Monday, February 29, 1988

KEEPING DREAMTIME ALIVE

KEEPING DREAMTIME ALIVE


In the Caribbean, fish once took rainbow directions 
from the sky to cloak themselves in magic 
and they wore the first colors to inhabit the earth.

In the Arctic and the Antarctic realms
blue invented itself because ice,
once part of the sky, was lonely for itself. 

At Ayers Rock the red of ancient stones
was dusted with chalk handprints 
to keep Dreamtime alive another 40,000 years. 
When the last artist died, eons slipped into dreamlessness. 
The shaman's grandson leaves a handprint, 
but he doesn't know the sacred rites or the stories.

A part of poetry has died.

The last keeper of the old ways to die 
is the man who knows the burial rights.
He cries himself to sleep knowing, 
because there is no one else left
who knows the proper way of burial, 
he will not join his ancestors.
No one will place his spinal bones in the cave 
so he too may enter into Dreamtime.

In Guatemala, the jungle dresses itself in green 
like parrots budding on branches. 
Soldiers absentmindedly click their machine guns,
the color of commerce and domination.


2/1988
slightly edited
added 9/15/2016


Tuesday, February 23, 1988

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

What's in a name?

Baba – my baby name, baby in Irish.
Grandmother in Russian. Babushka.
My grandmother's scarf. Baa baa black sheep.
Ali Baba. Enlightened thief. Either I named myself,
Or my grandparents named me teacher, Baba, holy man, sadhu.

I was called Baba to distinguish me
from my mother, also a Maureen. She hated her name –
but she hated her middle name even more. Helen.
She had a face that moved men to madness.
So she called herself Kelly, after working for the Kelley Girls.
She married a man named Tom Green, then she was Kelly Green.
An Irish colleen. Why Maureen? My grandmother's dead,
I can't ask her why, Maybe Maureen O"Sullivan.
Maureen meant I was in trouble. 
Baba was good baby, loved baby.

Little Mary – little bitter one –from Miriam – 
the rebellious dancer who took a timbril in her hand 
and all the women followed her with timbrils in their hands. 
Seek ye unto the Lord. The horse and rider were thrown into the sea. 
Maura, the little dark one. Or even Marinita, little one, she of the sea.

My school nickname was Mo
after the Beatles, Steph calling me Mo. 

Oh, you plant the pain in my heart
with your wistful eyes,
girl of my choice, Maureen
will you drive me mad for the kisses
your shy sweet mouth denies, Maureen.

That wasn't me.
Viola – violets, the sweet scent edible purple.
My unknown father's mother's name. Shy retiring flower –
and Johanna—God has been gracious, gracious gift of God,
 or victorious one in Sanskrit.

Hurley – a child of the sea and tides.
A bishop boiled in oil who would not denounce God for Ireland.

Someone once said to name your child 
with an astrological balance of elements.
Water controls wood and destroys mental.
To balance earth, fire, air, water, metal and wood
allows the universal order to run smoothly through one's life.

But I am fire surrounded by fire, born on the watered cusp of Scorpio. 
I am surrounded by lions, Gemini rising, the twins, the Piscean moon.
I flair, burning bright, then, retreat to the sea.
I am fire. I am most sustained and soothed by water.
Sagittarius, the archer, the centaur, half-man – half beast. 
And I dream in the coinage of horses galloping to the sea.

2/23/1988
added 9/15/2016

an expanded version
WHO BUT I

Thursday, February 18, 1988

Journal: Sonoma Mountain



I couldn't help but notice the beauty of late afternoon in early spring when enough winter light keeps a certain suspense in the air, shadows not quite juxtaposed in equal measurements.

But the yellow light of mustard in shadow, is moving into green, until you can no longer detect the difference of new grass in sunlight, or mustard in shadow. Both take on that greeny light that transparent depths of summer pools. 

Maps of the seasons on the grass, the edges of the mountain. St. Helena's shoulders. How much better I understand the earth when I hike in the hills. 

Sonoma Mountain. I carry a bruise the size of a football on my side when we panicked,diving for cover as a truck cruised by too slow on the fireroad—we're trespassers.

I have trouble with the notion of those, unworthy of the land, having financial ownership of it, imposing also spiritual ownership of the land. We are stewards here, all of us.

John's foot uncovers a flake of obsidian, a gift from the first stewards of this land.

imagine this place with no fences, no houses.

Piecing together the tiny yards into a quilt, I get a glimpse of what it must've been like here, but I want to see large tracts of unsliced, undigested land. 

I bring back pumice from the summit of Sonoma Mountain near the top of the ridge, there is a natural megalith, like a large tooth. I wrap my body around it clockwise, then counter clockwise—cycle of the seasons. 

So many dead to appease. Dave, my grandmother, Ron, the drowned man of Puerto Escondido. All those dead in the jungles and dirt roads of Central America. 

I have nine months more of grieving for my grandmother and within that time, I'll continue to move rocks from summit to summit because it's the only thing that seems worthwhile doing. I said a prayer for the dead, and the undead. And the wounded I think. 

The last aborigine who knew the burial rights, had no one to bury him, no one to pass the tribal information onto, and the last artist cannot share the significance of the stories to the uninitiated. So with his death, 40,000 years of uninterrupted poetry was put to rest. I want to tell him it isn't all lost, this voiceless approach to the universe, can you hear and understand it isn't gone forever?

Yes, 40,000 years of dreamtime lost. Look what we white folks have done to this place in 150 years. 40,000 years from now, will anything but plastic survive us?

And Homo sapiens, a mere drop in the bucket of time. We are the AIDS virus of the earth. Not much to be thankful for. The ozone it disappears, how much did I kill with today's cup of coffee, shared with Fred?

