Saturday, December 31, 1983

Richard Salzman (drawing, 1983)

I was trying to get rid of the lined paper. Didn't succeed.

Photocopy of Richard Salzman drawing, 1983

Duane BigEagle (drawing ca 1983)

Not sure when this drawing was made. 83? 84? I'm surprised I didn't destroy it. He was such a dishonest shit at the end. Breaking up with me at a CPITS conference. I was humiliated. I had no idea he was playing the field. We'd been seeing each other for at least a year.

Four sketches (art)

four quick in-class contour line drawings (not sure of the year)

Oral history collected in Windsor, 1983

In the 1880s, 5 acres of prunes would support a family. In the days before refrigeration, they were a valuable crop. The Russians grew root vegetables in Sebastopol for Fort Ross. All those people in Alaska needed vitamins.

Villa Chanticleer was built by bootleggers. There were cars with false bottoms. Rum runners. Grappa was made north of Santa Rosa. My grandfather worked at night. He didn’t speak much about it. There was machine gun fire every Friday night. The Coast Guard. As kids we’d get red lights and run along the beach so the Coast Guard would come, with lights flashing.

People came out west for gold, and to work on the railroad. Everyone had a garden. And everyone was building something. We worked 18 hours a day in May. The barley crops grew in six weeks. There are 55 minorities in China. They were a landless people. It’s like El Salvador today.

It is strange to be a minority and one’s own country. In 1856 to 1858, the people refused to pay taxes, and all the land was foreclosed. Every country I’ve been in has a minority. If it’s not race, it’s color if it’s not color, it’s skin.

During the Civil War, Santa Rosa and Petaluma raised an army. Thats why there’s the Shiloh cemetery in Windsor—it was made during the Civil War. (There are McClellans buried there—as in the General George McClellan who was pro-Confederacy. Both sides of the equation were represented in Sonoma County—the pro-Union Yankee Petaluma Guard and Emmet Rifles in suppressed a secessionist skirmish in Healdsburg. The Battle of Washoe House, is perhaps, the most comical, if apocryphal Civil War story. The story goes, Petaluma raised a militia and marched north on Confederate Santa Rosa, but the day was hot, and they got no further than the roadhouse, where they drowned their fury in suds.)

My grandmother used to tell me of the General Slocum disaster of the 1860s. New York. It was a school outing. It was a paddlewheeler steamer. My mother couldn’t go because she was from the wrong church. (Lutherans from Little Germany. Few of the women and children survived. After the disaster, the community dissolved). That’s why I’m here. My father was a tailor from Paris. And here we were in Windsor picking prunes to survive.

Anonymous, Oral history collected in Windsor, 1983.
But I didn’t name my informant. He sounds like he could be Chinese, or more likely German. I was probably going to turn it into a poem and never did. I was also doing a lot of Elderhostel teaching in those days, and people would tell me stories so it could’ve come from a workshop. Parentheses are mine, to make some sense of the story. Added 2020

Poets of the Vineyard award, First Place, Free Verse (for what poem?)

Poets of the Vineyard award, First Place, Free Verse
(not sure for what poem, I've a note that it's for FEAST OR FAMINE, but I think that isn't right. They didn't list the poem on the certificate. I never thought to write the info on the back...)
Sonoma County Chapter, California Federation of Chaparral Poets
Winnie Fitzpatrick, President

Sunday, December 25, 1983

TENDING THE GARDEN (Merry Christmas Boschka)


My grandmother sends her love
She says you should try more carrot juice
made fresh. 30 carats a day.
Sounds excessive to me
but then grandmothers usually are.
That's why we love them so.
Their wisdom, prairie flowers of thought.
The buffalo robe is spread
on the ample laps of grandmothers.
This robe is your robe, my robe, our laps part.
She wants to know
how the gooseberry bush is doing,
do you need another?
She tends the garden like a robe
The garden is spread before us
like a lamb of hope, of love.
You're the mother-friend I never had
You are the love of grandmothers,
of mothers, of daughters.
Merry Christmas Boschka,
I love you.

