Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Wilson Hill Road (photos)


 Wilson Hill Road, West Marin, facing north.

An abandoned loveseat dumped by the side of the road. Artist's light. You know I had to stop. There were pineapples carved on the oak headboard—a sign of welcome and hospitality. And the oak is a door to the Otherworld. I loved the incongruous red No Trespassing sign swinging from the fence. So, I sat there the entire afternoon just because I could, and got a fierce sunburn for my troubles. The April sun on Irish skin definitely takes prisoners. Hardly any traffic for a Sunday afternoon. Odd. Most people who passed by were preoccupied and didn't notice me sitting there drawing. Who was Wilson? Was this his hill? A lone cyclist rang his tinny bell and yelled Hi. That was it. I was so tired from the dread virus, I thought I'd never make it back to Sonoma County. That's the border on the horizon. Earlier, I had trolled Nicasio Reservoir for wildflowers because my caretaking job was cancelled. I spent my energy chasing flower photos, so I was grateful for the somewhat self-enforced respite. Sadly, my camera's failing. It can no longer focus despite the Leica lens. My eye is wounded. But I was also procrastinating. I needed one more pastel for the upcoming art show. As usual, the dreadline rendered me helpless. See, I was feeling sorry for myself, for a love gone so wrong, there's no mending it. I was punishing myself again, debating whether or not to stop to sniff the wildflowers, or flee the scene. And then I found a red stop sign embedded in the grass. What would you do? Synchronicity in action. That's what was needed. Follow random instructions from the world.






Tuesday, April 23, 2019

SPRING FEVER SNEEZEKU haiku


SPRING FEVER

Empty Kleenex box—
As a headrest offers surcease
from the dread virus.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

SPRING SHAVE

SPRING SHAVE

It's been such a long and lonely winter
my leg hairs are high-fiving each other
and waving like royalty with every step I take.
There's enough static electricity between them
to create a galaxy of sparks when I walk,
reminding me that we are sloppy batteries,
each leg, a polar opposite.
I get rug-burns getting out of bed.
The decision, to shave or not to shave
however, is put off to another day.

4/16/19

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Sick as a dog

A

What I thought were allergies morphed into a head-chest cold in record time. I'm slayed. The cough alone... I made lemon garlic chicken broth and couldn't even taste the garlic. I'm not going anywhere. Too sick. Maybe there's some zinc in the cabinet above the sink. As to the retinol, won't it grow hair in my throat? Throat feels like 5 o’clock shadow stubble. 

The lemon curd is as good as sucking on ten Ricolas. Tastier. Bonne Mamam from Grocery Outlet $1.99! Tastes especially good off my granny's tiny sterling spoon. And it gives me the illusion that I'm not eating very much of it. Yes, my voice has taken a beating...keeps cracking, so painful. I'm really sick. This is a bad one. staying home. Soaked in the hot tub, and am a noodle but it eases the dry cough that is leveling me. Also, I’m using the car as a dry sauna. 

Day two of hot tub and car sauna to ease the symptoms. My granny used to bundle herself up and sit in the car to break or bake a fever. I find myself doing the same. impromptu sauna. And I don't readily sweat when I'm healthy. I'm at the impossible coughing stage so I need all the help I can get. Coughing jags are horrible. The cough is MURDER. I'm going to have six-pac abs at this rate with all the coughing I'm doing. Though I can safely say, the turning point was yesterday. I'm on the mend, after three days of misery.  The virus took the wind out of my sails. I fell asleep reading this afternoon. I never fall asleep in the afternoon. AK! 3 AM. there's a reason why I never take late afternoon naps. Still pretty shaky, though. Staying in bed the full week on this one. Other than the unproductive cough, I can feel the shift. I am on the mend. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

ANTI-VIRAL CURE

ANTI-VIRAL CURE

Lemon curd on madeleines,
that's what's for dinner.
I can't taste anything else.
Oh, hell, forget about Proust's cookies.
Notre Dame is burning, and so am I.
So, it's lemon curd straight from the jar
with my granny's silver salt spoon
minted during La Belle Époque.
You got a problem with that?

