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It wasn't called Cecile Street when I was four years old. It was simply a no-name dirt lane between two rows of cabins rented to no-name grape and hop pickers. I don't remember much, just that our cabin was across the creek from his parents' house, my new grandparents. I also remember getting in trouble for throwing-up the castor oil that was supposed to make me well. Can't even smell the vile stuff anymore without becoming nauseous. And I remember one more thing, standing with my mother at the end of Cecile Street and being asked to change my name.
The Withywindle Gallery Grand Opening was celebrated at a High Tea this weekend. Now this wasn't just any High Tea, it was a belated celebration of Queen Victoria's birthday. As the local saying goes...only on the river. While urban cowboys rode bucking broncs at the annual rodeo and tourists danced to reggae music on the beach, a few locals were being shown the proper way to hold a teacup. Allan, wearing a tuxedo and red-lined cape, informed us that it was considered pretentious to crook the little finger. Completely disgusted, Ray harumphed and walked off muttering, "only on the river."
After "only on the river" High Tea, Jack and I headed for Armstrong Woods where Redwood trees touch heaven. Barely had our boots met the trail and I paused to embrace a 1400 year-old giant, its bark soft against my heart. Jack grinned and slowed his pace. I breathed deeply to take in the scent of ancient rain forest. In approximately 45 days, I will be breathing desert air; air so hot it hurts the lungs. Deeper into the park, we paused again on the footbridge, hypnotized by the creek flowing over tumbled, polished stones. Mist glistened on fern fronds.
We left my father leaning on his porch railing and headed south out of the hot and sticky Ozark Mountains. By the time Rory and I got to Broken Bow, we needed another shower and were accommodated by a thunderstorm. While sloshing through the historic cemetery, we chanced upon the grounds-keeper who led us to Rory's ex-stepmother who just-happened-to-have her father's social security number. Wet and shivering, Rory called the Veteran's Administration from a telephone booth. "We regret to inform you that your father died nine years ago from complications of a knife wound." We didn't go on to Nashville.
On the way to OK City, Rory and I drove past the infamous McAlester prison. I didn't find out until 23 years later, six years after Rory died of breast cancer, that McAlester is also home to a bomb factory that built bombs for World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Special for Shock-and-Awe, the factory's work force tripled and added its first night shift since Vietnam. The MOAB, mother-of-all-bombs, is being built right there in the rolling green hills of McAlester, Oklahoma. And we thought an escaped prisoner was the only thing we had to fear.
Some memories are insidious, they trespass into her thoughts on a word, in an image...her 24th birthday, D-day 1944, when the beaches of Normandy were stained red with the blood of young men she grew up with.
59 Years later, "Reporting live from Baghdad where there is a sense of liberation. The first wave of bombings was absolutely stunning to see." The television screen shows the ancient city disintegrating into an expanding mushroom cloud against a ghostly-green night-scope sky. "Of course, collateral damage is to be expected when liberating people."
She turns off the television and opens her birthday cards.
Saturn's boundaries are Neptune's enemies...
saying nothing because you don't feel safe
holding your breath so you don't hear your heart beating
not letting him see you cry as he disappears into illusion
just one more look...no, remember your boundaries
"Phew," Saturn wipes his brow, "that was close!"
"If only she'd let him in," muses Neptune.
"Why? Sooner or later, he'd still break her heart."
"Not necessarily my cynical friend, not if she had faith."
"You've been eating too many brownies!"
"Haven't you heard that chocolate is an aphrodisiac?"
"I give up, you're hopeless."
"To the contrary, I am hope."
Why does Martha Stewart "deserve what she gets" simply because some people think she's a bitch? Last I heard being a bitch isn't a criminal offense. The President of Enron not only committed a criminal offense he ruined people's lives, but he's not in prison. He's teaching ethics to college students. If that makes sense, I've got a bridge in Afghanistan to sell you. But what surprises me the most is that women are Martha's worst critics. Even if we don't have boardroom aspirations, being sweet and subservient doesn't help single mothers put food on the table for their kids.
With the Moon transiting through the sign of Libra, I should feel balanced and in harmony with the universe. Not! I feel hormonal and bitchy so send me to prison with Martha. Envision us in the same cell...this would not be a good thing. My side of the cell would be filled with stacks of reference books and wadded-up pages of rejected writings that drift onto Martha's fine antique Sultan Abad carpet. Furious, Martha would attempt to sweep the crumpled intrusions back to my side of the cell, but she would eventually be forced to murder me. Two bitches down...
It's tough enough to come up with a new idea for 100 Words every day without one neighbor practicing his piano chords and another dumping empty wine bottles into his recycling bin while I'm trying to think. Then the telephone rings and a real estate agent tells my recorder that she's going to show my condo in 30 minutes! The bed needs to be made, dishes need to be washed, the cats' litter box needs to be changed...but first, I have to feed the furballs to stop them from climbing the screen door!*@! Enough already! Creativity gets postponed until tomorrow.
Alice withdrew the empty syringe, closed her eyes, and waited for her mask to dissolve. Released from the burden of keeping up the illusion, she conversed with herself while walking to the corner to wait for Jeremy. "Send me where I belong. Timothy Leary lies." Noticing the young woman costumed in gothic attire from cap to boots, passersby stared, most kept their distance, a few asked if she needed help. Alice's disconnected reply was, "All I wanted was a Harley Davidson. Wore a mask too soon." Sometime around midnight Alice laid down on the sidewalk and sang herself to sleep.
I drove to La Cresta through Napa Valley, past rolling vineyards, in and out of shadowy shower falls, listening to Loreena McKennitt's "The Mask and Mirror." After passing through the first set of gates to La Cresta, I was jolted to a stop as the ruins of Napa Soda Springs began rising into the sky. Tears half blinded me while I rummaged for my camera, loaded it, and began taking photos of the ruins above Napa Valley. "What the hell," I asked myself aloud, "what's happening to me?" It didn't feel negative, rather, nostalgic with some deja vu tossed in.
Arriving at La Cresta, I was greeted at the front door by the innkeeper. Tears returned as I crossed the threshold, and I implored the innkeeper to explain this phenomenon. She chuckled, put her arm around me, and said, "It's how everyone reacts on their first visit to La Cresta."
I'm certain the ghosts were still roaming later that night, in the library and bar where the scent of cigars still lingered, in the servants' quarters where cracked mirrors still hung, after dinner, after ghost stories, but I slept like a baby; no worries, no fears, no desire to leave.
Main Street Lullaby
Tentacles of fog drift up-river navigating around redwood crowns, obscuring stars suspended in cobalt. In cadenced harmony tires roll over damp pavement crooning the lullaby of Main Street as a lingering street-vendor nods an evening greeting to passersby. Faintly visible under tangerine streetlights The Rock Man's hand-painted sign...Crystals-Gems-Minerals-Rocks-Fossils...still hangs on the side of his van while he packs his hallowed wares.
"Hey Rock Man, still open for business? I'm in need of a special stone tonight."
Coffee mug in hand, The Rock Man listens to one more story as a shroud of tangerine mist conceals Main Street.
grand mal seizure
short circuiting of the brain. electrical energy triggers gates in the brain causing synapses to fire, touching various parts of the nervous system.
an electric current. improper energy flow burns out net; current overwhelms the brain causing failure in consciousness.
light travels 300 times the speed of light into the future.
information can move faster than light...MC2=E
supernova 1987a center eye reached Earth in 2002
ohm meditation & net of linen
kundalini flow of energy
Bill's explanation...gates fly open in the brains of the wise, which in turn is caused by the impulse of light from above.
Loving wife of...dear mother of...treasured friend of...
On a sweltering California day in late June 1979, we waved good-bye to our husbands and sons, and drove off in Rory's Jeep Golden Eagle. Rory was 30 years-old, I was 34, and we were seriously dangerous women. A champion skeet shooter, Rory had "packed" her shotgun just in case we ran into trouble on the road. This was seriously dangerous for real, but there was never any deterring Rory once she set her mind to something.
I forever found it curious that Rory was the one who was afraid of encountering danger...
Rory was always boasting about being a tough teenager on the mean streets of Richmond so maybe that's why she was so dead set on preparing for danger; she knew exactly what to expect. I, on the other hand, was raised to expect violence in the safety of the home so the open road held no fear for me. Rather, it represented freedom and adventure.
When I first met Rory she was tall and thin with short, dark, curly hair. She was the quintessential Greek goddess. Rory was now a somewhat heavier Greek goddess and excessively defensive about her weight...
Rory was on the defensive about most everything most of the time...and I had a hot temper. Rory's defensiveness and my hot temper would play leading roles in the future of our friendship.
The Golden Eagle sped down Interstate 40 while Rory and I calculated our mileage. When we pulled into Flagstaff we still had one-quarter tank. I suggested we use it up by driving around and doing a little sight-seeing before filling up for our jaunt across the desert. It was less than a second before Rory and I looked at each other and broke out into hysterical laughter.
Tonight's dinner guest had saucer-brown eyes, Hepburn-esque legs, and a moist black nose on her beguilingly angelic face. For a feast on my roses, the determined doe defied electric fences, concrete retaining walls, neighborhood dogs, and packets of Cougar piss hanging on Oak branches.
Like lemmings, we move in droves to escape the gray urban jungle, then sterilize nature with gray concrete, cut down those messy Eucalyptus trees, spray a moat of insecticide around our property, and erect electric fences to protect contrived gardens from the natives. Like lemmings, we're moving ourselves closer to the brink of our own extinction.
Reflecting on Christo's "Running Fence"
Until its last day on the golden landscape of southwestern Sonoma County, I questioned that the "Running Fence" was a legitimate work of art. Nevertheless, on that September morning in 1976, I joined others who had traveled great distances to pay homage to this voiceless oracle prior to it being disassembled.
My first sight of the billowing white silk brought to mind a fleet of prairie schooners forging west across rolling hills. That's it! The "Running Fence" was action art, requiring active participation. Even its substance, parachute silk, represented action. Jeanne-Claude Christo-Javacheff, I finally understand.
The Sun transits into Cancer where it reaches its highest point in the northern skies. Cancer, the side-stepping Crab, is nurturing and security-oriented. But don't underestimate the Crab because she is fiercely protective of her family. Ruled by the Moon, the Crab is sensitive and emotional.
With the Moon in Aries, the assertive Ram, emotions may run higher than usual. The Ram is impetuous, a brave adventurer and a fun companion. Under the influence of Cancer, he might spend the first day of summer camping with his family. Ruled by Mars, the Ram is self-expressive and highly independent.
The Rock Man
As I picked up the yellow and brown striped stone from the street vendor's table, I heard a voice say, "Tiger Eye...for stubbornness." I chuckled self-consciously and looked up to see an attractive man with hazel eyes. His expression changed from mischievous to compassionate as he handed me a white and turquoise-green stone. Hesitating, I asked its name. "Amazonite, for self-destructive behavior," he said in a whispered voice. Before I was able to verbalize an adamant denial, tears began to fill my eyes. When asked what I owed for the stone, he said, "You owe me nothing."
Quartz crystals have been used for magick rituals, protection, meditation, and healing by Druids, Mayans, Tibetans, Native Americans and other ancient civilizations. Today, crystals are used for meditation, healing, and to access higher levels of consciousness. Generally, quartz crystals grow in a hexagonal (six-sided) structure, with additional faces sloping towards a point at one end. The points of Master Crystals have unique geometric configurations that enhance the power of their energy properties. Whether you adopt a crystal to be used as a tool for healing or to simply enjoy its natural beauty, choose the crystal that 'feels' right for you.
Casa La Pacena
house of the woman
Church bells chime seventh hour
first light shines on Benito Juarez
columbian coffee on balcony
yachts sail on Bahia de La Paz
Steinbeck sailed into the bay in 1940
taxi drivers park along Malecon
gecko on wall
Federales drive by in unmarked cars
young man collects useable trash
Ruperto arrives with machete to kill ratons
vendors gather in town square
smell of freshly squeezed orange juice
Miguel arrives to breakfast with Arlaine
fish frying in tempura batter
Ruperto walks by with machete
"Gusto que este en La Paz, Senora?"
"Si, Ruperto, mucho gusto!"
I moved to the river in June 1995, a few months after a big flood. The river flooded its banks again in January 1997. Residents evacuated in droves, but the old-timers stayed and traded disaster stories with the National Guardsmen.
Then the torrential storms of February 1998 slid a whole mountain down into a canyon filled with homes. News crews were already camped-out, but when V.P.Gore himself came to town Senators and Congressmen followed.
Of course, the real heroes of '98 were the displaced residents who waited for the mountain to be stabilized before they were allowed to return home.
San Francisco Beat
Columbus and Broadway
Chinatown fades into
little Italy, protected by
St. Francis of Assisi
Chianti and Brad
at Ristorante Franchino
photos of young mama
and papa hang on the wall
City Lights across the alley
Vesuvio Cafe where
50's Beats wrote poetry
while pissing in the john
pre-Condor and Carol Doda
On the Road
the Beat bible
90's Willy in top hat
wields his walking stick
over heads of homeless
un published Beat poets
North Beach became a
mirage, the day Jack died
This year's Blues Festival kicked-off in a heatwave. Cars were lined up for a mile trying to get into town and nary a local was brave enough to jaywalk. Tourists have no concept of river time; they slow down for nothing and no one. Except for shop-keepers and vendors who survive on tourist trade, locals tend to hold-up in their homes and let the out-of-towners take over. But unlike other festivals, Blues fans don't spend money. They bring their own food and coolers filled with ice cold beer, and by the end of the day all the coolers are empty.
Resourceful Scorpio was rising at 3:00pm on July 21, 2000 when four Sonoma County writers midwifed
. The Sun and Venus were in nurturing Cancer, Mars in risk-taking Leo, all in the 9th house of publishing. Powerful Pluto was in idealistic Sagittarius in the 1st house of physical manifestation...the ladies of the
have since published three books. Truth-seeking Jupiter was in Gemini, the writer; Mercury, planet of communication, was in tenacious Cancer in the 8th house of self-mastery and shared resources. Blessed by the Moon Goddess, our ruling planet cradled in compassionate Pisces in the 5th house of creativity.
On the second day of the Blues Festival, this local escaped the chaos to join the ladies of the
at our poetry reading. After reading selections from
June Bugs Out Of Season
to an audience of guest writers and artists, we poured ourselves a glass of wine and sat down to discuss the future of
. To use what we refer to as a pleased-as-punch-line, we've come a long way baby and we're just gettin' started. We've been there for each other and we've learned to be there for ourselves. Let's hear it for the ladies!
Final page of a 59 year chapter...page one, El Paso...first breath, Fort Smith on a snowy afternoon...to Willits to Cecile Street to South Bay...the wedding...to Oakland to Chico...Shakey's Chicks and the birth of my son...to Modesto to North Bay...politics, concrete, the divorce...to
where everything unknown became known...a failed love, a lost love, a crystal love...a zig and a zag into Death Valley...birth of my grandchild...photo on Oprah...all friends beautiful...into the light...
June Bugs Out Of Season
Crystalflier, aka river rat, now signing-off...to rejoin 100 Words in September from the desert outpost...or from whithersoever Crow caws.
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