She tends to the garden
she tends the garden
she tends the garden.

added 11/16

Friday, December 9, 1983

Dream journal

Jim Byrd was steering for me as I read directions from the map. The wheels caught on the lip of the road, nearly plunging us off the edge. Laughing, we pulled into the train station. Near the depot, a group waited in the warm sun, shelter from the brisk winter wind.

An old couple stood in front of a bench. He stumbled, and fell face up, his cane pointed up accusingly at the sky. He said, help me. I can’t breathe, as he slipped away. I watched, frozen to the spot. My God, A man is dying in a crowd of strangers who don’t even notice his passing. I stood rooted to the spot, seconds pass in what seemed like an eternity.

Someone jumped out of the crowd as I cried for help. Ambulance! No time to ask questions. She administers mouth to mouth, but it is too late. What is it like to pressure lips against the lips of the dead? Is it like a dog licking your lips?

And ambulance siren cuts the distance in half.

On the banister, fastened by red sealing wax, snapshots of the old man. His wife says we only just returned from a pottery workshop. One photo shows him intently working at the potters wheel. The clay slop has murdered his clothes.

To have lived such a full life. Dying seems less threatening, is if anything could be anything other than dying, if one lives a life to its fullest.

Are my assumptions naïve? From the banister, I gather up a checkered cloth filled with reptiles— lizards, geckos and two napping mantled ground squirrels the size of cats.

One sleepy rodent yawns luxuriously like a cat, and stretches. His mouth closes down on my index finger, and I feel the gentle strength of a sense of his incisors. I am afraid he will draw blood. Slowly I remove my finger from his mouth. They curl up tightly together, and go to sleep.

The lizard to go wild. Bluebellies, alligators, geckos, iguanas—all dashing after each other in a mad frenzy Mr. snapping their jaws and maiming each other. I am startled and frightened by all of this. One iguana grinds his jaw sideways instead of laterally and the inside of his mouth is lavender, his skin is forest green and he snaps to kill, I am glad they run in the direction they do, and not towards me.

Boys Hot Springs 12/9/83 dream journal

Wednesday, November 30, 1983


from an Edward Hopper painting

A green Ford hugs the driveway. 
Adobe walls collect warmth from the sun.
Inside, the waiting woman’s maroon dress
vibrates, sunlight divides the room into shadow,
and sand scatters across the vast dunes 
in random patterns.

No idea when, in my Napa Poetry Conference journal. Probably written in class. added 2020

Wednesday, November 23, 1983



As you breathe in the light,
softly fallen 
from your face
reveals these burnt wings
in your eyes.


Tuesday, November 22, 1983


Jack was the ultimate myth,
a movie star of politics.
Marilyn was too demure
with the older hero played by Reagan.
We headed for Nam willingly,
Some say, we were led by the stars.
We’d do anything for that smile, those eyes.
And what did Marilyn do besides smile?
Somewhere, someone sings
a song of three oranges.
Women wilted in the heat
because they opened up too soon.
What eyes reflect this desert thirst?

People keep talking of Kennedy 20 years later.
How they were afraid to go out into the streets.
How Kennedy’s eyes followed them home,
as if that link were responsible.
We travel from place to place.
Someone asks, where were you
the day Kennedy was shot?
I feel like I’m falling back into the 60s,
searching for a joint and a dry country.

I painted my binder black with shoe polish
the day Kennedy died. I was in the third grade.
Ginny, a dancer, cries as she describes the art of ballet.
Women on a pedestal, kept in the boudoir.
So, keep up on your toes ladies.
Uphold a 200-year-old tradition.
In the aerobics studio, women stomp to the music.
They don’t want the tradition.
Ginny weeps in the isolation that is Chico.
We huddle around the table,
more alone together, than together alone.
It drizzled the day Kennedy died.
An Air Force man from Oregon tells me
about cross country skiing at base camp.
We need to keep the Hamilton Air Force Base
in the military, he says, in case of attack.
As if a tidal flat surrounded by coastal hills
would ward off a nuclear blast.
Some 20 years later, I can still see Kennedy’s eyes
reflected green off the water, in the streets,
and people hesitate, afraid to return a smile.


