Monday, July 29, 2019

The Love Shack of J Alfred Prufrock.

I have dyslexia & often misread things— delighting my sense of the absurd. Today's misread: The Love Shack of J Alfred Prufrock. A former student, Heather, said, Now that they’ve rebooted Cats, I see no reason not to do an Eliot/B-52's mashup on Broadway. "I've heard the mermaids singing, each to each---TIIIIIIIN ROOF! Rusted!" Would definitely buy tickets.

Meow. Sure beats seeing Hamilton.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Synchronous photo shoot on the Petaluma River (photos)

Sinead & I wasting time in a floating Gazebo. Sande Anfang  photo

I was surprised to find this photo on Facebook posted by a poet friend, because I had simultaneously taken a photo of her in the boat as well, neither of us knowing that we knew each other. Small world. What a strange and delightful gift to find on Facebook. Zero degrees of separation.

I posted a comment beneath her photo of us: Sande Anfang.That was me in the gazebo. What are the chances of us meeting in the middle of the Petaluma River like that, each taking a photo of the other without knowing that we knew each other, only to find ourselves posted on Facebook, after the fact? What are the chances?

Sande said: Oh! So cool, Mo! I couldn't see very well. Sun was in my eyes. My friends take their little boat out all the time. Such a blast! It's tough to take focused pictures in the wind and water, everything moving.

I said, We thought to ask you for a lift, just because.... I'm bummed my camera didn't focus. Most pix I took today, I wound up tossing all of them. Yeah, it was one of those days where my camera said Nope nope nope. I need a new camera.

Sande Anfang headed towards Petaluma. Maureen Hurley photo

Sinead and I had been ingloriously unhomed, after the methhead drove his truck into the living room of the Nicasio house on the 4th of July. So we had odd bits of time on our hands, both of us experiencing PTSD from the accident, so we revisited old haunts, seeking some sort of equilibrium and balance. Not much stability on a floating gazebo—more like a rocking bed—like the beds we had to flee three weeks ago. I guess the world is our bed now. No turning back to what once was. A portion of our life has ended. So that day in the gazebo was a little bit of magic, a waiting room while we waited to see what the future would bring.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Two stray goats—a wide nanny
with one on the way and a kid at her side—
wandered up the country road at dusk. 
The lost goats, looking for home,
were bleating at the front door, 
and the roosting chickens, 
never having seen goats before,
were losing their minds in an uproar,
leaving me to wonder which team won
the chicken nightmare contest:
The resident bobcat or the stray goats?


WAR'S END (3 days after Hiroshima)

What happened to pilot Major Charles Sweeney
after he dropped Fat Man on Nagasaki?
Did he think he could turn the B-29 Silverplate bomber,
Bockscar, around in the wild blue yonder, then fly back
on empty to Tinian, largest airbase in the world,
as if nothing had happened? After all, he'd practiced
13 trial runs, and 3 dress rehearsals. Shame to waste all that....
The Great Artiste wasn't ready, so he swapped planes.
Ground crew warned him the reserve fuel pump was bad.
The mission was moved up two days because of a typhoon.
Nearing the 11th hour, mad Sweeney circled three times
looking for a gap in the clouds, but he was low on fuel,
so his original target, Kokura, with its venerable castles
obscured by clouds, was spared to live another day.
A fuel pump sealed the fate of Japan's window to the world.
Nagasaki, home of M. Butterfly, became the hired wife, Plan B.
Tapping the fuel gauge, Sweeney ignored orders. Flying blind,
he could've aborted, but he bombed Nagasaki anyway,
when it appeared through a curtain of clouds like a mirage.
Looking over his shoulder, the pilot who leveled Nagasaki,
saw an iridescent lightning-infused cloud rising 
faster than Hiroshima, more intense, more angry, 
at once breathtaking and ominous.
Unable to reach Iwo Jima, he crash-landed
on Yontan Field, in Okinawa, both engines, dead. 
The plane hovered on the edge of the cliff like a tired gull.
An officer shouted, You fucked up, didn't you, Chuck?
Another said We had the wrong guy flying the plane.
Even Enola Gay's pilot Paul Tibbets went a little mad.
But Sweeney, who commanded the last atomic mission, 
maintained to his dying day that he'd made the right decision.
I took no pride or pleasure in the brutality of war, 
whether suffered by my people or those of another nation. 
Every life is precious. But I felt no remorse or guilt 
that I had bombed the city where I stood.
Did we also drop evacuation leaflets, like paper doves,
or was that another story of a story told after the fact?
After Tokyo, Hiroshima, then Nagasaki. Emperor Hirohito said:
We must now bear the unbearable and endure the unendurable.
A hundred thousand gone. According to the Manhattan Project,
it was a smashing success. But Shiva was unleashed,
and a hundred thousand more burned from within.
The voices of the hibakusha sang a silent aria of grief.
Oppenheimer invoked Vishnu:
I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.
No matter that the Japanese, already defeated, 
had surrendered, de facto. But we taught them
a lesson, not once, not twice, but three times
for Pearl Harbor. And we taught them again.
Again and again.


