Tuesday, February 1, 1983

BOTTOM OF THE NINTH


BOTTOM OF THE NINTH

Our hearts catch an inside curve.
We try to sneak past each other
but the umpire yells foul play
and we are lost at the bottom of the ninth.
The player on third tries to steal home
but the bases are loaded and the score's
zero to zero in the moon's favor.

2/83

CAMPBELL HOT SPRINGS (100 Monkeys) no efile on final copy

CAMPBELL HOT SPRINGS
(100 MONKEYS)

Like snow monkeys of Hokkaido
we sit in steaming pools
under a flurry of snowflakes
and discuss our stomachs,
Keats, and the idea of truth and beauty.
We bring our ideas of culture to backwoods
artists who were content to paint
on rusted frying pans and saws.
To them this is what art is.

Imu, of the 100 monkeys story, was the first
to wash sand from grains of wheat in the sea
and soon the whole tribe copied her.
Scientists were puzzled by snow monkeys
arranging small white stones because
it had nothing to do with survival.
They couldn't bear the thought of monkeys
inventing a new game, or art.

Later, when the story of Imu's influence
was challenged by fundamentalists, I saw
a photo of the monkeys and people
bathing in the hot springs together.
Who was copying who?
Hoarfrost forms in our hair, melts and
trickles onto our scalps like blood.
Snow piles up on bare black willow branches
and leaves a dermis of skin on the water.
Nothing is as simple as it seems.

2/1983
Campbell Hot Springs
rev. 1988


CAMPBELL HOT SPRINGS

Like the snow monkeys of Hokkaido
we sit in steaming pools
under a flurry of snowflakes
discussing our stomachs.
Ice forming in our hair
melts and trickles down
to our scalps like blood.
Snow gathers on bare willow twigs
and leaves a dermis on the water.

2/83


NIGHT HERON

NIGHT HERON

Night anchors on the dock
where the marsh heron's mask
is untouched by muddy water.
Only the slender bones of his legs
separate him from water and air.

 2/83

FALLEN ANGEL, drafts, no final efile


FALLEN ANGEL

Lost in the backwater
of each other's thoughts,
from the beginning,
we felt the letting go
into slow lees and eddies
until the current caught it,
eased it over venial stones,
closer to the whirlpool
in a slow gyrating dance.
Afraid of this sinuous twist-
ing of fleshéd days continuing,
we fishtailed, sought distance, slid
our attention into the river,
called it horizon. We named it mirth,
named it sin, grinned through
blackberry-stained teeth against
the skull-end of summer,
never calling it by its rightful name
The pelican daughters of King Lear
offered little solace. Like the redwoods,
their cliff-edged hearts beat once
a century. They never danced bone-
blind or drowned in the detritus
of amniotic love    after a coat-
hanger fished night’s labored descend-
ent from a crevice in the couch.

2/83  
rev 7/94

another version



FALLEN ANGEL

Feel the mind let go of itself
in the slow backwaters until
the current catches it, hurtles
it over stones closer to the whirlpool
in a slow gyrating dance;
the bone blind love
joined in the debris of night.

The mask of attention slips.
Afraid of this nakedness,
our eyes seek distant horizons.
Our hands offer hollow comfort.
We mechanically grin and laugh
calling it mirth, calling it laughter,
never calling it by its rightful name.
We are lost in the alleyways and cities
of each other's thoughts.

2/83
see
7 POEM FRAGMENTS, no date, end of summer 83?