Monday, December 17, 1979



emptiness of seashells
mourning for the ocean
trapped within an ear--

my tongue traces snail patterns
in the dark


Monday, December 10, 1979



to the beauty of the dawn
a lotus opens its wings

winter sun dips into darkness
and we recall our own birth

sprouting seeds
& mud in my hand


Wednesday, November 28, 1979

3 Poems from Michael Dow workshop

I am a shiny raw yolk
bundled up in a clear membrane.
You pick me up, hold me in your hand.
I ooze black ink through the pores
wherever your skin touches mine.

Surprised by the bleeding, you drop me,
and try to pick me up again, carefully.

And my softness eludes you.
I roll off your fingertips, away from your touch.
The blackness spreads over the yellow,
leaving only a flaccid sack behind.


With leonine head bent
and hair askew
he sits guarded
with arms and legs crossed
His gaze set on his leather shoe
he listens, nodding
as if in agreement.
I wonder how the syllables
rest in his ears.

Michael Dow workshop

I wake to the dawn
and take my breathing slow
We think by logical deduction
If logic is deduction,
then what is there to conclude?
I learn from the breath
It carries me where I wander
Along a slipstream of thought
liked a snake tasting
a breath a of sunshine.

Michael Dow workshop

Tuesday, November 13, 1979

UNTITLED half life of a hippie marriage


The ocean is the first
circulatory system
of creatures

Could this scorpio moon
newly shaven
stretch its beams
across the continent?

What is the half life
of a hippie marriage?


Saturday, November 10, 1979

The Cat Wears Red Sneakers

                    —After Kliban

The cat wears red sneakers. He's been hanging around here for some time now. He's heard that on the streets of Guerneville, it's a good place to hang out. He's as good as any punk. As he rolls up his tiger-stripe socks and shirt cuffs with such an air of nonchalance, you suddenly realize that you've met him somewhere before. Was it in the park when the fog rolled in in in grey cat feet? No, he's wearing red sneakers. Still, his feet could be grey underneath. If only you could induce him to remove one sneaker, then you could be sure.  But how can you ask him such an indelicate question? He may take offense, and depending on the moon, he may want to rumble, or even have a good caterwaul. Just look at his tattered ears. You know he can whip out a claw with switchblade precision. Suppose you were a ladycat, you could walk right up to him and drape your tail right across his shoulders and say... How about a little red sneaker, baby? But somehow you sense he's not in the mood, so you stroll up to him real cool, toothpick hanging out of your mouth and say, Hey man, got a light?

Published in Shadowbox/Sonoma Mandala

Thursday, November 1, 1979


I rode her through the years of growing
Her steady black legs carried me forward
into the murkiness of beyond.


Friday, October 26, 1979


Blue eyes have always startled me
As if I could touch them with my hands
Are they cold and is my hand sticking to dry ice
Or is the flesh of my fingertips melting
And assuring itself to their surface?


Friday, October 12, 1979



was that a
blue bird in a
bay tree
or a jay bird
in a blue tree?


Wednesday, October 3, 1979

I AM A HAWK 3 takes Michael Dow workshop

I am a hawk circling upward in a thermal draft, 
and the sky is blue. You are a cricket on a dusty path in summer.
I am a feather spiraling down to earth from the tail of the red hawk
You are a red leaf floating in the breeze
The pileTed woodpecker knocks on the tree
and we drift into autumn, as one.

Michael Dow workshop

I am a hawk circling upon a thermal draft and the sky is blue.
I am a feather spiraling downward to earth from the tail of a hawk.
I have rested on the leader limbs of the Inverness pine
And I am the mouse whose tiny paws grew feathers
I become the hawk and launch into space
A blackbird and I head south as the storm approaches.


The roots of the Inverness pine were planted in t he earth by my grandmother when I was a child. Then, the free was no taller than me. Nearly two decades later, it looms up into the sky, the very symbol of strength and clarity. Many times I have been the hawk resting on the leader branches, I have also been the mouse who climbs up to the top to see what it can see. He is afraid of heights, still he climbs upward. The  top sways in the breeze, he clings to the pine needles, with tiny paws. He sees beyond his scope. His fur sprouts feathers, he becomes the hawk, and launches out into space.


I think I attempted to make this work several times over, to no avail. What I know now, compared to what I knew then. 11/2/2015

Sunday, September 23, 1979



I send you white chrysanthemums
frigid as the setting moon
bamboo crickets rub legs
in rhythm to rustling sheets


Saturday, September 22, 1979



chatter of birds bring in your rhythm
trees listen listen to the song of the wind in your leaves
a breath stirs the evening sky
it is a pool of water
clouds drift into darkness hemmed in by floating stars

crickets hum in autumn
crickets everywhere it is autumn
the equinox measures it
the moon drifts forevard to the edge
the final quarter is measured by crickets

bones stir uneasily in the night
sleep is hemmed in by the sound of crickets
leaves of summer it is moving towards winter
winter tugs at your stems
wind follows the song of birds
migrating to the sea of cortez
there are wrinkles in the sky
it is evening
clouds gather and crickets, still you hum.

Autumn Equinox
added 2/2017

Friday, August 17, 1979


you watch my nakedness
watch my body turning
in the room i am naked
your eyes upon me
are naked
your left eye gathers me up
the right eye keeps distance
my breast calls your name
you gather me up with your cock
& your right eye closes

rev. 1980

Monday, August 13, 1979

UNTITLED LOVE POEM perfume of flowers


the perfume of flowers
sitar sound
music slips into the ear
bellies slip down
make love


Monday, August 6, 1979



(in two voices)

It's their existence I deny

Maybe I really am getting old

Only well after the fact

Somehow it makes it seem all so valid

I prepare for their eventual occurrence 

That's the climax, the waiting

The event itself escapes logic

When they come i 
don't associate the 
falling off of stools 
for no apparent reason 
clumsy i guess 
nor do i comprehend 
the rattling of doors 
with the shuddering 
earth...oh it's the cat 
or maybe it's the wind 
on the 11 o'clock news 
the epicenter was in millbrae 
a 4.8 on the richter scale 
they have these marvelous 
machines that measure the 
earth's pulsations 
those machines its those 
earthquakes they do exist 
it can't be predicted 
when they will occur 
in the spring it gets hot 
it's the weather that gets 
muggy during april 
it's the waiting for the 
event, the eventual release 
of the earth's shudder.

