September 14, 1970

Sheeps, dogs, hats and rifles. Pan sizzle cabin onions. Garlic crushed butter melt. Pure protein placenta.

Mouse house canvas dirt floor with ratty rugs; peanut butter scooping spoon in a half eaten jar on a nowhere table. All night pushing, all night grass and acid, all night coming and going, reel to reel, 16 mm.

Moan, grunt up from the bed.
"Far out, man"
She squatted and pushed; after all night long, morning frost, California cold, not sun rising hope, but the challenge of morning light...will you rise to the day?

And there is a still -- of me crowning. In another dimension it was a coronation, the birth of a prince. But 90 miles south, it was an insult to you, to your sensibilities, to what you might have deemed celebratory, magnificent, extraordinary. It was, instead, something to be seen and rejected, to be registered as an inevitability.

Of course, no one could really see it. The image was too blurry, and, as it turns out, upside down. And who, besides a doctor, had ever seen such a thing anyway? This was 1970; there were no fathers scrubbed in. This was the birth of Whole Earth, The Joy of Sex, Our Body Ourselves. This was kite flying high and deep embarrassment.

This was delivered to mailboxes all around the Bay homes of wealth and whispers, solidly San Francisco... and to Manhattan, and to 19th century Germany, this still, this baby grand.

And there is another still, before you wake: frosty crunch grass, foggy breath, something Sonoma, a mystery of unaccomplishment walking through a small field framed by redwoods -- where the fire blazed, where the runaways ran, where the maypole danced. No sound, no insects; and then a hawk cry that echoes through emptiness, through the fog burning sun that slowly melts the crackling grass broken by your wool socked boots.

Your destination is sad seriousness, inwardly focused belongings. Your anger is subdued, unknown, on the stove. It is excellent coffee, Colombia foreshadowed. It is an autoharp that requires only any strum, not threatened by the talent sublimate, redirected, in your face -- a birth proven.

The bombs had stopped and you were walking alone. You left her broken body in the frosty grass. Not Robert Jordan still fighting, but mother lost, not breathing. It seemed like memory, but it was a fiction that concealed mundane execution. You weren't even there when they tore the baby from her bosom; no, left the baby sleeping as inevitability dawned that crisp morning.

A single shot rang across the canyon.

Sheeps, dogs, hats and rifles. Pan sizzle cabin onions. Garlic crushed butter melt. Pure protein placenta.


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