2017 May 22

Morning returns the shift from shadow into light sweeping around our world like a rhyme, like a rhythm, again and again and again it seems to come and go –

But no.  We are moving, not it; I, and not they; you, not not.

If I could hear the Earth growling on its axis, would it sound any different? This breath of wind, this breeze from the sea, this sunlight veiled by morning clouds, how. Your whisper of good morning. My eyes, opening. Water on my face.

Toilet.

Breakfast.

Coffee.

If I remember to wash my hands, then I smile in pleasure. God says –

Today. Yesterday. Tomorrow.

We are an unfolding cube, time. Somewhere else, is not here. This –

Monday .

Tijuana gringo

2017 May 19 – Friday

Yesterday I received an email from a man who has been reading my beloved website, Tijuana Gringo, the labyrinthine matrix of poems, stories, essays, and translations which I basically worked on from 2000 through 2007, after which time I moved back to San Diego and pretty much stopped writing new material for it. It has, however, lingered on in several incarnations, most specifically in three locations, the latest iteration being tijuanagringo dot com, the middle age site being at yahoo geocities, and the earliest pages appearing at gastown dot com xanadu (a website I began writing in 1995 and 1996).

He said he had enjoyed it but advised me that I should update it.

It is sometimes embarassing when your old age comes back to haunt you. Or, wait, I mean the opposite, don’t I? Well, I was so much younger then. Ten, even fifteen years ago when I could still walk five miles across town without batting an eye, so long as I had some water to drink and a bite to eat and a place to sit along the way. Years later, I lose my breath so easily I can scarcely climb onboard a bus without gasping in momentary exhaustion.

I miss it. I miss Tijuana.

The people. The food. The language. The art of life on the frontier of time and space, between two worlds, two languages, two empires, two systems of money.

They have cash registers there that are programmed to ring up your sale in either dollars or pesos.

Not quite inconceivable, but getting there.

You understand me, I hope.

1.

there used to

be a hut

it was

not

 

 

2.

 

. . . for a long time now – I am not certain how long, months, years, decades – I have been obsessed with recreational vehicles.

How so.

?

Recently – this year, last year, at least – I have crawled around the internet webs, sniffing out tidbits and clues and data and

trailers, truck campers, motor homes, and even simpler outdoor lifestyle technology, such as tents and portable stoves, folding tables and cots, shovels to dig six inch deep holes for poop, and

well

you get the idea.

This is prose. Not poetry.

Or not.

(capital letter begin sentence

hut

)

 

 

3.

 

wait – don’t forget – a bow saw

and hatchet

 

campfire

 

warm

.

 

 

4.

 

( quote$  from the 1996 Bounder motorhome manual)

 

EXHAUST GASES ARE DEADLY.

 

DO NOT BLOCK THE TAILPIPES OR SITUATE THE VEHICLE IN A PLACE WHERE THE EXHAUST GASES HAVE ANY POSSIBILITY OF ACCUMULATING EITHER OUTSIDE, UNDERNEATH, OR INSIDE YOUR VEHICLE OR ANY NEARBY VEHICLES.

 

OUTSIDE AIR MOVEMENTS CAN CARRY EXHAUST GASES INSIDE THE VEHICLE THROUGH WINDOWS OR OTHER OPENINGS REMOTE FROM THE EXHAUST OUTLET.

 

OPERATE THE ENGINE(S) ONLY WHEN SAFE DISPERSION OF EXHAUST GASES CAN BE ASSURED, AND MONITOR OUTSIDE CONDITIONS TO BE SURE THAT EXHAUST CONTINUES TO BE DISPERSED SAFELY.

 

 

5.

 

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES OPERATE ANY ENGINE WHILE SLEEPING.

 

 

6.

 

for POMPEII

18 April 2017

for :   Pompeii

We struggled through the darkness, our bodies beaten by falling stones, our faces smothered by the drifting rain of ash. Pillows covered our heads, their corners tied down with long scarves under our chins. Other cloths covered our mouths and noses, with only a slit between cheeks and forehead. Even then we could hardly see, so thick was the ash, so black the world around us, covered in darkness, full of the utter absence of light – it was like when you go into a small room at night, without a lamp, and close the door behind you. Except the air was thick with ash and stones and the screams and whimpers of women, children, and men, crowding around you, struggling together toward the gate of the city.

All the while the falling stones pelted us. Smacking on our arms and shoulders, thudding against the pillows covering our heads, clattering and splattering on the walls and rooves around us. We struggled on. Somewhere, somehow, we got to the gate, shoved our way through, and staggered out into the open countryside, almost losing the road.

