creative ramblings & reverie

Friday, May 31, 2013

Writing Spaces

Telling lives by laying out the cards:  a writer's art as well.

The chariot, the tower, the hermit, the queen of swords . . .

For a full novelistic treatment there's Italo Calvino's tarot, in The Castle of Crossed Destinies.

image:  oldest Tarot


My heart, like the temple at Kyoshu,
is on a windy foot-worn highway,
far above the sea and open to all sides.

Yellow butterflies
play around the clapper of a rusted bell;
I am finally at peace.

Many strangers, who wander and search,
come by that way, looking elsewhere.

It is not their destination—
far from the crux of the road,
and slight shelter from the wind and sun.

But one can pause for a moment there,

contemplate the wind playing through the bell,
break off a crooked walking-stick—a branch
of early almond blossoms—
and go on the way again.  Perhaps

a little brighter-eyed, or forgetting to limp.

(spring/summer 1979
Oakland/San Francisco)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Writing Spaces

“. . . the letter writer in the Bonnard continues quietly writing, sending them out onto the scarlet table like toy sailboats, wending their ways to the larger ocean; small but meaning-wrought messengers."  

image:  Pierre Bonnard, Young Woman Writing

State Beach

In the parking lot at Half Moon Bay,
sitting and nodding on the lowered tailgate
of their rust-touched station wagon,
three old Japanese men grill
peppers and pieces of white fish
on a charcoal brazier,
and pass around a brown bottle of beer,
smacking their lips.
Sitting cross-legged in the sand
in the shade of the open car door—
the oldest man of all, and nameless dog.
Around his bone-thin wrist,
the frail string of a yellow kite.
A shapeless hat rides down over his ears
and hides his brows, eyes bright-quick
darting about quizzically beneath it.
He takes a piece of fish between his fingers,
blows it cool and holds it
for the dog to take in its back teeth.
The kite grazes the sky, tugs at his wrist
like some persistent, half-forgotten thought
nagging, gently as his dead wife, at his mind.

(spring/summer 1979
    San Francisco)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Writing Spaces

Marginalia:  what's happening off in the margins, whether in response to or quite apart from the words.

(Also a lovely poem by Billy Collins.)

image:  Alexander MS

Friday, May 10, 2013


Clay faces and windowsill geraniums,
declensions of latin nouns
     escaping the open door.
Lilacs swarming up the adobe walls
left this purple underline
     among the scrawlings of my mind.
Out deciphering the past, I find
     unmarked words and bridges
thrown out carelessly at every crossing,
with inscriptions
     in water birch and other foreign tongues—
they muddy the old pond
     beyond the smoking-shack.
And from paperback, from The Odyssey,
scribbles on the sun there
     flattened out, like beaten gold.
Box Elder bugs,
     tiny amulets of orange and black,
charm back the wistful memory
of lilics and latin grown wild—
     feeding on the clay, the Homer.

(Spring 1977)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Writing Spaces

If only I were creative in practical ways, like putting old doors together into such a lovely, shady garden  writing room!

image:  Porch Sitting Union of America

Early Morning Scene

the print
of an old palm
baked in rye dough

the mark
of broomstraws
across wet dust

the oblong stamp
of dangling sausages
against the window

imprint me thus

(fall 1976)