Tuesday, January 10, 1989

Dream Journal

DREAM JOURNAL
 (Before I went to the USSR, a pre telling dream)


1/10 I’ve come from across the fields. A bay horse stands in the bushes. At first I thought it was dead. A group of us—mainly teenagers— returned from an event on the beach below the cliffs. I don’t recognize any of them but I’m friends with them. Some are from another place. Some live here.

Green tableland dropping to the blue Pacific. Alluvial rocks. Jasper. Chert. We’re in a hurry & didn’t stop to browse though I wanted to. Turquoise fell from my ring. We walked along the gravel road where I gathered long yellow four-sided crystals buried point down in the mud. Yellow, golden & brown. Not topaz, not citrine, nor sulfur—not in my rock/mineral book either.

There were other crystals but the yellow ones were for me. They were important talismans. A significant source of power. I point them out to my friend. It wasn’t until they were freed from the earth prison the color appeared. I give her some, saving the biggest one for myself. Phallic beauty.

Small peninsula. Out buildings. A barn. I crawl into a deserted shack with an icon of a Madonna on the wall. Who lives here? I’m trying to escape Point Reyes. Men load alfalfa hay around me. Am I trapped? Am I trespassing? All these men working around me as if I belonged here. Where am I?

A large man and his heavyset sandy colored wife behind me. He’s interested in me and he’s kind. He is a farmer of the sea. Restores offshore sea beds. I’m swimming in the waves. Tide pools. Hundreds of empty shells. Pink & white coral. Small starfish like lace. I point them out to a student. We collect shells and coral but we’re in a marine preserve or a park and it’s illegal.

Tractors in the sea soften the waves until the beds get established. The whole coast needs replenishing. North—a long stretch of coast. Dead shells. This beauty is that of death. Iron pipes parallel the shore. In a room with old-fashioned wooden furniture he makes advances toward me. I’m not interested but am hungry for affection & kindness. She is not his wife. I’m waiting for someone else.

You can move heaven and earth but you can’t move the sea. The sea is the mother where we all began. In the shed, my head becomes an anvil. Someone places another woman’s head on top of mine. The men extract her tooth with pliers and a nail. They are doing this to save her life. They treat her like chattel. Dairymen save the cow because she gives milk. Gore drips onto my face. I run to wash it off. Trouble breathing. Allergy? My throat swells.

I go swimming with a svelte golden young man. Strange sensation of coming home but not being home.

Sunday, January 1, 1989

WHY I AM A POET


WHY I AM A POET

The silhouette of a bird on a telephone pole
a raven, a vulture, a hawk? Too big.
I swerved and braked the truck—
in the sunlight, a golden eagle,
too close to civilization, and I understood
why they're called golden; they are luminous.
Spotting eagles within city limits
isn't reason enough to write a poem about it.
What am I supposed to do now?
Tell the world I hang eagle feathers
from my ceiling to keep away bad dreams?
We feel compelled to talk of more human things
site-specific, but now I've seen rare eagles
where they're not supposed to be.
We've come to expect vultures and crows
with whom we co-exist so beautifully.
The raptor who faced near-extinction
isn't reason enough to celebrate;
our sights are limited to an occasional red-tail
on the fringes of society, and we are satisfied.
We always have trouble imagining
anything beyond our own limitations.


1989?

EXORCISM FOR NIGHTMARES corrupted


EXORCISM FOR NIGHTMARES

The white goddess/witch
She said to me, you have nightmares
because your cabin is haunted.

She told me to invoke the four directions;
the eastern air, the shining ones,
the southern fire, the flaming ones;
the western water, the flowing ones,
the northern silence, the earth.

As you dance counter-clockwise toward the east,
cast out the evil ones from the sacred circle,
always remembering to touch the earth.
Burn sage by each door, window and mirror.

Chant: avanti, avanti,
maleficium defance.
Honi soit que mal ye panse                    (pense?)
to push them back into the earth.

She said put eagle feathers, quartz, ice, and clay
at the four corners of the bed.
And so I did. The nightmares continued.

She said the man of your dreams
has stolen your horses. Unfortunately, 
there was no quick exorcism for that.

1989

date  86-88? 
But Order of the Garter Chant was from John , post 86  Post John 1989?


EXORCISM FOR NIGHTMARES

The white goddess/witch
said to me, you have nightmares
because your cabin is haunted.
She told me to invoke the four directions;
the eastern air, the shining ones,
the southern fire, the flaming ones;
the western water, the flowing ones,
the northern silence, the earth.
As you dance counter-clockwise toward the east,
cast out the evil ones from the sacred circle,
always remembering to touch the earth.
Burn sage by each door, window and mirror.
Chant: avanti, avanti,
maleficium defance.
Honi soit que mal ye panse"
to push them back into the earth.
She said put eagle feathers, quartz, ice, and clay
at the four corners of the bed.
And so I did. The nightmares continued.
She said the man of your dreams
has stolen your horses. Unfortunately, 

LETTER TO MERIDEL

LETTER TO MERIDEL LESUEUER

In the sacred circle of Pachamama
time itself is transparent.
Temporary islands of whales
rise and fall like tectonic plates
or reed houses on Lake Titicaca.
At Machu Picchu the wind says
we're connected on a deeper level
than this earthly plane.
You say one doesn't recover from old age
but we are on that great cosmic curve the double helix.
The intihuacana is thirsty for chicha and flowers.
I dream of one rubber boot to cross the water,
and eyes painted on the bedroom of the sky.
Out of the debris, transformation.
Basements of the dead
turned into statements of the living.
Something is brewing in the five corners of the world.
Pachamama is crying but we are listening
for translations of wind in the ceiba trees.
The Cold War is ending with the children
reaching across borders and singing.
A golden eagle keens in the wind.
How quickly the night comes.

