BY JAN HAAG


ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS


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





THE "C" 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




CALLIGRAPHERS

1990s/02-18-07
(155 San Anselmo)

In a city never used, by an
Emperor who could not read, were fifty
thousand manuscripts of Persian, blue and crimson,
scribed in gold -- a vision to strike
awe in any writer's breast, and dazzling
disappointment.

If he could learn to conquer cities,
taking with him each time his fifty
thousand books and readers -- how many readers
we do not know -- why could he
not learn to read?

Akbar, son of Persia, Mughal of India,
patron of Tansen, dispenser of justice and
alms, had you stayed at home by
the light of your own fire and
read the lonely nights away

we would not have beautiful Fatehpur Sikri
a city built but never used by
an Emperor who conquered this and that
and -- later calligraphers have noted -- was better
than the rest, while bending each man
to his will.



THE CAST OF THE LIGHT

1980s
(9233 25th N.W.)

The red bird dances burnished flames of
laser lined orange-ruby darkness.

Trellissed windows, the umber peace of
space, settle the mood of the woman.

Leather mittens bind her hands, cotton
curl rags fly, auroral lights flicker

as, moving across the sky, she bows
before wind, hums the rutted mud, swoops,

sinks in stubble fields. Currents from the
weirs of the moon, from vacuum urges,

from the continual silence of
expansion beyond awareness'

rim clash where the red bird watches old
continents drift and join again. Let

loose, she drifts lightly into sleep out
on the plain where floods incise limit-

ing marks, embroider fine threads, cast a
mesh, catch the light, reflecting pewtered

bindings of the earth, keeping it whole
a twine ball, convoluted upon

itself: thousands of layers criss-cross
the emptiness, the magma, the beat

of the photon, the cast of the air.




CAT HAIKU

HAI! 38 CAT KUS

08-18-93

I

sunlit shimmer
gold fish swish
flick
bon appetite

II

startled
awake
kitchen noises
louder than bells

III

cartwheeling across the lawn
a leaf? a mouse?
watch!

IV

cold floor
sunlit square
an island for summer dreams

V

when warm weather comes
that graying dog
may move on

VI

her black hat
dropped on one of my chairs
a quick nap

VII

new ball
just beyond my claw's reach
ah! a new chair too!

VIII

on the window ledge
the beetle's safari
whomp!

IX

happy birthday!
for you I brought
one fine gray mouse

X

her canary escaped
I dream of yellow
mice

XI

she sits on my chair
I sit on her lap
we purr

XII

happy night sounds
steps flush steps
a midnight snack

XIII

in my garden
his fat tail
goes last past my moon

XIV

all night
the foil mouse the rubber band cricket
flee

XV

delicious!
scratch scratch scratch
under the flea collar

XVI

nose to trousered leg
sniff sniff
I smell a tom

XVII

nail clippers!
O for a tree trunk
on her big toe!

XVIII

the robin waits for me
as I wait
to get out

XIX

heh heh
she brings grass
I deliver a hair ball

XX

the red string slithers
does she want to play?
again?

XXI

The tangled black string
pretends to be
a spider

XXII

my blue and white food
bowl
empty
even on my third visit

XXIII

nap on the warm tv
the center
of her attention

XXIX

white door
perfecting my ambush
bare leg? nylons?

XXX

the moon sleeps
where is my green mouse
with the red tail?

XXXI

I'm out!
in the night air
cold wet still
let me in!

XXXII

in her soft lap
a place for my nap
push push push

XXXIII

awake
a stretch
groceries!
where is my brown bag?

XXXIV

from the chair's arm
my blue ball
hides beneath the flounce

XXXV

the dog sleeps up wind
please give him a bubble
bath

XXXVI

Idam ch'a dam cha
Z'z
Total Trust

XXXVII

a pile of books on my shelf
crash, crash, crash
she'll learn

XXXVIII

her spine warmed
she turns over
slowly



CATS

1990s
9331 Navajo Trail

Did we metamorphose from
a family of cats?

My 300 pound brother had a stroke
and began to meow.
My mother turned up three years
after death as a red cat near the Gila.
My father -- not yet dead -- and a dusty gold,
came with her.
My lover, Toni, dwells, lean and clean,
in Morongo Valley as a red tortoise-shell.

Long ago I dreamt of a red point Siamese --
before I ever knew they existed.
Was it an intuition of a past or future life?
I like cats better than humans.
Like trees, they can be depended on.
They're kind and comforting.
You can cuddle up to a tree or a cat,
you know where they stand.

So I was not surprised when I woke up
to find my ankles covered with red fur
and my feet a downy white.
It made getting my socks on a little awkward,
for my foot seemed to stretch right up to my knee --
which began to bend backward,

My ears grew pointed and my old lady whiskers long,
my eye teeth curved and my belly softened.
I put on my shoes and purred forth.
My chin trembled at the sight of a bird.
So when my brother Con meows,
I meow right back, we understand each other.