Monday, November 21, 1983


A row of red trees, a cerulean bowl
rolled between upturned palms.
The weight of the bowl, like an ocean.

A man in a red jacket
ride his bike up main street
with a large blue parrot
clinging to his shoulder.
Blue feathers like tide pools
on a bright red sea.

The dark room wraps itself around you.
Your eyes, darkness falling from your face
as you breathe in the light.
Your eyes gather in the moths,
and irregular fluttering of hearts
fanning the flames,
burnt wings rekindled in your eyes.

One of the few poems I dated. From NPC journal
I think that last stanza become Mothlight

Waiting for what?

Sometimes I wake up mornings wondering why I’m still waiting and what is it I’m waiting for. I am afraid to look into the eyes of old people because I don’t want to see what is human in myself. Too many things make me cry. I avoid looking into the eyes of the world because I am reminded of what is human is in myself. My heart is a door, the red rimmed eye of the clock is pushing us ever onward.

1983, no date November? Next poem is 11/21.

Tuesday, November 1, 1983



Waiters silent mouth cowboy songs
a silent croon, unintelligible, forgettable.
One of the good old boys
butters his toast up the local law,
the biggest, and the only game in town.

added 9/2016

Friday, October 28, 1983

WINTER DOLMEN Only have Napa workshoped copies, not final v.


I.  The old horse trails have merged back into the brush
becoming interlaced with the newer deer trails—
a netting thrown over the steep hillside.

The humanness of my scent 

will divert the night's deer 
and they will weave another path around my trespass.

The ground is bathed in red leaves.
At the Rock, I sit and watch bluejays dive
over rounded shapes of live oaks.
As they follow the shape of the tree down in their dive
breasting the top of the tree,
they sculpt the air along its side.

At the switchbacks,my mare would stop to catch her breath,
her soft nostril flaring, her softer eye blinking.
Sometimes I rode her down from the top of the hill
sometimes I ran on ahead of her.

At the switchbacks, her strong front legs would lock, pivot and turn
as the momentum of her hind end swung around
widening each turn. Sometimes, in my dreams I see her 

roaming free in the hills.
Now all that's left are subtle ridges hidden in the brush.
The foot finds a surer path even as the undergrowth 

beats back the body.

II.  From the steep height of the Rock, 

I take mental notes. Measurements without numbers, 
angles without degree or scale
and compare it with the sheer cliffs of Yosemite.
As a teenager, I hung out over the edge 

of El Capitán without safety ropes. 
This rock juts out with the same purpose. 
My legs dangle down into lush green space. 
Below my feet, civilization falls back 
revealing toy houses, woodpiles and cars 
scattered in the folds of the hills,
looking off into this vastness, the word becomes smaller.

III.  I always wanted to be a red-tailed hawk
because I understood how the curve of its beak matched
the symmetry of its talons.
When I fed the injured one yellowed chicken necks
the hawk's beckoning eye approved of the shape 

of its cousin's puckered neck.
After the meal, the hawk sharpened its talons
waiting to carve my cheek to fall away like softened butter.
I turn the other cheek too late.

IV.  The deer cross the burned clearing,
their coats the same shade as the burned grass stubble.
In the charred landscape, the movement of white legs
pinpointed against the grass
are like reverse shadows cast by a negative.
In the tall grass their legs cast no shadow.
Their backs dark against the gold.

 On the slopes of Mt. Barnabe, 
crocheted to the flanks and gullies, 
trees leave gold meadows encircled like jewels. 
The trees hid the Indian graveyard. 
My grandfather knew where it was hidden 
but refused to tell anyone, saying, 
they needed their place of the dead, too. 