Monday, July 22, 2019

Cock o the Walk (photos)

Pele rarely stays still long enough for a portrait. He takes his job guarding the hens very seriously. He has several vocalizations: Juicy Food Here! Let's get laid, and Danger danger danger. The mangy bobcat nabbed some chickens. But not this year. The cock o the walk struts his stuff. Maybe we should call him Harry, or Hotspur. He has to carefully lift each leg over his own spur. Otherwise, he'd trip. The chickens have only each other to fear. Pecking order is the status quo.

Since the photo assignment was to focus "within walking distance." I took a rather laid-back approach and never left the hammock. As I lolled, I never before noticed that each chicken has a distinctive comb. Kind of like a fingerprint. Even their wattles are varied. Some are like dahlia petals. Others, like roses. 

My cousin once had a hen named Rosie who preferred to roost on the BBQ grill. She didn't get the joke. But her owner became a vegetarian. One hen has a deformed beak, don't let that fool you. She is savage when it comes to bugs and mice. But she is also the most personable. She listens intently when I croon to her. I speak imperfect cluck-cluck so she can't always make out the words. She always politely answers back.

The last bird is the same size and shape as a chicken but he is not a chicken. He is an impostor in death's clothing. I don't speak his language either. I am also not yet quite ripe enough. But he is extremely patient. Perhaps some day I will master his language. Hopefully, not too soon.

Saturday, July 20, 2019


My granny decided to grow a plant 
from a pineapple top.
We said it would never root.
Well, it rooted.
Then we said it would never flower.
It flowered, not once, but twice.
We said it would never fruit.
Well, it fruited. Twice. For spite.
No idea what pollinated it.
We said the mini pineapplet would never mature.
It didn't. It withered on the vine.
Turned into a mummified pineapple.
But by then it was a standing family joke.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Seeking Robert Bruce Hamilton (again)

In the process of trying to track down my first true love, Robert Bruce Hamilton, wondering if he's even on this earth, I can't find a thing on the internet. It's strange in this day and age, not to have some sort of an internet presence. We've been hunting for Sweet Old Bob for seven long years now. Dulcie, was his first girlfriend, both before, during, and after—me (yes, you read that right—I met him after they broke up, then he left me, for her). At least we think he was a serial monogamist. What can I say, it was Marin, during the 1970s. We have been shaking down any leads we can find. No luck. Trying to track Robert Bruce Hamilton or Bob Hamilton is impossible, as it's such a common name.

I never expected to become friends with Dulcie, but she found me via the internet, in August, 2012, from a blog post I wrote on SoB, and she felt compelled to tell me her side of the story. Kindred soul. Our correspondence fell away after a few months, but we finally met at the end of 2016. Since then, our friendship has evolved in other directions—other than Bob, that is. Then the question inevitably arises: is he still alive?

Taking stock, old inventories of the past, blog list

It took a couple of years to get my poems posted online, a lengthy process I began in 2015 (Updating Old Poems) when I thought I had lost almost all my work due to a computer glitch—outdated software turned my files into UNIX bricks. I was able to salvage most of my work but it was a process done in fits and spurts.

