BY JAN HAAG


ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS


INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + TEXTILE ART + TRAVEL + ESSAYS + FICTION + HAAG'S BIO





THE "B" POEMS





EARLY POEMS

Most of the following poems were written between 1983 and 1997;
specific dates can be found in files archived at the Blagg Huey Library, Texas Womens' University, Denton Texas




BANDON BANDON

1970s

Bandon, bandon,
Angels mine,
collect an Angel in
the wine
glass
to ring as bright as

crystal bells, shine
as dark as
corroding wells lined in
copper,
lined
in brass, bronze Angels

daintily danced
while God wound
down and let them pass. "You
did?" "I
did."
Bandon Bandon, the

Angels pass, a
spiritual
harping on the grass
with wine,
chimes,
music declining,

lilting Angels
promenading.
"Let them pass, the glass
crystal
bells
and the sounding brass."



BARK BALU

1990s

Bark Balu has a strange mee-u
she's one of the old cats I take care of now.
With jagged hips, and scrawny tits,
big eyes, and liquid bowels, she complains
from bed to cushion and bed again.

Old Bark Balu, they named you for a dog
because you talked so loud and jumped
so high, and your master pays
me to sit with you for days.

Is that what life is all about?
A feeble age, with pills
in your dinner, odd drops
when you're not looking, and mops

after you squat. Is that mee-u
a request for no more
vets, no more shots, baths,
no more formulated food,

water fasts for your health.
You used to have steak and real
chicken, fresh fish from the sea
from your former mistress who died

at ninety-three. Old Bark Balu, tell me
your thoughts, discuss with me your catty
dreams. What's beneath that fine, soft fur
and those old strong paws?

You've never told your thoughts
in English. Life is a purr, life is a mee-u
life is a long time living as a kitten
and a longer time dying, having been smitten

by an owner who won't let you go.
Tell me your thoughts old Bark Balu,
with eyes as big as those on the stupa
at Kathmandu, burning into my heart
asking me to let you depart.



BATHING

11-11-97/11-17-03

It's so hard to get in there, these days,
into the shower, and
harder to get out.

This morning, with hot water pounding
my head, I was thinking,
--wondering, really --

where on this earth, in this life have I
bathed? Well in Korea,
in their delicious

communal baths of many fountains,
pools, running water
troughs, showers, they scrub

and dry off with a tiny wet towel.
In the heatless, winter,
ice-cold, tiled, bath-house

with two low faucets and a cup, in
the thirteenth Century
monastery, we

shivered and bathed body and cold soul.
At the Beverly Hills
Health club, in early

days, one could use as many towels, huge
white, soft, as one could wish.
I used to go down,

from being an executive, to swim
at noon, at least on days
I wasn't at an

expense account lunch with some other
swell. In Hollywood's club
they charged for the towels.

In India I usually bathed
with faucet, bucket, soft
scarf. I did have one

shower once in an $8 room.
O, high extravagance!
just off Goa's beach.

I did not bathe in the temple pools.
But in the spa, 10
rented a mossy

tile/stone room piped with boiling river
water. One could lie long
and still, soaking out

the holiness in one's Western bones.
In a China tub stained
like the salt pools of

San Francisco Bay, the water ran
more charily than a
summer stream. It filled

an inch before I waded in. Most
of my male housemates had
gloomy tubs, fusty

bathrooms -- as if inconceivable
they could sparkle with light
and sunshine and snow

white porcelain. A Malibu friend
had a luxury tub,
vast as a small pool.

It took too much water/time to fill
when one had only a
jacuzzi with which

to make love. In the complicated
fabulous shower, with
light wells and mirrors

I felt too alone and observed to
come clean. But I had a
private jacuzzi

in the New Mexico adobe
where the Bolivian
mother, whose baby

I delivered one week-day morning,
rested. I bathed in big
old clawed tubs in Zen

Center mansions, in concrete garden
showers with woven straw
walls buried in blooms

at the Burmese Monastery in
Bodh Gaya. Another
odd-clawed tub sat in

my early bizarre Port Matilda
bathroom of gilt chartreuse,
jeweled and painted

with patterns on the floor and the tub's
belly, where I learned that
men sprayed the walls when

they pee. That was enough of marriage
for me. My green house tub
also had bird claws.

