jazz, free-jazz and improvised music

mark weber | pismo beach

Gas Station Pismo Beach, California 1970’s| Photo: Mark Weber

Essentially, we all
drift through life


Like a dream . . . .
aaeven as
much as we intend to direct ourselves, oh, in the many
endeavors, that seem to require
………our attention

Yes, a dream, as I get older it all seems like a dream

It’s not as if I remember everything . . .
after all, our lives are a mist, the gossamer curtains
gentle breeze . . .

The 1970s for me, it seems I was drifting continuously . . .

This photo of Pismo Beach I find in a box, more dreamlike than real . . .

California used to be full of these little fog-bound coastal towns lost in time
there were sand dunes at Pismo, you could sleep there among the dunes
lay there watching the stars and listening to the ocean

Staring out in space once more trying to fathom the conundrum
that the universe never ends . . .

Mark Weber | 6feb10


  1. Mark Weber

    Some of the idea for this poem
    overtook me in this powerful couple paragraphs
    on p294 of Peter Matthiessen’s SNOW LEOPARD
    where he quotes his young wife who has just died in NYC
    during a snow storm — cancer:

    I left the hospital just before daybreak. It was snowing.
    Walking through the silent streets, I remembered Deborah’s
    beloved Zen expression: “No snowflake ever falls in the
    wrong place.” Even in this grim winter dawn, everything was
    as it should be, the snowflakes were falling without effort, all
    was calm and clear. In her book, she says:

    The flower fulfills its immanence, intelligence implicit
    in its unfolding.
    There is a discipline.
    The flower grows without mistakes.
    A man must grow himself, until he understands the
    intelligence of the flower.

    To proceed as though you know nothing, not even
    your age, nor sex, nor how you look. To proceed as
    though you were made of gossamer . . . a mist that
    passes through and is passed through and retains its
    form. A mist that loses its form and still is. A mist that
    finally dissolves, particles scattered in the sun.

    –Deborah Love
    ANNAGHKEEN (Random House, 1970)

  2. Dottie Grossman

    If I have a pal in Palos Verdes,
    what have I got in Pismo Beach.
    For twenty-five thousand dollars,
    what have I got in Pismo Beach?

    Green is my pal in Palos Verdes,
    hurricane-eyed and hot.
    Even if he leaves,
    there will be green consolation.

    Twenty-five thousand clams,
    that’s what I’ve got in Pismo Beach.
    Twenty-five thousand blind
    and rock-blue clams,
    whistling in the dark at Pismo Beach.

  3. Connie Crothers

    This poem and the photo really gets to me. Resonates. Fog-bound towns… I grew up with them. I loved getting over to Half Moon Bay. In those years, no one really especially wanted to go there. It was not a destination. Mostly, it was because it was usually cold and fog-bound. Also, there was a strong undertow there, not much good for swimming, much less sun-bathing, just walking and dreaming. I had to watch my step so I wouldn’t disturb one of the many large jelly fish that washed up on the beach. The kelp was often 30 feet long. Also dreamlike were the fields of artichokes, big thistles that didn’t look edible on the stalk. There were shacks set back from the road, visible through the thick mists.

  4. David Meltzer

    was memory cloud dancing
    during my southern California days
    in exile from Brooklyn
    the full moonlit vision
    of grunions was in Malibu
    hanging out w/ surfers in a collective pad
    called Orgy Towers
    a month or so later
    I was living w/ Pete Jolly’s ex-wife
    in Topanga
    after hanging out in her downtown Hollywood pad
    facing the freeway facing
    Hollywood Blvd
    (Jack Sheldon, Warne Marsh, Ronnie Ball,
    & a cast of many including Chet who
    dropped by to hit the head
    & exit much later w/out saying goodbye or hello)

    so much more
    like you
    we’ve been around


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