Thursday, January 1, 1981

Fashion photo shoot ca . 1981 with Richard Salzman

Fashion photo shoot ca . 1981 with Richard Salzman tickling the ivories.

My editor at The Paper gave me a strange photo assignment on fashion. I used my poetry students from El Molino High School as models, but he ran this photo of me instead. I wound up keeping the very expensive clothes—as it was so uncharacteristic of me to dress that way, I never wore them again. I was literally stepping out of character. I loved the shoes. I never bought another $70 pair of flats again. The outfit cost more than what I earned in three months.

I don't know when this was taken, so I'm filing it as Jan 1, 1981

added, written 4/24/2016

Nota bene: I posted this as my profile picture on Facebook and was surprised by the reaction  and stories it drew. So this is a rather long postscript. Worthy of its own blog, but the photo's here. What to do?

I wrote: I was doing a photo shoot spread on fashion, which was one of my weirdest assignments ever for the Paper, (not my thing), and I needed one more models were flighty young creatures, gone for the evening, and I was the last one standing in the field at deadline. Sort of a selfie... I never expected Nick to use it, but he did.

Which expanded to: I was doing a photo shoot, a double truck spread on fashion, which was one of my weirdest assignments ever for The Paper, (not my thing), and I needed one more models were flighty young creatures from my poetry class at El Molino High School, were gone for the evening, and I was the last one standing in the field at deadline. Dreadline.

I set up the lighting on a music stand, and the camera on a tripod, set the focal plane, shutter and aperture, and hoped for the best. (No light meter, just my jaundiced eye.) It's sort of an assisted selfie... Of course, you can't go wrong with a Hasselblad. Incredible glass. Large format negatives were more forgiving, you could practically use then as a contact print, as is.

The Paper (N Bay Bohemian) editor Nick Valentine would loan it to me from time to time. The camera was worth the price of a small country. I quaked whenever I used it. I never expected Nick to use the photo for The Paper, but he did. That's Richard Salzman tickling the ivories, in Forestville. Late 80s?

You know, it's funny, but I had no real sense of self, or how I looked to others... my inner dialogue was always nattering on that I was homely as a mud fence... My aunts and mother were the gorgeous creatures. My Aunt Jane was the Gallo Girl on the back of the Sunday Funnies, and Time Magazine. Speaking of print ads, Bill Deutra, the Marlboro Man, lived right across from me, lovely man, full of stories, the KS ravaging his handsome face. He'd take me out tea dancing in Guerneville. Told me about JEdgar's propensity for cross-dressing. I know the feeling. I felt like I was (reverse) cross-dressing in this photo. Out of character, out of soul depth, charging right ahead into the abyss.


All the comments are worth a read. Don't know if they fit into this blog post. I may salvage them elsewhere. Old boyfriend Geoff Davis, cousins and poets, David Broida, Jack Crimmins, Marnie Purple, Bliss Buys, Janet Zagoria, Don Coffin, Ken Bullock—so many of my favorite people from the past—adding their stories. Meanwhile, this is a link if you fancy a gander.  15 hrs

Short Poems from 1981 (I think)

Most of these need full dates and some may be written earlier than 1981. I didn't date most of these early pieces, didn't really consider them poems.


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



Cricket sound
cicada on a branch
why does he rub those papery legs together?
he's rubbing time and sun with his hind legs
he's rubbing for the sun,
the moon,
the trees,
the wind.



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



bird without feathers
pushing swiftness to the moon
pulling clouds across the sky
in one fell swoop
you dive into the black pool of night
where the moon floats in the shallows
insects disappear into the darkness of your mouth
you swallow the moon
at dusk your high-pitched squeak
can be heard



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.


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?



From the whirlwind of a passing truck
the robin's body luffed and raised
like a leaf; orange breast flashing
the dawn back into the sky.

I wanted to stop the car, mend
the random fluttering of small wings
in their strange and useless flight,
& turn this tiny teacher of Icarus
back toward the sun.



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.



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

7/29/81 Pt Townsend
rev. 4/87



1. When things get unbearable
I repeat Leonard’s line
over and over like a mantra:

Words from the Persian:
limes, sherbet,

Imagining a dark world without them.

2. Later, I told him how his lines
bring me small comfort.
­He said, It’s wonderful,
but I never wrote it.  

DATE? 1981-82?

rev. 7.7.1994