1989? 

1990 Green Fuse
1993 Mother Earth Journal

LETTER TO MERIDEL, l
this is a completely different poem

Lately, I’ve been touching the spines of your books
something speaking to me from afar
The wind says, the night sighs
we’re connected on a deeper level
than this earthly plane.
This thing called love
we never said in my family.
That the man killing me with his blue eyes
the way the glacier pulverizes stone
in its undertow of blue light called it love.
I am a mover of small rocks. 
I prefer the way of sky.
Is there nothing but emptiness ahead?

Outside of this grammar I write patriarchal nouns, verbs.
I don’t know how to pull the circle around me.
You say one doesn’t recover from old age.
It’s nymph cancer we all have
but we are on that great cosmic curve the double helix.
Invisible worms eat the rose at noon.
I don’t know how to crawl inside the structure of language.
The phallus I write with. 
On this earth we are the goddesses.
Man will destroy even himself for an idea.
Men lose their dreaming and forget why they’re live.

I dreamed that eyes were painted 
on the blue wall of the bedroom of the sky 
and the earth dam burst. The only way out was down.
I fill my house with food I don’t eat
and he hands me chocolate in a a broken bowl.
One rubber boot to cross the water.
Iguanas purring like cats.
Out of the debris, transformation.
The basements of the dead
are turned into into statements of the living.

I have been to Machu Picchu and left white stones.
On an island in Lake Titicaca
I lay in the sacred circle of Pacahmama
and understood time itself is transparent
Something is brewing in the five corners of the world.
Pachamama is crying but we are here listening
for translations of the wind.

I am on the brink, going back to Russia
to find something that was lost.
The Cold war is ending with the children
reaching across borders singing
We Are the World
We are the children on this coast.
Temporary islands of whales at Fort Ross
rise and fall like the tectonic plates.
No more otter. Just abalone and the salmon.
A golden eagle keens in the wind.
The coyotes howled.
How quickly the night comes.

POEM FOR A PHOTOGRAPHER

POEM FOR A PHOTOGRAPHER

It was first recorded
on a Paris boulevard in the fall of 1838,  
a man stopped for a shoeshine,
the horses moved faster than the speed
of silver on sunlight.

Here in America, manifest destiny
focused in on silent, grim poses.
Metaphysical stealer of souls—
all we have left of entire nations
is recorded on gelatin plates.

Obscure rooms, the heart of darkness,
the mercurial greening of plants—
art and science wrestle under bedcovers
with the names of war—
the battle of Gettysburg,
the Japanese woman bathing
her hibakusha daughter,
the running Vietnamese girl,
napalm on her arms—
these images burn into the cornea.

You prefer to do it in the dark,
then wait to see what develops.
But this is not a negative image—
every lining has its silver cloud.

POEM FOR JULIE SANDERS

POEM FOR JULIE SANDERS
(who told me a story of a photo)

I don't remember being there on a boat
at the lake, my mother telling me
how it sank. There I am in the picture
looking up at the camera
wearing a life jacket, sitting in the boat
before it sunk, leaving me here
to tell this poem to you. 

1989

ON HEARING JOHN HANDY PLAY JAZZ


ON HEARING JOHN HANDY PLAY JAZZ
            AFTER MIDNIGHT, NEW YEAR'S EVE
                                        for Alistair Ingram
                   I don't practice. If I don't have it by now, it's too late.
              It's like going out with a different woman every night.
                                          Stan Getz
           
Feeling blue because my man left for no good reason,
I crawl out of the hills to hear John Handy play jazz solo.
In my head I write poems without words, pen or paper
to every riff, growl and squeeze of his saxophone.
The music pours into me, fingers of rain on the sea.
We are shipwrecked in a blue room seductive with smoke.
Embouchure and altissimo—open octaves form a river
of birds spiraling home to the nascent shell of our ears.
On the ceiling balloons undulate, bull kelp in the waves.
John Handy brings me a purple one—the color of sorrow.
He says, I got a cabin up in Cazadero. You know Clive Hawthorne?
I say, I'm the bearer of bad news. He's two years dead. Alcohol.
He flinches. Puts his hand over his heart. Says, He was a good man.
We started out together in this business a long time ago.
He points to my name-tag and asks where I've been.
I say, measuring a passage of time on the other side of the world,
celebrating New Year's Eve in Moscow with Gorbachev via satellite T.V.
John Handy flutter-tongues and bends a few cool notes—
a sweet school of fish ah-uhm for Charlie Mingus and Auld Lang Syne.
Sequinned women in stiletto heels sway, charmed snakes
in front of the mellifluous sax. Sub-tones. Overtones.
Circular breathing. I tell him his music is poetry without words.
Perfect intonation. Harmonics. When you hear one note,
you hear every single note in the universe.
He asks for my name-tag as a souvenir, puts it into his pocket.
It says what I am—Poet. For a moment I'd almost forgotten
why I was alone.

1/1/89
Café Resalles, San Francisco