Monday, March 15, 2010

Moons With Running Shoes

How fun to try to win a prize,
even if all of them come in one size.
—Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

—Dawn DiBartolo, Citrus Heights

(for Cheryl)

I see her as beautiful.
an abundance on the other side
of life’s deficiencies.

as we sit, one gray morning,
sharing ourselves and smoke,
she tells me a story from a past life.

“I loved him with all my heart and soul,”
she said. and I understood, having
barely survived such a love, myself.

“he had made me a palette
to lie down on and take a nap.”
I see her as lying down softly,

feathering lightly into dreams,
last seeing him rifling thru a box
of her old photos. I imagine her

as dreaming that day of black wings
that had carried her thru several
of her pasts, trying to keep her

from flying into herself; dreaming
in spite of this, of having and loving kids,
grandkids, and the difference between

that perfection, and the weight of the men
who loved her in violence and deceit;
dreaming of white wings carrying her

into the airiness of knowing her
own strength, her own fight,
her own reach for a touchable sky.

on that lazy afternoon, she awoke
to his gift: “the mirror glass had been broken
somehow,” she says; we all know the history

of this man, and I wonder how it was broken.
none of us says a word. “it was antique,”
she says, “so I’d saved the frame.

he had glued the pictures in a collage
inside it; my sister, my kids, a wedding,
grandkids; even shards of a broken love.”

that corner is now bare; the frame
is gone as well. but the backboard,
also antique, rests in the corner of her room,

leaning precariously against the dresser.
all those faces, some faded, still smiling
in snapshots of her past, reflections of her love,

and how she became this woman she is today.
i see her as beautiful; a reflection of life’s
abundance, on this, the other side of deficiency.


This week in NorCal poetry:

(for a more complete listing of events and workshops, go to

•••Monday (3/15), 7:30pm: Sacramento Poetry Center celebrates Women’s History Month with a reading featuring JoAnn Anglin, Lytton Bell, Shevonna Blackshire, Jane Blue, Felicia Martinez, Yang Her at HQ for the Arts, 25th and R Sts., Sacramento.

•••Friday (3/19), 7:30pm: The Other Voice, sponsored by the UU Church of Davis, is delighted to present two noteworthy poets: Sharon Campbell who is a relative new-comer on the poetry scene and Taylor Graham who is a widely published and award-winning poet. The reading begins at 7:30pm in the library of the church located at 27074 Patwin Road in Davis. Refreshments and Open-mike follow the reading so bring a poem to share.

Sharon Campbell studied the Great Books at St. John's College and is a doctoral candidate in Social Thought at the University of Chicago. While she has done lots of academic writing, she repressed her urge to write creatively until she met her Muse in the spring of 2009. Her poem, “Little Boy Blue,” won first prize in the 2010 Jack Kerouac Poetry Contest sponsored by Blue Moon Review and John Natsoulas Gallery. She makes frequent appearances at the Bistro 33 Poetry Night Open Mic, and writes about motherhood, love, loss, and the high desert. She has a fledgling editing business, and is pondering a book about forgiveness.

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in El Dorado County. Her poems have appeared in American Literary Review, International Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, The New York Quarterly, Notre Dame Review, Poetry International, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere (including Rattlesnake Review and of course Medusa's Kitchen), and she’s included in the anthology, California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004). Her book, The Downstairs Dance Floor (Texas Review Press, 2006), was awarded the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her current project is Walking with Elihu, on the American peace activist Elihu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith (1810-1879); a small collection of her Elihu poems is a finalist in this year’s Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange.

•••Sunday (3/21), 7pm: Time Tested Books and Midtown Monthly are proud to announce the first installment in their 2010 Sacramento Living Library, a series of talks and lectures featuring some of Sacramento's most noted and interesting people. On March 21, they welcome Darrell Corti at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., Sacramento. Info: 916-447-5696. Free.

Darrell Corti is the son of Frank Corti, Co-Founder of Corti Brothers' Grocery with his brother Gino Corti in 1947. The Corti Brothers' mission was to expand the culinary experiences of Sacramentans by offering delicacies and wines not readily available elsewhere in the Sacramento area, thereby providing them with an appreciation for diverse cuisines. Frank's goal to educate was literally embodied in his son Darrell, whose reputation for an encyclopedic knowledge of food and wines attracts queries from around the world. As told by Ruth Reichel, editor of Gourmet Magazine, in her memoir "Comfort Me with Apples," Colman Andrews, editor of Saveur Magazine described Darrell as the man "Who knows more about food and wine than anyone else in the world."

In 1967, as an insider's insider, Darrell started a newsletter, now in its 38th year of publication, featuring rare, high quality food items and wines discovered during his travels in Europe and Asia. The newsletter is prized for its wealth of information including essential details about a product's history, uses, modes of production and other esoteric information. Never dull, Darrell is known for free expression of his wide-ranging opinions, which are often iconoclastic and seldom sugar-coated.

Darrell's contribution to the food and wine literacy of his friends, associates and customers has been considerable. He played a large role in the development of wine production in Amador County. He was made a Cavaliere, the Italian equivalent of knighthood, by the Italian Government, for his efforts in promoting Italian products, not the least of which was the almost single-handed introduction of Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale to America.


—Susan Wallior, El Dorado

Silly almond and cherry, says the oak
In your haste to bedazzle
You’ve burst your blooms
Fooled by a sun ray’s touch

They bemoan my empty branches
While you put on a show
Rivaling the fourth
But the bees still sleep

And the winds of March
Brought the ice crystals back
Early morn like diamonds
On the dawn

The ground below
Now wears a mantle
Of pink and white jewelry

Oh valley trees
Don’t you talk
In arbor terms
About the weather?

Or was the sun
A beguiling temptress
Too easy to believe?
The bees still sleep

The wise old oaks
I have observed
Wait patiently
Wait silently

For the last frozen moment
To retreat from winter’s embrace
To venture tentative buds
Which then wait the day

When winter branch
Will suddenly
Go from empty to green
Before my eyes?


—Dawn DiBartolo

stretch toward me,
blank canvas,
needing image,
needing a spill
of poetic soul;

and in this dream,
a desire…
for something real,
memories of when…
tho fully aware
of now;

I didn’t understand,
but tried,
and in the emptiness,
wept…for not

the bicycle, the…things;
or the heart for

the canvas
stretched toward me,
the void that I had to give?
or wanting me
to fill it with
pretty paint?


—Dawn DiBartolo

w/ so many to choose from ~
none wanting
other than legs ~
nothing is left for me
to stand on.

piecing out ~
only portions,
cuz the whole
has learned not to give ~

and in return,
moons with running shoes,
sweaty dreams and
self-scented pillows


—Dawn DiBartolo

the house shuttered
in the quiet of night,
whispered remnants
of the people before us,
pieces that got left behind;
cracks in the walls
had a story to tell.

when the window curtains
shimmied, i envisioned a little girl
playing hide & seek,
giggling in her barely obstructed
hiding place. shadows
in the corner of my eye, often
hinted at the presence of past.

there was a face
in the wood paneling
behind the dining room table ~
we never showed the kids.

in that house, hearts were broken,
promises chipped away like paint;
and i left pieces of me there
for the next occupants to inhabit.

One of the Cabazon Monsters,
in Cabazon, Riverside County, CA
Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz

Today's LittleNip:

—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

Mental dust settles on an aging brain
struggling to survive in a youngster’s world
as vultures and thieves hover at the back door—
the cream long since skimmed from the top.