WILD ONIONS POEMS

BY

ROBERT WALLACE PAOLINELLI

DEDICATION

TO MY DEAR FRIEND, ROSS DEBOSKEY, M.D.

Wild Onions

If karmas could be redeemed by

the quantity of wild onions I

pulled up today, I would be the

the most perfect of humans.

Barrow load after barrow load I

hauled off to the dumping ground

under the redwood trees. Now I am

having some doubts:--

What would happen if (by some

quirk of botanical transmorgrification)

the wild onions would combine with the genes

of the redwood trees?

While pulling up the pungent bulbs I

thought about my ancestors and about

dying and birth and of the connection we

all have to ancestors and death.

the parabola of life from birth

to death arcs. And,life as we know it,ceases.

But is that all?

As I pulled up more onions

I thought about

conception and transformation.

My question to myself was:

Does conception begin before sperm and ovum?

Yes.

It begins from before the beginning.

And all we souls now manifest in the flesh were waiting our turn to be born. It is now we who are waiting to die, as all the wild onion desiccating under the redwood trees.

POPE POET THE FIRST

Sometimes I wish I

were Pope so I could

set my bulls in motion

and bring centuries of misdirections

back into line to the truths of the true church

and reunite the believers into the fold

of love, goodness, peace, plenty and

mindfulness of the joyful mysteries of the universe,

and the readmission of clouds, water, wood,

air, metal and earth

as blessings, and reblend them into the doctrine

of the great wondrousness of the

Infinite, Unknowable Cause of the Arising of All Beings and Matter.

That would be the subject of

my first bull ex cathedra.

HARMLESS

I don't want to be

afraid of anyone, and

I don't want any one

to be afraid of me.

I don't want to be frightened

or threatened by anyone and

I don't want to frighten

or threaten anyone, either.

I'm no fool, however, not a

sheep waiting to be lead to

the slaughter, nor a naive waif

waiting for the jack boot while

dreamily chanting peace and love.

I only want to be harmless

and I want others to be

equally as harmless. We don't

have to be a society of suspicions,

afraid of some, leery of others;

or cautious about where we live

or go and at what hour.

We gauge our lives

by the relative degree

of safety of a place.

We do this to be spared

the indignity of assaults and

threats to our person--even to

our lives.

We carry this fear as we walk

about our own city.

Sometimes I feel like a

hunted animal as I

walk through certain parts

of town. A human being

should not have to feel that way.

Our ancestors, no doubt, had

to live in close proximity to

giant beasts; so their wariness

is understandable.

But why must I dart my

eyes, or look behind me or

become extra alert

if a stranger approaches?

Yet my fears are not

unfounded, nor are the

fears of the many and

the moans of the victims or the

pain and the lamentations at the

funerals of the innocent victims

of urban violence, hate, psychosis, crime

and indifferent bullets.

Harmless: I want the world

to be harmless so I can

walk the streets at all

hours and not regret I

don't have a .38 in a

shoulder holster for ready use.

Why must any of us live

such a life? Harmlessness:

If anyone has a better

answer for making the world a

better place other than by being

harmless--let me know right away.

Wild Onions Two

Yesterday I pulled

wild onions and then

I wrote a poem.

I smelled like wild onions

all day; it was not an

unpleasant smell. I even

tasted one; not a bad taste.

I took piles and piles of

wild onions to the dump site,

Pulling up those pungent bulbs

was a lesson in natural

philosophy and anatomy, for

at the end of the day my

back hurt and a certain muscle

twitched and ached more than the others.

I looked up muscles in an

anatomy text and found the

Latin name for the hurting muscle.

However, I renamed it. I call it:

Onion Pulling Muscle.

The pain of which caused me to

reflect on the weakness

of the body and how delicate

is the balance of things

mysterious and wondrous.

After I put the anatomy text away,

I sat with a pillow at my back

and, the discomfort notwithstanding,

wrote a poem about

wild onions.

The Mouse and Mrs. Whitney

A Very Short Story

Mrs. Whitney hadn't the heart

to set the trap to kill the mouse her

employer had seen scampering across the kitchen floor.

Mrs. Whitney was not afraid of the mouse,

nor did she hold any particular grudge against the

small gray thing. Mrs. Whitney was temperamentally unfit

to set a trap to kill a mouse.

But her employer expected it of her.

So what Mrs. Whitney did was bait

the trap, but first she soaked the bait

in strong vinegar and then she put the trap

in a place no mouse would ever go. And

when asked by her employer if the trap was baited and set,

Mrs. Whitney could tell her employer (in good conscience)

that "Yes, the trap was baited and set."

FIRE SONG

The burning log

is singing. I hear

it distinctly; it is

a high-pitched hiss/whistle

with slight variations.

It is sizzling sap

forced out of the wood

by the heat. That is

the science of the audio phenomenon.

But I hear true singing:

A one note

tune, hissing and whistling

through the ligneous, proto-instrument.

The sap is burned out,

and all that is left are

the ashes of the music

of bubbling sap.

TIRED FIRE

The fire burned

itself out.

For the longest time

it roared and shot

up flame and

sent out a hot,

dry heat.

Gradually it settled

into soft, sensuous

tongues of flame

slowly consuming itself

until

There was only the

glow of coals and

charred stubs of

unburnt wood.

The memory of the

fire sleeps in its

ashes bed, and I

am off to my

own bed.

MILL VALLEY, CALIFORNIA

MAY 1995

WILD ONION POEMS
5/14/95
5/14/95