I spent years in those wooded folds
searching for stone altars and moss covered ribs.
Under the soft bleached bones I thought I'd find
dark garnets winkling slowly in the mottled light.
Instead, great rib bones of Herefords pushed up through the rocks
along the dry creekbeds. Tufts of hair, sinew and gristle--
dried clean, hard like amber.

I'm still trying to follow the old paths.
My feet remember smoother paths but the newer trails
are clogged with the detritus of fallen trees.
The god I believe in allows me to measure
the free fall of a bluejay's dive, the height of a hill,
the color of grass.

Paths, like river packed with log-jams during spring thaw.
Living on the edge of this winter dolmen
is like the crisp wind blowing off fallen snow.
The years are the true movers of paths.

(an earlier draft–the final version was corrupted, no final hard copy. See below.)

Friday, September 16, 1983

7 POEM FRAGMENTS, no date, end of summer 83?

Music running across prairies
under milky trees and golden silence,
it roars across the evening sky
and shakes the essence of night from the trees.

On the hillsides, raspberry bushes
overlook the meadow. The birds sing.
Tonight, the moonlight shines in the trees,
last night of summer.


Seedlings push earth in musical notations
A violin breaks the glass
A worm dances to the music.

Spiders huddling
over corpses of the dead
wringing their hands

 Eating rabbit looks like a skinned cat
and taste like dry chicken
Tougher stomach muscles than the chickens
Eating rodents, Romans eating dormice,
sleepy mice kept in clay pots
for the fattening winter

Outside the quiet classroom
children yelling
floating sound resonates in the air
like the loneliness of a fever.

So sorry I broke into your glass house
but I fell off the stairs I needed a bath.
The door was open and the cat
hadn't been fed in three days
and it was a stone's throw away from the fridge.

Floral clocks of darkness
are singing to the rocks of love
and fish sleep out of the rainbow
and petals fall from the teeth of poetry
while I sit looking pretty writing poetry.

September 1983?
added 9/15/2016
I probably wrote these in class, teaching CPITS
(next poem is Her mask of attention slips...if that helps)



Her mask of attention slips
as she turns toward the sun
Clocks of sovereign weight
sit in rapt attention
Through her open window
a radio blares
to the rhythm of flapping laundry
next door
The judge's mask slips
Who gave her reason
to tilt volumes of abysmal trees
on their sides
don't they know she is a financier
of earthquakes?

alas, no date.

RRWG reading, Franklin St. Clubhouse, Charles Entrekin, Maureen Hurley

Thursday, September 15, 1983


The atomic bomb was developed under the code name of the Manhattan Project.
Those involved with the project died within three decades of cancer.

—to Jane Walsh Reilly

Grandma said:
Julia took the kids:
Mary, her sister, and the boy twins
to Colorado for a better education.
There wasn't much in Nevada,
and there was some trouble with the marriage.
My grandmother's half-cousin Bill was a handsome man.
He was the number-one son
and ran the Home Ranch in Austin, Nevada.

Julia O'Leary came out from Bantry to marry Bill.
The family was deadset against the marriage,
They were first cousins, you know.
And Mary's sister was brilliant too
but she was institutionalized in Denver.

Darwin's parents were first cousins too.
There was something off about his sister as well.
It works that way with marriages between first cousins
genius and idiot: flip sides of the same coin.
Maybe that's the Almighty's way of keeping things separate.

It was during the war years, I remember,
Mary was chosen right out of high school
to work on a secret project for the government.
When they were testing for mathematics and science,
Mary got one of the highest scores in the country
and she went to work back east.

It wasn't until later we found out
it was the Manhattan Project
one of the government's best kept secrets.
No one knew anything about it.

We didn't hear from her for years,
and learned of her death announcement
when it appeared in the papers.
Here I was, first cousins to her,
and even I didn't know.
There was one short line about her work.
I heard, all who worked on it died,
but no one blamed the project.

