Thursday, June 30, 1983

A LEMONADE STAND OF NEWSPAPERS

A LEMONADE STAND OF NEWSPAPERS
At the Santa Rosa Press Club awards ceremony

And it's goodbye to Guttenberg,
the cradle, the incunabula rocks
for video games. Ma Bell
dispenses the news via silicone chips.
Print becomes obsolete,
like the round faces of the clock.
Eyes don't need print,
or clocks without hands,
digital newspapers terminally ill
succumb to the screen
while Ma Bell burps the electronic baby.

6/1983
don't know the day
added 9/2016

Wednesday, June 29, 1983

AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

AT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART

Arte, my hand is in Madrid,
a rebellion calls for notations 
in the low constellation of the air.
The windows are a portal
for performers, a window on the whole day.
And all four directions, 
variations of a self-portrait. 
I dream of the air that explodes into grace.
A definition of birds shapes the shards.

 6/29/1983 
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
added 10/16  really odd bit

Saturday, June 25, 1983

FOR MARILYN

FOR MARILYN

Time is scented,
secret pearl hidden within the folds
of the oyster

The leaf of a blackbird
shaken loose
flutters down toward its own death

Corpses of flowers
rose petals beneath
Marilyn's staccato heels

    6/83

WATERMELON

WATERMELON

Past that joint
Eat some more watermelon
Don't you know if you eat those seeds
they'll grow in your stomach?
Jack talks about voice.
Now the water ones bide
CB Davis takes care of
the Will Staple Memorial Joint.
The way that I conduct my voice
nurturing interjections.
A match strikes.
Does anybody remember the part
about the voice issue?
We are always trying to plan
All they want is you
Poetry is human and alive
That's all
Bernie banks another seed
into the can.

6/25/1983?
Camp Cazadero 
CPITS Jack Grapes workshop

If this was 1983, then the poems listed under 6/11 belong here.

CPITS WORKSHOP POEMS, CAMP CAZADERO, 1983

Tuesday, June 21, 1983

Home Language, Another Gopher Rescue


While my neighbor Richard played Mozart on the piano, a tiny gopher dragged himself across the piano strings, adding an Aeolian touch. The cat had re-caught its prey, and let it loose in the house. Surprise guest appearance. A musical one, at that. After getting over the shock, we fished it out of the piano. A chorus of eager cats resounded an unfinished sonata.

Instead of letting nature take its course, I retrieved the bedraggled, broken gopher and took it home. Sensing refuge, the gophers nestled deep in my hand, and I made it a home in the birthday gift Richard gave me. It's wonderful to receive presents in June even though my birthday was in November. The gift of fishing tackle box for my calligraphy pens, became an apartment for the baby gopher.

On the second day of captivity, he began to eat. He was enough of a baby. that solid food gave him pause. So, I fed him milk, the language all mammals understand. Seeing him his crippled state, the way he dragged his hind end, I wondered if nature should have just taken its course.

I seem to attract wounded baby animals who no longer can go back home, nor can they fully join the world of humans. This is my second gopher rescue for in six months.


In November, a gopher, the color of champagne, was lost above ground, scurrying in the oak leaves after dark. I mistook him for a wild hamster because of his odd coloration. He lived in a glass salad bowl. I drew him from several angles, and fed him grapes.

Biting the bullet, I couldn't release him. He wasn't taming up. What was I going to do with a rare leukistic gopher? I called the animal sanctuary. (One of there servals had camped out in the garbage, so we were on first-name basis). They were happy to take him. I imagine he lived out his days in the lap of luxury at the preserve.

But this one was an ordinary gopher. Besides, two gophers in six months was a little suspicious.

By Thursday, the injured golfer clearly understood the bond of milk and allowed me to stroke him without flinching, the way a mother strokes her young. The way we put pet animals is the equivalent of mammal mothers bathing their young—going back to a universal language.

As I write, he sleeps in the warm hollow of my left hand. Sated from his meal. His tail sticking out the back. He's so gentle. I am amazed how quickly he has tamed up.

