Sunday, December 30, 1984

December 30, Dillon Beach; drawings (art)



Two cows weaving in the dunes at sunset, leave fine white crescents in the sharp sand. I gather crushed shells, sand dollars, and paper thin orange scallops. On the leeward side of a rock, a woman dandles a child.

Two girls run along the tops of the dunes, their screaming is like seagulls. Wind snatches a song from their mouths and pushes it back a hundred yards until they sound like they're coming from behind themselves, laughing so carelessly as if time itself stood still when the wind blew, and in that moment, an eternity. 

I survey this world of ageless youth, the same world as ours, but first it comes from the thighs, that inexorable gentle tug of the earth burdening me downwards with its weight, reminding me of my beginning and my end,

The slow tug of gravity, this slow death suckling on the toes, ankles, thighs. A clay chill carrying future memory. But I begin to run, to leap away from the quicksand time, I lift my feet off the earth, pump the blood. It keep my womb warm and ready. I'm not done yet. 

Geoff is on some warm shore. I dreamt of him last night. Donna said he sure showed a lot of pictures of me, but what about the one who had one almost ready for the oven? I said who? A dune slipped out from under my feet. 

I fell into the Roman baths at Bath. Warm water weighting me down. Rich suckle on my sheepskin vest I swim toward the edge, arms heavy with wet clothes, and I followed him with my eyes as he walked away with the group. 

He doesn't see me, though I call out to him, the wind pushes my voice a few yards back, and I realize I'm either a few days forward or a few days backward in another time. But dreams are like that.  

I'm looking at a movie or is he the one walking into my celluloid color dream splashing against the far wall?

Along the beach two spaniels run with their mirror image companions in an upside down world, until a wave breaks that image. Their barks are like pinpricks in the fluctuating surf. They trot in tandem, at play with the waves.

A couple strolling along the sand stop at a sand figure of a person reclining. The woman disengages herself from his clasp and goes back to the figure and stomps fully on the chest. I guess the boobs offended her. They are both wearing white sweaters. So out of place here. The sand woman has long hair made of seaweed and there is only the sound of the ocean.

Four men huddle between the bluffs, a blue screen of smoke designates a dimension between the cliffs. Carrying an ice chest and radio, they make to leave. 

Stephen says the game is over. I wonder who won? Further down the beach, the sand assumes a gray velvet look, where an impromptu game of football is in progress. An onlooker, someone's dog barks as if to announce the score. Or perhaps to punctuate a commercial at halftime.

The two spaniels resume their tandem dance with the sea, endlessly combing one section of the shore in a series of relays. 

The woman and her child leave the shelter of the cliff, she is carrying a bright red and orange plastic pail with a blue shovel. The child is bundled in florescent colors like the bucket. The navy blue of the woman's coat is like a black shadow trying to absorb all that unnatural color in all this gray sky.

The spaniels halfheartedly greet each group of people passing their sector of the beach, they're on a search for something familiar. As the groups leave, they resume their endless trotting and easy lope along the shore, and run parallel with the surf. 

Deeper into the dunes. the cows are grazing on saltgrass. I am reminded of the salt sheep of Camargue, an unexpected hunger arises. The wind erases their tracks in the sand. A jackrabbit exercises his options at dusk along a stretch between two dunes.

This soft sandbanks carved from the last storm, are impossible to climb. Donna's niece, Michelle, makes it to the top, but my weight crumbles the edge of it. My hands reach the top, but I am unable to ascend the bank, it is like a bad dream of pursuit and fear. Further down, a gully presents itself and I climb up. The sand is firmer more dense the inexorable weight of gravity less, age backs off a few years.


I think I have a bit more time to wait for Geoff.

The endless breathing of the sea, wave upon wave, like the sound of someone sleeping in the same room. As they shift into a deeper sleep, how it calms one and makes one sleepy too.

A wedge of shore shifts the mirrored weight of the spaniels as they gallops across the wet sand. The pressure of their weight pushes, and drives the water from the sand like a sponge wrung dry. 

No one disturbs the sandcastle, each one carefully walks around it. 

And when I write, time is suspended—the ocean, Stephan on the rock above me, the laughter of women, the football game, the incessant bark of the black lab—all this becomes timeless. If only I could suspend that moment and enter that world of half thoughts, and record it. 

It doesn't matter what I write as long as I try and define it with words, what I see and hear in the active definition. I am painting, honing my craft. Every experiment with sound and image is cumulative. 

I am preparing for the right moment. I don't know when it will come. I don't know what I'm preparing for. Like what Lee said, a startling enemy will appear. and you will both know what to do.

A synapse of mind, suddenly I'm jerked painfully back into time by some tangible form. My mind buzzes like a stretched rubber band, and I'm disturbed because I prefer the meltingly lost places of ceased time. 

But though I spend large sums of time in reality, and in that other world—the place between worlds—that fraction of a moment when the mind buzzes, hovering somewhere between the real world and the world of daydreaming. 

The spaniels have moved to another section of the beach. I am ready to move on, my mind spent, body numb. The sound of the ocean is fully inside my head like a seashell pressed to the ear. 

The spaniels return to the familiar place of the shore. Keep running into the surf. Sniffing the sand as if searching for a lost sense of something familiar, their mirrored shadows, keeping in perfect rhythm.

December 30, Dillon Beach

TWO COWS, DILLON BEACH


Two cows weave trails
through the dunes at sunset,
their hooves leave white crescents 
in the sharp sand and crushed shells.
I collect treasure: sand dollars the size of pearls,
rock oysters, and papery orange scallops.
By the lee of a rock, a woman cradles her child.
Two girls racing along the tops of the dunes
scream with laughter, so like a gull's. 
Wind snatches a song from their mouths 
and pushes it downstream until it sounds 
as if they're running behind themselves 
& they're laughing as if time itself stood still.
In that frozen moment, the wind 
consumes an eternity of ageless youth. 
I inhabit the same world as theirs, 
but the weight of it begins in the thighs, 
that inexorable gentle tug of gravity,
the earth's burden, that downward thrust, 
reminding me of my beginning 
and my end.

12/30/1984
rev. slightly 11.17.15

Tuesday, December 11, 1984

PERPETUAL MOTION freewrite


In the center of darkness
the red vibration of a rose.
Here, is the center of the universe.
Darkness lies between the crevices of fingers
molecular shadows in red and black
on the coffee table battery-operated toys
and gyrating gimbals churn
a perpetual kinetic dance
until the switch is thrown.
Electricity travels and dark tubes
on impulse the speed of light
across mountains, rivers, cities, continents
not heeding what was said
on a particular afternoon
before the toys stopped their dance.
Someone said there is too perpetual motion,
it's called life. Even in inanimate objects
we just can't see inside them
all those atoms bouncing
and dancing in darkness
inside each atom, a rose,
a template of the universe.

