Site icon Shirley Obitz

Poetry

Photo by Josh Hild 

Depot Bay, Oregon

My body is sending information to your body

                                    In winter

When intelligence is stored

underground

The decayed

leaves of Fall now rotten

                                    But the earth

smells potent with life

and the trees

                                    are communicating

wisdom through their roots

to the saplings and the sea

I love my jewel-colored winter scarf

                                    and the way it floats

in the gray air— a reflection

in the store window along

the promenade—all closed up now

                                    my breath on the glass

warm and fertile

like a greenhouse grower

soft like ruffles

and sea algae

the color of my eyes

                                    Communicating

to you

Photo by Shirley Obitz

The Season of Silver (Hopi Myth #21)

It’s my feet; they hear the call from the Black Mountains

There’s a great light drifting down from the sky

or from a star’s corona that I step towards

It was a hot summer

In the Season of Silver

I walk past the wild herd of horses

In the distance, Santa Fe, with its flat tar roofs

Fourwing saltbrush scratch against the fabric of my pants

Carrion birds soar near the pueblo

Those little mouths

hungry for abundance

The creosote bush under

My burnt brown boots

I smell mesquite

And step on the crunchy black charcoal

For a while I just roam

It’s my feet, they want to walk the edge of the Black Mountains

Above, on the long slender horizon

Blinding triangles of dizzying light

I see women each in their own regalia, all different

They stepped out of the dazzling flying city

And now they are moving like dancing kachinas

With crashing feet that pound upon the land

They dance on the crest of the Black Mountains

In the Season of Silver

Photo By JR Korpa

ASSASSIN

The blinds are beautiful

with the light shining through

I sit in front

of my Guru

The quiet is surrounding me

and is me

It flows

in awake

of abundance

as I imagine

the walk

up to the

corpse of a material existence

Assassin

I don’t want to move

The stillness is so peaceful

Chaco Canyon

I am up early for my drive to Chaco Canyon. The silence of the mesa before me, dignified, eloquent, as if a goddess spilled her soul across the horizon. The mountain black, void of color. This sky before dawn widened–a floating splatter of biomorphic art. I drive into the sky emerging. Drive into the stretching plateaus of solitude. I drive through the desert as the sun breaks through the unfathomable indigo, like an iris I cannot imagine. Like the iris in a dream indescribable. Like an iris circled in orange. I drive, and I feel like I am receding into the landscape–and now I am distance. And a bridge says seventeen feet two inches. And I think horizontal only, compelled by horizontal and the view is beyond all such calculations. The mountains now watermelon from the orange sky, and they call to me with their black seeds and their watermelon bodies. And I drive, I drive, I drive under the 17′ 2″ bridge which means nothing to me as I speed to the land of the ancients, where the ancients built their temples to the stars and gazed upon the body of the eternal. I pass the adobe huts, the cracked mud, the stone, the ground, the gravel. I raise my arms to the sky, a pink sky that blazed across the crow-winged mountains. I follow in the ancient footsteps with clay on my boots. And the windows of Chaco Canyon once filled with sky now filled with stars.

Photo by Karina Tess 

Pronto? (Hello)

Inspired by Robert Rossellini’s film L’Amore

Cold water on lips

Eating, sleeping, why?

Exotic hell in the mirror

Black phone on white pillow

Eyes broken listen

Expectantly

Disheveled hours of waiting

It rings

A storm on a trembling mouth

“I told you not to speak; I’d accept anything.”

“You sound distant, how strange.”

“Hearts and stars, I can see with my ears.”

“The telephone is making strange sounds.”

“Pronto? Pronto?”

photo by Aaron Burden 

I Dreamed About Snow

I dreamed about snow again

Only I can know what that means

As much as you may want to know

You can never know

I dreamed about snow

I told myself to, I told myself to

I made my mind communicate to my Mind

in dream

The answer I wanted, I wanted, I wanted to know

Again, I dreamed about snow

This time it was different

Do you want to know how or why?

Thick-thick, blue-white, deep

snow beautiful surrounding-all- homes- snow

Thick, deep, white, blue, everywhere

Evening

Homes

Snow everywhere

Virgin, untouched, evening blue

White, beautiful, quiet

Dove white

White everywhere

Thick

Solid white

I thought, will I disturb this?

Will I fall through?

Break through?

Sink deep into the knee-deep thick snow?