But then I realize gophers have no desire to challenge. They spend the course of their lives pushing dirt around and nibbling on routes, unaware of the havoc they wreak on our gardens above.

Gentle creatures with tiny earlets—not like a hamster's, and mouse-like fur, more like burrowing hamsters. They readily respond to affection like any other rodent.

This state we call domesticity, is the language of gentleness asleep in my hand. He dreams and grinds his teeth. This tiny trust of sleep. This country cousin of the hamster cleans his dreaming in his home language, the language of roots.

6/21/1983? It could be July 17, poems are out of sequence. for June
cleaned up a bit 9/2016
He must've died. I didn't write about what happened to him.

MUSIC TO WATER THE GARDEN

MUSIC TO WATER THE GARDEN

Clawing clay notes from the piano,
spreading earth tones from the keys,
a cacophony resounds
in the discordant rhythms
like flocks of blackbirds, off time.
Notes played off each other
too close for comfort,
discordant rubble resounds
in the inner ear,
close to the home of thought.
In the waterfalls of the ear,
you push the notes higher
until they yield their last drop.

6/21/1983
added9/2016

THE DANCER, v 1 & 2

THE DANCER

On the bare wood floor
of the demolished building
in the center of town,
she lifted both arms skyward with hands,
fragile birds, the pulse of her wrist,
on either side, she kept a slow rhythm
to the open air as she turned,
in a lengthy rhythm towards the street,
where an invisible audience
began to hear the music as she danced.
As if each note took on shape and coloration,
there was a sculptural effect to her movements.
The invisible audience in the street
slowly became visible as she danced,
bathed in the soft purplish tones of Aflat.

6/21/1983
added 9/2016

another version

The dancer sits with her legs splayed
on the wooden dance floor.
She bends down head to knee
and back to sitting position
with arms outstretched,
surveying herself in the mirror,
only to see her reflection
slide off the wall.

9/1/1983

ON NATIVE LANGUAGES text FIND hard copy

ON NATIVE LANGUAGES
       No one is ever an expert
       on evening air...

                —C.B. Davis

In the country we speak native languages.       
The languages the birds speak               
are different than the languages of air.
Have you heard the red language of trees in Nova Scotia        
where the tide listens to the wind
blow each day in the Bay of Fundy

Bluejays speak in synchopated rhythm
like sultry evenings in New Orleans            
where a solo clarinet breathes
another kind of speech.

What is the language of moonlight on trees
or of a wounded animal crawling from the piano
after listening three days to Mozart's sonatas.
Who is listening to the language of cells-
reproducing, mutating and dying at will
taking the future brainsong with them?

Je te aime  un petit chat       langue d' Oc
cat’s tongues. The language of yes.
The blue resonance of flowers
keeps careful time with the sky.

When I was a child, each evening I sang:
Here kitty kitties, here kit-kits, here kitty-wits.
The cats knew their song.
The native language of cats,  a memory
following you at dawn
    through the orchard.

The translucent ear looking like a shell 
in need of a tongue.
A deluge of words singing
waiting for delivery
A stirrup-cup of sound:       
White noise draped cat-like
over an armchair.

Have you heard the language of hibiscus  
Plumeria behind the ear proclaiming love:
   follow me.

Or the tilted spiraling language                 
of cantilevered hawk wings                    
leaving small resting places in the air    
for the soft notes of feathers to resound.

Who is listening to the heavy-lidded language of eyes?      
The sky language of a woman 
sleeping alone, dreaming     
whole bars of music
and understanding what the source is.   

On a continual journey with no destination
the air speaks the only native language
the singing language of a single heart beating
of clouds, of thunder, tornadoes
the language of air calling you a song.

Birds of the air are closer to the source.
Air is the only true language.
perhaps the scimtar winged swallows
in their sanskrit flight
beating a cadence across the sky
are the only true experts on evening air.

date? guessing 83?

Sunday, June 19, 1983

INTELLECTUAL TITILLATION


intellectual titillation 
   —to Patty Trucksaw and other writers

Stop your
Mind
We
Want
To get
Off.

