LOST COAST NOTES

            unhappy, it's easy
            to see what isn't here
            --harder, to see what is
 
                       *

            a world recedes & a small
            prehistoric creature appears...
 
            he stands before me, camouflaged
            (like a true teacher)
            --a bump breathing on the driftwood log

            the lizard's fingers are so tiny
            yet unlike ours, seem to reach for nothing
            not here already

            the unquestioned
                             support
            of the ground
                          moving
            always beneath him

            --now he's doing push-ups,
            my teacher & guide
            then turns
                       so his head
            seemingly
                      has disappeared...

            while his tail points
            like a finger
            right at me!

                       *

            riding the off-spring
            of a wart-hog & a tractor,
            two creatures drone nearer across the sand

            they have shiny blue bug-like heads
            & are either adolescents wearing helmets
            or come from another planet

                       *

            meanwhile, some beast of wanting
            devours the view
            & still isn't satisfied

            until the lizard returns
            & resumes teaching:

            hanging upside down, intently watching
            what is "lowly" & near at hand

                       *
 
 
      How is it a cool, clear creek could rush past
  a meadow of poppies as it flows off the mountain's back
  and then, give out in the sand--only 2O yards from the sea?

      I find this frightening.

      Meanwhile, nearby, on the same stretch of beach,
  another stream with trout already wearing their steely
  grey ocean colors.

      Dressed for the wars of the sea, they will soon leave
  this little home-town, and breathing salt-water
  for the first time, begin to make their living
  in a new vastness.

      The few who come back will be fierce!  Packing sea
  muscles beneath the returning red stripe of their
  civilian shirts.  And they will know how to struggle
  with humans, using the current for leverage, and how
  to go air-borne to shake the preposterous, maddening hook.

      But nobody, not even scientists, know where the
  steelhead go, once they've entered the sea.  And though
  we have "theories," neither do we truly know, how,
  years later, they will find their way back (thru hundreds
  of miles of water, which to us, all looks & smells the same)
  to this very confluence, only a foot deep--where ocean &
  stream sluice together over gravelly sand.

     One of God's great, mysterious metaphors...

                          *

            While you wait for God
            to come & lift you
            out of this

            --here are 3 wise kings.
            Weeds.  Each wearing a crown

                          *

            I hold a great question
            as if grasping the rope
            with which to sound a giant bell

            It almost doesn't matter
            what the question is

            I ask & ask once more
            but am only aware
            of what feels missing in me

            which may be the point
            --the opening point
            of great questions
 

                      *
 
 

     Rex, sick all day.  Won't eat drink or even move
except to lick his paws or snap at sandflies.  I make
him a shade canopy from a poncho & fishing line, bring
him water--though the creek is near--but he won't touch it.

     It is good to have beings in one's life for whom
one would "do anything."  They give us the nobility
of our own generosity & deliverance from "the selfish one."

                      *

              After bone-baking
              sun all day
              at dusk, all is
              swallowed, fog & mist

                      *

     Yesterday I caught & released a steelhead in the creek.
I knew they were small, but couldn't stop myself
from throwing my weight around.  Apparently it was worse
than I thought, because next time I tried to fish in the
sea, I made four casts, losing terminal tackle each time
to the kelp--and on the last, snapping my graphite rod.

     The debt paid, I was actually happy to have
my almost obligatory fishing taken out of my hands.

                      *

     the odd couple:
                      dog's feet, legs, dick
                      perpetually cleaned

                      cigarette butts in the sand
                      --what a slob!

                      *

     Abandoned fortresses dot the coast.  Wires dangling out
of bunkered caves built to protect against the Japanese
--an invasion, which was truly to begin only 3O years later,
led by generals from Sony & Toyota...

                    * * * *