Sharon Doubiago

Rabia O’Loren


PACIFIC OCEAN BREAKS, MY POETICS


they come in     from every direction   no knowing

which way they’ll turn     break

so wild     foamy in excess their beauty even before

they crash     so monstrously huge     their lust, their light

 

upon the sand     upon each other     breath

taking     from where on earth

did this come     sometimes

disappointing     piddly     you

 

turn away     but they don’t

stop     wave

upon wave plowing in     so conflicting

their path, so contrary

the silver soaked shore                                                           

 

going south now     head ripped off

flying behind     the next     tunnel

too immense    a girl drowning    in the rip tide     nothing

 

makes her feel more at home now seeing them coming     nothing

makes her more the poet than these long silver lines

coming in

 

and going back

 

exploding their own order     all

civil orders     the churning

 

mudgold blue of the terrorist undertow in front

slanting off     the opposite way     the one behind colliding     they

never stop     o fuck     here comes another     too many they don’t sum up       the light

writing the universe      the bioluminescences

of autumn     the girl’s neon body

 

face down in the sand

gasping air     pound and roar     ever changing rhythm, moan

of earth     turning over

on the turning globe    to the blinding sun eye

 

star surf     of heaven     her

son and daughter inside     surfing to shore

***

 

ABALONE

 

Abalone deep down there growing the waves

high up here flying, light and water

and earth and sky, abalone all along

growing thirty years now on this headland

writing, all this time growing my meat

my shell, my glisten, my suck.

 

The Pomo wore abalone to ward off sorrow.

Mid October, the divers keep surfacing—“Oh!

there’s so many down there

you catch your limit in ten minutes”

 

keep pulling up abalone

roots of the waves, root of this sunset, red and silver

abalone the identical waveroot pattern.  And the full Moon

coming up behind, all night sailing to the west

on the abalone clouds.  O my glistening moon

will they pull you up too?                           

There was a pyramid of abalone shells

next to a pyramid of black bombs

on the black asphalt shortcut we took

Friday nights, coming and going

Terminal Island.

 

The bombs, black iron balls with fuses

were like the black marbles on our Chinese Checkers board.

The abalone shells were shiny silver moons, Egyptian

pyramid beside the Nile, as shiny

as the bombs were dull black.

 ***   


LOS ANGELES RIVER I LOVE YOU

and darkness was on the face of the deep.  Gen 1:2

 

My head on the sand looking up

to sky was earth.  Was me

behind or under or inside the earth, exactly me, looking up.  Dry

but flash floods to come.  Who

 

I am.  Shell on the curve

of the horizon blowing sand.  Gull behind the wave

struggling to come in.  My eyes the fish.  Flashing.  My hair

the clouds.  Flooding.  I saw

 

the stars though it was day.  Even when you’re dry, LA

you are here.

 

***

 

GUALALA

(“Place where the water comes down”)

 

You invited me for dinner at your campsite

on the Gualala River.

Your name was Rivera.

You cooked the meal in the fire pit

then asked me to comb your hair.

You said you have to be gentle

I don’t have as much as before.

Your hair was long and straight, silver black.

I loved your Indian hair

but I was certain I could not

 

We retired to your tent. The mouth

opened onto the fast flow to the sea.

It had been awhile and last time I couldn’t.

But on your thin narrow mat

on the hard dirt ground I opened

 

to the inside more than ever before.

Or maybe I’d just forgotten, Indian

lover that I am.  But why

am I an Indian lover?

 

We loved all night in the dirt

the river rushing by    half on the mat

cold and sore but loving

the earth     so opened to the inside

where the water comes down I remembered

my infant son couldn’t stop crying

so I’d take him outside

lay him on the ground

which soaked up his tears

and lulled us to sleep

 

In town they argue the Indians

said Wa lala so the invaders say Gwa lala.  Oh

Gualala, I have always known

how to love. (That’s why.) I’m so

grateful when allowed. You cooked me

dinner on the Gualala, you asked me

to comb your thinning hair. Your name was Rivera.

You invited me into your tent.

 

Author Biography:

Sharon Doubiago is the author of many books of poetry, short stories, essays and memoirs. Her most recent publication is My Father’s Love, Vols 1 and 2, a memoir of childhood and its legacy in adulthood. Volume 1 was a finalist in the Northern California Book Awards. These poems are from her new poetry manuscript, Writing.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

A River Runs Through Us    Editor’s Note by Judith Roche     Lyn Coffin    Scott Ezell    Sharon Doubiago    Elizabeth Austen    Kathleen Flenniken    Christian Knoeller    Lyn Lifshin    David Berger    Laura Bowers Foreman    Sayantani Dasgupta    Sibyl James    Mary Swander    Wendy Noritake   Ann Spiers    Kathleen Sweeney    Brenda Peterson    Dick Bakken    Linda Rodriguez     Michael Schein    Carolyne Wright    Angel Latterell    Kristin Van Tassel    Annie Finch    Elizabeth Cunningham    Cait Johnson   Jack Hirschman    Paul Nelson

Return to Top of Page