Monday, January 1, 1979

THE LINGUAL ARCH OF THE RIVER AND THE SEA


THE LINGUAL ARCH OF THE RIVER AND THE SEA

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

Faces


Faces

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.

1979
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

1979
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

1979
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

1979
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
down

1979
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 

1979
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
bittersweet

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.

1979
added 2/2017

MEMORY

MEMORY

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?
Drought?
?


1979
added 2/2017
very minor changes to make the tree shape work

Maelstrom


Maelstrom

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

1979
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

1979
added 2/2017

To an Eclipse in the Moon - dark Past


To an Eclipse in the Moon - dark Past
Deep sleep lies down within the well gone dry amid boquet of rags on the carpet
fingers explore and massage the erotic zones of the mind the depths of ecstacy dangle on a phallic cross painted red
Paint it red
Paint it red Lately she has taken to painting the lips of her mouth a fragment of the true cross is lodged within her bones, her breast she sought a reflection of it" but her eyes , they cast no shadow in the mecuriaal glass
The church bells are ringing
The bells of the church
They are ringing
The bleedings begun
The bleedings begun What are those flecks of white so like the stars growing upon her feet?
It is the skin
Skin of the dead
Skin of the dead She must wash it away with her hair , lest it adhere and grow there
Let it grow
Let it grow there He was born(some say he was born) during the full of the eclipse moon the eaten eclipse of dragons blood, and he was a man disguised as himself
The needs of the flesh
Made flesh , proud flesh
Being eaten among you
The blood of the dying
The bleedings begun His fingers make sing to another song of her cunt liquid runs in her veins, liquid fire thrust down deep withtn her she is strung out on beads of lapis and bloodstone sweat trickles down between her breasts, she is liquid in the well liquid night of the stars to melt down the yolk of the moon, half eaten see the silver crest of the cock as it crows for the light of the egg flickering stars witness the ritual cannibalism of cocks egg
Visions of pressed wrinkled
Splintered bloody bone
Crushed beneath the weight
The bleedings begun Her bare feet christen the pine steps as she walks like champagne flowing down from the bow of a boat at baptism clouds pass behind the moon moving with the wind
wind... and the flagellation of trees as they whip at the night air she sits with the wind ,and the moon on the horizon she follows it across the ocean on a breath they speak to each in their own
Behold the body
Visions of the flesh
Being eaten among you
The bleedings begun

Patterns


Patterns

The annual and diurnal patterns hold 
it seems always to be connected with the notion 
that in the savagery of love
the skeleton set in motion collapsed flaccidly 
as we take off from now 
the spider crawled all the way down and delivered him
blue as the star
blue as the gull
the bull headed monster
of the double axe

Body whose hands broke ground for that thrusting head 
years have passed since that autumn
it had promised to be too hot 
but just enough sun warmed them

Pleasant whiteness of pearl barley 
or woman's body, a communal drink 
Antares glows faintly without sparkle 
behind all that maleness of that mulling night.

1979
sounds like another diPrima workshop pome, june?
added 2/2017

She Steps out of the Mirror


She Steps out of the Mirror

she waits
she is always waiting
she was born waiting
waiting to be reborn
she will die while waiting

she lives in the mirror
she sees only the reflections
looking out of the mirror
at the others looking in
at themselves, at her
none knowing which side of the mirror
they stand behing or in front of

so they wait to see
who will move first
to betray the reflection
in the mirror that waits for them

they are frozen
as they wait to see 
if they are reflections 
or merely real

they grow old together
die and are reborn
and still they wait
while looking into the mirror

the mirror ages glass
slumps mercury
peels off
warping their reflections

pieces gone missing
like holes in a painting
cracks appear on the glass
across their faces
still immobile
they wait

silica seeks its own 
as glass returns to sand 
sand in an hourglass 
shifts through time

1979
sounds like a Diane diPrima workshop, if so, then June
added 2/2017

LIGHT

LIGHT 

Light cleaves to walls 
ceilings & floors. 
It sticks to you 
& you can't shake it 
or wipe it off. 
It always comes back looking 
for exposed surfaces to cling to. 
As you crawl out of darkness 
it waits & attaches itself to you 
until you hide to avoid it.
But still it comes—
waiting to be freed
from the darkness
that tempers it.

1979?

The Paper and the Sonoma County Stump

Since I've discovered that I can now backdate my old blog posts that were crammed into the years 2007, and 2008, when I first began blogging, I've been rearranging old posts. However, they no longer have context. So here's a bit on the newspapers I worked for during the 1980s and 1990s, to give you some kickoff perspective.