Father's Day 
6/19/1983

Saturday, June 18, 1983

CPITS WORKSHOP POEMS, CAMP CAZADERO, 1983

Ideas from Lou Welch, Jack Grapes workshop

Step out onto the planet
Draw a circle hundred feet round
Inside the circle there are 300 things
no one has ever seen before
And maybe no one even knows about
How many can you write about?

Ever since I lived in the woods
I've had a passion for Mozart
Didn't you know he composed in the woods?

Grass collectively bends toward light
Crow feather sheen on labs room
Collision of relief on wood
Circular prisms of sunlight
parallel inversion
on delineated shadows of leaves on earth
Spoor tracks of trucks
Chicken wire roof, a net to catch sunlight
from falling too hard against the earth.

Wrinkled pachyderm skin
the arch of a limbo
Woodpecker delineations
Shadows of trees keeping them in check.
The leaves maiden journey through the air,
branch tips circling up to light,
breaking away from gravity.
Gentle blur of aqueous tale,
synchronization of grass and wind.
A jungle for thought.

Pattern of blowing desert sand
frozen within the plywood.
All those pillars of sand
locked within an oak,
frozen dreamtime in the Sahara.




LEW WELCH VARIATIONS, 1

Crack of wood elongated grain
shadow of paint
dark red resting on forest grass
curdled cream skies
white clouds floating on wood



Mozart asleep in the woods

"Ever since I lived in the woods,
I've had a passion for Mozart"
                      —Mary Norbert Korte

Grass collectively bends toward sunlight,
a grace note of on delineated shadows
this parallax conversion.
Circular presence of sunlight,
a repetition of melody weaving patterns,
beliefs maiden voyage through air.

Branch tips circling up to light,
breaking away from gravity,
a bird measuring these truths.
Woodpecker delineations
shadows of leaves keeping them in check
the trees asleep
Mozart in the woods

a wire backstop,
a net to catch sunlight
to keep its notes in check
From falling too hard against the earth.
Syncopation of grass and wind,
all the patterns of the Sahara
locked inside of a note.
Frozen time, delineated,
a jungle for thought
Mozart composed this wood.

I dreamed last night the evening sky
came up on the contact sheet
in the developing studio
All my dreams began as prints
white on black and the image
emerging from under the liquid plates,
coming up in the bath
like trees shedding snow.

611/11/1983




Murder by Faberge

To catch a chicken thief, 
you need to live in the hen house.

The clown runs through the forest, 
a knife in the back, 
as he scales the bridge. 
The clown falls into the swirling waters, 
where he floats toe up 
over the rapids and pays with his life. 

The knife throwers,
the twins Mishka and Grishka 
turn toward the arena.
The clowns eyes were wet 
as a Berlin winter.

Date may be wrong on these, it could be 6/25/1983

intellectual titillation 
   —to Patty Trucksaw and other writers

Stop your
Mind
We
Want
To get
Off.

Father's Day 
6/19/1983

Thursday, June 16, 1983

ON RAISING PERCHERONS IN THE COUNTRY


ON RAISING PERCHERONS IN THE COUNTRY
I want to give it all up
& raise Percherons in the country
—Zara Altair

Sometime, when you've just run
the razor along the skin,
and the parted flesh reveals
2,000 pounds of quivering dappled sorrow
the color of marble—
remember there's no chalk-dust Pieta here—
no virgin lap to keep you from your sins ­
but a quivering wall of refuge,
a place to lean your heart against
when you're tired of standing alone.

No calliope Pegasus of painted lead
or molded saddle to tease and tickle the thigh,
but a real horse will stand before you
in the country waiting for your hand.
At all times, keep a circus canopy
of stars above your head
and when you're ready to touch that solid flesh,
climb aboard that broad back, a refuge. ­
When the beginning note sounds,
enter the arena at a hand gallop. ­
Keep the audience to your left,
on your true side—
then your feet won't slip so easily
from that rosined rump
and you'll become an airborne dancer
riding on the wind.

