Maureen Owen - No-Travels Journal





for Lauren Owen and Ted Mankovich


On Monday I wore the red green purple & gold sectioned sweater
Tandy gave me      the pantaloons I made from the green velvet R
gave me     the green yellow orange & royal blue scarf Tessie
crocheted for us last christmas      the red leather boots Lauren
bought me     the red green blue black & yellow mirror cloth bag 
Jan sent me from California     with plush red band I made from the 
velvet I ripped off on first ave & the grey felt Charles Dickens 
coat I got on Ave B for $1.50

On Tuesday I wore the cotton square dancing dress Sandy sent 
from Iowa   the red white & blue american flag earrings L gave 
me last summer and that I repainted at Rebecca's with Turan's 
model airplane enamels   the perfectly good gloves I found in 
the trash   same boots the beautiful warm red socks I ripped off 
from Woolworth's and the curly brown Atlantic fur coat I found 
in a trunk in my uncle's attic summer before last

On Wednesday I wore the skinny knit button-up my mother gave 
me   & that I tye-dyed myself with Darlene's Rit Dye    The 
long fringed gypsy skirt of loose orange crochet you can 
completely see through that Judi bought for me in Italy    the 
vermilion green violet ocher and white stripped scarf with gold 
and white stripes between the other stripes & black tassels on 
turquoise strings that Rebecca brought me from Turkey    the 
same boots   the clove and peppercorn beads J made me  the cape 
Brett gave me in Kyoto   & my terrific little antique copper-
mail purse that we traded the books for in the mountains

On Thursday I wore the amber sweater Katie handed down to me
over the black velvet top I got at Royal Rags for 25 cents
the violet suede belt Arlette ripped off for me   the baggy
white sailor pants I found in my grandmother's dresser that
had been my uncle's when he was in the navy 20 years before 
the same grey felt coat and a pair of perfect-fit tennis shoes 
someone had left here

On Friday I wore the yellow dress Adam gave me when he was 
working at the cleaners & no one came to pick it up   the 
cinnabar cork shoes Lauren bought for me   the velvet cape I 
made and trimmed with the gold stuff T gave me when she moved 
the Shaman's cap that George's mother picked up in Brazil and 
that Katie gave us last christmas & the little purse D brought 
me that was made in Israel from the material left over after they 
make the dresses and that has red green yellow & orange tassels 
and bright wolf-pink embroidery on the inside

"It seems to me that I should always be happier elsewhere
than where I happen to be, and this question of moving
is one that I am continually talking over with my soul"

                                    --Petits Poemes en Prose
                                        Charles Baudelaire
                                     trans. by Arthur Symons




Today is Saturday   I get up & put on the earrings I made 
from the ivory plating off the piano keys you gave me 
on the coast    the orange & grey diagonally striped neck 
scarf K gave me   the powerful sun & moon medallion from 
Peru   & the opaque sky-blue beads I strung into a headband.  
I look at myself in the mirror   a long time   then get dressed.  
I wear the torn black velvet gown   covering the tears with
the tiny silver bells from India that L bought for me in
Oklahoma   & the yellow tights.   I wear M's battered and
softened old brown boots    Do I really embody all the faults
you keep telling me I have?  I go to the park with the children
we run through the weak grass   the bare brown mounds.
Is it expanded household life that causes me to long for
Europe,    for the Caspian Sea?
             O continent of Asia, I am sitting here
in the park on these sparkling boulders & only the economy
of the nation   is keeping us apart!

Coming by foot across 109th    girls in tight colors & 
embroidered jackets with kinky plaited hair & that 
overwhelming little space between their front teeth
smooth stockings & legs  Spanish sexiness    men in
muted Italian undershirts   tan & muscular   sun glinting
off tiny gold crosses on Tundra chests    off window tiles
& exquisite cornice
                       I could learn to speak Spanish 
if the weather stayed nice      & the Puerto Ricans 
didn't grab for my tits      I could take in subtle idioms 
and conversational twitches    and eavesdrop whole 
sentences into my vocabulary    I could be wonderful 
& translate Lorca and Raquel Jodorowsky        Go 
to South America finally & live in Lima and the burning 
agate winds of Peru, purified on the dry sun-seared slopes, 
skies as intentional as the blue dyes of Morocco, air so 
real it moves among the clouds like a benevolent giant!  
I will sit there at the cave entrance laughing in the light 
& sticking pins into an adobe image of my high school 
Spanish teacher, rolling my r's at the heavens, smoking 
yerba buena   or whatever it is they do

       O Maté         Mate!
I have painted the map of South America on my bed      & I
sleep in the high fantastic mountains of Peru!