12/11/1984

Monday, December 10, 1984

BANK HOLIDAY, COUNTING BACKWARDS, 2 freewrites


Who said, take the deep
blue stars to the ball?
To get change,
one must carry shells to market,
to market, to buy a fat…
No more dinero. All this jive
the green ink odor
of lettuce on bread
gives me such a funny feeling.
Life, the best teacher,
kills all its pupils.
By the banks of the river
my love and I sat down
and I pulled out my fiddle
to watch the cash flow.
No clams on this muddy bank.
It doesn't know Sunday
from a blue Monday.

12/10/1985


Counting backwards,
I remember the halfway mark
and saying my alphabet bilaterally A2 B4
fish mirrors to catch a falling star
who never kissed the palm of my hand
who never told me how to hold a kiss
all through the night
and to never let go.
Take a fallen eyelash
Make a wish, blow on it
to the farthest fences of the world
to keep the bad dreams at bay.

12/10/1984

Thursday, December 6, 1984

FLOODWATERS


In silence you sit, your eyes,
like floodwater in the bayous
A map of sorrow, in your eyes
and the creatures crawl
out of the swamp at night.

Talking has a way of covering up
all the greens like when
you close your eyes in the sun.
Green, then red flashes across the lids.

All this red talk
like fire in the pineywoods.
Pale smoke rising,
or is it early morning mist?
Bruised water on the gulf
takes a beating after the storm.
Water rises to the doorjambs
of your father's house
and stops there.

Once, you said, your father
went out into a storm
to find the highest ground
upon which to a strong foundations.

Saltspray on the lips,
parched skin turns to brined wood
impervious to fire
Bly says rub a potato across your face
to absorb the salt.
It's hard to keep a shine on old leather.
But potatoes will do.

When you're one step ahead of the law
and one step behind in your head
it's harder yet to keep a shine on leather.

Like Noah, lost at sea,
all I ever wanted to do
was to wait for the storm to end
and to see the shape of the land  reemerge.
But 40 nights is a lot of darkness.
I can smell the floodwater's
metallic dank overture
like the rancid sweat of hands
on a nickel plated brass buckle
clenched in fear.

12/1984 (85?) from a Muriel Ruckeyser lesson on science, by Zara Altair. This was in my 1985 journal but I couldn't have written it with Zara as I was in Baja in Dec of 85.

Monday, December 3, 1984

Journal entry, many moons later

Journal entry, many moons later

So, I'm writing on random blank pages in this notebook. The last time I wrote in it, was in Hawaii. Other than rain damage, there was a reason for this abandonment. There's an open letter to Geoff, and to myself. And to Ed. I know, he's asleep in Hawaii at 6 PM, west coast time, and I thought of him. 

Tonight, after three days of migraines, I had a reading at Garbo's. At first, no one showed up. I took it personally. I felt especially bad for Michael Tuggle and Susan Kennedy who are two fine poets reading with me, but we also started early. The audience grew exponentially. We read sparingly and it was a lovely reading.

Also, most of the regulars were friends who didn't show up. And I thought oh I must be a bad poet, they're not here. It came down to overcommitment, but still, no one showed up. Not Lee, Sarah, Donna, Marianne, Eady & Jim Montrose. No one there. At least the Reverend showed up late.

I get that they've all heard it all before. So much for moral support. Well it could be the time of year as it is December 3 moving into Christmas. But they could've at least shown up for moral support. Lord knows, I've done it for them enough times.

But before me is a whole new audience. People who want to hear me read, a new, fresh audience. Yes. I hate what I've read, I'm going through I'm not a real poet phase. Phobias aside, V Weinberg liked my new Tocaloma poem, something I've never read in public before.

Afterwards, around drinks, we discussed the plight of Welsh coal miners in Pennsylvania. The Reverend Bob Jones is from there. We discussed East - West mysticism and narrative prose. From ego—to being fulfilled. He said I'm laying groundwork in those narrative pieces for novels or whatever. 

We both write long narrative poems, and I think too much. So much of what gets said while deep in the cups, disappears by morning. I can't record it all, but to write every morning, and to read every day, and to party every night... I'll not hold up if I party every night. The Reverend just wants to give it all up and become a writer. I know that obsession.

We talk about agents and networking and going after what we believe in. I say be careful of what you wish for, it becomes true. He said, I'm ready. We talk some more about East - West religions and the role of enlightenment. He says without darkness there wouldn't be light. And I say, in this world there is too much talk and not enough words.

Words are like vessels. The role of the poet is to give new meaning as in original meaning to words in order to shed light. Poetry is religion, I tell him. 

Bob talks about his latest manuscript and how he can't quit preaching because he has two daughters in college. I say, you don't owe them an education. It's nice, but parents don't owe their offspring this. Education's is something one has to desire and strive for. 

I say this because no one helped me, or perhaps it was because I found my own motivation. He's just pushing along, I'm pushing along. We are still writers in spite of it all. Determination factor. 

I comment on his need for closure with his congregation. What they need, he says, is a pastor who won't bore them or frustrate them by pushing them too hard. We are all lazy. Knowledge by blood. Limited by our friends. Can we help that? 

I say go for what you want again and believe in it. He agrees, says I've done it. I say, do it again. Rilke's sonnets to Orpheus, no matter who translates them  are magnificent, because what he writes about is magnificent. How can you go wrong in believing in what you believe in? Bob says, Amen to that!

December 3, 1984

Sunday, December 2, 1984

TODAY'S NEWS


A sunburst of red, yellow & orange
on the fold of pants where ass joins leg
mesmerizes me, it's like a friendly fire.
I drive to the post office, only to find it locked.
20 years ago, Maria Salvio spoke at Sproul Plaza.
Reagan and Gromako cautiously talk 
of improving US-USSR relations.
At least there was no bloodshed, or shoes thrown.
Jerry Brown and Jane Fonda make the news.
Russia think-tanks, fire in the hole.
A Scottish-Polish American soldier, 
Wladyslaw Stanislawski, awarded citizenship 
posthumously, for dying in Vietnam.
But he's already dead, I think to myself.
Berkeley Mayor Gus Newport declares 
Monday as Free Speech Day, I was there,
I didn't know the significance, I was young. 
And Chris Foley, a high school student,
receives microfiche from Russia 
on US classified missile plans.
it's a long chain of events,
today, getting the news. 

