Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Godspeed, Edwin Drummond

For Edwin Drummond, who reached for the clouds. And got a handhold. May the mountain gods pull him up to safety to the sky and beyond. The only regret Edwin had was not climbing Everest. The gods quashed it. May he find a new toehold in that unscaled escarpment. Alas, my love, godspeed. So honored to say that I knew you when.

May 14, 1945 - April 23, 2019

I was supposed to be the wife between Grace and Lia, but I said No, and ran the other way. He never quite forgave me. Last time I saw him was after he divorced Lia. I guess I was sensing the end was near when I began to search for him on the internet. in January, but I never found him. He was so close, yet so far, in Oakland, right down the street from where I used to live. Weird that he died a year after John Oliver Simon. I'm losing the significant men in my life. Is there a memorial service?

Edwin Drummond shaving, Forestville, ca. 1980. These negatives were mixed in with the photos of Boschka Layton I had taken for her book jacket.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Sutro Baths (photo)

If my grandmother hadn’t met my grandfather at the Sutro Baths in San Francisco, I wouldn’t exist. She didn’t even know how to swim... but somehow she swam right into his arms. Lol, FB autocorrected Sutro into sutras. Ken Larsen said: “I love your typo (maybe intentional?) conjuring images of bathing in sutras. I’m too young to remember the baths but fond are the memories of skating there. Be sure to check out Sutro Bath giant water slide movies on YouTube—perhaps your grand parents slid into each other’s arms???” And Ken Bullock asked: “And if you never existed, who would've started the fire?“ Amergin’s fire in the head.

From a FB post

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Free Morning off

Good grief, I have a rare morning off and I hardly know what to do with myself. That feeling of guilt, I must be forgetting something. Right? Believe it or not, the hardest part when I'm doing these poetry residencies, is eating. If it wasn't for Peggy Maddock, my host, feeding me, I wouldn't eat at all! I get that keyed up. Gonna take a much-needed shower, stop by school to do evaluations, then a drive up to Pine Flat, and Modini Preserve to take pix, then back to AVS to do kid reading this evening... Evaluations, student poetry release forms, and poetic licenses have been passed out. One class turned them in early. I’ll collect the rest tonight, and send them into CPITS, and then I’m done. These last fiddlybits can consume a lot of time. Eh. it's a Catholic guilt hangover...You know, never done? I'm off, then, into the wind.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Soda Rock Lane (photo)

Yesterday we had sunshine and blue skies. Not so much today. Massive stormfront, and rain. Maybe even snow. I teach poetry to Alexander Valley School kids every May, and I stay with a former teacher. I  ran off 100 copies of a  kid poetry anthology on a cranky copy machine that needed constant reassurance every time it overheated. This is a view from Soda Rock Lane very near artist Richard DIebenkorn's place. The studio barn has been quiet and shuttered for a long time, but the northern light waits at the ready for the artist to resume, and the wild birds still come and sit on the fence as if in waiting.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Deluge, teaching journal, Alexander Valley School

Unbelievable buckets of rain, it’s a freakin’ deluge in Alexander Valley & I only have summer duds with me. Ides of May? A couple more deluges this morning. Sheets of rain in Healdsburg and in west Marin. A half an inch of rain in Santa Rosa, my ass! Somebody needs to clean out the rain gauges.

Of course I only brought summer clothes to teach in..... I am freezing.

The internet is slower than molasses, I'm trying to save time by dictating kid poems for the poetry book (final edit, 2 classes done, 2 more to go), and I'm thinking of calling it quits, and crawling off to bed. This gig is pretty labor intensive. I’m so tired I can’t rest.....

Four classes a day, three days a week, is a challenge. I actually was so tired I crawled into bed at 8:30, just to get some down time. I taught MTW, then work for Sam in Forest Knolls tomorrow, I’m off Fri &  Sat. Work again in Forest Knolls on Sun, drive back to Healdsburg on Monday to produce a kid book. Monday is art, Tuesday is pasteup and runoff, then the big Open House readings for four classes, then we celebrate. Then fun may commence with Alexander Valley wine.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The real family photo of Mother’s Day