In that dark, there was only the sputtering of other people’s torches around us, and the faint, helpless glimmer of oil lamps – which were constantly snuffed out by the falling ash… yes, strange, but to this day I can still hear that one woman begging for a light from a nearby torch flame… well the gods only know why that one voice sticks in my mind… and so I wonder what became of her? Did she make it all the way to Sorrentum? Or like so many others, did she give up, hide somewhere, trying to rest under a roof, out of the falling stones and choking ash, and then find herself smothered in the next morning, by that horrible cloud of burning flame and smoke that came down from the mountain, just as dawn was finally bleeding in from the east, somewhere, in those thin, feathered cracks under the dark cloud….

No. I don’t know. I don’t know what became of her. But I can still hear her voice, begging for a light, a bit of flame for her small lamp.

We almost lost the road ourselves. But I knew it too well. The last few years, after coming home, I have followed that road many times, walking or riding back and forth between Pompeii and Stabiai, and often further on, to Sorrentum.

But I never traveled it like we did that day and that night.

 

today, looking back

2017 April 16 – Sunday.

I remember when I discovered J.G. Ballard.

Fifty years ago.

Not like Columbus, but I was looking for gold. The paperback book even had a burnt gold cover. A huge, orange yellow sun. That always was my favorite color. Gold orange yellow.

The title of the little novel was, and maybe still is, The Burning World.

Later I read other books by him, and years later continue to be fascinated by his intense, inner vision of human personality and psychology and feeling.

But there was nothing like that first discovery, that moment of delight and dark surprise. The delicious feeling of reading another man’s words that spoke directly to my hungry eye, my thirsty mind.

On that day I was reborn, with his book, his words, his thought.

I knew I wanted to write like that.

Or at least, read.

.

a personal note, or daydream, thought

I am a child of the desert west, yet I am also a son of the ocean beaches. The sea was always the greatest water in my life, in my world, in my vision.

Rivers were only small streams, which sometimes flooded, and often dried out completely into sand or cracked mud. Even the great Sacramento river, of the north, which was the most powerful river I knew as a child, well, even that paled in comparison with the greater bay, the golden gate, the San Francisco bay, beside whose eastern shore I was conceived and born, and then lived a year and four months before I was carried away to the south, to the silver gate, to pass my childhood beside the dry Mexican frontier, at San Diego.

Every year, however, sometimes twice, I returned to my grandmother’s house in that land where I was born, and I touched the saline waters of San Francisco bay. It was always like coming home to a home that I had lost, long ago, and it reconfirmed in my heart and mind the truth that salt water is the greatest water on this earth, this planet, this world of life.

Amen.

For me, let me repeat again, the greatest waters were always salt, the brackish salt waters of California estuaries, harbors, bays, and ocean. Only when I was a young man, years later, would I truly come to know, and begin to understand, the power of fresh water, sweet natural clean water, flowing across the earth, free from salt and almost ready to drink… or at least, once upon a time it was ready to drink, long ago, in the rivers of the east and the midwest, before civilized industrial man polluted it and contaminated it and poisoned it with our industrious power and might.

But in spite of that damage, the great streams are still alive, those rivers whose names were once only words in my history books, the Hudson, Delaware, Shenandoah, Potomac, Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, and a hundred, a thousand others. They still flow, and flood, although we cannot drink freely from them without bombarding them with chlorine gas and filtering and refiltering the shit from their streams of festering, pestilent life, yes, but they still flow, they still run through the living world, they still flood, and they still carve their twisting path across the face of this land we call America.

One of those rivers, the “Mighty Mo” – as it is known with love and fear – figures mightily in my journey to witness the total eclipse of the sun.

For several reasons, I have chosen a city upon its lowest, southernmost shores to be the spot where I will wait for the shadow of the Moon to come racing across the Earth toward me.

Missouri.

Even if all my plans of mice and men may gang agley and fall apart to leave me stranded dead without a whit of travel, it is enow for me that I can imagine it now and set down in these daydreaming words.

Missouri.

Palm Sunday

 

He said they upset him, those children who

gasp for breath, chlorine burning their childish

lungs. Or is it sarin gas, you know, same

who killed those subway trains in Japan.  How

so many years ago that? Now or then,

Europe or Damascus, Armageddon

or World War One can only wonder why

this desolate abomination stands

in your holy place. Then they shoot missiles,

make the rubble bounce, and watch you die from

shoes melting your feet.