Tuesday, October 17, 2006

FLIP A COIN


Well, it’s come to that
flip a coin when stasis sets in.
John the Ambiguous
was always one for a coin toss.
Have a kid, break up, get married, break up.
Whatever flummoxed him
was reduced to a 50/50 chance
so he didn't have to decide.
A good thing coins aren’t dice cubes.
It would increase the odds.
Otherwise we’d all be snake eyes.

10/17/06

Sunday, October 15, 2006

PERSONA WORKSHOP MARGINALIA

PERSONA WORKSHOP
MARGINALIA After Jarrell

I had started to walk down the path
These are the roads you find yourself traveling
Homesick for anything, she asked me in her windswept voice
Occasions for the grief that left me seething at the sea
She heard a lot of it when she came home from the hospital
Help me! The pain in her bones paralyzed me
So I wrote these words in the margins

GENERATIVE WRITING

GENERATIVE WRITING
From Thoreau, TC Boyle. Oates, Wright, Merrill, etc.

We were observing
Replacing the old style cells
In which a window
Measuring 6 x 8 feet
More movement there
Perhaps I was not thinking coherently
In this state I was careless
Their faces showed consternation
I was confused, so I smiled

The color drained out of the treetops
It was like looking up at the emerging stats
But who was counting
For a long while she didn’t say anything
I don’t know what’s wrong with me
He foresaw every disaster so no was on his lips
Listen he said, speaking tot the sky
The spilled paint of stars
Softened his voice

I won’t give anyone another chance
It’s been a long dance with death
I realized that I’m possibly quite mad. 
I know he is.
The world is full of people 
separated from themselves by families
What was her favorite song., 
the name of the lover she took to the grave
I never adopt a person who doesn’t have 

In the case of numbers
It allowed me a substitution
The trouble with Mike was
We had become middle class
But our dog had not
They turned towards us as if praying
She believed he betrayed mongrel origins

We were all, in all places
A picture of Brazilia, 
a white mansion shining in the jungle
The music is powerful, blessed
In this fine white afternoon
Paying no attention\to our own little brick utopia
Sort & discard
The heavy-footed building
A lazy reach & sigh
These are the papers I need
It begins to thin in the air at dusk
The one, a poet, the other an action.

1o/15/2006

AT THE COUNTY FAIR


AT THE COUNTY FAIR
—for Sharon Doubiago

The carnival straddled a limnal boundary 
between civilization & endless fields of corn. 
A miracle in the bright dust and mirrored lake
deep summer bloomed in cotton candy colors.
For a moment she was screaming,
& laughing against a bright sky
as the Fairest Wheel lifted her
weightless against the burden
of her father’s darkness.

In a constant elegy of ascent & death,
the Fairest Wheel dizzied them up to the stars,
& plunged them in o the dwarfed laps of broken families.
For a moment, she forgot she lived 
the enchanted sleep of Snow White 
where in dreams she rode a carousel pony. 
Between her clenched teeth, not a rose, 
but a blanket emitted a high-pitched sound
as a bright bloom escaped from her gown.

As she loosened herself from the horizon, 
she was forever tumbling against a silken sky.
Her blonde hair, a temporary sun
eclipsed & eclipsing the retextured sunlight.

For a moment she forgot what she was
becoming, a black dahlia.
Dust & parched earth. You could taste it 
in the air, acrid like carbolic soap & sweat.
Soon the rains would come. 

