Tuesday, August 31, 2004


oh the letters may swim. we may drown a little. have had a little cider. not much but i'm a lightweight. oh, i don't know. two hard ciders and i'm drowsy and everythign is swimmy. or drowny. watery, in any case. wavy. i ramble.

there were so many bats tonight. so, so many. i couldn't count if i tried. they were everywhere. they were over the car. it was warm. air was thick. hot. before the cider. on the way to the cider. on the way home. now after the cider i am warm but the air is cool. it's getting on. that's why. why it's cooler.

no preserver. no bouyant donut. try ands spell buoyant. boy-ant. when youre a little snockered. boooy-ant. i've met one of those. a boy ant. he craved meat but couldn't eat it. nevermind.

and for the record i hate the comma. it's personal. what has it ever done to you, mare? plenty, i tell you. plenty. and look, there it is. and again. damn it!

i'm going to boycott. no more with the comma. uh-uh. no way.

and why. and why. and why.

why is my favorite. we get along swimmingly. at least tonight. get it? swimmingly. my humour is that bad.

i go.


i bought a papaya last night. i thought it was a good idea. maybe it was. i don't know. but i've discovered i'm a terrible papaya picker. i can pick pepinos and melons and a mean tangerine. but not a decent papaya. i wanted to save the papaya seeds and grow them. they make beautiful plants. i was under the impression that papayas are filled with seeds. i've seen them sliced in two. generally, quite seedy. but the papaya i chose is a mediocre one. not tasty. nor was it loaded with seeds. it had six seeds, and one of those was completely underdeveloped. they were a beautiful six, though. they felt like roe. i planted them. keep your fingers crossed.

in other news...

my pink lebanese tomatoes are not to be believed. errrm...i mean looking at them, you wouldn't believe their size. i've read that pink lebanese can bear fruits of one pound. mine easily weighed that much. one of them weighed considerably more, i think. HUGE! so i made pico de gallo. and i just roostered it up up in here. yum.

Monday, August 30, 2004

a virile man...

the scissors just appeared to be lifting an eyebrow at me. it was funny. scissors with eyebrow. singular. there's only one. brow, i mean. that little squirrely tail from the round. a stirrup. an extra grip for the ring finger. but to me it just looks like a be-monocled guy raising brow.

and i also keep thinking about the thing the sister told me last night. the thing about advertising jingles and slogans being translated. the translations don't go so smoothly. the best one went english-spanish-english.

the original: it takes a strong man to make a tender chicken.

the re-anglicized version: it takes a virile man to make a chicken affectionate.


Sunday, August 29, 2004

why ask why...

i don't get to choose the radio station. the stereo is locked in the office. so it is soft rock for me. god have mercy. at first i was amused by patrick swayze singing "she's like the wind" or the incessant airing of fleetwood mac. now i just try to shut my brain off. i try to go to a warm and happy place. tonight the flashdance theme was playing. what a feeling. this guy asked, "this is laurie branigan, right? isn't it?" "um, i don't know. i think it's irene cara." "no. no, it isn't. it's laurie branigan." "alright."

someone needs to work on their question asking skills.


we went to the all night grocery when i got off work. near the manteca and tortilla there was a sign. it was on a shelf of chicharrones (sp?). it said "no carbs!!" in large bright letters. i started laughing. my sister was laughing, too. we rounded the corner. still laughing. then we sobered and she said, "yeah, the only catch is...it's fried skin." fried skin, people. which is fine if you want to shave fat off of your thighs and inject it into your major arteries.

no carbs!!

Saturday, August 28, 2004


i've just discovered that posting poetry with appropriate lines breaks is near impossible. for me anyway. i'm not one for the gadgets. i don't know what i'm doing. so my lines breaks look poopy. they look better on paper methinks. eh. what to do, what to do. it isn't a question.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

hair me out...

i always lose my hair brush when i'm in a hurry and the hair is drippy wet. then i wish i could just curry my hair with my tongue. but not really. i would need an awfully long tongue. and the hairballs...i don't like them.

i should keep a family of hair brushes. that way i'd always have one. one for each day in the week. one for every room, maybe.

satie had a dozen identical grey velvet suits. two pianos, stacked, pedals wired together. a squadron of white handkerchiefs. good on him. i like that guy. oh, and he liked umbrellas. a lot.

the post titles are getting worse and worse. someone should stop me. it isn't punny anymore. doh!


dan.: you! you ate all of my ice cream!
brother: yeah. i ate it all from the carton. i finished it today.
dan.: you didn't leave any!
brother: i know. i didn't want to leave an insulting amount.
dan.: oh, well, thanks for thinking of us.

i love my house in the evenings. somehow i'm nearly always laughing.

word y'all...

if she was deaf-mute...and maybe blind, too. helen keller? i don't know. but, whoa, helen was angry and trapped. no. not the same. if she was deaf-mute. then one day she said one word. it would be the biggest word. wouldn't it? it wouldn't take much. she could go on being deaf-mute then quite happily. i think she had always been happy somehow. deaf-mute meant others were unhappy. hmm. but there's that thing if you follow films: silence affects everyone in the end. the silent, too, i suppose. maybe that is not so bad. but maybe we should, yes, let's all be silent for a moment. it makes the sounds better. if you put a hand on her you can hear her well. like an ear on the track. there's no need for vivisection. there's no need to turn her inside out. pinned to the wax pan. an anatomical discussion. why is that valuable? if you unroll a thing, spread it thin, give it to more than it is meant to be given too, then it's lost its worth, no? if you take it, if you force it, it loses worth, no? why are thousands of words worth more than one if one is the right word? why do you suppose a busy tongue is happier? why a noisy tongue?