Along the Rue de Fleurus    matinee girls dream 
of alabaster tubs   & roped-off estate boudoir 
giddy among ornamental balconies
We want to take you in our arms   they sing

I wish I could run into one of them 
out of the clear blue 
in Avignon!

These are not the hills of the Ain   & still 
nothing happens
the pillars & roof beams are carved with scenes 
of the proud emperor's dominions 
the hot inspiring air falls across the pavilion
verandah   somewhere in China        Here -
we have these cross town lights............
        Magic Mirror!  Take me away from all this
Tell me again how it was when you set out for Perugia
across the hot Italian valley

   even now in the provinces   the truck drivers 
are keeping their eyes out for me.
I could never make a mistake in Spain or Portugal 
they would lean from their cabs   right throug town
there must be a road we could take together
along the Rio Guadiana           The Olives!   The
Iron   the thousands of sheep      bumping in our
dusty sunlight   peace comes to me at such times 
& Europe will never be complete without me anyway 
I could run into you on a street in Malaga 
and not make a fool of myself    I'm sure of it!  
How can the classic pose of centuries fail?
Everyone knows-    even now as the demonstration
passes between the barricades     construction workers
point at me        That girl      they say
That girl     she should be in Spainl

We go out to fly the kites.  Where is the wind
that we need?  I lift the great ruby-eyed bat kite
& the little striped fish from the Orient     &
we runl over the grassy strip
tiny stars jump from the knees of our dark corduroy 
in bracing ochre air the kite goes up   & comes down 
the children shout & cheer   we do it again & again! 
I am thinking of my cheek in the soft flesh of
your shoulder.  I am thinking of Afganistan!    lips
of the fierce mountain fighters
The dust of Khyber Pass  on my silver toe ring
Our long limbs resting against denuded cliff    tan
& gleaming         I will borrow N's pack    and
handy Coleman    will you trust me  just once more?

Passports drop from ornate rooftop molding 
stone drapery for the gala reception.  Architecture 
filling up the space
                           & Ediface
     Raised ornaments who are a part of looking up 
Here I am!   across the street   A gaudy parallel of 
your white tiles      but both shinning  in the clear
  for one more afternoon.

Yes I got the card from Spain with the little 
donkey and the oranges 
and the one with the translucent waters of the 
blue gulf sparkling in the sun 
tips of the submerged cliff coming through like
miniature craggy islands above the glimmering golden sand.
I put on the little rose carved from the angel skin coral,
my sandals slapping the dusty marble steps
and I think of you   climbing the Tuscan hills
as I go down to get the mail.
R sends me the Blue Mosque at sunset
just last week D sent me an interior of the same building.  
I often have a mad desire to pee on the floor of such
places.  I don't know what it is        Something
wrong with me I suppose........    I suppose you can
catch a glimpse of vineyards and stone barns from
the three room villa           It's still spring
here in New York   everyone is out on the stoops
& in the street   flaunting their haughty charms
Yesterday in the park the children built a sand castle
medieval with crenelated walls  like the Chateau de Marcues 
you saw  on the road to Biarritz,  overlooking the lovely 
Lot River Valley    and near the prehistoric caves of 
Lascaux!  and last night M asked Patrick  if he knew 
where babies came from   and Patrick answered  "Paris!"

I keep the souvenirs you sent from Panama 
in the little jeweled box you sent from Morocco 
But I want to be a foreigner too     a stranger 
in a strange land   To sit down on the Himalayas 
and decide  between Nepal & China 
toss pebbles into the lakes on the Tibetan Plateau 
wiggle my toes in the freezing water
I'm not an idiot      I know what I want!  
Citizens go down the street costumes all aflutter 
they don't imagine me where I'm really at 
blasted on the earth's highest peak 
mountain villages and paths fainting brilliantly 
at my feet
O My Heart that flys from the window     into 
the marvelous night       Sublime! 
and ridiculous in the giddy altitude 
No one from the Embassy would recognize me now 
no one from the little bodega
As though I were a masterpiece     the snow 
falling on my lashes

england and scotland are the paradise of walkers.  
Thomas Grey himself walked the Lake Country in 1769 
and after a long day's tramp found the inn's best 
bedroom damp and dark and so went flamboyantly on 
for another 14 miles to Kendal and an inn with a dry bed 
O Thomas Grey I would have come too 
through 14 miles of blushing crepuscular forest   and Europe 
under my feet at last         I even skip the 
pastoral beauty unbound      the sound of all those waterfalls 
the sparkling lakes that turn completely black when the 
long shadows of the mountains throw themselves down 
I don't even mention at all the fresh trout  and partridge 
the oaten cakes  young mutton  and the good country-brewed ale 
I don't rave on about the Druid circles of stone 
the serene villages!
is it so much to ask       Europe and a dry bed!

A slight drizzle falls on the Ethiopian bracelet 
on my arm          wet leaves stick to my ankles 
water drips through my matted curls     The sheep 
of the Caracul Mountains of Afganistah have such 
woolly ringlets   you said
How can you stand in thigh deep sweet clover 
and not speak to me now!
Like a heartbreaking still from an Ozu film 
under your wide black umbrella  or an afternoon when 
everyone speaks of trivialities and a hedious 
tension mounts,   You have manufactured 
the perfect silence    into which  we cannot even breathe 
a Great Circumstance    from a little event
OH porch swing and juniper    and woodpile   and rusty pump, 
where is the wild and careless?   the joy inexhaustable! 
the journey to the Crimea?  the stunned snow of the 
frozen Finnish Gulf!

at exactly five minutes to nine 
the whip-poor-will starts up 
the grey fox comes up the steps   past the honeysuckle 
over the bluff    and eats the chicken bones we left 
for him  by the salt block the deer haven't discovered yet 
some glittering lights come on across the river 
and the two billion cicadas that live in these trees 
begin their abrasive melodious chatter
About this time of night   in the yachts 
off Saint Tropez   the marble baths are being filled 
from the beaks of gold swans   languid oils and fresh cut 
roses scent the air         Ornate luxury. 
here it's just plain soap and cold water 
a big enamel tub between the juniper and the oaks 
I splash around a lot to keep alive 
one eye out for flying squirrels 
it feels so good to just lie back   goose-pimpley
and clean       and scan the southern hemisphere
for the remarkable tail of the scorpion
Like an illustrated silence   this blazing brilliant sky!
what does it look like   from a deck   in the South of France

I climb into bed and roll towards the window
my brother's on a Swedish ship in the Panama Canal 
heading out towards Amsterdam and Hamburg
I'm lying here looking up   at 2 million Minnesota stars 
moonlight  some figured brocade trailing over 
Canadian Thistle and Common Dandelion   over Blue Vervain
and the catnip by the screendoor with the ivy
Burdock under the apple trees    Pennsylvania Smartweed
down by the creek and Spiny-leaved Sow-Thistle
in the ditch                  The windows here
unlike those of a charming Venetian Palace
don't overlook a canal          no colored panes
Nevertheless      it's Dazzling
the moon blooms on car door      and chrome 
on granary roof         and along the curled tin 
of the drain pipe under this dormer 
luminous blond tongues   and perfumes of red clover 
phosphorous angles light up the yard    the driveway 
the fence   the tops of the corn stalks
I bury my face in those fiery gestures!     the rustling 
silk of that sky!

Everybody in Granada is probably asleep anyway.

I go up on the roof of the half-collapsed barn 
A Hamm's in my hand      a suntan on my mind.  
Over the protruding shingle nails    the broken beams 
the splintered rafters    come small hands with saws 
and hammers
we're going to build a club-house up here!   they say 
and build and bang and cover me with wood chips 
clouds burst into white lace flowers 
sawdust floats in the hot still air 
some bridges are going up beside the club-house 
the noise becomes tremendous
Well              I've seen America first
and now I'd like to try some airplanes, yachts, 
and fast European cars      private Lear jets and
Ferraris      the sapphire waters off St. Lucia
some nice peaceful jaguar shooting in Mexico 
the black volcanic sands of St. Vincent 
I'd like to show this shocking pink bikini 
  the lavender shores of the Mediterranean.

Coming home this morning   wearing last night's velvet
& the opal-studded jacket    the lovely pink feathers
brushing my cheek                        askew
across Amsterdam on the dangerously high platform heels
silvery sidewalks            then stones and sand
grinning construction workers stand around on
and make me blush for my uncombed frizzy hair
my sleepy eyes    my tottering stride        your smell
rising from me       a dark throbbing perfume bazaar

Ah! if only one could see the Baltic from here 
the soft & whispy fogs
Now is the time to be glamourous and well-traveled
To pause on the vermilion terrace   & shake my tousled locks 
my earrings   and my brooches         over the ancient 
Moghul tiles         perfect symetries in oblong 
and rectangle
              the whitest sand and the whitest dunes! 
the public baths below me on the street   vapors curling 
in the dust  at the base of the flowering almond trees 
like a sun-drenched brawl.
In freezing and scorching regions and in a bedroom 
decked with irises      with all the increasing and wild 
speed of success    fluttering through the construction  dust
a woman made without past or history           in love
but never in Europe!

