Wednesday, April 29, 2020

AVS freewrites YOUR HEART IS A DRUM, CATCH & RELEASE

YOUR HEART IS A DRUM

Your heart is a drum 
beating in the sky of self.
It wants to find the place 
where thunder sleeps with the clouds, 
where lightning is an idea of its time, 
where we gather our thoughts 
and dream of the night stars.

CATCH & RELEASE 

Catch and release of the day
When you write a poem it’s like a river, 
it’s like fishing. First you approach the pond, 
and then you cast your line into the water. 
You chase those concentric ripples 
to the opposite shores and when you get a nipple, 
you really in your line, hook that fish, 
reel it in, and bring it to shore. 
Then, you let it go.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Car botanizing, Hick's Valley, West Marin


Hick's Valley, West Marin. Car botanizing enroute to work on the back-backroads of home. All this beauty and I can't even leave my car. I slammed on the brakes and flipped a uiee for this one. And my camera is on its last legs, er, lens.... autofocus is going, among other things—dirt inside the lens, unintentional blind spots create solar flares. I eke out photos with a wing and a prayer as I go, each one might be the last. I got lucky this time. So beautiful, it almost hurts. Nowhere near as intense as the SoCal poppy blooms, but impressive nonetheless. We have more non-native grasses to contend with. The area used to be laden with vernal pools, so on the other side of the rise are vast swaths of meadowfoam blazoning the hillsides. Where to even begin, California poppies, sky lupine, owl’s clover, cream cups, buttercups, mallow, popcorn flower, aka snow on the mountain, grass nuts, red dock?, yarrow in the distance. Tomorrow, the hills will be a little less green, a fleeting moment. I am reminded of Robert Duncan’s 

the 

Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow.

as if it were a scene made-up by the mind,
that is not mine, but is a made place,

that is mine, it is so near to the heart,
an eternal pasture folded in all thought
so that there is a hall therein

that is a made place, created by light
wherefrom the shadows that are forms fall.

When I was a young and uninformed poet, Robert Duncan always included me in readings, encouraged me to keep on writing.

I had been ogling a deluxe Stabilo pencil set for over a year, it arrived all the way from England in a cherrywood box, just When the coronavirus struck. Some Friday the 13th. My mind was alternately  elastic, or  a black hole—expanding and contracting—leaving me lost on alien shores. I couldn’t make art. I had the attention span of a newt. The only thing that saved me was driving the back roads to my job. I went the long way home whenever possible. Botanizing from the car. 



This tree, and rock became my anchor. My salvation. I watched the greenery meld into a rainbow fest of flowers unfold. First on the scene were the yellow buttercups and creamcups, then orange poppies, magenta mallow, and owl’s clover, indigo lupine, and purple ookow. Meanwhile, the mountain watched the passage of the season. In this way I began to find my out of the horror of what it is, and what will be for a long time coming. This meadow, my salvation. —Maureen Hurley

the 


On the other side of that hill you can see where it’s been plowed as the meadowfoam follows the tracks of the plow from previous years past makes for an interesting braided effect of yellow and green. And now it’s blooming by the fire station. If you look carefully in the upper left corner, you can see  thin blue band of reservoir just below the meadowfoam.



Friday, April 24, 2020

ODE TO BRIANNA


ODE TO BRIANNA

Brianna sits at the table
twirling her hair into thick ropes
as she contemplates the unsaid,
unspoken lines of a new poem.
She raises her glass and drinks deep
from the well of knowledge.

4/24/20

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

THE MCGUYVER CHRONICLES


Allergy season
I use Visine for my nose
It can see clearly now.

4/20/20
Love the date.
Not so 20/20

Once I grabbed nose drops
to ease my dry eye syndrome—
daylighting my sinuses.

4/30/20

Sunday, April 19, 2020

SEXING THE GENDER OF BELL PEPPERS

(found poem)

Flip the bell pepper on end
to reveal its gender.
Count the shiny orbs.
If it has four, it’s female,
full of seeds, but sweeter,
better for eating raw.
If it has three humps, it’s male,
best saved for the stewing pot.