dearth. proportion. if it is scarce sometimes it is more precious. salt used to be worth more than gold, ounce for ounce.

goad a tortoise with a scalding branch. get a toasted tortoise. take a step back and she emerges.

how many smile at you and really mean it? how many say anything to you and mean it? quantity. plankton--you can live on it, it can sustain a whale. it tastes like shit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

a compass wouldn't help at all...

if i bend above her she licks my face. kisses. if i bend above her with a leash she licks my face. kisses. readily harnessed. she likes walking. the latter bend means i want her to be still. accept the harness. but she jostles and kisses. indistinguishable.

invalid. not valid.

invalid. not walking.

there is a space between. what walks on four legs in the morning? walks on three in the evening. the brave biped of an afternoon. upright. the alternating arm/leg semaphore of stride. half above ground and mixed signals. no more follow your nose. and the staff still off a ways. them jostling and awash in unseen kisses.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

the luverly little s...

today she said, "mama, i love you." and the mama said, "i love you, too." and then the little one said, "and i love her, toooo." indicating me. and i said, "i love you, too." how does that happen? she's explained the world to me on several occasions and quizzed me on it numerous others. she's petted my head and said, "soft. i like your hair. do you like mine?" she's helped me mop once. tried to pretty me up thrice. and led me by the hand to just show me. anything. and today she loves me.

i'm going to let more people mop with me. if this keeps up. oh, if this keeps up...


an elm tree stands across the street from my place of toil. today, because things were slow, i watched the tree. the trunk. behind the elm is a gum tree. the leaves mesmerize. along the base of the elm the curb is painted red. the curb was in shadow. and then i saw a leaf?? a leaf like a gum tree leaf. in the road. yellowed. a dead one. and it was laid horizontal. it was floating. and then it began to spin in this same horizontal position. sometimes very fast. then it would stop on edge so that it appeared to disappear. appeared to disappear. appeared to disappear. then back again. when the wind was strongest in the top of the tree, and all of the shadows along the streets jolted, the leaf spun impossibly fast. i watched for a few minutes, leaning on my elbow, and then the leaf vanished! completely gone. i waited but it never returned. and then i realized it was not a leaf. just a trick. somewhere in the tree's crown there was a tiny gap that let the light through. this was my leaf. a leaf made entirely of light.

Monday, August 23, 2004

the softest thing...

the international gestures for emergency situations interest me. they are international because they are supposed to be universally understood, right? they aren't. the gist maybe, but the earnestness, not so much. several years ago, i choked on a piece of pasta right in front of the sister. i put my hands around my throat in an attempt to secure help. she stared blankly. i managed to get one last inhalation and cough the offending matter out and away. jonah. ahoy. or something. "why didn't you help me?!!" "i didn't know." "but that's the internationally recognized sign for choking!" "i know." "then why didn't you help me?!" "because i didn't know you were choking. i thought you were joking."

where was i? soft things. that's where we're headed. stay with me.

so, i don't know if it is among the gestures of which i speak (most gestures of the sort have to do with emergency situations, i think) but when someone stands with their hands behind their back and paces it seems to indicate worry or deep thinking or preoccupation. this is how i used to walk when i was small. not because i was thinking deeply, necessarily, but because it was relaxing to cup my hands together and walk in that way. i still mop with one hand behind my back and sometimes write that way, too. there was a large field at my grammar school and i would walk back and forth examining the ground, hands cupped behind me. one day, i was thus engaged, and i half noticed something very soft between my fingers. i held it there for a long time, pacing back and forth, rolling it under my fingertips. it was the very softest thing i've ever touched. it sort of quivered. i liked it. but my mind really wasn't on the object in my hands. it was someplace else. just then, a group of three or four little girls, my friends, came running up to me. they were all chattering and telling me something. i began to bring my hands to my front and then i yelped. the other girls stared. i brought my hands out and looked into them and there was a honeybee. it was convulsing in one hand and the stinger was lodged in the middle-finger of the other. the poison sack was still intact. when i looked very closely i could see the tiny hairs on the stinger. i didn't cry. i just began shaking my hand and grinding my teeth. and a little girl went running for bee sting salve. and one of the other little girls said, "you're so brave! you're not even crying!" i thought that was funny. i wasn't brave. i was just astounded. bees are soft. really really soft.

what is the international gesture for tangent? or crazy lady? we could use both of those right now. there was a stream here that made sense to me. i'm just not doing it justice.


i have a thing about chairs. i really like them. all different kinds. i don't own very many of them. but one of the chairs in my possession is the chair from portugal. i always thought it was from spain. but no. portugal. given to me by my good friend whose grandmother's sister brought it to the states. it has a very tall back. the seat is rush. the back is primarily rush with few scrolled supports. i'm making it sound overly ornate and kind of hideous. but it is actually quite beautiful. it makes me want to don huge skirts and put willie the baroque court dog in my lap...and then what? i don't know.

i apologize for this post. who writes about a chair? honestly. how boring.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

is it worm in here?

customer: do you have worms?
me: um...no, i don't think so.
customer: (confused stare followed by cringing recognition)
me: i don't have them. but there're some over there.
customer: (laughing) thanks.

noone has ever asked me that before. but i was glad of the brief moment of public proclamation. no worms have i.

and later...

customer one: oh my god! does that tequila have a worm in it?
customer two: look it does! oh my god!
together: oh my god!

oh my god. it did have a worm in it. jeepers.

one flew over...