Lampeggia, the grey cat loved water.
She'd circle all around
and sit in my sink

while I did the dishes. Saffron Blue,
the red cat with blue eyes,
in New York would peer

over the tub's wide white rim, but not
come close. Yossarian
would study the flow

of the water's drip, both before and
after I gilded the
Pennsylvania

bathroom. Do I remember any
bathrooms of my childhood?
Just the one where five

pounds of honey was washed from my hair.
I remember sitting
on the tubs round edge

talking with my sister on the throne.
I remember other
thrones: one in a big

Lake Washington, basement, multi-roomed
apartment which one climbed
four steep steps up to,

a platform to sit facing a wall
startlingly close to
one's nose, tinkling.

I remember bathing in the big
tin kitchen tub at my
grand-parents' farm near

Roseburg on Saturday and, during
the week, swimming naked
in the South Fork of

the Umpqua, on the rocks, not far from
the covered wooden bridge.
Later, going to

and fro, back and forth, across the land,
across my own country,
bathing in summer lakes,

cold rivers, icy steams, copping one
shower, quick and without
premeditation,

soap or towel just off the hall in Old
Faithful's Lodge at Yellow-
stone. Not bathing at

my sister's cabin on Hoods Canal --
not until you'd been there
more than one berry

picking week, and then with the hose, hot
at first, then running cold.
On the Walk, there were

solar heated showers one carried
for great distances to
find a desert tree

to hang it on. I don't remember
bathing at Shelby Street,
but I must have. I

do remember tacking the picture
of David's head with blue
eyes over the tank

of the toilet to conceal the rough,
unpainted boards stripped by
ousting the last tank.

The bathroom on Pacific View was,
perhaps the nicest thing
about the house: clean,

white, a gift-given shower head, huge
double mirrors, where we made
odd kinds of love in

the tub. Baths were down spooky halls in
Italy. In a Bed
and Breakfast, I slept

for three days where a crazy English
antique said "I got rid
of me husband," and

charged extra pence if one used
the hot water in her
bad clawed tub behind

the aspidistra. The bath was down
a flight, inhumanely
cold in the old, three

story, stone house in Tilehurst, Reading,
England, where one soaked near
a whimpy heater

thinking of Oscar Wilde in Reading's
loveless jail. In Thailand,
a colorful, green,

great, wall-climbing, bug-eyed gecko eyed
one's water-covered breasts.
Kathmandu offered,

along with a room overlooking
the intricately carved
woods of Durbar Square,

a sink with a hole in it larger
than my head -- refreshing
for the dusty toes.

And don't let me forget the utter
humiliation, shame,
withering gym classes

where we were consigned to the hell of
communal, appraising
showers. So ashamed

was I of my poor, young, unchosen
body, too soon to bloom
into ruined, old,

and heavy. Now I can blame it on
diet and life-style.
Mother, too, had a

poor old ruined body. God, I have
often thought, must love old,
heavy, fat-thighed, thin-

haired, cellulite-lumpy, baggily-
breasted, big rear-ended
women. He made so

many of us. If humanity
had only ageed to
take it on the chin,

to die off at a proper age, we'd
have missed the delights of
ageing, antique flesh --

crumbling, spreading, supperating, soft.
Three hundred sixty-five
times sixty-three years

