Thursday, August 28, 1980

ACACIA PODS


Clusters of acacia pods hanging ripe from the tree,
twisting and sizzling in the summer heat,
exploding their black seeds like sparks
shooting out from a burning log.

7/28/1980

Friday, August 15, 1980

The Lingual Arch of the River and the Sea (dream) (prose)


The Lingual Arch of the River and the Sea

River mouth bathers, I want to go in the water. There's a dock being built where the ocean meets the river. It's a dock with a wooden wall around it. There will be several doors and windows put in so the view won't be blocked. Someone will probably eat breakfast there during good weather. The people who live there are friends of mine, I don't know who they are. It's a dream. It's hot. I want to go swimming. I think I'll go thru the unfinished door porthole—it's a lot closer than going all the way around to the shore.

I spot a mighty wave building up out at sea. My God, it's another tidal wave like the one that reappears in this other recurring dream except in that dream the sea is always tropical and there are lots of islands. Hawaii maybe.

This ocean is definitely not tropical. It has that black-blue quality of brackish water. Bright sunshine and blue sky summer afternoons of intense summer heat. The beach is reddish crumbly granite. Lots of iron stains from the hills that tint the river red. Its probably the Russian River but I'm not sure.

The wave, as it collects on the far side of the horizon, exposes much of the rocky beach. I grip the redwood 4x4 being used as a dock piling and I wonder if I can hold on to it tightly enough during the tidal wave. I probably will have thousands of splinters in my hands if I do. Better splinters than drowning I guess. My fingernails will probably break off at the quick from the intense pressure of fighting the wave.

The mighty wave crashes up against the dock and I am terrified that I will be swept away , but the dock takes up the shock of the wave and it protects me. The wave gently laps up through the doorway where I'm standing, and , as it passes through the doorway, I hear the ocean speak for the first time in my life.

It's probably the first time its been able to speak to anyone in god knows how long. How many incomplete doorways are built along the shore for an ocean to speak: through? I didn't know.

How could anyone know that the ocean needed a doorway to speak through, or that the ocean has just been dying to talk to anyone, anything—for centuries? We've all misunderstood the ocean. It speaks in a low breath, whispering profound truths of pure rhetoric. I am hearing it, and for the first time, my life makes complete sense to me. It all makes complete sense. We are all at home with it all.

I try to remember a sentence or two to quote from so I can plaijerise upon some of the ocean's many truths. People will think I am so wise, so zen. But just as it speaks, the words empty out of my ears as fast as they go in.

I can't remember one thing that the ocean told me. All I can remember is that the ocean needs a mouth to talk through, that the waves are tongues, that the river too is a tongue leading into the dark whispering ocean of many tongues, that the mouth of the river is interlocked in an embrace with one of the many mouths of the ocean, that the ocean is polygamous. It tongues rivers everywhere.

All those mouths exchange the souls of those who are indifferent to life, the dead who slip into the grey snags of willow growing along the river shore. They slide down through the roots of the willow and into the river to that long journey downward into the sea.

The river is a molten tongue carrying them downward into the sea. The words on the tongue of the river are words of all those who still wait to speak. The ocean is a tongue. The river is a tongue. They share the same mouth. To speak they each need separate mouths. Men have one mouth and two tongues. Women have two mouths and one tongue.

Mouths and tongues each need a place to lie in before they can speak. We need the lingual arch of the river and the sea.

8/15/1980
I revised this for ELizabeth Herron's prose fiction class. A version was written in the summer of 1979. So, the origin of this could be 79.
added & slightly revised 7/17.

THE LINGUAL ARCH OF THE RIVER AND THE SEA 1979


GREAT EXPECTATIONS, and other short poems


It’s gotten to the point
where I push my Tampax out
of the birth canal unaided.

8/17/1980

TIGHT CORNERS

There’s not enough counter space
to encounter anything.

8/20/1980

GRAVEYARD SHIFT

I’m going blackberrying
with my black burying can.

8/20/1980

Monday, August 11, 1980

AS THE PLOUGHMAN WALKS


It’s like a ploughman tilling
the edge of the galaxy
with the handle of the Big Dipper.
But you know there’s a drought.
And yet you furrow the damp earth of my legs.
As the ploughman walks,
you, having scattered seed
like the stars of the Milky Way
across my belly, trading sperm for egg,
only to leave me stranded like a beached whale
waiting for the morning rains
to raise up the level of the ocean
to the parched shoreline of this bed.

8/11/1980
Arcturus, Böotes, the herdsman, cattle

Sunday, August 10, 1980

Recipe for an eclipse, on the occasion of Suzanne and Ron’s wedding


Recipe for an eclipse, on the occasion of Suzanne and Ron’s wedding

1. Make a simple pinhole camera. You need two pieces of stuff white paper. Make a small hole small in the sheet that will be the upper piece, and the eclipse will project itself onto the lower piece of page. In this manner you can safely view the eclipse and you won’t go blind from trying to look directly at the sun.

2. Bring out your two bottles of Dos Equus chilled for the occasion of celebrating a partial eclipse. You will need one for you and one for your friend. Sit down under the shade of a tree and wait for the eclipse to occur. While waiting under the trees, look at the sunlight filtering through the leaves. See all the circles of light on the ground? Throw away the pinhole camera. You don’t need it. Look on the ground, there are myriad eclipse is everywhere. Hundreds of them. However, today there are no eclipse is scheduled to occur in this part of the hemisphere. Only a wedding, an eclipse of sorts.

8/10 1980