6/16/1983
rev. 1984
Petaluma

SATURN WITHOUT RINGS

SATURN WITHOUT RINGS

Dadelus pounds out corpses on the typewriter,
Molly's lovely laugh disturbs the brooding irises
as if penitence weren't enough. In the moonlight
Molly dreams of sweet young cocks in a tongue
without words. No handwriting on the wall,
but a Latinate structure of attained perspective,
prosaic forsakening, and a second reckoning pours out
demanding the color purple for its sins.

Bloomsday
Do not forsake them. They know not what they do.

Runaway nightmares: Przwalski's horses
breeding in the moonlight of the mind.
Incest bubbles up from the cesspools
of repressed obsessed prosidy.
Horsemen of the Apocalypse pass by.
Nothing is sweeter than the birds of Mongolia singing.
Not even all the birds of the world.
Beowulf wasn't a man, bu a torturer of the blind.
Better he should have kept civilization in a dream,
finished his pint with Joyce in the mead hall
of Herorot, and just let Grendel get on with it
instead of becoming the standard-bearer of light into the forest.
Grendel asleep in the mere, awaits the second coming,
the Jericho Hounds are howling
a Kaddish of the mind, a figure eight of thought,
a fable in 128 pages or less, at the moon.
Another Anglo-Saxon bites the dust.
The archer awakens, shaking his mighty arrow.
Eros. Me gentl cock percheth in my lady's chambre. . .

Mi choufleur mi amour, are you full? A fool?
Put your head back on my arm
and dream a while longer.
The noble head is rising at cockcrow.
A ghost of fathers. Perchance you dream?
Love of horses and gambling comes
from eating an excess of Chinese food late at night
in curtained booths on Grant St., alone.
Remedy: Eat more fortune cookies. Alone.
The logical universe is a bottle with a message
folded inside the wings of dead angels.
Touch them. It is only marble dust from the moon
rose geraniums. A death in the country. Domo Arigato.
Dijobo, my friend. Is everything all right?
Yes, dijobo. We have fallen.
Suchness of camphor flames leaves no ash;
we worship the theosophy of light
while the wings of swarming buddhas
beat at the mothlight of your face.
Touch me there, too.

Les varieties. . . les girls.
From listening comes wisdom;
from speaking comes repentance.
Repent. And so shall ye reap. Weep.
His normal reaction of saying oh this is so great,
you don't miss me, oh, this is great, and that laugh. . .

Martin L. had a dream but that blinding light
flashed, leaving no color in the shell-shocked sky,
returned again and again in the form of treaties to haunt us.
When they dropped the bomb, people coupled in the streets.
It was the most sublime thing left to do.
What do they dream of in Kyoto, a chosen city,
Hiroshima, a fallen city, and Los Alamos, a nameless city?
Men believed the radiation was imprisoned in molten glass.
We know too much to be truly innocent.

History only repeats itself in books.
Her story collated and bound in slim unopened volumes
covered in kangaroo pouch hide, like a whiff of Ayer's Rock
rising out of the vast plain 2 billion years for something
other than the sun, the moon, the stars
or Saturn to rise out of that desert.
We all push time around by its broom handle.

You ask if I dream. Yes. I still dream.
I ask you, the father of the bomb,
did you dream of lovely comforting colors
when the light flashed in the desert,
and the blind could see light for one pulsing instant
against the darkened retina?
Surely, the Messiah has come in the form of lupines
wolf-flowers blooming in the desert.
Thieves in the temple to rob the color of your eyes
out from under you as you sleep during fallout.
Anything for a dream, no one left to decode the glyphs.
Saturn is still spinning, winged.
Returning and woolgathering. Without rings.
Tintinnabulation. These bells. This language.
Rilke asleep in the brooding shadows.

Bloomsday, 1983

Saturday, June 11, 1983

MURDER BY FABERGE


Murder by Faberge

To catch a chicken thief, 
you need to live in the hen house.

