ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS
INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + TEXTILE ART + TRAVEL + ESSAYS + FICTION + HAAG'S BIO
Yesterday, today, sometime in the night,
in the sun, in the rain, in the last three
days, something is concluded.
I no longer worry, mince, carry my
head of heavy hair, my soul, downcast. I
drink chamomile tea, eat a
chocolate biscuit, get a letter from
France, whack off my hair, read Carlos Caste-
nedas, match his moth with my
moth, recall the gold specked dust of China,
know it will/did change my life forever,
In the sweat, in the anger,
don't demur to the musk's scent.
Surrounded by ocean plates that
crack, a light pat violent
enough to create the dawn,
do not think the fawn only
a violet fingered skull
mossy and full, life merely
a sense of rapture schooled to
hold and woo the pain. When it
drops tears, weep for the earth's hurts.
Eternity flirts to fit
each yielding joy to some old
groove, remolding anger for
creaks and whacks and light lessons
to seem like puns, and gold ore.
and things unbent --
remember one thing:
You've walked this way
In paradise lives Rita the Slim
and Richard with Justin on his
chest, jurisprudence in his heart.
In paradise lives John Bryan to tell
me about the red hearts of grevillea,
the snow white cloud of melaleuca --
odd plants, evergreens that bloom.
Bryan says, "A lot of evergreens bloom.
I say "I never saw a cedar or a spruce,
a hemlock -- they don't...." "The conifers
you mean." "Yes, I never saw a bleeding
heart on a cedar in the northwest woods."
"But evergreens include magnolias,
and pines do flower."
In paradise lives Rita the bold
back from the future, trapped in time,
burgeoning in virtual reality, growing
Mandelbrot sets, fractals that bloom
from z into forms as organic as a tree
and animals as exotic as another
evergreen, protea, or pitasporum
From Australia or MacWarehouse
odd things grow in Sausalito: the little
willow of paradise which sits round
the bed fro the pelagic cormorants,
the brown pelicans wheeling high over
the headlands of the ocean of peace.
Quail stroll beneath the cypress.
Justin the Manx has a room by the sea,
panoramic views including Angel Island
and the north. He watches the sailboats
in the green wind, dreaming of when
Richard the Law, Rita of the many names
will chuck his chin, stroke his whiskers,
feed him from a small blue bowl.
I forget what question she was answering
when she said she came from the future,
was trapped in this element of time,
teaching me, as if I were a baby, virtual
reality, technological tricks. I've seen her
with Scot and I've seen her with Richard.
There may have been others.
She dwelt below the nasturtiums, stood
tall beside the stairways of Sausalito.
Beyond her dwelt the quail and the
cormorant, pelagic cormorants they were
called. She had been here before.
"I do not want to come again."
She dwelt like a cliff-dweller in a house
by the sea among the bay and the laurel,
red poppies and yellow daisies, the wild
exuberance of nature at her most
flamboyant with foxes on her doorstep,
Justin the cat on a towel, the only
inhabitants of the living room looking
out upon the bay's white sailing ships,
the magnificence of the clouds clearing
at sunset. Justin the Spoiled was a Manx,
with a woeful life for a tale. He'd been
a cute kitty. The hills grew thimble berries
hardest of berries to pick, back on bushes
so remotely hung from cliffs and guarded
by thistles, that even the birds hesitated.
She came from the future, whisper-thin,
a virtual reality. She feared to eat lest
it change her mood. She believed that
believing in things, in people, would
make them happen, make them real.
She had named herself Aero and wanted
to pass through unknown. She wrote
books under assumed names, worked
each day into the evening. She was sharp
featured, furrowed and worried. Later
she was bright faced, laughing, young.
She danced through life and moved
as a surfboard moves, hugging the waves,
turning, flat, narrow and whole, riding
the crest. Rita the Bold, Rita the Shy
who spends money as if it were made
solely for her use, generous beyond
imagination. She painted the inside
window moldings yellow on the middle
floor for sun, blue on the top floor
for sky, green on the bottom floor
to reflect the green of the bushes beyond,
and her walls in purple and pink --
vast rooms, empty rooms. She used
her antique armoire for paper, called it
Bob. Her heart as in her work. She
worked each day and every night --
Next time I get a baby in my belly,
I'll scream. Scream your name and lack of love, scream
my name and lack of hope, scream our fear and lack
of faith that life can appear in this retreat from life
and light and love. Next time I get a baby
in my belly, I'll ask why you don't sleep at home.
Next time I get a baby in my belly,
I'll tell you. Let you share the terror. Memory.
I left the tears on my face
so you might see the salt
of your sorrow reflected
from another's eyes to know
you have not suffered without
as birds fly past the setting sun
on a day of summer mist
long after the day you were born
long before the day you will die
The wind blew hard that night along the balcony
in The Oaks. I arrived and they were gone. The
mosquito netting flew. Dry leaves shared my bed.
Coming from the north, the Santa Anas make good
company. They dry you out, let you breathe the
velvet sensuousness the south is famous for.
Faerie Queenes hop along dry grasses, palms,
petals, they use the eucalyptus' long tears for
wands, the scent of jasmine for gondolas to
glide your ventricles. Oh, yes. It couldn't
be indigestion. You didn't eat. The soughing
in the sycamores, the silken silver of the
wind blown pines crown you with cotton candy
fancies. Glad to be alone, you count the hours
before sleep, the days before death, and smile.