4/16/19

SPRING GOLD

SPRING GOLD

OK, so I'll finally admit it is a cold
that finally declared itself in all its snotty splendor
after a day of chasing wildflower photos
in high winds where the air was so laden with pollen
the distant coastal hills were lost in a dream haze
like an alkali curtain had descended upon them.

The first time in over a decade a ritual is broken,
no more travels to the desert in springtime.
My partner dumped me at an unmarked trailhead.
So I learned to find my way and make do
with the local landscape, sneezing all the while,
remembering the trips to the Mojave Desert
where vast floral carpets of goldfields,
poppies, and purplemat stretched farther
than the eye could see.

I release my anger, I release him back
to the darkness that is his alone to bear.
He keeps calling me but I will not take him forth
into a future where the wildflowers
steal small pieces of the sun to dress the hills
in such gilded array that I am sick with joy.

4/16/19

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Tree & rock, Hick’s Valley Road (photo)


Tree & rock, Hick's Valley, West Marin. If I can take the back-back road from point A to point B, and bypass the idiot tourists, I’ll do it. This vista is my reward. I've been meaning to take a photo of this particular tree and rock on Hick’s Valley Road for ages, but there's no place to pull over. So yesterday, I just stopped right in the middle of the road and made time to just do it. I'm afraid it's a one-off snap, no time to fiddle with composition, placement, etc., so there's a random element to it. I'm thinking of making a chalk pastel of it for the upcoming art show.

A Facebook friend, Marc Nassar, who once lived here long ago, said, Like seeing a photo of a long lost old friend. Love it, thanks. I always tried to pull over and sit with it hours at a time, for years. Go for the pastel. Very inspiring spot.

Another friend, Arlyn Millie said, If Poetic License Press weren't such a tiny press, I'd publish Volumes 1-3 of Good News and Beautiful Reminders by Maureen Hurley, Artist & Writer. I appreciate that tragedy and ugliness don't obscure your view of the awesome and delightful. As I like to say: And also. That this.

At this point I'd be over the moon with a chapbook or a broadside. Hell I’d be over the moon if I could just feel better. Still feeling pretty sick, the cough is a killer. But I'm champing at the bit—this is the longest I've stayed in one place since August—I’m flat out sick. I want to feel better soon so I can do a drawing of this photo. Maybe later today.

But someone stole my iPad the other day—and I had several photos in waiting all lined up for art pieces. I’m still reeling. Luckily, I took this photo with my camera, not the iPad. So I had a backup of it. On a lark, I had entered an art show at a Senior Center (I haven't shown any art in DECADES!) so, iPad or no iPad, I gotta crank something out soon. Deadline approaches.

(I wound up making a print of this photo for the art show, which sold! Thus paying for my frames, and developing.)

From a Facebook post, revised
San Geronimo Valley Community Center Spring Art Show

Saturday, April 13, 2019

SOCIAL MEDIA

SOCIAL MEDIA

As I searched for information
on the internet, whether or not
my old MacBook would run the latest tax software,
I never in a million years dreamed
I'd be plugging a laptop in-
to the wall socket of my old classroom.
My call to attention was that snap of electricity
surging as metal made contact with the grid.
I was too busy eating library paste,
peering out of the cloakroom for Miss Lenz
to imagine futures where man
would walk on the moon,
or that we'd all be joined at the hip
via social media.

4/13/19

TEMPORARY ANGELS


TEMPORARY ANGELS                       —For Linda Gregg

At Open Mike, I stood in my old 2nd grade classroom
& pointed to the room where Linda Gregg would've been,
in the other wing of the school with the big kids.
Before I read her poem, to commemorate her death,
The Weight, about a string of horses from Forest Farm Camp.