police helicopters are wonderful inventions. sharks of the sky. there's really not much chance for escape after one of those guys latch on. wonderful isn't it? a piece of perfection. for some reason there's one or more of those sharks of the sky flying overhead this evening. the criss-crossing search beams. a half a dozen patrol cars (interceptors). the works. not far from here there's a mental hospital. is that the right term? i kind of like sanitarium. it says what it is. it doesn't mince. you come out squeaky clean. sanitized. maybe? i don't know. maybe that's just my imagination running wild again. or asylum? they used to use that one. asylum. but there again, asylum from what? whom? isn't that the reason? i don't know. it doesn't scan. it will not compute. anyway, sometimes the sharks of the sky come looking for someone that's managed to flee asylum. which is probably good. there are some criminally insane folk there. but i always wonder. just in case.

a book for shutting people up like telescopes...

cats and mirrors, budgies and mirrors, these are things to be watched. cats seem endlessly perplexed when they reach the edge and the other cat disappears. but budgies simply attack. it isn't clear if it's an amorous attack. love me! or just an attack. maybe it is seeing something it imagines looks similar to itself and thinks, "this can't go on! unbearable!" and tries to eviscerate it. i suppose this is how most creatures use mirrors. but the real flummox comes when the creature tumbles through the glass. or is shoved through the glass. or doesn't even see the glass.

when i was about seven we began seeing a neighborhood prowler. once, around dusk, i was playing in my neighbor's back yard. she was much older. she liked to play pranks. she yelled, "the prowler! right behind you!" and i believed her and i ran as fast as i could to the door. it was a glass door. the door was closed. glass doors always look the same. so i ran right into it. and it shuddered the length and a goose egg formed on my forehead and i saw stars. just like in the cartoons. only it hurt. that's the trouble with glass doors.

it's also sometimes worthwhile to watch creatures watch other creatures use mirrors. very difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends and which creatures are mirror creatures and which creatures are mere creatures.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


i love to sleep. i have a knack for it even. i can sleep just about anywhere and have a preference for sleeping on the floor. but tonight i can't master it. so here i am. oh, and what should we talk about?

sometimes in grammar school a man with a guitar would come and we'd sing.

in 1814 we took a little trip/along with colonel jackson down the mighty mississip'...


this land is your land/this land is my land/from california to the new york island...


where oh where is dear little mary?/way down yonder in the paw-paw patch/come on boys and let's go find her...

this last one i hated. all of my classmates would turn and sing it to me. that's my name, you see. mary. like mary mary quite contrary. mary had a little lamb. mary mary why ya buggin'. the wind cries mary. oh, so we never actually sang those last two. but i've had them sung at me numerous times. and each singer supposed it was pretty dang original. anyway, we're on a first name basis now. and this is the part where the other kids go "ooooooooooooooooo..." meaningfully. mary's the name. don't wear it out. or wear it out, if you like. it could probably use a bit of wear.

so the guy with the guitar used to come and sing with us. interesting story about that guy. he used to be this very svelt man. then one year a drunk driver (in a big rig) hit him. he survived. but then he became quite rotund. and that made him jolly. so, in a way, i'm pretty pleased he was hit by a semi. i'm a terrible human being, i know. but a jolly guy with a guitar is swell, a thing of beauty.

i will try and sleep now. dream of fat men and guitars and music hour sing-alongs.


for some reason it was said, "i wish i was one of those little toilet paper sprites that quilt the tissues together like on t.v." and i said, "why a sprite specifically?" "because they look happy." and i said, "they have a union. all of wee television personalities. keebler elves. paper sprites. jockeys. cereal leprechaun. etc." but i don't think it's true. i think maybe i made that up. i think i may have been spinning a yarn, as they say. telling a whopper. fibbing. taking the piss. talking crap. oh, but maybe i was talking poesies. i've been told that's a possibility. anyway, my favorite pixies sing...thusly...

all i'm sayin' pretty baby/la-la-love ya/don't mean maybe...

dog in a manger...

they let the pears rot under the tree. every year. sometimes we walk across the yard and eat them. but the lights are always on. it's a house full of insomniacs. they watch action movies all night. the volume is staggering. they keep a garden with leeks and onions and corn. some kind of squash. and pumpkins under the sunflowers. the pear tree stands beneath the streetlight. the boughs bow. there's that much fruit. a groaning board. year before last, the feral pigs came in droves through town. no fallen fruit wasted. and who will emerge in house slippers at 2 a.m. to chase them off when action is on t.v.? who? nobody who. but still i have to be careful. i'll get a broom upside the head. a stern talking to. a what the f*ck!?!? outta my yard!!! they call that "dog in a manger" i remember. it was my grandpa's favorite to say. and my grandma's favorite to cluck tongue at. that notion of having and not having and not wanting others to have what you're not...having.

what do i know. maybe they have. i'm not so ubiquitous. i've not an eye on every pear. no accounting. not inventoried. i'm not making a list and checking it twice. that's beyond me. but the ones that rot, oh me. how rotten.

still...i have two sewing machines and three bicycles and and and.

Friday, August 20, 2004


how terribly disappointing to see one message waiting for you, believe it is from your friend, and then read:

from: customer support
subject: rack of lamb utensil saves time and bones

hmm. because i serve rack of lamb so often. i've been really frazzled for lack of a rack of lamb utensil. now i'll save time *and* bones.


better than a lock and key...

i've just noticed the jamb and door emit nice smells. actually, i noticed yesterday afternoon. i let lola out for yard wetting and while she puddled i leaned on the door and it was good. smelled like balsam. something vanilla-ish. sunlight. dust. vaguely animal-like. fox pelt. and just now i leaned in the door for the same reason and it smelt of amber and balsam and fog. damp but good.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

gravity broadcasting...