Aug 6, 1979
(See Coyote Lake Earthquake. It was a 5.7. I remember that it threw me right of the stool I was standing on in Cotati. Makes sense that I might not have gotten the final strength right. Also makes it easier to date the poem!)
added 2/2017

Friday, August 3, 1979



There are repeated curves held back
as if by contemporary indifference
And the indifference is the illusion
of intersecting lines within the ear
We are uni-motivated organisms
Lips seek out their own order
Eyes seek out their own rhythm
They beat down upon the drum
the tympanum of ear
What you hear is merely
the voice of the poet.


Sunday, July 29, 1979



As if listening to secretsseaweed heads press into the rocks
like women, always turned inward.

Beneath stinging surges,
sea anenome breasts blossom,
and dine on the fatal attraction of small fish
who mistake them for a floral refuge.
Snails graze on kelp hair
as their flambouyant kin, nudibranchs,
tiny dragons of the sea,
unfurl their finery for another kind of god.

The sea never stops its ceaseless fingering
widening subterranian crevices
until there is nowhere left to hide.

Under swaying sea palms
mauve-skinned byrazoan and coralina offer
small shelter for the flesh.
Sometimes you can hear the sighs of women.

The crab is homeless.
He clings onto kelp
until it breaks under his weight
the sea sweeping him away to another rock,
other women.

All rocks are his home.
Can you hear the women sighing?

Cliff shadows pause on a wall of sea mist.
Cormorants wing seaward to unmapped regions
where the wind keeps their secrets well.
The guano-covered rock is a spray of wave
frozen against the backdrop of the sea.

Russian Gulch
rev. 1980
rev. 1986

Friday, July 27, 1979

Zen of Archery

A black bumblebee buzzes through my bean garden, his shiny body is sparsely covered with hair. Does he know that he may be a new species? He so huge he can't fit into the scarlet blossoms. Is that the reason why my beans bear no fruit?

A delicate breeze touches my skin. Their leaves quake even now. Better than yesterday's wind that blew down from the Northwest. Yesterday 's wind brought the chill of snowstorms in July with it to my bean garden. The leaves turn brown, and shriveled. Fruit aborted, the flowers fell, leaving scarlet snow on the ground.

The delicate breeze caresses the soles of my feet as I lay prone upon the earth between the rows of my bean garden. Above me is green, the leafy foliage stirs gently like the sleepy memories of childhood. Thick hairy stems crawl upward, wrapped around kite string. How do they know which way to grow? I tried to get one to curl downward but it died rather than grow in the direction alien to its nature.

The liquid sound of of the capiz shell windchime, the smell of ink, and freshly ground coffee mingles with the odor of beans growing. Spiders live among them, and woolly bear eats them, as I lie between the orderly rows of beans with my kimono open and my arms akimbo. The word akimbo comes from a keen bow, or a sharp bend.

The center of archery is interrupted by flies coming in on my silence like firefighting jets, remind me of the time I was on Mount Whitney. The jets flew so close, I could see the pilots' faces as a forest fire raged through King's Canyon.

The smell of wolf dung is carried in on the breeze. They howled last night, the moon was so full it seemed to hang in the sky for hours.

What I've learned: never look directly at a wolf, caged as these wolves are, or otherwise. To stare directly at them is a sign of direct confrontation and these wolves will launch at the fence if you do. Suddenly the chain-link fence is much too frail —like the rib cage of your beating heart as you stare into the yellow wildness of their eyes. Odd the town dog catcher raises captive wolves.

Rooster crows in the distance. Does he crow because of the light of last night’s full moon or for the day? Birds twitter like hens laying unnaturally large eggs. And the sound of cars is like the ocean roaring, clumping, and beeping in the distance, as I lay here taking in the morning.

The leaves of the bean vines reach for the sun and the smell of just picked green beans triggers a response somewhere deep inside. A poem is knocking. Let it wait a little longer. Morning is for waking and today is morning.

Summer, 1979
added 10/16
Lol, in 2018, I found out it was a carpenter 1979, I didn’t even know of its existence. Do I change it? Or leave it stet?

PATTERNS IN THE STEAM (AKA The Clinging Odor of the Sea)

           —for J.H. Montrose and Yukio Mishima

As I prepare the evening meal
the odor of just-picked green beans
rises up from the steam
and drifts like the taste of sea in the fog

I am reminded of the clinging odor of the sea
in my hair swaying like kelp in the waves

Hair curls to the pattern of sliced watermelon
watermelon mimics a tsunami wave

Red tsunami wave red sky the black seeds
Japanese fishing boats on the water    in the sky
The steam rises and repeats the sound of waves
Shiosai Shiosai

Steam rises from a cup of coffee
milk fat swirls on its surface
my lips curl to the motion in the cup

The cup is the ocean
deep basin to harbor water
our blood runs thru rivers of veins to the ocean

Our blood is the ocean
the watermelon's capillaries pump water
to the heart to the seeds

Take a bite
the moon took a bite out of the sun
it was black like the seeds
the earth took a bite out of the moon

Red moon watermelon moon
dragon's blood hanging in the sky
the crescent moon holds water
pick axe moon spills it white again

The stars       severed ends of capillaries
facing your eye head on
light leaks out day seeps in
old moon spills blood
dies and is carried out in her own arms
she is shrouded in the sky by swirling clouds

Steam rises
like the surface of skin on a lagoon
steam rises
the clouds are oceans floating
steam rises
and carries the clinging odor of the sea
into my mouth

rev. 7/27/1979
rev. Spring 1980
Shiosai means the sound of the waves
(AKA The Clinging Odor of the Sea)

Tuesday, July 10, 1979


Back towards the dead  
(This one may have been typed up. The title seems familiar)

Foxes and wild boars abound 
in red pigment
An imprint of the hand
The hunt, an arrow 
wounded the bison. 
His hour was promised.