Then in 2017, I found several handwritten journal entries, and revised first drafts. I scanned and posted those below the poems, so it's been a poetic archaeology hunt. The early poems were not in electronic format, so transmuting them to text from a jpg became another huge project I took on last year when I got some OCR software.

Salvaging the past seems to be an annual summer project. Taking old inventories as it were. I still hold out a dim hope that I'll find more work for the weak years: 2006 (19) 2005 (18) 1999 (21) 1978 (22). Only way to salvage those years is to find long lost notebooks. But we've come a long way, indeed.

Lately I'm collecting what little artwork I have left, and I've created a separate blog for that. The blog has a long way to go and is riddled with gaping holes. Sadly, my early drawing portfolios were turned into pulp during the winter of 2015. And no photos of my ceramics have emerged, I think that chapter of my life is forever gone—except for a few stray pieces that survived the odds. Makes me sad as I had taken slides for a portfolio. I've already scanned all my old slides, so unless I misplaced the ceramics slides in Forestville, it's a lost cause.

Maureen Hurley Art

Then there's my photography. Most of my people photos are posted on Google Photos, and I've sent links out to the pertinent people. But I'm woefully behind on uploading my landscapes. I probably should make another blog of a few of my best photos, but I want to find a different format for them (and my art) than Blogger. Right now they're just placeholders. I did this then—sort of thing. Google Photos is merely a storage locker, as no one can see them, sans link. So that's not particularly useful for simple sharing. I miss Picasa. So much easier to share things.

Right now, I'm beginning to scan my B&W negatives from the 1980s and 1990s. No idea where I'll post them as I haven't found the right venue, other than Google Photos. Suggestions?

The photos from the Russian River Writers' Guild, I'll eventually post photos on the blog I made last year. Lots of famous poets! We are missing most Open Hug flyers for 1985, and we are missing flyers from 1987 onward to the last reading. It still needs the final years of Obligatory Hug when we moved to Johnny Otis's cafe. I don't have copies. Wonder who does?

Russian River Writers' Guild

I can't even get into the blog I made for Marianne Ware in 2010, which is maddening, as I now have new photos to share on that blog.

Marianne Ware Memorial Page

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

St. Vincent’s School for Boys

Don Timeteo Murphy, from Wexford, Ireland, while on his deathbed with appendicitis, bequeathed 317 acres to the first archbishop of San Francisco—on a dare, to build an orphanage for boys who lost their family from cholera (it was called an orphan asylum), and the stipulation was to have it up and running within two years—or forfeit the land. So Alemeny called the nuns in— Sister Frances McEnnis. Fellow Wexfordian, James Miller helped to build it. He was also a benefactor of St. Vincent's School, lending the school his financial support in its earliest years.

St. Vincent's RC, 1855 - 1924, Orphan Asylum

"The lumber and supplies were hauled by ox team and Mr. Miller and a Mr. Kirk built the building. The school was completed and named St. Vincent’s Seminary, the name of the patron saint of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul." —Dixie Schoolhouse

On January 7, 1855, St. Vincent's School for boys opened its doors—“to aid in the establishment of a seminary or institution of learning.”

"On his deathbed, San Rafael land grantee Timothy Murphy promised 317 acres of land to Joseph Alemany, the first Archbishop of San Francisco. But as with any good Irishman, there was a catch to Murphy’s offer: the acreage would revert back to Murphy’s heirs unless a school was operating on the premises within two years. And as often happens, the best man for the job was . . . a woman. At the time, however, Sister Frances McEnnis was living with the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

According to A Mission That Endures: A History of St. Vincent’s School for Boys by Peter Rudy, when notified by Archbishop Alemany that the Sisters of Charity were needed to care for children orphaned by a recent cholera plague, Sister McEnnis and a small band of nuns agreed to make the hazardous trip and immediately headed west. After a grueling cross-country journey, they raised the necessary funds and made sure the school was open for students on January 1, 1855—beating Murphy’s deadline by ten days. As for naming the school, Sister McEnnis reached back to her roots: it would be called St. Vincent’s.

