Sunday, May 16, 2010


After a Cold Morning of Patrol Duty Police Officer Shearer and Chief Allec Enjoy Hot Coffee at Mac's Cafe, 01/1973
Originally uploaded by The U.S. National Archives

Because it's the time of year for spring cleaning, I've decided to do a little spring cleaning on my own body and quit my coffee jones.

I started drinking coffee when I was 13. It had been an old friend for many years, but recently I felt the friendship has gone sour. It had become an annoying and overbearing co-dependant relationship. My coffee 'friend', like all addictions, continued to insist that I stop what I was doing and do instead what it wanted me to do, ie head to the nearest Starbucks, or it wouldn't let me proceed with full attention to the task at hand. And if I tried to ignore its persistent demands, it would punish me with exhaustion, fatigue, and'oh-I-can't-possibly-think-straight-without-my-cuppa-java.'

So I threw the bum out. Just a little over a week ago. Yes, I did have the classic
Coffee Withdrawal Headache, but it was pretty mild. More than anything, I just felt tired, one day sleeping in two- to- four hours shifts for a total of about fourteen hours.

I am replacing it with a decaf green tea Chinese herbal concoction. Already I feel better.

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Sidhe Have Visited My Room Again

I was inspired by watching a documentary about the poet Gary Snyder at tonight's San Francisco Film Festival to return to my poetic roots and post a poem instead of prose.

(Originally published as "The Visit" in So To Speak, George Mason University, Winter/Spring, 2002)

The Sidhe have visited

my room again, moved the pieces

of furniture, left footprints

all along my floor and walls.

Petals from a strange and sudden

flower still float on the water

in my sink of dirty dishes.

It is morning and I

press my face against the air

trying to see in. The room is quiet.

My great-grandmother was small

and dark, and nobody knows

where she came from. Learn

from me, she says in her night voice

the web of moon cast

upon the earth. Feel it

trembling in your fingers

like a fisherwoman's net, and pull

the silver fish upon the shore.

They are heavy,but they are all

yours, every one of them speaking

an undiscovered language.

There is singing, the Sidhe said

brushing their lips against my ears.

It is all

Around There is a symphony

of wild sound beneath the surface.

Unmeasured and chaotic, the river

is always longer and wider than

you thought, and the bridge is never

where you expect it to be.

The Sidhe have come and gone.

They have rearranged the night

taken off my skin

and folded the difference

into my bones.

My great-grandmother lays the fish upon the sand

the ones with torn bellies and gaping mouths

the ones with knowing eyes

the ones already turning into flowers

She moves her tongue behind her teeth

and names them, one by one.

It is morning, and I am full

of forgetting. I drain the water

from the sink and begin to wash

the dishes. A single petal clings

to white porcelain. I leave it.

The rushing water sings. And I

in my waking slumber hum

the dim memory of an aching

distant music.

The ocean breaks.

My great-grandmother with her muscled arms

pulls, and hauls the net upon the shore.

Silver scales still luminous in dark waters.

Learn to cast the web of moon upon the sea.

And bring the fishes home, she says.

They are all yours.

---Lisa Gale Garrigues

Image: "Sidhe Queen" by Angie Bowen.