Who sought me 
under the high sun 
in the dust of limestone caverns? 
Ancient fire scars 
bones of hunted beasts, 
thigh bones to gamble by, 
while the stars rush outward 
to darkness like mosses 
on the flood tide.
Neither by day, nor by night. 

Cow dung and red Earth, 
granite (then your brain). 
I am stone, I am stone, 
the chief and the priest in one. 
I have not trembled. 
And I'll stare down 
from the brightness of stars. 
Who carries this jewel on one hand 
before the vividness of stones? 

very, very minor tweaks  11/2/2015


sitting cross-legged on the floor
we share meals, and the bed-mat
side by side in fairness
your thoughts still follow and fill me
our thoughts touch
what is it, it is what we share
your hand upon my hair
gently cradling my head
you touch me as if in wonder
like a child in awe of another child
and I, in awe of you, touch back.

slightly rev. 11/2/2015



it's not a simple seam
It has a power, not in the parts
but in the whole
That divinity which is earth and sky
Receives the power of the mountain
receives the power of the dance
the king wearing the bull's mask
receives the power of the mountain
The bull is running, the dancers
seize his horns and leap over his mountain back.


Monday, July 9, 1979



last night the moon was unbelievably full and i slept alone
as the clouds raced by with 3 a.m. nightmares add to today's grey 
coffee in hand, i curl around the couch like fog and stare
eyes focused
the hum of the fridge, the clicking of the oven and the clock
keep a 20th c. profile
one foot rests inside the arch of the other like lovers
and i think of tongues traveling up my leg
today i will go to work and the day will be long

the sun lightens and i'm still drifting in the pacific northwest
the quality of rain on the hood canal made the trees seem even
more green there,
i waited it out in a day shelter with morning coffee
made on an electric stove that runs on dimes
rain comes in on all fours and the water licks the rocks
where i gathered oysters

the sun breaks like mendocino sunlight or monterey sunlight
mysterious rays filter through pine trees and illuminate carmel
fort bragg and here

grey too, this morning curls around crisp edges
of yesterday's intense heat. 
grey to block out the stars and last night's moon
i slept heavily, comforted by the presence of fog
i hated to awaken from sleep, my mind still in a nest of bed,
carves that sensation of relaxed skin, just loved skin
tingling as the blood flows through

grey cement, grey tin roof, day and the contemplative cat
stares at the sky. i reach for a warm cup of coffee.
the red pelargonium is deeper against the muted greys and greens,
against the weather-stained redwood fencing and cedar shingles

the biggest red cedar is on the olympic peninsula.
there's a shortage of red cedar.
not enough to keep up with the demand. i place
my hand on the trunk of that tree and feel its rough texture,
the camphor smell in my nostrils. sign says
the tree is worth so many millions of board feet.
better touch it while you can.

grey morning again. i wake to a sky of high fog. is it early
and i can't see the blue yet
or is it late and what's out there is fog again?
if I don't get out of bed now i'll be making love in my mind
for the rest of the morning. the rest of this morning
and many other mornings have been grey.
i sit here, heavy lidded, waiting to write, relaxed in an oak chair,
cushion for my ass, feet propped up on the only other chair i own,
and the cat is being a freaking past. he thinks he needs love,
and being a true marinite, he wants it all now,
and lays on my writing, stroking my pen with such tenderness.
Hell, we all want it all now. why won't the words come?
my mind rambles and i tell myself, did you know that quark
comes from Ulysses? quarks and outer space.
the sound of seagulls and the man sitting in a pub in dublin
drinking down his beer, quark, quark.
there are black holes in outer space and seagulls in LA cry smog, smog.
It is still grey morning in the fridge sounds like an air conditioner.
i think i'll have another cup of coffee. one is enough to get off.
sometimes it gives me the shakes, 2 cups have me positively shook.
and I wait for the words to come, for the grey to go.


Hoh River Valley journal entries, 79. 15 & 25

Gray morning like the Hoh River Valley gray . Last night, the moon was unbelievably full and I slept alone as the clouds raced by with 3 AM nightmares, which add to today's gray. Coffee in hand, I curled around the couch like fog and stare, eyes unfocused. The home of the fridge, the clicking of the oven and the clock keep a 20th-century profile. A foot rests inside the arch of the other like lovers, and I think of tongues traveling up my leg. Today I will go to work and the day will be long.
The sun struggles and I'm still drifting in the Pacific Northwest. The quality of rain on the Hood Canal made the trees seem even more greener, I waited a squall out in a day shelter with morning coffee made on an electric stove that runs on times. Rain comes in on all fours and the water licks the rocks where I gathered oysters. The sun breaks like Mendocino sunlight or Monterey sunlight mysterious race filter through the pine trees and illuminate Carmel, Fort Bragg, and here.


Gray too, this morning, the fog curls around crisp edges of yesterday's intense heat. Gray to block out the stars and last night's moon. I slept heavily, comforted by the presence of fog. I hated to awaken from sleep, my mind still in the nest of bed, that sensation of relaxed skin, just loved skin, silken,  tingling as the blood flows through gray cement, gray tin roof roof, the contemplative cat stares at the sky. I reach for my tepid coffee. The red pelargonium bleeds deeper against the muted grays and greens, it bleeds against the weather stained redwood fencing, and the cedar shingles. The biggest red cedar is on the Olympic Peninsula. There's a shortage of red cedar. Not enough to keep up with the demand. I place my hands on the trunk of the tree and feel its rough texture, the camphor smell fills my nostrils. A sign says that the tree is worth so many millions of board feet. Better touch it while you can.


Gray morning again. I wake up to a sky of high fog. Is it early and I can't see the blue yet, or is it late and what is up there is merely fog again? If I don't get out of bed now, I'll be making love in my mind for the rest of the morning. The rest of this morning and many other mornings have been gray. I sit here, heavy-lidded, waiting to write, relaxing in oak chair, Coushin for my ass, feet propped on the only other chair I own, and the cat is being a fugging past. He thinks he needs love, and being a true Marinite, he wants it all now, and lays across my writing, stroking my pend with such tenderness. Hell, we all wanted all now. Why won't the words come? My mind rambles and I tell myself did you know that quark comes from the novel Ulysses? Quarks and outer space. The sound of seagulls and the man sitting in a pub in Dublin drinking down his beer – quark, quark, quark. There are black holes in outer space and seagulls in LA call: smaug, smaug, smaug. It is still a gray morning and the fridge sounds like an air conditioner. I think I'll have another cup of coffee. One is enough to get off, sometimes it gives me the shakes. Two cups have me positively shook up. I sit and wait for the words to come, the great to go.