4/19/20

NICHTALALLOUDI, II


The thoughts of night were imprisoned somewhere
between that humid blue of distant summer skies,
chinaware, and the foreboding secrets of midnight
locked in deep pools where fragments of sleep
drifted amid vórtices scattered with violet-scented stars.
Last night, the rooster murdered sleep. Again.
A thief of time, for sure, but the waning moon was being coy.
Bleary folds of cerise seep into the cornea of the eye
as if to guide the dawn into an orchestra of light
where the green meadow is lit as if from within,
perhaps a rainy promise, bolsters its courage.
The wild azaleas are late this year, the bees, bereft.
The sky is roiling, overcast with certain gloom,
and is likely to remain so in the foreseeable future.
There’s an old Irish saying, What was the color of the wind
on the day of your birth? I don’t know, perhaps
an unspecified pale eastern wind verging on lapis
streaked with silver and indigo with flecks of amber.
Or the heliotrope following the sun. But it has made me restless
and it is a psalm growing darker yet, howling at the door.
To the bee, the wind is always the color of pollen,
to the wolf, dark-fingered shadows on the edge of the forest.
What is the compass point of happiness or joy?
There’ll be time enough for daydreaming
when the danse macabre ushers us
into the secret bosom of the earth.

4/19/20

COLOR-WHEEL POEM


Someone posts a color wheel with the ascendant color yellow representing joy, the oranges and reds representing shades of fear and anger, with magenta, purple and royal blue, representing darker thoughts, emerging towards the hopeful blues and greens. Then she asked what color were our thoughts when we awoke. And what color now? But I couldn’t choose between the colors I loved, and the assigned emotions—I couldn’t get past the metaphor.

I said: Yes, I awoke twice during the night but I would have trouble choosing a color as I tend to choose the colors I love, on the left and bottom of the color wheel—and I don’t associate those assigned dark feelings with that particular color wheel.

I love magenta, it gives me inexplicable joy, and I  am mad for purple, and royal blue—especially the intersection of indigo and violet. These are the colors I tend to wear. They make me happy. They’re bold. I don’t associate dark thoughts with them. I love cyan and green (just not on  me).

Yellow is a color I really dislike along with light green. In my family lime green, triggers migraines. And I am so not fond of any of the orange colors, or red either—except in small doses. I have such a visceral response to color that I can barely enter a Safeway because the predominant colors are yellow and red. It upsets me to no end to be surrounded by those colors. To me yellow is aggression, not joy. It whines. I have trouble concentrating. I also may have a touch of synesthesia. I am not talking about being in the desert and surrounded by sandstone walls that’s different, besides they verge on purple. Purple is not depression, it’s the color of forgiveness, perhaps resurrection.

How we feel about color is subjective, in my case, violently so, visceral, and a singular paradigm won’t work. At least not for me.

I’ll take the entire skewed lower half of the wheel beginning with magenta to green, please.

COLOR-WHEEL POEM

Magenta is a full body hug, passion,
the embers of the soul.
Purple is secretive thoughts and creativity,
the night dreaming.
Royal blue is twilight and goatskin—
sorry, Neruda, poetry defines me.
Delft, or China is blue deep water, emotions,
Monet’s water lilies come to mind.
Cyan is the sky daydreaming of clouds and prisms.
Green is spring’s eternal promise,
the buckeye opening its hands in supplication.