12/2/1984
rev. 17/11/15

Saturday, December 1, 1984

Obligatory Hug, Dec. 1984, Russian River Writers' Guild







NIGHT VISION

NIGHT VISION

Caught in my headlights,
eyes of young bucks
not leaving the dead body
of their mother.

12/84

Postcard collage poem to Jim Bird


There is some scientific thought
that rhinoceroses and armadillos are related.
Since last March, African black rhinoceroses
have been contemplated grazing on
on two ranches in Texas.
Rhinos are browsers like the relations,
the zebra and the horse.
They fit in very well in Texas, someone says.
Ecologically, there is little doubt
that rhinos will thrive in Texas.
Texas is perfect, he explained.
How do you move a rhino against his will?
The armadillos have not been consulted.

December, 1984
added, rev. 9/17

Friday, November 16, 1984

ZENIA as prose poem (corrupt text)

Hmmm, found this in a prose folder. Didn't realize it was prose first, or maybe I converted it. It seems to follow the poem pretty closely. It needs cleaning up.

HORSES RUNNING THROUGH THE STREETS OF ZENIA AT NIGHT
Each particular erases from the clarity of a general idea.
--Robert Hass Meditation at Lagunitas


PART I 

 Like an Ache Out of Childhood

1. The road through narrow valley of Hayfork unravels lengths of poplar and alder trees, shaking sunlight from the sky. In the fields, a neighbor stops haying, wipes his brow, and waves. I still can't get used to the idea of snow. You say it gets old fast. We don't know this is our last time together but the silver twigs and trunks etched against grey sky are familiar like an ache out of childhood.

It is difficult to find the beginning of a poem or anything, for that matter. An abandoned grape arbor shades the once-tiled floor of what we called Lew Welch's cabin. Lew, who walked off into the forest with a pistol never returned, and so, captured our imaginations. We were sure he traveled north.

And you came here in the footsteps of a myth. In the mail today, a photo of Hayfork suspension bridge arrives holding up the sky. In photographs, friends appear as strangers frozen on film. If only we could get to the other side of the mirror in order to capture a portion of the sequence of infinite regression instead.

You write about the fish inside your heart. I remember a boy who grappled the bellies of steelhead resting on the banks of Papermill Creek. The fish no longer return. The once clear pools filled with debris. Do you remember how the fish slipped up the ladders with a motion almost quicker than the eye can see? I can still see you walking along the creek, green as cat's eyes.

2. What is better: fucking on the river rocks in the hot sun or minutely examining the wanderings of dung beetles for some revelatory cipher or glyph? After photocopying Lew's book I wrote a poem to all those whose hands that book had passed through.

To Whom it May (or May Not) Concern: This illegal version of On Out was photocopied during work hours on their machine when no one was looking.

I got the original from you who got it from Chuck (Charlene) Sutton who was, at the time seeing the book critic, Grover Sales (to whom the book is signed-- For Grover-- "If you can't kill it, shoot it." Lew 8/19/66 )

who was seeing another woman, whose roommate was seeing your brother (I think) and you who are seeing me still, so I can't steal the original yet.

This thief hopes that Lew, wherever he may be, will appreciate the spirit in which this book (and everyone else) was taken.

What grey kinship of brain, black squiggles, dunghill beetles, Cartouche of pharaohs? This writing. Who measures the sanity of psychologists or poets? One person in five is clinically insane. These dreams scare me. We need 'something to take with us before we go.

3. Our childhood friend, (I think it's Michael, not Mark) Mark De Rutte opened his door one night and the Zebra Killer pulled the trigger. As an altar boy, he served us communion. To this day, I awaken, screaming and choking with a black weight upon my chest and I see the phosphor green edges of ghosts even when the light is on. A friend blames the mirrors in my house for letting all the ghosts out and burns sage to banish them. It works for a while. Then they're back.

I dreamed my grandmother had fallen and a weight had dropped. Her lips were blue. During the night, a slag of iron pierced the sagging dewlap of her arm. I held her in my arms, as she must have held her own children and later, me.

The seals came upriver to sing memory to sleep. Father Connery died. And Marie Rexroth. As kids we thought they'd be around forever. Grandma used to point her out in church and tell us of the hikes into Devil's Gulch to visit the Rexroths. Grandma religiously clipped Kenneth Rexroth's weekly columns in the News Call Bulletin.

In old age, Marie's husband was gruff, cantankerous. He didn't remember who I was. They say Marie never got over his death and she let the cancer grow. Even after all those years of separation, and his other wives, she missed him. I remember stopping by her house in Lagunitas but there was nowhere to tie up the horse. I wanted to say to her, "bless me Marie, for I have sinned. I am a poet."

Mark De Rutte's youngest brother was convicted of raping someone's grandmother who drowned in the bathtub. Mrs. De Rutte testifies, "he was an angel. Wouldn't hurt a fly." She continued,"That old commie woman had bags of dope under her house. It was her fault."

We relived the details of Mark's death. I have friends on both sides of the courtroom. The darkness descends upon us and the dreams begin again in all their green clarity. We held no wake for my grandmother, but at the funeral, Mrs. De Rutte, armored in hot pink, paid her last respects. That beveled and clouded mirror I sent you was hers. All those dead trapped behind glass.


PART II

 "The post is the consolation of life." --Voltaire

Definition in Ten Parts for DNA

I dream a river of blood runs from my left ear. A tunnel distills the familiar world into a thin passage. I feel a little lost. Am I dreaming and the rain coming down? Definitions of love, like a moibeus strip. Occupational love, love of apples, or the way sun touches woodsmoke. The way your hand tangles in my hair. Reptile love. Mammalian love.

The acorns I gathered sprouted and died. The nights are cold and getting longer. Our bodies keep us honest if nothing else will. Without definition, I felt luminous at the sight of you. They've been reading our mail. Nothing is sacred. What makes a gambler's blood stir? The word is like time standing still or a river rushing on.

Dioxyribonucleic Acid. DNA. Taken one syllable at a time, it becomes a simple ladder. Double Helix. Specific pairing. A psychiatrist tells me craziness is not inherited but when the dreams come, I don't believe him either.

Red roe floats in the silt of Papermill Creek. Life takes strange twists and turns "until we come back to what we are. You ask who I am. At four a.m., I am not "I," but a dream, as I pour your coffee. Write me a poem about the fine line between earth and space and I will dream for you. If you return before the apples drop, it will be soon, for they are picking them now. When I come north, we'll plant trees.