7/25/1979 ,

Saturday, July 7, 1979

UNTITLED LOVE POEM Please stay the night


please stay the night
   again the night
once again the night


Monday, July 2, 1979


I walk down the road
It's a mile to the highway 
and the bus Is waiting.
School, where children grow to fit.

But a snake lies across the road.
Is it a rattler? 
He's a gopher snake 
blocking the way. 
No school today.

I board the yellow bus
The faces and the noise 
distract and confuse me.
Who walks down the road 
a mile to catch the bus.

Bus stops at the highway.
This child won't go to school.
Too many distractions along the way.
I watch the sun warms the grass 
and play in my new school clothes. 
Next year, the bus will come 
all the way up to Baranca Road. 
First grade will be completed.

2 July, 1979
rev. slghtly 11/2/2015

I don't think this poem was ever typed up.

Sunday, July 1, 1979

TILLING THE FIELD Michael Dow workshop

DRAFT (don't know if I ever typed this one up)

The moon is almost fitful tonight.
A train whistles and moans
midway between night and morning
Cylindrical wheels resonate,
a throbbing echo and clatter.
The ticking of the clock echoes
the throbbing train, and the heart.
Systolic/diastolic. Open & closed.
There is a storm gathering 
in the direction of her eyes.

A line should be the length of a row.
It's the breath feeling, 
a staccato furrow of assonance 
dissonance and consonants.
The break in the link 
the breath and the line 
is a unit of breath.

Maybe we should go back,
chant in the rhythm of the hunt,
chant in the rhythm of plowing.
A line runs the length of a row.
To make a verse is to turn back on itself
and go against the direction of the row.
Go against the direction of the chant
boustrophedon, as the plowman walks.
There is a gathering storm.

July 1, 1979 Michael Dow workshop
minor rev. 11/2/2015 (mostly consolidated line breaks)

Saturday, June 30, 1979


this whole history is contained
in the breath, he said
fogged on cold windowpanes
her eyes—
don't draw on the windows he said
it leaves fingerprints
when the breath dies
her eyes keep wandering
our history lies with God, he said
but he interfered with space and time
and her eyes keep wandering
shadows of darkness drawing her in
and her eyes keep wandering
to far horizons, distant shores

this may be an earlier poem, there's a note: "old poems rediscovered, 1979"
slightly rev. 11/2/2015

Friday, June 29, 1979


I need hard copy of this poem  DRAFT

I awoke with this sentence:
there's a storm gathering in the direction of her eyes.

She stands waiting
for him by the green pond. 
Conversation drifts by with the water, 
floats with the hours. His lichen eyes, 
impenetrable as the surface,
leave her stranded 
by all the ponds of the world
As he turns to leave, her image ripples,
her eyes gather in the storm.
Tonight there's a promise of rain in the air. 

June 29, 1979
Michael Dow workshop

HOLLYHOCK Michael Dow workshop

Michael's Hollyhock DRAFT
In the afternoon room of dust and summer's heat,
Michael picks up a flower from the red carpet
where it had fallen from her long a gleaming hair.
The hollyhocks edges were bruised,
withered from the wearing.

Pollen scattered across its petals
Yellow flecks on the maroon petals
He raised it gently to his nose to inhale its scent
so like the first sip of tea in the tea ceremony.
It had no special older, just color to keep it afloat.

The flower thirsted for water, or even nectar.
She plucked it during the hard heat of day
The sap that coursed through its veins
in such sweet green succor
like a lazy river on a summer's day,
severed from the umbilicus.

The flower adorned her hair
by the hand that robbed it of life.
The humming bees in the flower,
their legs, laden with pollen,
dandled around that plucked blossom.

Flower trumpet faded, read into the carpet,
red in the hand, withered in the hair.

Michael Dow workshop
Child in Changing Times Conference  6/28 to July 1

Thursday, June 21, 1979



golden sun presses down upon the high hill of the horizon
crickets shake the stillness of the air
blood courses thru my ears like the rippling wind
tall oat grasses empty of seed
pods rustle In the warm night breeze that once sowed them

venus is first to appear on the horizon at twilight 
followed by the double u of casseopia and the twins 
if you can see the double star of the big dipper 
the indians said your eyesight was good

no warm air inversion tonight as twilight 
spreads its sheets of color on the horizon
few warm nights this year at austen creek park
this season's wildflowers were slow to unfold
and the event was not witnessed

Summer Solstice 1979? 80?
added 2/2017

Friday, June 15, 1979



In a kitchen at Fell Inn
a plastic cup of coffee 
the odor of compost thick with fish
it is morning in a strange house

Waking to an empty room
I slept on the floor, and dreams 
as sharp as razors 

grapefruit tastes rotten on my tongue
what is it that separates the hand 
from the brain 
from the body?

nausea whirls
the peripheral edge
of the eye

Walk in the park alone  
to confront the fine line of fear and loneliness
bitter in the mouth 
like boiled coffee

Bus exaust curls around 
the red hibiscus
trumpet gasping for air

Feet upon the earth 
what's left natural 
is as slimy as the sidewalks 
where winos spit 
morning in the city
it is a fine edge.

diPrima Workshop
added 2/2017

Wednesday, June 13, 1979

Dream Sequence with Peter Kapp


A mask of Peter Kapp emerged from the struggle of yin and yang, it spun so fast that they became round and viscous, glistening black, and chalky white. They raced around each other counter-clockwise. They spun like the planets and became gray.

Peter's face was a mask made of gypsum. His right side was black, and his eyes were sightless, like the eyes of classical statues. He couldn't see because the power, the internal balance was off. The struggle to overcome the past blocks in the structure of personality. It didn't work and there was no going back to what once was, no matter how hard he tried.

Balance and harmony came unwillingly to the student.