Kicking the step  with the tip of my wet tennis shoe
I thought     OH  I'll never get to college   or even
to Mexico        where everyone has been
including the sturdy TARHETA POSTAL in my pocket 
Sandy has written on the back   "I don't like washing 
and cooking all day"        and on the front 
the Nayar Mountains form a radiant green blur 
over the shoulders of two "Natives of the Nayar Mountains" 
colorful mantles held on with safety pins     the one 
on the left clutching a midget-sized fiddle    Here 
is the victory   of those    whose hearts break 
over the spaghetti,   forever leaving the table 
and returning  as though nothing has happened,

                         To demand a front row seat! 
the waves on an embroidered dress     in the heart of China 
where lines of outdoor toilets define the angles of the road 
& tufts of hair stand up like promise on the heads 
of the populace.   I want to loose control 
the way I used to    throwing my arms around him 
madly kissing his vest and lapels   a straining ever upward
caught in that intensity of humiliation    risking everything
again     for one sign of love          one step
into that future I am proclaiming          Oh balmy
breezes     blowing dirt into my face       Oh herbal medicine!
I have seen a picture of the Wild Goose Pagoda.

The emperor sulks in his pavilion 
he is not accustomed to this glaucous light 
paradisical darkening that will soon be rain 
& I sulk on the pine bench   beside you
I want the beginning back again
These volumes of self improvement have done me no good 
I want the auspicious beginnings   the first glances 
the first trembling fingers on my lips   and 
pressing the flimsy curls wetly against my neck   over and
over and over again   Puppy Love!    High School Romance!
  oh so delicious   to be wanted that way 
when every time you saw me you got a hard-on.

          human nature lets go too soon
I don't want to be your first casual relationship! 
transported alone to the frantic lush of Nepal 
the Great Sad bushes  and their vegetative wisdom.  
I would squat down there with a heavy heart
I would fall back     I would loose everyone
                                 under a cloudy sky.
Now, through the flaming saffron turban on the postcard 
I understand the meaning of the art of travel 
Just as Chang Hsu understood calligraphy while hearing 
the music of a street band     and the wine-loving monk 
Huai-su while watching the wind blow summer clouds 
  You see   I know   I Know
     we have all been somewhere
Yet the emperor is sulking in his pavilion
                                     &  he has Everything! 
and all my life I've answered "a little" 
when what I really meant was "a lot.'

                "In the first place, the true motive of travel
                 should be travel to become lost and unknown...."

                                         --Lin Yutang

Bob and Judi board the Greek freighter on Thursday
MaryJane flys to Luxumberg tonight
Jan arrives from Java and London
Sandy leaves Wales
Larry shakes bags of rings from Burma unto the rug

"heading to Cannes      then to Greece     North Africa
& Saudi Arabia   2 cars and 7 people......... asleep on
the beach"   the last line squeezed and indecipherable
                                      "love R."
rumours of Vienna
                              The Orient Express
C says when friends of his took it
they boarded up the windows    all across Russia

a blond kid goes by   driving a load of oats to town
he is the scornful young Andalusian
amorous           & grubby
                              why is it it frivolous
to want to see   the dark swans of Tanzania
the children might feed them water plants   & I
could sun my ankles on the harmless cement border
of the pond          Sweet dissolution of my fantasies 
I scoff at the rashness of the Habitat 
We would sleep together among the goat tracks 
                      Exposed to a real life.  
Removed from the centerfold of your imagination 
I will be able to distinguish myself     a facet
of the Great MidWest          strong & sensible
a girl who can follow the moon right down the middle 
of a gravel road.
                        A monument of the Pioneer Spirit
     I was born here   in the land of sky blue waters
                                just like Hamm's Beer



Flowers that are truly orange are 
relatively few.   as for birds 
at L's the Indigo Bunting   and at B's 
the American Goldfinch.
"from which all tenderness"......he said 
and then fell so silent 
the burble of the stream bruised the air

           Pale Hydrangea     I too
have admired the paintings of Dutch life.

