December 22, 2010 § Leave a comment
it seems somehow fitting that full moon winter solstice the repeal of DADT and an extraordinary deluge in california all happens as the year wanes and the lame duck session of congress is not so lame after all
with all this talk of marriage and who gets to, and the good president obama finally bringing to an end the masqued ball of this country’s armed forces, and endless fighting for god’s sake, and zealotry of every ilk, I’ve been thinking of rules, which of course there need be, a conversation if nothing else, of spans and edges, of standards of conduct, of monitors, and a place to be begin the interrogation when one steps over the line, which is to state the obvious rules are only the beginning, and at any given moment in that moment, at the line we each will do what we can bear, each master at that moment of our own right and wrong, and herald of our own interpretation of what the rules might suggest, which brings up the inherent, but doesn’t go without saying, consequence, and therein is the fine art art of decision making one way or another
which brings me to fine art so fine there is not a breath of fresh air, but by god all the rules are followed and on the other hand, speaking of doing what needs to be done I nearly was fired once for being insubordinate or no wait it was for being an anarchist she said hands on hip like she thought I was the antichrist, having taken the patients out for a walk without the requisite staff, having decided there was no risk and that the patients would never get out for a walk ever given our usual staff numbers if we waited for the day there was ‘enough staff’ she was fit to be tied called me in her office…ohdeargod…it was a near miss but my supervisor intervened, and so it was when I was la jeffa, insisting the nurses know the rules upside and down so that when they broke them they could answer for it, that of course being the saving grace…answering for ones action,
and love, I’m so glad still to be in love and love and even more importantly like my husband and so glad not to be lovesick which knows no rules at all, we were married for nearly twenty years before I was willing ‘to tell’ fact was you were treated differently as a ‘married woman’ back in the time of Mrs Whoeverthehell, and there was a fasttrack like it or not to motherhood, it seems my cohort, coming of sexual age in the 1968-69s as we did, was really the only one that simply, with the advent of available and trustworthy birth control, had a choice, no agenda either side of the aisle…funny thing was it was such a short window that when interviewed years later for an article on childless by choice the writer really didn’t get it and couldn’t get away from the facile substitution of dogs or cats for children as if they were fill ins…didn’t get that the default was childless and the question really was at that time why would I have children rather than why wouldn’t I, and simply enough I never came up with a good enough reason
and passion, unruly as it is, let me never be without one
and nuance, which is a whole other story, due noah tie mean
meanwhile, my fettle is fine I dare say it’s been a good year
December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment
and that would be that
another old friend in every sense, first published by PenHouseInk Press, vol 1, Naked Writings, 2001
By now he would be a stinking slinking Mission District bum, drunk for sure and working up to dying. I’d catch him by surprise. He wouldn’t expect to see me in this neighborhood, or at this time of day, or on this day of the week. He’d try hard not to see me, but there’d be a glimmer run across his face. He’d raise the brown paper bag in my direction and bow his head just slightly. After that it could go any way.
He could be all romantic and sing sad Mexican ballads. Or get all lonely and maudlin and then flip into being real expansive and chatty. But drunk most likely he’d be plenty mean, full up with anger, and roaring about screw it all, nobody gives a damn.
He never really got mad with me, at me, though he meant to enough times. And now, if he saw me, he’d look me dead in the eye, and he’d begin to smile, and then eloquently he’d spit at my feet and curse me and my kind. Or meaning as much disrespect he’d stand to greet me gallantly and then speak to me in Spanish. Or in mocking broken English, wanna drink lady? wanna fuck? spare change for coffee?
But we wouldn’t talk that’s for sure. And he’d not let me stay. He’d run me out of town. And he’d laugh at my back. And begin to cough in time to my footsteps.
And he’d still be handsome.
And before I’d get to the middle of the block and before wistfulness, and without a shred of surprise, actually to either of us I would turn around and yell at him, my loudness shattering and echoing in the silence. You fucking asshole! Go to hell!
Thank you ma’am I will, he’d say. But he’d look at me now.
And get up and walk toward me, to see.
Scorn meets pity.
Honor meets anger.
So we stand there. Weaving. His excuse he’s drunk. Me, I can’t make up my mind.
Pridefest. An old contest.
There’d be no words said out loud. But we’d stand there for damn near ever.
And then he’d walk me to my car of course and I would let him. And that would be that.
Or maybe he’d not be a drunk any more. And I’d run into him at a tacqueria on Valencia Street. Actually I would know he was there, all of a sudden be thinking I was thinking about him before I would see him. He would see me at the counter when he came in, waiting impatiently to place my order. And he would stand there for a minute or two behind me before saying anything. And then maybe he’d say to the young kid behind the counter, por favor a vegetarian burrito for the lady, and then slip right into, Hola señorita! ¿Qué tal? And I would turn around as if I had just seen him yesterday.
