Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dancing Painting

Photo enhancement by D.R. Wagner

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

At night
when the
when the
are quiet

I come
I come
I come out
to dance
in front
of them

bent body
bent in the
in the dark
in the paintings
lights lights
lights lights
go on lights
go on and off
as cars pass
pass in the night
I come I come
out to dance when
the paintings are quiet

I am the pattern
I am the pattern
I am the pattern
turning in the dance
bent in the dance
the night is full
of me the night
is full of the
painting the paintings
look our at the
pattern dancing
dancing dancing
dancing patterns

I come out
I come out
out in the night
to dance in front
of the paintings


Thanks to today's poets who are writing about our Seed of the Week: Windows, (what have you seen outside your windows lately?) and to D.R. Wagner for the poem and photos during this very prolific, creative time for him. Painting dancing, dancing painting, indeed!

Two poetry events of note this week:

•••Tonight (1/20), 9 PM: Poetry Night at Bistro 33 (226 F St., Davis) is proud to welcome Brett Eugene Ralph, poet, musician and college professor. The work of Brett Eugene Ralph has appeared in publications such as Conduit, Mudfish, Willow Springs, and The American Poetry Review, as well as in the McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets and The Stiffest of the Corpse: An Exquisite Corpse Reader anthologies. His first full-length collection, Black Sabbatical, was published in 2009 by Sarabande Books. Ralph grew up playing football and singing in punk-rock bands in Louisville, Kentucky. He has taught at the University of Massachusetts, Missouri State University, and the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies in the Himalayas of northern India. He now lives in Empire, Kentucky, teaches at Hopkinsville Community College, and rocks out with his country-rock ensemble, Brett Eugene Ralph’s Kentucky Chrome Revue.

Poetry Night at Bistro 33, hosted by Andy Jones and produced by Brad Henderson, occurs on the first and third Wednesday of every month at 9 P.M. with an open microphone segment at 10 P.M. Info: The Facebook page for this event can be found at You are also invited to join the Poetry in Davis mailing list on Facebook at

Upcoming Bistro Event: Tim Kahl and Robert Grossklaus read at Bistro 33 on February 3rd at 8pm (new time)!

•••Thurs. (1/21), 12 Noon: Sacramento Poetry Center will hold a poetry reading at noon on the Third Thursday of every month at the Central Library, 828 I St., Sacramento. Brown Bag Poetry will begin this Thursday, January 21. Hosting this week are Mary Zeppa and Lawrence Dinkins; Sacramento poets Bob Stanley and Mary Zeppa will usually lead the reading. Bring a brown-bag lunch and your favorite poem. Attendees may share pre-selected poems or read from material in the library. This event is free. For more information, please call 916-264-2920. (A project of the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission; supported by the Sacramento Public Library, Capitol Public Radio, and the California Center for the Book.)

Swan Scythe Press Poetry Manuscript Contest Announced

Swan Scythe Press, founded by poet Sandra McPherson, and now under the management of poet James DenBoer, announces its 2010 Poetry Chapbook contest. Submissions will be accepted between January 15-May 15, 2010. Any poet writing in English is eligible to submit. Winner will receive publication and 25 copies of perfect-bound chapbook.

We require submissions in the following format:

*Title page with author’s name, address, phone number, and email address
*Another title page without any identifying information; book title only
*Table of contents
*Acknowledgments page (optional)
*20 to 36 pages of poems
*All pages must be numbered
*Submit ms. bound only by a spring clamp

Please include with your manuscript:

*Reading fee check for $15 made out to Paperwork (not to Swan Scythe Press);
“Paperwork” is James DenBoer’s business checking account
*Stamped SASE for announcement of winner(s)
*No SASE for mss, which will be recycled

Send your manuscript to:

James DenBoer, Managing Editor
Swan Scythe Press
515 P Street, Apartment 804
Sacramento, CA 95814


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Looking out of his window brought back
memories to express agent Bill Collins…

The time the stagecoach pulled up to the
express office at Crawford Corners and
the driver Mac McDermont lurched for-
ward clutching his shoulder.

He’d been attacked by bandits coming out
of the pass at Corby’s Canyon. We formed
a possee, with Kit Langley, Ralph Halsey
and Big Paul Martin to hunt the bandits.

Then we sent for Doc Cooper who was
tending to Ma Barker’s boy, Charlie, who
was down with a fever. Afterwards I went
over to Jim Hanson’s Saloon for a drink.

Bill Collins looked out of his window again,
remembering the time he saw Kit Langley
and Jack Harper get into a gunfight across
the road at Stony Kingman’s Corral.

Then Bill Collins cleaned his dusty window,
sighed and thought, Things have been quiet
lately—maybe the bad man Joe Hanks will
ride into town today.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

How could I sleep in birch woods carpeted with moss
and lichen, in a room uncurtained
to the long night sun, to Northern Lights
flickering above mountains?

or in a cabin loft with windows full of
moonlight rising; open in every weather to let in
wind and thunder, shaking of wings, churr
and purr of bats streaming from the eaves?

or under a cathedral ceiling, bedroom
angled triptych to house and stars and Jupiter;
windows and doors wide open; listening for the wild
or lonely or just the dark?


—Taylor Graham

Rain sliding down the windows,
wind vibrating copper chimes to crazy melody,
rain soaking soil and sloughing off the hillsides,
filling up with wart-song the meadow of frogs,
wind too late to kill an already burned-out candle,
rain and wind together a lullaby of Goethe:
only wait, soon you too will be still.

Ice Ice
—D.R. Wagner

Today's LittleNip:

Snow's falling!
I see it through a hole
in the shutter...

—Masaoka Shiki