—Maureen Hurley
Walker Creek Ranch, 10/15.2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Worthless

Worthless, less than, less loss. Loeser. Mary, the teacher, was married to a childhood neighbor. How many degrees of strangeness is that to be in her class in Oakland, where I let slip some geographical minutia. She startled like a deer caught in the headlights (we used to turn off the lights so the deer could cross the road… We grew fond of driving blind on moonlit nights.) She said Keith was my ex husband. I didn't ask how long the X negated the husband part, but I could see there was a fair amount of angst involved. I could tell she thought him worthless. Truth be known Keith was younger than me, and also a little weird. Apparently that turned into a whole lotta weird. Andrea, his genius sister is in a loony bin, and I think, what a colossal waste. What's the use of being a genius if there's no channel for it? What good are numbers to a physicist whose brain is biochemically addled? I know about that kind of life—we come from a long line of addlepated dysfunctional geniuses, and idiots to balance out the equation. Then, there's a rather large group of us with various real and imagined ailments so as to make several relatives hovering dangerously close to the worthless camp. Poor things, succumb to their worst nightmares – as if it was something that could be helped. Call it alcoholism, drug abuse, or being bipolar— the end result is a life rendered worthless because of the purgatorial anguish harbored within the mind. The night before last, I dreamt a nun was flyfishing off a skyscraper. I stood behind her, wondering what the catch of the day was. I opened my eyes wide, but  when I wasn't looking, small white lice had nestled in my eyelashes, obstructing the view.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

CPITS 2006, AT THE COUNTY FAIR

REGENERATIVE WRITING —with Tobey Kaplan


AT THE COUNTY FAIR
—for Sharon Doubiago

The carnival straddled a limnal boundary
between civilization & endless fields of corn.
A miracle in the bright dust and mirrored lake
deep summer bloomed in cotton candy colors.
For a moment she was screaming,
& laughing against a bright sky
as the Fairest Wheel lifted her
weightless against the burden
of her father’s darkness.

In a constant elegy of ascent & death,
the Fairest Wheel dizzied them up to the stars,
& plunged them in o the dwarfed laps of broken families.
For a moment, she forgot she lived
the enchanted sleep of Snow White
where in dreams she rode a carousel pony.
Between her clenched teeth, not a rose,
but a blanket emitted a high-pitched sound
as a bright bloom escaped from her gown.

As she loosened herself from the horizon,
she was forever tumbling against a silken sky.
Her blonde hair, a temporary sun
eclipsed & eclipsing the retextured sunlight.

For a moment she forgot what she was
becoming, a black dahlia.
Dust & parched earth. You could taste it
in the air, acrid like carbolic soap & sweat.
Soon the rains would come.

—Maureen Hurley
Walker Creek Ranch, 10/15.2006

MAUREEN HURLEY who grew up in the wilds of West Marin, a watershed away from Walker Creek, was Area Coordinator for Sonoma County for a decade, at present, she’s learning her urban skills in on the shores of Lake Merrit in Oakland. Published in the 2006 CPITS statewide anthology


GENERATIVE WRITING
From Thoreau, TC Boyle. Oates, Wright, Merrill, etc.

We were observing
Replacing the old style cells
In which a window
Measuring 6 x 8 feet
More movement there
Perhaps I was not thinking coherently
In this state I was careless
Their faces showed consternation
I was confused, so I smiled

The color drained out of the treetops
It was like looking up at the emerging stats
But who was counting
For a long while she didn’t say anything
I don’t know what’s wrong with me
He foresaw every disaster so no was on his lips
Listen he said, speaking tot the sky
The spilled paint of stars
Softened his voice

I won’t give anyone another chance
It’s been a long dance with death
I realized that I’m possibly quite mad.
I know he is.
The world is full of people
separated from themselves by families
What was her favorite song.,
the name of the lover she took to the grave
I never adopt a person who doesn’t have

In the case of numbers
It allowed me a substitution
The trouble with Mike was
We had become middle class
But our dog had not
They turned towards us as if praying
She believed he betrayed mongrel origins

We were all, in all places
A picture of Brazilia,
a white mansion shining in the jungle
The music is powerful, blessed
In this fine white afternoon
Paying no attention\to our own little brick utopia
Sort & discard
The heavy-footed building
A lazy reach & sigh
These are the papers I need
It begins to thin in the air at dusk
The one, a poet, the other an action.