4/19/20

Friday, April 17, 2020

Routine

DAY 34 (I began sheltering in place on Friday the 13th, a few days before most folks began to hunker down). After a month of sheltering in place, with a few excursions to go to work (I’m a care provider), shop, and to run errands, I begin my mornings early by making a large flask of tea, and I start the porridge in my crockpot—it takes a while to cook but no stirring, or burned pots are involved. Besides, I have all the time in the world. I’m rationing my mush, as Bob’s Red Mill can’t replenish stocks until June. TG I got all that Costco TP before all this madness began. After a lengthy tea party with myself, followed by a deep Facebook debriefing, I eat breakfast and clean up. I migrate downstairs around noonish or maybe 1 pm, for coffee and a tiffin, or a light lunch. Then I head outside to my car which doubles as an office. I try to mix it up a bit so casual dress may include a nightie, sweats, or a combo of both if I’m feeling daring. I use the upright passenger seat, with its excellent window lighting, for my main Messenger/FB interactions—see who’s alive or missing, or dead. Facebook has become the new obituary column. I catch up on my email, and petition signing events. Sometimes Chad Sweeney posts haiku prompts, so the mind is always counting syllables, if not the days and weeks during this quarantine of suspended time. Sometimes I even make some art, but lately that has fallen by the wayside. And later, I might migrate to the backseat for an afternoon lounge with my iPad, for some light reading, writing—often gleaning my comments from Facebook memories to turn them into something. After all, it is poetry month, and I’m generally desperate to flesh out my blog, and meet my imaginary quotas. Or if that fails, maybe I’ll watch some Netflix if I’m especially groggy, or if my eyes have completely gone on strike. There is considerable danger that my lunch event horizon becomes an afternoon snacking affair that merges into the formal dinner hour. Sometimes I stay out late in my car, and join the other howlers in the neighborhood. There is blessed unity in that moment. Then it’s back upstairs to the bedroom atilier with dinner in hand, if I haven’t eaten the entire afternoon, that is. I try to keep my distance from the other folks in the house as I don’t want to share any virus with them as their immune systems are more delicate than mine. There’s that potential that every time I go out into the world that I’ve been exposed to the virus, then the doomsday clock is reset, and I have to wait another five days to see if any symptoms develop. See, lately my throat always hurts. At first, I thought for sure it was the dread virus, but it’s not. That abiding lump in my throat is raw, untamed grief with nowhere to go. I like being upstairs, above the trees, where it’s always wine o clock, I can see a few stars to the east, but there’s no clear shot of the night sky. I miss not seeing the fading light on the western horizon. Only the darkness of redwoods to haunt me. I follow that dinner hour with a cookie, or three, and another chaser of Netflix until I doze off with Gibbs and Abbs. I will probably go through withdrawal when I watch the last episode of NCIS. Since we have all this free time, I began at the beginning. I’m up to Season 13. Soon it will all be over, one way or another. Lately I’ve been so tired, I fall asleep at 9 o clock, which is unusual, but invariably that means I wake up around midnight or 1 am, all owlish, which gets complicated if I have to get up early the next morning to work. Oddly the rooster seems to know when someone’s awake in the house because he redoubles his efforts and sings nonstop until the dawn comes.

Daydreamer


I think I daydreamed my way through Lagunitas school. I was always being busted for gazing out the window, my mind always in that far field, the deep grass outfield where the rattlers sometimes coiled themselves in the sun, where we were forbidden to go, but we went there anyway.

VEILED THREAT haiku


We rallied against
Islamic women wearing burkas
And here we are, all veiled.

4/17/20

Red Tide


When I was young, during deep summer, when the red tide came in, we used to drive out to Blackie’s Pasture near Strawberry Point, and head towards Tiburon, following the shoreline to catch the rare bioluminescent lightshow, where the small waves lapped in, ethereally lit from within. And a decade later, after the bars closed, we’d drive out to Goat Rock, under full moonlight, to scribe our names and lost fragments of poems that would never otherwise be written, our deep confessions in the sand. The ocean as our witness. Our writing glowed with an unearthly light produced by the dinoflagellates trapped on the shore, waiting for the next wave to take them back home.

4/17/20

2 Odes, BOOKSHELF, ODE TO A MIRROR

BOOKSHELF

There he sits
at the edge of the bookshelf
all these years, alone,
a hand-carved wooden cat
waiting for someone to read to him,
guarding all those unopened books
with so many stories to tell
He’s waiting for someone
to admire the gilded spines and covers.
He’s waiting with hands clasped
waiting patiently
for the story to begin.
But the story is waiting to be born
so it can travel the world.

4/17

ODE TO A MIRROR

Ode to an tarnished Victorian mirror
chipped and beveled,
radiating prisms of sunlight
Your silver slip, peeling with age
fogged by a sea of memory.
Ornate pewter roses covered your back.
Once you slept on her oak bureau, dazzled
amidst a sea of perfume bottles and doilies
in an upstairs bedroom, perhaps facing south,
where dust motes danced on lace curtains.
Whole lives, trapped behind the mirror.
I found you sleeping alone
in the old sea captain’s house
by the shore            .


4/17

Thursday, April 16, 2020

PANDEMIC RESPONSE



PANDEMIC RESPONSE

That stark moment when you realize 
those refrigerated shipping containers 
freshly painted white,
lined up on the street 
outside the hospital
are the makeshift morgues.

4/16/20

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

FRIDGIDAIRE BLUES


FRIDGIDAIRE BLUES

I cleaned out the fridge today
Hesitated, then tossed the yogurt
I need a war plan to wage the next meal.

