Saturday, October 24, 1981

Half Moon Bay

        October 24, 1981

At another fair with Leo and Terry selling jewelry at Half Moon Bay. It may as well be Anacortes. Same gray sky, same great buildings. All the crafts I have no desire to buy are displayed enticingly.

I am bored with buying. I want it if it's a bargain. But there are no bargains at craft fairs. People work too hard to get there. They can't afford to sell for less. Why is it the only satisfaction I get is when I find something in need of love and repair, that I feel I'm shopping? Is it work ethic guilt? I doubt it. I enjoy the process of restoration.

Perhaps this is also the method I use in picking my men. Leo says I'm a storehouse of information. I'm a wonderful seller. Why don't most of the men I see catch my eye? Is it that I'm too hard to please? I am I too discriminatory? If I want children, and I do, I need to decide upon a man soon.

Lee is hopeless. Besides, I sent him a final goodbye letter. Ha, is there ever really a final goodbye? What to do with the man who loves you, but doesn't want you for a lover? Besides feel awful.

I have qualities and talents that most women don't possess. Some women possess a few of them, fewer have the talent to back it up. How do I market myself? When selling jewelry, I'm learning to size up who will buy and who won't. I thought I knew how to do that with men but now, I'm not so sure.

I found a wonderful man, a poet, sympathetic with my own writing, but only a few small problems. He lives on the east coast, teaches at NYU, has a wife and may even have kids nearer my age than he is to me. He is the best lover I've ever had, better than Lee and I thought Lee was very good.

Galway said to me if I didn't make love to other men, it would be a great loss to mankind. It was the way our bodies moved, the way our lips fit together that made it so special. He said my body was well muscled and strong, that I would be a good hiker. It's too bad we didn't have the time, he said.

Is it true what Lee said that "hard times for love, today?" Is there no hope? It is a month before my 29th birthday, and again I am alone.

Monday, October 19, 1981

Letter to Lee Perron 10/19/81


Lee,

I feel the need to clear up a few things...some final parting words to you. Remember when I said to you over a year ago, that if you got it together with another woman, our friendship would cease to be? I've said it to you several times, and basically I plan to stick to my statement, that was the only 'rule' i ever made in our relationship.

All the rest of the trauma that I put up with (in terms of how you treated me and our on/off affair for the past 2 and a 1/2 years)...patience, persistent patience.  Water under the bridge. I felt, that all thru that incredible craziness, that maybe there was something worth fighting for, something worth acknowledging... a love stronger than most loves, a connection of mind and body between two people that could last lifetimes.

I think you panicked and tried to flee. I panicked and pursued you. As long as that deep taproot was there, I was willing to endure and struggle thru, because I believed in love, and in you, and, I felt that you weren't allowing yourself to explore your emotions. I thought there was a great emotional blockage on your part, that you were never cold (as so many others perceived you to be).

Now, I think you're thick-headed and not in touch with your feelings, but that is no longer my business. If you wish to seek further feedback, please talk about it with your other friends. Not me. They have some important things to say to you, but won't do so unless you seek put their advice. (Try Jere or Greer out on this matter sometime).

You have decided that romance is an impossibility with me, and that "we were so unhappy together in the past," as you so aptly put it the other day. Aside from the fact that we never really had a chance to have a "relationship" per se, it makes me wonder about the validity of all this "unhappiness" garbage. You decided that you didn't want a relationship— therefore we never had one. Yet you pursued me. What was I, a conquest? You broke up my seven-year "marriage" with Bob. 

The mutual unhappiness we experienced had nothing to do with our being a couple, and having a relationship. The unhappiness was a byproduct of the other trauma we experienced, the abortion, a byproduct of your unwillingness to be open to having a relationship; and the unhappiness was not from having, or not having a relationship. Is that clear?

So, you've made yourself perfectly clear—we will not have a relationship, understood, computed. Got it. When you took up with another woman, you had the foreknowledge that I would reject you, that I would not accept your friendship, that I could not accept your friendship. That single act granted you your freedom, the freedom you so desperately sought. You are now free to do what you want with whomever you want—the only stipulation is that you can't have me again, ever, as a friend, as a lover, or whatever third alternative you were trying to come up with.
You've made your choice, Lee, now stick to it; I have been doing so, ever since July when I received your " Dear John" letter up in Port Townsend. Need I remind you about that 'other woman' stipulation? When you sent me that letter, you regained your precious freedom to do what you want. So go do it and leave me alone. I have my life to live and I will do it without you. I don't need a confused man hanging on to me, dragging me down again. 

You see, I too felt like I was drowning in this relationship because you tried so hard to hang on to me as a friend, as a lover. I asked you to let me go. But you couldn't do that. You didn't want to lose me. You clung to the idea of our friendship, and you strung me along, knowing my weakness. My anger towards you is deep-rooted, and many of those scars will never fully heal.

I can't believe you were actually that dumb. It's my fault, I thought intelligence had something to do with emotions. Intelligence has nothing to do with emotions. Nor has it anything to do with your desire to have me there as a friend always, as you pursued other women with my passing a blessing upon you. No guilt.

You are no longer a part of my life. You've ceased to exist for me.
 You're a non-entity and that's the way it has to be. I'm not going to
be the moping martyr hovering in the background, nor will I cease to be interesting to others, nor will I lose my creativity; some unfounded egocentric fear you seemed to have voiced at one time of another. I do just fine without you. I've been doing fine without you for more than a year now.

I don't know how much I can stand to be around  you—you honestly get on my nerves and irritate me. I'm not saying this to dig at you. I get inhibited when I'm around you, you cramp my style, that's why I don't want to see you. I feel watched and I feel stifled around you, it's unhealthy for us both, so leave me alone and let me breathe.

Before all this nonsense started, I was willing to be patient with you. I put up with  a lot of things that I would never tolerate from another human being. Patience is something women are very good at. I've been more patient with you than most mothers are with their own children, and, what I've discovered  is, that you had no idea of what I was doing. You've used up your lifetime supply of patience; and  love from this woman who once was a true friend. There's no more left for me to give.

So, now you'll have to  accept the 'other me'. In a sense, I am now another woman. You may not like my hostility and  abruptness, but that's the way it is. This  other side of my nature has always been there, but I foolishly coddled and sheltered you from it. Now it's your turn to see the other side of me. You may not like it. So be it. In one sense, you've got it coming to you. I can see it makes you extremely uncomfortable, and that you do not like it one bit.

If you were really there for me to share my emotions, if you had any emotions to share with me, then I wouldn't be writing you this final letter. As it is now,I've been a sounding board for you and it feels very one-sided. 

I can hear you saying: "Maureen is going thru rough times right now. It's too bad. I may feel a bit guilty about the whole thing, she's withdrawn, moping, perhaps suicidal. I owe it to her to be there and help her out, and then we can be friends again, and things will get better between us." This is a fantasy dialogue I sometimes hear you playing to yourself. There's no way you're going to be absolved, and then we'll be best buddies again. This is really it. It's over, finished between us.

I read somewhere once that it's the woman who has the ultimate power of decision when a relationship has ended, and this one ended in July. I get the sense that you think l'm waiting in the wings to attack, you, or to make sexual advances towards you, or something of that ilk. And all I can say to you is, how absurd! Maybe I didn't make myself clear in the past. Well, rest assured your body is safe from me. Not interested.

Your bringing in the 'other woman' was the key in unlocking and dissolving this  relationship. You, in your egotistical male paranoia, are afraid of being raped — not that it's even possible for a woman to rape a man—ravaged, seduced, more like, or maybe you secretly just wanted to be pursued. Yet you're always the pursuer. 

No longer will you pull off my top in jest, and pretend it was just a joke (albeit sick). I am not available for that form of crude torture you seemed to relish so much. I no longer am interested in you— you blew it this time. There's no reprisal, no turning back. My capacity for pain had more than been filled.

Galway once told me after Leonard put his eye out, that love is hard, that while many good things are easy, true love is not, because love is a power, its own power which continually makes its way forward, from night into day, always forward into difficult day. Our paths no longer seek the light of difficult day. Goodbye Lee, God bless.

Maureen 
10/19/81

I carried this letter around with me for months as a reminder before I sent it in December. See At the Lotus Sutra Spa, Entering my 30th Year
added 10/16 Minor revision, punctuation & spelling cleaned up.

A QUESTION OF BALANCE


A QUESTION OF BALANCE

Governments are going native
We worry about Iranian Oil, socialism,
and the fundamentalist essence of capitalism.
Free speech liberties are bought and sold
Then, there's the cockroach problem.
There was no repression from Stalin's point of view.
We need a day to get started on this earth
And what is the Polish Question?
We talk about compost and ask
what's the best kind of shit to put on raspberries?
In this world today, it's a question of balance.

10/19/1981
minor line break changes & punctuation
added 7/17


Thursday, October 15, 1981

REESE RIVER VALLEY


REESE RIVER VALLEY

I remember the adults talking politics,
the blue cigar smoke of family reunions,
The kitchen table jumped
with empty whiskey glasses and jam jars—
as their fists punctuated each statement.
This, my inheritance.

Sometimes my grandmother sits
and talks about her days on Home Ranch
about the coyote fur coat she and her Aunt May made.
Everywhere they went, the dogs followed
with raised hackles, growling and barking.
Even in San Francisco, the dogs sensed the danger.

Far from the green hills of Bantry Bay,
my family settled in this place.
The grain in this valley was worth more
than the silver grubstake claims in Austin.
She said: Men had to eat.

My half-brother is part Cherokee.
Our fathers never met.
His Indian grandmother sat on a porch
watching someone else's cattle forage
under the fierce Nevada sun.
But it was my grandmother who raised us.

While unloading an enraged bull
her uncle Paddy was killed by his horse.
His wife, Mary, stood on the porch
her mouth framing a silent white O
as the foreman lifted his rifle
to the forehead of that cowpony
who lay dying and the wind lifted
a dust funnel that whirled through
the open door like ghosts.

We sat by Paddy's tombstone,
granite & marble softened by the elements.
She said, I wanted you to see this place.
To write the stories. I'm the last one left now.

I took a photograph of my grandmother
looking away from the camera—
the moment, engraved in memory like stone.

I never told my grandmother I love her.

10/15/81

see In the San Geronimo Valley


We Dreamed We Were Giants



We stopped to rest on the top of the knoll before turning back. Late afternoon. I fell asleep sitting indian style with my chin in my hand. Lee and I had the most amazing dream. We had turned into upright stone outcroppings at the end of a long winding ridge. We were really sleeping giants, dozing off for a few moments (in giant time} and like Gulliver, we were visited by little people who made pilgrimages to this place. For them it was a powerful spot. Our dreams became the stuff of their myths. They held picnics by our knees and along our thighs where we touched the ground. The lives of the people were so short, in flash, three generations had come and gone, and with their passing, the memory of our dreams disappeared from their stories. The visits became fewer and fewer, until one day they no longer came at all. We awoke with a start. Only a few minutes had elapsed. We stretched, yawned, and like bears we ambled back down the mountain in the dusk light.

10/15/81
minor changes, added 7/17


IN THE SAN GERONIMO VALLEY (see Reese River Valley)

IN THE SAN GERONIMO VALLEY
      —to Dan Propper

In the San Geronimo Valley 

where my grandmother lives,
a, tree is growing out of a cleft in the rock.   
When I was a kid, I  remember 

the adults talking politics and smoking cigars.
The kitchen table jumped with empty whiskey glasses
as their fists punctuated each sentence.
There are no more Indians in San Geronimo Valley. 

My brother is part Cherokee. 
His great-grandmother sat wrinkled on a porch 
under the fierce Nevada sun.My grandmother spent summers
riding across mesquite covered valleys.
She never met the Cherokee woman
whose native blood sculpted my brother's face
into the  sane proud shape of arroyos.
His high cheekbones frame flashing black eyes
darker than my owm Black-Irish look.
Our fathers never met, 

yet they loved the same woman
who bore us willingly,
but it was my grandmother who raised us.
Sometimes she talks about Nevada,
and Home  Ranch where her uncle Paddy
was thrown and killed by a horse.
His wife stood on the porch,
her mouth a silent, white 0
as the foreman lifted his rifle 

to the forehead of the cowpony
and the Nevada wind howled through the open door.
In the Valley, where Geronimo once rode,
the tree thrusts its roots deeper into the rock.
The fracture widens imperceptibly
as roots swell from the Autumn rains.
I have never told my grandmother I love her.
 

date? added 10.16
on paper dated 0ct. 12, 81.
See REESE RIVER VALLEY
HOME RANCH  4/85

Sunday, October 11, 1981

4 short poems from photos

THE WAY OF THE MOUNTAIN

Bent double from the weight,
my chin brushing the red velvet blouse,
I am staring at my cracked toes.
Splay footed sure mountain feet
to carry wood back to the yurt.
The band around my forehead
carries the weight away from my shoulders.
I think of my small dowry.
Perhaps the ferns won't mind my poverty.
Everyone in this village is poor
It is the way of the mountain.

10/1981


Thumb,
forgive the hammer
that came down so suddenly.
It was meant for another kind of nail.

10/11/1981


Iguanas

Marine iguanas everywhere
black scaly skin
dragon's manes
yellow slit eyes
tail flagellates in the sea
when they swim
iguana bodies all over
standing upon each other's heads
a lone crab scuttle across their surface.

10/11/1981


The rugged black edges
gaping holes
torn rents
shredded
my heart consumes itself
in its infant hatred
from loving you too much.

10/11/1981
added 10/16

Saturday, October 10, 1981

BLUE CUP


Humming in a blue cup.
Don't worry.
Something flows up quickly like milk in a blue…
Don't worry. Yellow skin, yellow sky,
The sailors have all gone home.
These are not islands
dotted carefully along the jet stream.
There are mangoes in the air.
Suspended flash.
Soft pressure points:
Blue cups.

Blue cast of milk teeth
Puppy's tongue curled when the axe came down,
green mangoes. Tulip pedals crushed at my feet,
Purple dust of stamens covering my hands.
Poor circulation got him dead.

The axe was kinder.
Don't worry, mango skin.
Something flowing up
in a blue cup.

Talk
Neck shadows
Align along the spine like stars
Suckle on milk white pressure points
Quick, grasp the marble,
The end of a laugh.

Spinal curves
Uneven steps like layers of chocolate cake
Parched earth
Lizard heat
And the slow alignment of softer pressure points.

Love
Spaces in between
Toes in trench
Yes, I…

10/10/1981
added 10/16

MOON SNAIL


MOON SNAIL

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.

10/10/81

Thursday, October 1, 1981

FOR THE FISH IN MY LIFE

FOR THE FISH IN MY LIFE


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?

10/81