Believing in myths, I fed you pomegranates to bring you back, but your yard is littered with carcases of beer cans and I have seen my aunt's face after her husband beat her during a drunk.

The story goes, "When God loves a mortal woman, pfffft! She goes up in smoke when he touches her," said the monk.

Winter is coming like a cat hunkered up on a porch rail. Every season is the mating season. After the storm, I rock back on my heels, Indian fashion, and watch the biological clock of the moon pull on my blood until I am dizzy. I don't know if I'll ever sew patches,buttons and wounds or dry apples, dishes and babies for anyone-- not even for myself.

A friend confided to me, "after the kid was born I couldn't write unless I locked him in the closet." I am afraid of what I might become. The last Wintu shaman, Tying With the Left Hand told his son he must always live right and that hell was on earth.

Lew said, "Poetry out to be as vigorous and useful as natural speech." Shall I write, sins upon the possum eating apples on the doorstep? Throw him out of the garden? That's for dreams. Take root in the garden.

Did you know Daphne's toes took root and laurel burst from her fingers and thighs as the hunter approached?

Tendrils, vines and seeds find their way into my bed. There is no separation from earth. Toes, having taken root converse in the language of trees, rock and stone while we foolishly dance with our heads in the clouds thinking we can peek into the next world. Not entirely a waste, it seeds the clouds and brings more rain. '

Tell me about the horses running through the streets of Zenia at night, their hooves shooting sparks where iron strikes stone. Tell me why you no longer bend hot iron from the forge. Was it you I fell in love with for one moment at the crest of a hill? I have a vast fear of what might have been.

Tonight I thought of Eric Satie, the composer who ate only what was white. White sugar, cauliflower, wine. Things are not as they seem. This poem, familiar, out of childhood. And Lew walking off into the forest. We hold each other up like mirrors and send occasional postcards. I am sleeping under the stories that are all true. Not true. Only fiction. The fact is, that we lie.


HORSES RUNNING THROUGH THE STREETS OF ZENIA AT NIGHT

HORSES RUNNING THROUGH THE STREETS OF ZENIA AT NIGHT
"The post is the consolation of life."
            —Voltaire

PART I

The road into Hayfork winds along a narrow valley.
In the fields, a man stops, wipes his brow and waves as we pass.
The alders and poplars shake yellow sunlight out of the sky.
I still can't get used to the idea of snow.
You say it gets old fast.
The silver twigs and trunks etched against grey sky
are familiar like an ache out of childhood.

It is difficult to start a poem
or to find the beginning of anything.
An abandoned grape arbor shades the once-tiled floor
of what we called Lew's cabin--
I can still see you along the river, green as cat's eyes.
In photographs, we are all strangers frozen on film
but in the mirror we recognize ourselves.
If only we could get to the other side of the mirror.

* * * *

In Lagunitas, Father Connery died
and so did Marie Rexroth.
As kids we thought they'd be around forever.
Grandma used to point them out in church
and tell us of the hikes into Devil's Gulch.
In old age, he was a gruff, cantankerous poet.
He didn't remember me--
a thin child on a bony bay nag.

They say Marie never got over his death
even after all those years of separation
and his other wives. She did nothing,
just let the cancer grow,
and kept his poetry dusted, waiting.
I remember stopping by her house
but there was nowhere to tie the horse.
I wanted to say to her:
bless me Marie, for I have sinned.
I am a poet.

* * * *

The De Rutte boy opened his door one night
and the Zebra Killer pulled the trigger.
As an altar boy, he served me communion.
His youngest brother was convicted
of raping and drowning an old woman in her bathtub.
His mother testifies, "He was an angel.
Wouldn't hurt a fly." She said,
"That old commie woman had bags of dope
under her house. It was her fault."
We relived the details of Mark's death.
I have friends on both sides of the courtroom.

To this day, I awaken screaming and choking
with a black weight upon my chest
and I see the edges of ghosts
even when the light is on.
A friend blames the mirrors in my house
for letting all the ghosts out
and burns sage to banish them.
It works for a while. Then they're back.
My landlady asked me to tell her father-in-law
"We love you. You have another fine grandson.
You can rest now," the next time he comes
in the night to fix my leaky faucets.

* * * *

I dreamed my grandmother had fallen
and a weight had dropped.
Her lips were blue.
During the night, a slag of iron
pierced the sagging dewlap of her arm.
I held her in my arms, thus,
as she must have held her own children
and later, me. Hallowe'en she slipped quietly off
to the other side talking of those hedgehogs
loose in the livingroom again
leaving me to face this world alone.
At night she keeps telling me they've made a mistake.
She's not dead and shakes her white head, no—
when I tell her it's true. Is it an accident
both she and Joseph Campbell chose the same day to
travel the road to Tír nan-Óg?

I dream of calling her long distance
but I haven't got the number.
In the mountains I gathered stones for her.
Jasper, obsidian, quartz. I left her food, water,
and my hair so she'd find it. Genetic code.

* * * *

In the mail today, a photo of Hayfork
suspension bridge arrives holding up the sky.
I remember a boy who grappled the bellies of steelhead
resting on the banks of Papermill Creek.
Do you remember how the fish slipped up the ladders
with a motion almost quicker than the eye can see?
The fish no longer return.

* * * *

What is better: fucking on the river rocks
in the hot sun or minutely examining
the wanderings of dung beetles
for some revelatory cipher or glyph?
After photocopying Lew's book I wrote a poem
to all those whose hands that book had passed through.
All, part of our childhood.

* * * *

To Whom it May (or May Not) Concern:

This illegal version of On Out
was photocopied during work hours
on their machine when no one was looking.
I got the original from Geoff
who got it from Chuck Sutton
who was, at the time seeing Grover Sales
(to whom this book is signed—

For Grover—
"If you can't kill it,
shoot it."

Lew
8/19/66 )

who was seeing another woman
whose room mate was seeing Geoff's brother
(I think) and Geoff who is seeing me still
so I can't steal the original yet.
This thief hopes that Lew, wherever he may be
will appreciate the spirit in which this book
(and everyone else) was taken.

* * * *
PART II
"Each particular erases from the clarity of a general idea."
—Robert Hass, "Meditation at Lagunitas"


Definition in Ten Parts for DNA

*

You ask who I am.
At four a.m., I am not "I"
but a dream as I pour your coffee.
Write me a poem about the fine line
between earth and space
and I will dream a river of blood for you.
If you return before the apples drop
it will be soon for they are picking them now.
When I come north, we'll plant trees.

