Sunday, September 24, 1995

West Marin journal

After working all afternoon and into the night on the Nicasio house, we call it quits at midnight and head down to the Papermill Creek Saloon. No other way to stop this working except to physically remove ourselves from the house. There's that much work to be done.

We cleared the living room and nearly all the boxes sorting and discarding the night. The dining room was filled with Sinead, David and Bill's staff. Upstairs is a disaster but the kitchen's coming together and the living room looks tolerant tolerably cluttered. We cleared off the porch. That trash heap growth by leaps and bounds. I unpacked and washed a lot of dishes I even have dishpan hands.

Just as I'm getting the urge to call Sonny this morning as I have to babysit Nathan later, the phone rings, it's his his voice that floods my ears and asks what we've accomplished. Slowly he learns about me and my family. Says, You're never at a loss for things to do from what we've I've noticed about you. And I say. I hate to be bored. There's enough to do here to keep us occupied for years. 

Then there's Forest Knolls, another disaster. We chitchat about cars etc. The place that is so distinct in my mind, is a continuous blur in his. I identify places solely by my relationships with them. And I tell him he needs to come down here sometime and visit.

It's funny how I've always felt like an outsider in Nicasio, like I don't belong, but our families have had ties here to this place for more than 50 years. Make that 100 years, if you count Forest Knolls. I have two uncles by marriage who grew up here. As we clean this old farm house, more memories flood me, insignificant ones. What I am missing is the history, the thread that ties it all together. 

On the bookshelf I find a pamphlet on the church—St. Mary's. But why didn't I remember the name? Surely it was called something else? I find out that the name was changed in 1977 back to its original name from our Lady of Loretro. Ha ha. I haven't lost my marbles.

A photo of Father John Connery has me in tears for I'm missing my grandmother so much. 

Last night as we sat around the bar, we realized we were the third-generation to get toasted at the Papermill Creek Saloon. Or, rather, the Forest Knolls Lodge, as it was called in those days.

We talked of the other family watering hole. Spec McAuliffe's bar, aka the Lagunitas Lodge. Frank McAuliffe was a larger than life character. I explain to my cousins the interior floor plan of a bar that I haven't set foot in in 20+ years—before I was even legally able to drink. Now all that remains is a charred parking lot. A major piece of history, gone forever. 

I keep wondering are there any books on Marin history? As I teach Elderhostel, I'm struck by the fact that I have so little information on West Marin, especially on the Indians. There is a need.

Saturday, September 23, 1995


As I wend my way along backroads
to my cousin Sinead's house in Nicasio, 
I feel lines surge through me, and I let them go. 
Something about the measuring of days 
that brings me closer to poetry. 

23 Sept 1995

Babysitting on the Equinox

To my surprise, I spent the night at Sonny's—I went out with Marsha Connell, and when I got home I called Nathan to check in on him, who was being babysat by a friend of Sonny's. But a half hour later, Nathan called me to pick him up, and bring him home. We snuggled on the couch talking about random stuff and then we fell asleep.

Sunny came home from a gig after 3 AM, and muttered something about us sleeping with the light on, douses the light and crawls into Nathan's bed. Almost like old times. 

I haven't been in Sonny's cabin since mid July, and I said I wouldn't visit, unless things improved. Not that they have. But the heart is ever hopeful. I drew my line in the sand. And stood behind it. Nearly 2 months now I've managed to keep my distance. 

Sonny fixes me coffee in the morning, talks about how he ran into another of Cindy's strange friends. He says she systematically burns them all one by one until they kick her out. soon she'll have no place to go to. He told her she couldn't stay in his house anymore. 

He said, If I thought it could do some good to improve her situation I would wouldn't mind, but it doesn't. 

Poor Nathan witnessing this: his mother's degradation, her falling apart. His story is so much like mine. Addictive parents. My heart aches for him. No wonder we cling to each other like burrs. I know our deep connection makes Sonny jealous. I'm his father, he says. As if that could take the place of mother complex. 

Equinox 23 September

Thursday, September 21, 1995

Mother Substitute

Nathan asked me asks me to babysit him tonight, I'm startled, and mumbled yes, of course. But then I remembered I had to emcee at Barnes & Noble, so he joins me.