Journal notes Napa, Dave Evans' death


Driving back from the hospital, I couldn't help but think of Dave Evans, realizing he's dead and no longer living on Evan Street. Kristine and the new baby. Was it the arrival of the baby who killed Dave in the end? Born into this world with a heart problems, and the irony of Dave dying within months of his birth from a heart attack. Circular file. Kris is keeping mum about the inevitable questions that arise. Did I put in my foot in my mouth telling Dave's daughter, Lee, that her father had had a vasectomy? I thought everyone knew. And Kris saying: God had different plans for us. He sure did. More than we bargained for. But that's the way it is with the capricious gods. Be careful of what you wish for. And now she's a widow. My heart aches for her. And for the baby. And for Lee who has no one to help her shoulder this burden of grief.

Letter to my Napa State Hospital Poetry Students, 2 /18/1988


Letter to my Napa State Hospital Poetry Students
Castles in the Sky Poetry Reading and Book Signing

This is for Liebel, the one-legged, who remembered the poetry of Nazim Hikmet, who thought the T-12 group poem was good. Liebel who also thought our duet poem was also very good, Liebel who wanted to send copies of the poems out to all his friends. Did I have some stamps? Would I mail them for him?

This is for wall-eyed Cecil who came down to earth long enough to read his poem to the group.

This is for Mike who, after 14 years, finally has a new pair of glasses—trifocals—who said he didn't know if he still knew how to read, who like to read his poems out loud to everyone he met.

Ned who's still writing, said that got some love poems published and he proudly told me that they even took some of his earlier work too. No matter that it's a vanity press, costing him $40 a copy for the book. Why should I destroy his pleasure? Would I buy a copy, he asks. Ned, who set his poems to music, all of them, is reading his own poems and other inmates' works.

I learn that Liebel said some books of his poems are coming out – from the words of Bonnie and Brooke, the only two that showed up from his group. I wish more people had come. We signed poetry books and we wish each other well. The patients are wanting to work with me again. We faced the tenuousness of goodbye.

Bonnie tells me that Marcus is out of Napa and living in San Francisco. I have a moment of uneasiness, hoping men who murder their mothers keep it in the family, so to speak. But he is a good writer. I wish him well.

So many on the inside, so many on the outside. Who will survive in either place?

Patricia felt the patients really enjoyed the workshops. She begins to play her broken record complaint about the staff. I gently derail her by saying, we can't make the staff over. But with promises of future work, we part. We both know it won't happen.

I confess to the patients how I was terrified to come here and work with them. I came away pleased with what I had learned about madness, myself, and my own work. I came away with far more that I gave. Everybody so open and vulnerable. Such is the soul of poetry.

It was interesting to be able to compare the adult Napa State Hospital patients' experiences with the high school boys this morning. They have no idea how much freedom they have. Or how good they have it. 

The teacher keeps repeating how they have low skills (say it enough and they will believe you). But none of them are anywhere near as disabled as the Napa State Hospital crew. Poets who rose to the challenge and opened their hearts to poetry.

I marvel at how much closer to poetry the Napa State Hospital inmates are than these out-of-control teenagers—some of whom will eventually wind up here too. Their spirits having failed, their veins filled with drugs, their bodies will become a shell, not a home. 

This much I can't tell them. They will need to work it out for themselves. I wish them well. And am on my way down the long road home for the last time...long shadows in the canyons.

2 /18/1988 (I think)


Sunday, February 14, 1988

Woven Valentine for Sonoma State Art form the Heart Art Auction

After traveling in Guattemala, I made several woven paper valentines for Sonoma State Art from the Heart Art Auction. Not sure of the date.  Watercolor on morilla board, collage, 8x10" I wrote a poem round the edge, but I can't read it. This is a photocopy, so I guess it sold.




Not sure of the date on this one possibly 1987, or 88.




I was making these, and it's probably where I got the idea.

Tuesday, February 9, 1988

Journal Entry, CPITS, Mendocino Oil Spill

2/9/1988 noon on Tuesday.

This place I have come to after sporadic attempts to write in the altered state with the 20th-century pressing upon me, expecting to learn tools to make managing time easier, I discover I have slowly begun to learn to spend less time on the struggle. Though I do not write daily or even weekly, I am not as concerned though I vowed to write more often.

Cecelia's workshop inspired me to find the original pleasures of writing.

Yesterday I spent rewriting my notes from the Mendocino offshore oil hearing. Tom shortened my piece by at least by 1/3. Still, I think I will be pleased with the end result. He promises a double truck spread replete with photos. That's a big deal in the newspaper bizniz.

So, though I'm not writing, poetry every day, I am involved with language, whether it's teaching kids, or grant writing, or being a paparazzi.

Celia said: Consider all writing your work.

Though I have a grant due come on Thursday, a CAC artist in residency grant at Mark West school, and I've just barely begun to crack it, I'm not worried. The coast took first precedence.

I'm fighting back in the only way I know how, with media. Maybe I will do some more journalism. Though it makes me even busier than I already am.

Today I managed to pull 14 pages of writing from my journals. Some are poems already, others have decent material. I'm surprised by how much good material I do have. I tend to think of that my unconscious writing is not real writing. Because the Muses haven't properly tortured me enough until I have no choice but to write.

If I do more of this, will I have lots more poetry? People are all asking for work. From the birth of a poem to final product, it's such a slow process. I've had an extraordinarily publishing record as of late, not the rejections of course, I didn't send that many poems out but then I don't write much either.

I continue to send poems to small journals. My desire is to publish a single poem several times if it's good, it should be out there. I'm not of the single poem, single journal school. Poetry journals have such small print runs. Usually less than a thousand copies.