I told the story of how the Gregg's dude horses
were wintered over for the season in Tamal canyon—
after the summer campers had gone back to the city,
and how the horses crossed a liminal boundary
of barbed wire, seeking more clement pastures,
to the top of our hill, and how we
eagerly raced up the steep slope to greet them.
They whickered, lonely for the company of young girls.
We were their kin, leggy, skittish, happy to see them.
We breathed in their horsy odor as they carefully whuffed,
hoping to find sugar, carrots, or an apple in deep pockets.
They grew bored, sleepy eyed, and lop-eared. Sighed.

It was so easy, leaning on them, savoring their warmth
as they canted their hips and bent massive heads down
to tear at pale winter grasses. We scratched their necks,
leaned farther still, draped over their backs
as they drifted around the crest of the hill.
We slipped our slender legs over, and were astride.
They were all action, dancing in the wind
and we were flying. Wingless angels.
Temporary goddesses, no longer fettered to the earth.
Little did we know it was as close to heaven
as we'd ever get.

Later that night, the sheriff came knocking,
inquiring about the theft of those horses.
We trembled and of course we denied everything,
our thighs still rimed with telltale horsehair and sweat.
I used to have nightmares riding those horses to safety,
not knowing which side of the divide they belonged on.
Horses on the horizon still takes my breath away.
And now Linda is traversing the last long valley,
all the dead horses bugling in the distance.

4/13/19

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Spring cold misery


Ah, spring. Allergies morphed into a head-chest cold in record time. I'm slayed. I'm not going anywhere Too sick. The cough alone... Maybe there's some zinc in the cabinet above the sink. As to the retinol, won't it grow hair in my throat? My voice feels like that.

I swear, right now, lemon curd is as good as sucking on ten Ricolas. Tastier. Bonne Mamam from Grocery Outlet $1.99! Tastes especially good off my granny's tiny silver spoon. And it gives me the illusion that I'm not eating very much of it. Hah. I did eye the graham crackers. Next round. Or, I could just drop all the pretense and go for lemon curd on a spoon right out of the jar.

I made lemon garlic chicken broth earlier, and I couldn't even taste the garlic. My tastebuds are pretty whacked.

All this coughing, my voice has taken a beating...keeps cracking, so painful. Last night was rough. Aching hips, sieve of a nose. Advil and a soak helped. Soaked in the hot tub, and am a noodle but it eases the dry cough that is leveling me. Also using the car as a dry sauna.

Day two of hot tub and car sauna to ease the symptoms. My granny used to bundle herself up and sit in the car to break or bake a fever. I find myself doing the same. impromptu sauna. And I don't readily sweat when I'm healthy.

I'm at the impossible cough stage so I need all the help I can get. Though I can safely say, the turning point was yesterday. I'm on the mend, after three days of misery. Today I could feel the difference. Still pretty sick. Fell asleep late nap....and I never nap. fell asleep reading this afternoon. I never fall asleep in the afternoon. Other than the unproductive cough, I can feel the shift. I am on the mend. Yes. 

Not going to FK on Sun. Not going anywhere. AK! 3 AM. there's a reason why I never take late afternoon naps. Still pretty shaky, though. Staying in bed the full week on this one. The cough is MURDER. I'm going to have six-pac abs at this rate with all the coughing I'm doing.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

DESPERATELY SEEKING LATTE


Stranded for a few hours in the city,
I hunted down a latte and a choco glazed & raised.
None to be had at the Starbucks on Masonic.
Even though cops, muni drivers, and the dispossessed
trolled the only coffee bar around.
The shuttered Lucky Penny hadn’t changed in decades.
I looked at the mermaid askance, sighed,
& settled for an overpriced chocolate croissant.
The barista barked, you want that thing heated?
When I bit in, I thought I had joined the fishes.
Where had such a simple pleasure
been hiding all my life? Under a rock?
I adjusted my attitude and sank
back into the restless flotsam of the streets.
Waited for my friend to resurface after surgery.

4/4/19

And then afterward, while my patient was having a recovery coffee at Peet’s in San Rafael, someone stole my iPad. So this poem was lost for a year only to resurface a year later on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

BigHairDay (photos)


Self portrait with an iPad as a young pixel. This is a real selfie. Only I can see it. My hair is an exhibitionist today. Never wash your hair in the late afternoon. When I was an extra in Etruscan smile, I still had waist length hair that went full bush ringlets because it was the first rains after the drought. They had to put a can of hairspray on it....boing! My hair woke up with an attitude for which the only fix is a drowning in floodwater. The only thing worse than not combing it, is, well, combing it. I don’t dare comb or brush it. I just need to wait until it calms down, or gets bored and moves along. Or I dunk my head in a bucket, which I usually resort to.

I’m looking for the snakes.

#BigHairDay


Monday, April 1, 2019

Near miss at the lake

Near Miss

I think I might have just sidestepped fate. A near miss. Or at least a head-on collision. I was getting ready to pull into my usual pullout by the lake for a cellular signal to pick up my email (no reception in Nicasio), but a semi truck was coming the other way, so I pulled off the road to the shoulder to wait for it to pass— just as a pickup was passing it with a vengeance.

Normally I would’ve just turned in front of the semi, and thought nothing of it. I had plenty of time to make the left turn but I was in no hurry. Besides, I was admiring the stray wisps of morning fog curling catlike through the hills—dreamily composing a camera angle in my head.

The pickup spotted me too late, slammed on its brakes, skidding into my lane just where I had been, but by then, I was safely off the road. I just sat on the shoulder, stunned—and popped the clutch. My poor car juggered to a stop, and turned its head as if to look back at me questioningly, like my old horse. Really?

The air is laden with black smoke, the acrid odor of burnt tires and hydraulic fluid. The black skid marks indelibly annealed to the road. Melted tire tracks where I had just been. It all happened so quickly, there would’ve been no time to second-guess, or even avert an accident. It was a fluke. Or Karma. Certainly cars were involved. Some cosmic April Fools joke?

Earlier, I was dwelling on the precariousness of life, and the importance of living each day as if it were the last. Fully, in the moment, as it were—feeling that mortal coil. Having outlived both my parents.

Meanwhile, the pelicans and grebes carry on with the business of trolling for breakfast, breaking concentric fish circles on the glassine lake, making solemn vees on the surface of the lake as they bear down on their quarry. As if a V for victory. A cormorant skims the surface of the lake, stitching the mirrored surface with its wings. Gathers in the view. In the cattails, a pair of monstrous pale bass break the surface, lip and taste the air, splay their tails, entwined in that oldest dance of the world.

I’m still sitting by the lake, trying to get up enough nerve to move down the road....as if there were a tiny capsule of timelessness here. I’m uneasy about driving north. The rain has arrived. I’m watching the osprey who are building a nest somewhere inland, they fly up the path of the inlet, the lake is their ley line. Earlier I was dwelling on the precariousness of life, as I’ve been living each day as if it were the last. Fully, in the moment, as it were—feeling that mortal coil. I think I’ll just sit here a while longer.

I must admit that  I sat by the side of the road and contemplated my navel for quite some time afterwards. Ironically, I was channeling photographer Jerry Downs in my head, wondering how he’d render the lake and tule fog in a photo as the light was rather flat—so that misplaced moment saved me from a potentially gnarly outcome. One time when being pokey and admiring the view paid off....

The door prize: I found a rare white Fritillaria too. Right across from where I was parked...the bladder wants what it wants, you know... I had to pee something fierce after that scare, went up the hill and found this—an April Fool door prize? Not every day one finds a an endangered species with a Plant Rank: 1B.2 .

4/1/19

It’s time for Robert Lee Brewer's Poem a Day! 2019

A poem a day writing prompts. Visit Robert Lee Brewer's blog for more prompts and example poems. I'm posting the prompts here so I'll have them all in one place as I don't always have internet.