(now seventy) -- can you imagine!
of approximately
23,000

or more baths, the unremembered tubs
and showers, lakes and streams,
oceans and seas, taps

turned to cleanse the body, to keep it
clean. Astronomical!
Like rain drops -- who can

count them for even this one body?
Then add the ablutions
of the soon to be

eight billion bodies. Let's be grateful
to the old Tibetans
and other wintry

tribes who bathed once or twice in a life-
time. Save the water. Eat
the trees. Wash baby's

bottom again and again, under
the faucet, in the sink.
Remember the black

ring in S's bath tub which no one
wanted to clean. Many
animals never

go near the water, except to drink.
But I have seen the great
elephants rolling

in the river, sloshing in the mud.
In Mexico we bathed
outside in a stand-

up, deep blue-tiled tub. We, James and I,
got there by wading in
cerulean seas

with our suitcases on our heads. There
were lots of mangos, but
we never returned.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Bathe the body when it
dies. Test the Ganges.



BB (OR C) = G + L + Q

1984?


LESSON I


The GUTS --
the Grand Unified Theory
post-Einsteinians are looking for
is so self evident
it can't be found.

BB =   Big Bang
C   =   Consciousness
G  =   Gluons
L   =   Leptons
Q  =  Quarks

Stated another way:
BB (or C) = G (or G + EM + WF + SF) + M (or L + Q)

The Big Bang (or Consciousness)
this says, equals Gluons plus Matter.

Gluon is a term for the four forces:
Gravity
The Electromagnetic Force
The Weak Force
The Strong Force --
i.e., the four "glues."

Matter is made up of Leptons and Quarks.
Leptons are light particles.
What's not a Lepton is a hadron:
medium and heavy particles (mesons
and baryons) all made of five
(or six) bound Quarks.

That's what the physicists say:
Six bits of imagination, and six
(or five) bits within bits make up the world.

In the beginning was the Big Bang.
The Big Bang was Consciousness (a super-
luminal, trachyon world): conceiving,
manifesting, combining, recombining,
dissolving.

Consciousness, the equation says, is
equivalent to all there is: Gluons,
Leptons, Quarks (flavored: up, down,
strange, charmed, truth, beauty and ?).
("Up, down, strange, charmed, bottom, top,"
says Hawking, "each flavor coming in three colors:
red, green and blue.")

The physicists, like everyone else, know
that there is nothing until you look for it.
What you see is a function of who looks --
how. Beyond the sixth Quark, the only
thing that needs definition (now) is
the seeing instrument (us): Consciousness,
which they, the physicists, have never dared
approach.

What is not made conscious is not.
What is made conscious is.

Or if they want to continue for awhile
in the direction they're used to going,
they'll find a substructure to the Quarks,
and define those and yet another substructure
and another, until Consciousness,
absolutely unavoidably (which obliges
by supplying anything you seek) will finally present
itself as the only necessity, to these semi-conscious
probers.

But there's already plenty of research around.
Buddha can tell them, or the Tibetan
or the Hindu, who've scientifically
probed Consciousness for 10,000 years.

Mankind has never been without interest
in his creation of the world. Realizing
it is Consciousness and he is part of
Consciousness is an insight attained
some time ago.

When we stop throwing data from a different science
away with both hands and study what has been done,
physicists will be surprised to see how far along the path
we already are.


LESSON II


The universe is now open.
We carry the potential to close it.
We'd better be careful.

Scientists are looking for the missing mass:
other universes like our own
which we cannot see
because our vision is skewed toward
making human beings, trees, mountains,
railroad trains, cars and one-hundred-two
story building out of L+G+Q.
But the C doing it is the same.

The universe is C.
We simply can't see part of it,
like we can't see an Electron, or a Proton,
or a Quark.

If we found some way to see them,
we could see into other universes,
which is exactly what the Eastern Mystics,
and some of the Western one's, too, do,
did long ago and even today.

Given pure consciousnes
you can see their equivalent of trees
and mountains and beings and busses
running up and down whatever
they might have thought of for roads.


LESSON III


How are we closing the universe?
By making things.

When the universe reaches a critical
mass, it will begin to contract.

Does the neutrino have weight?
Can we violate the laws of conservation
and actually create matter?