PERSONA WORKSHOP
MARGINALIA After Jarrell

I had started to walk down the path
These are the roads you find yourself traveling
Homesick for anything, she asked me in her windswept voice
Occasions for the grief that left me seething at the sea
She heard a lot of it when she came home from the hospital
Help me! The pain in her bones paralyzed me
So I wrote these words in the margins

Friday, August 25, 2006

One

One, a vice of one? One needs a virtuosity of vices … A symphony… Virtue /vice – reminds me too much of biblical leanings. One is the loneliest number one… Oh, piss off ear candy! Get over it. Everybody's happy writing from the attribute of virtue/ vice—except me. I can't get to the next level. Begin again. Now, I'm caught up in word puns and silly rhymes, and God forbid: pop songs  (number one)– partially because I'm so stressed. One. To contemplate. I like one, I like its aloneness, the way it stands like a sacred stone. An "I am." I like the color and the sound of it – and synesthesia strikes again. One is silver-white, and casts a pale shadow of glacial ice, it rings like a silver bell, or like that melodic crash of ice crystals. The queen of Narnia is a one. Cate Blanchett is an ice maiden, cruel, ruthless, and alone in her sleigh. Always winter. I yawn, my ears pop, finally after several days of pain. I can hear. One-eared, I was. No dulcet duet of sound. Singing in pitch was problematic when sound was a singular one. I had to rely on memory. Now I can hear every single thing. The sound of paper rustling, like an avalanche, the rough scratching of pens in unison, a scratch of pens, one in unison. One, I am one.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Arthur Boericke Obituary

From the Independent Journal

Arthur Boericke was an original and daring thinker and person. He was an advocate for unorthodox creativity in architecture -- elliptically bringing both away and towards the mainstream. He published several seminal books including 'Handmade Houses' -- a classic. He also was involved in the formation of the Farralones Institute, and was a supporter and adviser to Sim Van Der Ryn. He was born August 27th,1927 to Arthur and Edith Boericke, owners of Boericke and Runyon Pharmaceuticals. Arthur's grandfather was William Boericke, MD, author of the 'Materia Medica' which remains the primary reference for all things homeopathic. Arthur is survived -- and loved -- by many, many of us. We will celebrate him on Saturday, April 22nd, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. Call Sarah Howard for information about the Celebration 415-663-9778.

Published in Marin Independent Journal from Apr. 13 to Apr. 16, 2006I didn't hear of this until much later, and am sorry I missed it. This is a reference stub, something I need to get back to later.

Handmade Houses: A Guide to the Woodbutcher's Art, Arthur Boericke and Barry Shapiro (1973, Scrimshaw Press, A & W Publishers). I used to go on driving expeditions with Arthur as he was writing the book, in Marin, Sonoma, and Mendocino. We both had a red Volvo panel van.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Visible Spectrum


"Go deeper," he said. As if I needed prompting. All that azure and violet converging on ultra. I needed no encouragement. I opened a slender door that had no lintel, that had no frame. I had my hand on the visible spectrum, but on the cosmic side, where indigo crossed thresholds with ultraviolet, was where I was drawn to—luminal boundaries between worlds. Both the seen and the unseen, I was betwixt and between. Hovering towards the shade as in capital "S." Those ghostly apparitions who survive on the horizon. Not on the other side of the spectrum, near infrared.  Too hot. To me that was Hades, that was hell. Interesting that hell itself was either hot or cold depending upon your locale and ancestry. There was no hell in the Otherworld, merely the fourth dimension. Alternate reality was a world where time either ceased to exist, or hadn't yet been born. But the monks took care of that discrepancy, suggesting that time existed there too, only it passed more slowly, otherwise no one would ever get around to being born, let alone, conceived in the missionary position, or otherwise. We won't mention that their parents would never, ever meet up, because they too would have considerable trouble getting around to orchestrating their own conception, until we were all traveling backwards through time at such a tremendous rate that the Big Bang imploded into the period at the end of the sentence. And then, where would we be, then?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Divine Ratio


