Wednesday, June 24, 1987

Napa State Hospital Poetry Journal, June 24

Napa State Hospital Poetry Journal, Day 5

6/24, Wednesday. Nothing scheduled. Linda Wargo's class was canceled at the last minute. These things happen. A riot, a lockdown, and everybody loses. So I hang out with the typewriter and Patricia ushers likely prospects my way.

I got a Canon type star six typewriter that has a three line memory that allows me to type and print poems out at Napa. That process instantaneously makes a radical difference in how people respond to the writing process. Immediate reward.
Peter D Berkeley communist revolutionary he tells me his fiancée jumped off the Golden gate Bridge and will bring a poem later.

On the outside why I'm here were our writing prompts.

Peter tells me, We had an unique situation in Marin. We had a teacher, Sam Johnson, at College of Marin, who led us, who brought us books, we wouldn't have been able to otherwise read. He was eventually hit by a truck.

Someone else and don't let that man have any magazines. He's a child molester. There's a picture of kids and babysitting them.

In the library I run into Sally Lacy, my mom's old friend from the Sausalito days. My mom, Sally Lacy, Sally Stanford, Juanita Musson, Sausalito's bad girls. These women were my early mentors. Sally tells me she's from Ward Q1. There's a payphone near their very big deal. 

Well, Mom told me to look out for Sally Lacy here. Sally was standing by the world globe, muttering and looking for Malaysia. The librarian asked her, Do you want to meet a poet? She said NO. And fiercely spun the globe. I recognized her voice. I said: Tell her Kellé's daughter is here to see her. Kellé who? She asked, trying to place the name. Kellé Green, I said. Startled, Sally turned toward me, recognition, dawning, and asked what on earth are YOU doing here? Thinking I too was an inmate. 

Sally tells me I look just like my mother, she says. Spitting image. We talked about my mother and caught up on old times.  She wants to know how Kellé is doing. It's always a variable thing, I say.

It is eerie, even uncanny to be sitting across the table from Sally in the library, knowing that I knew her way back when—when I was very young. And here she is now, the blonde bombshell, now a crone, tongue thick from medication, dry mouth, missing teeth. smeary mascara, Is that what's in store for me? A sobering thought. I didn't ask what atrocity brought her here.

I put up a display of my paintings and poetry in the library, and I made and mailed flyers and sent them to all the words.

Scheduling problems again. I'm trying to work with more groups. Too much slack time. We spent most of the afternoon trying to fill vacancies. Clearly I'm not good with downtime. I could use the time to write, but I'm easily distracted, and it's hard to concentrate in this strange place.

Chuck comes up, and spontaneously dictates a poem to me. You have to be ready to assemble the parts—to borrow from David Meltzer. I'm glad they are beginning to see me as town scribe. But the impulse and urgency to get it down take over everything else. I feel like I'm up at bat, the bases are loaded, and I'm on strike two.

Inside Chuck's locker

A domain
Artistic paintings
Four corners
A picture in the middle
Three cats
A picture of a woman 
down below a rainbow 
underneath a tunnel
It has a saying on there
Once upon a time
A story
A hat
Went to autumn
Come cat
Brittle star
A windmill, 

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