Sunday, July 29, 1979

THE SIGHS OF WOMEN


THE SIGHS OF WOMEN

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
1979
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
Cotati
added 10/16
Lol, in 2018, I found out it was a carpenter bee....in 1979, I didn’t even know of its existence. Do I change it? Or leave it stet?
https://mohurley.blogspot.com/2018/05/carpenter-bees.html

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

PATTERNS IN THE STEAM
           —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

5/79?
rev. 7/27/1979
rev. Spring 1980
Forestville
Shiosai means the sound of the waves
(AKA The Clinging Odor of the Sea)

Tuesday, July 10, 1979

BACK TOWARDS THE DEAD

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? 

7/10/1979
very, very minor tweaks  11/2/2015

TUESDAY POEM


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.

7/10/1979
slightly rev. 11/2/2015

THE WEB OF REASON

THE WEB OF REASON

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.

7/10/1979


Monday, July 9, 1979

HOH RIVER VALLEY


GREY MORNING LIKE THE HOH RIVER VALLEY GREY

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.

7/9-25/1979


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.

7/9/1979

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.

7/15/1979


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


UNTITLED LOVE POEM

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


7/7/1979

Monday, July 2, 1979

KINDERGARTEN DROPOUT


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)