Friday, July 12, 2019


My childhood heroes were full of horses,
Tonka Toy horses, not Barbie dolls or action figures.
I was crazy about horses,
especially Secretariat and Seabiscuit.
I grew up with a lithograph
of the Irish horse, Arkle, on the wall.
When my grandmother wasn’t looking, 
I’d trace around the edges of his nostrils
with a red pencil, as if to breathe life into his portrait.
He glowed like the fairy horses of the Otherworld.
My grandmother noticed, but never said a thing.
I could recite a litany of pedigrees,
bloodlines, jockeys, and stables. Willie Shoemaker.
Whose lineage traced back to Native Dancer,
War Admiral, Three Bars, Man O War—
right on back to the founding sires, 
those hot-blooded desert horses with English names, 
the Godolphin, the Darley, the Byerley Turk.
But I couldn’t keep up in school, always the last to finish,
with heart pounding as if it were about to burst.
That moveable feast, the finish line, was ever out of reach.
I was unbelievably fast, a sprinter, no one could catch me,
I was Of the Cloak, that foundation mare of the desert winds,
running from fear, running from life, until there was nowhere left to go.
But I was given a plug mare who taught me perseverance, 
when she died, I was given a red Three Bars mare, a sprinter,
the fastest horse in the valley. It was like riding a barrel
on a stormy sea when she leapt into the void.
Those horses were my teachers. When the gates opened,
I found I could stay the distance, eight furlongs,
head to head, then twelve, neck to neck.
The invisible crowd cheering as I crossed the finish line.
And then there were roses bleeding on the ground.


Monday, July 8, 2019

Do not paint down historic WPA mural. This is not 1930s Germany or 1917 Russia.

Do not paint down historic WPA mural at George Washington High School. This is not 1930s Germany or 1917 Russia. This is censorship. Golda Meir once said, “One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.” In a toxic move to be politically correct, it seems we’re doing just that. Erasing inconvenient truths in order to feel good.

In an alarming trend to be "politically correct", school boards are whitewashing the past. Last month a Marin Co. school board expunged the name of historic Dixie School, though its founders did not support the Confederacy during the Civil War. 

The latest attempt to change California's past is to remove an historic WPA mural at George Washington High School in San Francisco—for depicting an historic truth. What's next? Grace Cathedral and Coit Tower WPA murals?

And the censorship continues an alarming trend. Why destroy the historic mural? Why not put panels over it? 600k to paint it over? really?

SFUSD thinks it will cost more than that—and they don't care. I guess house painters are very expensive these days. More expensive than hiring a fantastic muralista, say, Juana Alicia, to paint an alternative mural that would create a dialogue with Dewey Crumpler's rebuttal mural, on whiteboard, to protect Victor Arnautoff's original WPA-era mural.

The problem is that we are artistically illiterate, unable to understand allegory, or symbolism. The role of art is to instruct, to teach, not lull us into complacency. We take everything at face value. We don't want to actually think, or have to decode the message embedded within the art. That's why the inane decorative plastic arts that plague us everywhere, is mistaken for art. Students can't see that the mural is highly critical of our sappy rendition of our history, and of George Washington, who, apparently owned slaves. I didn't know that, did you?

Zana Darrow brilliantly noted that the monochromatically painted frontiersmen were depicted as soulless. And they were ruthless—especially the Mountain Men, Kit Carson and John C. Frémont—who mercilessly killed natives as they journeyed to California. That depiction is correct. So we want to hide this ugly chapter of history?

"The artwork on the walls of George Washington High School in San Francisco painted by a WPA artist Victor Arnautoff, exposed the hypocrisy of American History and that is not being seen or understood by those trying to remove and paint over the past.

“The murals represent social history. They provide an inclusive and truthful history… Removing them represents censorship as well as a reactionary moment in time,” an unidentified commenter said. “What I do recommend is that the school board establishes a multimedia display... that indicates the complexity and contradictions of George Washington [and] the extraordinary history of Victor Arnautoff.”

