Christmas, 1948, Stinson Beach CA

Shacks, oil streaked sand,
and I, Blowzy, still drunk,
gin fizz in hand stood
to greet the late sunrise
at the sea frothed edge

Long before surfers crashed here
or gay cabals claimed the beach
Hal and I came to write great novels
of sex, rewinding Henry Miller.

Shacks are cheaper here in winter
with paint splattered sinks, peeling
doors, spring erupting couches
windows leaking salt spray air
opening into a solstice celebration
for even in California
days shorten, light diminishes.

An eg o-pia in a golden haze
of exploding sunsets
black, red, azure, green flashes
girls strewn around the
lighted manzanita bush,
necking with the drinking boys,
the fashion then, went no further,
went home for Christmas day.

Lines in the mind link contusions,
compact, create unites, untie
knotted anxieties, and tie again
the new into the old

Circles of children, dogs, conversations
around ornately decorated trees
occasions translucent from year to year
blending into one complex vision.

Shacks in the mind stay there
overlay -are not supplanted
by richer rooms- or comforts,
ones own Christmas defined
in the circles of love
giving, needing, lost, regained.

My Christmas, their Christmas
until they passed away,
leaking memories, fading like
oil streaks in the sand,
the good and bad injunctions,
the discrimination long ago
of one child or the other,
inside or outside the circle of love
where lay feeling on this day.

Green red pealing branches
round red tangled bush brought
down from the dry mountains
to the beach– Manzanita,
sacred gnarled aged wood,
ceremonial shape, brings
their Muse, their goddess
their dream, to the beach,
into the sullen sea surging
dark mists of the long ocean
lapping seaweed, vomit of confusion
awakening the sodden, forgetful
youths on Christmas morning.
and their dreams of creation
of possibility, of the new,

Dec 24 1997 Kent Bowker

Three Pieces


In the caravan of joy the way is always smooth
the light heart all hopeful leads us on.
Despair is back in the luggage train
where we can’t see or get rid of it.
It’s in this balance of nature, of mind
we feel life and deep released joy.


Scribblers all disdain evil, desire good,
ignore complex muddy moral mixtures
flowing around our confused lives.
For what evil do we actually see
in our pampered american lives?


Our world of comfort is a subtle disease
blocking ears and eyes from the ominous
mummer of the injured heating earth
sounds of elephant and dolphin
crying over savanna and dark sea telling us
the taste of air and water are changing.