Ça va bien merçi et toi?
And then the weaving would start.
He’d be full of himself or beside himself gallant and chatty. Leaving no room to speak about how it had been when he was losing it. Losing his mind his health his job his family his life. Leaving no room to talk about how it had been when he couldn’t manage anymore, not alone for sure, and doing it together was past gone.
Brown eyes meet brown eyes.
Oh Julio, I would have to say.
And he would pay for my burrito so that I wouldn’t notice his eyes.
And he’d sort of maneuver me outside, to the as if we’re leaving now zone on the sidewalk, in front of the tacqueria.
I’m okay now, Jude, he’d say. Don’t worry about me.
And for him that would be that.
And I would just stand there. Knowing he was serious and just the same, flashing across my face, you can’t be serious. And he would nod at me and say, si.
And now, I would cry. I would stand there shamelessly and cry.
And he would stand there with me, weaving, not knowing if he could or should touch me. But he would stay there with me. And he’d wipe the tears from my face with his thumbs. And he would take my hand and he would walk me to my car of course.
And I would let him.
And you, he would finally ask as I was getting into the car, are you okay?
Comme çi, comme ça, I’d start to say. And he’d shut the door and turn to walk away.
Stop you lousy son of a bitch! I’d shout. But he’d already be gone. Past hearing. And that would be that.
So next time I’ll be the bowery bum and he can come all slicked up and I’ll spit on his shoes.
And he’d laugh and I’d scream and he’d snatch me up off the street and bundle me and hold me until I stopped. And he’d take me home and run a bath, and sing romantic Mexican ballads. And I’d sleep. And he’d be gone.
And that would be that.
December 6, 2010 § Leave a comment
thinking of old old friends.
this was written shortly after Don’s death, in 1990, wow
Coming to Grips:
A Poem in three movements
The earth, laid out to rest more tangent to the sun, is cold
a morning mountain wind–crisp–blows the sky clear
there are sundogs
startled, a doe vanishes in the brush, the sound rises in the pine air I feel your heart roaring next to mine beating like a darting bird, your hand is gloved, my neck no longer bare, still I feel your body close on mine, warm changing, the lake is frozen; how brief is a lifetime, I never knew. Oh,
that I might tell you of summer’s love.
IN A BLUE MOON
Don Kreuter––1951-1990–– ahab to my jezebel,
it’s perverse I think, your waiting until the last minute, I remember–as an afterthought–you never during your life let me push you around there’s no reason to imagine a say in your dying. I knew you once so well now there’s not a trace of comfort.
I keep notes, scripting your death as something to learn, my conceit embarrasses me, the language of dying is not one I know.
Sequestered I stand vigil waiting now for the eclipse,
not knowing where life and death transect the chance was forfeit. I had
no idea how to address you, loving you was one thing–
and as if the damned blue moon was a stage play, you died
some friendships are of the first order spirits kindred palpable others not so apparent caution never thrown to the winds and the words tumble out
…it’s been such a long time Jesus! I’m glad I met you is what I meant to say
the other, the woman, was sultry like a damp hot wind a reluctant confederate
it’s not that he was immediately sainted because he was dying or that coming to grips with mortality I extended–without limit– diaphanous regard no I came headlong against reality I am not as I wished
there is little time for mistakes less for self-indulgence
I suffer the breach–a vast meaninglessness–obscure it with offerings but there’s no relief, it calls simply for abiding
extending myself as I am now
face to face with love we call it friendship to avert any risk but it is passion not mishap
choices already made it’s in the public domain without forfeiture, but when I say friends it is to consort that I mean
Jeez, it ain’t so complicated she’d just say, we still
got that motherly thing, right joo D?
some work the fabric
some weave spells, looking for grand meaning you turned my heart inside out–familiarity is all it is
December 5, 2010 § Leave a comment
are you writing
she asked, not in any way i recognize, i said, but i’d have to say yes,
yes i am writing, but not in any way i recognize, it is the damnedest thing
December 3, 2010 § 2 Comments
• Iota Press Holiday Open Studio presents a viewing of recent letterpress work by printer/artist Eric Johnson and co-op members, visitors may print a poster on the press, with a reading by Judi Goldberg from Drum, a chapbook of poetry and drawings, Iota Press, 925-c Gravenstein Highway, south Sebastopol, 2:00-6:00, reading 3:00 (707/823-6152)