Saturday, February 20, 2010

Name Us Rain Forest

Photo Enhancement by D.R. Wagner

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

Three trees, the only landscape.
I couldn’t see past the surface
Of the water. There was a kind
Of sweet smell coming from my flesh.
The light was shattered by the afternoon.
It lay all criss-crossed on the floor,
Smashed into the door of my room and banked
Off the wrought iron bedstead.

Car skids around the corner, takes out
About three feet of fence, backs up, guns
The motor so hard it blows the muffler and
Disappears in a blast of taillights. Perhaps
It is the Winter light that makes the houses
Look so old and tired and hurt? They try
To fill themselves with the holidays, try to
Bend poor Jesus into “everything
Feeling so good.” Perhaps it is just that avenue
Of trees, near the water, pretending to be
The eternal now?

When I look close at the tears in the fabric,
They seem to have been bitten through. It
Seems as if the fabric is made of so many pairs of
Old denims, plaid shirts, socks, jackets and
Navy coats with rainbow cuffs, used to grab
Big hunks of music out of time and twist them
Around guitar strings. Sometimes it is a moment
Of wind, the space before the comma, the sound of one’s
Own footsteps reaching the ears. Look, over here,
Near the end of this creek, where it joins the lake,
The water seems to be making a shape, looks like
An angel. Its wings tricking against some twigs
Caught in the flood. They seem to move, then do.


Call for Artists, Artisans and Writers

MatrixArts announces a call for artists, artisans, and writers for three upcoming shows at the Pop-Up Gallery@R25, Midtown Sacramento, 1719 25th St., Sacramento.

1) If These Walls Could Talk (March): Art that tells a story, a mixture of words and images, just images, just words, poetry, prose, photography, posters, book cover design, artists books or anything in between. Work must be delivered to MatrixArts@R25: Deadline March 1 for jpgs. or March 6/7 for actual work.

2) New Works/New Voices (April)

•••New Works/Work created in the last two years or that shows a creative edge. Acceptable items: All categories of handmade artwork including original art, paintings, prints, collage, mixed media, assemblage, photography, BookArts, jewelry, textile art, art for wearing and ceramics (all must be able to hang on a wall). Deadline for jpgs. March 27, April 2/3 for actual work.

•••New Voices – a showcase of writers who haven’t been published or haven’t been published in the last two years. Four categories: fiction, creative non-fiction, general non-fiction and poetry. Winner will have their work designed and published in a chapbook plus have worked performed yourself or by an actor, in front of an audience. Guidelines available by February 19; check the website at

3) @R25 Festival (May-June)

MatrixArts Member Show and Studio Artists will be held the last two weeks of May and first week of June. Must be a member of MatrixArts or have a studio @R25 to show. Membership is $25 per year. The @R25 Festival will also feature theater performances, live music, food, free hands-on art workshops, and an artist studio tour.

For more information contact: Joy Gee, Artistic Director, MatrixArts, or 916-370-5628. See also


—Dewell Byrd, Eureka

Groves of stately aspen
March across the meadow
Haloed by a million mouse ears.
Wisps of fog drape the canyons
As silent as a heron's whisper.

Spired spruce, soothing—
Love-hand caressing without touching—
Fleeting moments of exquisite silence
Herald a tear-stained smile,
Mystic balm to winter's world.

Scattered squalls on yellow trumpets
Salt black-kneed lambs to lee,
And test lace 'neath hollow mushrooms,
Drop on drop on drop of thee to me.


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

when the eyes are hardly open
I moon for you
as though you were still alive
sun on a sunless day

you were born at dawn
bleary January day
shadowed by a great cathedral
God announced your birth
in the voice of a surly head nurse
she threw you down on the bed
tried to alert you to the world
open your eyes she said
you were her favorite—

little golden baby
didn’t wake up for 6 months
finally rolled over, hit the floor
cried out

my poor darling
hurting all your life
sometimes the sun came out
radiant but harsh
60 years later a nurse with a needle
put you to sleep


—Patricia Hickerson

twilight in the darkening room
clink of cups and saucers
Mother and Grandmother re-tell their stories

a child lingers in the dream orchard
sunlight warms her, church bells charm her
she reads the Sunday School story of Adam and Eve

Who was the father of Neva’s baby?
Aunt Ara had to put all four kids in an orphanage
I told Minnie you can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip

she takes her puppy for a walk
she waters the hollyhocks
she knits a sweater for her doll

they keep murmuring—
when Pa wasn’t around
I would jump on a horse and ride bareback
down to the creek to meet your dad

she holds tea parties in her playhouse
she picks a bouquet of buttercups

Ancil couldn’t hold a job to save his life
Uncle Ed ran around on Aunt Laura

those voices in the room beyond—
she pats on Grandmother’s Coty powder

Uncle Drew used to hit Nellie….
say, he was run right out of Kentucky
for killing a man

and bangs out ‘Here Comes the Bride’ on the piano

Aunt Lizzie…Doctor Richards’ bastard child by his cook

she tries on Mother’s wedding gown—
she throws apple peel into the dirt
it forms the initial of the man she will marry


—D.R. Wagner

We sat on the edge of the blue
Inlet and listened for the question
To become complete. A slight
Drift of smoke carried the scent
Of the cities through our clothing,
Peeling layer after layer of feeling
From us as if it were the heart,
Caught in its room of ribs and breathing,
Unable to understand hands, the movements
Of high mountain goats among the pinnacles of forgetting.

Sounds poured forth from us,
Continents of them, ripe and with
A million yellow mouths, all wanting
Something other than words could
Give, caught in melody and stripped
Before our eyes of the darling vestments
So beloved by men everywhere;
Truth, Knowing, the Sublime, Instinct.
“All lost, lost,” the captain said, unable
To recognize the land any longer.

We have no maps for things like this.
We are forever thinking we know
What will happen. We are forever
Calling, searching for echoes, the voice of angels,
The smiles of children blessed with tenderness,
Founded in waking up to see the sun
Slipping between the window blinds,
Not a dream at all, rather a way of knowing.
We embrace them and weep endlessly.
We name ourselves rain forest.

Fern Canyon
Photo Enhancement by D.R. Wagner

Today's LittleNip:

You exhale roughly a liter of water per day into the atmosphere, and most of this water rains or snows back down again within about a week’s time. The total global precipitation is about 1,000,000,000,000,000 (one quadrillion) times greater than the amount of water you exhale, so your impact on the weather is pretty minor.

But even if you contribute only one quadrillionth of the total water content in a snowflake, that is still about 1,000 molecules. It depends on how well things are mixed in the atmosphere, but there are probably, very roughly, about a thousand of your molecules in every snowflake.

—Anonymous (contributed by D.R. Wagner)