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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

In Bolinas (1970-1971)


Each of the two adjacent clocks reads 3:27, but both are needed. One is large and has huge hands. It is intended for persons with poor vision. The other is tiny and has no hands at all. It tells the time only to the small white puffy clouds that float by in a large upturned basin of powder blue sky.

Fog lifted by blmurch.

From far off in the woods that flank the upper left-hand edge of the mesa, a voice is heard, quite clearly, cutting across the fog of this early morning: a female voice quite easily understood: "I believe! I believe in you!"

Duxbury Reef at High Tide by blmurch.

Under the shadow of Duxbury Reef he is not really thinking. A moment of peace. He raises his hand in a gesture of blessing, made slightly silly by the impertinent grin on his face. Slowly the fog lifts as another timeless morning goes by.

Falling trees on cliff by blmurch.

The land, sprinkled with humble dwellings, slowly detaching from time, gradually falling off the cliff.

Young Fawn by blmurch.

The young deer spend most of the day off in the bushes, watching the future studies cars go by from concealed positions. They dare to prance on the road and browse in the adjacent grasses only when there's no traffic. This occurs when the future takes a break.

Lots of surfers by blmurch.

"We were the first on the beach. The sets were rolling in at four to six, with occasional eight-footers. We waxed up and waited for a break."

The wet suits shine like black ceramics under a porcelain sky.

Each perfect day the same as every other perfect day. Some also imperfect. Nothing is ever anything but itself.

All of my friends are in another world.

Poetry: a whistling in the void, with fifty years spent listening for the echo.

Landing pelican by blmurch.

Always important to keep old hat in closet and to forget location of closet. This a.m. as I run by, a great nation of pelicans fishing on the awakening lagoon.

Dark Hummingbird by blmurch.

The orange and purple flowers welcome you to town, Bolinas. The hummingbird bids you an all too soon farewell. Since your arrival so much, or little, time has gone by.

Puffy clouds, Bolinas: photo by blmurch, 2007
Fog lifting over Bolinas mesa, from the ridge: photo by blmurch, 2007
Duxbury Reef at High Tide: photo by blmurch, 2007
Falling trees on cliff, near Duxbury Reef: photo by blmurch, 2006
Young fawn: photo by blmurch, 2007
Surfers, Bolinas beach: photo by blmurch, 2007
Pelican, Bolinas: photo by blmurch, 2007
View of Bolinas: photo by blmurch, 2007
Seagull, Bolinas: photo by blmurch, 2007
Pelican landing, Bolinas lagoon: photo by blmurch, 2007
Dark hummingbird: photo by blmurch, 2007
Twilight on Bolinas lagoon: photo by blmurch, 2007

TC texts writ 1970-1971, revised 2010

(With great thanks to Bea Murch, who grew up in this place)




Ah, what a something to find here (posted just nine minutes ago) -- now I think I really am home. Bea's photos seem to have been made for your poems (but how can that be? being taken 35 years after original writings? -- maybe timelessness HAS arrived here?). The clouds have parted to disclose a faint blue patch of sky, top of ridge still concealed behind clouds. . . .


first grey light in cloud above shadowed
black ridge, sparrow calling from branch
in foreground, waves sounding in channel

to disclose the unconcealed,
this a consequence of

paintings, measure distance
between them, go back

grey rain cloud against invisible ridge,
whiteness of waves in windblown channel

TC said...


I posted this one for Bea, and for you, and for our memories... thinking again of Joanne, Ted, Jim Carroll and others in this "frame"...

and "the years"

measure distance
between them, go back

grey rain cloud and wind flapping tarps on the roof

morning light dark, blocking


to disclose the unconcealed, recall colour,

first grey light in cloud above shadowed
black ridge, sparrow calling from branch
in foreground, waves sounding in channel

aditya said...

Perfect. For me to come back here after so many days sans the internet and read something this beautiful is an amazing feeling.

All of my friends are in another world.

Indeed Tom .. Indeed.

Strangely, I have a lot of skies and clouds and belief in tits and bits I wrote a while ago.

Poetry: a whistling in the void, with fifty years spent listening for the echo.

A chromatic void, it shall remain a void despite, the every poem you have written. It is chromatic for a reason.

You with the void.

Each struggling to fill the other.