Note Bene: Interesting, if odd dream sequence. I'd only met piobaireachd bagpiper Peter Kapp once, briefly, I think it was in Casper, Mendocino Co., not realizing that five years later, we'd meet again and become lovers (1981). It was a very short affair due to his anger. I hope he has found happiness with someone special. So hard, the letting go.

I'm not sure if this was a prophetic dream or not. Or what he was doing in my dreams. Or weather I'd picked up on it subliminally and was giving myself fair warning. If so, I didn't heed my own advice. It saddens me in that I lost a friend in losing him.

Last I heard he was still living up in Comptche. I think he was someone I'd met while I was still with Bob Hamilton. I remember staying at his place (with Bob?)

When Peter and I did meet up again later in the early 1980s, we had fun, he'd drop by upon occasion, if he had a gig in the area, and spend the night in his van or on the floor. It was a long drive north.

One time we had an impromptu ceilidhe in the driveway. We danced in the dust under a full winter moon until we were winded. And another time he had a New Year's Eve gig at the Top of the Mark in San Francisco to pipe in the New Year. I dressed up as a renaissance wench and trailed behind him. Top of the Mark!

Then we went and spoiled it all by becoming lovers. I didn't want to, he kept insisting, and I thought, oh, what the hell. Well that worked out well. Not.


From a Diane di Prima workshop, collagraph, Altar Book, SF Zen Center, June 13, 1979

Clearly my early mythic phase. Doubt if I'll type it up. I couldn't bear to leave it as is. stet. Diane was writing about gems and rocks in Loba, and I guess it rubbed of. Another poet in the class, Judith Bollnger, paid me to calligraph her poem as well. And I also did the cover.

Diane led another workshop on Gertrude Stein in August, and in September robert Duncan led a workshop—which I may have taken, or I went to the reading. I remember all of us loitering on a street corner, and me chanting: Often I am Called Unto a Meadow.

I used to hand-calligraph all my poems, which was an interesting process for revision, as you had to become rather contemplative in order to calligraph. Sometimes there were inadvertent changes to the poems if my mind wandered. I have not yet found my old folders with my calligraphed early poems. But I still have boxes of paper to process, and a file cabinet. Please let my early work be there. It's not in digital format.


Tuesday, June 12, 1979


They live for an age
take another age to rot.
The ages of trees.


Sunday, June 10, 1979


In the kitchen, a plastic cup of coffee
abandoned, rotting odor of compost 
thick with fish, impossible to ignore.
It is morning, it is morning in a strange house.

Waking to an empty room, 
I slept on a floor as sharp as razor blades, 
while bums sleep on street corners.
Breakfast of grapefruit is bitter on the tongue. 
What separates sound from the brain? 
From the body? Black nausea swirls, 
blurs the peripheral edge of the eye.
I walk in the Panhandle alone. 
It's the fine line of being afraid 
and being alone, to be tested. 
Bitter in the mouth like boiled coffee. 

The line is a fine line.
Bus exhaust curls around a red hibiscus. 
Its trumpet gasps for air.
Feet upon the earth, what's left 
is slimy as the sidewalks where the winos hawk. 
Morning in the city, it is a fine edge. 

Diane di Prima workshop
SF Zen Center



touch the red moon
the cup is full
the pouch holds the cup
like the moon in Gemini

liquid birth
of the moon in a cup
cup full of moon
the body full
the moon blood full
like the heart

of dragon's blood
spilled from the cup
the blood of the moon

Diane di Prima workshop?
SF Zen Center

Saturday, June 9, 1979


it provided immediate inspiration
and maximized limited resources

it continued to be used
with down-to-earth impact

Diane di Prima workshop
I later stole the title and used it for another poem

Friday, June 1, 1979



I. The sighting
Surf rock sound, pounding ocean of perches,
Polyp colonies and brittle stars.
Sea palms sway in, and pacific waves roll wet
While pelagic puffins wing wearily northward.

This parrot of the sea
Has bright bandied legs of green,
Orange feet, tri-colored beak,
And harlequin eyes edged in black.
Upon a white cheek, and black crest
A white feather tuft dangles.

He lives mid-ocean,
Sleeps, and fishes on the waves.
Only when he nests
Does he come to the land.

II. The journey
He flies, not gracefully —
This portly bird sets his course
to the north tundra,
To the barren rocky islands to nest.
Blowing off course, or lost,
He lands on the Farallone Islands,
Islands also drifting northward.
Their migration is measured in inches a year
As the techtonic plate shifts
along the San Andreas Fault
Stretching all the way to Alaska,
and to the Bering Sea.

Continental plates bend and shape the land.
Where the Sea of Cortez once flowed
Lies the Great Central Valley,
And beyond, the mighty rift that lifted the Sierras,
Young mountains still growing.
On their crests, the sky blooms.
Sky Pilot and Penstemon intertwined in the roots
Of Bristlecone Pine, older than the calender of Christ,
Twists in cascading snowfields of the White Mountains.

To the north, liquid sunshine of the Pacific Northwest
Drizzles down on the Hoh River Valley.
Budding pseudopods, amoebas, slime molds,
And copopods slip sideways in the marsh night.

In the clear brook, myriad rainbows
Prism the sunlight between bearded oaks.
Farther to the north, zebra-striped tundra mosquitos
Suck the blood of caribou.
Salicylic willows provide shelter for insects.
The tufted puffin returns home to the north
To nest in the willow-down with the eider ducks.

The blood of the caribou runs.
That's why the leaves of the huckleberry are red.
At home, the fruit stains purple 
the teeth of Inverness Ridge.
Through pine needles, coastal fog
Tastes of salt, salt of the earth.

This land is too valuable to grow food 
For the people who live in the houses 
Planted upon sugar-beet fields,
And the ghosts of apricot blossoms 
Gathering nectar for bees in April orchards.

The caribou's tendons crackle as they trample 
Miniature forests of willow, pine, and Pasque flowers. 
Growing with the lichen, they eat the fragile landscape.

Deep snow comes and covers the lichen, 
Wolves howl and anticipate fresh meat. 
The lucky ones manage to live until spring thaw.

III. The visitation
Fog trespasses along the Point Reyes coast,
Paying no heed to fenced land,
As it drizzles upon rein orchids and huckleberry.
Fog and ocean blend into one
Where the tufted puffin drifts in the surf.


