THE DAY AFTER VALENTINE'S DAY
—Michael H. Brownstein, Chicago, IL
And so I made it to the bus stop just in time to miss my bus
and right behind me came a gentleman holding a dozen roses
wrapped tight in silver and gold paper with a beautiful white ribbon.
Missed the bus, he said under his breath, and I said, Yep, missed it.
Well, he said, didn't really want to get there too early anyway.
Got these flowers from a strange-looking man and he told me
I'm supposed to give a few away to any beautiful special woman I see.
You know, you’er straight up beautiful and I can tell by the way you stand,
you’re made of chocolate and candy and books and poetry and empathy
and gratitude and, most of all, lots and lots of Valentine Cards.
I didn't have the courage to tell him I sent one to myself
nor did I tell him about the self-delivered bouquet of roses
and the box of macadamia nuts wrapped in chocolate.
You know, he said and laughed a bit, that strange-looking man
gave me these flowers for someone special. He told me I would understand
and I guess he did know what he was talking about. He told me, You will know
special when you see special, and he surely was a strange-looking man,
not at all tall, sort of lopsided, carried a quiver of arrows on his back,
and then I see you—you must be the special he meant for me to find.
Take these roses. Let's get some coffee. The next bus will be late.
THE DAY AFTER
—Michael H. Brownstein
The day after Valentine's Day,
a shadow rose across the bouquet of flowers,
the water greening with algae
and something brownish gray in color.
He walked to the window and let the sunlight in,
but only clouds and rain, ice and sleet
walked up against the panes.
The card he gave her was bent in the corner.
Discarded? And the flowers?
Well, they were valentines
to someone who did not request them
even though the day before Valentine’s Day
was full of light and goodness,
delightful feelings of give and love.
Could she have not waited a week more?
The weather outside disturbed the weather inside.
No note. Nothing. Valentine’s Day gone.
PLUMS ARE SACRAMENTO’S SYMBOL OF “LOVE”
—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA
It seems in February in Sacramento, CA
the first trees to blossom before Spring are the plums
While greenhouse-grown and stem-cut roses are sold in the name of love
Nature celebrates by giving the plum trees pink or white flowers
which emit a delightful fragrance in the morning air
Our state’s “pioneers” such as Luther Burbank and Louis Pellier
introduced what would be declared one of California’s official symbols of “love”
and be celebrated just like they are in China and Japan’s shrines and temples
Unlike the rose,
when the plum drops its blossoms it gives succulent sweet fruit
fruits when eaten have been known to invoke the erotic senses as well as chocolate
SKIP THE TALL HAT
(Response to Paul Koniecki’s
“Reject Convention” cover
The tortured clock assumes a
Poker face, patiently ticking
Ticking sweet time away
While waiting for that still-
Too-yellow banana to begin
Showing some brown spots
Marking that it is ready to
Consume, at which point
The clock will be cast aside
As both hands eagerly
Grasp that special fruit
Harvest of slaves
Who don’t get anything
But too much time
In the sun with bananas
That aren’t ready yet
(Interposed with Smith’s “Original Cinema”,
Medusa’s Kitchen, 2/16/18)
Skis in position for rapid descent
“Sprocket rules of flow”
A mountainside of changing snow
Shattering “the even Steven myth”
Start off full speed, leaving behind
“One million years’ TV”
Meet and defeat obstacles placed by
“Artists of perpetual perception”
Here and there, some imperfection
“Nature and man gone wrong”
Battling the fog of one’s own breath
“And this war of little mist”
What will it take to win?
And the dizzying speed
“Of wham bam action ma’am”
An unintended summersault
“Nose near own navel lint”
Judges quick to score
“Waves of shame”
Slo-mo, instant replay
“Dinosaur dregs dynamo hum”
Let’s finish this race!
“Blood rough ready rumble”
Failed to medal, but
“Loss enough for now”
WITH NO WARNING
(hoodie and sunglasses firmly in place,
ready to rob a fog bank of its secrets)
Our solar system had nine planets
That every little kid could recite
Then one was kicked off the team
For using steroid enhancers
THE SERIAL COMMA RULE
Knowledgeable teachers taught
Us to leave out the comma between
The last two words of a list
Now, just, to, be, safe, we, don’t
ONE MAN, ONE VOTE
This concept, fashioned by
Greek slave owners, served us
Well to lay the foundation
For home owners’ associations
WHO WON THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR?
The British withdrew their military
Forces but left behind elitism,
Red carpets, interminable income gap,
Saluting colors, bowing to authority, …..
Free? Not so much really, when
Women cannot even express
Their milk in public, let alone opinions
But anyone toting a gun has the floor
CONGRESS HAS DECLARED WAR ON THE PEOPLE
Gave Congress the job to draft
Articles of war
Failing to foresee
Moneyed lobbyists using
Congress as their whore
Anyone can now
Buy military assault
Weapons at the store
Take them to public
Places where people gather
Kill many, kill more
It happened again
As quickly and easily
As it did before
FULL OF B.S.
I have been exposed to a life full of B.S.
Some of it exquisitely wonderful, and
None of it quite so bad as the taboo
expression now indicates:
AN UNLUKY NUMBER
—Michael Ceraolo, S. Euchlid, OH
I am thirteenth of the forty-four different men
who have held the nation's highest office
in our first two hundred thirty years,
sworn in on July 9, 1850,
after the death of Zachary Taylor
I am usually ranked near the bottom
in historians' rankings of Presidents,
considered eminently forgettable,
but there is a reason to remember me
An excerpt from the first State of the Union message
I sent to Congress December 2, 1850:
has become so desirable an article
to the agricultural interest of the United States
that it is the duty of the Government to employ
all the means properly in its power
for the purpose of causing that article to be
imported into the country at a reasonable price
Nothing will be omitted on my part
toward accomplishing this desirable end."
Yes, you did indeed read that right:
I talked about bird shit
And for that alone
I should be remembered,
even if it's only to be mocked,
rather than being forgotten.
In my country we go to prison first and then become President.
* * *
I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.
—George H. W. Bush
* * *
We need a great President.
A huge load of thanks to today’s Kitchen-load of poems! Poetry readings in our area begin this week at 5pm tonight with Poetry on Main Street, an open mic for poets and musicians at The Wine Smith on Main Street in Placerville, then continue at 7:30pm at Sac. Poetry Center with readings from Know Me Here: An Anthology of Poetry by Women. On Wednesday at 6:30pm, Relax With Tax, a presentation for artists and the self-employed by Jon Martin, CPA, for Cal. Lawyers for the Arts, meets at 2015 J St. in Sac. (be sure to register).
Straight-Out Scribes will be presenters on Friday, 6pm, at the UCD School of Medicine Student National Medical Assoc. candlelight dinner in Sac. (free, but be sure to register). Also on Friday, Speak Up: The Art of Storytelling and Poetry will present poets and storytellers on the theme, “In the Beginning” at Avid Reader on Broadway in Sac., 7pm. And frank andrick and Lynette Blumhardt (plus open mic) will be featured at Writers on the Air Saturday morning at 9:30pm at Sac. Poetry Center; please RSVP. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.
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