In a room where it is forever 4:44 in frozen time, we teach each other in four-minute lessons. Not five. In that we are congruent, we measure analogue time in digital increments, but it interferes with the metaphor of clock and moon. Or take five. The metaphor hasn't yet caught up with technology. We measure triangles, we invoke Pythagoras, and integers. We decode rational numbers using analogy. We question the golden ratio, calling it the Golden Mean. Take St. Patrick's Confessio, it was a secret word puzzle to unfold, invoking the divine ratio.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

2006 CROSSROADS: Irish-American Festival




Calendar of Events
Wednesday - March 1st, 7:30-10 pm
An Evening of Resistance Music to Commemorate the 1981 Irish Hunger Strike
March 1, 2006 marks the 25th Anniversary of the beginning of the hunger strike that was a turning point in the struggle for Irish freedom and equality. Join us as local musicians honor
the hunger strikers’ memory with a rich and moving tribute to their struggle.
Performing Musicians:
Pat Hamilton; Ben Hunter; Tony
McMahon and Liam Tiernan of the legendary group, Barleycorn
March 1, 2006 marks the 25th Anniversary of the beginning of the hunger strike that was a turning point in the struggle for Irish freedom and equality. Join us as local musicians honor the hunger strikers’ memory with a rich and moving tribute to their struggle.
Moderated by Hillary Flynn, Crossroads Community Program Director
Location: New College of California, 766 Valencia @ 18th Street, San Francisco
Location: The Liberties Irish Bar & Restaurant, 998 Guerrero Street @23rd Street, San Francisco

Thursday - March 2nd, 8:00 pm
An Evening of music with Karen Casey and Flook (co-produced by the United Irish Cultural Center and The Fresh Air Festival)
Tickets: $20. Purchase at: www.ticketweb.com
Location: United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Avenue @ Sloat, San Francisco

Friday - March 3rd, 7:30 pm
The Irish-American Memoir: A conversation and reading with Irish- American memoir writers.
Maura Conlon-McIvor, She's All Eyes: Memoirs of an Irish-American Daughter
Bridget Connolly, Forgetting Ireland: Uncovering a Family's Secret History
Maureen Murdock, Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory
Maureen Waters, Crossing Highbridge: A Memoir of Irish America
events surrounding the Irish Hunger Strike of 1981 in Long Kesh prison and its powerful impact on the politics of Ireland and America down to the present
Moderated by Hillary Flynn, Crossroads Community Program Director
Location: New College of California, 766 Valencia @ 18th Street, San Francisco

Sunday - March 5th, 7:30 pm
Poetry Night
Jack Foley, Letters/Lights—Words for Adelle, Gershwin, Adrift, Exiles, and with Ivan Argüelles, New Poetry from California: Dead/Requiem; Host, Cover to Cover on KPFA
Katherine Hastings, Director, WordTemple Poetry Series at Copperfield Books in Santa Rosa, and a widely published poet in many journals and anthologies.
Maureen Hurley, Falling to Sea Level, Klarlight; Cleveland Elementary School Arts Instructor
Chad Sweeney, Salt Plain and Other Stories, Co-Editor, Parthenon West Review; San Francisco WritersCorps teacher
Moderated by Liz Burke, Adjunct Faculty, John F. Kennedy University
Location: Bird & Beckett Books, 2788 Diamond Street @ Chenery, San Francisco

Tuesday - March 7th, 7:30 pm
25th Anniversary of The 1981 Hunger Strike: A Lasting Impact
Join us for a conversation about the day.

Tuesday - March 7th, 7:30 pm
College of California Irish Studies
25th Anniversary of The 1981 Hunger Strike: A Lasting Impact
Join us for a conversation about the
Michael Corrigan, Confessions of a Shanty Irishman
Daniel Cassidy, Co-Director, New
events surrounding the Irish Hunger Strike of 1981 in Long Kesh prison and its powerful impact on the politics of Ireland and America down to the present day.
John Fogarty, Western Regional Representative, Irish American Unity Conference
Hon. Tom Hayden, Author, Activist, Educator
Bobby Lavery, Elected Representative to the Belfast City Council for 11 years for Sinn Féin
Bill Simmons, International Indian Treaty Council
Nadya Connolly Williams, Global Exchange Study Tour Coordinator for the north of Ireland, and other destinations
Moderated by: Daniel Cassidy, Co- Director, New College of California, Irish Studies Program
Location: United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Avenue @ Sloat, San Francisco