Tuesday, May 1, 1979



The honey bees dangle
on the wild cherry blossoms 
snowing on the ground

i sit on the porch
windows cobwebbed and painted 
frame the afternoon

sonorous buzzings 
yellowjackets devour 
fallen cherry plums

yellow leaves swirling
burned cuttings in bonfire split 
wood stacked up high

open the windows
coastal snow and rain sweep in 
gather wood for warmth

sit by the iron stove
wood from the cherry plum glows 
thru the freezing night

bright budding branches
sap runs upward during thaw 
night blackens new growth

sap runs in yr veins
the stirring of dormant seed 
and budding flower

smell of musk honey 
on yr fingers, on yr beard 
mingles on our bodies

stamen and pistil
the anther and the ovum
pollinates the fruit

warmth of sun on skin 
nibble upon ripened fruit 
and nourish the fire

tongues seek out nectar 
limbs seek shelter from the night 
lips touch each other

on yr arms i am 
gathered up again for warmth 
in the freezing night

the honeyed scent drifts 
up in smoke to the nostrils 
blood warms and flows

Chinook breezes blow 
sap runs with energy renewed
bees stir in their hives

bees stir in their hives 
fragrant cherry plum blossoms 
unfurl their petals

Spring 1979
added 2/2017

Tuesday, April 17, 1979

Gary Snyder poster reading at College of Marin

This is sort of where it all began. I saw Gary Snyder at College of Marin; and said, "I can do that." At least, it was at the College of Marin reading that I began to take myself seriously as a poet. Clearly I have work that predates this date. This date works out as April 17, 1979. The back notes set the day of the week as a Wednesday for April 11, which makes it 1979. I thought it was earlier than that. Maybe something else will turn up. I had torn the poster in half to use the back as writing paper...

Sunday, April 1, 1979

Traces of the Goddess

Traces of the Goddess

she surveys the night because 
the answer is, of course,
traces of the goddess

a foot beneath the cover 
a light in the window

mostly in April 
new growth 
presses against 
the leafless tree

what brings you here 
bearing heavily down 
with such force? 

the pounding heart
sees the blood
here on the cut glass

these essences that spill 
she bites the flesh 
the body turns and heaves 
to a rhythm that lasts 'til dawn.

April 1979
added 2/2017

Sunday, March 25, 1979

Dolphins, Inland Passage, journal

We walked down four flights of stairs of bleached wooden cedar planks that connected the cliff with the shore, and the railroad tracks below the town. The stairs, like the ones at Pike Street Market in Seattle collect all the town winos, and the Indians.

We are on foreign soil, their stares tell us. The streets are for white folks that ride the ferry up from the mainland in there well padded Winnebagos. They are like metal wombs that completely isolate them from the people that live here. They're all bound for Prince George to go fishing and hunting. No one stays long in Prince Rupert.

With our grubby backpacks and jeans, a symbol, just as the Winnebago is, we wandered down the tracks where the vegetation grows the thickest. We watched the natives of the forest with their cheap wine watching us.

The mid day summer sun warms the railroad ties that smell of creosote and tar and the light shimmers wet on the inland passage that faces to the west to the Queen Charlotte Islands, and beyond them the open Pacific.

Why aren't the Indians somewhere out there and dugout canoes like the Haida in Curtis's film? What's here for them? Work in the floating ship factories? They drink down their two weeks pay before the weekend is over.

I've been to the coast of Vancouver Island. Uclulit, another fishing town 40 miles away by sea, some 90 miles by road, wouldn't want to spend the winter in either place.The intense loneliness of the isolated towns along the coast. Even the sun seems indifferent as it filters down to the hemlocks.

The quality of light in the north, a difference of angle of sun to the earth. The sun didn't set until midnight and then it arose again too early. Orange sky for three hours as the sun dipped to the horizon. Haida Bear stands sentinel to  the deserted longhouses, rotting away  in the wilderness on the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Winos lying along the railroad tracks, when's the last time they saw their totemic ancestors? Last night, dolphins escorted our ship into port.

No date, but a copy was attached to my Hoh River piece, 7/25/1979, though the experience was from 1977 or 78.
This may be a piece I wrote in 1978. By fall of 1978, I had turned it into a poem and added it to my poetry MS (calligraphed), so it dates from 1978 or earlier. But it's interesting to see them side by side. If I wrote the prose in 1978, I was clearly a much better prose writer than a poet. If only I had known.

Inland Passsage

Added 10/16.

Thursday, March 22, 1979


A leaf scuttles across the blacktop
on four tiny feet
and leaps up the embankment
where the full moon lamp post
illuminates the way

In the western sky the new moon 
carries out the aging moon 
in her crescent arms

The sword of Orion dangles at his side
the hunter and his dogs bound 
along the western journey
through darkness

Does his sword slice through the perfect orb 
of darkness and light 
making an even cut across its surface 
this equinox?

Do the days end nights 
dole out their essence carefully in spring?

Does Orion chase after the setting sun 
or does he hunt for something else 
only in darkness?

Does the new moon flee 
from the edge of his sword
with the encased egg of the old moon 
in her arms like a spider
protecting her young?

Will we never see the stars 
from the Southern Cross from here?

Why is everyone chasing through the sky? 
who brings in the day?

Spring Equinox, 1979
added 2/2017

Thursday, March 15, 1979

A mile a minute past midnight

A mile a minute past midnight, my memories of you reminds me of tiny words pattering across my mind at night when I'm about to go to sleep. I'm not aware at first, that I haven't gone to sleep, and that I'm not dreaming, but I catch myself thinking at 60 mph, and it's an hour past midnight, and I'm still not asleep.
I can't shake the words out of my head and onto a piece of paper when I need or want them. Fickle words, they raced back-and-forth willfully and disturb my sleep, or whatever else it was that I was doing.
They seriously disrupt my every thought process until my poor tired mine looks like an oatmeal porridge bowl fraught with tangled, snarled, wounded, mutilated words limping back from the wars with goblins and hobiyas.
I have to gather them up neatly and packaged them and place them in the proper crannies and knotholes until I need them again.
The problem is, they won't stay of their own free will. They kick off their wrappers and start making themselves heard, and so I spent a lot of time repackaging and re-rapping them to put them back where they belong in the dusty recesses of my mind.
Like you, they tip-toe out uninvited and run rampant as soon as the lights go out.

