Monday, April 12, 1982

Letter from Leonard Cirino

Dear Maureen,        April 12, 1982

Ah the rain I wish it would end but that's not the forecast. I traded some work hauling manure for some strawberry and lettuce starts so there will be something ready by June. This is the poem that is an "answer to your one about my eye. Read it and tell me what you think. Please have someone let me know for sure about May 10 at the reading date because I always make plans ahead so 1 can't change them. I have a whole lot of new work since december at Garbo's so 1 won't be repeating any poems if anyone asks they will all be rather new or at least never read in Sonoma before. These damn typewriter keys keep getting and hitting in the wrong order so I hope you can make sense of this letter. All is well except for my truck which still is without transmission and no transportation. Costs me less money as I am very poor these days—no job at all—I quit dishwashing because of the ten-mile one-way trip and the minimum wage. Are you going to Pt Townsend this summer? I might go if I could  take my dog and find a ride. Hint Hint. Must close now and write other letters hope to see you next month or sooner if you want to visit. Get Simone and you up here sometime soon.


Leonard Cirino, LeePerron, Karla Andersdatter reading

Monday, April 5, 1982



What separates the word desert
from something sweet 
is the slithering S-curve 
of snake tracks in the sand
Leonard writing rebuttals in the green grass 
reflected on convex lenses covering the eye.

Eyes – the addiction of sight 
in the twin lakes of horses and cows 
verdant green mirrored blades of grass 
stabbing the blue sky.

The letter S has no forgiveness, 
no consciousness of desert sands 
or a dessert peach 
But one S, singular – 
the second S changes the meaning, 
gives plurality, 
gives possession and ownership 
to the concept previously implied 
in the word preceding it.

Snakes go blind during summer molt, 
shedding even the skin over their eyes, 
in their hot blindness they strike out anything warm.

Cows easily slip into the past 
their prehensile gray tongues covert only grass
the cloven hooves of cows, camels, goats, deer, sheep, 
ungulates who ruminate – chew their cud.

Sheep pressed closer to the earth, 
they're always trying to get closer to the source, 
and they forget to move

Horses, have you ever watched 
how they tear the tops of grasses,
there is always on the next clump of grass, 
their fluid joints making popping sounds
as they shift towards the next elusive hummock of grass.

Eyes are mirrors, all of us carry death within us.
It is it is a privilege to see the milk-blue eyes of babies, 
unfocused, half blind, as they gain age, 
the focus sharpens, the clarity sharpens, 
images fall into place and the foraging begins.

also a prose poem, there's also a poem version....somewhere.
added 9/2016

Thursday, April 1, 1982


Imagining myself at the Musée des Beaux Arts looking at Breugel's painting, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, while listening to Paul Winters' composition of Icarus in Flight. And yes, Auden, and WCW enter into it.

Landscape with the Fall of Icarus Breugel

The Phoenix, suffering
turns away from disaster, and weeps.
I think of Bruegel. Old and new children,
aged, waiting for birth, martyrdom, and danger.
They've gone to the dogs, it's all torture, of course.
On the untidy spit where Minos and the Minotaur jousled.
Al, the the labyrinth, you say. Yes, and feathers.
Don't forget the sailor or the plowman.
A boy falls from the sky
because I sailed calmly by.
Cause and effect.

The mind, the palm at the edge of space.
Such gold feathers, the phoenix sings
and rises from the edge of space,
his shining feathers and ashes,
and 500 years of human feelings
are too much for the bird to absorb.
The foreign songs, the bird sings,
the fire feathered bird sings
until his heart bursts,
and his feathers dangle down
in the wind and tangle in the branches.

In Crete, both the great Goddess
and the youth sacrifice to the sun
while the phoenix rises from the ashes.
He sings once every 500 years
and the wind in the branches of the palm trees
whispering secrets of distant oasis.

I think: maybe Palm Springs or 49 Palms
Dedalus gathers the feathers of the phoenix
to give his son the power of flight.
There's a sailing ship in the bay,
but the plowman turns away.
The shepherd turns away.
Such a tiny splash that was never heard,
such thin ankles, such a slender boy,
and Icharus falling, falling, fall-
ing in slo-mo forever trapped
in the pool of his father's eyes
as he reaches into the void.

added, rev. 9/17