See also Old Posts, New Posts

The Paper was first launched in 1979 by Elizabeth Poole and Nick Valentine, in Guernewood Park, and later moved to Monte Rio. After Bliss Buys and Joe Leary's Sonoma County Stump folded around 1980, Simone Wilson and I began working for The Paper. Somewhere along the way, it became the West Sonoma County Paper. Nick Valentine, or the new owner, John Boland (of KQED fame) may have changed the name again. John Boland moved The Paper from Monte RIo to Forestville to Freestone, to Santa Rosa and it became the Sonoma County Independent.

It was purchased in 1994 by Silicon Valley-based Metro Newspapers Group (a chain of 10 weeklies: AAN Metro Silicon Valley and Metro Santa Cruz).  Soon after that, I left The Paper, the thrill was gone, micromanagers and myopic editors, and turfy journalists including Gretchen Giles, ran roughshod over us. I didn't survive the politics. The jerk with whom I was sharing darkroom duties (I was on the road a lot in those days) stole my negatives and  job. And that was that.

The Sonoma County Independent morphed into the Northern California Bohemian in 2000, or rather, The North Bay Bohemian. Alas, the archives only date back to November of 1995. I use the same name throughout, though I worked for at least three iterations of the paper. I got some good stories, I learned a lot. For that I'm grateful.

More here on The Paper

THURSDAY, JULY 28, 2011

Remembering Nick Valentine & Phil Osborn at The Paper

Activist Mary Moore wrote to the Bohemian editor: Your birth was in Monte Rio around 1979 as The Paper and I still have many articles saved from that time. With Nick Valentine as editor and Tom and Elizabeth as publishers, this brave little weekly with beautiful graphics and extraordinary layout (before computers) became must reading for all us counterculture types. It replaced Bliss Buy's previous paper, the Sonoma County Stump as the activist publication, and was one of the reasons that we were so successful in 1980, the first year that we protested at Bohemian Grove. It took us through the early 1980s protests at Rancho Seco, Diablo Canyon and the Livermore labs as well as covering all our doings here at home.

Impossible to find anything online about The Sonoma County Stump. But I found this:

Patrick K. Lanzing, Editor/Photographer/Life StudentSonoma County Stump1972 – 1975 (3 years) Russian River, California
Learned how to run a local-area community newspaper in the beautiful Russian River region of Sonoma County, CA, alongside one of the great unsung heroines of the American Free Press: Bliss Buys (ne: Cochrane). Helped organize a benefit featuring the Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter Bands. Photographed the Russian River Rodeo and stomped grapes with folks who nowadays own their own wineries. Walked in the redwoods, happy but dirt poor. Wrote stirring editorials and knew my community. Then I went to the big city and got a "real" job.

I don't remember him, we probably met at the Stump office above the Mexican restaurant in Forestville. 

But it gave me another lead to search out Bliss—her name, Cochran. And I found this: 
Bliss Cochran | LinkedIn

Publisher with 40+ years experience producing small periodicals, including Sonoma County Stump weekly newspaper, Cochran's Antiques & Collectibles monthly and Cochran's Collectors' Guide, an annual travel-size map guide to antique stores from WA to AZ provided in hardcopy and also online at our website, www.cochrans.com. Singer and rhythm guitarist performing with two bands in Mexico.Specialties Sales, photography, copywriting, customer relations, singing.

Around 1979*, I began writing. I took a few classes at Sonoma State while I was finishing up my art degree. Something clicked. I'd found what I wanted to do. Many of the earlier pieces that are not news stories are from David Bromige's poetry classes, and Elizabeth Herron's fiction classes. I discovered I couldn't write fiction, but I could write prose poems.

Simone Wilson, Bliss Buys and Joe Leary at the Sonoma County Stump offices above the Forestville Inn & Cantina, 1980. Alternative was our middle name.

I had a camera, I happened to live near the Sonoma County Stump office, I wandered in once day to see what I could see, and next thing I knew, I was given the centerfold to create a double-truck spread on Sonoma County poetry, and a deadline—and the rest is history.

When the Stump went under in January of 1982, Simone and I marched to Monte Rio and got hired by The Paper. My salad daze. When I moved to The Paper, I was Phil Osborne's assistant, and developed dozens of rolls for each issue. I needed a stepladder to reach the PMT camera exposure dials. 

These are working notes by which to put some context to my writing during the early years. I don't have much to show for from the early years. It was during  the pre-computer era. And to add insult to injury, the work I did eventually transcribe over to bytes, is locked away behind obsolete technology. Some of it I was able to open. Most of it is cyber-gobbelygook. Oh, why did I use DiskDoublr and not unpack my writing as I moved it from floppy disks to CDs and hard drives? And if a piece did make it to the digital format, it's not the final version that appeared in print...


Me at the Sonoma County Stump office, Forestville, 1980. I was the poetry editor. I began to illustrate the poetry centerfold page. Then I began to seek out poets to publish, then I began to take photos with an old Minolta...Joe Leary developed my negatives and one thing led to another...perhaps even a touch of insanity, I mean, The Poet.