The clown runs through the forest, 
a knife in the back, 
as he scales the bridge. 
The clown falls into the swirling waters, 
where he floats toe up 
over the rapids and pays with his life. 

The knife throwers,
the twins Mishka and Grishka 
turn toward the arena.
The clowns eyes were wet 
as a Berlin winter.

6/11/1983
date may be wrong on these, could be 6/25

Ideas from Lou Welch, Jack Grapes workshop

CPITS WORKSHOP POEMS, CAMP CAZADERO, 1983

MOZART ASLEEP IN THE WOODS


Mozart asleep in the woods

"Ever since I lived in the woods,
I've had a passion for Mozart"
                      —Mary Norbert Korte

Grass collectively bends toward sunlight,
a grace note of on delineated shadows
this parallax conversion.
Circular presence of sunlight,
a repetition of melody weaving patterns,
beliefs maiden voyage through air.

Branch tips circling up to light,
breaking away from gravity,
a bird measuring these truths.
Woodpecker delineations
shadows of leaves keeping them in check
the trees asleep
Mozart in the woods

a wire backstop,
a net to catch sunlight
to keep its notes in check
From falling too hard against the earth.
Syncopation of grass and wind,
all the patterns of the Sahara
locked inside of a note.
Frozen time, delineated,
a jungle for thought
Mozart composed this wood.

I dreamed last night the evening sky
came up on the contact sheet
in the developing studio
All my dreams began as prints
white on black and the image
emerging from under the liquid plates,
coming up in the bath
like trees shedding snow.

6/11/1983
Date may be wrong on these, it could be 6/25/1983


Ideas from Lou Welch, Jack Grapes workshop

CPITS WORKSHOP POEMS, CAMP CAZADERO, 1983

LEW WELCH VARIATIONS



LEW WELCH VARIATIONS, 1

Crack of wood elongated grain
shadow of paint
dark red resting on forest grass
curdled cream skies
white clouds floating on wood

6/11/1983
Date may be wrong on these, it could be 6/25/1983

Ideas from Lou Welch, Jack Grapes workshop

CPITS WORKSHOP POEMS, CAMP CAZADERO, 1983



STEP ONTO THE PLANET


Step out onto the planet
Draw a circle hundred feet round
Inside the circle there are 300 things
no one has ever seen before
And maybe no one even knows about
How many can you write about?

Ever since I lived in the woods
I've had a passion for Mozart
Didn't you know he composed in the woods?

Grass collectively bends toward light
Crow feather sheen on labs room
Collision of relief on wood
Circular prisms of sunlight
parallel inversion
on delineated shadows of leaves on earth
Spoor tracks of trucks
Chicken wire roof, a net to catch sunlight
from falling too hard against the earth.

Wrinkled pachyderm skin
the arch of a limbo
Woodpecker delineations
Shadows of trees keeping them in check.
The leaves maiden journey through the air,
branch tips circling up to light,
breaking away from gravity.
Gentle blur of aqueous tale,
synchronization of grass and wind.
A jungle for thought.

Pattern of blowing desert sand
frozen within the plywood.
All those pillars of sand
locked within an oak,
frozen dreamtime in the Sahara.

6/11/1983
Date may be wrong on these, it could be 6/25/1983

Ideas from Lou Welch, Jack Grapes workshop

CPITS WORKSHOP POEMS, CAMP CAZADERO, 1983


Tuesday, June 7, 1983

EMINENT DOMAIN

EMINENT DOMAIN
—for Will Staple

At the 16-mile marker
the melody of surf leads us deeper
into the heart of the jungle
where we slide on ancient terraces,
and fruit flies rise up
from their mango prayers.

Barefoot, we re-emerge from the tangle
and follow the old Hawaiian trail.
On the cliff, a windmill places us in time.
In the surf a man shows his son
how to spear a fish.
They talk with their hands.

You offer a red flower for my hair.
The breakers confront the fish in you,
and the dorsal fin in me.
The ocean wipes all traces
of speech from our lips.