Cecelia Woloch wants more work for Blue Window. Green Fuse took some work and Creative Discourse took work as well. They took Tocaloma Road, and another piece—I think. On April 23rd, they want me to do a reading with David Best. I'm very pleased and excited to read with my old College of Marin friend.

I wonder how much my two valentine sold for at the Sonoma State art auction? I heard that  a lot of people attended. I was too sick to go myself and besides we were at a CPITS meeting at Point Bonita. John felt so sad that I had misted as my own art show, was as if it was my fault. It was the CPITS logo's fault. A brouhaha over a logo.

Anyway, time is pressing in on me and I feel I shall have to return to my grant if I want a job next year. Pure and simple.

Friday, February 5, 1988

TURNING STONES (layer of Marine Haze)

TURNING STONES


I am a mover of small rocks.
From Monte Alban I bring small pottery sherds
to Mount St Helena. I leave volcanic rocks
for my dead grandmother and take quartz crystals
from the mountain.

On the ridge facing the ocean
I've made a triangle of stone cairns.
Four vultures wheeling, circling as their want—
shiny black feathers in the deep forest
and blueschist
converging over my altar of stones—
I left them corn and bread,
water and sage smoke.

We invent ritual.
The elequence of necessity crystalizes all thought
into the single vortex of the sea
churning and rising like a cover
over sleeping bodies.
The sea answers, she is our mother.
These shells, these rocks are our gifts.

The passage of a soul is marked
in the muted silver of bracelets,
dentalium and jaspar.

In the firepit, rounded cobbles—
What quarry gave them birth?
I've begun to speak of things
I never knew I knew.

We are learning new languages to keep us on shore
and I am a camera facing the iris of my eye—
the diaphragm, open and close, open and close
like the contracting and expanding universe.

I dream of machine guns in the jungle
and of falling over backwards.
I dream of sickness
and of rolling with desire on the grass with wolves—
After all, we are pack animals.

On the day Robert Duncan died
I dreamed of the green meadows I am called to
again and again.



2/5/88



first draft

MARINE HAZE

Layer of marine haze tinged with rust  
the ozone layer growing, 
closing in biological rhythms
dedication to death
the healing power of green
and the magenta fire 
The man in the garden with the guitar
surveys his handiwork strums a few chords 
to make the sun rise
and Euridice looking back over her shoulder
where darkness sat waiting to find
the center of her eye to dazzle her 
with paradox
How much of this world 
we savor without knowing it 
The word beauty had little meaning 
for me as a child
In the firepit, rounded cobbles
what quarry gave them birth
the comforting chirruping of robins 
scratching for a meal in the chaparral
The dead arrive on my doorstep 
a present from the cat
now in cybernetic sleep in my freezer
so I can paint it later
It's time to draw robins again
Four vultures circled
three from the east and one from the south
they converged over my altar of stones 
I left them corn and bread 
juice and sage smoke 
instructions from the north  
I am a mover of small rocks 
from Monte Alban in Oaxaxa
I bring a small pottery sherd 
to place into the niche of rock on Mt St Helena
named after a Russian princess
We invent ritual
I take back five rocks and the huge crystal 
I find becomes my talisman
At my childhood rock
the megalith in the hill on Christmas 
a ritual to my grandmother who first brought me here
and the sorrow hanging over me in waves  
caught between laughter and rock 
I leave volcanic red rocks from the princess
and take quartz from my natal grounds
On the ridge facing the ocean I build
my third cairn with rocks from the princess 
and from home
I've made a triangle of stone cairns
a web to keep me safe  
At the rock &a bluejay mimicking a hawk 
was my gift
that same bluejay stealing my poems
four vultures wheeling, circling as their want
shiny black feathers in the deep forest and blueschist 
I understand something more about the geology 
a have become an obsessive conniseur of rocks  
igneous, franciscan, metamorphic
that' s rule no. 7 but I've forgotten all the rules
and the american flag over the bunkers 
keeps whipping out prayers to the wind 
what does it pray for invasion at this old army fort? 
The sea answers, she is our mother
these shells, these rocks are our gifts
and we will clean oil from the dead wings of birds
if necessary because we were born into this
the passage of a fellow soul is marked
in the muted silver of my bracelets
dentalium and jaspar 
the churning breathing sea
I've begin to tell of things I never knew I had inside
the whispering of women all those sea sounds
surcease of wave crunch of rock
rolling of tires on pavement 
coyote bush in bloom
time out people laughing
Just keep going one says and I do  
the whisper of the sea, the flag 
we are learning new languages to keep us on our shores
and I am a camera facing the iris of my thoughts 
the diaphragm open and close open and close
like the contracting and expanding universe 
I capture frozen snippets of emotion 
after two days of testemony for the sea I still cry
the elequence of necessity crystalizes all thoughts 
into the single vortex of the sea
churning and churning 
rising like a cover over sleeping bodies 
and I dreamed I was in the city house again  
the twin beds of my grandparents
hiding their forms under blankets as if dead, in sleep
The man who rises from the bed is 
not my grandfather
he looks smooth with the ladies 
he tells me not to disturb my grandmother 
she needs to sleep and I comply
But who is this man? 
Is he my father 
whom I have not seen in 15 years? 
I dream of guns in the jungle
and of falling over backwards of sickness
and of rolliing on the grass with the dogs
all this on the day Robert Duncan 
died and I think of the meadow
  that green meadow.

the first part of the prose piece
(It's similar to the version above):

Point Bonita

The scratchy sound of pen and white page, the drip drip of noses, and the scratchiness of the throat. Brokenhearted Sharon sighs, and I wonder how much my art piece sold for. Layer of marine haze tinged with brown, the ozone hole growing, closing in biological arithms, dedications to death, the healing power of green and the fire of magenta.

