I could happily move into
this imagining right here,
be a bird,
I’d have my choice, or
perhaps a fish, sight
unseen. either way as the
water moves, so move I.
more than fair enough rain
or blue above or cold or warm.
below it would all be the same
to me. blue paradise amid
the kelp. otters will come,
talk with me. roll inside
my shelter embrace. me and
crabs and starfish too.
most of me,
you won’t see.
but then, about the same as
talk to the empty air, not to me.
talk to the birds, they might care.
those are three lies if you hadn’t guessed.
everything that was true at the beginning,
remains the truth. go ask.
politely sincerely genuinely from your heart.
but you have to listen first.
some meals last as long as a life.
God said, let them see I love them all,
that’s your job. go write.
no parent wants to be unknown to
their child. same same, God with us.
ask. answers land in front of you.
just like a bird.
how many years sleeping? 20 perhaps, not counting when awake.
how many marriages? one, just one.
divorces? yea, one and we saw that coming.
how many homes? more than ten. shallow remembering.
gone to SF North Beach on a bus? yea, Ferlingetti wasn’t home.
lost my cat? don’t talk about that.
gone mostly bald? once yea, but it took months to realize.
what I rather do than eat? write.
children? no. none. decided early on in life. too early probably.
parents? that’s biology. but only mom stuck around.
how many times in school? six, counting kindergarten.
how many women one way or another? six as well. coincidence?
how many times in Boston? once. to visit Dan.
how many times reincarnated? only one that I know about.
how many times I saw dad? none.
times I was offered paradise? once. care to guess my choice?
how many poems written? five hundred and counting.
how many years writing, for real? 14 more or less.
number of women I’ve lived with? two and a half. no, won’t explain.
how often I wanted to live in Monterey? endlessly.
visits from pneumonia? twice. I lived.
diseases wanting to be the end of me? two. we’ll see.
times I refused to kill when asked? once. forever.
times we let the spinnaker out? a few. like being on glass.
times I lost my keys? maybe twice. always, always they go same pocket.
times depressed? years, many years. but I gave it up for Lent.
changed my name? yea, middle to first. good idea.
jobs? none that counted much. except for this one here, my last.
when the universe was
born, so were you. implied.
dust the shelves. OK then
do it again. endlessly. then
listen too. listen carefully.
someone might be speaking
to you. some voices are not
loud. likewise look. look at
the sky the birds the spiders
too. might be marbles at
your feet. they are not
always as close as you could
wish. if not, wish better,
closer. fish will listen to you
but don’t expect response.
they’re too busy figuring
out what water is. eat
something good. do that a
lot. life is short. oh yea,
learn to cook then go and
make friends with a dog.
really, be polite. they only
have nice things to say
about you. feed a cat.
they’ll think happy things
about you too. unless you
are really really honest and
sincere leave the lions and
jaguars alone. sharp teeth
have been known to be
disagreeable. so well done
starting up. that’s animals.
now time for humans. we
count too but require more
carefully monitored regard.
unpredictable is a word
we’ll use. if disappointed
don’t be surprised. it can
take weeks to master
relationship. brush your
teeth. don’t bite your
friends. remember what
your mother said. clean
underwear always counts.
comb your hair. don’t spit
on sidewalks. gross. pick
up after yourself. put your
tools away as soon as you
are done with them. make
something with wood. folks
will like you more. paint a
picture. don’t forget, pet
the cat. tell a friend how
you feel. write a poem.
don’t have to be good.
play with pencils. draw.
read a book. read two.
call a friend on the phone.
reason why is just because.
talk. talk more. say some
things you’re afraid to say.
take a ride in a boat. water
is good for you. the ocean
especially. sing yourself a
Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembrance Day
and Floating Peace Lantern Ceremony
Saturday August 6th 2022 evening at the Lovers Point Park beach in Pacific Grove California.
To honor all who suffered and still suffer from the August 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
Photo above: Margret Maria Cordts
peace is not simply the abscence of war, it is a state of our heart
here, my hand
there’s a secret on your nose
my sweet boy
I tell myself
do we fit inside a spoon?
room enough for another cat?
what words are sweet?
please, tell me some
problem with most sleepy songs
someone dies or looses an ear
in this story, well
no one dies
not yet anyway, not yet
meanwhile there’s your belly to rub
to whisper delicious curves
sometimes I’ve a taste for appreciating the expressions of other people. my prior post, the visual water poem of Monterey Bay acted to remind me and want to recall a poem done years ago.
I hear voices in this poem.
this is a Cento poem, an assembly of another writers words, actually two other writers in this specific instance. only Cento rule, no changes to the text taken from the other source (use as is). here, while reading, imagine two different voices, each speaking their lines to you (italics vs no italics), with perhaps even a third, speaking the chorus parts (prolog, interlude, etc.). your ear will add more dimension that way.
the universe begins with an empty face because
(being a poem in two voices and a chorus)
The woman and the man dreamed that God was dreaming about them.
We were laying on her bed with a mohair blanket covering us.
In places where there was nothing, the seventh day put soil; the eighth plunged its hands and feet in the soil.
The first sun, the watery sun, was carried off by the flood.
That night, there was a full moon encircled by ice crystals.
She was dying in the same way she was living, consciously. All that lived in the world became fish. I kept expecting Mother to appear.
When women were birds, we knew otherwise.
The thunder birds left the little girl in the fork of a tree. “You’ll live here,” they told her.
I will say it is so: My mother’s voice is a lullaby in my cells.
“We’ll come every time you sing.”
Her absence became her presence.