Maybe it's time for both of us to shuck
the human body and come back as two cats.



THE CATTLE HAVE DIAMOND BONES

1990s?
(9331 Navajo Trail)
"...the cattle have diamond bones..."
                        Salman Rushdie, SHAME, p. 100

It started so far back I don't know if I can remember,
remember how or when I lost importance in my eyes,
how or when my actions became for your benefit
and my ease became my burden.

The snakes came out to drink my tears,
the golden orb weaver spider shackled my limbs
with liquid crystal, a web stronger than steel,
the cattle trampled my heart, their diamond bones
glittering under the sun,
the cold gold fur of the lions crackled
electrically in the air, and shrunk them to
my house companion cats.

Mohenjo Daro is a place I've never been,
on the dry earth, through the clumps of dirt
raised as palisades -- pillars among the crevices of sky,
cloddish jewels, geodes yet to be cracked,
what does the sealed heart contain?
--------------


Mohenjo Daro is a place I've never been,
in the dry earth, in the clumps of dirt raised as palisades --
pillars among the crevices of sky, cloddish jewels, geodes yet to be cracked,
what does the heart contain?


The snakes come out to drink your tears,
The golden orb spier spins his web of liquid crystal
The cattle have diamond bones
NOTES FROM RUSHDIE'S SHAME

p. 91
Pakistan, P for Punjabis, A for Afghans, K for Kashmiris, S for Sind and the "tan" for Baluchistan etc.

p.111 Takallouf -- untranslateable words, key to society " a form of tongue-tying formality"

p274
p153

p. 100 "Mohenjo earth is obstinate. It bakes its people hard as rocks in the heat. The horses in the stables are made of iron, the cattle have diamond bones."




CENTURY'S END

From Luke, Mark, John and Matthew

1990s

It's alright that they go. But
who's going to be around to celebrate
the end of the century with? -- an event we've all talked about
but which will be less gay with all those gone
one shared the last one with.

Impatient for paradise, James skipped off
met Mother in heaven making pies.
Toni, though a little fastidious in life,
may join them.

And John? I'll write to him today.
And Allan Matthew? I may call him soon. Just
to see if he still shares breath with us.

We who are walking the decade toward the Centennial,
hearing the bells ring already,
wishing they were silent: "Do not ask for
whom the bell tolls..."

One by one it tolls and tolls,
sometimes a double beat, twice in a day,
as yesterday, Jane's love died, and so did mine.
O, would that the bell would toll for me.



CHALLENGER

1-28-86

Seven angels spread their wings,
took their places, hovered, watched.
Eleven children wept by
wisteria not in bloom,
lilacs not in flower. There
is no purple, there are no
tears. "O, Angels of the loom,

weave my mother back into
the warp of time, slow the drift
of hadrons to trace again
my father's face, for there is
no purple, but too many,
many tears." Leaving relics
of flesh, a bit of bone for

the mourning world to dissect
with precision, bury with
pomp, they danced off ecstatic,
one perfect Bang, electron
to electron, dispersed in
the cool wind. At zero, plus
seventy four, marking time,

having slowed down to speed up,
eyeing the peace of space, blue,
deep, the white bullet, tagged
by destiny to explore
polar regions of the sun,
shattered. Whizzing atoms shot
fragmented past facets of

emptiness searing human
images across the clear,
icy void, the nothingness
of free Bubbles of silence.
"O, astronaut, astronaut,
hide yourself so cleverly
among moons that you cannot

be found. Become the marching
universe, become every
particle of it. Let those
who look for you not find you.
O, astronaut, astronaut,
scatter your molecules, merge
with the quarks, be our vanguard.

Send us out, at our choosing,
to explode among stars."




THE CHECK

01-01-98

Why? Why? Why?
do I feel so terribly fearful,
terrified, quilty, full of
anxiety and anguish,
because my sister gave me a $9,000
check today, the last
money due from the inheritance
from my father?

Why?
Because I don't deserve it?
Now that I have it it will be taken away?
Now that I have it I should spend it on the poor?
I should have been more generous, said:"Keep it."
My relationship to money is hard
and terribly guilty.
Full of terror and fear and wanting to run,
to bury my head and my soul.

Why?
O God O God O God,
I am so afraid.
As with all the years of computer fear
which now, only after a year and a half
of almost daily practice with the angels standing by
to bail me out, I almost no longer suffer from.
Here I now stand with money -- enough to see me
through the rest of my life -- if I do not change my style,

and I die of fear,
fear that it will be taken from me,
fear that I will give it away,
fear that I do wrong in taking it,
fear that I do wrong in being pleased to get it.
Wrong.
Wrong.
Wrong.
Where did my heart-contracting angst over
money come from?
Why?



