As Ever

Joanne Kyger

This collection has been hanging out on my bedside table for months, read in little pieces until finally this week I decided it would not be renewed again. I picked it up in the midst of the Desecheo Notebook (circa 1971), a semi-diary. In some ways her poetry can at times chronicle specific time periods and feel very similar to her published journals, Strange Big Moon, which I failed to get through earlier this year. But this collection spans so many decades that it doesn’t get so bogged down in the every day. I love her sense of humor and physical shapes of her lines.

Lynn doesn’t want to miss the full moon tonight
As she saw it last night
                        As she saw it last night an hour
            At 8:30 settled on the Wharf Road Beach
We wait
           in the early dusk
                          with a bottle of special
Tequila Lynn has provided for the ceremonius occasion.
“We” are Donaldo, Bill, Lynn, me, & Tom the Eskimo man.
                       Earlier we had picked up Tom,
the Eskimo man
                    and Donaldo was surprised to find
                that he wasn’t an Eskimo
But an Englishman.
                   On the Beach we finally get in the right
seated positions next to each other. Make up
        Haikus about full moon. Bet on
where it will come up: empty beer cans
                            against empty
                   clam shells
And watch the boat anchored out in the bay
                    It seems to be gayly decked with lights.
We fantasize to wile away the minutes to moonrise time,
            sipping the ceremonial tequila
that it is a gambling boat
                  with men in white jackets
            and ladies in evening gowns. An elegant
evening of entertainment out there
                while we sit straining for moon to rise
over Tamalpais.
          Bill is starting to get impatient.
        I think he is going to hail a Taxi at any moment
     on the empty sand beach
                        I hear a strangled cry from Lynn
down the beach.
            I think she is being sucked up in quick sand.
         It’s Moon.
            Rising up over San Francisco!
Further south than we had ever dreamed.
         And Moon is orange, then with a black band across
like a pool ball    or Moon in mourning   And Moon
has a perfect face    Like Man in the moon
                                                        And then Moon’s
water  touched  lights  reach across the channel to us
and there is    Moon Head    and Moon Body    and each of us
sits  or stands  at the feet of Moon.
                                                             This week
I find out the boat   that kept us docked in our places
watching the minutes away to moonrise
                                              was a German freighter
which having unloaded its cargo of coffee in Oakland
                was anchored out there a few days waiting
for orders to move
                —named TEQUILA MOONSHINE
        Light  Touched  Waters

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