Look at us on the reality level: we have
filled the world with so many things, things
that used to be thoughts, that we are inevitably
preparing for ourelves a holocaust, probably nuclear.
A holocaust to rid us of too many things, too many
material manifestations of Consciousness
which overburdens the universe.

In the same way, playing with high energy physics,
we are slowly creating enough particles:
Leptons, Quarks, Gluons -- to reach a critical mass
where we will begin to contract.

We are consciousness, the creative matter
in the universe, here to fulfill that task

or not

as we choose.


Will we stop in time?
Will we stop creating so we can go on expanding?
Or will we choose to go on creating and bring about
our own contraction? Some would say doom.

But it need not be so.
Nuclear holocaust is a way of stabilizing the universe.

Consciousness will pull back to the BB
But then, as the Hindu's say, it will expand again.
No loss.
Except you and me in our present form.


LESSON IV


Take everything in the world, put it in a heap,
let each choose what they need, what they want.
Burn the rest.

If you're wise, you'll choose only
Consciousness and a little food,
or perhaps just Consciousness.
Even food is too much of a burden.

Let the rest go so that we particles, all of us,
Leptons, hadrons, Gluons, may go on
dancing the dance of miracles
the dance of Shiva
Wiggling and giggling
throughout the known universe
and elsewhere.

Pure thoughts (Consciousness) will keep the Universe
open forever.


V -- ENVOI


It is interesting to think through and redo this poem
from 7-18-84 now on 12-2-90
(just ten years -- 12-02-80 -- exactly since I met Baba
and said "Help me change my life."
And he said, "You change your life,
you know how to change your life,
you change your life.")
when I have just got rid of my things,
my thirty-one boxes of burden,
when I am now feeling like a clean porcelain tube,
life beginning to flow through it, me,
like it hasn't in years.
I guess I had about reached critical mass.




BEES

1984?

A nuclear blast would kill the bees,
so they say, and leave the fruiting trees
quite unfertilized, while flowers freeze,
and the unfortunate effects squeeze
our tolerance for misshapen knees
and our lust for gee's and G's and jeez!



BEYOND MAYA

1980s
(9233 25th N.W.)

The preface to this is MAYA

Inside the scar is a flame of God, flickering
steadily, illumination blue as the tulip, bright
as sunset sea clouds, trying each thing, testing worlds,

working ways through imagination, playfully
ploughing the possible without anxiety or care,
reveling in the love of God. God is the flame

and the flicker, the blue and the tulip, the sun,
the color and the cloud, the wound, the blood and the healing,
the drug addicted and woeful represented

to eyes not trained in seeing God, who fear death as
if it were other than a little bang realigning
the sporting molecules, their neutrinos, hadrons

and quarks.




BEYOND THE SEA IS CHINA

1992
(155 San Anselmo Avenue)

One of the Malibu Poems

not at the angle you would suppose
from Malibu
where the sun rises from the Pacific
and sinks in the same sea.

How can you be so skewed east
from a west coast world?
At night under the full moon's shine
and a clear sky the lights of the Angel's city

run straight to the point where Beijing should be,
and in the mind's eye and the uncertain sight
of half a century the lights of western civilization
ring the horizon right to Point Dume.

Something flickers out there,
some light beyond where the planes turn round
and the helicopters dip up and down,
lower than the stars, higher than the sea.

The path to the moon flickers and glimmers,
the waves pound louder than my heart.
I have seen the golden net of the sun set over China,
the land where the sand drifts in the wind.

I have marched along the Silk Road,
know Manchu and Mongol from Han.
I know, too, the Doomsday Book
from the land that does without sun.

There are cities buried in the Turpan Depression
that flourished 7,000 year ago.
When the sand has drifted over Malibu
and the ocean has completed its assault

against this fragile house and the Palisades,
there will be cities buried on the west coast,
cities buried in the east,
knowledge of ancient cultures forgotten.

