Tuesday, November 24, 1981


                        —for Jason, who was a sailor
                            (from a visual translation of Rimbaud's Fleurs)

Beyond the greasy corduroy gaze of skies,
green velour over stormy seas,
and crystal waves of flotsam bronzed by sunsets
an ordinary fleece floats on the surface.

The digital voices of harpies
like flagrant sergeants floating in the shipping lanes
clicking a welcome to oil tankers
and, asleep, you sail past the gates of Hercules.

Beyond the Golden Gate where ocean agates and akajou pillars
support the emerald dome of sky,
night virgins, smelling of roses, joust for rubies
under bouquets of white satin clouds.

Tell me, what can you do with these enormous fleets?
Blue sheep, and various forms of night.
The ceiling of the sea is tired and harassed.
Under the foul marble of June skies
40 roses are blooming on golden sheepskins
while Jason sleeps.

added 10/16


Looking east along the quaking river,
mouse whiskers tremble in the breeze.
Tiny tracks are seen in the silt along the shore.

The ivy creeps along the stone faces
and takes root in the fissures of memory.
Herons silently spear fish is in the shallow sandbars.
Along the bank, sunflowers hide their heads, afraid of ivy.

This coiled river bends almost back on itself
like a blind snake ready to strike.
It runs north, south, then west to the ocean
and its cloudy surface, gray like the coats of mice,
trembles in the slightest breeze.

While overhead, an osprey waits patiently
for the surface to clear.

added 10/16

Automatic writing

Summer birds singing 
dark sunlight 
navy blue bell tolls 
sweet dust motes drifting 
Jason passing the gates of Hercules 
picture perfect meadows 
baby birds 
butterflies sinking ships 
large bells 
soaring kites 
tree sparrows 
the ocean pounding on the sides of the glass 
hummingbirds hovering on the brink of a waterfall 
ship horns cutting through the fog 
baby sparrows 
thunder crashing on the right 
carnavals in the rain 
the elephants are escaping 
tigers with wet feet 
elephants afraid of mice 
rain dripping over the edge of my collar 
I am afraid of thunder 
slow breathing of streams after rain

added 10/16

At the Lotus Sutra Spa, Entering my 30th Year

 At the Lotus Sutra Spa, Entering my 30th Year
(Or There's no such thing as a quick fuck)

One of the men attached to Josh's stable clambered out of the cold tub. I notice his penis is shriveled, wrinkled and uncircumcised and I sigh. It is a difficult and lonely search for an uncircumcised male. Here in America, Judaic tradition affected the better judgement of most doctors and the mothers of sons.

I think of X, an unusual example of a man. The woman sitting next to me jabbers on,and I discover we have many mutual friends in common including X. She asks me how I knew him. What could I say? Yes, in the carnal sense. After three years of torture, the male denial of love, an infant seed torn from the uterus and thrown out with the other garbage chatteling our lives? Yes?

This thing called love has become a symbol of death; leaving behind proud flesh— the irreversible scar tissue that never heals? And last night, for the first time in six months I sat across from X at the dinner table wondering where it was all going to take us this time. We each try to carry on with our daily living one breath at a time.

Sometimes I forget to breathe. Each breath brings us a little closer to dying. Answering the woman next to me, I say, Yes, I know X. Loaded gun. The biblical sense is never mentioned. I take a deep breath and smile.

X's uncircumcised cock holds an almost mythical fascination for me. The man lived with for seven years—before the seven-year itch set in (ten years, and I've spent it all with two men.) Y chromosome said to me once in the middle of lovemaking that he was angry with his parents for letting the doctors circumcise him. His bereft mother said, I didn't know...it was the thing to do at the time. Like sheep, their lives lead them closer to the slaughter and they quickly go forward, afraid to cause a stir.

Y said his pleasure in sex was limited. He blamed it on his parents, the doctors and on America. I said, How can you know if the whole sum of your pleasure has been lessened because you've been circumcised? You've never experienced sex as anything other than as a circumcised man. Y proceeded to show me the pucker, a crooked stitch-mark from 1949 where some doctor took up a surgical needle in hand, and forever altered the foreskin on Y"s cock.

The first time I saw X again, was after the summer solstice. X worked out a slow seduction game. Y was working nights, and I was sleeping outside on the patio because the smell of frying bacon at 4 AM and an  man angry at the world climbing into my bed at dawn demanding ransom for the world's wrongs, left me cold. It was easy not to come home one night. Y left for the weekend without telling me he was going. Or where. With whom.

X undressed me by candlelight. How many other women has he seen with their skin bathed by the pale dust of candlelight? Did he reach out and take women to his bed like ripened persimmons just before the final turn of rotted-flesh slumped in the bowl—in this world of eat, or be eaten? My parched bones reveal no new secrets or truths. My body hungers for no other  man's touch. Even after all this time. My relationship with X was a lesson on survival, how to endure life.

Another birthday comes, and goes. And X's birthday in two days. They all seem to forget me. I hurt somehow. Birthdays are supposed to be special. I spent the whole day at the Lotus Sutra soaking it off as I ceremoniously entered my 30th year.

Even this place was not devoid of X. I thought I heard his familiar pssst! Turning, there was no one there. Just the empty room and a startled glance over my shoulder as I spread the plush rust—colored towel over the massage table.

That pssst reminded me of the time I thought I heard angels when I was five. I was playing with toothpicks—striking them across the rough rusted green teeter-totter that was buried in the tall oat grass. It was mid summer, probably August. The oats had long since spilled their seeds because my socks had the tiny seed birds hidden in their grooves. Oat seed birds, like herons on slender legs and their beaks pointing skyward.