CHICANO RESTAURANT

03-03-86
(2801 Down Cove)

Memory makes the oddest choices:
a little Chicano restaurant
on a gloom-cold Seattle day: once

alone, once with my sister--nothing
special, even the nachos not good.
Yet insistent poignancy pierces

the vision of that moment, any
moment, that hour in space and of time
at an oil tablecloth, on a wood

chair with one fork between us before
the energy of nothingness kissed
us with the eternality

of other forms, other ways: chalupas,
in Texas, perhaps, fajitas or
sopapillas or tacos or cheese.




CHOICE

1980s

In the beginning was wo-man.
Then, due to a temperature
change during gestation, came man.
His pistil outside, he could plant
seed, but he couldn't reproduce

himself. He made things. Frantically
filling up spaces, everywhere,
taking the air that had been used
for breathing as breath for his things,
he left the world gasping. For some

time the people, while they lived and
reproduced, left man to play with their
things. But, soon, men made things too
dangerous to be allowed to
continue with their violent/

foolish/destructive games. People
hadn't minded men wanting to
hack at each other with swords, or
shoot each other with guns, but when
nuclear bombs endangered the

lives of the people, laws were made
restricting and regulating
their play.



II

Attempts were made to civilize
men. To make them more gentle, kind,
intelligent, like the people.
But because of something deeply
askew in the nature of man,
few could

learn to be loving, nurturing,
as people could. Few could be taught
control of their anger and their
egocentricity. Now the
people, having learned how to breed
and clone

themselves to produce only true
people, restricted men's breeding.
Nonetheless, pitying man as
an endangered species, some were
allowed to copulate. The best
seed sires

were kept in posh zoos where people,
who wanted to risk their lives (or
sanity) in heroine-ic
attempts to breed gentle men, could
volunteer. Once or twice a strain
would seem,

for a few generations to
stabilize. Civilizing seemed
possible.



III

But even those few men allowed
to sow seed persisted in their
insatiable necessity
to make things. They kept littering
the world. Therefore, an old-fashioned
custom was

revived: the Potlatch. Each year the
people took the things men made and
burned them so that the cities, fields,
woods would not be cluttered. Men wept
at this, but the people could not
bear the mess,

the plastic bottles, the gewgaws,
the "necessities". They thought in
time they could teach men to delight
in simplicity and beauty,
but weak strains would not allow the
desired

characteristics to firm up in the genes.
For a time, however, the Potlatch worked
well. Even the people made things to
burn. Then one Potlatch eve there was
a great hullabaloo. The men
sent a troop

to the people to beg them to
let them preserve one of their things:
begging on grounds of usefulness,
beauty, mostly on grounds of greed:
how much thought, effort, cash it had
taken to

build a supercomputer. But
the people stood firm, knowing the

brains of the few in the zoos thought
far too much, invented far too
many things already, without
computers.

They knew it was unhealthy to
calculate so much. It fed a
restless, insatiable fury,
just as power drills and ringing
cash registers bred violence
in those who

spent all their time in building or
selling, as if there were nothing
on earth to do but con, build, shop
and kill. So the people said: "Burn
it all. Keep the earth clean. Look at
the crystal.

Admire the stream, the earth below
and the clouds overhead. See the
world. Enjoy it."



IV

But always the men in the zoos
attacked each other. A vote was
called. It was decided to let
them eliminate themselves. This
distressed the volunteer mothers,
because many

had grown fond of the male children.
But in the end, finding the genes
hopelessly contaminated
by auto-exacerbated
psychosis, the people voted
to let them all,

like the dodo bird, flightless and
fearless, forgettable, goose step
into history.



V

Now, as in the beginning, peace
and harmony reign on earth,
the people, serenely, bring forth
only after their kind, the whole
paradisian universe
sings hosannas to

the Goddess for the elegant
lack of things. A few people make
a few beautiful things which are
burned each year at the Potlatch. Fine
artists, like the peaceful people,
-- as plentiful as

leaves on the deciduous trees --
live their lives graced by nature's strict
temporality,
joy.



CHRISTMAS EVE DAY

11-24-97
(517 30th Avenue East)

The day was bright and sunny,
parts of it, a winter's
day of clarity, clean air,
fresh sunshine braving
the clouds.

I was striding across the Montlake Bridge --
cars to my right, the channel to my left,
and, on the other side of the bridge,
going out to Lake Washington
-- striding, enjoying the sun

the freedom of not driving,
walking, walking.
When suddenly I heard one of those
crunching dull thuds, the splintering of
glass, the tinkling as it fell

onto the grid work of Montlake Bridge
and my heart froze in my chest,
sank, sickening me in my abdomen.
That dull thudding crunch meant
Accident!

