My Mother Is The Land; We Tell Time By The Clock of Stars

I am the voice of my two year old penis as my mother holds me by the shoulders, leaning out the car door at a rest stop in the redwoods and I pee the nectar of her breasts into the dust under the trees.

I am the water of my body and my mother’s body. And mother is California as I give her unto Who gave her unto me.

The myth of my mother’s death by leukemia when I was six is not the same myth as her spirit settling into the land and becoming the rolling hills of the Central Valley, becoming the long stretches of sand from Pismo through Avila all the way to Morro Bay.

That story is the same one as her body reaching through the trees at Carlotta until her thighs are synonymous with redwoods. That fable is the language of her arms rocking me to sleep at night as the tides roll in the length of dawn from San Diego to Crescent City.

I spent forty-nine years of my life angry because they hadn’t told me where she is buried, nor did they allow me to attend the placing of her ashes and it is only now I understand it was too late for a little boy to stay up and it was too long to watch the infinite placing of those ashes from one latitude to another, one longitude after another, every bay and ravine filled with the gray-white ash of the body of my mother now called California, now called Oh Susannah, now called Hotel California, now called She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round The Mountain When She Comes, now called, You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go.

The myth of my mother has been danced into the first six layers of the planet and the seventh is reserved for the intimacy of her giggle-girl secret bedtime story relationship with Gaia.

I have cried out these last forty eight years every night that I wake in the still dark of three a.m. at the unfairness, the brutal emptiness and it is only now, at fifty-four years old that the land speaks to me in the voice of my mother and I realize she has been collecting explanations all these silent years for without a body, vocabulary was a mystery she had forgotten.

Is it any wonder, I’m a poet?

It was in the caves at Jalama Beach my wife heard the consonants of my mother’s voice bounce behind the smash of four o’clock waves. It was from inside the orange blossoms at Riverside she heard the vowels of bees reach out in my mother’s voice for my understanding.

My ears deafened by the chain saws of Mendocino County couldn’t hear her, until this latest drive down to Los Angeles in the midnight illness of kidney stone as my wife races across the onion fields of Buttonwillow to a Bakersfield emergency room. In my delusion of death I hear my mother sing and tell me her body is the long fields of corn, oats, sorrel and pungent wild sage. She tells me that we’ve never been parted all these years; it’s just that the grown ups had forgotten to tell me, or didn’t know how to tell me, and it’s taken her this long to push her voice into the town crier’s. Now that I am a man she wants me to know the infinite syllables I couldn’t understand as a boy that make up the name Mama and she has promised to spend the rest of my life telling me each boundless symbol, each name and how to sing them to the constellations.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful