Sunday, September 06, 2009

Can We Form Collectives?

Running Shadows
Photo by Bob Dreizler, Sacramento

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

We escape this Sunday towards Bodega Bay,
savoring black and white cows who munch yellow grasses
—and even a golden, horned, shaggy variety—
at farmsteads festooned with astonishing pink wild—lilies?—
then fill our heads with oysters and clam chowder
at The Tides, which, several doors, windows, lives
ago, was Hitchcock’s forum for the debate
between Tippi Hedren and that elderly,
hard-bitten British lady who insists
that birds cannot attack people; they can’t
form collectives, make conspiracies.
What can Tippi say? She knows what she saw…
we see a saltwater-slick young harbor seal
bob up from fish-dives, “showing his back above
the element he lives in.” So far submersed
within the element of our perceptions,
we bob up and down atop Bodega Head:
iceplant, mostly bloom-spent coast bush lupine,
caramel-colored granite sand, lime-green surf,
and fog as from a fog machine in a film.
We come back to learn north Auburn’s up in flames;
people and uncomprehending animals suffer;
this morning, fires just barely contained or snuffed,
the smoke, that direction, shows faintly out my window.
So fragmented our sensations, thoughts, and experiences
even in this accessible, technological world,
how can we knit ourselves one people, how
unite the fortunate and the unfortunate?
Can we form collectives? Conspiracy, law, or genetics,
has shaped some union of us, tight- or loose-knit:
if not commonwealth, what do we call this thing?