*

Without definition
I feel luminous at the sight of you.
Our bodies keep us honest
if nothing else will.
They've been reading our mail.
Nothing is confidential.

*

A tunnel distills the familiar world
into a thin passage. I feel a little lost.
Am I dreaming and the rain coming down?

*

I fed you pomegranates to bring you back.
But your yard is littered with cases of beer cans
and I have seen my aunt's face
after her husband beat her during a drunk.

*

The story goes, "When God loves a mortal woman, pfffft!
She goes up in smoke when he touches her," said the monk.
Winter is coming like a cat hunkered up on a porch rail.
I rock back on my heels, Indian fashion
and weather the storm.

*

Lew said, "Poetry out to be as vigorous
and useful as natural speech."
I have no words for the loaves of craziness,
my mother—likening it to love—fed me.
I learn the inside of every hospital ward is the same green.
No one wears shoes and pens are lethal weapons.
Ring of bone. Each suicide, an attempt at life.

*

Dioxyribonucleic Acid. DNA.
Taken one syllable at a time
it becomes a simple ladder.
Double helix. Specific pairing.
Suddenly it's no longer a game.
Then the long silence.

*

A psychiatrist tells me craziness is not inherited.
Red roe floats in the silt of Papermill Creek.
Life takes strange twists and turns
until we come back to what we are.

*

I spend another season alone
and watch the moon pull on my blood.
In a Garberville motel, Suzie Campbell and Paul Turner
likening it to love, made a pact and took dead aim.
Did they make a ritual as they loaded each bullet?
Warhol's soup can; target practice with grace notes.

*

What grey kinship of brain,
black squiggles, dunghill beetles,
cartouche of phaoahs? This writing.
Who measures the sanity of psychologists or poets?
One person in five is clinically insane.
We need something to take with us before we go.

* * * *

PART III

At Hoaglin-Zenia--a one room school I teach poetry.
The soccer ball becomes a metaphor for the moon.
At lunch we talk of incest—
the 8th grader who couldn't take any more
shot her mother after graduation.
Such a fine hair trigger.

The toy uzi at your house brings it back home--
living on the mountain in the middle of nowhere
where the smallest coin is a $50 bill.
But the same attraction pulls at us, your arms
like a massive bear hold me with the weight of the life
I might have lived. The children we might have had.
And you say the postmistress still reads the mail
from the front porch of the farmhouse-cum-post office/general store.
You say hang onto those negatives because Blanche and Hank
are going down for the count.

Tonight I thought of Eric Satie, the composer
who ate only what was white.
White sugar, cauliflower, wine.
Things are not what they seem.
This poem, familiar, out of childhood.
We hold each other up like mirrors
and send occasional postcards.
I am sleeping under the stories that are all true.
Not true. Only fiction.
The fact is, that we lie.

There are no streets in Zenia.
There is no town. I made it all up.
But when the bars close in Garberville and Alderpoint
you still call me from only phone booth for miles
with the best view of Longridge and along the Eel River,
xenoliths, strange rocks that grow nowhere else in the world,
seeth and twist. In fall, the blanket of snow tucks
itself right up to the glass walls.
The last toll station in California is mechanized.
No more listening in on the line.
And Lew, with a gun to his head
walked into the forest because there was no way left
to remind the planet of its gentleness.
Hayfork is miles from Zenia or Lagunitas
and we are a half a day's journey from anywhere.

* * * *

Wednesday, October 17, 1984

Jim Dodge lecture at College of Marin

Jim Dodge at College of Marin, October 17, 1984


Jim read my favorite poem about his freerange chicken outracing the Fulton processing plant workers which made me laugh. He read many social political poems and elegies and love poems. He said they were tough subjects. I particularly liked his elegy for Jack Spicer.

He said thought Robin Blake's intro to Jack Spicer's book by Black Sparrow Press should be scrapped. He said the book the poem ends when the feeling comes. Like the darkness comes for your bones…where language is not enough…

Jim read a poem that was a letter to the editor about his dog name Homer, the audience was laughing hysterically. He said his love poems included his grandmother. Mahogany China. He said some poems you hear, and you know where credit is due. 

He read poems about magic, of how Houdini did his tricks off the barge in the Mississippi. The kiss is where the key was swapped. 

"The ferocity of obsession has obsessed me for a long time."

The conceit of the poem is that that the writer has been through past lives. I don't believe in it. I'm part Cherokee, everybody is, why not me? 

He likes Frank O'Hara's poems. And did a riff on Frank. People think I like to torture the reader I think it's just pivotal playfulness. I invented the crow to torment my dog.

He read a poem on gambling: We were living on $35 a month, I was learning cards and I had an opal ring I lost. it's a good thing about being a poet because I gave her this poem instead of the opal. Instead, I presented myself.

There are dominant and recessive traits in bad humor. Take donkeys and onions. What happens when you cross a donkey with an onion? You get an onion with big ears. He said that's the playfulness of language, you get a piece of ass that brings tears to your eyes.

People flood Jim with myriad questions and he said, I'm in a situation right now where I don't know anything, I can only ask small questions. He elaborated; the love we imagine against loneliness lost by imagining what we cannot know and knowing what we cannot have we are left even wanting more.

Question on Jim's love of gambling. Jim says: I had no money for food, there was no money to publish Fup. The first piece of prose I'd written was put up for auction, it's owned by City Miner books, which means I can't change anything.

I'm a gambling man and I live in an isolated rural environment. Gambling is for real, it's not glamorous. I grew up with a brother who was a good cardplayer and I learned out of the backseat of a car. We worked hard for money. I worked seven hours a night for 50 bucks. Maybe get a thousand a week if I was lucky.

Someone asks what Jims working on next and Jim turns the tables, saying, what's working on me? Another novel, probably a successor to Fup. I have to pursue that pressure I've imposed on myself. Some of this latest book is full of lies. 

It's a novella set in the 50s, and uses that as a structure or vehicle of being on the road—it's about a tow truck driver. About a guy who stole a car, as a gift to the Big Bopper. Someone who heard Chantilly Lace on the radio. He steals a car in hopes of meeting the Big Bopper one day. It's based on the idea, that the day music died, in Clearlake Idaho in a plane crash with Buddy Holly. 

Jim asks the audience; Does anybody know where the Big Bopper is buried? Then said, the problem with the book is, that the epigraph is better than the book.

Rock 'n' roll changed, it got wilder, then in 1965, all hell broke loose with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, so the book is about the years '59 to '65. I was a bomb baby born in 1945, so it's my era. 

Someone asks if Jim had been to Cholame, where James Dean died. Jim said the protagonist, my tow truck driver has. I take a certain latitude of invention, delivering this stolen card to the Big Bopper's grave. I'm all for the mirror of invention. There's a lot of 60s dynamic in the story. This book is an homage to poets to everyone, and the dream emerges, a marvelous eruption of human experience.

I don't think of evil but of oppression. It's up to us to change the perspective, we don't have. I'm proud of my generation. We stopped the war. When has a whole generation set up like that? I was brainwashed into thinking America was just, and moral. Nam was an idealist revolt. My peers, don't be disillusioned just because we are yuppies, and eat a lot of gelato.

It's been confusing with fame, it's been abstract, and it's been fun keeping up. I went through puberty in Labrado. Where I grew up there were four girls within 1000 miles of me, they were interested in the team players and I hated the stars. They robbed you of possibilities. Fame distorts who you are.

Novels require a lot of research. I've spent $1000 just on phone calls. Writing is a business, you'll just get ripped off if you don't pay attention, so you better know what it's about. I used to spit on lawyers and now I chew on them in poetry. With Fup came the film rights, and world rights, and universal rights, so you have to pay attention to where the royalties are going.

Someone asks do you believe in karma? Jim said his notion of karma was a direct result of human action. Predestined karma doesn't excite him very much. His uncle said You deserve the consequences you get but you don't have to like it. He turned the question back to the audience: I collect consequence does anybody else here know?

Jim Dodge: Stone Junction: An Alchemical Potboiler
Jim Dodge, Stone Junction, The Paper, Sept 27, 1990
James Dean Memorial on Highway 46

added, rev. 9/17

Friday, October 12, 1984

SHEPHERD'S SLEEP

SHEPHERD'S SLEEP

Sometimes when shadows are right
my hand traces along some curve,
something of the animal stirs
& I am savage for your flesh.
I see you dressed in leather & we talk
of buffalo & the streets of Paris.

Your cock curls down to fill a lost place
beneath the gibbous moon.
I check the wideness of my hips
& darkened aurioles.
Like betrayal, my breasts rise
when I hear my name called
& I am calling out yours in the same breath.

As we slip into the silvered orchards of sleep
we are nameless after all.
We need a buffalo robe under us
as an offering for the seed
we farm in the night.
Who is taking all the dreams
wrapped in brown silk bags?
What shepherds gather sleep?

10/12/84
radical editing job

Friday, October 5, 1984

CLARIBEL AND MUNCH BEFORE THE VOLCANO

CLARIBEL AND MUNCH BEFORE THE VOLCANO
      Dream segment involving Claribel Alegria's Flowers From the Volcano
        For Julian Beck

Edvard Munch dreams of iron beds dotting the landscape
and outside, a woman screams in the night.   
Light catches the dull gleam of your eye                           
as you are torn from sleep                             
and I feel the coolness of these bars,
cool as rainwater in this torrid place,
he said, and he listens to her vanishing in the dark.                     
Your breathing is like footsteps, like cool air. In what country?
The waters of the trench surround this bed.
This heat. I cannot swim. Will I never see home?

A faint light catches the dull gold on her hand.
In this marriage of darkness and sleep,
the iron bars of the beds grasped
during orgasm, abortion and death
keeps us anchored to the land, Claribel said,
There is no time for children.
It's all the same thing in the end.

The whiteness of her hand clutches the bars like a silent scream.
No one has ever let go of the hand holding the dream.
And we dream of our homeland, a place where we've never been.
Ashes of Izalco in my mouth. My eyes are dreaming.
Fitful sleep ties us to this bed like incomparable ropes.

He said, We breathe beside each other, 
   almost, but not quite touching.
In this conspiracy of sleep we have committed the crime
of breathing together. When they arrest us,
they will bind our hands and feet to the iron bars of this bed.
And we will be lost but they are afraid of what we are.
What remembered countries, 
iron bars placed there for you to hold?
What white doves on smooth painted iron?
I'm afraid for you. Will you never stop?

She said, They are stealing our land from us as we sleep.
Bars of the bed grasped by a woman who dreams of love or prisons—
it is the same thing. In my country, my remembered country
ashes fall like rain. Yes, they will bind us
and death keeps one anchored to the land.

Each of us sleeps alone—
especially when we sleep together, said Munch.
All that we remember sleeps with us
on the bed where the sheets bind us
like long winters of my northland.


She said, We, on this bed form new islands.
We, on these islands, form a plan of escape.
The bridge between our continents is a kiss.
The iron bars on this bed are a kiss.
The screams in the night—our hands do not touch.
Our breath like footsteps running through the dark streets,
like a woman pursued, whose scream 
       hangs like a thread across the abyss.
Why are we tied to this? Edvard, I am brushed by my own silences
and even your strong arms cannot contain the screams of a woman
We keep our ashes inside the volcano of Izalco.
Pale ashes bloom in the country of the dead, said Claribel.

Are we silently mouthing this with slack codfish jaws,
our hanging lips opening and closing like doors
where pools of sleep gush in at high tide?
There is nothing to be said, he said.
We are marooned, stranded on the rocks of this island
and the chasm keeps us from wandering in this country.
I can no longer paint, he said.

She said, The only thing tangible—
the only thing we hold, we need to let go of.
and in the letting go, we hold what we need.
We hold our need.





10/5/84
San Francisco Art Institute
Julian Beck Benefit

Wednesday, September 26, 1984

MONET AT DUSK

MONET AT DUSK
‘An artist!’ replied the man, ‘How I have captured you
galloping across the bridge like a wild pony.’
—from THE LOST PONY
—for Duane BigEagle

In a book I found a photograph of a small child—
Was it you? Beyond the edge of the page,
horses dragged wet wings across the night sky,
in search of other continents, with you hidden in their folds—
as color from a tube, as a brush to canvas—like a Monet at dusk.
Beneath our hooves, the grey cobblestone clattered;
the streets of Paris glistened with rain
as we scattered buildings reflected in puddles.

Last time I saw you, you were painting the Seine.
I remember how the color blue
slowly became the most important thing in the room
when she asked who you were sleeping with.
We balanced on the worn enamel tub;
the incessant dripping of water wore us down.

Sometimes I dream of another country,
I was homesick—the barking dogs reminded me of home.
I was homesick for my native tongue.
Do you remember the clouds?
You rode across my body;
I thought of the chipped porcelain of her breasts.
All this longing for home.
What of the mother of your son?

Once our ponies stamped a platform in the snow;
their frozen breath rang like small bells
falling in the fragile air.
On the Oklahoma plain,
the dark comma of a buffalo in snow
hyphenates death in winter,
and abbreviates the distance
of lean bellies toward spring.
I’ve kept a lock of hair all these winters
in case you needed strength,
but you were gone like a wild pony.

I remember the places we’ve never been,
and the vastness of the prairie, because Paris
opened up its sky, lost snow turned to rain—
the puddles captured and reflected buildings
scattering like horses rising on the wing.

9/26/84
Petaluma

Friday, August 17, 1984

Mt Veder 1


I awaken to the conversations of two women. The finches under the bedsheet beeped and nibbled upon its edges. The women were silhouetted against the window in the morning sun* I couldn't hear what they were saying. 

I dreampt my grandmother had fallen and the weight had dropped. Her lips were blue. A piece of iron had pierced the sagging flesh of her right elbow during the night. I hold her in my arms, thus, as she held me. I can't hear what she is saying. A woman comes in as we write, apologizing because she interrupts us, and then she leaves before she tells us anything. 

Driving down Mt. Veder, the mountains before me seem like cardboard cutouts against the solid sky. A balloon having more dimension than the mountains drifts like some great beast against the sky. Hot air rises. It is a given fact. I can't shake this sleep and the deaths I dream of—deaths of those I know and the deaths of those who are strangers. There is rust everywhere. A child's water-color set is on the table. I apply shapes of color. Soon I am carefully filling pages with color and I think of Franz Mark's blue horses in the rain and Bob was saying how close to Lascaux he died.   

Our alphabet comes from the caves of Lascaux. The calligraphy of bison before the hunt. Ochre pigment. A child finding the cave. The woman asks if I always waken like thus, and I say no, and leave, wondering why is it that I don't waken like this—the brush tracking pale yellow across the white of morning. 

My notebook tumbles down a steep embankment and lands face-down on a small overhanging branch suspended six inches above the water. Carolyn says, I'm surrounded by mothers. Are you a mother? 

I take off my kimono and thongs. I place my bare feet on the lateral earth. Poison oak lovingly strokes my ankle. I hear a car coming. As I ascend the ravine, I grab my pillows, sleeping bag, kimono and shoes. I step on my white skirt and the sound of stitches giving way like rotted flesh, or like the feeling of a job well done and I think of what we do to protect this writing. 

There is so much to write about—war, phlegm on the streets, someone wretching in the next room. I think of Lebanon, the way we ignore those in pain, the aged, death. I am shivering from what I have heard. How can I write of this? I have nothing poetic to say. 

This becomes a letter to an imaginary reader and what I really want to say is locked deep in some crevass waiting for the morning sun to melt the ice. It turns to water and disappears, turns to air before I have time to drink. I hold the brush in the air, waiting for paper.

Maureen Hurley  

Napa

Wednesday, August 15, 1984

NOT THINGS THEMSELVES

NOT THINGS THEMSELVES
To Pele, the Woman of Fire
& Amuan U, Diety of Cloud & Rain
who stood on the rim to offer love.  

Mist clings to ohias & tree ferns
The lips of the crater demark
a fine line between water & fire.
In the form of ferns
is he walking before me in the mist?
Her hot breath at my heels.
Succulent juice from berries
trickles into my mouth ­
& I take in a part of her house
in the form of fire
that surrounds his body.
Indistinct from the fog, this language
is a fine slurry of saliva & stone.
We mouth words
and wait to see who will enter  

   E Pele E
   Koahi Oa Lo
   lili aina
   E Pele E   

Over black lava, a rainbow forms
an immutable arc because love is infinite.
His body becomes her house,
her house, his body—
not things themselves
but temples shedding the same skin
where orchids bloom in their wake.   

7/84?    Volcano HI
But it looks like the first prose was written 8/9-10/84, so I'm moving it to August 15. I must've worked on it at Napa, then put down the wrong date. If I extensively revised a poem, sometimes the creation date suffered. But this seems pretty straightforward.

see prose Kamapua'a and Pele on Kilauea

WAITING FOR RAIN

WAITING FOR RAIN

She gathers up the veils about her
and rushes blindly forward
like some incense clouding the altar.

Like palm roots spread upon the shallow land
unripened men lie dormant in fallow fields
waiting for rain.

8/15/1984
Napa

The Napa Flasher


Monday, August 13, 1984

Hawaii Journal, August 4 -12, 1984


July 31 
(see Letter to Jim Byrd: Mid-Ocean, Enroute to Oahu) Well, there's land out there— Must be getting close. Mauna Kea. Through the clouds, the low flat tongues of Molokai's shore. 

Oahu: The water is so warm, I had forgotten the sheer joy of it all. Welcome to Hawaii. I'd forgotten about the slow pace here. In spite of 9 million tourists, Waikiki is still manages to be friendly. Waikiki is like Disneyland, or LA shrunk into a dream.

I'm in a room crammed with first-time haoles and not so haole visitors. Very difficult to think. Heavy. Pacalolo means I no can remembah, with an H. So much for intellect. Wish I could leave. Hanamua Bay is waiting, and all those fish....

It is so beautiful here, how can anyone possibly make plans for anything?

August 4
Waikiki, Oahu. Coconut palms grow along the shore, the green nut extracts clear water from the saline sea. We punch a hole in the coconut with a screwdriver. 

The Vietnamese man told me how he gave a local a ride back from Hanamua Bay. Passing the coco palms, he reminisced of the foods he ate in Vietnam. He said: I've been here 10 years. Not the same. The native Hawaiian ran up the coco palm and picked me ten coconuts. It took me four trips to get them all back to my hotel room, he said. 

Seeing me on the lanai above, he offered me a drink placing the straw in the hole. We sip the faintly perfumed water tasting of traces of salt. There is a drought in Oahu, he said, tourists flush water into the bay while residents take turns watering their lawns. Coco palms grow along the shores of Waikiki, making their own water slowly, slowly.

After the canoe regatta, the women winners say, as the coach falls asleep at the Jolly Roger restaurant at the Coconut Plantation. Our coach goin' down. How you do, Miss Chang? Shaka. Hang in there brah. I not forgettin' notin'. He standed up against the door thing.

August 5
In the hotel I am meeting no one but the shopkeepers and I swap tales of homeland and of journey. Traveling alone, feeling safe, no need to worry.

At the zoo fence, a watercolor artist  and I discussed left-handedness and right brain theories. We are defining the role of discipline and art. I came here to write. So far it's all been rubbish. But I'm collecting so much data I feel viscerally ill after each day. 