love-lies-bleeding is a kind of amaranth. it grows in the yard. i planted only two. gave the seedlings to the sister because she's always wanted to grow them. the tassels are so long they drag the ground. now there's a giant vase of them here. how did they happen? some predecessor found a drag on the ground more efficient than gravity broadcasting? that's one for the ask the amazing facts book. i miss those. i had them when i was wee. i really did. books with all of the answers. everything about the wasp except why. why is a fairly tall order. it attaches so well. it's all the rage this season. pink was the new black. now why. and love-lies-bleeding. not down for the count. not t.k.o. we haven't got a bleeder here! no. it's a velvet rag in place of a stab wound. because the latter would not be love. would it? i don't think. but it's just to say (ouch). that smarts, my friend. why, i could lie and bleed right now. have a drag on the ground. bluffing maybe. made every heart cry well-a-way...hard hearted barbry allen. why is a little word for so much.


a gift from the brother: singer sewer, old timey. the case suggests nineteen thirties. early 'thirties. i don't know how to set the tension. its dials lack numbers. i suppose sewers of old just knew. i mean those who sewed. not latrines etc. a scythian swirl along the edges. or celtic-ish. again, not latrines. that would just be gaudy.


sunflowers--crush of stalks coming from the dark, the odor of resin and turpentine. an open window. the air much cooler than it has been for days. this kind of air we could almost walk on. above town. tin roofs and a sliver moon and amber streetlamps. bright windows and the windows that've darkened already. oak crowns. the box elders turning according to the dry year. an early fall. the roads woven. an alphabet-- f thru k. and the long winding highway headed east. friable oatgrass and pie crust hills. we could walk a thousand miles tonight and never touch down.


for some reason star jasmine is fatter on the coast. individual flowers are thicker. bigger. the stems bleed white paste. the taste is (accidental) bitter. still not my favorite jasmine. that would be polyanthum. but good. the name is nice. i like to read things in reverse. deeps timil is a lovely place. but star, rats. not as nice. unless you like rats. you may. i rejoice in possums. similar. do rats carry their packs? their litters? i don't know. possums carry. i enjoy that. but a subway rat wouldn't run from a caning if it had the mind to stay. a possum would have a lie, take a load off, play at rest. all of which has nothing to do with jasmine.

do cats eat bats? and sometimes, do bats eat cats? for, you see, as she couldn't answer either question, it didn't much matter which way she put it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

there's a first time for everything...

i had a fall. i've never fallen on one of my walks in the dark. but i really ate it this evening. headlights rounded the corner and made everything disappear. and then i felt my ankle buckle and i lurched over onto poor lola who let out a confused yelp. i only crinkled her tail a little bit. i think it scared her more than anything. it's a good thing i didn't land on willie. i'd be writing his eu-goo-galy if i had. i barked my knee and bloodied my hand some. hand some. that's funny. i've bloodied my hand some. all of the walk prior to the fall was swell! i stopped at a blackberry thicket under a streetlamp and grazed a little. lola hid some gold. then we just strolled around.

if this clumsiness continues...


i began reading dostoevsky's "the idiot" today. i promised my friend (hi, d) that i would do so. it rawks. i like it. lots. mmm-hhmmm. i'm only about 90 pages in, but myshkin, oh prince myshkin.

i've seen the kurosawa film version. i liked it. it's been a while since i've watched it, though. i'll have to see it again after i finish the book.

in other news...

1) somebody nearly smashed into me with their penis-compensating rig yesterday. i didn't like it. boo.

2) i managed to spray hose water all over myself yesterday morning as i checked my car's fluids. i was wearing a white t-shirt and jeans. and while that sounds sort of sexy, it mostly just looked like i wet my pants and drooled all over my front. is drool sexy? probably not so much.

3) i had overly salty soba for dinner. blech.

4) it's time to take the dogs for their w-a-l-k. yes. they understand english. but they're crappy spellers.

i go.

Monday, August 16, 2004

the girl from back then...

there is a cleft in the mountains, a pass, right near cerro alto. on the far side of the road is a stand of black cottonwoods, horsechesnut, sycamore, maybe a box elder or two. but the saplings are very thick underneath. the blueblossom and dogwood, redbud and poison oak sprawl there, too. on the near side of cerro alto, willow grows in the low wet places and live oak on the slopes. bay trees. sage. wild grape. honeysuckle. old man's beard laid in swags from the tree crowns. i drove to and from morro bay twice today. when i first passed the gap at cerro alto, the cottonwoods were catching the sun. i couldn't really enjoy it, though-- road's twisty. have to keep my eyes on the road. my second trip had no visible cottonwoods, as it was after nine in the p.m. but i remembered then about a day spent there with my boyfriend when i was sixteen. we had gotten a ride there but had no way home. we hitchhiked back. a guy who had just emptied the flatbed of his hay truck stopped and gave us a lift. we sat in the dead center of the bed, because there was nothing to hold to. by the time we arrived back in town, my hair was perched on the back of my head like a matted tam-o-shanter. i spent half an hour brushing it back into its usual shape (which is quite unlike a tam-o-shanter, thanks very much), and he bitched at me for being so fussy. and then he asked to use the brush. i don't know why i should remember that.

what are birds for?

new books! woo-hoo! well, new to me, at any rate. one is called "birds in our lives." a tome. teal bookcloth and funny fifties photos. one chapter entitled, "hunting is a positive thing," which begins, "april in alabama is a time of renaissance for all living things." tell me about it. oh, and later, "...a prospect of bagging a gobbler." one really amazing photo of a day-old robin chick cradled in a teaspoon. crazy hair, that one. down. it's down, i guess. oh yeah, the first chapter: what are birds for?

also, japanese cookbook. pen and ink bestiary. the poet assassinated (apollinaire). memories, dreams, reflections (c.g. jung).

on the drive home the sea was dark and matte. it usually shines. is pale. i think there was a layer of fog over the bay. but it was beautiful. and everything smelled resinous. pine. sage. gum tree. bay laurel. hot earth smell and the smell of dried grass. greeted by lola-bean as i walked in the door. then prolonged wall drumming as she sat beneath the kitchen table behind me while i typed, tail making a dent in the wall.