Someone rear-ending the person in front
at Christmas Eve noon.
My heart was in the breast of both,
the rear-ender, guilty by law,
and the one in front, even if he had made a false start,

in the traffic on Christmas Eve Day.
I walked on sick at heart, more sick
at heart than I ever am at the announcement
of cancer or death, or AIDS or destruction
by war or by sheer inhumane malice,

for it was not only the $4,000 damage --
I would estimate from the sound of the crash
-- enough, though it was not very hard,
to total an old car, or double the cost of a new,
but the endless involvement which would follow with

insurance,
or no insurance,
endless dealing with endless
papers and calls, and bureaucracy
of our harassing society,

our phones now designed to consume twice
as much of the callers time
with punch one, punch two,
listen, and nothing ever applies,
no canned phone message, ever answered the question,

months of law and entanglement,
months of waiting to hear,
probably weeks of being unable to drive,
calculations about rentals
and lawyers,

enough to drive even a yuppie mind
almost to distraction.
Terminal illness makes you dead.
And the dead have no more problems.
But to go on living

insured to have problems,
"solvable" problems
that I personally would rather die
than deal with.
Ah it makes my heart sick.

And even though I personally do not celebrate
Christmas, I do not wish
the gift of a rear-ender
even on my worst enemy
whether or not they celebrate Christmas.

Even if from it they learn to give up driving,
insurance, Christmas, and walk across the
Montlake bridge, striding in bliss
thought the winter sunshine,
singing.



CICADA

1989?
(Gila, New Mexico)

The cicadas emerge upward, hideous, crawling,
underground
creatures, like sickness on a tree, moving
with their claws, pinching, clinging
to the bark. Ascending fence posts,
or any soft-barked, upright thing,
they wait as hump backed
shadows, silent so silent,
still, so still. Not
a sound,
not
the slightest sound as the brown shell-back
splits open, lets a new head, a second consciousness,
enlightenment emerge. Greyish, pale, the pupa quivers.
An infinity passes as, like a fiddlehead fern, a green delicacy
rises, a question mark from the slit in the mustard-brown, scaled
armor. Self will? Gravity reversed? Necessity? Gossamer, the color
of unripe apples, gathered stumps emerge, ferried on inevitability, the legs,
doubled, crossed in prayer on its corrugated chest. Still no sound. Only rising,
the question rising. Now the wings extended, stretch out, open down, slowly,
stately, trembling like the night-blooming cerius. The cicada stands hovering
upon it's first body's corpse, freed now from a house that seems too small,
too dense, ugly, restricted to have contained such wings, the awesome
potential for flight. It rests and rests, not a flutter, only the unfolding;
no movement, except a shimmer of retreat from my stroking. The wings
darken, a pattern of tan, brown, black, like the pottery of the Anasazi,
clarifies on its back. From green its stumps turn transparent, black
veins appear. The wings begin to stiffen -- they become filaments,
like the dragon fly's, with color only at the shoulder. How soon
will it fly? All night on my straw hat, it rests unmoving. Silent.
At dawn motionless. Through the morning unmoving. Then
I find it on the floor. Only at noon I think, "It needs a leaf,
to stand on, to nibble, to gather strength for its flight."
By its wings I place it outside my screen where
it clings. I bless it, blessed by witnessing
a transformation I can only long for.
No second body is vouchsafed me.
When I've done my practice
the cicada is gone. A hum
like electric impulses
buzzes through
the universe,
wrapping
Gaia
with
a

mesh of awareness



For Helen Hawley for a cicada body from Australia. For David Hannauer for a cicada, body and soul, from the Gila




CICADA II

(Later -- 9233 25th N.W.)

The cicadas emerge upward, hideous, crawling,
underground
creatures, like sickness on a tree, moving
with their claws, pinching, clinging
to the bark. Ascending fence posts,
or any soft-barked, upright thing,
they wait as humped backed
shadows, silent so silent,
still, so still. Not
a sound,
not
the slightest sound as the brown shell-back
splits open, lets a new head emerge. Greyish, pale,
the pupa quivers. An infinity passes as, like a fiddlehead
fern, a green delicacy rises, a question mark from the slit in
the mustard-brown, scaled armor. Self will? Gravity reversed?
Necessity? Gossamer, the color of unripe apples, gathered stumps
unfold, ferried on inevitability, the legs, doubled, crossed in prayer
on its corrugated chest. Still no sound. Only rising, the question mark
rising. Now the wings extended, stretch out, open down, slowly, stately,
trembling like the night blooming cerius. The cicada stands hovering upon
it's first body's corpse, freed now from a house that seems too small, too dense,
ugly, restricted to have contained such wings, the awesome potential for flight.
It rests and rests, not a flutter, only the unfolding; no movement, except
a shimmering retreat from my gentle but ill considered stroking. The wings
darken, a pattern of tan, brown, black, like the pottery of the Anasazi,
clarifies on its back. From green it's stumps turn transparent, black
veins appear. The wings begin to stiffen -- they become filaments,
like the dragon fly's, with color only at the shoulder. How soon
will it fly? All night on my straw hat, it rests unmoving. Silent.
At dawn motionless. Through the morning unmoving. Then
I find it on the floor. Only at noon I think, "It needs a leaf,
to stand on, to nibble, to gather strength for its flight."
By its wings I place it outside my screen where
it clings. I bless it, blessed by witnessing
a transofrmation I can only long for.
No second body is vouchsafed me.
When I've done my practice
the cicada is gone. A hum
like electric impulses
buzzes through
the universe,
wrapping
Gaia
with
a