The man with the guitar surveys his handiwork in the garden. With a few cord changes, Eurydice is looking back over her shoulder where darkness sat waiting to find the center of her eye, jostling her with paradox how much we savor without knowing the sense of vision.

Mount Vision in Point Reyes with its strange helicopter pad and orange mushroom radar. Like a Stonehenge of sorts. What's strange quarry gave birth to them?

The chupping of a robin in the chaparral, such comforting sounds – the dead one on my doorstep. I guess it's time to draw the robins again.

I am a mover of small rocks. From Oaxaca, and Monte Alban, the small pottery shards fit into the. niche on the north peak of Mount St. Helena. We invent ritual. I take back five rocks and find a huge quartz crystal, my talisman.

At the big rock, with no other name, this megaliths on our hill, the Christmas day ritual, was to visit it with my grandmother. The sorrow washing over me and waves, caught between laughter and rock.

From Mount St. Helena I take volcanic red rock and leave it there, and from this place I take ouartz from the ridge outside of Guerneville. I placed both rocks in a pyramid, making a triangle. Cairns to keep me safe.

At Armstrong Woods, after my ritual, four vultures came. Three from the north and one from the south. They converged over my crude altar made of stones – I left corn and bread, cranberry juice and smoke from sage. My crystal rocks pointing north receiving instructions, the rocks I brought back from St. Helena, the one from the top of my childhood hill.

At the big rock, a bluejay and a hawk were my gifts. On the volcano, a crystal was my gift. On the ridge, for vultures circling and weaving feather and sky with shiny black feathers.

Blue schist slabs. I understand something more of geology. I have become a connoisseur of rocks, igneous, Franciscan, metamorphic.

I have forgotten all the rules. The club flag keeps whipping out prayers to the wind.

The sea answers. She is our mother. These shells, these rocks, are gifts and we will clean oil from the wings of birds because we were born into this passage.

The passage of a fellow soul is marked in the striated silver of my bracelets, dentalian and Jasper. The churning breathing of the sea, I've begun to tell the trees things I never knew I had inside.

The whispering of women, all those sea sounds. Surcease of wave, the crunch of rock and rolling of tires on pavement. Coyote brush in bloom. Timeout. People laughing. Just keep on going, one says. The whisper of the sea, the flag, we are all learning new languages to keep us on the shores.

 I am in a camera facing the iris of my thoughts. The diaphragm open and close, open and close, like the contrasting and expanding universe. I capture some snippets of emotion after 20 days of testimony from the sea. The elegance of necessity crystallizes into a single vortex, the sea churning and churning, rising like a cover for sleeping bodies.

I dreamt I was in the city house, the twin beds of my grandparents hiding their arms, were they dead? No, only sleeping. I say, excuse me I didn't know you were there.

My grandfather is someone I don't recognize, he looks Italian and smooth with the ladies. We talk soft so not to disturb my grandmother, she needs to sleep. And I comply, but who is this man to tell me this? He is my father whom I have not seen in 15 years. I dream of guns and falling over backwards, of sickness, and rolling on the ground with dogs. All this on the day Robert Duncan died.


2/5/1988
Point Bonita

On the Day Robert Duncan Died


Point Bonita:
The scratchy sound of pen and white page, the drip drip of noses, and the scratchiness of the throat. Brokenhearted Sharon sighs, and I wonder how much my art piece sold for. Layer of marine haze tinged with brown, the ozone hole growing, closing in biological arithms, dedications to death, the healing power of green and the fire of magenta. 

The man with the guitar surveys his handiwork in the garden. With a few cord changes, Eurydice is looking back over her shoulder where darkness sat waiting to find the center of her eye, jostling her with paradox how much we savor without knowing the sense of vision. 

Mount Vision in Point Reyes with its strange helicopter pad and orange mushroom radar. Like a Stonehenge of sorts. What's strange quarry gave birth to them? 

The chupping of a robin in the chaparral, such comforting sounds – the dead one on my doorstep. I guess it's time to draw the robins again.

I am a mover of small rocks. From Oaxaca, and Monte Alban, the small pottery shards fit into the. niche on the north peak of Mount St. Helena. We invent ritual. I take back five rocks and find a huge quartz crystal, my talisman. 

At the big rock, with no other name, this megaliths on our hill, the Christmas day ritual, was to visit it with my grandmother. The sorrow washing over me and waves, caught between laughter and rock. 

From Mount St. Helena I take volcanic red rock and leave it there, and from this place I take ouartz from the ridge outside of Guerneville. I placed both rocks in a pyramid, making a triangle. Cairns to keep me safe.

At Armstrong Woods, after my ritual, four vultures came. Three from the north and one from the south. They converged over my crude altar made of stones – I left corn and bread, cranberry juice and smoke from sage. My crystal rocks pointing north receiving instructions, the rocks I brought back from St. Helena, the one from the top of my childhood hill. 

At the big rock, a bluejay and a hawk were my gifts. On the volcano, a crystal was my gift. On the ridge, for vultures circling and weaving feather and sky with shiny black feathers.

Blue schist slabs. I understand something more of geology. I have become a connoisseur of rocks, igneous, Franciscan, metamorphic.

I have forgotten all the rules. The club flag keeps whipping out prayers to the wind.

The sea answers. She is our mother. These shells, these rocks, are gifts and we will clean oil from the wings of birds because we were born into this passage. 

The passage of a fellow soul is marked in the striated silver of my bracelets, dentalian and Jasper. The churning breathing of the sea, I've begun to tell the trees things I never knew I had inside. 

The whispering of women, all those sea sounds. Surcease of wave, the crunch of rock and rolling of tires on pavement. Coyote brush in bloom. Timeout. People laughing. Just keep on going, one says. The whisper of the sea, the flag, we are all learning new languages to keep us on the shores.

 I am in a camera facing the iris of my thoughts. The diaphragm open and close, open and close, like the contrasting and expanding universe. I capture some snippets of emotion after 20 days of testimony from the sea. The elegance of necessity crystallizes into a single vortex, the sea churning and churning, rising like a cover for sleeping bodies.
I dreamt I was in the city house, the twin beds of my grandparents hiding their arms, were they dead? No, only sleeping. I say, excuse me I didn't know you were there. 

My grandfather is someone I don't recognize, he looks Italian and smooth with the ladies. We talk soft so not to disturb my grandmother, she needs to sleep. And I comply, but who is this man to tell me this? He is my father whom I have not seen in 15 years. I dream of guns and falling over backwards, of sickness, and rolling on the ground with dogs. All this on the day Robert Duncan died.


2/5/1988
CPITS wokshop

LAYER OF MARINE HAZE (aka Turning Stones, or Mover of Rocks)

LAYER OF MARINE HAZE

Layer of marine haze tinged with rust  
the ozone layer growing, 
closing in biological rhythms
dedication to death
the healing power of green
and the magenta fire 
The man in the garden with the guitar
surveys his handiwork strums a few chords 
to make the sun rise
and Euridice looking back over her shoulder
where darkness sat waiting to find
the center of her eye to dazzle her 
with paradox
How much of this world 
we savor without knowing it 
The word beauty had little meaning 
for me as a child
In the firepit, rounded cobbles
what quarry gave them birth
the comforting chirruping of robins 
scratching for a meal in the chaparral

The dead arrive on my doorstep 
a present from the cat
now in cybernetic sleep in my freezer
so I can paint it later
It's time to draw robins again

Four vultures circled
three from the east and one from the south
they converged over my altar of stones 
I left them corn and bread
juice and sage smoke 
instructions from the north  

I am a mover of small rocks 
from Monte Alban in Oaxaxa
I bring a small pottery sherd 
to place into the niche of rock on Mt St Helena
named after a Russian princess
We invent ritual
I take back five rocks and the huge crystal 
I find becomes my talisman

At my childhood rock
the megalith in the hill on Christmas 
a ritual to my grandmother who first brought me here
and the sorrow hanging over me in waves  
caught between laughter and rock 
I leave volcanic red rocks from the princess
and take quartz from my natal grounds
On the ridge facing the ocean I build
my third cairn with rocks from the princess 
and from home
I've made a triangle of stone cairns
a web to keep me safe  

At the rock &a bluejay mimicking a hawk was my gift
that same bluejay stealing my poems
four vultures wheeling, circling as their want
shiny black feathers in the deep forest and blueschist 
I understand something more about the geology 
a have become an obsessive conniseur of rocks  
igneous, franciscan, metamorphic
that' s rule no. 7 but I've forgotten all the rules
and the american flag over the bunkers 
keeps whipping out prayers to the wind 
what does it pray for invasion at this old army fort? 
The sea answers, she is our mother
these shells, these rocks are our gifts
and we will clean oil from the dead wings of birds
if necessary because we were born into this
the passage of a fellow soul is marked
in the muted silver of my bracelets
dentalium and jaspar 
the churning breathing sea
I've begin to tell of things I never knew I had inside
the whispering of women all those sea sounds
surcease of wave crunch of rock
rolling of tires on pavement 
coyote bush in bloom
time out people laughing
Just keep going one says and I do  
the whisper of the sea, the flag 
we are learning new languages to keep us on our shores
and I am a camera facing the iris of my thoughts 
the diaphragm open and close open and close
like the contracting and expanding universe 
I capture frozen snippets of emotion 
after two days of testemony for the sea I still cry
the elequence of necessity crystalizes all thoughts 
into the single vortex of the sea
churning and churning 
rising like a cover over sleeping bodies 
and I dreamed I was in the city house again  
the twin beds of my grandparents
hiding their forms under blankets as if dead, in sleep
The man who rises from the bed is 
not my grandfather
he looks smooth with the ladies 
he tells me not to disturb my grandmother 
she needs to sleep and I comply
But who is this man? 
Is he my father 
whom I have not seen in 15 years? 
I dream of guns in the jungle
and of falling over backwards of sickness
and of rolliing on the grass with the dogs
all this on the day Robert Duncan 
died and I think of the meadow
  that green meadow



see 
so revised that it's another poem


TURNING STONES


I am a mover of small rocks.
From Monte Alban I bring small pottery sherds
to Mount St Helena. I leave volcanic rocks
for my dead grandmother and take quartz crystals
from the mountain.

On the ridge facing the ocean
I've made a triangle of stone cairns.
Four vultures wheeling, circling as their want—
shiny black feathers in the deep forest
and blueschist
converging over my altar of stones—
I left them corn and bread,
water and sage smoke.

We invent ritual.
The elequence of necessity crystalizes all thought
into the single vortex of the sea
churning and rising like a cover
over sleeping bodies.
The sea answers, she is our mother.
These shells, these rocks are our gifts.

The passage of a soul is marked
in the muted silver of bracelets,
dentalium and jaspar.

In the firepit, rounded cobbles—
What quarry gave them birth?
I've begun to speak of things
I never knew I knew.

We are learning new languages to keep us on shore
and I am a camera facing the iris of my eye—
the diaphragm, open and close, open and close
like the contracting and expanding universe.

I dream of machine guns in the jungle
and of falling over backwards.
I dream of sickness
and of rolling with desire on the grass with wolves—
After all, we are pack animals.

On the day Robert Duncan died
I dreamed of the green meadows I am called to
again and again.