The first time I saw Mary at Home Ranch
was back in the '20s the little toddler
standing by the adobe wall
and Julia talking, talking, talking
I was dazed because that child,
her voice was like a bell.
She was so perfect,
I thought I'd seen an angel.

And Julia, looking at me so quizzically
That was the pity of it. I didn't explain.
And her, Mary, clinging to her mother's skirts
as if she'd done something wrong,
crying hysterically,
Mommy, mommy, I'm not a bad girl. Mommy.


Thursday, September 1, 1983

drawing from Obligatory Hug

ARC Sept/Oct, 1983 4 photos front page: Mike Tuggle, CA Oranges, Ft Ross, kids, fence & rock


       —for Carolyn Forché 
         Hibakusha is the name the survivors of Hiroshima gave to themselves.

I.   The violin's slow scale
climbs above the beat
of the metronome,
patterning mountains of notes,
increasing in tempo.

II.   A child under the alders

stares at the liquid leaves
that hide small cones—
brown, like river debris.

III.    A sonic pitch
loosens the violin's strings.

The bow falls slack
and the hand falls silent.

IV.   A pulse of light quickens the sky
The leaves, robbed of their color
sizzle into premature fall. 
Ashes. Burnt decay.

V.  The acrid odor of hair
distracts the woman playing the violin.
Glancing at the mirror,
she watches fascinated,
as the mirror slumps off the wall.

VI.  Vast ridges of light.
No color anywhere—
only a drenched landscape
of saturated light
brushed by fingers of white noise.

added 10/16


The violin's small scale 
climbs above the metronome, 
small bejeweled clicks 
patterning mountains of notes,
increasing in tempo, 
a sonic pitch invades,
the strings lose their time,
the bow loosens 
and the hand falls silent.

Napa? no date

Ducks slip into births and sleep 
in the shade of trees at noon. 
I feed them raspberries. 
Ducks masticating raspberries 
in a khaki colored lagoon. 
They swim over rotted bull rushes 
the way birds fly over 
invisible boundaries of fences. 

The word trespass is an unintelligible concept 
we see the line fall short of the mark. 
Either we plunge into the murky depths 
shedding drops of light from our breasts 
or we cower silently in the tall rushes 
and listen to the cackle and skirted rustle 
of ducks, afraid of the depths.


First draft

the ducks slip out of the shade of trees, 
awaken from their nap by the approach, 
I feed them raspberries. 
They're masticating raspberries 
in the khaki colored lagoon.

They swim away over the bull rushes 
and I am reminded of the way birds 
fly over invisible boundaries of fences, 
barbed, electric, or wood
it doesn't matter.
The signs of no trespassing are not read.
To trespass is an unintelligible concept for birds.

I read the lines and fall short of the mark. 
Even if we climbed into the murky depths 
drops of light from our breasts, 
or we hope her silently in the tall tule rushes 
and listen to the started rustle and clacking 
of ducks afraid of the murky depths.

added 10/16

Napa craft lecture, Galway Kinnell and Tess Gallagher, The music of poetry, journal

The rhythm allows a poem to breathe effortlessly, things that seemed impossible before you start writing, to be out of reach, become within reach. Writing is not the last ornamentation, but a part of the poem itself. The music of the poem is the poem. All of life is based on cycles, the becoming and the dying. The rhythm is the first expression of life. To attach to that rhythm, that’s what art does for us, it’s the music first, then the poetry. 

9/1/83 freewrite from a craft lecture with Tess Gallagher and Galway Kinnell


Death's feather-fringed angels

White like emily
more gold than gold

endless stream of raw wheat
in the eye of the poem

the same alarm clock stands
on countless night tables
back and forth
across the country
timing trysts. lecture readings
the same hands sweep
the same face unceasingly
like a sea lapping at the shore

9/1/1983? 84?

there's a reference to Mary Rudge in the first line, and Sappho in the third line. I have no idea what it means
added 5/2/2016

Wednesday, August 31, 1983



in the kingdom of the blind,
the one eyed man is a freak.