mesh of awareness



CIRCULAR ARRANGEMENTS

03-18-00

LINGA


The linga is the sheath
of seed.
The body is the home of poetry.
Where does it live?
In the fingers, the knees, the heart?

I have accumulated sixty-six years and
the world has learned nothing.
And me?
I have learned that
the world has learned nothing
and me not much more.

Reality has not learned to let me lift a hanger
from the closet without tangling with other hangers.
Reality has not learned to let content pour fluidly,
without spilling, spraying, or spleening,
quashing with gifts or coming so sparingly slow
the temper glows, and desire sputters to darkness.


CIRCULAR ARRANGEMENTS 2

IRRADIATION/GMOS


We have laws in this country.
Strict laws about the use of pesticides
and chemicals, certain sprays, fertilizers.
But we don't have a law about selling them to,
forcing them upon, the so called "developing"
nations. Who then raise out import crops,
and because we don't want to spend the
money or risk the annoyance of rejecting
these foods, we irradiate them to kill the chemicals,
the poisons, the e-coli, the salmonella we
sent them because we were forbidden to use them.
So the irradiators make their cut too,
and we can still depend on the radiation to cause
enough health problems to keep the Medical
industry, the pharmaceutical companies,
number 1.


CIRCULAR ARRANGEMENTS 3

CLOSER TO HOME


Our food is polluted, modified, commodified,
poisoned, altered

so it poisons us, alters us, commodifies us
It's the biggest industry in the country, in the world.

The second biggest industry in the U.S.A. is the medical industry.
The pharmaceuticals get to rectify what the GMOs do to the body,
So they too get rich, Number 1 and Number 2



THE CLAUDE LORRAIN MIRROR

1980s?
(9233 25th N.W.)

Are there two facets here?
Is this mirror of dark or colored glass
convex to encompass the world?

So much for charm.
I shrug off a lifetime of susceptibility.
Under the charm is the injury.
Things are not as they seem.
Do dreams injure?
Does fantasy ennoble?
Is honesty a bore?

Was Claude Lorrain the only one?
Surely there were a hundred painters with his talent.
Does it matter?

Unreality consists in being unable
to believe in what you're doing.

I have such a feeling of cooperation with the universe
that when I do something and something actually happens, I giggle,
knowing it was the universe's plan all along and no strength of my own.

I try to conceal my giggle and smile.
But I giggle and smile -- that is the only reality.

The Claude Lorrain Mirror --
are there two facets here?



CLIFF DWELLER

1990s?
(9233 25th N.w.)

I can bear the laughter of the swift crows
as I climb laboriously from my lair,
up: toe, hand, hand, toe,
to till my fields.

I can bear the bark of the browsing deer
in the evening as I descend
to my house made of stone
in a stone shelter

But I do ascend and descend
as a creature who knows
its limitations and ascendencies
in being able to love the bird and the deer



CLOUDS

01-13-98

And so, this is number twenty-seven,
the last section of The Essential Rumi and I am at work
at five fifteen in the morning, the snow, fallen in the night, deep
outside, but the branches of the trees already danced bare, warming. Yesterday,
wandering through the wonderland of the world turning white, and my head swimming with
stress, until the walk home through the white night sky and the white path laid
with stars, dancing to no tune what-so-ever, even the crows conceding
to rest their wings while the snow flaked down, down, down,
the world silent, the traffic muffled,


the bus stops crowded as if the flying
saucer flights had come to an end, and where were they
to go in the beauty of the night -- it was to see, to feel my heart
empty of motive, empty of longing, empty of everything but the chill of winter
the softness of the full moon illunimating the purity of the sky making twilight like
noon, my heart fresh again, like dawn, completely covered by snow clouds and
silence, solitude, footsteps gone before, and now filled in, perhaps
pointed to a way I have never been, following in trust,
(last line missing)



CO-AUTHOR

1980s?
(9233 25th Ave. N.W.)

Wander the rug merchant's shop.
See hues of browns and reds and
blues, patterns of guls, hooks,
gardens, heaven and earth woven
with symbols wild as the runes.