Tossed old food and cheese
petrified and ossified—
lamenting the waste.

I don’t have the heart
to toss out all the containers.
Maybe they’ll improve with time.

Chickens followed me
into the garage to admire
a packet of frozen thighs.

A halo of chickens
at my feet, we admire
their full crate of eggs.

The butter went off.
No chance of finding bog bodies
or Bronze Age butter either.

4/15/20

Connemara pony origins


A well -meaning writer friend who leads spiritual anim cara style trips to Ireland, invoking its mythical misty past posted a story on Facebook about how the Vikings brought the Connemara pony to Ireland. Well, that got me going. I mean he has something like 4000 followers that dote on his every word. Perhaps seeking damage control, I posted this comment on his page:

Contrary to what Wikipedia says, the Connemara pony is native to Ireland, it was not brought to Ireland by the Vikings. I can’t even begin to fathom how that notion came about. There were already plenty of fine horses in Ireland. And because Ireland was a cattle culture from the Bronze Age, right up to the Viking invasions, horses too were very much part of the cultural landscape.

The Connemara pony’s genetic ancestry is derived from an ancient source that predates the arrival of the Vikings. In fact, they carry a northern late glacial European mDNA C1 gene cluster shared with Exmoor, Shetland, Fjord, Icelandic, and Scottish Highland ponies—which “suggests a common late glacial or postglacial origin for these pony breeds.” 1. DNA studies were conducted on “five British-Irish native pony populations... Carneddau (Welsh)... Connemara ponies (native to Ireland) and Highland ponies (native to Scotland).” 2. And  they discovered that “The Highland and Connemara matrilines were more closely related than to the Welsh ponies.” Meaning they Probably did travel back and forth across the Irish Sea.

We know, at least according to the Irish epics, that native aboriginal Bronze Age British and Irish ponies were theoretically being raced in two-wheeled chariots as early as 400 BC. Icelandic ponies, related to what is called the early Celtic horse—specifically the Kerry Bog pony, Ireland’s oldest breed—probably contributed to the Icelandic pony gene pool too, as Dublin was the main port of call to Iceland, not Norway.) The ambling, or toelting gene present in 8th c. British horses and Icelandic horses, but not in Scandinavian horses—strongly suggests that Icelandic horses originated from the British Isles.

Sometimes articles cite the Andalusian horse as an ancestor breed that contributing to the Connemara bloodlines. The problem with that theory is that the Andalusian horse carries a completely different gene cluster, D1. So how does this work? Magical thinking?

But to be fair, “In the 12th Century, Spanish (Iberian) stallions were imported and used to breed with small (Welsh) mountain mares.” 2. in Wales, to create the bigger Powys, and Hackney pony (British). So it’s remotely possible some of that hot Iberian bloodline eventually found its way into the Connemara pony bloodlines, but, here’s the rub, the appropriate DNA cluster simply isn’t there. Besides, the 12th c. is no longer considered to be the Viking era, the Norman era, maybe.

This story may be the source of the Andalusian bloodline theory. “The Connemara Pony's origins go back some 2,500 years to the time when Celtic warriors brought their dun colored ponies onto the island of Ireland and used them to draw war chariots and carts along the beaches and river plains of their new found home. The history is obscure, yet the Connemara Pony is considered Ireland's only native breed. Mythology tells us that the tribes of western Ireland were mounted. Legend has it that when the Spanish Armada sank off the Connemara coast in the 16th Century, the horses swam to shore and bred with the native ponies running wild in the mountains.” 3.

But anything linking an Armada ancestry theory is always suspect. Legend, and not fact. Repeat something often enough, and it becomes “true.” Like with today’s politics. Ditto that with the Viking story. Also, why would Vikings even need to bring horses to Ireland, it would be like bringing coals to Newcastle. I actually had to explain that idiom to someone who had never heard of Newcastle before. It’s a good thing I didn’t have to explain First Footing. But I digress.

During the 1700s, Arabian blood was introduced to many Forest, or northern/cold horse breeds. That’s how we got the thoroughbred. But according to conservation genetics of endangered horse breeds, the native pony breeds show far less less foreign genetic influence than the large horses—probably because they weren’t considered valuable. Their diminutive size protected their gene pool. But no matter what, the native mare always carries essence of the bloodline. Blood will out.