Saturday, August 27, 1983



My grandmother, they planted lilies
at the foot of your bed
before I understood the meaning of loss.
A chill in the air puts summer to rest.
White against the moon, an owl takes flight
across the valley & the echo of his cry
scatters light from the stars.

To the dancers, we leave our feathers of return flight.
The small candles of barn owl feathers drift down
from the moon's edge to light the way for your feet.
The slow breathing of soil before the frost
leaves a faint trail like the undeciphered tracks of mice in snow.
This is why we dance on the graves of our grandmothers.

The earth spreads sonorous wings over you,
shakes rubies from her blood
& your long dark hair tumbles swift like a waterfall
until it turns white in the garden of your grandchildren.
& the night horses who pasture in your hair
all turned east, toward that softer danger, the sun.

At dawn the white rooster crows over sand dunes,
leaving an echo almost tasted on the tongue.
He crows, Gallo, gallo, gallo blanco.
The web that connects us moves slowly.
Wind in the cottonwoods marks a passage of time.
When my best friend was killed by a horse,
you said, “Think of all the death in the trees
and in the fields in fall.”
The rooster cried, “My insides return to earth
so that my life may continue,”
before the axe swung.

My grandmother, now I know the earth receives us.
She watches the flowers of her children catch fire in the wind.
She kindles our slow bones so they too
will send roots down deep & drink from the stream.
She stands at the lintel with arms open wide,
waiting for us to return home
so she can close the door.

The return to earth is a quiet song
when water trickles down after the storm.

rev. 86
this was from reading three grandfather poems in a New Mexico magazine, by Rudolfo Anayar, Estévan Arellano, and EA Mares. I later changed it to reflect my grandmother.

1990 Red Bluff Daily News, July 23
1988 Green Fuse
1986-88 Falling to Sea Level
1986 Under the Bridge of Silence
1983 Across the Generations


Mi abuelo, plantaron los lirios  
al pie de tu cama  
antes de que yo entendiera  
el sentido de la pérdida.  
El aíre frio entierra al verano.

Blanco contra la luna, un buho alza el vuelo  
a través de la valle y el eco de su grito  
esparce la luz de las estrellas.

A los bailiadores dejamos nuestras plumas del vuelo de vuelta.  
Las velitas de plumas de buho flotan a la deriva  
desde el filo de la luna para aluzar el camino de tus pies.

El aliento despacio del suelo ante la escarcha  
deja huellas ligeras como rastros indecifrados  
de los ratones en la nieve.  
Por eso bailamos en las tumbas de nuestros abuelos.

La tierra extiende alas sonor as sobre tí,  
sacude los rubís de su sangre  
y tus cabellos largos v negros se caen rápida como cascada  
hasta volverse blancos en los jardines de tus nietos.

Y los caballos de noche, que pastorean en tus cabellos  
todos miraban hacia el oriente—
hacia ese peligro mas suave, el sol.

En el alba, el gallo blanco cacarea sobre la arena  
dejando un eco que casi se saborea en la lengua.  
Cacarea, "gallo, gallo, gallo blanco."

La tela que nos relaciona se mueve despacio.  
El viento en los álamos marca un pasaje del tiempo.

Cuando mi mejor amiga la mató un caballo,  
dijiste, piensa en toda la muerte en los árboles  
y en los campos del otono.

El gallo gritaba, "Mis adentros regresan a la tierra  
para que la viad continúe," antes de la hacha se cayera.

Mi abuelo, yo sé ahora que la tierra nos recibe.  
Mira las flores de sus hijos encenderse en el viento.  
Lentamente incendia nuestros huesos para que ellos también  
envíen las raices hasta lo profundo y beban del corriente.  

Se para en el dinltel con los brazos abiertos  
esperando hasta que volvamos  
para que cierre la puerta.

La vuelta a la tierra es una canción quieta  
cuando el agua discurre después de ia tormenta.
  —traduccion John Oliver Simon

1986-88 Falling to Sea Level

Friday, August 19, 1983

Isis Oasis Resort reading, Lee Perron, Maureen Hurley, Zara Altair, Kit Aldrich, Patty Truxaw, Mickey Sheehan


Poetry class on August 21 at Isis Oasis

The Isis Oasis Poetry Workshop convenes again on Sunday, Aug. 21 on the grounds of the Isis Oasis Lodge in Geyserville. The Isis workshop is an open gathering of Sonoma County language artists This month's agenda includes: "Unplanned Poetry," a community of words led by Mickey Sheehan and Patsy Truxaw: and readings by Russian River poets Lee Perron, Maureen Hurley,Zara Altaire and Truxaw. Actor, poet and musician Kit Aldrich will use the workshop to introduce and rehearse his latest work, a mixed media dada troubadour experiment. Sheehan and Terry Boucher plan to act out their favorite scene from Inherit the Wind. Tommy Thompson and Michael Welch may also attend the event. The Isis workshop is open to the public and both participants and observers are encouraged to attend. The group will be discussing the possibility of organizing a chamber music/poetry/fine wine afternoon during a Sunday in the fall. Anyone interested in reading or participating on Isis Poetry Sundays may either show up or call Truxaw at 433-1907 or Sheehan at 433-5835 for more information.

Saturday, August 13, 1983


Marguerites growing
amid the marble soils of Crete.
Amid the large columns of bones.
Marguerites strewn across the soil of Crete
blooming between marble columns
and the bones of the temples.
Marguerites holding the clouds up
and keeping the sky at bay.

added 10/16

Friday, August 12, 1983


1. Saturn’s prodigal return straight from the heart,
the light well dips silver ink from the moon,
a nightly repetition of black time,
countless nights of washing
The seahorse cracked like a Crab Nebula.
Best eaten cold on ice.
Light, the silent snowfall of stars
whose silver lining is in question.

2. I saw the mountains on the edge of the moon
casting 10,000-foot shadows
into an empty Sea of Tranquility.
Space maps, interstellar dust, meteor showers
on the backside of the moon.
Perseus complained in a binary language.
What of the spacial folds in the Milky Way?
Who is blessing the Southern Cross,
was there really something to the back
side of the moon?

3. What is the color of blood in the dark?
Women’s blood is thicker than men’s.
Each month we try to hold onto it.
What oracles will the trees listen to
after all the leaves fall?
My tears become like leaves
and flow away and whole forests
have been decimated.
The earth is still bleeding
and we are always thirsty.

No date, 1983, probably the Perseid showers, So, August 12.

Thursday, August 4, 1983


              —for Jim Byrd

Our canoe rounded a sheltered river bend—
collecting calm emerald water
'til it glistened in a slow, curved smile.
The towering trees punctuated its mirrored speech.

From our raised paddles words escaped—
unannounced as water droplets
spawning concentric ripples
in an undulating desire towards shore.

Who is naming these silent tremblings,
sneaking up, canoe-like along the river,
where,  coming down for their evening drink,
our hearts stopped,  afraid to slake their thirst?

Who will stand guard over them
so they can safely come down to the shore
and ask the river where the trees stop
and the reflection begins?
Through the trees the wind is trickling.
Only the shore answers in a slow, curved smile.

added 10/16

Monday, August 1, 1983



In the moonlight,
I will cook fish




From the campfire, flames leap and dance
as if the devil's fiddle were made of smoke.
A cigarette dangles from the gypsy's mouth.

The earth pushes up a cornerstone
in a slow rotation of silence.
The thin red wailing of a siren
heralds the dusk in another part of town.

She stops to light her cigarette.
The horses lean toward her,
hungry for tobacco.  