The mural depicts a historic, if harsh truth, Anglos treated the natives and Latinos badly. we should whitewash that out of history? —

Of course art is political. And people no longer know how to read art or understand the juxtaposition of symbolism. They’re artistically illiterate and don’t want to take the time to actually see what’s going on. They don’t want to actually have to think. They say, oh, it’s pretty, it’s decorative, I like it. Oh, it’s negative, I hate it. A fallout of our consumerist society where we call the decorative arts art, and I don’t mean art for art’s sake.

Post Truck Stress Disorder

Interesting, any abrupt noise, like the motel maid’s cart banging on the wall next door has me hanging ten from the ceiling. Reptile brain in action. Yes. I’m feeling very depressed today... palpable, visceral. Someone says that I have Post Truck Stress Disorder. I hope my PTSD lessens, I was in the room directly above the truck's hood. It slammed the house at about 70MPH, the bed absorbed most of the shock, but I was launched out of bed. Just glad there were no flying projectiles. I could've been a shiskabob.

I drove north to take care of my friend's plants, housesitting, and conked out. I never nap. Some 4th of July fireworks! I’ve another place I can stay in Sebastopol with a friend but I need a Forest Knolls couch too...Barbara Scott said I could stay with her a few nights.

Spent the first two days sorting and tossing splintered beams, and yesterday picking up wood fragments and glass. The wood was pulverized in some cases. I actually managed to sort the three woodpiles and toss the splintered wood. I filled five large trashcans. Still a lot of small wood fragments and glass to pick up. it will be months...the wiring has been severed for half the house.

Eating actual meals has been an iffy concept. It’s been mostly shove something in the piehole, on the run. First meal since the 4th, French toast. Almost pie. We’re holed up in a motel. I am really tired today. Wow. First downtime. Just a little adrenaline? Yesterday I was as turfy as Rocky Grazziano!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

4th of July party crasher

Eating actual meals has been an iffy concept. Its been mostly shove something in the piehole, on the run. First meal since the 4th, French toast. Almost pie. But my digestive skydives give system is on lockdown.

I haven’t talked about the elephant in the living room. Namely, how a Petaluma man named James Reisenhoover, who, apparently was having a little private party of his own while driving back from the Graton Casino, then missed the Petaluma turn-off, and managed to drive  all the way to Nicasio, to ram a brand new Titan truck through my cousins’ living room at 4:56 AM on the 4th of July. We’re still in fight-flight syndrome. Unfortunately, writing this is like reconstructive surgery. So I’ll lift comments from my Facebook posts and see what happens.

Nothing quite like waking up to an explosion beneath the bed and. an  engine revving in the living room.  That was some AM wake up call. Replete with a bed ejector button. Dude should've just knocked at the door, instead of almost knocking the fucking house down. I guess he didn’t like all my cousin’s potted flowers and tchotchkes on the front steps. WTF, why is he on his phone? Who you gonna call at 5 AM? Perhaps a 911 call would’ve been more appropriate? at least the Marin County fire department was on it.

The little cat is still so freaked out. We think he was on the couch that the truck hit, that launched across the crowded room, which also  launched small items about 6 to 8 feet Sinead’s wine glass! Monster is still so skittish. Definitely has PTSD. will hardly even eat, and he’s a chow hound. Gives me tiny wrist kisses. Sinead’s scitzy cat  Ceilidh, on the other hand, who normally can’t tolerate humans, and this thing they do called petting, wants pets and reassurance from the firemen. Go figure.

It was a four fire department event, Nicasio, Woodacre, Hick’s Valley, and Novato all turned up, plus lots of first responders, three CHPS, two sheriffs. A real block party. Shout out to the Marin County Fire Department and First Responders who went well above and beyond the call of duty, and came back and shored up my cousins’ house. Jeremy from Nicasio FD, Matt from Hick's Valley FD, and John from Woodacre FD. And to all the handsome young firefighters who are the next generation of firefighters. And to the CHP, and the Marin County Sheriffs... you all rock. And to Stephen Sproul ❤

I keep thinking What if. The live electrical wires had touched the truck—as the water was geysering. So glad I put my rubber-soul shoes on. Angels in the outfield.

