Saturday, June 30, 1979

HISTORY CONTAINED IN THE BREATH


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

6/30/79?
this may be an earlier poem, there's a note: "old poems rediscovered, 1979"
slightly rev. 11/2/2015

Friday, June 29, 1979

GATHERING STORM

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
Child in Changing Times Conference  
Arts in Everyday Living
6/28 to July 1
SSU

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.

6/29/1979
Michael Dow workshop
Child in Changing Times Conference  
Arts in Everyday Living
6/28 to July 1
SSU

Thursday, June 21, 1979

Solstice


Solstice

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

FELL INN

FELL INN

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.

6/1979
diPrima Workshop
added 2/2017


Wednesday, June 13, 1979

Dream Sequence with Peter Kapp

DREAM IMAGE: AGGRESSION

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.

6/8/1979

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.


WINGS OF STONE ANGELS









































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.

11/2/2015


Tuesday, June 12, 1979

THE AGES OF TREES


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

6/12/79        

Sunday, June 10, 1979

THE EDGE


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. 

6/10/79
Diane di Prima workshop
SF Zen Center

MOON CUP


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
Diane di Prima workshop?
SF Zen Center


Saturday, June 9, 1979

A BURIAL COMBINATION


it provided immediate inspiration
and maximized limited resources

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

6/9/79
Diane di Prima workshop
I later stole the title and used it for another poem

Friday, June 8, 1979

IF THERE'S A CRACK


cracks in cosmic eggs
make a mess of things

June 1979

Diane diPrima workshop, June 8-10, 1979, San Francisco Zen Center, journal

 June 8-10, 1979, San Francisco Zen Center, Diane diPrima workshop.

Diane began the writing workshop with a visualization, she said to relax and let the imagery flow. We could either be in a prone position ,or sit in a meditation triangle. We were asked to write down 30-second takes, haiku-like, and to use them but to rely upon all our senses. She said to try visualizations of dreams. She pulled out some tarot cards, and said that dreams of love and aggression, death and flying, and falling are your victories. Ask to see the spirit behind the mask. Bring back a dream song. Bring back a balance between the dream world and the real world. If you grow fatigued, retrace your steps before waking.


We played games of chance. She said to use pieces of articles, random cut-ups, she said to pick out phrases and re-combine them with new work. Or with old poems. 


She also said to gamble with dice. Take six books then roll the dice for a stanza, roll for words, roll for found sentences.


She told us to collect objects that tell stories, we met in groups and wrote a composite poem from each of them. 


She also suggested creating collective verse where we all share in the process. 


She asked what am I. Each line is a separate take. 


She reads from her own work and she reads from Frank O’Hara. 


We work towards disjointedness and let our fantasies play.


Using the Alastair Crowley tarot deck I drew the universe and wrote about a dappled gray horse coming in from the sea. The horse was carrying armor of a human but it was empty inside and they were cobwebs across the eyeholes. The wind blew through the armor with a hollow lonely sound. 


The horse said my name is Equus. I told him he wasn’t my God, nor was he my myth. He said I am your God. I always have been since you were a child and you’ve ridden up on my back. 


I unmasked him. I peeled away his flesh to find his bloody face, and another layer. l breathed on it—it was the face of a white wooden horse beneath the third layer, the skull beneath the fourth layer was bleached white and in the eye sockets and the spaces between the nostrils was a scenic landscape of Drake’s Estero in Point Reyes.


I followed him down the pathway to the valley below, to the river, to the sea. I left my red mare behind on the hill underneath the pine tree and the red amanita left undisturbed. 


When we reach the end of the rise that followed the pale sand we took a canoe across to the other side. The horse had become a knight in armor who was prone, on his back, either dead, or gazing skyward. The shore and the hills became surreal as if I had become the landscape and I could taste the green, the blue, the shimmering sea.


6/8/1979

Friday, June 1, 1979

TUFTED PUFFIN


TUFTED PUFFIN

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.

1978-79