The White Goddess


The White Goddess

you have slept within the worship of the divine child
you have also slept with the white goddess
she has stolen from you your light
she will always steal it from you
you will always give it to her

she is the moon, she waxes and wanes at your touch
she drips liquid from her crescent
she is the old moon going out in the arms of the new moon at dawn
her crescent is the horns of the bull-headed monster in the labyrinth 
she is the rebirth

she may steal your darkness
she may restore your light
she may devour you
she will kill you yet, in her hand 
is the double-bladed axe

you will be reborn from a tear in her eye
you will trickle down her cheek onto her breast
you will evaporate and become frozen salt of the tear
you are the bearer of that name which you have lost

it is not precisely lost 
it is not precisely missing 
and she is dressed in lion skins


1979?

It sounds like a poem from the Diane diPrima workshop in which case it was written in June/
added 2/2017


THE UNDULATION OF DESIRE


THE UNDULATION OF DESIRE

My belly in your hands
undulating 'til it swells as round as the glass float
that broke loose from the fishermen's net
carried by the Japanese current

past the fog shrouded coast of Hokkaido,
past Russia, the Bering Straights,
to the shores of California
where waves deposited it on fine sand.
- a glistening ruby of the sea.

Making a journey up the coastline of your body
my breasts envelop that firm resistance
a soft frothy cradle for your blind mouth
to spill the surgences of the sea in my kelp hair,

Gentle bells, my breasts softly swaying
two windblown tulips
their nipples the center of the flower
- a stamen for your lips.

In the dark, your hands reaching for me
as I sit astride, I am a dancer 
with back arched to the wind.

1979
added 2/2017 this sounds like a first draft of



FISHNET
The red glass float from the fisherman's net
rides the Japanese current past the Russian coast
and the Bering Straits to California
where it glistens like a jewel in the sand.
Making the journey down the coastline of your body,
my breasts cradle your blind mouth.
The essence of the sea spills into kelp hair.
From the net, your hand uncovers precious stones
and the arching dolphins at the crest of the wave
rise in the wind like love's cry.

After the River


After the River

You melt like words on my tongue
bitter pith of lemons
essence of oil to salivate
sweet and sour on the sides
the tip tastes of salt
from the sweat that drips from the eye

Slow bits of dying lie scattered about
like chunks of flesh bitten out of a living whale by sharks
the ten percent loss of body mass is followed by death
the sharks swim on only after they've each eaten their fill
plus the tongue of the leviathan

Devour your flesh live
the essence of being is still there
to share with you in the communal meal
the sweat of salt heightens  your olfactory senses
on the tip of the tongue tastes of ocean

Words almost spoken
rest by the banks on the river tongue
that eddies and swirls around incomplete thoughts
the blossom of the lemon is sweet, honeyed
doesn't prepare the tongue for the fruit
that's why we taste both sweet and sour 
on the same banks of tongue

We add sugar to sweeten the burden
but it's still the same sour fruit
the back of the tongue recieves the bitter pith 
as it journeys to the throat

There is no return to the sweetness
the bitterness of taste is to be sophisticated
like coffee and dry martinis
sweet teeth are for children

The appetite never ceases
tolerance for sugar increases tongue's addictive appetite
we eat each other down and starve from lack of nourishment 

     we are the world's hungry
     see the hunger in our eyes
     the salt, the sweat, the tears 
     to increase and stimulate the taste

We strap on promises we can't keep across the flesh of our tongues 
intolerable links of sweetness across the pith of the lemon
essence of oil escapes from the rind
voilatile into the air we breathe
our nostrils flare and we hunger for more

     we starving bodies 
     we hunger 
     always we hunger 
     for more

1979
added 2/2017

Breath of Wind


Breath of Wind

The death it strikes
the anger it comes
it goes it comes again
like the tide that flows
increasing rhythm of life
its ebbs and flows
Time: time to, go, come again
the pull, the push 
of the moon upon the earth
we are of the earth
we return to it again
we unite, we become the elements
we flow into the oceans 
to nourish the living
the living
it is teneous like death
a breath, we exist
a breath of wind stirs the water
whips it into a frenzy
a breath of wind stirs the water
it evaporates into air
moves the clouds to land
a breath for rain
water completes its cycle on the land
the rain to nourish the living
Water: we are 97 percent water
tissue of the living
to seek it
always the seeking
we are the living.

