Public Comment

Confessions from a West Berkeley Fenix

By Patrick Fenix
Friday December 29, 2006

Confessions from a West Berkeley Fenix 


Oaxaca, July 18 1977, diary: (from a happier peaceful time in that 

magic place) 

“...walking around here today as if I’m a ghost, departed, because I planned to be on the bus to Tehuantepec at 11 a.m. but it was sold out and I have to wait until 7 p.m.... 

...and wandering up the hill on a narrow cobblestone street, I 

see a small cardboard sign in a shop window: 







(We repair saints, Baby Jesus, Images, 

Little statues, etc. 

If it’s broken, discoloured,  

and missing eyelashes)” 



Maseru, Lesotho, Southern Africa, Sept. 20 1970, diary: (from a troubled time in 

that impoverished mountain kingdom) 

“Captain ‘Cock’ Roach* sat silent at the other end of the long living room, his eyes calmly resting on mine, his hands, large, strong, gently clasped, now in his lap, now lifted to chest level. His wife was a bit tipsy and was flirting with me, leaning over to offer a thin Dutch cigar and a generous view of her warm bosom. 

Captain Roach was the dictator’s chief assassin. 





I saw the killer’s calm eyes, gently clasped hands, and I knew that he loved his bored wife as a child loves his mother.”  


*real name Ted. 



Berkeley, Nov. 4 2002, diary: 

“I have become a dwarf servant ... It wasn’t easy, since I am by nature neither a dwarf nor given to service ... I really would rather control, direct, hold sway or just be left in peace ... or perhaps to create from nothing, akin to Donoso’s Mudito*, but remembering with a shudder how he ended (ashes in a burlap bag, blown around the cold river’s edge). 

There is happy crazy and there is miserable frightened crazy.” 


* principal character in Jose Donoso’s novel “The Obscene Bird of Night” 



West Berkeley, July 17 2005, diary: 

this morning a poem began in me:  

“how have i failed you?  

let me count the ways ...  

no, fool, you can’t count the innumerable ... 

better just peel the orange before you, 

translucent in the morning sun, 

and have the grace to forgive yourself ...” 


(Patrick Fenix, Serial Poet inénarrable*) 

* unintentionally funny