Anyway, silence was his loud reply.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Guerrilla photobombing the wildflowers


To see the flowers go to Facebook

Easter Monday: I was botanizing on backroads while driving back & forth to work today (I’m a care provider.) Most pix are from Nicasio, or Hick’s Valley, West Marin. Since I can’t park the car—or risk getting a ticket, these are all stolen roadside shots. Guerrilla photography at its worst—no time to compose or focus. And my camera is losing its ability to focus so I snap madly & hope I get something. I was pretty numb by Easter Sunday, with SiP, is sing my family, and taking photos of wildflowers helped pull me from the darkness. I mean, who can resist a wild goose guarding his buttercup kingdom....


“The true and durable path into and through experience involves being true … to your own solitude, true to your own secret knowledge.” —Seamus Heaney – born this day. My old friend’s last words were “Noli timere.” Go raibh maith agat, mo chroidhe. Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine.
More pix here of Sonoma County flowers

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter, 1950s (photo)



New Easter bonnet and new maryjanes with cutout designs. The Shirley Temple look replete with ruffled rompers. Note the little cardboard purse with its gold chain. I’m sure my little white lace gloves were inside it. I loved that headband hat made of lace daisies and dragged it around for years. The dress was itchy, I was not above trying to take it off in public, and I got into trouble for dragging the toes of my new shoes on the sidewalk. I remember the little fence, it delighted me as it was just my height. I remember the photo being taken, I remember being scolded for fidgeting, and my legs were cold. They’re also crossed because I probably had to pee. I also stood like that because I was shy. I still do. But I knew enough to smile. We were either headed toward, or returning from Star of the Sea Church, where I was baptized, in San Francisco.


My very first Easter bonnet. My hair was bright copper, my mom's hair was auburn. I was some fatty, my mother, so lithe and lean. I remember I loved that celadon silk baby quilt to death—it was pale lavender on the other side. Her Hawaiian print skirt later became couch pillow covers. Forest Knolls, CA.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Dragracers




This morning, about 10 to 15 high-end black vehicles, mostly sports cars, Ferraris, Porsches, BMWs, Teslas were dragracing along Nicasio Valley Road from Point Reyes. Near the Nicasio Valley Road Point Reyes intersection, one idiot flipped a U-turn right in front of me so he could double back and cruise with his buddies who were behind me. Pretty certain a car is not supposed to flip a U-turn while doing at least 40 miles an hour to go the other direction—especially with oncoming traffic. Now I may drive fast, but only when I have the road to myself and there’s no one else around. This guy was no Steve McQueen, or James Garner. I had to stop and let him finish his three-point turn right in the middle of the road. They blew through the stop signs. They recklessly passed people in slow zones, on blind double yellow line curves, through the school zone (ok, so there was no school), and they were a danger to not only themselves, but to those of us who are also on the road.  The first time I’ve been tailgated and nearly run off the road like that. Officer Casey wasn’t in his usual place, I had no cell reception in Nicasio, there’s only that one pullout along the reservoir that I have cell and I was surrounded. I couldn’t get a photo when they passed me on the double yellow line. Next time I’ll be more prepared. We’d see them joyriding every weekend from the front porch in Nicasio, the rich boys road rumble—but these guys were more aggressive. Cabin fever. And they were even more reckless then they would otherwise have been, because they were in macho herd mentality. Since when did West Marin become the Sears Point raceway for the rich assholes with nothing better to do than flaunt the Shelter in Place imperative. Do they think they’re immune to the virus?

FOWLISH GODDESS


FOWLISH GODDESS

The minute I step from the car
they come running from all directions.
Such ridiculous creatures gather round
as if to worship at my feet.
They cock their heads and gaze at me
expectantly with their fowlish red eyes,
snuggle closer, as if I had all the answers.
If I walk down the road to get the mail
while clucking their one-note song,
they will come gallivanting from all directions,
dangerously listing from side to side
like drunken sailors with their first steps on dry land,
a mad feathered staggering parade of floozies.
I am the goose girl from the fairytales.
I am the oracle, the one who scatters crumbs.
But there is no sure way to tell them
that even goddesses must come home to roost.