2/5/88

Thursday, February 4, 1988

Notes: offshore oil hearings in Fort Bragg, Mendocino County, journal

Note bene:. 2/9/88 Yesterday I spent rewriting my notes from the Mendocino offshore oil hearing. Tom Roth shortened my piece by at least by 1/3. Still, I think I will be pleased with the end result. He promises a double truck spread replete with photos. That's a big deal in the newspaper bizniz. I lost steam half way through the hearings, so these are my warty raw notes. A lot of work here that didn’t get used in the final story. Placeholders. And the final draft of the story I wrote, is lost. I am bummed.  Offshore Oil protest, for Ocean Sanctuary

The idea of offshore oil enrages me enough to want to do a story on it for the Paper. Many of us from Sonoma County are here testifying at the hearings. People form as far away as Oregon and LA are here to protest. So many moving testimonials, there such a connectedness with the Mendocino community I’d forgotten I had. And I think of how much time I’ve spent here. Bob and I spent so many weekends at Pat Wall’s house on Simpson Lane, or sleeping in the VW van along the coast, our a home away from home. Mendocino is home, a home where I will never live. And I know so many people here. I stayed overnight with Jim and Judy Tarbell who put me up for the weekend.

So far, 1400 people have signed up to testify at the hearings. And there are 1500 more people waiting outside with Holly Near and Bonnie Raitt entertaining them. The event is being televised to 600 more people crammed inside another building. I have never seen this many people in Fort Bragg all at once.

What a floorshow, a group is singing gospel. Wally Dale and Jeanne, intrepid beachcombers, said, We watched Southern California go down the drain, and I am determined it’s not gonna happen here.

Rachel Binah reads some quotes from former secretary Udall and Angela Lansbury: For heaven’s sake, save our coast!

It’s a packed hall, they get a standing encore. Rusty Norvell, a former Mendocino teacher, says “three years ago we were goldfish. Now we’re sharks and we smell blood.” He cited facts as to what oil pollution did to the fish population. “Hell, we’re being fed the same BS today. How does it feel? Oil is a four letter word.” He said the oil word.

People shot holes right left and center into the studies offered by the panel from the DEIS.A spokesperson for the salmon industry talked about the 14 million dollar industry and how this was going to negatively affect them. This is the first time ever that the loggers, the hippies and the fisherman have presented a united front against the aggressors. History was being made right here in this room.

A builder, Dan Tower, pointed out a minor detail, the San Andreas Fault running right through the middle of the proposed oil field. Never good for oil derricks, he said.

The Point Reyes Bird Observatory spokesperson said, only oil spills larger than 1000 barrels were predicted. In Texas alone, there were smaller 1000 barrel spills that killed nearly 11,000 birds. You don’t need a large oil spill in order to kill all the birds. Surge oil spills are actually more damaging than sheet spills. We have fierce wave action here, unlike in Galveston. There’s a cumulative input pointing out the myriad flaws in the DEIS proposal, their general lack of assessment as to what could go wrong. They said that 95% of the coastal bay wetlands from Big Sur to Humboldt will be lost. You fail to give adequate assessment to that.

The next speaker said, “I am a rare, endangered species, I am a Republican this is the first time in my life I’ve felt such a sense of shame for my party. I will vote as a Republican against #91 and I hope you will find the time to join me.” I think his name was Robert Raymond. I have photos.

To drive from Mendocino to SF it’s an area of coast that can offer man some sense of grandeur and wonder. The hypothetical proposal is the equivalent of harvesting the gray whales to extinction. Where do you go on vacation if we destroy this area? This is dedicated to Sala Burton whose spirit continues to protect the ocean.

The Ocean Sanctuary spokesperson said, “there have been 5000 spills for 30 day’s worth of oil supply for the nation. Those sub-lethal spills of 1000 barrels or more is a death sentence. The world has only one California coast. Continued vigilance is required. No lease sale, no oil development—this is the peoples alternative choice.

Ocean Fresh seafood products spokesperson said, The ocean is our greatest natural resource we cannot destroy it. A north coast alternative energy source is the ocean itself, with the waves produce 30,000 mw in energy per year.

Artists who draw inspiration from this unique coastal community, and earn their livelihood from it, got up to speak. Judith Kessler, AKA Redwing, said, we ain’t gonna let the drill them drill for oil under the sea. The crowd picks up the chant.

Dick Bell of cable access Channel 22, Bodega Bay, said the ocean is not linear. If its health is threatened , then sustainability drops too far, you can’t recover it. If I didn’t know better I’d say they were blind to the debt to oil because it is unconscionable what they are asking. Do we risk survival of the planet to pay off a campaign bill? Just say no to # 91.

(I must’ve done an Opening of the mouth column as well.)

Osha Dean said, I speak on behalf of the oceans and the earth, the corners of the mouth, businesses and that sublethal impact which you speak of. And he presented an oil spill scenario to the panel. We shall never surrender. We shall never surrender, he said.

Ann Harlow from the Ecology Center of Southern California said others have already spoken of the cumulative effect of oil derricks off the coast. We have only 20 to 40 days worth of oil down there, is it worth it? Simple conservation could save two times that amount. She mentioned the logging industry, air pollution, rampant Southern California cancer, the negative effects on the food chain. “We are poisoning the sea, the sea will inevitably poison us,” said Jacques Cousteau. We are are fighting for human life here.

Someone else, Robert Jangochian? sp., addressed the negative impact of increased air traffic, air lift helicopters, and airplane surveillance that the presence of the rigs will bring. He reminded the panel, remember the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969? It was an unmitigated disaster. Our coast is vastly different and there’s less chance of recovery here—the severity of the weather, the inaccessibility of the coastline, and the extreme tidal fluctuations are not the same as in Southern California. How can species, or the ocean possibly recover when there’s 100% mortality rate? Not to mention that the drilling mods are toxic. The local currents are treacherous and unpredictable. The entire DEIS plan is vague.

Jim ? said he was standing in for Novell, representing the small businessmen of Sonoma County. He said if we have squandered efforts for renewable resources, everything else will go, but the oil derricks will be there for hundreds of yearss.

Dorothy Tompkin from the local Audubon Society, said the snowy plover was not included in the DEIS survey and it’s an endangered species. Few shorebird species nest in Northern California they need sandy beaches, and at present, there are nine bars pairs north of Fort Bragg and only 125 pairs on the entire Mendocino Coast. This is certain extinction for them. Then there is the endangered peregrine falcon—less than half drop of crude oil on an eggshell results in 100% mortality rate. In addition, there is grave danger to the nesting birds of the Farallones and to the Point Reyes National Seashore. The brown pelican eggshells are also too thin. there are no less than ten species of endangered offshore birds including the tufted puff and they’re only 250 birds left in the state. The oil industry has already had a high impact on the mortality of 47 species of non-nesting shorebirds. And the DEIS excluded the marsh birds from the study—what about the herons and the egrets? We are looking at multiple extinction of the species across-the-board. Those daily helicopters round trips x8 from Santa Rosa will introduce a chronic hydrocarbon presence. Not to mention disrupting the entire breeding cycle of the shorebirds.

The testimonials went on from 9 AM to 2 AM— straight through the night—and picked up again the next day—from 8 AM to 3 PM. They were reminded that they had three minutes each and nothing more and they needed to submit their comments also in writing. And helicopters kept arriving throughout the night.

Greg Chatham instructor of marine biology, said that the DEIS study was poorly written, poorly organized and contra-indicatory. It didn’t even meet the basic EPA standard guidelines, citing that thr monthly maximum spillage of 48 ppm, was closer to 72 ppm—with that many barrels, the actual air pollution is grossly underestimated. all those helicopter trips don’t take into account, the pristine air quality, make the impact proportionally more severe, in several orders of magnitude greater than regional levels.

He said the DEIS study does not document the cumulative impact of small spills. The USCG maximum allowed pollution contradicts the DEIS study. In Santa Barbara, there are 4 to 5 small spills every day. This will have an extreme environmental impact. There seems to be little concern over the excessive hundred parts per billion—and the inevitable destruction of the local fisheries. The plans to build major pipelines from Fort Bragg to Willits through the Jackson State Forest clear-cutting hundreds of acres of trees will be lost. Your documents are inconsistent with the facts.

Dr. Gregory Menken addressed what would happen if there was very large oil spill, he said that 47% of all oil spills are of the smaller ones—equally destructive by their frequency. He cites a pollution report on the Prudhoe Bay findings, and how the pollution was everywhere—in the air, in the water, and also what about the low conduct of the oil business—how it seriously disregards environmental laws with 100s of ongoing violations. He said that the existing environmental laws are not strong enough, and further oil exploitation should not be considered until the oil companies comply with local, state, and federal laws—and adhere to the EPA guidelines.

Baseline data is needed. The US Department of the Interior guidelines are more lenient than the EPA guidelines. the US Department of Interior allows 3 million oil regulations 100 tons of pollutants per rig, per year. Emissions from offshore rigs has created extremely poor air quality in Alaska.

Raven Early Grow, a travel agent and writer from Point Arena, took on the shoddy track record of the Western Oil and Gas Association. 

The glam looks of the panel some 12 hours into the hearing, was poignant, but the energy of the crowd was undaunted. They said, we want to speak all night long. Peggy Rawlins brings up the Boston Tea Party as a reference point, and she says, go tell Ronnie and the guys we will do whatever is necessary to stop this travesty. I’m going to pick up my spear to protect the underwater marine sanctuary at the Cordell Banks, off Point Reyes.

Dr. Robert Schumaker and Dr. Atomio engineer of Mineral Management spoke.

Alice Walker gives a personal testimony about the uniqueness of the area to artists.She says, we only get three minutes to speak. I’d like to see you try and stop us with a three minute speech, she said.

Lynne Ables a Mendocino performing arts company, a New York refugee talked about thr mixed demographics of Mendocino County, referring to the Southern California refugees. How important the artist tourist industry is for the survival of so many businesses. So many standing ovations for those speaking up against this atrocity.

Lynne Ables pointed out that the Native American impact was not included on the report, or on the salmon fishing industry. What about the Indians? They were right. There is a groundswell rooting squad of hooting and hissing and foot stopping with lots of drums. Like it or not.

Peggy Rawlins from Lytton Springs Inn said, Pollution knows no political boundaries and if you think the sale of lease # 91 doesn’t include the Sonoma Coast, you’ve got another thing Comin. Someone hold up a sign MM Board, are you bored yet? Good! WOMB, the women of Mendocino Bay incant a Macbeth scene with double trouble oil and bubble. A Presbyterian choir sang in original piece by Sonoma resident.

Maggie O’Rourke, attorney gave a pro oil testimony, she is non-local and within the business of oil, only two por-oil testimonies, but not everyone is on board, the MMB panel is busy actually taking notes.

There are a lot of Mendocino high school students testifying from the next generation, kids bang their skateboards in appreciation.

Fables, oil it’s a dirty business. They hand out shells to the MMS panel, and shout No oil! No oil! We can’t hear you! No oil.

A couple holding hands, approach the mic, and say, We were married yesterday (congratulations from the crowd) and the first part of my honeymoon I am spending it here with you to defend our home. We were on our way to Yosemite and turned around and came back. We are the newly married and we are against oil.