1979
added 2017

Berries in Winter

Berries in Winter

there is nothing more
red than the color of hawthorn berries 
in winter

berries the size
of bird's eggs against the grey
of last year's grasses and the pale green
of winter sprouts

herring-bone pattern of pines
on steep hillsides
softwoods crocheted on the north slopes

the top of the ridge snakes in and out 
of the barbed wire stretched 
along its surface like strings 
on the neck of a fiddle

the trees on the top of the ridge 
are like a fine Chinese comb 
grooming the fleece of clouds

we live on the western slope 
on the eastern side 
of this mountain.

1979
added 2/2017

Who Pulled the Plug? Clock says 7 after 9


Who Pulled the Plug?

Clock says 7 after 9 
been saying it for days 
gets tired of it but no; one notices

It dosn't know if its A.M. or P.M.
prefers to go round clockwise
but has been known to counter the issue

Now as time stands still
clock gets lonely for internal order
so it waits
(what else can it do?)
clock says 7 after 9.

1979
added 2/2017

The Dichotomy of Edges


The Dichotomy of Edges

and when i walk upon the ridge 
my footstep is uncertain 
the wind is too cool for summer 
and it sweeps up the ridge from the valley below

the valley below the ridge 
where our faces melted in the moonlight 
yours white, mine featureless 
against moonshadow

i felt your fear as we rolled faceless in the grass
i stt on the ridge in sunlight
is it true we must separate ourselves
from day and night?

the edge of night carries in your fear
on a double headed axe
the axe is cutting the edge of our love
our friendship
sever one, can the other survive?

the dicotomy of edges two people two ways
you are the tao of water
you seek your own course down
from the mountain to the valley below 

i am the vessel placed there to collect you
as you tumble downward
you are also the night and the day that freezes
and thaws the water in the vessel

if the vessel breaks, the sharp edges
stressed by night frost
need the day to bring back the water
to wear the edges smooth again

you are the water
you are the day
i walk down the ridge
my step is uncertain 

i am afraid to leave the ridge
the shadows grow taller across the valley
and the wind is too cool for summer
it brings in the fear riding in on the fog.

1979
added 2/2017

A sense of taste

A sense of taste

Today is far eating just made apple pie
this afternoon's blackberries 
with dinner a bottle of noir

Nibble upon skin 
taste it 
knead it 
make it

Tomorrow I'll fast
wake up to more apple pie and cheese
after lunch I'll fast
after dinner I'll fast
Hey, let's eat!

1979
added 2/2017

at yr own wake

at yr own wake

would you come to your own wake
would you knock at your own door-—
would you walk beside me in the land of the living
would you stand before me on the funeral pyre
would you light the match
would you light the match
would you stand before the temple
would you draw the knife across my heart
on the stone altar
would you drink up my blood
would you offer me up?

1979  when?
aded 2/2017

SHORT LOVE POEMS 1978-87 new file


Table of Contents:

ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE
(OR WHAT HE REALLY MEANT)
ASCENT OF MAN
AU LAIT
AMNIOTIC
BAMBOO
BEHOLD THE RIGHT EYE 
BELOW SPIRIT ROCK  
BLIND I COULDN'T SEE
BOTTOM OF THE NINTH
BOUDESTRA ANTARES
BURIAL COMBINATION
BELOW SPIRIT ROCK
CEOLICANTH
CLOTHED LIKE GREEN BRIDES
CRAW
COMMUTERS
DAWN POEM
DEAD PINE
DELUGE
DEAR READER:
DESIRE AS A NOUN
DIVIDED REALM
DROUGHT
FAN I
FAN II
FISHNET
FOR THE FISH IN MY LIFE
FOR MARILYN
4TH OF JULY
FRAGMENTS
GAMBLING ODDS
INVERNESS
IN SEARCH OF THE WILLOW
JADED PRINCESSES' TALE
JARRA OUTTAKES
JAZZ NOTE
JONQUILS IN WINTER
LINGUAL ARCH
LIGHT

LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON
LOVE, ITSELF
LOVE IS LIKE
LOVE POEM
MASK OF COUNTERFEIT HEIGHTS
MELANCHOLY
MOON CUP
MOON SNAIL

MOUTHS
MOUTH TO MOUTH
MOTH LIGHT
MOUNTAIN FLOWERS
MUSIC NOTES
NIGHT HERON
NIGHT VISION
(NOT)
ON THE RITUAL COURTSHIP OF POETS
OUT TAKES
RACIAL MEMORY
REFUGE OF WILD BIRDS
SHEPHERD'S SLEEP
SOLSTICE
SONG OF THE PRAIRIE
SUNRISE
THIS KISS  
VIRGO
UNTITLED HALF LIFE
THE WATCHTOWER
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF DESIRE
WHO
WHO, INDEED

SHORT TAKES ****

it provided immediate inspiration
***
cracks in cosmic eggs
***
wind from passing cars
***
winter snow falling

UNTITLED LOVE POEM #  1
your tongue
UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 2
my breasts
UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 3
emptiness of seashells
UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 4
please stay the night
UNTITLED LOVE POEM #  5
necklace of ice crystals
UNTITLED LOVE POEM #  6
The labial fires of the earth
UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 7
i want you to feel
UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 8
searching for another cup of coffee
UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 9
the perfume of flowers








ACROSS THE GREAT DIVIDE
(OR WHAT HE REALLY MEANT)

Don't care if you
take me literally, Mama
Just take me

83




ASCENT OF MAN
        —for Seamus Heaney

Each dark night carries its own cloud
to measure the flight of birds.
Seals slip upriver to steal souls
& sing the memory of Sweeney to sleep.
It is difficult to single out a shadow
of an individual tree in the forest.