Women sit on the burning sands,
or wrapped high beside the snow
fed springs, weaving, and carry
their looms from the mountains,
down from Tashkent, down to the

plains, and up again in summer,
from Baluchistan, Isfahan, Fars
patterns of earth and branches,
physics and philosophy in umber
and indigo, crimson and tan. A

history of the world, infinity,
stretches from your feet worked
in pile. Tread softly. Admire
the colors, praise the weaving,
the time, the pattern, the rugs.




COLOR THE BIRDS RED

1980s

and the oak leaves a shade
of leather blue. Who wants
to announce her candidacy

in the hierarchy of the
flocking trees, where light
penetrates only slowly

through mists of ocher
shadow, never reaching the
needles, never touching

the accumulated carpet where I
sit, sole, and another woman
lies stretched out, elbows up,

hands beneath her head, feet
dangling toward the stream,
incubating the concealed sky?




CONFIDENCE

1970s

I made most precious things
I made them for the Potlatch
When they are gone
I'm richer still
I'll make others
I have the skill



CONQUISTADORS,

1980s?

O remember ancient Rome where Romans sat
numinous under their conquest of the world
queerly troubled by far blue Picts and black cold Celts,
unduly craving more land, more fealty.
Ikaros fell blue and blazing silver from
sky and sun and soaring. Does anyone need
the prick of a sword? Won't we all expire soon
alone? Will we be more attractive with two
dorsal fins? -- with pocked purple eyes? With warheads
ordering evolution, might we take a
restful stroll with the brontosaurus? Pyrrhus,
surely you quipped for Greece, for Rome and for us.



CONSCIENCE OF A CARE WORKER IN SOMALIA

1980s?

If some of them are going
to die. Or all of them. Why
do I work so hard?

If the children are starving to death
and the parents are starving to death
too
what am I saving them for?

For starvation?
Big bellies?
Crippled legs?
Why am I here, except for the adventure?

Are they human when they die in such pain?
Am I human to see them and live?



CORIOLIS -- CORREALIS

03-09-00

force --
the twist of a hemisphere
or a leaf
or snails

or water water water



THE COUCH AND MNEMOSYNE'S DAUGHTERS

1990s?

She had a couch? settee? --
I'm not old enough to know what to properly call it --
set foursquare facing out the great arched window.
From the garden it looked like a
throne on the edge of a precipice.
It had a rectangular back of two panels
joined together with fretwork,
and two large arms.

She sat in the middle when she sat alone.
But, inviting you to sit,
she sat in one corner and you in the other --
on display for the fog rolling in over San Francisco, and the
grey over the bay, the
green hills of Berkeley before you
and her memories laid out
like diamonds, and pearls,
like the lights to Bodhgaya,
like the lights of ancient Bagda,
as intricate as the carvings of Vijayanagar, Dilwara,
as massive as the Yu Gang Caves

She'd tell stories of the wind and the rocks and the rain
She'dtell of eating and sleeping
and pulling a horse through the mud on the Rhine.
Like a Valkurie she'd ridden
her life through peace and travail
through romance and desolation
and ended up with a couch, a window
and a view

She told me of her minuet with the nine muses

She served Calliope, Thalia, Erato:

She'd written poetry and prose, stories and
plays, scenarios for the movies, and
a lot of good straightforward business
prose.

She'd danced modern, ballet, Spanish, with Terpsichore
the frug, the charleston, the tango,
go-go and whatever else the band served up.

She'd painted in caseins and oils, sketched in
conte and charcoal and ink,
built with sand, and leaf skeletons,
paper towels, and given up.

She was amazed to learn that none of the nine Muses
sheltered sculpture, painting, carving,
collaging, needlework, pottery, glass work, or architecture.
But she did them anyway.

She'd been discouraged about singing:
tramautized by a grade school teacher,
unable to carry a tune, it was the only art she couldn't do.
She struck a bargain with God:
She'd come back, if necessary to learn that,
reincarnate on this awful wheel, just to do that.
Then quoting Tate: "Who am I that I
should not be for the song's sake a fool?"
she learnt X__mij -- sang sweet harmonies,
like the notes of the bell and the waterfall.
Serving Polyhymnia and Terpsichore in the ashram,
Euterpe in her gayer moods, she even learnt to carry a tune.

She'd long been acquainted with Thespis,
as much in life as on the stage.
She served Melpomene, Muse of Tragedy, as much as she had to,
and Thalia, Muse of Comedy, as much as she could:
acted, directed, made costumes and sets,
and ran for the movies one of the biggest shows
on earth: funding, financing, encouraging the young --
who of curse needed no encouragment
except money to carry on.

With Clio she wrote her own history, again and again and again,
thryhing to understand what that muse could teach.

She nodded in with Urania in Astronomy,
Joined Urania's hand to Physic's new fields and joined themboth
to Erato through lyric and amatory poetry
and to Calliope with heroics.

