Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Silly Poem

A silly poem for a silly kitten
who madly grabs the carpet
and throunces the corner
and thumps it within an inch of its life
until it begs for mercy
but the kitten has lost interest
and is peering at me
with that crazed look in his eye
and he races off to the kitchen
colliding with the cabinet
where the catfood hides.
He thwacks the door a few times
the rubberband taut between the knobs
holds and twangs like a Jewsharp
but the kitten gallops off again,
tail arched like an Arabian horse,
to attack poor old Nellie the cat,
caught napping, she hisses
and swats him down into place
but he's undaunted
and she enters into the fray
batting a piece of paper like a pingpong ball,
she's playing for both teams,
she scores a goal at both ends of the hall,
she pirouettes while he watches on
with a practiced bored expression
on his little kitten face. He yawns,
and curls up on my laptop for a nap.

Write a silly poem:


Why does everyone call crawdads "crayfish" when  they're clearly not a fish at all? We don't call  their pinche cousins lobsters & langistinos—lobsterfish. At least a few crawdads are actually dads. Otherwise there’d be none at all. In Australia they call freshwater crawdaddies (crayfish) "Yabbies" or "Koonac". Mudbugs, ditch bugs. Whatever you call 'em.

My brother Guy used to catch crawdads in Arroyo/Barranca Creek and cook them in a tiny pot until they turned red. Tasted like lobster. Do they still have that big annual Delta crawdad feed in Locke? Went once with my cousins Dave & Sinead. They covered the table with newspaper and dumped platterfulls of 'daddies on the table.

I preferred the crawdads from our clear creeks—no muddy aftertaste. ‘Course the beer takes care of that. How to eat crawdads? Pinch the tails and suck they heads, as they say. Not much meat, but, sweet with butter & lemon. We used to hang red rubber bands from string and the crawdads would latch onto them and we'd slowly ease them out of the water, with them hanging onto their treat. The trick was to have a net ready to catch them as they dropped off. We never had a net, and I was too impatient to lull them to shore, but I still tried to lob them to the bank. God, they could pinch!

I found this: The name "crayfish" does not come from the word "fish", but from the Old French, escrevisse (Modern French écrevisse) meaning "crevice" referring to the habitat of the animal. The word has been modified to "crayfish" by association with "fish". The American variant "crawfish" is similarly derived. (This derivation is an example of folk etymology.)

Aha! It's a Malaprop, or a Mondegreen: escrevisse = crayfish. They have slain the Earl of Morey and laid him on the green (Lady Mondegreen). Mrs. Malaprop bungled aphorisms. Songs take a big hit too.  José can you see, by the dawn's early light. Me, a cowboy, me a Mexican cowboy (mea culpea). 'Scuse me while I kiss this guy.  In a Godda davida!

Don't forget the starfish.  Neither fish, nor star.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


My uncle once rescued an old sailboat, a Woodpussie,
from the bottom of Tiburon Harbor and parked it on our hillside.
It sank into the dirt, the only tide it ever saw was a steady sea of grass.

One spring I planted bulbs in large cans, and arranged them on the deck,
the boat was a riot of color, but watering them was my undoing.
The gophers smelled food and chewed thru the bottom of the boat,
climbed up the deck and into the pots just to get to them.


When I was four-going-on-five,
on my way to kindergarten,
a gophersnake stretched itself across the fireroad
and I was too terrified to step over it.
I managed to step over the snake once
but when it happened again,
the snake stretching out his long green coolness across the road,
I dropped out of kindergarten.
I simply wouldn't go. My grandmother relented,
my tantrums verged on archetypal hysteria,
and so I was a kindergarten drop out.
It was a mile to the highway to catch the bus—
and I was a very young kindergartner
so I often got lost along the way.
My grandmother did not walk me to the bus stop.
She figured I'd manage on my own.
But it was a terribly long way,
an infinite ribbon of road with myriad country distractions.
I remember catching the big yellow bus once.
A sea of hostile faces and an irate bus driver
who didn't like to wait. That sealed my fate.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gophersnakes (or why I was a kindergarten drop-out.)

When  I was four, a gophersnake would stretch itself all the way across Arroyo Road (it was still a fire road in those days) and I was terrified to step over it. I did manage to muster up enough bravery once—but when it happened again, I dropped out of kindergarten. I simply wouldn't go. My grandmother relented, and so I was a kindergarten drop out. It was a mile to SF Drake to catch the bus—and I was a very young kindergartner (November birthday) so I often got lost along the way. The road was long, so many distractions.  I remember catching the bus once. A sea of hostile faces and an irate bus driver.


I heard the keen of a hawk overhead,
all the birds ducked for cover,
and now the bluejay's jabberin' up a storm,
stealing the finches’ food and dive-bombing
the poor cat—just because he can.

