airport Hilton) coming in to join the fun or to shush us up...was it the snare drums or the pipes someone had the audacity to complain about???

Hmm, forget the bubblebath, the sun's out. I must flog my man around the lake (Merritt) if he's to shift his circadian clock from Scottish time...


PS I sent rhiannon your Colorado gigs, you may want to follow up.