Sunday, August 15, 2004


in the evening, clover folds its leaves. an entire field of furled awnings. today was a long day. i'm going to roll up my awning now and sleep. shop's closed. thank you. come again.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

would you like to play questions?

she pets my head and tries to button my jacket. she asks, "what happened?" in a concerned voice, indicating various moles and freckles. and i can't answer. what did happen? pigment clots? dunno. then her mother tells her to stop bothering me. "she's off work. let her go home." but very soon she says she'll bring her new fish for me to see. she says, "oooooh my god!" because she doesn't know what it means. but the earnestness gets a laugh. oh my god. oh my good god. what happened?

Friday, August 13, 2004

why ya buggin'...

crickets hover. i never knew. i'd never seen one toe down like isadora duncan. ping. suspended, legs a-dangle. all across the neon fractured sidewalk. perilously pass between the little boy's stride. and then out into night.

one summer night in pahrump, along the dark desert stretches: billboards alive with grasshoppers. those fellas can hover. but they don't move. they wet the pavement under the tires. the pumpstation tarmacs and canopies grey with hoppers. the windshield. the brave motorcyclist. the plantings eaten into lace. none of that was an exercise in grace. just appetite for leaf and fuck. and light. they liked the light.


someone manning the kitchen timer and i'm jolted from a nap. summit of flummoxed--- the phrase repeating, half asleep. my sleeping brain is smarter than i am. clearly.

last night awoke from heavy sleep because i imagined someone tapping on my window sill. i left the window open because it was hot. my hip bone and elbow trying to gouge trenches. my neck arched in inappropriate ways. i'm facing the window. the one eye is straining into the darkness, trying to see who is there. my first reaction is to jump out of bed. but i can't. i can't move at all. only my eye. i can't even breath. i'm terrified. paralyzed. not paralyzed with fear, just plain paralyzed. and this happens frequently when i awake from a bad dream. that painting, you know the one, the demon sitting on her chest. night terrors. the haints trying to suck my breath. but it was different this time because i recognized what was happening. i knew if i closed my eye and went back to sleep for thirty seconds my body would wake up, too. and it did. and then i jumped out of bed and slammed the window shut. irrational, yes. nobody there. nobody there. normally, the night isn't what frightens me.

crikey. cor. (a good scare makes me sound cockney).


Thursday, August 12, 2004


distaffs used to be made of forked branches. that's all. a very simple tool. the branch could be jammed under the spinner's belt, girdle, whatev. the material to be spun was impaled on the tines. sometimes the fingers were moistened. especially, if the spinner was spinning flax, i think. a drop spindle whirled and the little filaments lengthened, merged, linked together. that was a single. and then the singles were twisted around each other and that made yarn. and the yarn was put into a bath to preserve the twist.

that's all relative to hand spinning. i imagine machines do it differently.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


"to walk is to vegetate. to stroll is divine" --balzac (kind of...)

on k street under my favorite amber lamp (half plum tree) at the house of the benevolent-eyed retriever, lewis, whose owner i don't know, said hound making my acquaintance solo: pickle glyphs on the pavement. the impossibly elongated race created with sidewalk chalk by persons unkown. the clock set in motion, abandoned, view of things. a dog the size of a hereford bull, the dimensions of a baguette. cocktail olive nose. the far leg raised above the shoulder, ironed. sprightly firecracker toes. eohippus. some transparent accretion, edges meeting and subsumed. here i left off. there you begin. i love you. declarations floating, unhinged. the fingers laced. the lacy composition. i can see through you. the lines from the grass lot to the center are one being (man/woman?). the ever-faithful, ever-loyal, merging. wo/man and his/her best friend. a sunny balloon cluster, a crossword crossing. inept legs and a barrel body is most of us. a pinpoint of warm light and a deep dark, wine dark (vinegar-dark?) surround. some bright eyes manacled to my ridiculous wrist.

sister, lola, willie and i went strolling. one corner smelled of fermented apples. then leather. then my uncle. i said, "what's that smell? smells like ----, -----, and -----." and she said, "uncle--- smells like fermented apples and leather?" and i said, "shut up. it was a progression."

tonight the fire station was producing disco smoke. only i don't believe they were getting down. i think it was a drill. but i didn't see anybody...err...drilling. should i be concerned? sister suggested they were trying a ninja device--- the concealed, the undetected. i'm not sure how this is applicable. quick! there's a fire! hide! hide! . (squeals!). a pajama party game for times of crisis. or, let's impress the villagers. behold! i make smoke without flames! i don't really know. i'm probably not alone there.


Tuesday, August 10, 2004

dreadful sorry...

clementine. an orange. the drowned lady (oh my darlin').

clement. mild and tender. of the weather.

inclement. rough. harsh.

in clement(ine). stormy. unmerciful.

cle. men. tine.

key. male. fork.

sprung, she's done!



chocolate. coffee. ancho. cucumber.

i should keep clear of them. i'm very impressionable.

Monday, August 09, 2004


weak in the knees: rounded the corner and the odor of sun-warmed wood floats in the darkness. dog-ear. clapboard. ship-lap. picket. paling. and somehow, a dive to the bottom, dividing the hot surface into deeper cool--- swim recalled.

phantom sunflowers pink the lot lines, half erect in lamplight, a stagger to sqaure. mammoth heads elicit that tremble---the neck nape, wired for contact.

tell me i have to leave. you can't hide here forever. certainly not. they worry i'll waste eternity. i worry i'll waste a moment. they are fierce optimists. if i had forever it would be wasted. but the leavetaking is on its way. today it is 1200 souls and a white horse parting the blue dust darkness. tomorrow 12000 and the machine row houses parting us. i can't hide forever. so sew it up in your trophy sash. lesson one: every heart gets broken. please mind the stitches. 