In steamy cafés, the refrain
of silverware & coffee cups
solitary scores orchestrated
simultaneously while the canvas
of vertical history
is painted on the walls of the living
in the streets, & buried in the rift
of the Olduvai Gorge.


1983 





AMNIOTIC

it relieves you of your weight
heavy burden of water
float in the saline bath
flow with the tide
the damned begin
birthing



AU LAIT

The ghosts upstairs
are moving furniture at night
while the rest of the world
sends out for coffee

1/83



BAMBOO

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

9/23/1979



BEHOLD THE RIGHT EYE                                                                                                  

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 on your cock
& your night eye closes

1979


BELOW SPIRIT ROCK  

The loam is ankle deep  
Bay laurel roots follow crevices
all the way down to water
Stripped of leaves, the barren tree
is a sign of the long drought


BLIND I COULDN'T SEE

Blind, I couldn't see the spaces
between universes collide.
These words are eating time
as if it were the last supper
and we say, Oh God again
and again because this breathing
together is a conspiracy.
In a blue sky,
a dragonfly, a thread
to pull the strings of the world
from the interior of the eye.
A dragonfly
in a blue sky.




BOTTOM OF THE NINTH

Our hearts catch an inside curve.
We try to sneak past each other
but the umpire yells foul play
and we are lost at the bottom of the ninth.
The player on third tries to steal home
but the bases are loaded and the score's
zero to zero in the moon's favor.

1983



BURIAL COMBINATION

lift yrslf I am yr
carrier of the signs
yr foot upon my belly
loosens the placenta
mount it upon an oak board

mount it & bury it
you must return it
& pay nothing but guilt



BOUDESTRA ANTARES

As the ploughman tills the edges of the galaxy
with the handle of the Big Dipper,
you've furrowed my damp earth
and spread your drouth of stars
across the desert wastes of my belly,
leaving me stranded like a beached whale
and it keeps the tide from cleansing this place.



COELACANTH

Why can't you hear
the incandescent humming
of the fish in my womb
as you bend to touch me?

        2/83




CLOTHED LIKE GREEN BRIDES

Amid green hills
transparent trees
hide wintered forms
of houses waiting
in silence.

1/83


COMMUTERS

Like sharks emerging from caves
the noses of cars edge out
of each driveway
in predatory fashion
to join their brethren.


CRAW

I am trying hard not to think
of the contaminated water.
I raise a glass to my lips
only to discover the throat has memory.

1983


DAWN POEM

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

12/10/1979


DEAD PINE IN FOG

Trees whisper the sound of water
Creeks gurgle across tone deaf stones
Far off, a child's laughter



DEAD PINE IN FOG  

Trees whisper 
the sound of water
Creeks gurgle  
across tone deaf stones
Far off, a child's laughter




DELUGE

Just as I was beginning to forget,
you arrived at my doorstep
and music burst from your eyes
even before I could hear the wings of Icarus 
whisper danger from the sun.
Broken wheels in the desert are as useless
as the arms of a saguaro's embrace.
The yucca-pale dreams brought a deluge of rain
and I am drifting in the lake of your eye
once more.

 5/84



DEAR READER:

Forgive the news
for all those old sorrows
of the world
rubbed across the page
like tired cheeks
of children who
won't go down into the mines
anymore to be flogged
by yesterday's newspaper.

1/85


DESIRE AS A NOUN

For long periods of time
we are kept from ourselves.
We wrap a blanket of leaves
around shells like a second skin
unfolding in the shape of desire.
It's like trying to render consciousness
from the urine of sacred cows.




DIVIDED REALM

Divided in sleep,
we slip in and under
the watery realm
where I am tossed
from shore to shore
by the river
of your night journey.
The horizon of your dreams
merge into mine
and the eye of dawn
rising soft
as a pillow of fog
offers some chance of rest.

 6/82



DROUGHT

The light gushes out
as streetlight bathes the pavement
with florescent spray

Evening summer heat
frog sits beneath streetlamp
parched earth waits for rain


FAN I

Three blades gather dust inside a silver cage
where, in summer, yellow yarn flutters 
  like  suspended birds
& the bones that hold me up to air have no body.
The cord, a tunnel for riversóturbines
churning and grinding, spitting out air.


