Sunday, May 10, 1981

ODE TO LEONARD CIRINO

ODE TO A MAN GOING OUT INTO THE WILDERNESS
                         —for Leonard Cirino

My car threads the road,
weaving continents of light and dark 
in the primordial gloom of Navarro canyon 
& I arrive to your empty house—
windows like shuttered eyes.

This ground won't perk. 
The well, polluted by fastidious raccoons 
made everyone sick—
The new pump delivers water 
like the heart of an athlete to an empty house. 
The outhouse & its damp library—
Kenyon Review, paper curled back into bark. 
At night, deer still come to browse
and lick salt from the wood.

This ground won't perk. 
It can't shake loose the past. 
Marine terraces, full moons, high tides, 
clam beds & absolution. 
It wants the salmon promise, 
red roe in uterine sand. 
Instead, rhododendrons squander 
spring's promise in a pygmy forest of cypress,
pencil thin, and a thousand years old. 
My feet crushing years with each step—
the cause and effect of minty air and bleached bone.

What unreconciled Oedipus in you
was avenged by the slow digging of your hands-—
one eye at a time, to banish light forever?
What do you dream of?

& like Lew Welch, 
you've gone into the forest, 
following the voices of the shaman wind.
Deeper in the heart, the earth
will translate your arrival 
where the junta inside you 
cannot stop your singing or your vision.

Later, you will complain—
not able to judge distance, with your one eye. 
Do you dream of eating your children? 
Victor Jarra's hands were cut off by the junta 
but poetry was his revenge.

Mother's Day
5/81
rev. 88