Sonny goes off to practice at 6 PM p.m. and we snuggle in. It's been weeks since we've spooned. Sweet little boy kisses me on the cheek. Nathan tells me Sonny and Pat aren't seeing each other anymore. This part I had already figured out.

I wanted to ask Nathan, did they fight before or after our talk, but I didn't. it seems like their fight came after our big blow-up. He describes a huge phone fight. So I'm still a wrench in the works, good. But I'm not going to ask Nathan any questions. Too inappropriate for words. Nathan should not be a part of this messy adult affair.

Nathan is ever hopeful. Against all odds, he is busy orchestrating his own parent trap, as it were. The heart wants what it wants. A boy wanting a mother substitute. I get that. Story of my life too.


David Bromige Reading, Barnes & Noble, photo

Tonight I emceed a reading at Barnes & Noble for David Bromige who opened his set with a dyslexic prose piece. Lines he'd snagged from his dyslexic friends. Being dyslexic, I'm fixing all his typos automatically in my head.

We dyslexics always mishear things, and are endlessly entertained.

Once, 15 years ago, when I was a new student, I blurted out to David Bromige, Would you trust a poet in your mouth? I no longer remember what I was trying to say, I was so mortified, only that David said aha! A poem! And so it was. But I wanted to crawl under the desk.

After the reading tonight David signs bookmarks, broadsides, and his books. I hand him a bookmark. The pen barely works. He signs the books, complaining. I hand him another pen, and  misunderstood, thinking he'd called me a mensch, when he said, Don't mention it. So he signs the bookmark, From a real mensch.

I hand back the book he'd handed to me earlier, as he had signed that one To Maureen, as well, except it's not my book. I ask, Are you giving it to me? He says, No, I can't even afford to offer that. We are coming to a solution. Let's see, he says. It costs $12. Tell you what, I'll give you my copy. 

But when David flips the book open, he discovers it's not his book, but Barnes & Noble's copy. He goes, Oh God, now what do I do?

Adds just kidding, after my name, and signs it for Greg Sabourin who works as the community relations coordinator at Barnes & Noble. Only now the book says For Greg, with love, replete with little swirly loops. He hands the autographed book to Greg who looks very puzzled, and asks Whose book is it anyway? I'm not buying it, am I?

David slaps his forehead. Greg says he'll get Barnes & Noble to remainder it. I ask, Can I have it anyway? But, he says, it has my name on it. Oh God, this is getting complicated. Celia, David's wife says, it is worth more now than it then it was first signed. 

Meanwhile, David's writing a long disclaimer as to what happened to the title page and why it has lost all its value. Greg, who merely wanted David to autograph it for the bookstore, meanwhile has remaindered the book, and then he hands it over to me, and I say, A real mensch. 

The name of the book that I didn't even want to begin with: Men, Women and Vehicles. Now I have two copies and I can’t give either one away. Driving me crazy. 

Ironically, earlier I wanted Greg to hold it for me, as I wanted another title, a Black Sparrow book, but it was very expensive. So I got David's book for free. Oh well, Greg, or Barnes & Noble owes me $60 for emceeing for May and June, apparently I am being paid in books signed to other people.

I figure the books are perk. Yesterday I had bought David's Tiny Courts, used at Copperfield's. I just wanted David to sign his bloody book, and also the copy of Manaña in Paradise. After that fiasco, he scribbled something unintelligible, and I can't read it. Speaking of dyslexia.

As a closure for the reading, I had asked David to read from Mañana in Paradise. One of my favorite Bromige books, I like the poem about the cars resting on cinderblocks in a driveway.

Greg reassures me that I'll get paid for May & June—mañana.

September 21, 1995

Wednesday, September 20, 1995

After Hearing Gary Snyder Read on the Autumn Equinox, photos

September 20: After teaching Sonoma County History at Elderhostel at Silverpenny Farms, I went into Copperfield's Books to get more material on California Indians—Miwok, and Pomo. There were posters of Gary Snyder all over the store, people purchasing tickets for tonight's benefit event sponsored by the Sonoma County Land Trust.

