Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Locked & Loaded

We ain't no spring chickens, any of us...

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

This morning’s lottery. A chance to win
treasure in a cardboard box. The stuff of closet
or cellar, saved from childhood, packaged up
by mother, put away almost forever.

Look at this pink plastic jewelry.
How it brings back that night, the footlights,
a 1st grader heralding you the Queen of Sheba—
and you forgot your lines.

Here’s one blue and green translucent marble
like a tiny sphere of Earth,
when you thought the world was boundless,
spinning, spun with sunshine.

A magnifying glass, to look for secrets
in an insect’s wing. Inspect your own hand, now,
through that lens; the lifeline huge
as a child’s hopes. This morning’s lottery.


—Taylor Graham

He found his way into the forepart of the ship, where he espied
a little space, which another bale or box would close from sight.
—Elihu Burritt, “An American Slave in London”

There he lay, sandwiched between
cargo on the deck; hands frozen into fists
he tried to warm in his armpits—a slave escaped
from America could tolerate almost anything:
clammy nights no darker than his former
life, the misty waking from cramped sleep. Hunger.
He was alive, at least, to the fervent hope of
freedom on the other shore.

But he was discovered in his hiding place,
his wrists lock-gripped into irons. He twisted
free. What to do but jump ship; trust
himself to the mercy—not of men, but
of God, and that mysterious ocean that held
him in its desperately rolling hand.


Thanks to today's poets and to D.R. Wagner for the photo below! This week's Seed of the Week is Locks; send your musings to

Coming Workshops:

Saturday, March 6, 2010, 10 AM-1 PM

"The Great Hall", Georgiana Bruce Kirby Prep School
425 Encinal Street, Santa Cruz, CA

If you've ever wanted to be published or to take your book, writing, or ideas to the next level and reach a wider audience—this workshop is for you. Best-selling author and local Santa Cruz writing teacher Laura Davis is hosting this one-time California event. She's thrilled to bring her smart, dynamic, funny New York editor, Janet Goldstein, to Santa Cruz for a very special weekend experience.

Whether you are an accomplished author, first-time fiction or nonfiction writer, an expert in your niche with a book or blog idea, or a a business or nonprofit leader who wants to make an impact with your ideas, this hands-on, interactive workshop will give you a "from the trenches" perspective of the publishing world. You will learn about the interconnection between writing and marketing, creating and connecting, inspiration and business savvy. In addition, insights from Janet's popular 7 Steps to Publishing Success and her signature Book Breakthrough Program will give you guidelines and expert direction to help you assess your creative progress, rethink and embrace structure, voice, audience, “platform,” and other writing essentials, look at places you're stuck and ways to get unstuck, explore publishing options, including the 4 Publishing Pathways (ebooks; print-on-demand; self-publishing; major and boutique traditional publishing) and the right pathway for you, and tap into the energy and passion it takes to realize your writing and publishing dream.

For more information or to register, go to

March 19-21, 2010 with an optional one-day follow up in April

Land of the Medicine Buddha, Soquel, CA
Cost: $500-620, all inclusive, depending on choice of accommodations. Payment plans are available.

Laura Davis is offering a repeat of her successful weekend workshop. She will help you explore the difference between memoir and autobiography and other questions: Is my life worth recording on paper? How can I give my personal story universal significance? What about the other people I'm writing about? Isn't this a violation of their privacy? How can I write about my life when my memories are vague or spotty?

You do not have to be writing a memoir to attend. If you have stories to tell and want to add more perspective, specificity, and power to your personal writing, you can also benefit. Info: 831-464-9517 or,

May 21-23, 2010

Poetry for Our Patients, Our Communities, Our Selves. The conference will bring together nationally-known poets and healthcare providers for panel presentations, group discussions and workshops examining the place of poetry in care-giving. Highlights of the conference include Friday and Saturday evening talks by David Whyte and Jane Hirshfield.

Duke University, Trent Center,
For information about the conference and to register, visit our website:


—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

(for Lisa)

The stars are troubled
By her loveliness and fear
For their dominion.

A wake of twilight she leaves
That dreams the seas around
Her feet and honors all she is.

She gives leave to the birds
That they may fly about the sky
And make of the air sweet song.

She is clad in the world.
The morning is her hair
And her eyes are of the goodness of all things.

Still the stars are troubled
By her loveliness and fear,
They fear for their dominion.


—D.R. Wagner

He who has eaten stars
Spoke to us of distance better
Than anyone had ever described
Far spaces to us. He said we

All know, within ourselves
That this universe appears
To be endless. Objects located
Light years apart. Each galactic
Presence able to see one another
Only as points of light. He then said

That this too is illusion.
As our hearts gather consciousness
These infinite distances are as mirrors
To our own bodies. Just as each

One of us is composed of an infinite
Number of cells often ranging far
Beyond our understanding of their
Purposes or activities within us

They still exist as part of ourselves,
United merely by our presence here.
The great distances beyond our bodies
Are only these same bodies seen from
Another view of our dreaming. He said

That all great distances, even infinities,
Should be common to us all
Is not in conflict with what we
Know, each one of us.

Also a star, a cell, a voice,
A point of light. There
Is no answer in this telling.
Only another facet of the mystery
That is our being. The more
We know of all things, the greater
The dances wonder performs before us.


—D.R. Wagner

Dancing in the heart,
Against the shore, the lights
Seem to be dreaming the evening.
Deer come down to drink before
Night unfolds its arms, reaches for the moon
And stretches itself across our window panes.

I remember a thousand names
For how we make love, but am
Unable to say a single one aloud,
So marvelous is the language of their dancing.

We can pause only a short while.
We are of the natural world.
We are constantly being transformed.
I reach out to touch you and am
Surprised that we have nothing
To do with time at all.
The heart, the shore lights, this room,
This wild, wild dancing.

Enhanced Photo by D.R. Wagner

Today's LittleNip:

—charles mariano, sacramento

if i were a lock
i'd waste
no time
finding a key