Monday, July 11, 1983

Journal entry, Driven

Journal,  Driven

 With unfinished work hanging over my head, I can’t get it together to fix my storage room so I can move the boxes out of my house. It’s too hard. I hate the world. I hate these boxes and more. I don’t feel good. I wanted a Jewish Mama. I want to forget everything and play. I can’t seem to forget anything except all the unfinished work over my head. I need to go somewhere and do nothing for three days. I go nuts if I have nothing to do for three hours, let alone three days. I don’t want A Jewish mama, unless she can type but then she’ll nag me about this and that and the other. I want to do something interesting for a change. I’m bored with myself. Oh man are schmucks. No, they’re not – just the ones that I know. No, just the ones I fall in love with. Maybe I should quit falling in love. And fall off barstools instead. What good is it? I am a hopeless romantic. Romantics are idealists. Idealism is dead. Long live romanticism. When did the Romans have to deal with antics? Is it a kin to Greek antics? How do you seat four guys on a barstool, turn it over. Turn over a new leaf. Figleaf. Get a heart on. I’m bored with my friends. The last time I wielded a hammer, a board fell on my foot. I’m falling over boxes and my feet hurt. And my head hurts. It’s too hot. I want to go home, my feet are in boxes and I can’t reach the clutch.


Saturday, July 2, 1983


Birds in random patterns in the sky 
bitter leaves buffeted by the winds 


Somewhere, deep in the jungle, 
an overripe mango falls. 
The almost perfume taste of a white peach 
and the bastard progeny of nectarines 
from the unnatural passion 
of plums and peaches
like  the acacia beating 
in the desert heartwood.

In the soft lavender dreams 
of your heart
what geckoes dream, 
what chameleons of thought 
rest there, unturned, 
waiting for respite 
from the long night of memory 
and language?

In the subtle home language of dreams, 
a steaming bear turd at dawn tells me 
more of the future
than the tea leaves of your cup.
This is a quiet place for remorse.
It's as if the feet of fallen angels 
made no more noise 
than crickets in the grass.

7/2 1983  or 84

A gopher has much reason 
to be the victim of thought.

7/2 1983  or 84

I am always suspicious of places 
where the tables are well padded 
and the chairs are not. 

7/3/1983  or 84

The sound of crickets 
or the shape frogs, 
the croak coming out 
of a bag filled with vertebrae, 
each croak demands 
one neckbone 
for its passage.

7/8/1983 or 84?
Wilbur Hot Springs

The snake carries the minnow 
from the stream like a dog 
with a bone and swallows it 
headfirst on the hot rocks.


Invisible boundaries
These hills carry all their secrets 
with them to and from the sea.

Trees suspended from rocks 
for no reason whatsoever, 
it's like the next of giraffes 

7/8/1983 or 84   

To cross invisible boundaries
What are invisible boundaries?
Our eyes travel into forbidden scenes 
to peer into a garage where someone 
changes the baby on a dirty carpet, 
where a phlemetic old man 
spumes in the gutter, breath in short supply, 
or to eavesdrop in on the conversations 
of others in restaurants.

Or the way the side of the building, 
painted blue, loses its constraints 
against the sky.
Outdoor windows mirroring back the room.

Within the span of three minutes 
a middle-aged man confesses 
the hospital a wedding, his daughter,
an affair gone wrong while his companion 
spreads butter and nods in silent affirmation.

I never thought of you as middle-aged.


The plums on the table 
the soft burst of fruit 
against the platter 
too suddenly ripened.

Scratches on the outside of plane windows 
from the ash of Mount Saint Helens.

Clouds over Molokai 
flat tongue of Molokai 
rolls from the feet of Maui 
white boats and whitecaps 
Pacific lint. If you look 
in the wrong direction 
all there is is endless ocean 
where reefs break.

1983 or 84?

I can't believe I interleaved 1983 and 84 in the same journal. I think most are form 1983, and  I used up a page or two in 84...