I say chromatic, for a reason. Too. There are chromatic stains on the window of my room. I watch the mauve leaves taped to branches with your fixation waiting for poems outside. They feed on the intensity of wind and flutter into open spaces which recede with every move you make on the brown paper bags.

TC said...


There is nowhere else I'd rather be and nothing I'd rather be doing than whistling in a chromatic void with you, my poet friend.

TC said...

By the way Aditya, forgot to tell you there's a new somewhat chromatic as well as completely free e-book I've just put out today with Ahadada, you can get to it by clicking on the top of the Links list. (Enjoy!)

Anonymous said...

keep whistling and keep listening for the's important to many of us

TC said...

(Zevstar, sorry that your comment did not appear on the blog today. There are gremlins in the works. We are hoping they will soon take themselves off and perhaps even get lives.)


keep whistling and keep listening for the's important to many of us

Posted by zevstar to TOM CLARK at 30 March 2010 17:03

TC said...

Well, Zev, I continue to whistle in the dark.

There are echoes of many kinds.

Thanks again for being one of the good echoes.

~otto~ said...


TC said...

to me

show details 8:59 PM (2 hours ago)

~otto~ has left a new comment on your post "In Bolinas (1970-1971)":


Posted by ~otto~ to TOM CLARK at 30 March 2010 20:59

TC said...


Sorry your comment did not go up when it was posted.

Strange nights here in the echo chamber.

Yesterday at 5:30 a.m. PDT/8:30 a.m. EDT a loonie interfered with this site from a dial-up computer in the Eastern U.S.

The source of the intrusion is known to us.

The attempt to shut down the site was successful for an hour or so. Since then we have had intermittent problems. These include losing comments. And delayed comments.

This blog is not now and has never been on comment moderation.

It seems the echoes of our echoes are echoing inside our echoes. For now.



Thanks, I found myself telling people on and off all day yesterday about this poem and these photos. Here, now, for all the world to see -- and hear. Driving through sometimes driving rain, home late last night, now cloudless blue sky, everything glistening.


cloudless blue-white sky above shadowed
plane of ridge, black shape of branches
in foreground, wave sounding in channel

mechanical phenomena closed,
develop idea of limit

at a distance, field action
present, but extended

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
sunlit cloud above shadowed green ridge

TC said...


Yes, dramatic weather. A windstorm tore up the tarps, then heavy rain for some hours, then later the night exploded with hail, like a salvo of carpenter's nails driven into the flapping plastic. Whew. And now out comes the sun

at a distance, field action
present, but extended

Had a sweet back-channel note from Joanne about the poem. She attributed it to the full moon.

(I am a constant student of specific attributions.)

Have been hoping Bea's beautiful photos with the post will help people "see" your poems, though of course they have their own great clarities, "glistening".

Still I love a bit of ekphrasis in the morning.



Thanks too for this -- ah, ekphrasis in the morning here too, and B's photos. I should send you a photo, the ridge at this moment sunlit and shadowed, white clouds moving from the north across pale blue sky.

Anonymous said...

why is it always 'whistling in the dark'? i get the same feeling from ' whistling past the graveyard' but why attract attention to yourself.
1 have tried whistling in the light but no one seems to care

human being said...

the irony of this post was that i saw all the pictures just through your words... couldn't see any of the photos... not a single one!

first i found this disappoiting... then i felt what i was seeing through your words was so beautiful... so haunting... perhaps the absence of the photos helped me feel your words much more...

a while ago i wrote this as an answer to a friend's comment... now i find it relevent... especially to your definition of poetry...

all voids contain something
all silences sing a song
all darknesses hold a light

and now i'd like to add:

all poems echo in the heart
and all hearts just beat hard


TC said...


Thanks for sending the great view of the transcendent world in your backyard!


I know one or two inveterate whistlers, both in their seventies. One is a Jewish fellow from Brooklyn, the other a Portugese fellow from Oakland. To me they are both songbirds, and when they are warbling, the years seem to fall away.

That kind of whistling would illuminate any darkness and fill up any void.

Thank you dear Hb, I can always hear the clear callings of the crow through any dark clouds.

This problem with images, I know that it has happened to you before. But I always like to trust you are able to see "beyond"...

aditya said...

Thank you for directing me to the link Tom . A pleasure, certainly !!