Polynesian paralysis has taken ahold, slowly it comes when you sleep, and it stealthily slips in like an errant lover into your waiting arms. I keep losing my camera, my keys, my wallet, camera bag, and I am nonplussed. I'm not losing them, I keep misplacing them and then can't remember where I've put them. 

Small kids clamber over and say hi hi hi. We smile, the best of friends. Kathy's nephew Mike and I putter around Hanamua Bay on a raft, we're sharing a snorkel. It's if they were all my children and we are all friends. I discovered how easy it is to be 10 years old again. 

There is something about the Hawaiian tongue that takes hold like a religion. I want to chant Napali, Napali, Napali. I find place names, searching for a place in within me. Lihue, mahi-mahi, Hanalei, pakalolo, talk-talk pigeon. Soon not long you talk like natives. Sentence structure and grammar are as cumbersome as a wool sweater in the tropics. No slack key here. Dakine. English as we know it becomes obsolete. I am convinced the tropics put you into permanent right brain mode. 

Right brain is capable of simple language structure and expletives aren't difficult to dredge up. Listen to the language of the tropics, an excellent reason for Polynesian paralysis. Right brain is inhabiting the timeless creative mode, full of concepts. Left brain is the administrator in Hawaii, and even administrators get a little slack key sometimes. Shaka brah! Hang loose.

August 6 
I spend days in paradise waiting to write something inspiring, earth shattering, nothing comes out. What words can compete with this truly soft caress of the ocean air and the warm blue water breathing on long reaches to the coral sand?

Honopu Trail: Passion fruit, small wild fuchsias, I eat red berries similar to huckleberries, and other berries like blackberries. It is so dense, so much undergrowth, I keep my arms and camera above my head. My feed follow a path I can't see. I notice how similar the land is—yet, different. Volcanic soil, blood-red, caked like adobe, yet slippery and porous. The trail I'm on is more than poorly maintained, it hasn't been maintained in years. So many down trees, walking is difficult. More like crawling.

August 7
I feel like I'm coming home to Kauai'i, a place where it never been. Every major movie with those lush tropical scenes was filmed here. Bali Hai rises above us. It's truly what the song says it only rains in the mornings and evenings.

Hanalei: I take the Island Voyager up the Na Pali Coast, and see frigatebirds, tropicbirds, egrets, lava tubes, and caves, we breathe the warm ocean breath from the inside of a sea cave. I swim with sea turtles, barracuda, porpoises, and large schools of mannini.

The water is much cooler than Hanamua Bay. I am transfixed by iridescent seaweed, sea cucumbers, white and pink coral tinged with lavenders and blues. The ride back home was rough. All those following waves. He went inside to see crater, open to the sky – like the wall the Chichén Itzá. Lava tubes sleeping with waterfall to the ocean.

North of Hanalei, there are one-lane bridges, lush vegetation, philodendron, water hyacinth – all in lavender hues. This looks like the South Pacific. I wear a crocheted Bali top with two large hibiscus strategically placed, at the center of those flowers is an offering of life. Women wear hibiscus as large as their faces, behind their ears, and nothing seems out of place. Color has a way of getting tamed on the islands. In Waimea, an orange truck was almost invisible against the red earth.

A father instructs his son to find a yellow fruit, it's ripe, he says, Suck on it but don't eat the seeds. You have to really want passionfruit it's like pomegranate, only it's orange, and not as juicy—you have to want it passionately.

Over Maui: In this place where land is at a premium, the military is still using Kahoʻolawe, the smallest of the Hawaiian Islands, for target practice, Its tallest point, 1,483 ft, reaches out for help. Kaho'olawe is part of Maui Nui —the original island of Hawaii. The Target Island, Its red lands bleed into the sea, she is curled up, fetus-like as if in pain.

Oahu: at this point I have the instructions for evacuation memorized. It is always good to know all possible escape routes. Crash landing sleep little choice. 

Over Pearl Harbor Quonset huts covered with trees, strange arches, caves where men lived during the war. This flight makes two stops. I'm making the most of it. In high-altitudes, liquor works quicker. The DC-9 gets to a Oahu too fast and we get merry belting our beers down in five minutes. flat. Someday I will see all the islands.

See:
August 8 At the coffee plantation, Hawaii journal
August 8 Kona Lagoon, Hawaii journal
August 9 Ke'ie Beach, Hawaii Journal

August 9-10
Big Island. Mauna Loa's curtain of fire. Pele migrated from Nihoa to Halemao'oma'u, in the Kīlauea cauldera. Pele brought offerings of fruit, leis, fish and pigs. As I stand in front of the seismograph, I watch four earthquakes, and two volcanic tremors being recorded within three minutes. It's a seismic calligraphy dance.

Forbidden fruit: While drinking Kirin beer and eating mahimahi sashimi, I think of him, and the fire we both are. Is it balanced, or would we consume each other in our hunger. 

See prose notes Kamapua'a and Pele on Kilauea, which becomes the poem, NOT THINGS THEMSELVES.

August 10
Saturday I spent the day snorkeling. Ed took me to keep a beach Ke'ei beach onto the place of refuge like the edge of a caldera, an exquisite reef, steep mountains of coral, and fish of every description. I swam over 20-foot cliffs without fear and over the blueness of the caldera, such peace. I hope it will stay with me during those times when life gets rough.

August 11 see Letters to Pele, Hawaii journal, Volcano

August 12 
Captain Cook. From the kitchen window I can make out the palm trees of the place of refuge, Pu'uhonua O Honaunau. They say that those who broke kapu, could flee to the city, and seek asylum, but they had to run 5 miles barefoot over ropey lava, while stones were thrown at them. If they made it to the place of refuge, they were safe, but when they did, what did the stones have to say?

Kona, Captain Cook. My cousin Eddie quotes from T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland, while we pick coffee berries in the rain. And he talks about asylum, a place where we all have lived at one time or another. The fragrant coffee blossoms are like gardenias. Ed says they're related.

August 13
After spending five days with Ed, I am content with my visit. It seems that we never get tired of each other, it's as if I've known him all my life. This is one friendship I cherish. So easy, the meals, the boasts, complaints, secrets, and the laughter we shared at everything under the sun. He is as flippant as I am. I will be sad to go. But go, I must. Time to catch the inter-island shuttle to connect to the Red Eye out of Honolulu.


Oakland airport: it's now 5 AM Hawaiian time. Two guys play frisbee in the Oakland terminal arrival lane. I am so sleepy and eager to get home. This time the timing seems right, although I am saddened by the thought of leaving Ed, and I do love the Big Island. Aloha, mahalo nui.

added 9/17, revised