I look over at a bookshelf, Gary Snyder's in the house. What's funny, is that everybody's importantly confiding to their neighbors—You know I heard Snyder read at... blah blah blah. And no one even knows it's him—practically standing right in front of them. It's as if he were a ghost. I can see him just fine. But apparently no one else can. They carry on. We smirk.

Gary's aged quite a bit since I last saw him. He's more washed out. I went up introduced myself again, hating to have to use those tags. I said by way of introduction, "I was the one who took the photo of you and Will Staple at the Maui Zendo....

Gary, says Oh yes! And reminisces about Aitken Roshi, trying to pinpoint this date. I say, It was the Deep Ecology Conference. He says, you look about the same. How are you? (A non-sequitor.) It's been ten years or more since Maui.

I asked Gary about the event last Saturday evening at San Geronimo Valley Art Center. When I drove by, there were hundreds of cars parked along Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. It was a zoo. I asked, So, was it a benefit? He said, No it was an event in honor of Kenneth Rexroth. We hiked up to his cabin where he used to write at, and me dictate.…

I interrupted Gary because he'd already slipped into his teacher mode. I said, I grew up there. But Gary's on a roll, he's teaching me about the park, etc. I blurt, My grandfather knew Kenneth Rexroth, but Snyder drones on… And Samuel P. Taylor Park, he says, There's a place called Devil's Gulch… I say, Yes, I know it well, my grandfather used to hike over Mt. Barnabe to visit him…

By the third interruption, I'm frustrated, and Gary finally begins to listen, realizing that I already knew all that information. A regular case of coals to Newcastle. I don't tell him the reason why I became a writer was because when he had read a poem about my ridges, from Manzanita, at Olney Hall, College of Marin, and got the directions all wrong, that was when I began to write. I said, I can do that. And so I did.

I wanted the new stuff— like the how and the why…what it was like to be back in Devil's Gulch after so many years. The cabin is long gone. I wanted a real conversation, not tapes on autopilot.

Perhaps I'm a bit put off by Gary because he continually is cold to those he doesn't know well, especially the women. I remember being hurt by his curtness a few years back, and I told Will Staple about it, who immediately turned around and reacquainted me with Snyder. Snyder suddenly was all very warm and receptive—especially since Philip Whalen, whom I'd known for years, was there, warmly greeting me with enthusiasm.

I guess it all boils down to the company you keep. I hate the fact that I even have to attach myself to men poets in order to get remembered. Where are the women on the Bearshit Trail, indeed? Snyder is a cold fish but we manage a few more civilities. He said he was just browsing around, checking out this book, and turns back to the bookstacks. I step out into sunlight, crispness in the air. First day of Fall.

After the poetry reading, Gary was available for book signing. I'd already bought Axe Handles to be signed, but I couldn't find my other books, some were first editions. We chitchatted a bit, and that was that. Awkward. I'm tired of trying to connect with Gary Snyder.

21st of September: Last night, some 300 to 400 people must've turned up to hear Gary Snyder read at Analy High School. I got there at 6:30 and already it was filling fast. They delayed the reading to get everyone seated, even in the balcony. I forgot my journal and resorted to writing on scraps, notes to the unconscious.

Gary read from No Nature: New and Selected Poems. It incorporates almost all his early work. Awesome collection. He opened with a poem I'd never heard before, Song of the Taste. Very erotic. I like to the anecdotal stories prefacing each of the poems, I like the context. Hay for the Horses, an old favorite, Manzanita, and Riprap. He reads from Cold Mountain. Li Po is invoked. Axe Handles—Fenceposts. Word Basket Woman, a poem I use in the classroom when I teach poetry to kids.
A clear, attentive mind
has no meaning but that
which sees is truly seen.
—from Piute Creek
He said the impetus of For/From Lou came from a dream. The circumstances of Lew's death are as follows: Lou Welch disappeared back in 1973 in the Sierra Nevadas. He was he was camping on my land. He didn't come to dinner that night. We went searching for him and found the suicide note in his van. We searched but found nothing, never a word, never a bone. He had told us that he was going to do it.

