by Katherine Hastings


Lonidier Rampant

            As from a distance, watch yourself
            Disintegrate in foaming seas.

                              -- Weldon Kees

You are too near the bridge
To have such hair
Hair a man would love
To comb his fingers through

Walking down the old familiar street
Doorways reappear
Shoe Repair New Soles
Smell of polish and leather
Where you sat in a chair
Swinging bobby soxed feet

Salvation waits on the corner of doughnut holes
Six to a bag
And in Mr. Bay's barber chair
Platinum bangs feathered on the floor

The bridge Lonidier and the sea Lonidier
And the dark morning hours
Chew through your brain
Looking for innocence
Lost Lonidier

And the stab in your heart where the intersection
Of life and death is marked

Cool fingers of fog have been waiting
All these years
Knowing one day you'd be theirs

You are too near the bridge
To have such hair
So you'll cut it off
Leave its stories behind
Or if they stay
Whispering in the roots
You'll feel it pulled by the updraft
Of love you left behind
Lonidier Your hair
Will be the last of you
To hit the sea
The city that saved you again and again
Rising swiftly
To still you
To sleep


Note: The poet Lynn Lonidier committed suicide by jumping off a cliff in San Francisco. The woman in this poem considers the Golden Gate Bridge.


The golden field

      the merging streams

            their love-love duet

muting voluptuously

      the world's slow turn

            beneath the breathless sky

All sense of direction

      gladly lost       borrowed bird song

            rising and falling

gold chorus of sighs       grass

      like hair       tree and time

            suddenly hallowed glittering

All of nature come

      to the sweet nothing

            this side of the stone wall

transfigured by the silent





The sun that day

      The arched bridge

      The sea       lit from the deep


Two Untamed Angels flying impulsively

      from sudden cliffs

their spiral


            into the wind's

silken stimulus

  Curious spark chamber

      of movement

of fingered wings

      blended honey-flow


seaweed sun arched bridge shoreline

      lips lips and legs
        husky and howling

Lady of Transformations

      Ad solam dominam usque pipiabat - Catullus
      (One endless solo to his only goddess - Zukofsky)

The first step in the Eleusinian mysteries

      has to do with sex. There are images,

colored marbles and brown pottery

            painted red


She walks out of the sleeping woodlands, air


questions of ground-shift and understory


and on into the bright night, the moon

            white as lilium, unclouded

      on half-opened lids,       flowers

made to seduce the senses:





She steps off


            down       -       wind trillium -


      to the iridescent marvelous

            foam-line of sea


                  She lets it touch her -

            rise, fall, re-rise -


so she must walk in



      on depthless freedom





The following excerpts are from a long sequence dealing with a San Francisco woman's experiences and the legendary Irish mythological creatures, the Sidhe (pronounced she).


      Earth walkers
            Night flyers

            Dwellers under the hills
      Ireland/San Francisco
            (there)                   (there)


An O'Sidhe Is Born In the Flatlands

      My mother was of Ireland,
            My father came to dance…

The father 9 months later      Love like heat and cold
moves down the street       Pierces and then is gone;
with Bernadine Of the Tight Maroon Dress
                                          Jealousy when it strikes      
and Large Bosom.       Sticks in the marrowbone.

            Here's health to your enemy's enemies

Father O'Bank O'American Dream
New cars       Here's health and prosperity
For the girls new matching dresses
            to you and all your posterity

New shoes
New, New, O'New!       damned for all eternity

New bank examiner, new
trial, new word:

What did the Bank Examiner say to the father of O'Sidhe?
Go to jail.

What did the Bank Examiner say to the mother of O'Sidhe?
Marry me.

Here's to you and yours and to mine and ours and if


And the Flower Like Milk in a Dark Pantry at Night

Narrow hallway   Pantry   The Mortal Man
      of Un-Nourishing Substance
reaches for O'Sidhe

I see the color on your head but
What color is your hair

O'Sidhe perches high in the corner
back pushed gainst the ceiling:
Fi! Fie! Fo! Fum!
She didn't know
until he came -- the Mortal Son.
O'Mind! O'Powerful Mind!
No man can reach the shape-shifter.

I could scale the blue air
I could plough the high hills
I could kneel at night in prayer
To heal your many ills


Where O'Sidhe Keeps Her Tongue

In a silver box
shaped like a shield, a spear.

Evenings, she slips it
from safety, sings to her sister
songs of stars and moon.

Before sleep she plucks it,
returns it to the vault
of silent daughters.


Excerpted from the final section, O'Sidhe Lives Through

Twin Peaks Woman
undresses in front of the fire
undresses O'Sidhe, too.
(O John Wayne stay away
from the shape-shifter!)
A man she thinks she loves
and comes hard to       Night flyer
but she is Irish (remember?)
and he is Jewish so,
you know,
the Mother. Earth walker

Then coke       then dope       Shape shifter
then Death with a capital D
one night standing       Night flyer
right in the corner

the 80s pounding on the door       Earth!
STRAIGHT!       Night!

She didn't. Flyer!

Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.

      O, Dark mother


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