Normal? what is "normal?" This is the real whackjob family photo after we were done posing as normal people. Grandma is sucking down another Manhattan, between takes, Guy is way cool and aloof, thinking of the next video game, better than his early B&E phase, I'm spaced out, trying to reconcile how I'm related to all these people, how I can escape the madness, meanwhile, my mother the artist, is seriously chuffed, the only one totally present, lord knows what she was on at the time, she was den mother to the punkrocker in the Hamm's Vats, so anything was possible. Sean is off in his own world, jonesying for an escape route which will lead to a stint at Pelican Bay. Billy, who has CP, is the only one MIA, but he's been gone most of our lives, thanks to the State of California CPS stealing him from his crib as he slept, leaving no note. That's what sent my mom over the edge. She never recovered. All the miscarriages didn't help either. It's probably also my birthday to boot. Thanksgiving, 1981. You want story? We got story. And then some. Move over, Faulkner. Happy Mothers' Day to you all! <3 p="">

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

A moment of synchronicity

Lately I've been scanning old slides, one was of a collaborative poet-artist art show I was in at the Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael in 1984. My artist-collaborator was Anne Faught. Of course, as I scanned slides of Carl Dern, Bill Wiley, and curator Bill Witherup, I wondered who was still alive—including my artist-collaborator, Anne Faught. And danged if an email didn't arrive from her tonight out of the blue—nearly 35 yeas later. See, she saw a pastel landscape series I had submitted to an upcoming group show next week—and she invited me to submit two pieces to an upcoming group show in October. She was surprised to discover I was also the same Maureen Hurley the writer...and confessed that she didn't remember the piece she submitted to the Magabark exhibit. So naturally I sent her a scan of the slide. What are the chances? Never would've happened if I hadn't taped my biz card to the back of my piece. Synchronicity werks in mysterious ways.

Ann Faught's Magabark piece

Dear Maureen~
I got your email off the back of your lovely painting at the SGVCC as I was checking in work this morning for their group show. I am curating a show there in October called Where We Call Home. I would love for you to be a part of the exhibit. Below are the two letters I have sent out thus far. I will send another letter/submission form in August. Please read both letters below and consider if you would like to be a part of this show and do let me know if you will. I hope to meet you this Friday night at the group show opening.

Thank you, Anne Faught

So you are the same Maureen Hurley! I wondered as I do remember you as a writer. I am sorry to say I do not remember what I submitted for that exhibit or your piece! Yes, Carl is gone and Wiley has Parkinson’s and has moved to north Marin. Still getting around but not well. I am so glad you will be in the show!
One of the pastels I had submitted.
Upcoming art show.

Monday, May 6, 2019



My heart is like rusty springs in an old car,
abandoned by the railroad track
seats stuffed with cotton and jute
where generations of mice
have raised countless families.
My heart changes colors like a mood ring
whenever it encounters strange things,
ideas attached to wings or musical notes.
Sometimes I catch it sobbing in the dark
like a small child, other times, it runs off,
cutting school like a truant—
especially when chocolate is involved.
My heart can’t tell time well.
It always wants to play in the now,
futures are always distant,
but it likes to daydream
or procrastinate whenever a deadline
approaches at the speed of light.
My heart squeezes me,
and sobs over dumb things like movies,
or dead pets, but not for the man 
I lived with for 20 years.
I guess it figures that it already gave 
at the office.
It’s a sentimental fool
for memory and angst,
but it also giggles in the dark
like a maniacal monster
waiting for the time where darkness
descends like bat wings.

Alexander Valley School



I didn’t know I loved the way Jack the cat
would sit patiently for hours
then make a beeline for our wine glasses
every time we sat on the couch.
Wild water was so much better
than ordinary water out of the bowl.
Or the way he would sit so politely
and silently beg whenever we had meat for dinner,
but with the wine glasses all bets were off.
Everyone’s glass was fair game.
He’d make the rounds like a veteran,
work the room like a comedian
in the borscht belt
until all glasses were scrubbed
scrupulously clean by his small pink tongue.
No matter that you wanted to take a drink
from your wine glass,
he’d follow it right up to your face,
licking all the while,
with a glazed look in his eye
as he were dreaming of distant futures
where water was like a dream.
I didn’t know that Jack the cat was diabetic
and was dying, I didn’t know
that this would be the last time,
the very last time.
May there always be frosted wine glasses 
to greet you wherever you are,

Alexander Valley School