marlene mountain
one-line haiku sequence
march-april 1983


too much pain they keep saying

(a journal/one-line haiku sequence)


just a little after hello he says i've got something
      good to know four-letter words
for church affiliation admissions won't list the goddess
      two-hour wait for a wheel chair ride
blood drawn i talk of women's ancient powers
      wires from beneath my breasts to a machine
no primping in the white gown with blue dots
      private room without privacy
tiny bed yet big enough for what we would do
      no view no mountain
i make the water tower into the moon goddess
      explaining everything again
brain scan just don't mess with my radical ideas
      a poem scratches itself onto the paper
asthmatic down the hall sleeps for a while
      up again & into another weird room
stuck hard by an unknown man calling me sweetheart
      a glimpse of my insides
bed rolled beneath a bright light and parked
      more blood whisked off
my bones on a screen technician reads a magazine
      roll over stand up lie down wait
do you feel this do you feel this do you feel
      awakened by pain
a nurse's eyes rub my arm
      gotten up too early
another test just go & return no questions
      discussed in the doctor's class
the good news and the bad news nothing to remove
      one lesion the wait for another
back into my jeans and boots a m.s. suspect
      toward home in snow
groceries pills and scotch
      scotch & night
finally sun pours through the covered window
      a kid-made sandwich
funny fingers look for the right keys to press
      the hell with poems just to write


no a poem to write even if in jibberish
      sloshing so-so scotch
again a cigarette dives into my lip
      disabled the word sinks in
looking up her long-name disease first
      manilla envelope dr bills
what to say to friends their own shit to deal with
      why not me [in this fucked up world]
in the hospital holding hands thinking penetration
      my way-in insides ok really
no silent lesions or something like that to the brain
      not ready even for the encyclopedia
phone book govt agencies services departments
      socialism capitalism bad jokes on women
sisterhood i don't know don't know don't know
      women our internal forgotten as primacy
not listening if it's said i don't write haiku nowdays
      haikuism scirrhus schism
gonna tell the dr it's art when i can't pay
      beyond satori
dear friend this is printed material printed material
      update not intrusion
you know me by now tough
      into women's stuff


pain beyond legal dope illegal dope
      soothed by someone younger
home with what i got not knowing what i got
      pill-sized & pill-shaped
nothing quite does it until the last drink
      blu rrrr
too much pain they keep saying for m.s.
      need a word to hold onto
wait & see i am waiting wait & i am
      morning noon and night
maybe i'm inventing a new disease
s            t     o    n    e    d
      hear my poems
saying something more than art
      calling a pain a pain
hands why don't you do what i say
      dr's answering service
everywhere especially everwhere
last year at this time
      i ain't done writin
nor painting nor loving nor sawing logs
      nor hurtin
unknown unnamed shit-pain disease comes on hard
      2 days dosage left then what


      how do i feel pretty much fuck-up
first the quality of life no the quality of art
      neither both
oh emily don't cry when i cry
       sleeping on the torn sheet

(3/30/83) (a vision with cindy)

hands on my hair flowing trance
      to reach the demon
oh oh it's real ugly real ugly
      swimming in bed
find a good place a safe place
tiny root hairs attaching to my hands arms
      pulling draining
get out mean-shit stuff get out
      can't do all at once
yes just some just some get out go away


late night carol singing woman's song to me
      disappearing into daze
morning popcorn bowl kernels in bed
      how did i but i did
not going all the way with you
      even deeper
but ummmm watch out next time grrrrr
      fuck renga rules 3 in a row if i want
leaps happen when least expected art
      do frogs know
intrigued by disability why go back to ability [sic]
      well right now half-assed
neither nor eenie-meenie jack-of-no-trades
      find an editor
helps but i can
      say it


can't spend all my days flat nights scotched
      glimmer of hope fades
there are women saying shit
      even polite women


wiped out from being wiped out
      rich [    ] says apply for food stamps
another meal without salt
      can't make out my late night handwriting

             * * * * *

born with m.s. something brings it on
      whole life stress
the last year pushing double
      can't get lid off
slowly fixing the doorknob
      no job either
irony of old poem wouldn't go past the mailbox
      to button the button
why aren't you here tonight
      don't want to write nothin in the journal
fear of painting gonna tho


softly she washes my hair
      goes w/grocery list
sound of your truck meet you at the door
      not long our clothes off
pull out lost sight of the moon
      bathe me tickle my toes


lot to show for my life
      [   ] i wasn't a brat
not even supposed to sweat now
      we love anyway
gay calls from ca his altar to/for me
      not just women brainwashed to penis
what is our level if allowed to be human
      holistic gonna find out
4 years your touch still wetness
      stick with that

              * * * * *

he wanted so much fishing tv baseball etc
      did it but
what to say about john in a poem
      a teacher of old things
unable to understand the new angry woman
      gotta be done babe or else
biggest jolt a woman understanding
      patriarchy bed kitchen
dare you john man woman god read mary daly
      crosslegged nonthinking years back
then hell (just a cussword) how obvious it is


on top of it all laid off


did i tell you beat my kid arm wrestling
      couple chords banjo make sense now
yet ain't remission can't drive tho maybe
      up 4:30 or 6 mail at noon
yogurt milk banana lecithin c crystals slug it
      fresh spinach like newsprint
some words written under some sort of influence
      figure it out tell me

            * * * * *

crazy poems
      collect call from subdued hysterical woman
we can talk

            * * * * *

did i tell you planning my next painting
      half spiritual half protest
minimal sure but times they have a changed
      aren't we angry bout stuff
long time not able to get into mind tearoom
      maybe good idea since all this
how ever kids need to see us give system hell
      columbus what a prick

           * * * * *

did i tell you me & ladies not supposed to sweat
       women gotta


in the dark i believe you are listening
      my ejaculation of tears
ok you say to write it out whatever
      too personal obscure
decent folks with decent problems subjected
      hell of a note
but just can't keep inside
      early music your fingers

(4/17/83) (a vision)

all day in bed hurting
tiny paper mint cup on table
      a spoon appears
fill cup with spine gunk & pain
      fill another
yes yes another and more
      oooooh good

            * * * * *

dammit tho weird stuff in my legs
      don't you dare weird stuff
get outta there i mean it you hear
      dammit i said git

            * * * * *

hey drive my car done it done it
then back to bed
not out of the woods yet
      (love the woods)
greening on the mountain
      in the mountain


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