Monday, March 25, 1985

JAMES WRIGHT'S DEATH

ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF JAMES WRIGHT'S DEATH


On the night stand, a postcard of Maui
from John Logan who wrote of Merwin's place—
how the angle of ceiling to sea cliff
affects the colors of sky and cloud
like pulverized shells of robin's eggs.

What I remember of that beach was not
the twinned hands of sea and sky or robin's eggs,
but the bright multiple wounds of tiny flowers
and cardinals against the shadowed depths of jungle.

On the anniversary of James Wright's death,
he said they burned incense in the dojo,
Buddha's belly glowed red,
& the geckos; careless parents—
left their eggs on the lanai, in the kitchen,
on the ceiling of the zendo, where I swept them up—
imperfect eyes of the sun.

3/25/1985
rev. 1989

1989 Chaminade Literary Review 

Sunday, March 24, 1985

Journal entry, The anniversary of James Wright’s death

Last night I was in San Francisco staying in Gene Ruggles’ guest bedroom. I slept in the room reserved for John Logan, and I read a postcard poem of Maui and his visit to WS Merwin‘s place. He wrote how the angle of ceiling to cliff affected the color of the sky. 

Today is the anniversary of James Wright’s death. And I haven’t written a poem in ages. All these lines are bouncing and now I’m imagining that I’m sitting in Albion where I saw the water snake swimming along the bottom of the ditch full of standing water. I had never seen a snake slide along the bottom of water before. He poked his head tiny head up for a breath, looking like a stick with a tiny forked tongue flittering, testing the breeze.

And Leonard Cirino told me how the pygmy forest soil doesn’t perk water so Leonard‘s house was red tag last summer. The well made everyone sick. Now the new pump delivers water to the heart of the house. But the ground holds water, it can’t shake the memory of  marine terraces. It dreams of the ocean pounding along its shore instead the soft winds and irregular tides rustling through the cypress needles and the ground sighs with the faint color of bleached bones fallen from the ancient trees.

On a scrap of paper, undated, later coerced into a poem on 3/25/85. So I’ll post it there for now.

Friday, March 15, 1985

IMPOSSIBLE QUESTIONS, AFTER NERUDA


Why is it so difficult
 to fit an elephant under your desk?
Why is there lightning first, 
when thunder sound so dark?
Why do leaves grow upward 
when gravity keeps us in check?
Why do pencil stay slim 
when somebody shouts insanities?
Should we use paper for houses, 
when glass is hard to write on?
Are we really here 
when Gertrude Stein said there is no there there?
What you come out tonight like teeth in the jar?
Why didn't the three blind mice come home 
when the three Wiseman went stargazing?
Why does September begin the shellfish season 
when shellfish, who aren't fish, 
can't turn the pages of a calendar?
How can you listen to the tundra tumbling in summer 
when the ears of the desert are frozen shut?

March 1985 
Mrs. Milia's class 
Mark West School
added 2/18