Friday, January 1, 1982

FENUCCIO, II

FENUCCIO, II
(enroute to a CPITS poetry meeting)

1. I awoke this morning thinking of my mother 's 
black cat, Cantinflas who loved to swim in the tub.
On Mission & 18th, we pass a Doggie Diner,
Another Doggie points a forlorn nose up Army & Mission,
What luck, seeing two Doggie Diners in one day.
When she moved, the cat ran away.  No bathtub. In the '5Os,
everyone complained about the tacky Doggie Diners.
Today, artists are dying to save them.

We pass the abandoned Hamm's Brewery.
I don't have the nerve to tell my poet friends
my mother lives in one of those steel vats. 
She's a beatnik mother to addicts
and punkrockers who steal her blind.
I don't tell them she never had time to mother me. 
Or that there are no windows in the vats. Soul windows.
She can't see how the mountains slant toward the sky,
how resting clouds form right angles after rain.

The wet street glistens like fungus on rotten logs.
The pavement in the middle of each lane 
is dry from the heat of cars, a rainy conundrum.
My traveling companions drone on about Rajneesh,
the woman who was raped while the movie was filmed,
everyone asking her how she felt. They wanted her 
experience as if it was something holy and profound.

2. Fennel is one of California's toughest invaders.
Along cement cracks and in abandoned lots
its feathery jeweled plumes glisten after rain.
I sit outside Carol Lee Sanchez's home in Bernal Heights, 
and watch a snail maneuver along a broken curbstone, 
where the phrase: THE STAR SPANGLE  is etched. 
When the snail reaches the granite precipice
where the missing "D" should be, he stops 
and waves his eyestalks in wild circles.

From the lot, I pluck white chrysanthemums 
for my birth month, soon I will be 30.
I pluck rosemary from an abandoned garden plot,
and fennel plumes, the sharp odor of petrichor 
and Ouzo assaults my senses, scours the air.

As we write, a Japanese poet says
 my feet hurt because of my heart.
I mutter under my breath, I'm so tired 
of living and no one hears me. Typical. 
Does every suicide want a rebuttal? 
Then, my mother has many coming.
 I'm sick of hearing the poets drone on about 
their spiritual gurus, Krishnamurti and Rajneesh, 
and I hate the color orange.

3. Shards of amber glass collect pools of water.
Only dogs are brave enough to walk barefoot in the city.
From rooftops, pigeons flap their wings like white sheets.
Do they have genetic memory of their ancestral home
the Italian sea cliffs? Fenuccio, Italian for fennel;
Fenuccio's on Broadway; transvestitsm; liquorice; anise;
underneath it all, it's all the same thing.

The soft earth slips under my feet.
I need to take off my shoes for grounding.
Sitting on curbstone overlooking a sea of houses,
I uncurl my feet like a snail from its shell.
These girders anchor my breasts to this continent.

1/82
10/23/15



FENNUCIO

1. Once my mother had a black cat named Cantinflas
who loved to swim in the bathtub.
On Mission & 18th, we pass a Doggie Diner,
Another Doggie points his forlorn nose up Army & Mission,
What luck, seeing two Doggie Diners in one day.
My mother's cat ran away. In the '5Os,
everyone complained of the tackiness of Doggie Diner signs.
Today, artists are trying to save them.

My mother lives in a steel vat inside the old Hamm's Brewery
She's beatnick mother to punkrockers. They steal her blind.
There are no windows inside.
She can't see how the mountains slant toward the sky
and clouds resting on them form right angles after rain.

The wet pavement glistens like blackwart fungus on rotten logs.
It's funny, how the pavement in the middle of each lane
becomes a dry strip from the underheat of cars,
My traveling companions drone on about Rajneesh,
and of a woman who was raped while the movie was being filmed,
everyone asking her how she felt. They wanted her experience.

2. One of the hardiest plants in California is fennel.
Along cracks in the cement and in abandoned lots
it glistens after rain with an odor of Ouzo or Pernod .
On the hillsides of Bernal Heights, a snail manouvers
across a broken curbstone, 
where the words THE STAR SPANGLE  
are carved in street granite. 
When the snail reaches the precipice
where the missing "D" should be, 
he stops and waves his eyestalks in wild circles.

I pick a white chrysanthemum for my month
and rosemary from someone else's garden.
A Japanese man says my feet hurt because my heart does.
I mutter under my breath, 
I'm tired of living and no one hears me.
Typical, Does every suicide want a rebuttal? 
Then my mother has many coming.
 I'm sick of hearing about Krishnamurti 
and Rajneesh, and hate the color orange.

3. Shards of amber glass collect pools of water on the path.
Only the dogs are brave enough to walk barefoot in the city.
From rooftop to rooftop, pigeons flap wings like white sheets.
Do they have genetic memory of their ancestral homeó
the Italian sea cliffs? Fennucio, Italian for fennel;
Fennucio's on Broadway; transvestitsm; liquorice; anise;
underneath it all, it's all the same thing.

The soft earth slips under my feet.
I need to take off my shoes for grounding.
Sitting on curbstone overlooking a sea of houses,
I uncurl my feet like a snail from its shell.
These girders anchor my breasts to this continent.

1/82

My brother called the cat ConTeefless.

(Some poems just can't be saved.)








sfchronicle_vault  1980: Andrea Brown stands on the Doggie Diner head that her father, Ted, bought through the KQED Auction for $2,850. Another of the classic Doggie Diner heads went to the Smithsonian. 📷: Chris Stewar

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