I put my foot upon the top

Brown-gray, fur-gray, new-gray, warm-gray Boot

Boot up on top

waiting for the crunch and punch of foot to sink into its beauty

but I rose

surprisingly

it held

Support

I rose

I walked above, on top of the snow-covered ground

white snow puff steps

I walked on top of the hard snow

the white blue everywhere snow

I looked around and saw it everywhere

It wasn’t until I woke up and said,

I dreamed about snow

that the answer-dream

I told my mind to tell me, (and here it did so obediently)

telling me what the other Mind knows

Dread dream of snow

Sadness

It tells me the answer

The minds do that

You will never leave because

I dreamed about snow

That you and I will never be together

Snow/white/snow/blue/snow

thick everywhere

white

snow

Cold and vast and beautiful

Separation

Photo by Matthew Henry 

Dog with a Club Foot

Dog with a club foot

Innkeeper OK

Dog with a club foot

Innkeeper OK

Just because it’s true

Doesn’t mean it’s interesting

Said the dog

Photo by: engin akyurt

When Angie Speaks

When Angie speaks

It’s not words I hear

It’s the clack of a pool ball mouth

When Angie speaks

It’s the burn of whiskey on a dry throat

It’s crushed cigarettes

Buried deep in the sand

On some Corpus Christi beach

When Angie speaks

I hear agony in Texas grit

Nightmares exploding in her mind

When Angie speaks

I hear her head bashed in

I hear her feet

Wildly trampling over the grass

When Angie speaks

With lowered eyes

I hear caskets shut

I hear the flowers cry

I hear Angie’s joy die

It’s not words I hear

When Angie speaks

Jack Albee
For Jack Albee 

He could sling the funniest sarcastic observations, but he was never cruel. He called our mutual friend Steve Berman, The Maniacal Crayon, Steve, an artist, had his art doodles stuck all over the walls of his Hollywood apartment. And I mean, there wasn’t even any space left to stick on a wad of gum. Albee was a member of the Albee theater family. He was a mime, an artist, a prankster, and one of the most in-the-moment people I have ever known. Jack would come up from LA to see me in Northern California, and we would spend the day in Sausalito. Jack introduced me to the Renaissance Faire, where he used to perform in his younger years.  Jack Albee, my friend, I dedicate this poem to you.

He’s a Troubled Maker

It’s time for Joyce

And Joyce is time

For Ireland

My own mind

Honesty-certainty

And Dubliners

Is doubling

Doppelt

Doble

Duppio

Double

It’s time for William’s will

Deliver

Liver

De

Liver

Ah it’s time for Bergman

And hypersensitivity

Hyper-viper

Flashback of Katrina’s

Flashback of Katrina’s

And then there’s Albee

Not Edward—not that one own

But he knew dirty Gertie

That’s what they called her

He’s a troubled maker

  
Photo by Vincentiu Solomon 

Seen

Farther farther out

                         beyond all time-space continuum

beyond all circumstance

Where

                                                beyond linguistically structured thought

Down into the energetic source, The sound of stillness

            The stillness of sound

                                                 The lower octave of one’s vibratory field

                                                                                    that field that ONe is in and of but separate

That which happens without thought

breathing

shedding                          blinking                                  did you know

that

the

smallest particle is  so small it only comes into being when it is

gazed upon

                                                what is without what is within

Seen

Seen

Seen

Seen

Dear LA

Photo by Alan Carrillo 

“Aren’t you glad you left?”

“That place is (fill in the blank)”

“I was there once, I hated it”

“Everyone there is so (fill in the blank)

So much hatred

So much prejudice

But let me ask you this?

Did you watch a movie last year?

Do you listen to music?

Some day a big Santa Ana wind will come and blow all the scum off the street.

Dear LA,

It hurt my feelings

They didn’t even know you

Everyone put you down

Said you were phony

Said you were sleazy

I remember going to your triple feature at thirteen for a dollar

Putting my hands in Marilyn’s at the Grauman’s

Standing in line at ABC to see the tapings

Walking down Fountain Avenue

The smell of blooming jasmine

Hopping on the freeway to the Valley

Urban  sprawl, screen doors, and BBQ

Or I’d take Wilshire to the beach

Western to the Airport (little known way to avoid the gridlock)

Ah your view from Mulholland

Low riders crawling down Whittier Boulevard

East LA the shine of the classic clean machine

Bouncing shocks

Bulging muscles

Pachuca flair

Alvarado Street

New religions

Firsts of firsts

Langer and The Pantry

The Ambassador as old and in decay as you were then

I felt I was a part of old Hollywood when I drank my cognac on your lawn

The Hissing of Summer Lawns

Joni weaves me through Laurel Canyon

To Joan Crawford’s Pacific Coast Highway

Raymond Chandler’s neon streets

Gloria’s Sunset Boulevard to the Valley’s Boogie Nights

James Dean’s Deadman’s curve

Petty’s Free falling

Everyone craves sunshine

And a boy’s whistle

PS Miss you

S

Photo by BP Miller 

LA Riots

Seconds before that sudden feeling that it’s all a dream, we rolled down Sunset. Through the overdosed city of LA. A fuck you angel dangling in the night. Erotic LA. Full and empty Eras. Vintage stores, billboards, the Pacific Ocean. (We rolled on)

Different configurations

Below the powdered skyline

The city burns

We play music

Finely tuned instruments

It burns

(We rolled on)

The city raging with violence. In the twilight, helicopters. 50-ton steel-armored vehicles. Riot rear. Pepper spray. Curfews.

I turned in my seat to look. Roadblocks. Black sky. Only floodlights on the scrutinizing street. We’re ordered to go back. We’re not far from the Pantages.

We turn the car around.

Hit the 101

It burns

(We rolled on)

(c) Shirley Obitz All Rights Reserved

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