Out of nowhere and that intense summer heat, a strange woman's voice said Don't do that! Startled, I dropped the toothpicks and looked over my shoulder. There was no one there. I forgot about what I was doing in the tall grass. Perhaps they really were matches. Or angels. Who knows?

Later, at dinner, X said, I saw you at the Lotus Sutra, you looked like you were having a good time so I quickly ducked out. It seems his presence is always walking through the rooms of my life. We tried to sever our connections. I don't want to see him again, ever. I'm furious with him. And Maury. She's here too. She even has the same name as me.

It's like one big drop-in party at the Lotus Sutra. Who needs ghosts when the present is so full of appointments? She stepped out of the jacuzzi and my eyes burned holes through the back of her skull. The welling up of unfamiliar jealousy, and I wanted to follow her, jump on her back and pull her hair. It's true what they say about the jealousy of a woman. Suddenly I understood why crimes of passion are committed.

Like an animal, ready to bite with fangs bared in the traditional cliché, I watched her long loveliness, so like Modigliani's nudes, shedding water in the half light. I could see why X made love to her. Suddenly, I was moved to pity watching her slow ponderous weight and bovine gaze. Her acceptance of my rage, the brutality of life, no joy.

Somehow, I knew it was already over between them—less than three months after X wrote me that Dear John letter when I was away on vacation. But still, I wanted to taste the coppery saltiness of her blood. That animal inside of me circled her and I cornered her just for revenge's sake.

Later, at dinner, X said between clenched teeth, How often are you going to resurrect it? I'm so sick and tired of it all. I just wish it would all end. I answered, I won't let it die—not until I'm ready to. I later sent him my Dear John letter. Three pages single spaced guaranteed to enlarge any holes in the
Swiss-cheese conscience of X.

I carried that unsent letter with me for months as a reminder not to go back on my vows. The ultimatums... I thought that through all that incredible craziness that there was something worth fighting for...  Love stronger than most loves; a connection of the mind and body that would last lifetimes. Hah. Was I naive. I told him we certainly couldn't be friends either.

I thought intelligence had something to do with emotions. Intelligence has nothing to do with emotions. His desire to have me as a friend as he pursued other women would lead to a lot of corpses dotting the proverbial landscape. I was patient. Patience is something women are very good at. I was more patient with him than most women are with their own children.

If he had any emotions to share with me, then I probably wouldn't have sent the letter but the post office delivered it anyway. No time for regrets. What's done is  done. I told him that he, in his secret male paranoia, was afraid of being raped (or maybe he secretly wanted to be seduced, but the way he used it against me was a sperm grenade waiting to explode on contact).

My capacity for pain had been more than filled, or, so I thought. What I've discovered is that pain lives in the same wellspring that jealousy does. Slake your thirst. Its only temporary. Soon one's thirst needs slaking, to be quenched again. And again. I shut another door in the room of my heart (life?) Why am I attracted to men who resent their mothers? I too resent my mother. But it's all Oedipal with them.

I'd forgotten about all the childhood dreams I'd had as a kid about the leopards and the lions who lived up the hill by the water tank. At night they'd catch scent of me and come charging down the path in search of fresh meat. I'd run to the house for safety but every time I got past the front door, closing it on the lion's paw, the door would shrink and swing free on the door jam. Like cocks too small for the cunt. Totally useless.

I'm a fugitive in this world of small cocks. My hunger is larger than this room and no man can feed me. No woman either. The rejection is another element dotting the landscape in this world of retreat.The societal substrata of the Lotus Sutra unfolds from the cushions and reveals itself to be a bandy-legged man looking for another aesthetic piece of ass. In this world of hustler, and be hustled, there is no room for me. I laugh at then absurdity of it. I fob him off. He struts off to another conquest. A numbers game.

I once thought I'd have to become a nun because my second cousin was one.  I tried to be bad. Maybe that's where I learned to suffer. Thats the real nunhood. The suffering, not the abstinence.

There's no such thing as a quick fuck. At the Lotus Sutra I am the only woman looking at cocks, their size and shape, and whether or not they've succumbed to the surgical needle. My jaundiced eye scours over their bodies. Too lean. Too fat. too, too... It doesn't matter. I'm not interested anyway. I practice my breathing. Each day brings me a little closer to the source.

See Letter to Lee Perron 10/19/81
Looks like a first draft. Two dates: 12/8/81, and 11/24/81. Probably written 11/81, on my 29th birthday.
added 10/16

Monday, November 23, 1981



Beneath the weight of cows
The water, churning down
from the Swiss Alps flows by me.
The sound of the nightingale
is lost under the white roar of waterfalls.

Centuries of snowmelt
loosing from sky blue glaciers
slipped by me. I have never heard
a nightingale singing.

In the lizard heat of the sun,
I sit on a rock and listen
to the drowsy hum of bees
as alpine clover is crushed
beneath the weight of cows,
their heavy dank breath
exuding chlorophyll and trembling sunlight.

They cease their chewing a moment.
Their ears pivot towards the scaled notes
of the nightingale wavering
by this icy, ancient stream at dusk.


    —from a visual translation of Rimbaud's poem Depart

So say you,
visions recanted in trees.
Toes of the air,
so say I. Rumors spread like valleys.
O parting night and morning sun,
today, they say
arrest life.
O rumors of visions
departing on the dance of affection
in the bright night,
trees swaying,
toes of the air.

added 10/16