6/5/ 1983 Kulike, Maui ?
WS Merwin's place
8/90 rev.

1993 We Are Not Swans, Cecelia Woloch

poem to Michael Larraine

first draft

I am a writer astride Verlane's. white stallion 
and Lao Tsu's donkey and all paths lead to poetry.
My writing appeals to some, its surrealist elements,
Others respond to its Buddhist nature.
Some get off on the language.
And others are tickled by its erotic nature.

In my work I try to hold all the voices
The voices are part of the process 
no one wants to make you solely into it

Making love to you would be like 
both of us getting laid by the White Goddess.
We are both fish mongers
Catch of the day
Neptune coughs back up
Where poor shepherds 
offering the sacrificial lamb to the beast
Except the lambs blood is 1200 years old 
and he died for can't read it
Darkness essence 
we push across the page this writing

Cotati 6/7/1983



To Michael Larraine 
after Lindys poetry reading 

I've been told how my writing appeals to some 
because of its surrealist elements,
Others respond to its Buddhist nature. 
Some get off on its LANGUAGE form
And the rest are riveted by its erotic energy.
I tried to hold all these voices which emerge
It's easy to pantomime a singular voice
All those voices are a part of me 
and none want to be the go down 
as the sole survivors of poetry.

6/7/1983



I ride astride Verlain's white stallion 
my Harley eats up the miles 
and my men wander another path 
while Lao Tsu's donkey brings up all the rear.
All paths lead to poetry.

6/7/1983



You'll have to confuse 
the state my house is in 
I lead an excused life.

Please confuse the state 
my house is in 
I lead an excused life

Please confuse the state my life is in
I lead an excused existence

6/7/1983

Hawaii poem fragments

On the condition of my camera

you know it's bad news
when the camera repair man calls
and says well, to start with,
when I took the back off the camera
a spider jumped out.
Have you considered getting another?



Well, since you asked,
this dream is a semi sweet
chocolate covered 
macadamia nut in Waikiki.

Since you've asked again
Making love to you
would be like both of us getting laid
by the White Goddess
end comparing notes afterwards.

We're fish mongers throwing back the day's catch
And it's the same finny fish
Neptune keeps slapping back 
on the platter of sacrifice

We are both shepherds 
offering the same sacrificial lamb
to the goddess over and over again
Except the lamb no longer bleeds real blood.
The real blood is 1200 years old 
and has long since faded
into the darkened existence
we dutifully push across the page:
this writing




After making love to you
the footsteps of victory
chalking down
the carnivorous road of need and regret
would resound across the deaf mute page

6/7 1983



Calling Will in Maui
waking up until it's 130 here
so it will be 1030 there
when's the best hot fucking time
to call you I asked.

6/7 1983



She's dressed in red
making brownies after meditation



Hawaiian frog prince

Gary said quick, 
jump out of the truck.
You know what to do 
only you can save him
He's been waiting 
for your kiss all these years.




Washing off Haleakala dust 
Will hands me soap 
He said if you wash my back 
I'll wash yours. 
Gary yells, are you two 
still in the shower?




Question On laurels

Snyder said I thought old poets 
got to rest on their laurels 
and money just came in. 
You have to keep working 
as hard as you ever did. 
Harder. There are no laurels.



When I told Gary Snyder his poems about Cousin Jack spurred me into writing about the ordinary, he said I am honored and he bowed. I said I was a visual artist having come to poetry later in life. I discovered the joys in communicating verbally. He said he wished he was a visual artist, feeling the need to visually express himself. And there you have it. How green is the grass in the next pasture anyway?




Enlightenment 
late fall and mangoes 
for breakfast every day 
for two months 
Repeat on an as needed basis.

6/7/1983
added 9/2016

Drawings from Journal







Monday, June 6, 1983

GECKO LUCK

GECKO LUCK

In the islands, everybody believes 
that geckos bring good luck. 
Mokoli'i means lizard Island.

I am carrying damp eucalyptus wood
to the redwood hot tub up the hill. 
Two geckos slither down my arm 
another slides down my leg. 
I am covered with red mud 
and the TV camera is rolling.
I'm dreaming in geckos and it all
comes true. Mokoli'i everywhere.
Later, I'm at a party in Kula 
with Will, Jacques, and Gary. 
We are talking about Haleakala,
the plight of the flightless geese,
and feral pigs eroding the island.
On a painting two geckos are dancing 
on a checkerboard. At home, 
a solitary gecko chucks at midnight. 

6/1983   6/1-6, 83 could be any of those dates
Maui Zendo
added 9.15.2016 edited slightly



after hauling wood all morning
Ii sit in the hot tub, grateful for its warmth
two gardenias break the surface like farts,

6/6/83?



Calling Zara on the Mainland
2600 miles away, I exclaim
your voice sounds like
it's coming from underwater

6/1/83?

not sure of the date, whether I wrote it in Hawaii or right after I returned. (I wrote Eminent Domain around this time too.)  I left Maui right before the Deep Ecology Conference. Bad luck of the draw, had to catch my plane to the mainland. I should've just stayed.

It sounds like a dream sequence. But I really did move logs to the tub and there were geckoes everywhere. I don't remember if Gary Snyder was in the hot tub too. Probably. It was a big ordeal to fire up that redwood tank. There were only cold showers at the zendo, so a soak was a luxury. I floated gardenias in the water.

I may revise this. But for now, I'm just trying to get work online.

Friday, June 3, 1983

EARLY MEMORY: STORM

EARLY MEMORY: STORM

The hillsides were open: deer crossed the meadows intermittently, like domesticated cattle. Under the cover of foggy days, they brazenly came down to the creek to drink. On sunny days they prudently waited for the cover of dusk. 

When it rained too much, water came spouting out from the gopher holes draining the forested gullies, and upper reaches of the hillside. Thinking it was quartz, once I found what seemed to be rendered fat in a gopher hole. White globules waxed my water withered fingers. 

My grey and blue pants that my grandmother had made from a remnant from the church bazaar, were heavy with rain, and hung low on my hips, the additional burden of chocolate mud on the cuffs. My tennies were slurching like a powerful thirst as I wandered up the path, turned into a small river, battling my way home.

Once inside, I dropped my clothes on the thick layer of newspaper that took up residency at the front door each winter. They fell like the hide of some beast too much in a hurry, like the gritty rhinoceros. 

Mad rush to the fire; this is the kind of wet-cold that doesn’t leave willingly. My grandmother clucked about catching cold, the dreaded bronchitis, and the tiny tubes everyone in the family inherited.   

Thick coating on my tongue, dark breath, and roaring ears. In the night I begin a cough that goes on and on for weeks; soon the doctor will give me orange flavored syrup. Years later, I will hate the taste of oranges. 

Tomorrow we will have to beg a ride to the doctor’s whose office is out in Point Reyes. A long winding ride through Taylor Park, where the redwoods cover the sky, and it is always dusk. I suffer from carsickness, but can’t tell the difference between illness and motion.

At the top of Olema hill, near a small curve in the road, we searched for the first glimpse of Tomales Bay. Onto the flats, past the old artichoke fields, I eagerly awaited the pasture where the donkey and goose lived with the wooden “Library Car” caboose. The goose was happily swimming in the volunteer lake at the low end of the pasture while the donkey’s ears dripped at 30° angles as he huddled next to the meager shelter of the chrome-green caboose. 

Green like the smell of the doctor’s office: alcohol and Pinesol. The odd couple lived out their days together, the caboose was eventually taken over by the blackberries and poison oak. I learned to overcome my aversion to orange juice but equated donkeys and geese and green cabooses with doctors. How can you express what is inexpressible?

Another early memory of Tomales fogged in, the steady drip of trees thrumming the ground. I licked rain from the thick potato chip edges of salal leaves, salt tang. At Heart’s Desire Beach, I kept looking for the heart, not understanding the concept of desire. That would come much later.

6/3/83?  CPITS writing