FAN II

Out of orbit, three blades, 
a trinity of air.
Water-smoothed stones
gather the dust of time and neglect
inside the silver cage.
In deep summer, yellow string flutters
like yellow tropical fish called tang
against the current.
The bones that hold me up 
are not corporal.
Turbines churn and grind
shoving the air forward into day
& nothing more.
My inspiration, vocal
I speak of the air
& rotate like the planets.



FISHNET

The red glass float from the fisherman's net
rides the Japanese current past the Russian coast
and the Bering Straits to California
where it glistens like a jewel in the sand.
Making the journey down the coastline of your body,
my breasts cradle your blind mouth.
The essence of the sea spills into kelp hair.
From the net, your hand uncovers precious stones
and the arching dolphins at the crest of the wave
rise in the wind like love's cry.


FOR THE FISH IN MY LIFE

A minnow sleeps in my bed
and noses at the watery quilt.
As I climb into bed,
concentric ripples form
where, toe first, I slip in and under.
I'm careful not to disturb him.
All night long, the fish thrashes
and turns as I sleep
in a bed of soft stone.
If I turn over too fast,
will he be thrown from the bed,
or drown from lack of water?

10/81


FOR MARILYN

Time is scented,
secret pearl hidden within the folds
of the oyster

The leaf of a blackbird
shaken loose
flutters down toward its own death

Corpses of flowers—
rose petals beneath
Marilyn's stacatto heels

    6/83


4TH OF JULY

cool ocean breezes
on the ridge at sunset
fog curls its flag



FRAGMENTS

Who will ask the gypsys how to line the edge of the moon
Who sobs for untold fortunes and greased lightning
to increase the weight of the sky
where dreams crackle like fresh dollar bills
The river is silvered with the coinage of fish
Wait cloud, a winter rooster wants to dance in the sun

1986



GAMBLING ODDS

Seeing old lovers again
is like playing tic tac toe
with the moon.
Like with Jimmy the Greek
the odds are 100%
in the moon's favor.

1984?


INVERNESS

Thick fog condenses
swirls thru vermillion leaves
clear prism reflects



IN SEARCH OF THE WILLOW

green lion's mane blowing
the scalp, branches
where birds rest in between


JADED PRINCESSES' TALE

How many nights, Lord
shall I kiss a prince
only to awaken with a toad?

(she who swallows toads
awakens with a lump in her throat)




JARRA OUTAKE

Victor Jarra, whose hands,  
exposed to light by the junta
shrivelled. Dischordant music.
But he kept singing.




JAZZ NOTE

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

10/12/79


JONQUILS IN WINTER

the sound of moonlight rests
on the branches of pines
and hitches a ride
on the scent of jonquils in winter
moonlight on the tongue
like tasting the song
of nightingales
wresting shadows from darkness

1/80



LINGUAL ARCH

Those who slipped too soon
into the gray roots of river willow
wait at the mouth of the river to speak.
These words carried on the tongue of the river
enter the mouth of the ocean and are born.
Women have two mouths and one tongue.
Men have two tongues and one mouth.
Each needs a place to lie in
before they can speak.




LIGHT

Light cleaves to walls
ceilings & floors.
It sticks to you
& you can't shake it
or wipe it off.
It always comes back looking  
for exposed surfaces to cling to.
As you crawl out of darkness
it waits & attaches itself to you
until you hide to avoid it.
But still it comes—
waiting to be freed 
from the darkness
that tempers it.



LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON

All back in breast, your mouth,
my mind semicolon slow velvet clouds,
sweet, almost painfully tender,
like two people in the same dream.
Our arms encircled the ground—
Shaken from the herd,
pine needles shudder in summer wind.
There's that moment between dreaming and waking
where time and consciousness don't exist.
Like the hearts of twin doves,
my breasts drift into a pulsing slumber
against your back—
what better place to rest?

2/1985



LOVE IS LIKE
                        —after Breton
           
My love is like a blue gardenia-scented night,
or a lone tree first seen by sailors too long at sea,
where there is no time for crowded lamps
or stars in the darkness.
My love is like a candle burning
at both ends of the church
where the darkness ends like the pavement.
My love nails the graveyard of a smile to the earth
when he is angry; cataracts skyrocket across
the liquid corridors of the Nile
and lemon sphynxes drift unheeded
inducing the dunes to mate with rocks
and with dopplered sound.
By the execution of desire, vain fruit ripens
because my love is a phantom mirror
to reflect stray music.

2/85


LOVE, ITSELF


Love itself
has no season, no time
to turn the rhythm of our souls.
As if by convection our breath
is  snatched away and suspended
from mist particles along
the pounding shore.