Wednesday - March 8th, 7:30 pm
A Celebration of the Life of Peter Tamony
A night celebrating the life and work of a forgotten Irish-American folklorist from the old Mission District of San Francisco.
Karen Ellis, author, teacher and publisher of print and online media. Her work can be found at: Educational CyberPlayGround
The public is invited to join in a conversation about Irish-Americans in social justice movements.
Ellen Barry, prison rights activist,
Michael Corrigan, Confessions of a Shanty Irishman
Daniel Cassidy, Co-Director, New College of California Irish Studies Program
Location: New College of California, 7:30–10 pm, 766 Valencia @ 18th Street, San Francisco

Thursday - March 9th, 7:30 pm
The Irish in the Sunset District
An exploration of the history of the Irish- American community of the Sunset District of San Francisco, featuring a variety of panelists including Anne Carew, Pat Maguire, Diarmuid Philpott, Bob Twomey, and Jeffrey M. Burns, the Archivist for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, as well as other members of the neighborhood.
Moderated by Margaret McPeake, Co- Director, New College of California Irish Studies Program.
Location: United Irish Cultural Center, 2700 45th Avenue @ Sloat, San Francisco

Saturday - March 11th
1:30–2:00 pm
Tipsy House, Traditional Music Group
2:00–4:00 pm
Irish-Americans in Social Justice Movements
lawyer, organizer and 2005 Nobel Peace
2:00–4:00 pm
The public is invited to join in a conversation about Irish-Americans in social justice movements.
Ellen Barry, prison rights activist, lawyer, organizer and 2005 Nobel Peace Prize nominee
Kevin Fagan, Award-winning San Francisco Chronicle Journalist
Sister Maureen Hally, RSM, Educator, Activist, Warrior Crone.
Moderated by Hillary Flynn, Crossroads Community Program Director.
Location: San Francisco Public Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Grove Street, San Francisco

2006 CROSSROADS: Irish-American Festival

Friday, February 10, 2006

Morning Tea

The perfume escaping the Meyer lemon tree, exotic as gardenias in winter, or like sweet-scented coffee blossoms. I've never seen tea blossoms but I imagine them to be exotic, like camellias. This morning I saw a photo of women picking tender leaves, hand pruning bushes with leaves glossy as camellias. Centuries of fingers have prised the leaves into topiary hedges. I am fond of my black tea in the morning. It gives substance and balance to my day. A morning without tea , andI feel sullen and sleepy, on the wrong side of the bed, even if there's only one side of the bed to begin with. Tea allows me to turn over a new leaf each day, not that I drink it black, or with citrus, like the English. No, the Irish are the singlemost largest consumers of tea, beating the national average of India or China. They drink out of such tiny cups, it would take them all day to catch up with us. No green tea or chai for me (once I thought I was having a heart attack, replete with palpitations, after a Pakistani friend fixed me a proper cup of Indian tea… He boiled the leaves with canned milk and cardamom for what seemed like hours. He added copious amounts of sugar. Lethal stuff.) No, I drink my tea with milk and sugar, added by the scant teaspoon full. The mug is important, as is the spoon. My only silver spoon, a castoff from someone's grandmother, garlanded with roses, the shank balanced just right so you can teeeter-totter it on your index finger while waiting for the tea to brew exactly 5 minutes. And the mug, sky blue on the outside with Paleolithic symbols, bear paws and Kokapelli, the water sprinkler guarding it. On the inside, it's orange as the Grand Canyon and wwritten on the rim like a watermark rise. My oversize handleless coffee mug that has never seen morning coffee, opens my eyes and offers me up to soaring heights of morning with that charge and verve of a citrus sunrise.