More cleanup is ahead. Soothing the cats, telling them it’s OK, is also on the list My fingertips are raw and sliced from picking up so much splintered wood and glass. Picked up more glass and exploded wood fragments yesterday, cleaned and culled three woodpiles on the 4th and 5th. Filled five trash cans with tightly packed beams and fragments, so much more glass to go.... pruned and propped up the remaining 75 year old heritage rose. Tried to salvage the other one ripped out of the ground.. You really can’t pick up glass fragments in garden gloves.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Earthquakes in the Mojave desert flush out the Facebook Bible belters

CNN posted a story about the Searles Lake/Ridgecrest earthquakes. Ok, so 7.1 is definitely big, but not unheard of. What gets me is the collective hatred in biblical proportions unleashed towards California that manifests in the Facebook comments.

Yeah, makes me wonder why don’t all these so-called Christians actually do something useful, like donate to a disaster charity?

#science fergawdsakes. The sheer collective ignorance unveiled on that thread is astounding. Didn’t they learn anything about geography or geology or plate tectonics in school? How do they think mountain ranges are created? By plate tectonics. Ostriches are smarter, they don’t actually bury their heads in the sand.

Christ didn’t sit back in an easy chair with his beer and remote control in hand, and pray for those sinners during the 6 O’clock news. He was all about action. Boots on the ground. Action. He didn’t go around posting passive aggressive snide comments about repentance, sin and prayer on Facebook. Prayer should be a private contemplation. Not something broadcast like a commodity. It’s not a celestial stock market.

What’s with all these so-called Christians claiming an odd petty moral superiority via prayer, saying California deserves earthquakes and natural disasters because we Californians are somehow less deserving of life than they are? So many tiny minds at work, it’s frightening. That’s the real antichrist in action. Right there. No matter that California has been experiencing earthquakes for millions of years. Gawd forbid, don’t let logic in.

Long before the so-called Christians invaded these shores, the Ohlone Indians had a saying, that California was dancing on the brink of the world. They were referring to earthquakes. Earthquakes are how the extraordinary landscapes are formed. Tectonic plates subducting and shoving up mountain ranges, creating magma zones are all part of the process.

#science matters.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy 4th of July like no other

Well, now, the 4th had some seriously heavy duty plans for us, kicking us out of bed at 5 AM, when a  brand new Nissan Titan truck drove through the front door of my cousin’s historic house and took out the 150 year old picture window.

Firemen from Nicasio, Novato, Hick's Valley, and Woodacre Fire Departments responded blocking of the road on both sides, then, after the truck was pulled from the door frame, they came back and shored up the porch and support beams, and foundation. Foundation and the main corner support beams holding up the house are compromised.

The house is 150 years old so everything is hand-milled, non standard sized wood. Hand-made nails. Redwood older than the concept of Christ. But the firemen are adapting, going over to the firehouse by the Rancho Nicasio and raiding their woodpiles to find big enough struts to make this so.

Meanwhile, Ceilidh, the crazy cat, who normally won't let anyone near her on a good day, is asking for pets from the firemen. We found little Monster, a rescue cat, holed in Sinead's closet, scared out of his mind, he's still a baby kitty in an almost grown-up cat's body. Every little movement or noises sends him back into the linen closet. I think he was on the couch sleeping when the truck launched it across the room. How do you even begin to explain PTSD to a cat?

Front of the house is wide open (talk about open house!) and cats are not interested in escaping....LOL. Usually they're making a beeline for the front door. But all the tourists, seeing the fence down, and all the activity, think it’s a store and want to know what it is we’re selling. I’m rather cross with all the looky-loos and tell them to contact the county to at least put a caution sign and rumble strips up. Fix the road. What will it take, one of us getting killed?

Marin County Fire Department totally rocks! ❤ May the 4th be with you.