4/11/20

I guess this could be a moment poem, April 5 PaD prompt. But really I just lifted it from my Facebook comments

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Tending bar


Once I was head bartender for Blue Heron Catering, so I learned some odd cocktail names. One time at a lesbian wedding, this woman asked me for some Sex on the Beach. I was dumbfounded, I never heard of that particular cocktail—and believe me, there were no cocks anywhere at this wedding.  Since I couldn’t sneak a peek at my mixed drinks guide, I gathered my wits about me and asked, without dropping a stitch, And how do you like your sex on the beach? She rolled back and laughed. Gave me a big tip.

Today’s rabbit hole



Easy Peary. The answer is 25 animals.
1 rabbit
12 monkeys
12 parrots.

Or the answer is 5, depending upon how you read it. The elephants didn’t get to go to the river. It’s a red herring. The  question is how many animals are going towards the river, forget about the elephants. Though I don’t see why they wouldn’t go the the river too, they love water. There are no elephants in the room, or in the equation either—unless you’ve been drinking before 5 PM, and you know it’s always 5 PM somewhere, around the world.  And your deductive reasoning skills went right out the window.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Draining the swamp


Quinine, a drug with many, many adverse side effects, is used to kill parasites. Parasites. As in blood parasites from malaria-infected mosquitoes. Hence the popularity of gin and tonics in the tropics. Once malaria was thought to come from the bad night air. It took a while to make the connection to mosquitoes. To get rid of the mosquitoes, people drained the swamps. I don’t know how they discovered quinine helped check malaria. It’s awful stuff. One of the few good side effects of quinine is that it’s also an anti-inflammatory agent for people with autoimmune disease—like lupus. Flannery O’Connor had lupus—the wolf disease. Quinine is plain old deadly. It’s a trade-off. Coronavirus is a virus. A virus, not a bacteria. It’s neither a parasite, nor a protozoan, for that matter. The only parasite is the orange paramecium in the Oval Office. Unfortunately, the above swamp comparison does great disservice to the lowly paramecium. Draining the swamp begins in the Oval Office. That’s how we got into this mess. We didn’t drain the swamp on time and now there’s a malarial stench across the land. Not to mention the fact that, after the great Cheetolini fired all the scientists, he now considers himself to be an expert on the coronavirus, comparing himself to be on par with doctors, ignoring the maxim, First, do no harm. People are dying from quinine overdoses because he said to take it. Shades of Jim Jones. What Koolaid are they drinking? Swamp water by any other name. And now the parasite in the oval office has added Lysol and bleach cocktail cures to the presidential whackjob list. You can’t make this stuff up.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Endgame?



There is an inherent flaw in this sheltering-in-place. We buy time, flatten the curve, slow the spread of the virus—then what? We’re still vulnerable, unless we’ve got antibodies by contracting the disease & the virus doesn’t mutate into new strains. A vaccine takes time to develop. Interim endgame?

Yes, asking the hard question is always unpopular. Some people mis-took my statement to suggest that I’m questioning the concept of shelter in place, which I clearly am not. The word flaw is a bit of a red herring. A provocateur. And my Republican acquaintances are still in denial, telling me and no uncertain terms, challenging my critical thinking skills, because I dare to challenge them in their beliefs that Trump has done everything possible for us and is a good president. He dismantled the CDC infrastructure, FFS. Why don’t they get it?


Saturday, April 4, 2020

DRIVING DOWN HICK’S VALLEY ROAD

DRIVING DOWN HICK’S VALLEY ROAD

Driving down the backroads
meadowfoam assaults my senses
and vernal pools flood the eye.

I slam on the brakes
& step into the honeyed air
I’m late, but the heart

still dreams anyway.
It’s the journey that matters
not the appointments.

4/4/20

Ten true conversations with famous people

Post ten true meetings where you’ve had meaningful face-to-face conversations with famous people, but one memory needs to be a lie.

1. I once took photos of Kenny Rogers at his request with his local friends—he was very kind to me and asked about my photography, poetry teaching, and then he comped me in for the show for my trouble. I was also actually paid for my work. I was surprised that I enjoyed the show so much.