But the sea will still move
and the sun will still shine,
rising in the Pacific, setting in the same sea,
and someone at Point Dume unaware of other worlds

will smile, knowing there is nothing to wonder at in this.
There is the land, she will say, there is the sea, there is the sky,
and me.



BLUE

1980s
(9233 25th N.W.)

The Blue-headed God with the Golden Trunk --
they call him Ganesh in India,
or Gajendra, King of the Elephants --

the Blue Umbrella of Pink Flowers
spread out like a Canopy imitating the Sky --
can they be Clouds waiting for theTouch of God?

The Blue Nile in a distant Land I have only heard about --
does it wander just like a River, between
Banks of Sand and Rock and Silt?

Are there any Trees? Yes, they say, in the Jungle --
Jungle of my heart, where the Blue-headed Elephant
walks and the Pink Flowers bloom in the Sky.



BOLGHERI


10-7-97
(revised 9-11-99)
(revised again 9-15-99)
(and again 12-18-00)
(and again 10-24/25/26-01)
(and again...)

"I've been there" --
it's an expression the kids use:
"I've been there!"
Meaning more: "I've experienced that!"
"I know that feeling," than that one has
bodily been to Bolgheri.
Let the accents falls where they may,
the meaning remains:
"I've known that state of being."
However, I did not know
until I got home that year
-- 1979 --
that I had been driven down
-- up and down, a number of times --
one of Italy's most famous avenues:
the five miles of cypress at Bolgheri.
Farm land.
Near Livorno.
Bolgheri,
Anna, the friend I visited,
told me,
and Toni, my Italian love,
confirmed,
was one of the great feudal estates
-- still owned, I believe, at that time,
by the ancient family, Gherardesca,
at least the central,
shrunken core,
the castle
round which we drove
on our way to Anna's
farm house
(mansion in American terms)
stone and old, high-ceilinged, many leveled,
its walls -- like Italian pottery --
painted with arabesques,
vines, flowers, birds, bees
hovering humbly above flagstones' clip-clop.
It contained a claque of witty,
merciless, sadistic children
of the Italian jet-set,
cleverer,
more articulate,
assured
than I would ever be.
My heart shrank
hour by hour, fearing
that, scenting blood,
I'd be skewered by their next
repartee.
I had caught a cold in Barcelona.
Ill at ease and out of place, with
a glamorousless runny nose,
I felt saggy-cheeked and dour
beside Anna and her trim, sleek,
fast-gobbling friends
-- all of whom spoke English,
and reverted to Italian
upon noticing Anna's odd, silent,
sniveling, American
guest
failed to join the sniping.

After a day or two,
they all went some place
Anna was sure
I didn't want to go.
And I didn't.
I was too afraid I'd say
even less on a delightful excursion --
even if my nose had been dry.
They left me with the cook
and children.
The cook, mean or old or both,
failed,
deliberately or accidentally,
to understand that I,
too,
got hungry.
I had no idea how to cook an egg
or boil water
with one of the instruments hanging
above the wood stove
where the cook held sway
in the great stone vault
in one of the International Set's
modest, play-pen kitchens.
The children taunted their own special guest,
the concierge's son from home (Milano),
and remarked upon how little I ate.

Eighteen years after being driven
up and down, up and down,
the famous
five miles [4.3 km] of cypress
from Bolgheri to the ocean
and back again
and back again,
I saw a movie:
exquisite,
awesome, beautiful,
overwhelming in its grace,
its evocation of the magic of love,
the wonder of place,
the sensuousness of restraint.
Its envy-stirring relentlessness
showed fate stalking the rich,
beautiful, war-torn,
raised-in-castles,
reared-with-sensitivities
of devotion, joie de vivre,
who bought aeroplanes
before the war
to play above the world
-- or to spy.
Though they never had enough money,
food turned up
and they never had to work.
In a ruined monastery, they dropped out of the war.
Still, life came streaming in at the door
though they pushed and pushed to remain
alone.
Alone.
Always.
I am awed, amazed by biographies
of the famous loners
who were never alone:
Alexandra David-Neel had her Yongden,
Rousseau
did not acknowledge as a human being,
his wife,
who cooked and ministered to his isolation.
Van Gogh, perhaps, qualifies --
quite alone,
he sliced off his ear.
Imagine the pain,
the astonishment
of that!
Blood spurting over his collar,
down his cheeks, onto his hands,
no way to stick the stiff, bloody thing
back on.

I, too, have spent time
in monasteries,
full and empty,
the stone walls resounding
to my singly beating heart,
hearing the coy
attempts to conceal the noises
of would-be monks and monkesses.
I have been alone most of my life.

As I look back now, I see
it may have been along
that five miles of chiaroscuro
cypress,
that, in the depths
of the cave that is my soul,
I decided
to stop
trying to project
enchantment
as my life.
Too shy, in those days,
guised as myself,
I was, in fact, just beginning to shirk
the burden of being a Star:
clever, caustic,
capable of crucifying any topic
among my own set.
I was not, of course, like
so many
movie stars
in the flesh

-- who are, often, dowdy,
just like thee and me --

but as they are displayed
on the high, wrap-around screen
where one ensorceling moment
follows heel/toe
upon another;
one memorable remark
is cloned by its twin;
unique angles are explored:
an eyelash of the heroine,
fluttering, comes to rest
on the gentle tip of the rough-hewn
finger of the, up to that moment,
taciturn lover.

It might have been then,
at Bolgheri,
that I decided to acknowledge
that I was just an awkward, wishful-envier of
all that beauty,
all that wit.
nothing but an imitator of all that
insoucient behavior.

Somewhere in the bowels of my heart,
between the shadows cast by the cypress,
and death acknowledged by the sea --

[One NET reference once said: despite the 2,500 + cypresses
-- which "came from Firenze, Pisa and Ripafratta" --
there are no shadows!* you "run completely under the sun"
Due east? -- due west?
In the sun, then? in the equatorial, unblinking sun.]

-- between the trees,
I made a decision to stonewall
the devilishly divine
beauty of the Italian imagination,
to forswear it as a role-model
for an American upstart.
I turned
against witty, caustic,
glamorous gestures,
the lives of the exquisites.
I committed
-- it seems --
to bumble through
my life as me:
stiff, awkward,
often tongue-tied,
at times mute,
terrified, hurting, hidden
-- where had I learned so much pain?
from the desire to live my life
like the stars on the screen?
from trying to be as stunningly
gorgeous as a three hour movie
full of astonishing people,
amazing angles,
the lushness of landscapes
shot from a plane,
the terror of deaths,
experienced but not real?
from the lens-framed agony of others' sufferings,
the exuberance of the imaginings of
Minghella's, Visconti's
Antonioni's, Bertolluci's minds?
Odd, isn't it, how the perceivers
of magical beauty
run to the Italian
-- as if they were all reared
in from the sea,
along that same five miles of cypress
approaching Bolgheri.

Now, after eighteen years absence from that life,
my friends,
who encouraged my manque
behavior, are dead, even
the Italian Toni.
Somewhere in the years
before he died,
I stopped dreaming,
envying, wanting to be someone.
I lost the sense of living
life as scene,
archly acted,
and re-enacted
party prattle.
I no longer wanted to
put on a performance
to get dressed up,
to charm,
excite others' envy,
stir others' wonder.
I backed down and off,
shut my mouth,
changed lives,
changed houses,
changed moods,
changed trees
ideas,
sat at the edge of parties with nothing to say,
saying nothing,
and finally stopped going to parties.
The living and the dead
accumulated in my life,
and I never went to movies.

But on October 7th, 1997,
I drove again (on the screen),
down the avenue, past the cypress of Bolgheri.