Good night… Again.
Spring 1979? No date
added 10/16

Thursday, March 1, 1979

Driving to K’san, Skeena River

Driving to Terrace

I admired the rough beauty of the Skeena River and the glacial sweep of the mountains. We were nearing Terrace. There was Old Terrace where the Indians mostly lived, New Terrace, a government project most likely, and there was a lot of empty road between it and 'Ksan, a reconstructed Indian village near Old Hazelton, that Vernon helped to design. Something to do with national pride. The Gitxsan Indian Nation.

Vernon was nothing like the Cherokee man we met in Vancouver who wanted to annihilate all white folks. But he liked us right enough. He wore a breastplate made of bones in the Cherokee style. Bones that reminded me of the delicate bone of my forearm. Paranoid, I told myself.

Vernon Stephens was driving down the Yellowhead at 110 mph in an old 60s pickup truck. Our packs were in danger of flying out the back of the truck. But I trusted Vernon implicitly. He picked us up in Prince Rupert. Liked our foolhardiness. "Anyone nuts enough to try to hitch out of that place deserves a ride," he said.

I had briefly met Vernon years before in front of the de Young museum (or was it the UBC?) I once spent an afternoon watching him carve a totem pole in the old way. I never expected to run into him again in Prince Rupert, of all places.

Vernon's hair was the most beautiful wavy black cloud I had ever seen. Bob's hair was long, and curly, California style, but he always wore his hair tied back in a knot, like he was secretly embarrassed by it all, and only grew long to be defiant after he got out of the army.

Vernon wore his hair like a bride's veil and he walked with the comfort of the man in touch with his body, his energy directed from his hips led him forward with grace and ease. Bob was head oriented. Like there was this string attached to the top of his head, lifting him up every time he stepped forward. Not of the earth. But then, that was Bob's way.

I'd been with Bob for so long, I'd gotten used to his ways. I'd forgotten about them, actually. Vernon made me aware of it. Made me turn over in my subconscious. Took me two years to realize it. Bob made me unhappy and I didn't even know it.

We stopped off to have a beer in Smithers. Vernon knew everybody there—there wasn't enough room for another chair at our table. "Can I buy you another round?" another face asked. I couldn't even place the name with the face, there were so many buyers.

I noticed that I was the only woman drinking in the bar. This was truly a man’s world. I was gatecrashing.Again. I asked, "So, don't women drink beer around here?" No one answered. The waitress was the only other woman I had seen since leaving Prince Rupert. Rosie was her name. Vernon said she was a great gal. He knew her well. I think. It made me a little envious.

Amazing to watch this man who had the profound respect of all these white folks. Not like the ones who hurled slurs at Indians in other towns. Not like the drunks sleeping it off below Pike Street in Seattle.

Vernon is a goldsmith. A well-known goldsmith. Most everyone around here is wearing one of the chased wristbands he makes for the Provincial Museum in Victoria, and other tourist shops. One of those bands costs more than what Bob and I have to live on for the entire summer.

Vernon takes off his cuff to show us how he makes it convex. I dabble in silver and show him my turquoise rings. I can tell that he is not impressed which makes me sit up a bit, as I'm pretty good at it, but I have no intention of becoming a jeweler, and he knows it.

The beer keeps coming. Soon, I'm slithering under the table, and they all have a good laugh. "She can can't even hold her beer," Vernon says smugly. I feel the implied dig and I slur, "I'm Irish. 100% Irish. We feel it sooner. It's this Canadian beer, it's stronger than our American beer." He laughs.

"Yeah, that’s real piss beer," someone offers. I retort, "Hey, listen, you got to account from my relative size. I am a lot smaller than you guys." And then I pretty much fall into a heap on the floor. Vernon takes my unfinished beer and drains it down. Lifts me up. Says, "Well, we gonna hit the ground. I got to get to Terrace. Thanks. Be seeing you."

Vernon pulled the battered truck into the only gas station in town. It took us two tanks of gas to drive from Prince Rupert to Terrace. We paid for gas. Least we could do. Nothing is close these parts. To go to the nearest bar, you have to drive 40 miles or so. No alcohol on Indian reservations.

Soon we have to take a break, return all that rented beer. There's so little traffic in these parts, the two men just stand there jawing on the side of the road at dusk. Male bonding in action. Twin rivulets track across the road and head down to the Skeena River. My beer frothed into a little well of sacred earth by the side of the road, making me realize, that despite the company, I was very much alone. In retrospect, I should’ve folded my bad hand, and run off with Vernon. But it was not in the cards.

typed 3/1979


Skeena River and vast glacial mountains
We drink from a pure stream along the way.
Why did Vernon say he hated the river?
Whey did it ever do to him?
Halfway to Terrace we stopped off for a beer
Soon the table was crowded with Indians
and two gringo hitchhikers.
After several rounds, I slid under the table
and all the men laughed because
a woman couldn't hold her beer.
We returned the rented beer to the river.

I’ve backpacked through British Columbia
and slept wherever it suited me.
But in Vancouver there was nowhere to stay.
So we slept in the shrubbery
at the University of British Columbia
and under a tree in Beacon Hill Park in Victoria
only to be awakened by an aphid rainstorm
and to a young man waking the swans with his flute.
And after a hangover from the Beaver Pub
we slept in the shadow of the lofty Empress Hotel.
In Stanley Park where we watched the ships in the Straits.
At Jasper, deep in the Rockies, We slept in a hotel lobby
with other travelers of the thumb
And we snuck into the showers upstairs.
Ah, such heaven.

On the reservation
she was young and big and brown
and seemed so much younger than I.
She looked forward to the day
when she could join the RCMP Academy.
She said her grades were good.
I looked at her in disbelief
and thought to myself, ah well,
one can be miserable in the midst of splendor
but it still is a kind of hell for her.
I have traveled so far to see her hell.
I camped by the Skeena River
in the bushes that night
and I got sick from the water.
Another hind of hell.