Notes on Zana's Scarecrow Photo

                       —from a photo by Zana Darrow

The scarecrow wants to escape to the islands,
but he's landlocked in the backwoods of Wisconsin.
He's a hunter, a redneck, or a logger,
wearing an aloha lei over his plaid shirt.
His belt buckle is a flattened beer can
of finest aluminum alloy.
He's into supersizing, he eats a lot
of Wonderbread washed down with beer.
Smokes a little Maui-wowie when he can get it.
He's a bit shady. His other truck is a truck.
He's either unemployed,
the welfare checks have run out,
or else he's a writer
(the full beard that's seen no razor in years)
or else he's my first ex-boyfriend
(Sweet Old Bob) gone retro-native, the shit.
Life is shitty, everybody dumps on him
so he takes a dump in the woods
to get back to nature, he says.
Or maybe a tornado whirled his house away
while he was sitting on the pot.
Or he's waiting for hunting season
and the deer to come to him…
But at the crossroads on the edge of town,
the topless bars are hopping.
He reckons he'll have to sit this one out.

Celebrating Health Care Reform on Facebook

It's only 4:20 (alors!) but I'm having a pint o' chardonnay w/ my egg salad samwich to celebrate the health care bill passing. We've finally entered into the 20th century—better a century late, than never.

Here's to Mother Jones & all the Irish American women suffragettes who fought for social reform—from founding of labor unions to free public education to birth control to to medical care. Sláinte agaibh! Think I'll have ice cream for dinner. What wine to pair with it? Decisions, decisions.

Katelin writes that I should poach pears in a wine and spice mix (vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, apple juice - whatever is in the cupboard at the time) when done, to make a reduction with the leftovers, absolute heaven with vanilla ice cream.

Oooh, I have a bottle of 2 Buck Chuck Cabernet & some fat pears from Costco, Neil's bringing the French Vanilla ice cream from TJs. It's a plan. I ask Katelin, should I remove the labels from the pears? Katelin tells me: peel those babies, please!

So the ice cream perched on the poached pear halves looks a bit like the Sydney Opera house, do I need a passport/visa to Oz in order to eat this just dessert?

Note to self: next time don't toss in the whole Meyer lemon, just the zest.

Katelin asks; How much chardonnay, again? You may be Irish, but you cook like a Frenchwoman.

I reply, I only drink what's in the neck. Well you know Brittany is Celtic, after all...

Katelin: Cherchez la femme. Takes one to know one. Bon appetit!

French vanilla ice cream does taste much better with wine. Perhaps a wine float for dessert? Does this count as drunk posting while flacebrooking?

Katelin replies: what the hell are you going to float it on, woman? I have always heard the Irish had high tolerance. I have have a lot of Scot, so canna say

Zana drops in and comments: Did you two make it home ok?

Hhaha! It all started out wrong like a dog eating catfood— yesterday morning when another friend suggested Jack Daniels & pickle juice for brekkie as my friend Alexander was out of coffee... I never quite recovered my proper senses after that imagined assault.

That, and with Zana's beer can decorated scarecrow sitting at the edge of the woods on the loo, my mind was utterly deja-voodooed & warped. I did, however, have a glass of whine at 4:20pm, I did make pears poached in you-know-what—but truth be known, I'm such a pantywaist lightweight, I never could drink much. Not even in high school on a dare and not even Irish whiskey.

I drank too much vodka once with Sue Barry & Sue Williams out at Taylor Park circa 1967 and had a 3-day hangover, that was the end of my drinking career. It was years before I could even look at orange juice. Bless the gallant young stranger who held me upright as I puked in the bushes. But yesterday was such a fun thread, we were all on a roll, I didn't want to disrupt it. I'm still tittering. This is good.

Zana replies: I hear you. I had to give up lemon cream rinse in my hair back in the 70's after a long round of tequila. I also found out my newly aquired spanish words shouldn't be repeated.

Lin Marie chimes in: Hilarious! I am making a toast to you all! Clink!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Health Care bill passes

To celebrate the Health Care bill passing, I made TJs instant pudding (blancmange) and spiked it wih cocoa and Bailey's Irish Cream & I added a little cream fraiche. Five minutes before the bill passed, Obama tweeted: Yes we can. Yes we did. Indeed. I loved Nancy Pelosi's line "Being a woman will no longer be a pre-existing medical condition." Ain’t dat da truth. Never in my lifetime did I imagine such a thing happening. Giddy with excitement. Here's to you, Teddy Kennedy, for making it so.

From a Facebook post

BarackObama Tonight’s vote is not a victory for any one party – it is a victory for the American people. Tonight, we answered the call of history. House Passes Sweeping Health Care Overhaul Bill - ABC News

Saturday, March 20, 2010

L'il RIX

Spent the day jumpstarting & detailing L'il Rix, my retired '87 Honda SI since Neil's car was stolen and is in the shop—it's still backless & dashless—& he keeps borrowing my car, leaving me housebound. And you know how I hate housework. I forgot what a gas L'il RIX is to drive. Pedal to the metal—it's as fast as my Three Bars mare at the quarter mile. Cheetahs & race horses, move over, L'il RIX is back in town.