Someone offers the panel flat balloons that say why not save the sea? Point Arena, with one of the most treacherous coast lines, is ground zero. Alan Niven, publisher in Point Arena talks about the San Andreas Fault and he brings in photos of the massive storm waves that destroyed the pier of Point Arena in 1981. xxx

A Native American woman of Apache descent, Ochena Haskell said you’re not dealing with just another dumb Indian here. I am Mescalero Apache and Ute from Colorado. I am Lakota Sioux and Six Nations. The Department of the Interior used to be the Department of War. The Native American religious freedom act allows me to worship this sacred place. She closes with, Stick this up your kind of pipe and smoke, it she said. There’s more drums and chanting and flowers are given out to the people.

The owners and operators of local businesses speak amid much laughter. I don’t need to be politically or spiritually correct, I am angry. Kim Bluewater, sings, People gonna rise up. People abdicate their time slots to give her more time. She talked about acid rain and the ozone.

Barry Vogel asks we want to hear from you, the panel. Commander at Allan US Coast Guard Long Beach talk to us about pollution. A riot nearly broke out.

He pressed his point, Dick Wildermen of the MMS, we want to know your qualifications. How many offshore options impacts have you analyzed, is it more than one, 10, 100? Or 2 to 3 per year Willdermen nearly lost and requests a five-minute break, and cuts the mic.

Sue Miller Whitaker from Eugene? calls them flakcatchers, “Let the man speak. I’m beginning to worry about the trees we’re going to lose, just to type up this nonsense.”

Careful stewardship and perseverance is needed said the Physicians for Social Responsibility. Mendocino promotes both physical and mental health and there’s a gross understatement that the report is filled with inaccuracies—it’s well documented.

Luis Korn said alternative power sources need to be explored. He talks about Nicaragua, and the military being on trial.

A fisherman points out that There is no study on the shellfish.

The marine study from fixed wing aircraft, concluding that there will be no impact, is not deductive reasoning. If I were to give it a grade I’d give it a D. And I am not being unbiased. The DEIS report is a political, not a scientific statement.

Mary Norbert Körte talks about the difference between effect and affect, citing the DEIS misuse of the words. She brings down the house. She asks, is this any way to run a government? to a cheering crowd. The poets have arrived.

The Alchemy Contra singers belt out, Glory glory Mendocino, to a standing ovation David Berent, a proxy clerk, said, maybe we should sell rags to the tourists so they can use them to wipe the oil off their shoes. Take some free advice from a doctor. This is psychically numbing.

Bob Klapsale painted a dire picture of oil rigs infesting the coast. He said that the Pomo Indians too are testifying in letters, they are testifying.We have been here 10,000 years. 

Kashia Pomo leader Lauren Smith said, I’ve had a few dreams and the ocean has been good to us. The drilling would ruin us. From the ocean we get good energy, free food, we get our ceremonies, we get our worship. There’s nothing for the younger generation. Some of the dreams are saying a lot of demonstrations. A dream I had, there was no more gas, no more oil. Spiritual energy from the ocean will be thrown off by the ocean. The destruction of the ocean is not good energy, and more and more people won’t sit around, they’ll get involved. We have to protect what we have. Make good energy out of it. It is better than anger. You become like them. We will do prayers for you she said, pass that along.Our people, we will do ceremonies in Kashia, dancing for good energy. I feel we could keep them out, the ocean works in mysterious ways. Tell everyone that you see that our people will always be working towards better things. Let’s work together and stay as one. We will do the ceremonies in Kashia so that you won’t feel alone. And we will be thinking about all of you.

Over our heads someone depicts a picture of bones. Whenever Damocles sat in judgment, the sharp two-edged sword hung over his head by a thread.

Listen, if you can’t keep a promise why do you keep making them? We can’t go forward until all the testimonies have been received, we cannot go forward.

I spent the night at Jim and Judy Tarbell’s in Casper, exhausted. I remember nothing of it.  Next day, the hearings opened with a play, a Pomo Indian prayer, and rap. Someone asks, did you see the sunset, the full moon on the bluff. Pure magic. A good omen.

Steven Antler, an attorney from Fort Bragg, said this is the most corrupt government in US history. Yesterday‘s wedding balloons are slightly wilted. Sequoia Greenfield talks about the ducks.

Gabriel Cheney says no oil. Bevin, from Ukiah, a former coordinator from Save Warm Springs (I worked with him and many of the Pomo elders, relocating the special reeds they needed to make their baskets before the Warm Springs dam went in) spoke of Native traditions.

Alex Watt collected 1700 signatures. Ron Smoley from Fort Bragg spoke. Rachel Binah, an organizer, got a standing ovation with Judy Walters. Someone vowed to skateboard all the way to Washington, DC, if needs be.

Someone proclaimed the land the Republic of Mendocino, said, I will buy up all the land at $25 an acre, and give it back to the Indians. The panel was gifted with seaweed and shells. Elinor Llewellyn it doesn’t say what it is some thing developers aqua fine talk about chemicals and trying to get rid of the stuff Marvin Gilbert, the Cowardly Lion of Oz, said the the tinman needs oil to grease his joints.

Other speakers included Dr. Don Hahn, Lindy Peters KMFBFM, Antonia Lamb, Ann and Ashley Holden, Russell Lowe, Senator Allan Cranston, Richard Charter all spoke, But I was long past comprehending what anyone was saying, other than it was an overwhelming landslide that no one, literally no one out of the 3000 or so of us were for the offshore oil platform. At the end, the weary panelist stood up, and were gifted with T-shirts that were emblazoned with I survived the Mendocino oil hearings and they went on their way. We had averted disaster.