Wednesday, April 23, 1986



Movements among the blackbirds 
golden flecks and mica lakes 
captured in the corner of the eye.
In this way, words swell like an evening tide 
across a desert of granite and cactus 
and Russian caviar....
and then it all escapes into the dream.

added/rev. 2/17



Listen to the luft and rattle 
of palm trees across the pond.
Only the wind can obscure the moon.
Lean towards the center.
The approach is like the obscure clarity
of dream of the first water.
Night rises from the well,
so like the sound of wind.
Incredible as it seems 
the caesura and the notes 
stretch across time and space,
to play a melody we can all comprehend.

added 2/17
re to make tenses agree

Monday, April 21, 1986



A tearful winter cloud waited 
while the rooster danced in winter 
Coastal clouds, 
a rooster wants to dance in the sun 
Winter patiently waits while roostertail 
clouds dance across the sky.


The magician of the north
pointed past the insectivores plants
snapping in a rage for rare meat.

added 2/17


During the steep night
owls shift seasons with the moon
Ruddy sky slips from
The western phase of the equinox.
When will we pass this way again
and call out names
like cattle lowing in the sun?
Horses hungrily tear at the grass
as if it were the last handhold
left on a sliding earth.


Who is this beast breathing beside me
like some forgotten ancestor
coming for recognition in the night
to give me new colors for dream
to shake me from the womb
where breathing began
beneath the skin of the ocean?

Sunlight surreptitiously slips 
out to reveal the age of reason.
Tattered cannibals devour the darkness
And the beast arises from the swamp.

Dust beneath, dust above.
Winged half-moons in symmetric repetition.

Why so sweet
Why so yellow
So sun, so moon.

Civilizations rise and fall 
by the edge of this fruit.

Added 2/17

Some of this writing becomes the framework for LUNAR, ECLIPSE, MULEGE



As we approach the Bay Bridge toll plaza
the guy driving the red Honda 
finishes up a close shave. Pats his cheeks.
In another lane, a man is poring over 
the stock exchange, the newspaper
slumped over the steering wheel like a blanket.
He's squinting, I worry about his eyesight, 
and the relative safety of driving during rush hour.
I finish off my apple down to the core.
Spin it on its axis. El mundo.
Two Mexicans roll down their window 
and ask, Si? and laugh. Please.
Another driver adjusts his headphones, 
taps out a complicated beat on his steering wheel 
with dueling pens. I can see that he's a drummer.
Everybody's multi-tasking while driving 
in their hermetically sealed cars. 
I'm the only one with my car window open,
and I worry about what eating happy meals 
while commuting does to one's digestion.
I marvel at the dexterity of those businessmen 
while I, the poet, haphazardly scribe it all down
between the blue lines of my notebook,
glancing up at the last minute, just in time
to see the warning flash of the red taillights 
of the car in front of me.

added/rev. 2/17



Sunlight surreptitiously
slips out from under rocks
to reveal the age of trees.

Dust beneath us,
dust above.
Pale green bloom on leaves
like spores.
Winged half-moons
in symmetrical repetition.

why so sweet
why so yellow
sun and moon

The beast rises from the swamp.
Tattered cannibals
devour this darkness.

Civilizations rise and fall
by the edge of this fruit.

When will we pass this way again
calling out the names of cattle
on the last handhold of sliding earth?

4/21/ 1986

Monday, April 14, 1986

Broadside: Homage to Ken Poff, by David Fisher

April is the cruelest month. A broadside found in Donna Champion’s copy of Boschka Layton’s book, Prodigal Son, published in 1982. So, I suspect we were having a memorial reading for Boschka at the Russian River Writers’ Guild or perhaps a memorial at Paul Mariah’s place in Sonoma—some time in April of 1984, and David Fisher must’ve showed up to read as well. Hence the broadside in her book, marking the title poem of the book. Manroot Press’s Love Poems: Homage to Houseman by Samuel M Steward. So, though I found this in 2018, on somewhat of a pilgrimage of remembrance, I’m posting it on the date of Ken’s death. I remember Ken as a slight, grey sort of man. Dear friend and lover of Paul Mariah. And Paul’s guilt, of course. And the certainty he lived with that he too would follow Ken, so every day he survived the dread disease was filled with grace and guilt. Those who survived the longest shouldered that burden of grief unto the next decade. Or century. I'm not sure when Ken died, but he was still alive and kicking at Helen Luster's memorial in March ofo 1985. His big, beautiful grin shedding light.

Ironically, Paul didn't contract AIDS, He refused to get tested for years, but died of pneumonia in January 1996.

Posted 10/24/18

See Letter to David Fisher

Tuesday, April 1, 1986



The earth beside me
like a sea breathing on sand
I place my hand upon
the cowlike vision of trees
grazing on the sky
their trunks, vast straws
to suck up particles of the sky
that have fallen into the lake.

April 1986 
added 2/17



Walking between the wooden boats
she tests the white coral sands with her heel
her delicate inner arch
like the inside of a conch shell
her thin brown leg
long muscled, fleet, deer-like.

The carbon blue sword edged horizon
floats above her head.
She holds her hand to her face,
a shy gesture,
as if to balance the angle of her heel
or her head against gravity.

After spreading the nets to dry,
the fisherman walks over to greet her
the curve of the boat
is like the curve of her cheek.

And the unbelievable blue skin of the ocean.

April 1986
added 2/17

Freewrite on anger

It's a lot of work
to be mad inside all the time
like when you get steamed
and everything seems wrong
and you want to take on
the whole human race
in a free-for-all
like there was nothing else
to die for.

Pulling knives each time it hurts my mind,
this postal warning of death
sent to the wrong address with postage due.
We fold small memories
and put them inside manila envelopes
because at the time
it seemed like the logical thing to do.
These difficult sad things
we've all had somebody die
at one time or another.

When I get mad,
I throw a tantrum
and expect everything
to take care of itself.
And when it doesn't
I get sick to my stomach
and nothing will make it go away.
She was dead couldn't stamp her feet
nor cry
and it stayed all inside
until one day there was an explosion
like when a flowerpot drops.

1 April 1986
John Oliver Simon's workshop on nothing