marlene mountain

out in/ah

out in

More than once it has been asked why, since I live 'out in the mountains,' my haiku are about things out in the world. I have even been told that this is a strange phenomenon. It's also been asked, in a related context, why I don't write like I used to write, i.e., about these mountains, Nature, and so on ('at dusk hot water from the hose'). Further, it's been asked more than once why am I angry, to which I have attempted at least one answer ('why am i now angry why are you not angry'). It has been more than implied that being out here and 'away' from the world is some kind of idyllic existence, that I'm in the midst of a haven. I am about to begin asking people if they have all of their marbles.

In spite of my wish to get mean and tough ('tired of being nice'), I will attempt again to clarify my situation. Yes, I can walk out my door and 'be in nature' and walk farther into my land and be 'more' in nature. But, unlike people who visit botanical gardens and parks, I don't have maintenance crews to come in and tame nature so that I can sit in the yard or walk on a path. Beyond that, I, too, deal with problems (seemingly humongous), red tape, bullshit, brick walls, disappointments, stress, etc. etc. Truly. I even live beside a black top road (which is now a state highway), am two miles from a major highway, see and hear airplanes overhead. I also live near a nuclear submarine fuel plant ('another uranium leak fifteen miles from home').

As far as writing about the 'positive' aspects of where I live--I have and still do ('first day of spring opening her letter earth on my hands'). I doubt, however, that I will 'go back' to how I saw the world which I assume includes 'my' world and write accordingly. Quite simply my consciousness is different and continues to change ('first snow if i could begin again at 20 even 25'; 'i was fortyfive before i heard of matilda joslyn gage'; 'solstice at 47 the new belief in myself'). It is, of course, impossible to observe and comprehend everything at once. As artists we can do no more than record what it is we know and feel as we know and feel it.

I did not ask for the world to be as I know it to be. I, as most people, do not want it to be as it is. The world, however, is what each of us has helped make and continues to make--we are colluders in the very world we wish were different. And until we on a grand scale absolutely and quite simply quit perpetuating it, it can do nothing but get worse. (I would recommend Sonia Johnson's recent GOING OUT OF OUR MINDS to see how change indeed can happen.)

There is a confession to be made: haiku itself (which I've 'taken seriously' since I first became aware of it) is a reason I see what I now see and I write what I now write--just like in the 'old' days. I believed and still believe in 'moments keenly perceived' and 'things as they are.' It is haiku that has helped me see reality. More precisely, it is these ideas within haiku which have given me the basis for expressing what has taken place in my consciousness--as a result of what brave and intelligent women have offered to the world of thought. I firmly believe that creative art is a process rather than an end product. Poems and paintings merely show where one is in that process. But only some of it. Much is sorted in the head and is never recorded (some might sigh at this point regarding what I have not recorded), and at other times only the leaps are recorded ('not ready to hear a woman sing until I've heard her scream'--sound carries well in the mountains).

Two more observations. Perhaps trying to survive out in the mountains makes me more aware of the need to protect them by at least pointing out what is happening ('acid rain less and less i am at one with nature'* *'less and less nature is nature'). Perhaps living away from down town art makes me more aware that art is what I make it.



Ah, Oneness. Oneness is a concept within haiku--and several other 'secular' as well as so-called religious institutions--which certain 'thinkers' have established and, in fact, have glorified as something worth attaining. We, experiencing the world as it is, had no clue about oneness until these kind thinkers let us know that this was the case. Apparently, if we 'do right,' it is possible to see beyond the misty 'un'reality of madness which we believe to exist to a place of light, where one is all and all is one, or something like that. We need only admit to a grand design, excuse (rationalize) ourselves from our misperceptions of life, and follow--but not obviously strive. We may even write poems to prove to ourselves and others that this grand design of oneness can be glimpsed. Had, even. Now that we have been made aware that it is a possibility.

It is not impossible that oneness did exist at some time in the universe. The vast amount of extant 'spiritual art' from matrilineal times points (if we're not thrown off by the many misinterpretations of male-identified archeologists, et al) to a deep identification of people with their surroundings. These people dressed themselves and made images of their divine female counterparts as animals, put 'nature' on their divinities and on their own bodies in life and in death, created a wide variety of highly symbolic designs, and in countless other ways were closely merged with nature. (For this discussion, I'm not considering a belief within the scientific community that humans and the universe are not made of the same matter.)

If oneness has existed, it existed before the male rebellion. All 'pursuits' of oneness since then have been self-deceptive pursuits--perhaps from an honest and deep longing to belong again, but nonetheless, deception--because under/within patriarchy, oneness can not exist. Indeed, oneness is not something to be found . . . it must already exist. And, exist for all.

Alienation is a much used word. It has been primarily applied to men by men. Oddly enough, 'scholars' have associated women with nature, denigrating one or the other or both with this identification for the purposes, among many, of subduing and controlling. (Denigration is all-encompassing, and includes such terms as 'mom and apple pie' and nuclear submarines as female). If oneness did indeed exist, it ceased when male separated himself from the life force/source female by, among other means, physical, mental and spiritual intimidation, shortly before the end of what is termed the Neolithic Revolution. Study the artifacts of at least 30,000 years before that time and the 'creation' stories thereafter. The former, world wide, show a deep correspondence between woman and nature and divine--and a deep, deep respect. The latter are particularly revealing of the extent to which the patriarchal take-over changed the course of several million years.

It's mind-boggling.

By the time writing was used for 'literature,' the esteemed place women held in society was on the decline. Though a female most often is recorded as creating the universe and giving all life and death, she successively lost power and was destroyed by a male, and/or was blamed for all the ills of the world--until eventually she became merely a vessel for a baby god. Quite a transformation.

Truly, men have gotten themselves in a pickle. (It is primarily men who search for this 'lost' oneness.) Though all of us suffer from this profound reversal of truth, the heaviest burden falls upon the women of the world. And not just in so-called undeveloped countries--what a sham to imply America is developed (even in male studies it ranks only fifth in least human suffering). In America a male rapes a female every three (3) seconds. In America it is a male relative or 'friend' who sexually molests one (1) female out of every three by the age of eighteen {perhaps, sixteen}. (These statistics show that a few weirdoes can not possibly be responsible.) In America it is most often male 'lovers' who murder and violate women. And, in America men spend $10,000,000,000 a year on pornography--the 'how-to' for all of the above actions.

'Not me,' I can imagine 'good guys' saying. Yet, it is a carefully guarded 'secret' that male power derives not merely from the acts of rape and violence in themselves, but from the ever present real threat to which all females are subjected, and from which all men--and particularly the good guys who can hide behind the cover of not being the specific actuators--benefit.

The following haiku comes from a moment of patriarchal oneness keenly perceived:

fearing her and all women he rapes her and all women


Printed Matter 12:3 September/October 1988 Tokyo;
'out in' Brussels Sprout 7:1 1989 America.


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