Tuesday, June 29, 1982


      —for Marty Goldstein
         Oct 14, 1949 - Jan 15, 1983

The sound of whistling
escapes from the lips of a solitary walker.
Down the empty corridor
a ringing sound echoes
from an empty can rolling across the cold cement
An escapee from the junk piled in the corner.

The corridor with its empty straight
lines and right angles leading no where. 
No one standing in the closed doors
and darkened windows.

The whistling sound—
a forced breath escapes 
from a friend 
who lies waiting
in a hospital bed.

His hand, a fragile lotus curled
on the white sheet can't stop the darkness
from creeping out of its lair
and spreading its viscous fingers of cancerous ink
across the soft grey carpet of his brain.

A song without words echoes through
the corridors of the brain.
The sentinel note sounds.
But there's no one there 
to open the closed doors
and the windows are locked shut.

We are all walking.
We take turns walking.
We all walk unannounced 
on that long, dark road.


A poem for Marty Goldstein, the first of my SSU classmates to die, of brain cancer. He was such a brilliant man, one of my close compadres in the Senior Seminar Literature survey class, and in the MA program. He died too soon, probably why this poem never made it to the electronic realm. Too sad. I still miss him. He died Jan 15, 1983, he was 33 years old. There wasn't a memorial, or if there was, we didn't know about it. So we never got closure. Next to go was Jim Montrose. We thought we were immortal. Here's lookin', at you, Kid.

Added 10/16

Friday, June 18, 1982

CAC/CPITS teaching journal, Working with continuation students, Bill Bradd

Working with continuation students, Bill Bradd

I work in small groups 10 to 12 kids, we create non-public poems, there’s no censorship. The ratio is more boys than girls, it’s usually 12 to 1. There’s always rebellion, you’re entering into a conspiracy. Bill uses the blackboard for anything, any thought. Class consciousness, he says, is a good place to start, but you can keep on writing if something strikes your interest. The way to love the thing you’re doing is to get to know it best. Overview—write a poem about it. Overview—kids know geography well. Start with their geography. Climb up a mountain and look down at your town like a bird. Write a poem about it. Maybe you’re looking down through time itself. Bill says, I introduce them to their own terrain, their own roots. Bill takes a piece of paper and marks all over it and then tells them that it is not holy. Not an icon. Does it work with them? On editing: Bill cleans their work up with them and throws words away correct spelling and grammar right there with them so that they see the process. Bill says, being eccentric helps. It intrigues them. The one-to-one attention I give them is all important. Bill says he is not there to sell them anything and they accept it. Bill likes to work without the teacher in the room. Says it hinders their creativity and self-expression.


RRWG reading at Copperfield’s Maureen Hurley & Jane Hirshfield

Tuesday, June 1, 1982

WHY DO TREES DREAM? and other questions

WHY DO TREES DREAM? and other questions

Why do trees dream always of sunrise?
Why does the fog creep behind the frees and slumber there?
And where does the horizon stop and the ocean begin?
Why does the breath of mice stir in the dreams of elephants?
Why are pencils yellow as the sun and as round as the moon?
Where does the breath of elephants live?
When does the sun sleep?
And what is the matter with the moon?
Where do most changes occur?
What can be said about the color red?
What does the shape of a human heaft represent?

Guerneville School
in class writing after Neruda's Questions



Divided in sleep,
we slip in and under
the watery realm
where I am tossed
from shore to shore
by the river
of your night journey.
The horizon of your dreams
merge into mine
and the eye of dawn
rising soft
as a pillow of fog
offers some chance of rest.


AT THE 10,000' HUT

AT THE 10,000' HUT

The glacier rose up like a tongue
lolling out of the frigid mouth of the north.
I climbed over an ice wall
to trudge to the summit.
Ptarmigans, in half-summer plumage
chuckled in the undergrowth
of huckleberry and mountain heather.
The sun warmed us as our feet
crunched over rotten snow.

From the Olympics,
a sudden summer storm growled in,
threatening snow.
Dressed only in summer gear,
we were foolishly alone on the mountain.

The first sign of hypothermia
is the rhythmic rotation of frozen fingers
and your numb cheeks no longer sting.
Earlobes feel warm,
and your skin turns from red to blue.
The white patches of creamfat
like small islands adrift on your skin
are the first signs of frostbite.
Then, the overwhelming need to sleep,
euphoric warmth, and dreams—
a jumbled series of memories
out of proper sequence, take you in farther.
Soon, you reconstruct your memories
to fit the shapes of snowdrifts,
and you float into that warm tide of snow.

A thunderbolt cracked,
stirring the thick air and our senses.
Ptarmigans dove for cover
as snowflakes settled on their mottled backs.
We turned and ran down the mountain,
each gigantic stride brought us closer to home. 

At lower elevations, the snow turned to hail,
then to rain, whipping our legs,
as we descended to Paradise Lodge
nested on the slopes of Rainier
2,000 ft. below the hut, to safety.

slight revision

ACROSTIC More than I can say

ACROSTIC  More than I can say

More than I can say
A letter drifts slowly
Upward like a
Red kite loosened on a string
Except that I'm supposed to write about about me.
Every time I begin, I get distracted by
Nouns, verbs, the shape of letters...

But letters strung sideways are
Another way of viewing the world.
Better start writing about me.
Absolutely distractable, loves the color

Violet—putple, and sunsets before a storm.
Intuitive, irresponsible, irrepressible
Open-eyed, both
Lazy-eyed, and slothfully
Ambitious at the same time.

Hurtling along at 9,000 miles per hour
Until something stops me
Right dead in my tracks
Like a train hitting a brick wall.
Everything crashes.
Yet out of the chaos, curiosity persists.

in class poem?
added 2/2017



Give me an 0 as round as the eyes 
of snow monkeys sitting in hot pools 
on the island of Hokaido.

E's a hungry Pacman 
attacking the letters in front of them 
eating up all the other vowels in sight 

And U's are. the twin horns of the water buffalo
balancing the red Egyptian sun between them.
A U for Isis and Osirus.

Pyramids of A's buffeted by desert sands 
standing in memory of Custer 
And A's framing the camp 
as the Indians ride north to hunt.

I, the megalithic monsters of Carnac
with 900 stone teeth projecting skyward

I want W's. Double U's to hold up the moon,
the earth's axis, temples of the sun
I want W's swinging from cloud to cloud
Like monkeys in the temples of India
A place where Custer can take his last stand
Where Reagan can see his last redwood tree
Where Einstein can safely bend the universe
Where nuclear bombs can sleep for an eternity
among the bits of floating debris of deep space.

in class poem after Rimbaud
Guerneville School?
added 2/2017



Drifting, drifting on a memory,
The pocket gophers of space
are devouring the Milky WAy.
They are holding galaxies
between their teeth
as the scissors of time snip
snip at the purse strings
of the past, The pillow of
infinity bursts forth
and new galaxies are born
to the.volcanos of history.
Drifting, drifting on a memory,

definitely an in class poem, Guerneville School?
added 2/2017