Tisa Walden

That was the Summer the brown spiders took up residence in the white rose bush.
It was as if I were wandering in a Labyrinth with my hair on fire looking for him.
Four years later the decision was to document the metaphors in the sacred landscape.
Sunlight filtering through the fingers of the pink and green Mimosa tree still weeping.
Love under rocks. Zero tolerance for the moonbeams drifting down from the rooftops.
The ancient Cypress in the Great Meadow and purple reflections from Mt. Tamalpais.
The cat became a book became a lamp under which you appeared wearing a white hat.
Storefronts with an old map of California and gold leaf impressions of faded numerals.
The ache in my Soul an inexpressible tear flowing like a river in Egypt called Xrryania.
Great slant of scarlet Hummingbird flight, or a Hart in an otherwise barren situation.
What could possibly do by way of a far reaching solution in a world gone trapezoid?
Who would sing the lullabies goodnight in the canisters we called Winter, or Fear?
Beauty leaking like drops of silver water from the faucets of blue and purple Iris.
Staggering. No one was particularly kind the mathematics indicating the Star Rover.
Dig deep the excavations will have been worthless otherwise a Transcendental Music.
Remember what Buddha said “Oink if you happen to have become unexpectedly sad.”
We might as well venture on because the swans at the Palace are swimming backward..
Love drunk like denizens of an entirely different era when horses played green violins.
You can have your condemnations and contempt – your grimaces and gargoyle hatred.
SEERSHIP a beacon piercing the dragons off the coast of a continent called Imagination.
From sun up to sun down looking for the amethyst once worn by a child in a fairy tale.
Maybe the shop window will reveal why the galaxies are spiraling in the Milky Way.
Finally out at Point Lobos at Land’s End we found the park with the statue of Hermes.
Autumn came; the fog rolled in through the fennel and tall grasses on Chestnut Street.
Nobody said it was going to be easy as all the women took turns stabbing me in the back.
How many hours, how many days spent searching for the bottom of this cavernous pain?
The little trees looked like lollipops vanishing on the horizon Renaissancesquely.
I went to the secret garden and there sobbed among the tomato plants and sunflowers.
In earthquake territory you can’t really tell whether the fissures in the sidewalk are real.
Hopefully we can get out to The Avenues before the bus breaks down, or the movie starts.
Three trees can still be seen on the tip of Angel Island and the bells still ring at sunset.
From Aquatic Cove to the Golden Gate to the vineyards of Napa in the Valley of the Moon.
Sweet kisses and flowers provided by Henri Rousseau were all the wealth we needed.
The clocks all over The City said noon. I felt the waves of the coast’s crust shifting.
He died but he has not been forgotten. His silences nor the fragrance of his skin. . .
Of love I can say only this – it grows in the soil like a Bonsai not to be uprooted.
This metropolis has entered my psyche like a cougar sitting waiting to devour me.
O San Francisco! O City transfixed in time. Saint Francis too was an epileptic.
A dark doorway. A “V” of geese in an otherwise overcast sky menacing rainstorms.
A dark man shoveling dirt into a hole somewhere in a shanty town in Mississippi.
Fender guitar in its felt-lined case with frayed edges. Old sepia-toned photographs.
My mother had the ice-blue eyes and the rust-red hair of a Scottish Queen.
Where does it all end if not back at the beginning. A thread unraveling.
In my mind’s eye I was shown the Himalayas and have never had to travel.


Tisa Walden
Tisa Walden is the editor of Deep Forest, and a poet who lived with Howard for 20 years. She has a B.A. from the University of Maryland in Art History, and an M.A. from San Francisco State University in English Literature. Tisa has lived in San Francisco's North Beach for 30 years, been published by City Lights, and has read with scores of poets including Corso, Ferlinghetti, Kirby Doyle, Jack Hirschman, Bob Kaufman, Joanne Kyger. A Professor of Poetics at the New College of California from 2004-2006, she recently sold the Howard Hart Archive to Bancroft Library at Berkeley. This poem was written in 2009, in honor of the seventh year of Howard's passing.