Ein Liebeslied

Komm zu mir in der Nacht--wir schlafen engverschlungen.
Müde bin ich sehr, vom Wachen einsam.
Ein fremder Vogel hat in dunkler Frühe schon gesungen,
Als noch mein Traum mit sich und mir gerungen.

Es öffnen Blumen sich vor allen Quellen
Und färben sich mit deiner Augen Immortellen....

Komm zu mir in der Nacht auf Siebensternenschuhen
Und Liebe eingehüllt spät in mein Zelt.
Es steigen Monde aus verstaubten Himmelstruhen.

Wir wollen wie zwei seltene Tiere liebesruhen
Im hohen Rohre hinter dieser Welt.

a love song

come to me in the night---we'll sleep closely twined.
i am so tired and lonely from watching.
a strange bird sang in the dark dawn,
as my dream still wrestled with itself and me.

now flowers open beside every spring,
colored with your everlasting eyes.

come to me in the night on seven-star shoes
and clothed in love, come late to my tent.
moons are rising from heaven's dusty chests.

like two rare animals, let us take love's rest
in the tall reeds behind this world.

(trans. by janine canan)

lasker-schüller sounds like song of solomon. so pretty. so simply pretty. just wonderful.

leaving driveway, slowly progressing along the ruts, dirt track, dustway, a buck with beautiful tines crossed in front. stopped, stared at me, pointed out his family. a doe, two nearly grown fawns (twins!). a felled oak branch where they stood grazing. i pulled up alongside and stopped, window down. doe stiffened her front legs, flashed those eyes, those perfect deep dark eyes, crow-hopped toward me. stopped. then, satisfied, began chewing again. i pulled away. one fawn steeplechased. impressive lift-off and a backwards glance. i love mule deer to no telling.

my german is baby-sized. any mistakes transcribing to be indulged, please oh please. same goes for english. or any language, for that matter.



it was october and the weather had already turned. i was driving the new england, hmm, whatchamakallit, expressway, coastal. my hands buzzed. i grip the wheel too tightly. must have been in maine. it was getting dark. stopped for a bottle of juice. it started to snow. very lightly. the flakes melted, mostly, but a few, sooted and suet-like, gathered along the paving. journey came on the radio. "don't stop believing..." i was very cold. had on a cashmere sweater, color of cream, and very old pea coat. still cold. lots of apple trees, fruit-laden, along the course. passed through tiny towns, some no more than an inn and few sparse, stalwart houses. houses that looked like landed ships. shouldn't have worn all*stars. feet were cold. it was a mistake to wear those. shivering. heater on. cold remained. then it was very dark and time to stop driving and find a place to sleep. then an episode of classic star trek on the tube. landru (sp?). sleep.

october is coming. somehow this memory keeps repeating. streets in new brunswick. mt. allison. hot coffee, black. larches and traffic circles and oh canada! and oh, oh, oh, some cold night in a cosy place, a place unfamiliar.


i think i have a new boyfriend. he's all of ten years old. he comes to my work and flirts with me. one day he brought some kind of electronic gadget, a glorified alarm clock, and danced to the song it played. when he comes to see me he is a big tipper. he always says, "keep the change." this is heartbreakingly cute. i want to tell him to take his change. 35 cents is quite a lot to a ten year old. but i'm afraid i'll bruise him if i refuse. his movements are very reminiscent of a little old man. in fact, were i to live long enough to see him transform, to grow into the geriatric equivalent, i think he would be quite unchanged in a number of ways. the way he reclines on the counter to shoot the shit is so very old mannish. he has picked up those silly adult expressions for passing the time. "slow today, huh?" and the like. but he can boogie. not so many old men can say that. tonight when he came he said, "i'm sorry, but what was your name?" while he stood with his pudgy little hand on his jaw. thoughtful. and after i told him he said, "oh, yes. that's right." when he walks he puts his head back but tilts his chin down like he's regarding something very important. his round belly precedes him. his arms swing vigorously and he mutters to himself. he has bulldog cheeks and a buzz cut--- blonde. he does make me grin. i think that is an excellent quality in a person-- the ability to make other people (in this case me) grin. yup.

Sunday, August 08, 2004



cover your eyes. more quotes ensue. juggernaut. cannot be stopped.

"...california...the land of lonely and exiled and eccentric lovers come to forgather like birds..." --kerouac

"bird, bird, bird, bird, we cry,/hear, pity us in pain:/hearts break in the sunlight,/hearts break in daylight rain,/only night heals again,/only night heals again."---h.d.

"what did you say to me/that i had not heard./she said she saw a small bird./where was it./in a tree./ah, he said, i thought/you spoke to me." ---robert creeley

"sparrows in eaves,/mice in ceiling--/celestial music." ---basho

"may my heart always be open to little/birds who are the secrets of living/whatever they sing is better than to know/and if men should not hear them men are old" ---e.e.cummings (forgive me. eec! i quoted cummings)


a weed by the wall...

visit from my da today. we sat in the yard and talked about the news, the weather, the usual. bresson. my father told me interesting things about him. that he joined the french resistance. that he loved the 35mm camera to begin with. which, i guess, wasn't especially fashionable. while we talked, the bluejays descended. they sat on their tray in the pine tree and talked to me. my arrival means only one thing to them: peanuts. any other form of visitation is incomprehensible. i may as well be a peanut. but i forgot to grab a handful of peanuts before walking to the shade of the plum tree. so, jays sat and stared, puzzling. and when they left the tree to poke at their various caches under the pine, a rather impressive magpie also came to visit. the magpies come and eat cat food. they even frighten the cats away. oh, and the starlings flew high into the pine, up into the branches where the grape vine has climbed, and began eating grapes. starlings sound positively prehistoric. and they arrive in mobs. i'm glad they prefer grapes over people.

and now, i have to quote emerson some more. i can't help it. i found a ratty old book of essays when i was at a thrift store. i read it when i'm bored at work. you must endure. reap the whirlwind, kids.

in no particular order:

"let the soul be assured that somewhere in the universe it should rejoin its friend, and it would be content and cheerful alone for a thousand years."

