I love thee, let me count
the days, I loved thee
for at least 7665, more
if you count before
marriage, less if you
anguish, anger and grief.
I loved you through
and statewide moves,
through Vietnam fallout,
babies bawling out, firings,
lost houses and keys, and adultery;
I did not waiver my loyalty.
I smile, now God hath chosen.
—Ann Privateer, Davis
MY SOIGNÉ EXPRESSION
Father’s solution for all things medical--
a stiff salt gargle, today I am the Morton
Salt Girl, trying to tame the wind, my black
umbrella sheltering me from shooters and floaters,
clusters of Giaconda Jacaranda pods dashed
from the trees, split open on wet asphalt
to spit pink seeds, spilling out willy-nilly.
When we finger it, his heart attack ossified my
heart at sixteen, to become numb, no romance, only life’s
tedium, forgoing drowning for the beaker of my
own face, deluded, becalmed, bemoaned, and alone.
My uneven trajectory evolved a girth of hairball alms
on rainy days, to play while iris purpled my arms, projecting
a colorless poof ball rendition of me on the wall.
Remember the Camellia Festival?
The Camellia Show still exists (and will celebrate its 86th year next month), but the Festival hasn’t been around since 1993. But the Sacramento Bee is asking for your recollections of The Camellia Festival. They want you to e-mail your memories to firstname.lastname@example.org (put “camellias” in the subject line); they’ll include excerpts in an upcoming Home and Garden section. Deadline is Monday, February 22. I’m guessing/hoping that maybe, just maybe, they might be interested in a wee poem or two about it. Heck—give it a shot; what've ya got to lose? Poets should always be on the lookout for opportunities to slip poetry in where none has gone before…
HOW LIKE A WINTER HATH MY ABSENCE BEEN
How like the winter hath my absence been
From thee, the pleasure of the fleeting year!
What freezings have I felt, what dark days seen!
What old December's bareness everywhere!
And yet this time remov'd was summer's time,
The teeming autumn big with rich increase,
Bearing the wanton burden of the prime,
Like widdowed wombs after their Lord's increase:
Yet this abundant issue seem'd to me,
But hope of Orphans, and un-fathered fruit,
For summer and his pleasures wait on thee,
And thou away, the very birds are mute.
Or if they sing, tis with so dull a cheer,
That leaves look pale, dreading the winter's near.
BLACK MONDAY LOVESONG
In love's dances, in love's dances,
One retreats and one advances.
One grows warmer and one colder,
One more hesitant, one bolder.
One gives what the other needed
Once, or will need, now unheeded.
One is clenched, compact, ingrowing
While the other's melting, flowing.
One is smiling and concealing
While the other's asking, kneeling.
One is arguing or sleeping
While the other's weeping, weeping.
And the question finds no answer
And the tune misleads the dancer
And the lost look finds no other
And the lost hand finds no brother
And the word is left unspoken
Till the theme and thread are broken.
When shall these divisions alter?
Echo's answer seems to falter:
"Oh the unperplexed, unvexed time
Next time....one day...one day...next time!"
MAY I FEEL SAID HE
may i feel said he
(i'll squeal said she
just once said he)
it's fun said she
(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she
(let's go said he
not too far said she
what's too far said he
where you are said she)
may i stay said he
(which way said she
like this said he
if you kiss said she
may i move said he
is it love said she)
if you're willing said he
(but you're killing said she
but it's life said he
but your wife said she
now said he)
ow said she
(tiptop said he
don't stop said she
oh no said he)
go slow said she
ummm said she)
you're divine!said he
(you are Mine said she)
This next one is my Valentine to the community. Phil Weidman wrote it for the Snake's surprise party that happened last Wednesday (thanks, Phil!)—a sort of Valentine from those folks to me. I'm publishing it here because the third stanza so aptly sums up how I feel about our wonderful gaggle of writers—my Valentine to you:
—Phil Weidman, Pollock Pines
Wonder Woman is alive
and well sending out
rainbows of original poetry
from a mountain top
east of here.
We’ve seen nothing as magical
since Ben Hiatt and D.R.
Wagner rolled out a constant
stream of poetry off their
smoking mimeo machines
in the fertile 60s and 70s.
Who knew there were so many
Nor Cal poets harboring
lively poems waiting patiently,
for the concrete to crack?
Enter Wonder Woman,
disguised as Kathy Kieth,
with a jackhammer in one
hand, Rattlesnake in the other.
TWO POUNDS (ASSORTED)
—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento
there it sits unopened
tantalizing the taste buds
a familiar white box
wrapped in buttercup paper
dotted with speckled eggs
the essence of sweet chocolate
wafting through the air . . .