Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bones of the Stars: Moon Song

Evening Clouds
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

I am the bridge of dreams.

I am bounded only by waking.
I am beyond the law.
I am part of life and of death.
I am the bones of the stars.

I am the color of the universe.

I am far islands the morning

Before the carnival. I am

The sparking end of the power cable

Spitting into the night full of rain.

I am the sound of ten thousand
Tree frogs—the rain forest.

I am the coughing of the jaguar.

In the morning steam rises from me.

The dawn streams through my head.

I hold you close and move inside

Your body. I taste your skin and

It is sweet and salty writing as I enter you

Again and again just as you awaken.

I am gone seconds after your eyes open.


Today and Tonight in NorCal poetry:

•••Today (Thursday, 3/18), 12 noon: Sacramento Poetry Center’s Brown Bag Lunch Series at the Central Library, 828 I St., Sacramento. This Third Thursday reading follows close on the heels of St. Patrick’s Day; bring your favorite poems (preferably by a writer other than yourself) about any kind of greeny thing, like “Asphodel, that Greeny . . .” Or just bring a favorite that is chameleonic and helps to settle your stomach after a bout with some corned beef. Note: no Bushmills or Jameson’s will be served.

•••Tonight (Thurs., 3/18), 8pm: The Poetry Night Reading Series in Davis is proud to welcome Sacramento poets Indigo Moor and Judy Halebsky at the John Natsoulas Gallery, 521 1st Street, Davis. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early at the John Natsoulas Gallery to secure a table and to sign up for a spot on the Open Mic list.
Indigo Moor’s most recent book of poetry, Through the Stonecutter's Window, has just been announced as this year’s winner of the nationally recognized Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize. His poetry has been described as vivid and soulful, exploring broad subjects from "dialogues with the visual arts to the natural world and the poet's dreams and nightmares." You may know Moor as the former vice president of the Sacramento Poetry Center, or as the author of Tap Root, a collection of poems published in 2006 by Main Street Rag's Editor's Select Poetry Series. He is the winner of the 2005 Vesle Fenstermaker Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2008 Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize; he was also a 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee. His work has appeared in various anthologies and journals, including the Xavier Review, LA Review, Poetry Now, and Suisun Valley Review. A graduate member of the Artist's Residency Institute for Teaching Artists, Moor teaches residencies and workshops across the country. For further information on Indigo’s most recent accomplishments and publications, visit his website at

Judy Halebsky trained in Performance Studies at UC Davis and is a member of Sacramento Poetry Center's Tuesday night workshop. Since 2007 she has been in Tokyo studying Japanese literature on a MEXT fellowship. Her book, Sky=Empty, was chosen by Marvin Bell as the winner of the 2009 New Issues Poetry Prize. This will be her first public reading from the book.

Musicians: Dylan Bolles, Mark Fuoco, Keith Cary

•••Also tonight (3/18), 7:30pm: The Nevada County Poetry Series presents JoAnn Anglin & Beverly Korenwaser. The show will be in the Off Center Stage (the Black Box theater, enter from Richardson Street) at the Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley. Info: (530) 432-8196 or (530) 274-8384. Tickets available at the door for $5 general, seniors and students, and $1 for those under 18, refreshments and open-mic included.

JoAnn Anglin lives in Sacramento, where she writes about humans in nature, the nature of humans and related developments. She has worked as a poet in the schools and has written articles on poetry and on the arts in general. She is active with Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol / Writers of the New Sun and belongs to the Sacramento Poetry Center. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Now, Rattlesnake Review, The Pagan Muse, 100 Poems about Sacramento and several anthologies. She has co-hosted poetry series in Sacramento and been a featured poet at varied Northern California poetry readings. Anglin’s chapbook, Words Like Knives, Like Feathers, was published by Rattlesnake Press. She is currently working on poems for a new collection to be called, How Much Did You Pay For That?

Beverly Korenwaser works in many realms of the creative world: writer, editor, musician and poet. She is a past Artistic Director of the Sangeet School of World Music and editor of USC's School of Cinema-TV Newsletter. Her poetry has been featured in the Isadora Duncan New York Company's Artistic Movement: A Celebration of Isadora Duncan and at the Women's Writers Salon in Grass Valley. Her numerous articles and interviews about the fusion of jazz and art have appeared in the Journal of the International Assn. for Jazz Education. Korenwaser has recently completed writing several articles and curating the Performing Arts Jazz Series for the Mondavi Center. Her poetry is forthcoming in The Cafe Writer's Anthology – 2010.

The reading and open-mic will be videoed for presentation on Nevada County TV, channel 11.



is deplorable when you live
in a floodplain. Ah, you think

a cellar, a basement
only tends to collect rain

and slop. It is, after all,
down there.

Then for why
do vintners, wine snobs,

preserve grannies,
rely on the dry coolth

for keeping their apple plum
dowdy flavors, their salsa,

dry sack and sherry, dry as arena
sand outside, wet and slippery with

taste inside the barrel?
Trust me on this one:

driveway, one fertile winter,
made like a funnel, a slalom

straightaway for floodwater into
my garage, a Netherlands of book boxes.

To this day I keen over my
two-thirds-complete set

of Samuel Johnson’s Rambler,
American reprint of 1803. Foxed

before, they got first and last
whole soaking at the hands

of my inept concept of storage.
What tomes dried developed spores

& mold rich and seething as borage,
got dumped as was meet in the aftermath

of the Great 1986 Garage Water Dump.
None of this would’ve happened

with a real cellar, fallout shelter, rathskeller,
and the wit to rent, borrow, or dig one.

The wages of my negligence?
The Soggy Book Furies descended,

finished addling my head:
my Johnson’s Dictionary,

the classic of 1755 in facsimile,
soon afterward ended up hocked. Two

stout sweet volumes, crafted imperially
in Lebanon, while the Beirut shelling

proclaimed anything was up for sale,
one’s best books as good as urban blood,

for a few undergraduate bucks. It’s all
water: mud, flood, or blood, best kept

out of the cellar.

—Tom Goff, Carmichael


—D.R. Wagner

To hear the voice tell us stories.
The heart went questing with true
Love and its page, Ardent Desire.
To know this is true, as true
As clouds lifting against the
Horizon, building higher than ideas.

Oh please tell us the truth.
Tell us about Mister Death
And his lovely dances full of leaps,
Full of daring and challenges.
The color of the sky at twilight.

When we wait at night for the
Lights to quit and make soft
Cloaks around our thoughts
So we may sleep. Children,
Families, lovers and deer feeding
Beside streams full of moonlight.

Let us stand here together.
I will hold you to me and kiss
Your lips. I will tell you and you
Will tell me. We will be able to see
The silver of enchanted light through
The trees. We will agree that our lives
Shall always have this sheen about them.

Far to the North, just before the snows
Begin to own everything for months
At a time we hear the voices again.
Cantatas that overcome death, leave
Us choruses swelling with prayers,
Rejoicing beyond measure, the seasons
So full we wash in them and they flow
Over silken skin as clouds lifting
Against the horizon, building higher than ideas.


—D.R. Wagner

As I crested the hill
I found the moon asleep
In a small hollow, nestled

Just below the tops of a grove

Of oak trees. The moon was

To have been up an hour ago.

The light coming through the branches,

That quiet music the moon always makes.

Tonight your skin tasted like
Lime juice and orange blossoms.
I have moments like this where
Everything seems possible for an instant.

I wasn't supposed to tell
You about the moon, but I had
To. I thought maybe you would
Go there with me sometimes.

I know the exact place it was
Resting. I could hold you there.
We could pretend we have always
Known things like this.
We could sing a moon song.

Photo by D.R. Wagner

Today's LittleNip:

The greatest thing that could happen to me would be for creatures to come from space and pick me up and take me away...This is a matter of possibilities...The possibilities are absolutely immense. It's one chance in a billion I'd succeed in making contact, but what have I got to lose?

—Story Musgrave