Nothing comes too soon. All the red birds
rest. Enough jasmine is enough, the chaparral
has no form, the hibiscus has no scent.
It was one block wide and forty miles long, all the inhabitants hung
out on a line like laundry, like clothespins put up for shooting at
with a twenty-two. Strung out so long and so thin and so far
you would say it almost doesn't exist, that town called Boulevard.
O God, if a town called Boulevard can't make me serious,
if it can't divide me from dualism, what can? Two streets
and a yard of grass between them running down the planes
of the desert, planted with palms -- that's a boulevard all right.
A strip of difference, a strip of nature between two concrete
lanes of flattened over earth -- and they named the town that!
I hear echoes in my head of poems and voices and cries and kryias,
screams about being run down, chased between concrete streets.
I'm that roll of grass between the paving that keeps the sky
from the earth, that keeps the earth from sprouting green trees,
from sprouting palms right up through the floor boards of Fords
and Toyotas. O yes, I am that creature that keeps the macadam
down, the tar in place, the LaBrea bubbling. I am that creature
that bought the oil that built the road that ran through the desert
that once was nowhere and is now a town called Boulevard.
If I can block out the voices, cut off the Hydra-headed monster
that forms my soul, forms yours, if I could unpave the world,
untemper the sword, replant the universe, reconstitute the oil
back to the chlorophyll that fed the dinosaurs that roamed the earth
and are gone, that roamed the earth with us and are gone like we
will be gone when the town called Boulevard will be palmed on both sides
with dates, no doubt, and coconuts, and in the middle will run streams
of celestial harmonies, and all the voices now raised in cacophony
will even out into a smooth running unity that will mesh into one cry,
one psalm, one blade, elegantly divide with one back and one front,
one up and one down, one zone beveled ridge down the center,
one difference between the right and the left, then the
town called Boulevard will be a gas station on the highway to Paradise.
A lady in white and buff and hibiscus strolled across town,
eating dates, whistling at the palms, she walked right up
off the boulevard into the cotton-soft sky.
There are five big palms and two more out back,
one small pine planted yesterday, and slim young mulberry trees
in a big bare yard waiting for spring, a roof with solar panels,
and many smart kids, who know their dinosaurs and why we plant trees.
They welcomed us with fruit and milk and asked us how far we'd walked.
We, on our Global Walk, walked two hundred miles to plant this tree
for Amy and Sierra, Belinda, Jamake, Benny, Flora, Chris and Vaughn,
who'll play and rest in the shade of this fine Arizona Ash as it grows tall.
May it grow and grow to shade Michael and Michael, Tyler and Hollie
and their children and their children's children.
May Geshell, Monique and Melissa and all the little children
love it bare in winter, blossoming in spring,
green in the summer, gold in the fall.
May all the children of Parker continue to love
the desert that surrounds them, the hills that protect them,
this tree and the earth which nourishes it.
We plant it with love for you --
and for our world -- that peace
and love may prevail.
Afterward -- I lay for three years eating sausage,
thinking about God, death, unity,
problem solving, teaching,
the lack of anything
Since I could learn nothing, what was I to teach, how
could I believe in any lesson?
I could experience,
time. But the mechanism of change eluded
my memorizing mind, my writing
hand. Each new discipline,
ardently pursued, worked
then died at the first intermission. New tricks
were needed to rouse my exhausted,
disbelieving mind, 'til
it seemed no further tricks
were to be
found. I wrote three hundred poems, I walked three thousand
miles. I lived in seclusion, I spoke
only with my family:
narrow-minded, salt of
the earth, with
little lives, no aspirations, who enjoyed the
rain, food, occasionally rubbing
bodies, did not know there
was a question of God,
world, temptation, abstinence, knowledge to pursue,
or scorn, hierarchies, the elect,
the damned. They ate and smiled,
they lived and found need of
When I eat I eat, when I sleep I sleep, chop wood
chop wood, but without consciousness, I
was bored to death. I could
not be so simple, so
sweet, so mild.
I questioned that there was the elect, the damned. I,
like a bodhisattva, wanted to
believe in the godhead
of all sentient beings,
but most were
so boring, so trying, so petty, pettily
involved in jobs, cars, cares, insurance,
taxes, feuds, gluttony,
greed, that it seemed if there
had been a
higher plan, God had abandoned it, despairing,
in mid-twentieth century, a
minority of one,
deeply out of fashion
to see the emperor's new clothes A change of mind
was evident, bowing to headstrong
human folly, "Let them
dance," God said, "and make their
afterward I'll try the dinosaurs again, or
perhaps, onward with the birds, I'll try
consciousness in the sky,
wind swept clouds."
Sleepy, the summer too hot for the north,
daily walking the tracks, picking the black
berries, shades of red, too, among spider
webs, bruised lips, dyed teeth, juice on the leaves,
not blood, smiles under the dappled alder trunks
flashing milk in the sun, grass greener than
algae, where fairy bells bloom where woodruff
spices the air -- What do the birds do all day
long? Sing in the flamboyant trees, wing toward
sundown, sip the succulent mosquito.
INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART