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First Friday

I read at the First Friday poetry/prose reading at the college. I signed up the slot after an older gentleman read a hilariously wry essay on the emotive awfulness of some poetry and memoirs. Eep! It's almost as bad as the time they put me on after someone who read John Donne's A Valediction Forbidding Mouring. You can't quite be taken seriously when going on mic after one of the giants of poetry. 

...However, if they put me after Tennyson I might have looked good. *bah dah chiiiiing!* To many-towered Camelot, my eye.

Here's the poems I read, in no particular order, copyright C.A.F. 2008 and all that jazz:



Remaining here for a year

at the forty-fifth, I remember:


The Farallon Islands are blades

that cut the horizon and wound the sun.

She bleeds a bronze trail

into the water at high-mark tide.


Her blood stains the stinking pylons

of the docks into beauty.

Mussels open tiny mouths to swallow

every last honey drip of her.


The girls in the surf and the kelp-brown lovers

move to the same rhythm.

The sun breathes in pleasure,

fever-red in her furious dying.


Gulls cry with her cries,

beating wings thrumming along with her heart.

The sea lions moan

and crash their supple bodies chest to chest.


An old woman bows with the dune-grass

to smile into the dusk.

As she looks she remembers the summers

of her own hot-blood girlhood.


The filly legs of the surf-girls

pound the muscle-hard sand.

Their feet know fury,

their innocent bodies already know the sway.


Lovers, oblivious to all,

rolling about like seals in the cooling sands.

Hands clasp everywhere,

warm skin to cool grit.


I stood on the cliff rejoicing,

my spirit cast in a taut line off the fault.

I was born in a land of rivers and tides

that flow to the west.


Living this side of the continental divide

is killing me.

Yosemite Chant


Your cold runs from my shoulders,

the night like water,

stars falling from the cedar strings of the earth lodge.


They sink deep into the pool of my iris,

so that I may find the constellations of home

with one eye.


The other will look forward into the world

that my hands can touch.


The ponderosas–my fathers—

sway and breathe dreams,

and the currents of faraway shores into my veins,

so that I will remember

to exhale the tide even under inland skies.


Your granite chorus sings to me,

the pale child with yellow hair,

as I listen to my mother’s throaty chant

rise with the curl of smoke from her fire.


The stars swallow the trail

as a gift from her earth-cracked hands.


I do not share the shade of her skin,

or the jet-and-ashes of her hair,

but I am her daughter,

for the same river-map of the Merced

courses in our wrists and veins.


Western child, horizon child,

the reeds beneath me rattle

to remind my bones how to dance.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 11th, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
Whoa... now, if I were to psychoanalyze those poems, I'd say someone was missing California.

I especially like the first one, it has a very warrior-goddess feel in its blending of luxuriously sharp death and sex.
Mar. 12th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Not missing California actively, no. I've just been writing Wyoming/desert poems for six years and they're getting old. Plus, the way it's looking I miiiiight move to Nevada.

Thank you for the compliments!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Jack Rabbit Slim

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