(yep, i will join my friend someday. yep, i'll be content until then.)

"every man alone is sincere. at the entrance of a second person, hypocrisy begins."


"it is thought a disgrace to love unrequited. but the great will see that true love cannot be unrequited."

(yeah. or the great will call it stalking. what do you, the viewers at home think?)

"men are conservatives when they are least vigorous, or when they are most luxurious. they are conservatives after dinner, or before taking their rest; when they are sick, or aged. in the morning, or when their intellect or their conscience has been aroused; when they hear music, or when they read poetry, they are radicals."

(can i get an amen?)

"the sign and credentials of the poet are that he announces that which no man foretold. he is the true and only doctor...."

"our moods do not believe in each other. to-day i am full of thoughts and can write what i please. i see no reason why i should not have the same thought, the same power of expression to-morrow. what i write, whilst i write it, seems the most natural thing in the world; but yesterday i saw a dreary vacuity in this direction in which i now see so much; and a month hence , i doubt not, i shall wonder who he was that wrote so many continuous pages. alas for this infirm faith, this will not strenuous, this vast ebb of a vast flow! i am god in nature; i am a weed by the wall."



Friday, August 06, 2004

bobby one spur...

today, whilst toiling, a scruffy old man approached, raised his hat high, bowed, and handed me a rose. the man in question is often refered to as bobby one spur. i never call him that...well...almost never...i've just called him that, haven't i? no matter. anyway, his first name is bobby. the addition of "one spur" is supposed to indicate he is shy of a matched set. which he is. but that, i contest, is half his charm. he is well known for his eccentric endeavors. once, when the little tree outside of the liquor store brushed his hat from his head, he marched off and returned with a hatchet. spit applied to hands and handle. then right before he showed the tree what for, somebody called the law. i don't advocate punishing trees in such a fashion. a simple and indignant, "i beg your pardon!" or "i say good day!" or "of all the!" would suffice, i think. i also don't like seeing bobby punished, tho. at night he howls with the coyotes. he lounges under a cardoon or a toyon and tosspots it up a bit. nothing rambunctious. i've crossed his path in a pitch dark night many times and never felt afeared. he's more trustworthy than most. his family has been in this town since before it was a town. when everybody still spoke spanish and cattle outnumbered people.

when trash fills up the ditches or starthistle begins taking over the vacant lots, bobby picks up a spade or other appropriate implement, and removes the debris. as far as i know he does it of his own volition. and today he gifted me with a rose. he probably filched it from somebody's yard. so much the better.

hmm. odd thing is, the rose was candy-colored. pink. orange. yellow. the night is jung. and i'm making shitty puns. how's about that?


in which she performs the graceful act...

when i was very small, four or there'bouts, my aunt and uncle gave me a gift. i remember it very vividly. it was unlike anything i'd ever been given. my very own place setting. and it was very girly, something my two older brothers wouldn't covet or try to wrangle away from me. but best of all it was like having another little girl around. that sounds odd, i know. but the place setting had a very clever feature: when stacked in the order of plate, mug, bowl, it formed a little brown-haired, befreckled girl. the plate was a tiny field of posies and a tiny pair of feet with folktale slippers. the mug, a chubby girl torso. and the bowl, an apple-headed girl face. my mother put the set way up high on her wardrobe. i was forbidden to use it until i got a little older. usually, i would have just given up arguing with her, because it very rarely availed me to do otherwise. but in this instance, i argued up a storm. i begged. i whimpered. and finally, the little place setting was taken down, handed over. my mom heated black cherry jello powder and hot water to make a drink. i drank this from the chubby torso. i had sopa seca from the happy cranium. in the evening i had quesadilla from the tiny feet plate. i walked around our cabin staring at the quesadilla on the tiny feet. i was told to sit down at the table. but my mom was still cooking and my brothers were milling around and my dad was angry about something. noisy. there was a loud noise and i put on the brakes. my quesadilla launched. i grabbed for it. the tiny feet crashed to the floor, shattered. i was spared any punishment. i suppose my ma figured my own clumsiness was punishment enough. i don't know what happened to the rest of the set. i imagine it still lines the shelves of my dad's cabin. chubby, footless torso resting against the smooth boards. wobbly head balanced atop.

the other day i was with little sister in a thrift store. "what in the hell is that?! look! it's a head bowl!" and i turned and there she was. not my little chubby girl head, but one. and i got a big smile. and my little sister asked what i was grinning about. and i said, "i know that girl. i used to have that." she said she couldn't remember. i said, "you weren't around yet." incidentally, i much prefer my little sister. the chubby apple-head was great and all, but my sister is wicked funny. and she still has feet...ergo, it's a nice guiltless association when we meet.


Thursday, August 05, 2004

more yellow birds...

this afternoon outside the kitchen window where i've let the accidental fennel reach ten feet, scores of tiny yellow-grey birds deviled the thing, grooming each umbel. i think they eat aphids (yay!). watching them is like watching the light on the wall in evening. it shines through the tree and every time the tree blows, every santa ana gust makes the light kaleidoscope. hypnotic. the little yellow-greys kaleidoscope. the fennel leaves are still grey-green, but the umbels, plim-seeded, are golden and sour green. the jaw twinges, the tongue waters just from looking.  i almost fell asleep sitting backwards on the small couch below the window, arms folded across the back, staring at them. the sunlight was thick like tinned peach syrup, heavy, drowsy, and the sky very blue, very clean--- this is august.

i lurve hyphens. oh yes.


star in my forehead...

very dark this evening. no moon for the walk. but the stars were very bright. looking up the hill: big dipper poised to pour into the crown of the giant oak, corner of murphy and h st. fennel in the ditches, the smell of ouzo, and down a ways, of mildew and lint. tonight's was a dog walk in every sense. darkness and plummet into olfactory means. a rush of hot air and rusted pipe near town hall. the building lit up and a few grey heads in the quick nimbus of open doors. passing under the sycamore. oh my sycamore tree. time will tell. the train stalled and idling in town. and over the dark fields the neon of the liquor stop. purple. pink. the light staked moths ellipsing perimeters. cassiopeia to the green northeast, a letter w, a grecian bow.

Aber du kamst nie mit dem Abend----
Ich saß im Sternenmantel.

(else lasker-schüler)


Wednesday, August 04, 2004


the first green acorns. the edges turning. very small. all of five months past the catkins, iodine and rust, decked in the oak crowns. and, simultaneous, the hazel-spotted fawns. now the germ falls down. the cream, the wax sodden distaff-- blown horsechestnut bloom. followed after, the green wasp-soft casing, the doe-eyed seed drops. here they are poisonous, chestnuts. not to be roasted, hovered above, devoured. not like the iced-over corners that steam in a december east. no nutriment. emetic. unless: there is a trick to leach them clean. then they are worth all the cold in winter.

"april in paris...chestnuts in blossom..."
doe's eye. dosey-doe. dos à dos. does he know.

we'll sit with our backs together. wear paper hats. ask thirty questions. when the crown falls down it will be blooming. we'll see.

that's a memory. very small and green. five months gone. nearly. near.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


before dusk a bevy of quail, black-masked, one sentinel in the yellow dusted wayside. california quail.

ishi said they said see-gah-gah. some say they say chi-CAH-go. she's ga-ga. she go-go. she can't go.


continent, a.
    1. self-restrained; temperate.
    2. characterized by self-restraint, especially by complete abstinence, in sexual activity (boo).
    3. opposing; restraining [obs.]
    4. continuous; connected; not interrupted; as a continent fever.

continent, n.
    1. that which contains or retains something. [rare]
    2. a large and extensive land mass; mainland, as distinguished from outlying islands.
    3. any of the six largest land masses of the earth.
    4. land in general; earth. [obs.]

same song, different night...

a little pear cider and the sleep is already descending. don the peacoat, thread the close alley, the heavy dusk. the pied cat hides under my feet, shrinks to eyes only, white chevronned muzzle, and vacates in the last moment. someone whistles high the other side of the dog-eared fences, the fig hedges, the fruitless brambles. don't know the song. nobody knows the song. what was old is new again. or something.

"hallelujah give us a handout/hallelujah amen..." is not the song. but this is the notion.

could it be a love song? the lines "hallelujah give us a hand(out)/to revive us again..." it's not the song. it's the notion. or maybe it's the cider. tonight the walk makes them a distiguished pair (pear?).


Monday, August 02, 2004


walking home passed the little red house. the house where the barefoot berry brown kids used to chase white moths and hide in the hardingness grass and timothy in the long warm evening. no more. tonight the new young couple sits in the kitchen. the walls are fresh. the floor is bare. he wears no shirt. she has slightly more. she sits facing the window. he sits to one side. all eyes on the table. i pass slowly beneath the adjacent elm. lamppost angles from her treetop. crickets. the drake and the hen and the amber light.

"now i'm older gotta get up clean the place...now i'm darker than the deepest sea...just hand me down give me a place to be...now i'm weaker than the palest blue...oh so weak in this need for you..."

little bodies, little continents. cartography. oh that continents could fold, wings settling across the back. paired. at rest.

what's the use, indeed...

"then i reject all i have written, for what is the use of pretending to know what we know not? but it is the fault of our rhetoric that we cannot strongly state one fact without seeming to belie some other. i hold our actual knowledge very cheap." -- r.w. emerson

i'm quoting again. it has to stop.

i'll narrate instead. just as sensible.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

shameless pop promotion...

when bowing to the dark lord high fructose corn syrup, faygo is tops. faygo black raspberry. delicious.


not night boat to cairo, but that other madness. unmade. that madness.

"much madness is divinest sense/to a discerning eye/ much sense the starkest madness" --- e.d.

"a man talking sense not to himself is no madder than a man talking nonsense not to himself. and he does both. stark raving sane!" ---> hamlety, hamlety, tom stoppardy, shakespearey

mercury. hats. "in this manner." a hatter.

that mad.

(a)rose madder. mordant dip and the color sticks.


he's a pervert. did you know about the dog bite? working hard or hardly working? gonna be warm today. i'll take a half-pint of j.d., pumpkin. (unintelligible). well, that guy is a chump. well, that guy is coooool. dogs should be on leashes. leashes, but they're just babies, just babies. what time do you get off? una tarjeta. no, otra. did you hear about -----?! ahem, do you still carry...um...magazines? you mean porn? of course! sweet little thing like you don't have a boyfriend? back in my day.... i was working iron before you were born! can you tell me how to find ---- street? so, uh, live around here much? what a bitch! (garble, garble). wave bye-bye! been slow today? good book you've got there. ceeegars? knocked-up. change for a quarter? that's a lot for so little. is this the only flavor? check back later.