Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Well, it’s come to that
flip a coin when stasis sets in.
John the Ambiguous
was always one for a coin toss.
Have a kid, break up, get married, break up.
Whatever flummoxed him
was reduced to a 50/50 chance
so he didn't have to decide.
A good thing coins aren’t dice cubes.
It would increase the odds.
Otherwise we’d all be snake eyes.


Sunday, October 15, 2006


MARGINALIA After Jarrell

I had started to walk down the path
These are the roads you find yourself traveling
Homesick for anything, she asked me in her windswept voice
Occasions for the grief that left me seething at the sea
She heard a lot of it when she came home from the hospital
Help me! The pain in her bones paralyzed me
So I wrote these words in the margins


From Thoreau, TC Boyle. Oates, Wright, Merrill, etc.

We were observing
Replacing the old style cells
In which a window
Measuring 6 x 8 feet
More movement there
Perhaps I was not thinking coherently
In this state I was careless
Their faces showed consternation
I was confused, so I smiled

The color drained out of the treetops
It was like looking up at the emerging stats
But who was counting
For a long while she didn’t say anything
I don’t know what’s wrong with me
He foresaw every disaster so no was on his lips
Listen he said, speaking tot the sky
The spilled paint of stars
Softened his voice

I won’t give anyone another chance
It’s been a long dance with death
I realized that I’m possibly quite mad. 
I know he is.
The world is full of people 
separated from themselves by families
What was her favorite song., 
the name of the lover she took to the grave
I never adopt a person who doesn’t have 

In the case of numbers
It allowed me a substitution
The trouble with Mike was
We had become middle class
But our dog had not
They turned towards us as if praying
She believed he betrayed mongrel origins

We were all, in all places
A picture of Brazilia, 
a white mansion shining in the jungle
The music is powerful, blessed
In this fine white afternoon
Paying no attention\to our own little brick utopia
Sort & discard
The heavy-footed building
A lazy reach & sigh
These are the papers I need
It begins to thin in the air at dusk
The one, a poet, the other an action.



—for Sharon Doubiago

The carnival straddled a limnal boundary 
between civilization & endless fields of corn. 
A miracle in the bright dust and mirrored lake
deep summer bloomed in cotton candy colors.
For a moment she was screaming,
& laughing against a bright sky
as the Fairest Wheel lifted her
weightless against the burden
of her father’s darkness.

In a constant elegy of ascent & death,
the Fairest Wheel dizzied them up to the stars,
& plunged them in o the dwarfed laps of broken families.
For a moment, she forgot she lived 
the enchanted sleep of Snow White 
where in dreams she rode a carousel pony. 
Between her clenched teeth, not a rose, 
but a blanket emitted a high-pitched sound
as a bright bloom escaped from her gown.

As she loosened herself from the horizon, 
she was forever tumbling against a silken sky.
Her blonde hair, a temporary sun
eclipsed & eclipsing the retextured sunlight.

For a moment she forgot what she was
becoming, a black dahlia.
Dust & parched earth. You could taste it 
in the air, acrid like carbolic soap & sweat.
Soon the rains would come. 

—Maureen Hurley
Walker Creek Ranch, 10/15.2006

Friday, October 13, 2006


Worthless, less than, less loss. Loeser. Mary, the teacher, was married to a childhood neighbor. How many degrees of strangeness is that to be in her class in Oakland, where I let slip some geographical minutia. She startled like a deer caught in the headlights (we used to turn off the lights so the deer could cross the road… We grew fond of driving blind on moonlit nights.) She said Keith was my ex husband. I didn't ask how long the X negated the husband part, but I could see there was a fair amount of angst involved. I could tell she thought him worthless. Truth be known Keith was younger than me, and also a little weird. Apparently that turned into a whole lotta weird. Andrea, his genius sister is in a loony bin, and I think, what a colossal waste. What's the use of being a genius if there's no channel for it? What good are numbers to a physicist whose brain is biochemically addled? I know about that kind of life—we come from a long line of addlepated dysfunctional geniuses, and idiots to balance out the equation. Then, there's a rather large group of us with various real and imagined ailments so as to make several relatives hovering dangerously close to the worthless camp. Poor things, succumb to their worst nightmares – as if it was something that could be helped. Call it alcoholism, drug abuse, or being bipolar— the end result is a life rendered worthless because of the purgatorial anguish harbored within the mind. The night before last, I dreamt a nun was flyfishing off a skyscraper. I stood behind her, wondering what the catch of the day was. I opened my eyes wide, but  when I wasn't looking, small white lice had nestled in my eyelashes, obstructing the view.