blue water

    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
    right now.

 
 
 
MBA webcam views of Monterey Bay used with permission.
 
 
 
 

talk to the poem


talk to the poem, not to me.

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.
        ask.

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 to measure a life


how many breaths?   roughly you know, over 600 million by the clock.

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.

             writing you.
 
 
 
 
 

what to do with life

    when the universe was
    born, so were you.  implied.

    after that

    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
    lullaby.  peace.

 
 
 
 

the universe begins

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)

 

    prolog:

    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.
 

    interlude:

    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.
 

    admonition:

    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.
 
 

    epilog:

    They will never stop being born, because death is a lie.

 
 
 
 
commentary:
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.
 
 
 
 

Monterey Bay for real






water poem

 
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.
 
 
 
 

when we both had bare feet


 

open hands

 
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

fingertips gathering
blood by blood

bare touch
bonding two

beloved face
name submerged

here, it glitters
and I am home

with you, with you
 
 
 
 

bare feet

 
dusty skin
back to back

talcum earth
no question posed

second house
east of me

seedling there
blossom inside

beside a hill
like summer does

first love
is always first

no one else had that grace

then your dad said
moving away

 
 
 
 

sky showing


when sky reminds us what color is about.   why color is here.
          how it bouys our sight our breath.

I need observe a second time somedays, how this gossamer garment dresses our limbs our motion over this landed face our lives themselves.   it contains all our breaths, all of them.   whispering or else in storm.

we forget.   but by sight we better recognize – grace.

          you are ocean and we the fish.

all songs too from your lips.   all sound.   sweet and course.   raw.
          here, described as an arc.

          we rest at your feet.    annealed.
 
 
 
 
 
Archival Pigment Print by Wei Chen “Encounter” Night of Silence series

 
 
 
 

you know


maybe I shouldn’t say,
maybe I won’t

do you know how much,
I do, I do

maybe it’s not the words,
maybe it was always

you

you know
what you do

how your name arrives,
the shadows of my living

open   open   bright

you know, and
I do

and another day
you know

I do
 
 
 
 
 
 
          when you look, there’s more color than you thought to be
 
 

apple tree


you said.    you asked.    I said, yes.
          didn’t I?

but maybe I am bigger consequence.

turning over every word every stone.
is any of me left to chance?

so oft, says the leaf, I don’t know.
          fair answering.

stay.    what’s that mean?
I want to answer, close to you.

an apple tree.    sweet this time.
but maybe, maybe I already did.

two apples.    one root.

better love.    remains.