2/1980

LOVE POEM
         after Suzuki

when love awakens
we  glimpse the infinite
but this love loosens the shell
diverts our desire and
loosens our grasp on the infinite.

1980



MASK OF COUNTERFEIT HEIGHTS

Her mask of attention slips
as she turns toward the sun
Clocks of soverign weight
sit in rapt attention
Through her open window
a radio blares
to the rhythm of flapping laundry
next door
The judge's mask slips
Who gave her reason
to tilt volumes of abysmal trees
on their sides
don't they know she is a financier
of earthquakes?



MELANCHOLY

the center of  a muskmelon
with its lips full of seed
is like the body of a woman
in love

7/28/1979 or 80



MOON CUP

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

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

6/10/1979



MOON SNAIL

Aboard this crowded raft,
I make strange love to
a river of foetal cave fish.

Once, I was the night mist 
and in the moonlight,
a shiny trail of snail spittle
led to the corners of my mouth
as I swallowed you.

Thinking I was a wolf,
you fled into burrows
but I was a mountain
and the ground where you hid
was my body.

I make love to friends.
Their thin hands passing over the raft
find you hidden among the blankets.
You ask me for forgiveness.
All I can offer you is rotted flesh
rocking gently on its dark mooring.

10/81


MOTH LIGHT

As you breathe in the light,
darkness, softly fallen from your face
reveals these burnt wings
rekindled in your eyes


MOTHLIGHT

As you breathe in the light,
darkness,  
softly fallen 
from your face
reveals these burnt wings
rekindled 
in your eyes.

11/23/83


MOUTHS

too much speaking
too much eating
kissing, shouting—
all in that simple line
drawn against
folded flesh.

1/ 1984 



MOUTH TO MOUTH
(A POEM FOR WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS)

Would you trust
a poet in your mouth ?





MOUNTAIN FLOWERS

Under azure skies and robins
roseated cyclamins
exude such exquisite warmth
that the sun is struck dumb
by comparison

1984




MUSIC NOTES



A violin breaks the glass

seedling push up the earth

worms dance to the music



NIGHT HERON

Night anchors on the dock
where the marsh heron's mask
is untouched by muddy water. 
Only the slender bones of his legs 
separate him from water and air.  

 2/83


NIGHT VISION

Caught in my headlights,
eyes of young bucks
not leaving the dead body
of their mother.

12/84



(NOT)

cats
(not)
sseing
eye to eye
with
dogs

83






ON RITUAL COURTSHIP OF POETS

Returning from the mountains
I find poems taped to my fridge,
Words left to do their work
like an invocation
or a long, slow seduction
in case climbing the mountains
wasn't enough.

1986


OUT TAKES

Archers hunt for inkstained fingers
An old grandmother quilt, a rag doll
A tidal bore rushes through narrow tunnels
I am filled with a sudden chill.

1985



RACIAL MEMORY  

A lover seeking racial memory 
struggling with my blouse
prefers the old way of skins
Fox, rabbit, coyote, buffalo.
We hide too much from the elements
remembering other paths.
The feet never forget the scars 
they leave on the earth.  
He reaches for the breast in greeting,
concealing a weapon in his hand. 
The first kiss, even between old lovers
is cautious, not passionate. 
A hearthstone, the fire.
On this hillside, this grass, 
where are 
the men coming to terms with the earth  
spilling nothing more than seed?

Spring 1987
Petaluma


REFUGE OF WILD BIRDS

Like hearts of wild birds
riding the storm
or panthers defending sectors
of the universe
we seek shelter
before the visions of stars.

 5/82



IN SEARCH OF THE WILLOW

green lion's mane blowing
the scalp, branches
where birds rest in between



SOUND OF ONE HAND

flies fucking again
lmmortalized love
flyswatter officiates

take two:

The sound of one hand
flies practice tantric yoga
fly swatter comes down hard.








SHEPHERD'S SLEEP  

Sometimes when shadows are right  
my hand traces along some curve,
something of the animal stirs
& I am savage for your flesh.
I see you dressed in leather & we talk
of buffalo & the streets of Paris.

Your cock curls down to fill a lost place
beneath the gibbous moon.
I check the wideness of my hips
& darkened aurioles.
Like betrayal, my breasts rise
when I hear my name called
& I am calling out yours in the same breath. 

As we slip into the silvered orchards of sleep 
we are nameless after all.
We need a buffalo robe under us 
as an offering for the seed 
we farm in the night. 
Who is taking all the dreams
wrapped in brown silk bags? 
What shepherds gather sleep?