Monday, January 1, 1979



The river is a tongue leading into the dark
whispering ocean of many tongues 
The mouth of the river is interlocked in an embrace 
with one of the many mouths
of the ocean
The polygamous ocean ' tongues ' rivers everywhere
Those mouths exchange the souls of those 
who are indifferent to living 
Those who slipped into the grey snags 
of willow along the river shore 
They slid down thru the roots of the willow 
into the river to that long journey downward 
The river is a molten tongue
carrying them downward to the sea
The words on the tongue of river 
are words of all those who still wait to speak 
The ocean is tongue 
The river is tongue 
They share the same mouth 
To speak they each need separate mouths 
Women have two mouths and one tongue 
Men have two tongues and one mouth
Mouths and tongues each need a place to lie in 
before they can speak 

1979  summer



I have many faces
my faces as you
ask me to stay, my faces
as you ask me to leave, make
me warm with love
love, change I
follow you, my
faces upon the mountain flank,
my faces under the stars,
your warm lips intertwine with mine,
your tongue enters my mouth
my faces
there in the moonlight, 
there in the meadow
smell of musk, summer dust
poison oak and bay laurel 
as we talk about living, 
my faces search yours,
the faces we share melt
like waxen masks 
in moonshadow
we melt into each other's bodies
on the path many
faces intertwine
in the moonlight.

added 2/2017

Morning Poem

Morning Poem

Stiff eyes search out another cup of coffee
lids scratch across the surface of nausea 
flies crawl in on my skin, sun sweats it 
my hands so stiff i can barely write 
as last night catches up with morning 
I'm too tired to wake up, it's too morning 
to go back to sleep 
as humming birds flit on our voices

added 2/2017 minor changes

Of That You're Certain

Of That You're Certain

I am like a water pipe that freezes and thaws 
until the stress breaks the pipe 
the pipe is my body, the thaw is my heart 
the freezing is the restrictions of our love

The ground is unstable under my feet
and I am afraid of falling on frozen earth
the path is always forward
it is not a hopeful path
soon it will freeze and the pipe will burst

The frost is black and white
the hoar frost is white
the black frost is a killing frost
and you are water that flows thru the pipe
you are night that freezes the pipe
you are the sun that thaws it over and over again

added 2/2017

Mother Simplex

Mother Simplex

I taste the lie upon my tongue
martyred flesh
life is a breath of...
and the images flash before me
mother's meat to be crucified

She barks like a dog
wolf mother with fear in her voice
as she slowly dies

added 2/2017

The Swim

The Swim

Harvest of spring and midnight swims
in snakeskin
she breaks star ripples in a pool 
of moon fungus water

Water fingers caress her body
amniotic birthing
water thru spread fingers
water thru splayed toes
the toes of childhood 
like frogs, full breast stroke
thigh frog-kick shatters moon, star reflections

float in the water, breathing sea mammals 
we exhale into the water 
we are water, we are water

She swims in liquid night wrapped around her body 
thousands of tongues lick and lash her 
she stands by the pool
cement slurps up the water that streams down 
her curve of spine, belly, nipples erect
the water licks down

added 2/2017

men in the landscape

men in the landscape

there are those who would stay on the land 
until the land takes them back again 
it is their mother

there are those who were once firmly rooted 
who wish to escape and fly above it 
it is still their mother

it holds to them and brings them back into the fold 
when they love women 
it is the mother

they are the ones who resist the hardest
their death brings them back again 
it has been and always will be
the great mother 

added 2/2017

Is It Time?

Is It Time?

Depression sets in
it is nearer time to go than to stay
amid the stars and
sliced segments of orange moon

lips full of envy
and i have teeth to caress
this blood orange

listless limbs drape
over the sounds of a ticking clock
that melts down too slowly for time

it sets in for days 
memories of

my hands absently strokes my breast 
is that you i hear?
no? then melt down the clock faster 
it is not time yet.

added 2/2017



Rings on trees 
signify the passing of years
the pale wide rings dividing the wet years 
from dark dense wood when the rains don't come 
I'm looking-down at my fingernails & it occurs to me
that there are growth rings embedded on them too, 
where growth measured in weeks, not years 
What drought is measured on my nails? 
Is it a loss of the heart?
Or a loss of love? 
A memory lapse? 
Loss of the poet? 
Loss of protein?  
Or a loss of fear? 
Maybe ridicule? 
Or antibiotics?
A pregnancy?
Memory gain? 
Weight loss?
Or water?

added 2/2017
very minor changes to make the tree shape work



The grinding stream, the maelstrom 
is a way to the land of the dead 
dilate yr mind beyond the unbearable 
it is not a forgiving universe 
it is inexorable as the stars in their courses 
where no sparrow could fall unnoticed 
for there are seeds which propagate 
themselves along the jetstream of time 
the mud has lost its cutting edge 
the omphaloessa, the umbilical cord has been severed 
"into water wind has come, into water wind will go" 
time to separate heaven and earth with a sickle

It Is a Part

It Is a Part

it wraps itself around you
a drop of water splats the top of your head
where the part is 

warm water in the tub
down your cheek it trickles
as you pull the plug
it escapes slowly down
the drain
where it collects in the pipes 

and your sorrow runs underground 
to the briney sea 
taste the tear that bathes the sea 
the tear is salt for your tongue 
to taste

added 2/2017

For Worse, Replies My Friend

For Worse, Replies My Friend

naked you walk
naked you walk
netting is suspended at night from stout cords
stars overhead are the presage of summer
and bright stars

i hold myself here and alone through the mist
lost but not completely
and far out into the dawn the first bird of morning
opens his beak and sings

this dawn is shaped by the sole scream of ecstasy 
and you just stand there free from it 
made free by it

limbs touch the suppleness of a woman
the straightness of a man
now it expresses itself, in control
if we had hope for an excuse, or even love
the apple cuts at your mouth like broken glass
and you lie there like a sick cat in the gutter
while the great bed sighs to itself
i, instead of being dutiful, write letters

the pathology of the life processes is known
as well as the normal
is this an unnamable joy, or a sorrow being named?
there will be some discomfort

added 2/2017