No one will be able to sleep, nor to keep secrets, and every body will know who is people, who is bird, and who is beast of the forest.
They will be born and die again and be born again.
Two parrots appeared out of the sky.
No sooner had they alit on the ground than they turned into women.
Between the silences, we played together.
When she saw the fleshy fruit at her feet, she picked it up and bit into it.
Water is essential. She felt a strange pleasure and became pregnant.
A mother is essential. And God thought, “The rabbit is so small. Yet he did all this. If the rabbit were big, maybe I wouldn’t be God.”
My mother’s transgression was hunger.
Before the sun arrived, the woodpecker pecked at the wooden girl below the belly.
Thus she, who was incomplete, was open for the sun to enter.
I like the idea of erasure.
synonyms: abolish blot cross out cut dispatch efface eliminate excise expurge gut kill launder negate nullify obliterate scratch out stamp out strike take out trim wipe out withdraw
When a Guarani child dies, he rescues its soul, which lies in the calyx of a flower, and takes it in his long needle beak to the Land Without Evil.
The jaguar gave him a bow and arrows and taught him to defend himself.
Turn the pencil upside down, erase. He learned that fire illuminates and warms. Pencil upright. Begin again.
In a family that hunted, I learned the names of the ducks my father would shoot.
God came up softly, stroked his back, and suddenly caught him by the ears, whirled him about, and threw him to the ground.
Solitude is a memory of water.
And every day I am thirsty.
They will never stop being born, because death is a lie.
stringing pearls. a more graceful way to say the more mundane – take two different “cento” (prose) source materials, from two different writers, and interweave them in a “conversation” of sorts. that was the challenge taken on.
define conversation then. not so easy now! not with two tangential voices laid together, side by side (willing or not). think this way – two actors standing on a stage saying their respective lines. each done by content, by physical proximity, by intent – then each inform the other by what they say. add a chorus for tide to speak, and then, oh yea, there is a “third”. that being you. meaning specifically, you, reading this. so that’s where the conversation exists, and “is” in a very real and present sense.
two very powerful writers providing the passioned vocabulary, both masters of imagery. me, I listen. I follow.
(voice one) Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds.
(voice two) Eduardo Galeano, Genesis, Memory of Fire.
originally written and posted to my bearly audible blog.
a not untypical Summer time view of the southern reach of Monterey Bay. mystic fog, yes some of that. common sights include Cormorants, Brown pelicans and Western gulls. harbor seals sometimes haul out onto the rocks although in still photographs they can be hard to see.
MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
Monterey Bay Aquarium is located in Monterey California housed in a former sardine Cannery Row factory and includes both interior ocean aquatic life forms and a superb exterior view of the bay itself. This live bay cam view is principally of the shoreline just West of the aquarium and extending to the Hopkins Marine Station run by Stanford University. This stretch of shoreline is protected space for the local marine life to use without concern for human intervention. Please use the links above to visit both the MBA website and specific Bay live camera view. Please consider a visit or donation to support their marine ecological work.
and yes Virginia, there’s more. when you go to the MBA live cam, included is 24 hour audio of the bay meeting the shore. beautiful. good for your heart. good for you.
a small touch of history
Cannery Row was the one time residence of Ed Ricketts, an early marine biologist, friend to John Steinbeck and mythologist Joseph Campbell, and author of Between Pacific Tides, considered a classic in marine ecology.
I step from my room to the hallway. eyes turn right toward the front, kitchen then living room then balcony. where’s the cat? first thought so swift, no time to consider reality. then, yes then the places where she used to be. sad feelings for her being gone? I did for quite some while. go, go touch the place on the back of the couch where she’d like to sleep all the while keeping eye on the hallway for one of us to appear. Gracie liked her perch. she savored the scratches to neck and head, pushing with all her might into more, yes please, more. I always tried to satisfy. there’s a crease still in the top most pillow where she used to roost. I go touch sometimes. close as I can get these days. at first doing that was sad, but irresistible. now, a memory I rather have than not.
leave aside logic here. thoughts for a time implied my future well-being was a function of my own willingness to endure. to continue being me. that was not always a certain response. too many days, perhaps, thinking it would be easier just to let go, cross over, whatever that meant. less discomfort, possibly? then with a friend newly realized, more than I really thought I’d ever be, I thought instead, yes, I’d like to continue a while more. was that all it took? I was thinking yea, maybe so.
now I think myself skipper here. my boat. but not really my life. I go where goes my life. truth is simple stuff. still, better that second attitude. although there’s a certain raw quality I’m unfamiliar with. besides, can’t live right now as if it were tomorrow’s tomorrow. Alan Watts used to tell the story of a crab sitting on a rock in San Francisco bay. someday a gull might land and peck right through that shell – which the crab would certainly hate. however a simple truth – not yet, not yet.
thank you Alan. good story told. I am trying to live that well.
so I’ve thought, in this confluence of health issues, what to do, meaning what to say. is it somehow better or not better to say right out loud how it is being me. no, not details, no blow by blow. but yes, how it does feel – being me. I don’t have that answer. but something in me says, why stop, why denigh what I am, what changes are changing. is it not right I should share. I’ve lived some years thinking I was wanting more intimacy, more trust, more engagement. how then is – stop – a right part of vocabulary?
so now I am keeping faith, writing you.
here, it glitters
sun, no sun, it glitters
we call it shard
a randomized collaboration
all things broken
found by hand
I never stopped loving you
blood by blood
here, it glitters
and I am home
with you, with you
back to back
no question posed
east of me
beside a hill
like summer does
is always first
no one else had that grace
then your dad said