10/12/84


SOLSTICE

the sun dips
into dark
mud and
sprouts 
in my hand




SONG OF THE PRAIRIE
     for Meridel LeSueur & Sharon Doubiago

The mindful trust of this body is held
in the blind spots of they eye; a memory
of the prairie where Crazy Horse last
stood. Flowers grow naked on the graves
of those whose blood nourished the soil
a hundred years after the last buffalo
robe rotted into dust. The circling
sparrowhawk encompasses the souls
of those who were lost in anger, hatred, 
and in feat. A song of sorrow for those 
who walk alone.

1981
Port Townsend, Wa






SUNRISE

thread
the
need-
le on
the
eye
of the
cock.



THIS KISS  

This maiden voyage of tongues,
Sleek suckle of cavorting seals
Undulating in kelp beds,
Capriciously nesting,
And antlered,
Rutting under the gibbous moon
Not the watery abyss 
Licking shriveled toes and lips 
Left too long in the bath


TRAP

wary of contact
loba paces, avoiding
the confines of my eyes




VIRGO

In the moonlight,
naked,
I will cook fish

     8/83



UNTITLED HALF LIFE

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?

11/13/79

THE WATCHTOWER


Determined young men on bicycles
ride dressed in suits of grey conservatism
they bring to the suburbs the Word of the Lord.


WHAT IS THE DEFINITION

What is the definition 
of distance between the tilled, 
and the unploughed field?




WHAT IS THE MEANING OF DESIRE
WHEN TWO-FOLD CONSCIOUSNESS,
LIKE WARMED MILK, BLANKETS US,
& KEEPS US FORM OURSELVES?

Drink tea in the afternoon
when nothing else will do.



WHO

Who gave her reason 
to tilt volumes of abysmal trees
on their sides
don't they know she is a financier of earthquakes?



WHO, INDEED

Who is this beast breathing beside me
Like some long forgotten ancestor
Coming for recognition in the night
To give me new colors for dreams
That continue to shake me from the cradle
Where breathing came from
Beneath the skin of the ocean

1986



WORDS

cannibalized bodies
appetite never ceases
we hunger for more







***


it provided immediate inspiration
and maximized limited resources

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

6/9/79


***

cracks in cosmic eggs
make a mess of things

***


wind from passing cars
catches the edges of a newspaper
and lifts it up like a startled cat



***


winter snow falling
on brittle leaves, frozen earth
the cherry tree sighs









UNTITLED LOVE POEM #  1

your tongue
across my nipples
like moth wings



UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 2

my breasts
brush lightly
agross the bare feast
of your chest






UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 3

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

my tongue traces snail patterns
in the dark


12/17/1979


UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 4

please stay the night
   again the night
once again the night
             stay

7/7/1979



GIBBOUS MOON
UNTITLED LOVE POEM #  5

necklace of ice crystals
circle the gibbous moon
full for the touch
my breasts, remembering the scent of
amber, musk & honey in a meadow
so many years ago, on the ridge
where the big dipper held such
offerings, and the moon's fickleness

old

UNTITLED LOVE POEM #  5

necklace of ice crystals
around the gibbous moon
full for the touch
my breasts remembering
musk & honey in a meadow
so many years gone
the big dipper held such
offerings
and the moon's fickleness



UNTITLED LOVE POEM #  6

The labial fires of the earth
pulses & quickens.
Rivers send tap roots down
to magma to quench their thirst
on the long journey to the sea.

What is exotic is distance.
The pulse of steaming jungles
and coral reefs calls to us.
Lushness invades
and perfumes the senses.

We always want what we can't have
It's like waiting for those
exotic places
to bloom only in springtime.



UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 7

i want you to feel
our pulse roaring like flooded rivers
along the symmetric path
through the rain forest
of musk & pollen
until it comes out our mouths
where our cavorting dolphin tongues
bathe in darkness and light

but as you feed me
it profanes the air
as we close up our hearts
and relinquish the night



UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 8

searching for another cup of coffee
my eyes scratch across the surface of nausea
& flies sampling the sweat on my skin
i can barely write as yesterday catches up
with today-- too tired to wake up, too morning
to sleep as hummingbirds dip and flit




UNTITLED LOVE POEM # 9

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

8/13/79




I am slowly finding the dates for these short poems, I think I typed these up because they were short. That's why they made it into the electronic age. I didn't have a typewriter for ages, and calligraphed everything. Those handwritten poems (if you can call them poems), I still need to add... 

This file went up in smoke. I consolidated three blogposts' worth of short poems, as some were repeated. Some had dates, so I was able to glean some new posts and dates. As I tried to save the efile, titles disappeared, and some of those dates too... Weird embedded ASCII, I guess. Luckily, I had another blogpage open with these poems up, so I was able to copy and paste. Some work was lost as it hadn't been updated. Sigh. 

I probably need to pull out the ones from the 1980s and post them in their correct year. But I still have hope that I'll find more origin dates. It's easier to have them all in one file.