[Toni had said,
they were as famous in Italy
as Joyce Kilmer's "Trees" in America.
I thought at the time that his
comparison might be a little unbalanced.
Now it's hard to remember
which way I thought the scale was tipped,]

On the screen, in the movie,
I again passed
between those trees
remembering
my life
as an envier of light and shadow manques.
I remembered wanting,
if I could not be them,
to create them,
to make movies,
poignant, beautiful,
movies,
to exploit the mighty emotions
of the human heart
with color, movement, grace,
with not a moment between the scenes
to eat or shit
or to cry for three years
after saying, like in the movies,
a gay and dramatic "Goodbye."
My mother once said:
"Life is difficult
for you because you think of time
as in a novel."
I didn't know then
that what took moments in fiction
could take ten years in reality.

But Mother was wrong, too.
Now, as I live my own life,
I find a single day
can, as in Joyce, fill a whole novel,
one voyage a whole sea.
So,
last night,
in the stunning movie, I cried and cried
re-lived my former life,
my former being as The English Patient
(who resembled my father --
recently dying, recently dead).
I cried and cried
because
I no longer see life
with the eyes
of so much astonishing
beauty.

Still, at times,
I hear the glass beads tinkle.
At times I see the cheese-cloth
on the bloody remains of a face.
But now, structured in time
with the chaos of life around it,
a stomach pain, a burp, a sprained ankle,
harassing obligations blend into a balanced avenue
as retreating as the
five miles of conical cypress
down which the heroine travels
from the darkness of Bolgheri
to day.



EPILOGUE

On September 11, 1999
after researching Bolgheri all day
at the Public Library
I found
the five kilometers of cypress
were planted in 1801 by Camillo della Gherardesca,
that The English Patient was filmed elsewhere,

and that Giosue Carducci wrote Davanti San Guido,
a solemn, famous, gloomy, maudlin poem
about those trees, not so different from my own,
beginning:
"I cipressi che a Bolgheri alti e schietti
van da San Guido in duplice filar,
quasi in corsa giganti giovinetti
mi balzarono incontro e mei gurdar..."

We each have our memories.



THE CYPRESS OF BOLGHERI

Etruscan Coast -- Bolgheri

* Jennifer Walker

Bolgheri

A Brief History of Bolgheri -- in Italian.



BUCK'S COUNTY

1981 or later
(9233 25th N.W.)

With snow on the lawn,
glittering in the winter sun
on the winter grass,
we spent our time hunting for puzzles
in a Pennsylvania town,
not agreeing to note we had enough
of a puzzle on our hands already.
Maybe we should have known better
in that town of one concrete street.
Maybe we should have stopped --
I should have stopped

marching up and down that street
in my high-heeled, suede,
fuchsia boots, laughing.
Maybe I should have known
bringing home that boxed puzzle
would only be to avoid the quiet,
the solitude, looking at other suns
on other winter grass, watching
the crystal drops melt off the eaves,
revisiting the maybes I should have known
then. With sun

on the snow, and determination in my heart,
I ignored the signs of the times that said No --
neither the puzzle in the box nor the puzzle
in my heart would be resolved by laughing
or suede boots, or pretending delight, pretending
extraordinary delight while you fuzzed out drinking
and doping. I was supposed to be politely puzzled,
sweet, and let you do as you wished.

We were artists in the wilderness, we said.
Maybe I should have known, but I didn't.
I laughed in winter, sought out puzzles,
and woke again in orange sunshine
with the crystals dropping from the roof,
loving and realizing there is no way to avoid
one's path, one's decisions of which puzzles
to buy and which puzzles to work
and which to pass along with the buck.











Copyright © 2003 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Jan Haag may be reached via e-mail: jhaag@janhaag.com or jhaag@u.washington.edu

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BY JAN HAAG


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INTRODUCTION + POETRY + MUSIC + ESSAYS + TRAVEL + FICTION + TEXTILE ART

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21st CENTURY ART, C.E. - B.C., A Context