Now, 12-year-old boys are still searching for Lew's a skull. He's become the friendly ghost poet. For Lew Welch in a Snowfall, also came from a dream, said Snyder.

He talked about writing prose, how it's hard work. With prose, you have to flagellate yourself. He says, It's a call to arms. He says, Don't let right-wingers steal the word, or ethics from us.

He tells us creation stories about Turtle Island, the enduring name, not USA, not America, he talks about the longview. He told a wonderful story about friends of the LA River. A bunch of poets and musicians thought that the river was lonely, all culverted up, so one night they all went down to the river to read it some poems, They played it music to cheer it up.

Word got out, folks began joining them for the readings, and they found themselves organizing into action committee. When the Sacramento folks heard about it, they came calling too. Now local neighborhoods are turning their houses around, and turning everything around to face the river. 

(See my four pages of notes)

After the reading Gary was available for book signing. I brought Axe Handles again but I couldn't find my other books, they were first editions too. Snyder was very warm to me on the second meeting. he drew me a picture of a man on the title page, and on No Nature, he wrote: To Maureen – fellow poet… closure.

Lee, who's a rare book dealer, says that signature is worth something because it's to me, and it refers to me as a poet. I also had Gary sign Atomic Ghost, he had two poems. 

I told him I put on a reading for the anthology and that I was in it too. I gave Gary copies of Mother Earth Journal, as he has a poem in it called Word Basket Woman, and I suspect that he sent it to us before it was published. I also gave him the complete Mother Earth collection. He bowed and thanked me.

I asked if he still wanted a collection of my kid poetry books too and he said: I do, I do. He has several of my anthologies already. He says when he gets a big stack of children's poetry, he wants to do an essay on it. I tell him it's sorely needed. 

Earlier, Lee Perron told me how he had given Snyder a book of his, only to find it in a used bookstore with his inscription on it, weeks later. We discussed how Snyder can be so cold just like that! Turns out his mother lived in Petaluma he used to come visit her on his motorcycle. It sounds like she might've been a bit crazy. Anyway, the relationship wasn't good.

I asked Gary if he'd like me to sign my books too, he says, Please do. I write: To Gary, may the poems of the children continue to teach us. Should I put his last name? Oh well. Lee has some books too. I introduce them, saying Lee started California Poets in the Schools in Sonoma County and that he was my mentor teacher. Their conversation opens up as they talk about CPITS. Good

However the autograph line is long, all the way down the hall—and I had taken cuts with Lee who was near the front. Upon leaving I ask, Gary: Are you still at Kitkitdizze? Gary replies, Yes. I say, If there are any worthwhile photos I'll send you some. We make our goodbyes, the people in line are angry with us, but Gary kept us talking.

It was a complete turnaround from the coldness of this afternoon, I remarked to Lee. He says: I believe Gary was genuinely quite touched by tonight's reception, and the fact that you had his poems marked in Atomic Ghost, end that you had read them at the book party… Somehow I had touched the man behind behind the coldness. 

We agreed that the public setting probably had something to do with it, and he was also on his best behavior. I said, I hated having to continually reintroduce myself as the photographer… That I wasn't into hero worship, I wanted to meet him on equal footing. Keeping in mind how many thousands of people he meets in a year—and I only see him once every 3 to 5 years. 

When talking with Lee, Gary began dropping my name as if he knew me, I was no longer the stranger. Earlier, I pointed out my name on the book, This Body is to Ask, for spelling purposes only. He said: That's the only way I know how to spell it. There are few Maureens that come through the autograph lines, I daresay.

transcribed & edited 11/6/2015


I come from the land of standing stones
I come from the land of blue people
who tends to beneath the moon.
The last days of winter are drawing to a close,
what did they dream up?
What dreams dwelled within their hearts?
I am my grandmother's last hope, 
living in a cabin in the woods, 
an artist, and the rain coming down.
She always said It's a soft Irish day.
She, who bore eight children 
and a husband who who hid behind history 
compressed between the lines of the book.
And the whiskey soothed his troubled heart.
She wanted solitude more than anything else.

My mother chose the artist's path, 
but the jealous birds
called her unseasonably home. 
Tomorrow is the equinox,
the last days of winter,
the first days of spring.
My mother, not yet dead six months.
I am still searching for the appropriate path
to mourn her loss but the tangled web
of deceit and neglect is still too great.

I was a premature baby 
born at eight months.
They said I was a love child. 
As a euphemism for
she, who came too soon. 
Was I wanted? or a surprise?
My mother said I was wanted, I was loved.
Then she left me on the doorstep.
I carry my mother's name. 
I am the small one of the sea,
She always signed her letters, Jen 
instead of love, taken from the Chinese, 
it meant love, but more than love.
She was seeking answers 
other than what the family provided.
And left me behind, with my grandmother,
as she searched the city streets.

Once I was the Pictish dancer 
I dreamed of moonlight bathing each stone.
I turned into the whispering secrets of trees.
I became the pathway of the stars.
Sometimes I think I can remember
the thoughts of my ancestors, 
a turn of ankle, or phrase,
and it transports me.
I wish for more stories to find me.
I am always hungry for more.

A neighbor's boy child,
a child who is not my own,
but he has chosen me,
too is seeking the mother.
We sit on the couch eating snacks,
it's a rainy day, the wind is howling.
We each seek a solution
to our lost parentage. 
But so much genetic history
is mindlessly passed on, 
like generations of mayflies.

March 20 1995
rev. slightly 15/11/15

Tuesday, September 12, 1995

Montana Journal, returning home

Last night I said to Lee Perron: When I was in Montana, I was looking for change, because I deserved better than what I was getting. He asked if I went to John Oliver Simon's going away party, and I said no I didn't want to go because he wanted me to, so he could be forgiven. I'm tired of it.

Our last meeting and phone conversation was fine and I was satisfied to let it go at that. I'd already said goodbye to John. Then I tell Lee: if something happens to John on this trip, a worst-case possible scenario for nine months in South America, then I would have to be satisfied with our last conversation.

John's party wasn't necessarily going to make any difference in my life, or of my memories of him. It would be awkward for me to be there.

Lee asks: Is it dangerous where John's going? I tell him South America is always dangerous, there's always an element of risk. We've gotten into a couple potential life-threatening situations in our own travels together. 

Lee is tired and doesn't respond when I say I sound pretty heartless. He says the signs are all there. Time for me to fast again. I guess I should've been a monk, but I'm an atheist.

Lee wanted to know about my friend Lee Evans, and Patrick? who studied with Richard Hugo and James Wright. He wants to know if Patrick had any memorabilia of theirs. Lee's a rare bookseller so he's always hunting for poetic ephemera.

When I first met Patrick, I didn't like his demeanor, or his words. Oil and water. But when he got on stage and told his life story, I was moved to tears. Whether by accident or design, I was transported into his world. 

He was also also noticeably changed toward us afterwards, and was more accessible and approachable. He wants a copy of my poem, Lighting the Electric Fire, that I had read to the group. He says it's unusual to find such sustained maturity that stays with you all through the poem, and continues to resonate long after the poem is over. 

I also give him a copy of my children's poetry collection, This Body is to Ask. (Garbled text.....) I can't breathe. I do all these crazy things and see very little return. I personally get exhausted and have trouble nourishing myself. 

September 12, 1995

Need to find original and decode garbled text.. who is Patrick? I must've been referring to a Montana poet.

Friday, September 8, 1995

Montana Journal: Helena

Journal Entry: Sept. 8, 1995

Helena, Montana. I arrived last night, near 11 PM. It's drizzling still this morning. my wasp sting's finally gone down ,but the itch is driving me mad. l swig lots of Benadryl to keep the swelling down. It's the length of my forearm and is still feverish.

I'm feeling pretty melancholic and am lonely for a mate. In Utah I looked in the mirror and I saw a pretty woman who's beginning to show her age a bit, and I wondered if things were ever going to improve, or am I destined to be alone like this forever. I feel pretty cut off from Sonny and it's certainly deliberate on my part. 

Wednesday afternoon I returned from Bolinas and Sonny came up for a few minutes. I was in an extremely bad mood due to my wasp sting. I don't want him near me when his ex-girlfriend's here. Obviously I'm not taking this reunion well—especially since I know the pattern. In the morning he comes to chat and tells me he wants to reckon up. He still owes me for babysitting but has to pick up his paycheck.

I didn't bother to tell him I'll be gone by afternoon. In fact, I went to the airport to two hours early. How is that for avoidance? Nathan said he wanted to go to Bolinas with me, but his mom kept him until Sunday. I didn't know if Sonny bothered to invite them or not.

My feelings were pretty hurt by Sonny's coldness on the phone. I feel trapped before. I keep thinking what could be more erotic than helping Sonny to raise his son?

I sing, treat me like a friend, treat me like a lover, don't keep treating me the way you do. A song fragment comes unbidden as I'm driving to the airport 

Two and a half hours at Oakland, and then I'll be in Utah. 

At the Montana arts Council meeting, waiting for it to begin. Everyone knows each other, except me, so it makes it difficult to make contact. people come up to me and introduce themselves, but I'm awkward and shy.

I have insomnia  xxxx (garbled text) Will I be able to sleep?

One artist I'm rooming with, Claire, says: I used to call my husband Shotsy now I just want to shoot him. I laugh. I was concerned because several of us had been assigned to this room and I came back only to find two strange men in our room. We seem to be triple booked in Room 310. Party on!

We giggled and comment on how progressive the Montana Arts Council is. But five people in a twin-bed room might be pushing it. Is is the Arts Council trying to save money, or just taking introductions a step further?

There's a whole gaggle of us trying to figure out the keys. The woman at the front desk gave them our keys. It really was funny. I keep laughing about it as I try to fall asleep.


Thursday, September 7, 1995

Montana Journal: flying over Mount Diablo enroute to Helena

Flying over Mount Diablo enroute to Salt Lake City and Helena, Montana, for the Montana Arts Council meeting. The Mormon Tabernacle shines in the Oakland Hills, like a crystal palace.

I stock up on chocolate and drink a double latte because my next stop is a long layover in Salt Lake City, the idea no alcohol, no caffeine, or chocolate suddenly has me craving all the necessities at once. A good thing sex isn't banned. I'd have to join the mile-high club, then.

The coastal mountain, Mt. Diablo rises up 4000 feet from sea level, with impressive girth. We're flying over the Oroville Dam, and the Feather River, crossing the Sierras, they are like unsheathed knives slicing the sky. I can see Mono Lake, and Buck's Lake.

There's a fire burning in the Sierras. The canyons to the south are filled with smoke. Looks like King's Canyon. In vain I search for Yosemite. What is that next deep canyon below Oroville?

Mono Lake has numerous ancient, and a few not so ancient, shorelines. They're like stair steps leading down to a jeweled eye. Once it was double its present size, and steamers crossed it. Flocks of birds blotted out the sun. An ancient lake, drained by Los Angeles' water lust. Dying slowly, inch by inch. The eye of the desert is disappearing like the Aral Sea.

The block fault mountains of Nevada's Humboldt Basin give way to the snowy Rockies. And the Great Salt Lake. More ancient shorelines. Bonneville Salt Flats looks like a field of snow. I don't know if I like clouds more from above or below. Magnificent either way. I can see them reflecting in the lake. As above, so below.

We descend to the Great Salt Lake, the plane kicking like a mule in the turbulence, shafts of sunlight, and dark shadows divide the ground into patterns.

I run into fellow CPITS poets Darryl Chinn from Arcata, and Susie Terence from San Francisco, in the terminal. We laugh. We're all three going to be Montana Arts Council artists in residence, how cool is that?

September 7, 1995

Monday, September 4, 1995

Bolinas Journal: Labor Day at the crossroads

Labor Day in Bolinas. A parade and drum circle at the crossroads. A chalk circle mandala.

Yesterday, we went rowing in the lagoon. Herman and Verona were content to be bickering passengers. Herman was finding arguments and everything Verona said. As usual I was the one rowing against the tide and wind.

The lagoon and the creek were beautiful. It's good to periodically get a view of the land from the water, it puts everything into perspective. Houses diminish, the streets, the cars, the people become invisible—even the pounding hammers lost their barking.

Today's the big Bolinas Labor Day street party and I'm alone here.

Verona and Herman went back to Novato early and I was too tired to return home to cook dinner. I read until 10PM and nodded off to sleep. I only had a 12-hour day, so I had lots of wild dreams and slept until nine AM. It's unusual for me to sleep 11 hours unless something's wrong.

It's as if the ache has settled in my hips, I don't think it's depression, it's more like physical contact. The outside and inside worlds colliding.

September 4, 1995 Bolinas

Friday, September 1, 1995

Bolinas Journal: Labor Day Weekend

Journal Entry: September 1, 1995 Bolinas

Last night, over for wine, I read some new work to Herman Berlandt who said I have a very distinctive voice and style. He notes the image, voice, language, emotion, intellect, philosophy, social theology, even political, the layers I try to include.

Yesterday on my way to Bolinas, I stopped off at Point Reyes, at the vet's office to see if I could get a prescription for Panalog, and worm medicine from Dr. Fisher. I'd written a note explaining how I had lanced and treated the cat's leg wound, having massaged the puss out from between the muscles. I irrigated it three times a day with HCl. I kept wanting to write it in shorthand but I can't remember the periodic table formula and confuse it with the formula for bleach.

So I knocked on the door though it was 6 PM. A cleaning woman answered, and I handed her the note for Dr. Fisher. Then I said disbelievingly, Debbie? She looked dumb was about to close the door on me, then changed her mind, saying she had changed her name.

She said she was known these days as Nina. Now she had to explain to the two younger women who this Debbie was, yes. And she nearly tried to shut the door on my foot and the past as well.

Debbie Howard, who was a friend from my childhood, and I talk about old home week. We gossip for a good two hours. She and Sarah live in Inverness. Their brother Guy lives in the city and has two kids. One's going to Harvard like his grandfather, ken, and their little sister, Jennifer, too has a couple of kids.

When I got to Bolinas I told Patrick Flynn the stories, and he wondered what the moon was in. We seem to have all these crazy meet-ups while the moon is in Sagittarius according to the Bolinas Hearsay News

My horror-scope reports an adventurous road trip was about to happen, and so it did. All the way to Bolinas. Yes, I'm feeling lighter, Jupiter is the planetary ruler of Sagittarius. Gemini and the moon squares that Virgo symbolic fire. We walk down to the Bolinas Library and dance to grunge music until the cows come home, I can barely make it back up to the top of the Mesa.

With powdered lime I purify the outhouse, dusting it white, the piles of shit slowly climbing towards the toilet lid. Herman says lime is the secret, but the stench greets us anyway. I admire that ongoing whitewashed sculpture.

There's something to be said how we daily contribute our communion. There is beauty even in shit, the layered rosettes of toilet paper bloom against mountains of dung, and the sun warms our legs as we sit and survey the garden of what we will later eat. The bowels letting go of the burden of our eating existence.

Verona goes over her lines as Eleanor of Aquitaine. I listened to her pain, the irony, he who imprisoned her, loved her. But he was meant to rule, so he imprisoned her for waging war against her husband.

Herman in Verona ask about my love life. I have no ready answers to give, for I created the distance between us. Vorona asks if it's better to have meaningless sex with someone you don't love, or live in a sexless country.

Herman says the distance between Sonny and me has more to do with that sexual potential, of what might happen, rather than a lack of desire. Verona tells me if he keeps going back to the ex-girlfriend, and has been picking fights, he's afraid of commitment, so the trouble between us is sexual though there's no sex between us. Therein lies the rub.

What would I do with my life if there was no possibility that I would fail? Herman asks me. And I can't get past that domestic laundry of wanting to be with someone, be it Sonny and Nathan, knowing there'd be times when I'd go crazy.

But if I had the option of having both the domestic and the artistic life, what would I choose? It's more than what I have to give, give up my art even when it doesn't come to me easily? I remain loyal to it.

Herman notes that I'm not producing much these days, but it's strong and succinct. What would happen if I was able to live my dream? Well, the element of surprise always arises, how would I survive? Words like "but" and "how" are open to interpretation.