She studied the divines
and then as memory started to go, she calleduponMnemosyne Herself:
"What shall I do now?" she mused.
"All I want to do is eat and look at the world."
Mnemosyne smiled.

"The sun on the oaks, the fog on the bay, the purple fig's
pink and sinuous heart. Do I have enough time left to appreciate?"

Mnemosyne smiled again, handed her a Bodhi leaf,
went off with Zeus in her white lace mantilla.
She asked him if they should change some of their daughts'
occupations -- maybe their names?

____________________________________________
The museus -- Daughters of zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory)



Poetry
Calliope -- Muse of Eloquence and Heroic poetry (beautiful voice)
(A harsh musical instrument of steam whistles played by keyes)
Thalia -- The muse of comedy and idyllic poetry (meaning blooming)
Erato -- Muse of lyric and amatory poetry (lovely, or love)

Song
Polyhymnia Muse of sublime hymns or serious sacred songs
Euterpe -- Muse of music and lyric song (well pleasing, please delight)
Terpsichore -- Muse of Dance and choral song (meaning delighting in the dance)

Theatre
Melpomene -- Muse of Tragedy (comes from sing)
Thespis -- Greek Tragic poet of 6th B.C., founder of Greek Tragedy
Thalia -- Muse of comedy and idyllic poety (meaning blooming)

Dancing
Terpsichore -- Muse of Dance and choral song (means delighting in the dance)

History
Clio -- Muse of History

Astronomy
Urania -- Muse of astronomy, also a surname of Aphrodite (means heavenly one)



COURAGE

1988? 89?
9233 25th N.W.

At fifty-five I begin to see the necessity of courage and the lie.

For years now I have been asking people about death -- mostly contemporaries, but some older, some younger. I find almost universally that, like me, people would perfer lying in their graves, asleep for eternity, no longer having to cope.

The consensus is, it (life) is not much worth it, but either they're 1) afraid to die (Are you afraid of going to sleep?) or 2) find it (life) interesting enough, in spite of the pain, to stick around to see what happens next. A few hypers -- like the lovers of greed and lust -- keep themselves so busy excercising their powers they don't think about now -- or later.

So here we all are. And it's burdensome on the rest of us for you to act like a victim, to seem pathetic, unhappy, depressed. Keep up a front of good cheer. Don't form anxiety in your neighbors' breast. They long for rest, just like you. We're all sad and in pain, but let's laugh about this joke of a world.

You'd think if God were going to think up a world, He/She/It would do a better job than this. HSI could have, when creating humans, made a happy, loving creature full of constant joy and helpfulness, tested by good cheer instead of pain. HSI could have had us test one another by happiness not hatred.

O, I see how the pain functions: you test me, I test you, and it goes round robin. "Our finest hour" comes out in war, earthquake, famine, flood. But it could have been different. Or we could tell the truth: we could admit out love of war, pain, disaster, the opportunity to show off our courage, demonstrate our magnanimity -- if only for an hour.

Ever met anyone who got rich and wanted to move closer to his fellows? O, many send money from a distance, from behind their high walls and gardens. But nobody wants a homeless human, especially not with a starving baby, squatting under their rose bushes. Nor would one with a billion bucks in the bank, pay her an "excessive" wage -- say enough to feed herself and her babe -- to pick the roses, dethorn them and put them in a vase. It would spoil her character, raise her expectations, make her love and trust a fellow human. What DO the rich tell themselves when they see people starving in the streets? What excuse do I use?

It could have been different. So the last recourse is to admit we like to do what we are doing. We enjoy the earth the way it is -- or we would change it. So remain of good cheer. Don't haunt your family and friends with anxiety. They, too, would just as soon be peacefully asleep in their caskets.

Make everyone's life as cheerful and pleasant as you can. Make your own cheerful and pleasant. The goal of life is death, we'll get there soon enough and sleep gratefully forever. Lie still, lie quietly, no one asked you to tell the truth.




CRANE II

1980s?
(5319 9th Avenue N.E.)

Like a cast iron image of itself
thin as the shadow of a closing door
slow as bitumin
grey
and blackish
against the sequin sea
impeded and mechanical
as a taffy machine
angular
elegant as a tendril of God
moving its peaked beak
against the sky
a moired neck curving down
to a big
two winged body
imagine the beating of the heart
beneath the warm feathers
feathers of cat's fur

terrified beating
unimaginable warmth

she struts
as the old train struts
its driving rod
lifting
going round
as if
deep in shimmering water
she walked through quicksand
thin pronged feet
lifting and advancing
beak high

eye cocked for the fish

another approaches
as if the sunlit water were mud
or time
unpassing as one
waits for wisdom
he steps
the driving rod
the taffy machine
iron wrought
finer than filigree
the sun dances high
weeping its gold
along the tide
one wing extends
his ice pick beak
angled at the sky
his feathers fluffed
his neck describes

part of a turn

her wing extended now
down
vibrant with attention
the breeze ruffles her down

she turns

they approach
she extends
over one aeon and then
another
her two great wings
holds them
almost in movement
almost still
and turns
back
folding them

obsidian in the amazing sun

his extended wing
drooping
enhanced
he steps higher
turns again
palpable tension

they part.