A year ago today, my iPad was stolen


A year ago today, just hours later, while my friend was recovering from surgery with a stiff latte at Peet’s in San Rafael, my iPad was stolen. Facebook Memories just restored a lost bit of writing to me. A poem, DESPERATELY SEEKING LATTE. Not a great poem, not quite an April Fool’s joke. I was not expecting that. But this fool will suffer it gladly. While I was doing a good deed for a friend, someone took my lifeline. Thank god someone loaned me an old iPad so I was able to limp along until August when I replaced it. I am ever so grateful to Sam and his family for helping me to defray the replacement cost. I don’t use my flip phone as I hate phones. Besides, I have no reception deep in the hills of West Sonoma County and West Marin where I divide my time. Most people have smartphones, I have my iPad. My cyber link to the world, my lifeline during this time of social distancing. Who could’ve even imagined this scenario? And yet, here we are. As the song goes, If we ever get out of this world alive.

Friday, April 3, 2020

So much for SIP, apparently the rules don’t apply to cyclists, Covid journal

Yesterday’s bicyclists were incredibly arrogant riding side by side. I passed several yesterday on county backroads, and they literally refused to pull over. Don’t forget that they are not using the backroads to get to a job, or for business—but for a leisure activity, recreation, which is a luxury. Perhaps they too should be banned from using the roads during this time? Ditto that for the dense clot of motorcyclists parked by the CLOSED Nicasio reservoir taking freakin selfies. Clearly joyriding. 

I need to use those back roads in order to get to my care person, I am a care provider. And I, for one, am really tired of the indifference of bicyclists in general. Why do they feel so self-entitled? They drive in their BMWs, and Priuses to West Marin—they don’t even live here—and then they bicycle down the middle of the roads, making an assumption that they own the road. There are huge flashing road signs telling people to stay home, that the area is closed, and still the steady parade of bicyclists continue to ride, assuming the warning doesn’t refer to them. Our back roads are, in essence, blocked off, with huge flashing signs to stay away—the next step will be the CHP checking everyone’s ID if this continues. What infuriates me is that none of those bicyclists assume that this message is for them, they are not going to a job or running errands, in their tight little spandex outfits. There’s no place to put anything on their bikes, like groceries. 

Other than that, Sam and actually had a blast yesterday, we took the long way to Rohnert Park, down Chileno Valley Road, we saw the wild swans on Laguna de San Antonio, and all the cattle in the bright pastures even a highland coo. No bagpipes. It was utterly beautiful. Surreal times. I am grateful for the work I do have. 

Because I work in the schools as an independent contractor teaching poetry and visual arts, I have no work whatsoever. So I am hunkered down for the duration. As an independent contractor that means we have no unemployment, no health insurance, and the list goes on. All those coronavirus incentives do not include us gig workers. There are a lot of us. And I earn the bulk of my income during April and May. Lean times ahead.

Breaking protocol with Shelter in Place, shopping expedition, Covid journal

Yesterday I had to break protocol with SIP, and deal with shopping, gas, food, bank, supplies, etc. Bank of the West in Rohnert Park was closed, so I used the automated system—which I’m not fond of, but it was a piece of cake. I even instructed a fellow banking neo-Luddite how to use  it. The other banks were open, everyone was adhering to the 6-foot rule. My friend discovered the wait was painfully long at Wells Fargo, the line wrapped around the building. No accommodations were made for the disabled, or for seniors. Let alone disabled seniors. Shame! At least most folks were wearing masks and gloves. Hardly anybody was in Grocery Outlet. But unlike the women, who, like me, wore masks and gloves, made a concerted effort to maintain a 6-food distance between each other, with our shopping carts wedged between us—we engaged in shopping cart tarantellas, not easy to avoid each other in the aisles, but we managed. But oblivious unmasked young male dudes insisted on strutting down the middle of the aisle, taking up everybody’s personal space, leaving me to stick my head in the frozen food freezer to maintain social distance. So I looked like I was trying to bellyflop into the freezer. At least at the 99¢ Store, people were more aware. I need a cattle prod on an extension stick. Never did find TP, zinc lozenges,  hand sanitizer, 60% rubbing alcohol, bleach, vinegar, or sanitary wipes. But I got a lead on hand sanitizer. Griffo Distillery on Scott Street in Petaluma, across from Lagunitas Brewery, is giving away 6 oz. bottles of 70% vodka hand sanitizers to seniors, or selling them to the GP. I’ll try and get some Monday. Friends place standing orders for alcohol, hand sanitizer, bleach and TP. One asks for martini olives if I manage to score on the Griffo vodka. We are becoming a nation of fish. I need a turn signal bulb, and O’Reilly’s Automotive does web order and curbside delivery. One can only hope that Bob’s Red Mill cereals will be replenished soon. I’m down to my last serving of 7-grain cereal. None to be had at Andy’s or Lucky’s either. Bob posts that they’ve run out of grain at the mill. But are back in production. What motivates me to brave the world? When the tea, cereal and milk run out. Otherwise, I’ll make do with what I have. My diet is becoming increasingly erratic. Luckily I bought a mondo-pack of TP before all this madness began. I won’t mention all the idiot recreational Marin bicyclists out there who insisted that they owned the road and wouldn’t ride on the side—or even in the bike lane. Clearly all those flashing Stay Home signs are not meant for them. They are special. Assholes, that is.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Corona dream


Last night I dreamed a tightly curled succulent, the size of a baseball, opened up its knife-like leaves into a crown, a corona. It sprung into action when I approached, instilling both beauty and fear. It was tracking me, almost sentient. There was no escaping it. It followed me everywhere. I dreamed I was infected, and woke up in a sweat. And of course, I panicked. We once had a sepia-tone lithograph Arkle, a famous Irish racehorse on the living room wall, and I decided colorize it, to make it look more lifelike by lightly tracing around the outside of the horse with a red pencil, the kind teachers used to correct homework. The addition of red line really made the horse’s flared nostrils seem alive. You could almost hear him breathing. I also embellished a photo of my grandmother’s long-dead brother. She was not happy. See, in the old Irish tales, animals from the Otherworld always had red auras, red-ringed ears, and noses. They lived forever. Decades later, when I scanned the family photos, that embellished photo of my great uncle, was the sole survivor, and I had to remove the traces of my childhood art. Penance. Fortunately it was a sepia-tone, more forgiving to work with. Survivors say the color of their dreams changed—so vivid, that there were no boundaries between waking and dreaming. It was as if they had entered another realm. Lately, I’ve taken to coloring soft red lines around my dreams in order to keep them alive.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Disguise dream


Last night’s dreams led me to the past. I was cast in a role from the late 1800s. I searched my closet for appropriate clothing and decked myself out in layers of long dresses, a facsimile, for sure, but I had no appropriate shoes. Modern flats would give me away. It was important that I was incognito. My life depended on it. But pulling off the disguise was proving a difficult task as I had given away nearly all my clothing and shoes when I fled my ex-boyfriend’s house last year. I found some old Reeboks but they were mismated shoes, singles—one red, and one black. How on earth did that happen? I loved my red pair, and wore them to death until this century—but the black ones were from the 1970s. Egad. Time collapsing. I awoke, wondering how I would adapt. How I would be able to pull off the disguise. How I could fool the audience. Then I remembered the black paint. Forget about the Velcro straps. I could disguise that, easily enough. Problem solved. Then I remembered it was April Fool’s Day. What kind of joke was that? And who was pulling the strings?

MOTIVATIONAL ROOTS


A friend asks,What motivates you?
Wanting something good or fearing the bad?
Born at the edge of autumn, in late November,
the convening darkness motivates me,
diminishing light relentlessly spurs me on.
A slavedriver. Call it fear, call it death. Call it desire.
But, yes, that’s what motivates me.
Creativity is its progeny,
and gratitude is something earned.
Call it a state of grace.
That’s what survives us.

1/4/20

2020 April Poem-A-Day Challenge

Don’t forget to visit the pre-writing prompts in March, suggested by yours truly. I even get a mention! We are a captive audience, after all. The hot link dates will take you back to Robert Brewer’s page where he also in ludes examples. I will post all the prompts here to keep my big haired blog somewhat tamed. If that’s even possible. Or you can go directly to Robert’s blog where all the prompts are listed.

April 1   Today is the first day of the 2020 April Poem-A-Day Challenge! Each day, I’ll provide a poetry prompt and a poem to get things started. You can secretly poem along at home, or you can share your poem in the comments below.
For today’s prompt, write a new world poem. There are new worlds and there are new worlds. You could write a poem about discovery of an actual planet. Or maybe your new world is actually a state of mind—or a series of books! In a way, I consider each new challenge a bit of a new world. Let’s explore this one together.
Remember: These prompts are just springboards; you have the freedom to jump in any direction you want. In other words, it’s more important to write a new poem than to stick to the prompt.