—Taylor Graham, Somerset
The car stuck at the berm,
we had a steep hike home.
Our dogs led the way, wild
with joy at breathless
shortcuts through clearings
pillowed with snow.
My lungs ache, still,
from the climb. Snow melts
under my collar, cold. This
is one winter too many,
I tell you, as you load
split oak in the stove
and warm your hands
to the flame.
And again I’ll listen
as you tell me we couldn’t
live someplace gentler,
a home we’d love less, a place
that’s easier to leave.
Your voice deep lulling
Thanks, TG! This concludes the winter poems—for now (we may need some more later to combat the heat)—and an excellent showing, it was, thanks to those of you who contributed. Time to think about July:
—Alexander L. Posey
The air without has taken fever;
Fast I feel the beating of its pulse.
The leaves are twisted on the maple,
In the corn the autumn’s premature;
The weary butterfly hangs waiting
For a breath to waft him thither at
The touch, but falls, like truth unheeded,
Into dust-blown grass and hollyhocks.
The air without is blinding dusty;
Cool I feel the breezes blow; I see
The sunlight, crowded on the porch, grow
Smaller till absorbed in shadow; and
The far blue hills are changed to gray, and
Twilight lingers in the woods between;
And now I hear the shower dancing
In the cornfield and the thirsty grass.
For Adults Only:
Tonight (7/1), 8PM: After Hours Poetry (for mature audiences only)! A once-in-a lifetime evening featuring the foremost purveyors of "After-Hours Poetry", together for one night only! The rumors are thick with blackouts, blowouts, piracy, depravity, kick-ass poetry, break-ups and get-togethers—an all-around filthy poetry love fest amongst friends and highly desirables. Features Rattlechappers Todd Cirillo, Song Kowbell, and Bill Gainer, along with Julie Valin, Will Staple, Robyn Martin and Matt Amott. Wine provided by the Wentz Foundation Artistic Grant for thirsty poets. Located at the North Columbia Schoolhouse in Nevada City (on the San Juan Ridge). $7. Info/directions: Song, 530-432-8676.
Area Poetry Events, July 3-9:
•••There will be no reading at the Sacramento Poetry Center this coming Monday, July 3, and there will be no SPC workshop at the Hart Center on Tuesday, July 4.
•••Wed. (7/5), 9 PM: The Mahogany Urban Poetry Series is hosted by Khiry Malik and Rock Bottom at Sweet Fingers Jamaican Restaurant, 1704 Broadway, Sac., $5. Info: 916-492-9336.
•••Thursday (7/6), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged, reader TBA. Open mic before/after. Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sac. Info: 441-3931 or www.lunascafe.com. Free.
•••Saturday (7/8), 3-5PM: Patricity's Poetry "In Spirit & Truth" Series presents Larry Ukali-Johnson-Redd (www.journeytothemotherland.com & www.lovingblackwomen.com) and Lateka Stanley at Queen Sheba's Fine Dining, 1537 Howe Ave., Sac. (Ste 116). Free.
•••Sunday (7/9), 7 PM: Poet’s Corner Presents Open Mic at Barnes & Noble, Stockton’s Weberstown Mall. Info: www.poetscornerpress.com.
•••Also Sunday (7/9), 1-3 PM: Friends of the Lincoln Library present Poetry Open Mic at the B-bar-B Ranch, 4053 Wilson Town Rd., Lincoln. A potluck picnic will follow (bring a picnic dish or dessert to share). Info/directions: Sue Clark, 916-434-9226. Those wishing to carpool or caravan should meet at 931 First St. in Lincoln at noon that day.
More about July:
ONE HARD LOOK
Small gnats that fly
In hot July
And lodge in sleeping ears,
Can rouse therein
A trumpet’s din
With Day of Judgement fears.
Small mice at night
Can wake more fright
Than lions at midday;
A straw will crack
The camel’s back—
There is no easier way.
One smile relieves
A heart that grieves
Though deadly sad it be,
And one hard look
Can close the book
That lovers love to see.
Okay, now you’re just being silly...
Ellen Bass writes:
The July Boot Camp is on the horizon, a perfect time to write poems about summer, independence, oceans, rivers, creeks, bays, inlets, brooks, sloughs, lakes, and ponds, as well as drought (CA and southwest), thunderstorms (the rest of the U.S.), and anything else your heart desires. This camp begins on Sunday, July 16th (my 51st birthday), and ends Friday, July 21st. We'd love to have you. Info: http://www.poetrybootcamp.com
Medusa the Meat-head (tastes just like chicken!) will be snoozing, snakes and all, from Sunday the 2nd until Sunday the 9th. Take the time to read a lot, write a lot, and rest a lot—or wander through our Kitchen Archives and snack off of almost 400 plates of poetry.
And have a cool 4th! On July 4, 1886, Emma Lazarus recited her sonnet, “The New Colossus” at the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, the largest statue ever made. She died a year later, at the age of 38. A Sephardic Jew, Lazarus was prominent in a relief organization for Jewish immigrants.
THE NEW COLOSSUS
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I shall leave you with a little Wendell Berry:
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Peace to you.