CRATER

1980s?

Did you know a crater is
to mix water and wine in?
-- the depths of a volcano?
-- an electrical gap? -- the
space you left in my heart?

CREATED

1990s
(155 San Anselmo Avenue)

Created, maintained and dissolved
by Shakti's power,
Khajuraho, do you know it's name?
Do you know the name of creation?
Do you know the name of the world?

Sleep little one, sleep,
sleep long before you think:
"May I become many, may I take form?"

Sleep little one, sleep,
sleep long before you become:
the earth, the light, being, pure
and undivided.

Sleep little one, sleep
sleep long before you cry;
"Forgive them, O Lord,
they know not what they do."

Created, maintained and dissolved
by Shakti's power:
They know.
Khajuraho is their bliss,
contaminated, condemned.
They once knew.



CREPUSCULAR

1980s

Down the alleys of bricks and trees
she came to Venice and the sea.
Windblown pampas grass, gold against
the sun, she carried feathers of
beige to the Feast of Il Redentore.

Fireworks flashed over the lagoon,
silver sheets of red waterfalls

of blue falling from the ocean
into night. People pressed to the
Giudecca and back, between
ancient walls, across bridges,
against the stones. She watched her grandfather's

one fingered hand raise the thick, blunt
cup, viced against his thumb. She wept

with her mother at the humming,
wept appropriate tears. A rose
in a vase for each one gone, tears
of the future washed her face. One
day there would be a rose for her father,

which she would not come to see. She
watched the weights inch down the wall,
the pendulum swing to and fro,
the chimes sound before midnight, the floats
splash into the sea.



CROSSROADS

1990s?
(5319 9th Avenue N.E.)

At a crossroads,
indistinguishable from the landscape,
we hopped off the Jalna bus.

Undifferentiated though it was from the stones
and rocks of the earth,
at this crossroads

we disembarked to catch the bus to Ajanta.
At his intersection
no more noticeable than dust, random stones pushed aside,

no different than villages out there,
across rock and dirt,
made of rock and dirt,

under a savage sun,
in sand,
we waited

-- not too long --
for the next bus to stop
at a spot marked

by memory,
no doubt,
for there was no visible mark a stranger could see

to distinguish this bit of land
from the terrible vengeance with which God made grey rocks,
grey earth,

harsh sun.
We stood with our burdens,
as did the Indians,

under the sun
at the junction of one way with another,
where houses, like landscape, lay north,

but not south,
where the sun cast no shadow,
for the stones and walls were too low to impede the light.

The road was as smooth as land
trod by people for a thousand years and more.
I would guess at another way

only with the moon's slow rise.
Beside men of fuchsia turbans
we hopped off the bus,

stood with women
holding spider-fine children.
They, too, from lives of rock and stone,

were bussing to Ajanta.
At the crossroads --
not distinguishable from the land,

but crossing from one state into another,
from Jalna to Ajanta, where mountains are plains,
plains are sky --

the rocks beneath our feet glittered like stars.
The crossroads: one way angled to another,
intricate as the structure of time,

as a junction of the spirit,
crossroads of the imagination,
the decussation of worlds

where bonds,
invisible as light,
light as air

bind us as surely as God's thought.
The center is a line of division,
the joining of worlds,

the dust of union.

Check this against new version in Ellora folder and old version on the NET





CRYOGENICS

"...each temperature drop requires finding some kind of energy within the substance and then devising a means of removing the energy."*
05-15-89
(9233 25th N.W.)

The probe
went in deep
seeking
seeking
that infinitesimal
energy source
that movement of molecules
that hushed slow secret movement
even she can't conceal

The probe circles
searching
searching round
plunging poking
magnetization
demagnetization
in
is it here?
out
is it there?
touching
calculating
conceptualizing
ahhhhh
is it here?
slowly
the equation emerges
the energy is within
he's found it

Now
energy equals X
the need is to remove X
confine it
refine it
new genes
rid it
spit it
split it
ravage it

change things around
pull it out with the probe
stuff it down with the prod
calculate X into the vacuum of space

Ah, now gone

"Moreover, according to the third law of Thermodynamics it is theoretically impossible to reduce a substance to absolute zero by any finite number of processes."* *The New Columbia Encyclopedia













Early "D" Poems




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


ART & POETRY - ACCUMULATIONS

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

HAAG'S BIO

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