Beyond them the sunlight on the gravel was stunning 
the sweltering heat dashed upon the lilies 
the Hibiscus bloomed     and wilted 2 hours later 
I won't explain my actions there

   O Rustic Hymn
      I know what it is    to lie awake all night 
without even being able to take yourself seriously.  
Still gaga   from the flourishes of the day ........

He erected cairns to mark the trail   I scooped 
dry earthstars into my pockets    and mailed them away 
to you     He had entered his element        Light 
leaked between the trees to guide him
We joked a lot            the Yellow-Billed Cuckoo 
flew from the Mexican Juniper to a nearby thicket
damsel flies balanced on the toes of our shoes    idyllic
& heraldic    like turquoise  like the ruins of Tiffauges

At the evening dishes    in front of the sink 
I was buying maps of the Syrian desert     where the 
hills are sand colored
   just to glimpse   your camel's feet

Blue Ash     and Ashleaf Maple

             big chunks of blinding cotton clouds
space              and everytime I saw the hawk
              I didn't have the binoculars with me
I wasn't sure if it was Gray Goldenrod   or Pine-Barren 
I never really knew what the bird with the yellow front was 
it lacked the black V of a Meadowlark     I am convinced 
that the growth I thought was Catnip    was  in fact 
catnip     despite the arguments of outsiders 
The Mimosa did not have thorns   and as far as I could tell 
it looked exactly like the Albizzia.       Maybe 
those were Shining Willows growing in the marsh
maybe Bayleaf?                  & the stately somber
poplars were probably cottonwood           but
even allowing for the fatigue, the encroaching darkness,
and the excitement of the children    it was a Horned Owl.
In spite of numerous efforts I failed to locate the cat 
that yowled all night and vanished during the day 
were all the elms  American Elm   frankly, who knows! 
was the brown bird with the popsickle-orange belly 
a female Baltimore Oriole   if so where was her mate?  
For God's sake what were those birds in the flock that 
flew over us at the cemetery that afternoon     Red heads
with a black body!          Most of the gulls were
Franklin's Gull    the "Prairie Dove" of the Great Plains 
but    in truth a large number were not        though 
they may have been in the process of seasonal color change - 
it was just not possible to get excited about those few 
the majority were so perfectly marked!   on second thought 
none of the swallows were Bank   all of them were Barn and 
Tree Swallows
 they stood on the wire
 ridiculously tiny passengers on transatlantic steamers 
             arched over the railings ........


The cyclist from Bologna
stands to the right of his cycle 
his moustache is so large 
I thought he was holding a taco 
in his teeth.

Dotty lay figures on postcards   lacking individuality
poised on foreign hillsides   at least they have gone somewhere
and had time to sit down                 A rosy wash
the shade of ripening apples     floods their temples 
Thanks for the Rugged Grandeur of Glen Coe      & the 
lapland tundra under the midnight sun.
Tragedy requires emotion     and across the courtyard 
a Latin woman screams and screams   she is lost in  the Andes 
in the Black Forest   weeping at the foot of the Pyrenees 
for her there are no others      the scene is desolate 
the man has arranged his head at an oblique angle to his 
right shoulder   strollers are trying to calm her.  For me 
it's a long story of desertions and abandonments 
Time spent staring at the backs of doors         or a 
vanishing miniature on a path     Someone seen from an opposite 
sidewalk   or a sprinting athelete   admired   from a 
fourth floor window.  All nearness banned by his plans   for
the Absolute   the Ideal
trafficking in that anguish      I am stirred forever
by the proximity   of the border!
when I throw the coins   they say   it furthers one to have 
somewhere to go   I cannot be the angel in the doorway 
the patient town  one returns to after having lived a full life 
In short    I will not wait here for you    Suckered 
by a brush with perfection         Germany has famous 
walking tours in the Bavarian Alps      beyond that 
towards Sweden's border   are Norway's mountains

She had ruby red lacquer on her fingernails 
sprinkled with gold glitter 
elbow to wrist tin bracelets 
a skinny shimmy-down    baby blue gown 
of velvet portiere with peaked shoulders 
trimmed in squirrel
golded thongs crisscrossed around each lavender ankle 
Her hair in the numerous tight braids 
of the Saharan girls        hung with 
dried seeds and etched copper ornaments 
with impeccable minute triangular boxes      engraved 
and stained     hinges like the jaws 
of some marvelous microscopic fish 
under a broad-brimmed European hat     of 
beaded Zulu designs      A plump skin pouch 
A piece of flawless quartz at her throat
She was at least six feet tall strapped on her platforms 
standing on the corner of 108th St.
in front of a heavenly azure wall   with a cloud sign 
saying       PARIS BLUES