It was all those fast horses I rode as a kid... Nuthin' quite like riding the world's fastest horse at the quarter mile—bareback. It was like riding a rolling barrel. The old railroad bed below Shafters that led int Samuel P Taylor Park had a good straightaway.

L'il RIX has a powerful thirst upon himself—he needs a little brake fluid. Should I tell Neil (who's driving it)? Or surprise him?

Friday, March 19, 2010


I've given up housekeeping for lent.
Oh, wait, that was last year, or was it last decade?
It was a tough decision, but someone had to do it.
I thought about giving up tea, chocolate and chardonnay
but if I gave up the tea, then I'd have to kill everybody.
Not a pretty sight w/o my litre of morning tea.
As for housekeeping, I've learned to develop aversion eyes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Uh-oh, I'm home alone, and carless, 
with a bag of old Halloween chocolate 
beseeching me to... 

Um, that chocolate is in the past tense.
Oh look, some Bailey's Irish Cream 
hidden in the back of the fridge....

added 3/17, from FB

Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams: Parrots, the universe and everything TEDtalks "Best of the Web." About this talk "Blind river dolphins, reclusive lemurs, a parrot as fearless as it is lovelorn ... Douglas Adams' close encounters with these rare and unusual animals reveal that evolution, ever ingenious, can be fickle too— in a University of California talk that sparkles with his trademark satiric wit."

I miss Douglas Adams. I once wrote Douglas Adams a zany letter after finishing the Hitchhiker series, and he wrote right back! Will have to haul it out someday. I always liked his story about the computer that calculated that the answer to the question, "What is the meaning of life?" The answer was always "42".

Twig Doug nattering on about close encounters of the lemurian kind. An Arthur-Dentianish eye view of the eye-eye and its even rarer cousin, the lemur with Marty Feldman eyes and the evolution of his long bird (or twig) finger.

Followed by a man-eating Komodo dragon chaser with bad breath.

The flightless parrot, the kakapoo is a bird that's forgotten that he's forgotten how to fly...We won't even mention the kakapoo's elaborate, if ineffectual, 100-night basso profundo mating rituals...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Maureen Hurley reads To My Poetry Students on YouTube


Maureen Hurley reads To My Poetry Students

Uploaded on Jun 25, 2010
Maureen Hurley reads
"To My Poetry Students"
 Sacramento Poetry Center

need to check date. Probably was during POL March?  I can't figure out how to embed the YouTube video on the page, so a still and a link will have to suffice.


Thursday, March 11, 2010



I drove the long way back home
to take in the cherryplum blossoms
lining Old River Road but a hailstorm
pelted the smithereens out of the trees.
Petals—like a carnage of plucked feathers.
Mt. St. Helena wore a lenticular cloud frock,
& as the unreasonable clouds snowed & hailed,
they shimmied like fringes of go-go girl dresses,
& flocks of rainbows spangled the brooding sky.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Squid mimicing the stars

Tiny Hawaiian bobtail squid uses bioluminescent bacteria to mimic the stars, thus rendering them invisible to their predators at night. Gotta be a poem in that! Don't forget to take a break during the Oscar commercials & go outside: the space shuttle will be crossing Orion's belt tonight.

Dead Man's Curve

I once had to draw a before & after drawing for the old quarry on Hwy 116. First drawing was with a hitchhiker. Second drawing with a hitchhiker's skeleton! Clients loved it.  The quarry pretty much wound up how I projected it. Those backroads were my home roads—we knew every twist & bend of the roads and what the curve would hold—acceleration-wise. 

One time, one of my steering column bolts broke going down to Muir Woods. The first bolt cracked on White's Hill. Only one bolt between me & God. Had to back up a lot to make it back around the curves with such a wide swishy steering range! The real Dead Man's Curve is in Lagunitas, past the church, before Kenneth Rexroth's old place. A good thing I didn't attempt it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Day 2 Migraine

I'm irritated by the fact that day 2 of migraine is like day one of a hangover but no alcohol was harmed or trendily oxygenated in the process. What is it about migraines that makes me a friggin' synaesthete? A spoon on china has an additional texture—like two pieces of silk velvet rubbed into each other, or a dog unexpectedly licking my lips.

I loved that book, The Man Who Tasted Shapes. Imagine trying to tell your mother that her very voice was making your migraine and nausea worse. "Is there anything I could do?" Love the line about how headaches went away after the divorce. Not tonight, dear, I have a headache… I do have TMJ. Maybe that's the root cause.

One doctor gave me belladonna and I made the mistake of driving while under the influence—talk about Alice falling down the rabbit hole! Guerneville Road was like a chute with black walls! I decided the migraine was easier to live with than the medication!


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Poetry's Mom

Yesterday at Alexander Valley School, for a Day 1 CPITS residency, a kindergartner came up and asked if I was somebody's mom. W/o thinking I said, yes, I'm Poetry's mom—& for them, so I am.

3/4 Rainy day + Oakland kids + substitute teacher burst my euphoric bubble.