"He flys to Bangkok every now and then      just to jack off" 
and a flattened thatched cottage arrives in the mail 
with a message from M.
I was leaning on the glass display case at the party   and 
someone said     "The islands"    but I was looking for him 
thinking as usual  "HA!   He hasn't seen anything yet." 
Trying to appear less desperate than before    throwing myself 
forward into the noise   the thumb-sized rose at my navel 
blushing soft petals of unnamable tortures and fevers 
But not unhappy
a person in such a state can be perfectly happy! 
someone who realizes their own hysterical clumsiness 
is a person in control of herself.
O my arm that traps your hair against the pillow 
my elbow in your shoulder    my knee in your groin 
the night you called from the bed - "See if you can 
raise the window-shade without putting your foot through 
my guitar and knocking over all the plants."
What a destiny     to be the inexperienced actor in Agamemnon 
who, whenever he moved his head, caused clouds of powder
to rise from his hair                      because
in the lst act some foot powder had accidently been spilled 
on his head
So past personal history puffs over us and identifies 
outrageous failings    we work so hard to put them all behind 
When I had finished all the tasks he simply 
found more for me to do     the pressure remained 
at a constant level     While pucks of rain hit the windows 
saying,  "Cairo"     "Cairo"           "Cairo"

Can I be on the street again!      a lost soul again 
dispatched ignatious into the day     with burning cheeks 
Buffeted about by your fascination of the traditional 
"girlie" figure in silk        Oh give it up!   give it up 
the scarf drops from the firm curve of the neck 
the voile blouse faints under the jonquils
Husky bilingual adolescents bash by us    on our way 
these are the shoes and waistlines of a people 
of a nation!     tough tight jeans and mascara 
passing POPO'S and MARY'S
My ears awash in your ideas of perfection  I fling myself 
towards them       the way one builds a table   in order 
to forget the state of the world     the way 
N's mother must have clung to the frozen log 
when she realized the bonfires between the thick trees 
were in pairs and all at the same level    and that 
she was surrounded by a pack of wolves.
The best is often so removed it's like a picture 
one can only stare at dumbfounded
Collapsing across the pillows  Him in Kiev     in Moscow
in Siberia       the white snow drifting  his blue eyes ....
   The cold gleam of the icicles drives me nuts!
I should go along   make bear skins into coats for him
Russia!            Poland           Caracas 
              I don't want to know what's wrong with me!

                          I'll come down       curl up 
with the South American Owl Monkey 
watch his enormous eyes   all through the night.

tightly woven fibers of virtually anything that 
could be woven into fabric   flax, linen, or 
                   The Sail
for as long as man has braved the sea     he
has relied upon the force of the wind  to move his vessels.
Sails of Rotterdam    sails hung from the masts  asleep
& dreaming of the Indies                   anchored
at the doors of houses     Sails that have captured the wind
& the Nordic trade                I have waited for sails
Presenting myself to the sea like a stupendous fjord 
I have reduced myself to a brush for the deck 
lowered myself to the most ignominous extreme 
assumed the look of one so abject      the foggy canals 
offered themselves  as a promise of something better.  
I pulled rejected animals from the drowning murk and 
slime and they followed me home      immediately resuming 
the heinous personalities that had caused someone 
to chuck them into the canal in the first place.  
I surrounded myself with these lives that hated the world.  
We gathered in the lichen and fungi, liverwort and fern, 
on the broken vegetation   that adjoined the cement boundary 
of the canal       and wept drearily into the fog 
bonded by a lover's rejection and common misery 
we knew what hard luck was   & I think we made the most of it
we dragged back and forth along the grey wall 
waiting for sails   in an artistic pose ..........

Now    here is a shirt    sewn from Old Sails 
patched and mildewed, weathered and stained 
Sturdy sails    prized possession of the sailors 
authentic old sails      changing tack on the open sea!
My mother has given me this shirt made from Old Sails
&  I have put it on.

O thick Egyptian jungle
        O sodden lilacs of my youth
   & the waters that brought us together!

Copyright ©  1975 by Maureen Owen.

Originally published by Cherry Valley Editions.
Long out of print, the text of this book is presented here complete. 
The cover and drawings for the book, by Hugh Kepets, will be included 
in a graphics version if a means of overcoming technical problems with 
them can be found.

Light and Dust @ Grist Mobile Anthology of Poetry.