Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What DOES Swamp the Boat?

Photo by Frank Dixon Graham, Sacramento

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

I tucked our sandwiches in plastic,
stowed the ice chest in the boat.
We paddled down an easy current overhung
by blooming brush, under the broad leaves
of what you said was hollyhock—I knew
it must be something wilder.
How could you miss the scummy backwater
where tiny wigglies dreamed mosquito
futures—bite and suck till humans scratch
and bleed? The banks began to undercut
and narrow, shadowed into cliffs.
Could I hear water churning up ahead,
where you never mentioned rapids?
Around the next bend
is what swamps the boat.



—Taylor Graham

You’re already out of sight, great explorer
of the Grand Gorge, while I stoop
to snug my laces. Twenty miles in a day. It takes
good boots for a trek like this. Boggy margins,
a meander of oxbows; landscape dissected
by ancient rivers; so many layers of rock
underfoot; uplift and fault. It all drains down
to ocean. Or is that the logic of dream?

I’m following meditations of pasture,
hedgerows full of minstrel birds.
An April reverie, tandaradei
as you march on ahead, clocking time,
pausing only to make notations
on a map. Just listen to that
land-shifting aquifer that’s singing
below the surface.


Our Seed of the Week is Down the Drain; thanks to Taylor Graham and Richard Zimmer for their Muse-ings on the subject. It's never too late for a Seed of the Week! Send 'em to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.

Stephen Wilson from Stockton writes: My spec poetry Twitterzine, microcosms, will debut this Thurs., April 1st, which starts National Poetry Month in the US and Canada and is my 40th birthday. I'll be publishing one twitter length scifi, horror or fantasy poem per day (M-F) from some of the best genre poets in the field. If interested in joining/following, the link is:


—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Keeping watch

on a dying winter hour

dozing over snowflakes

blinded by twilight

of a long lost march

a cardinal chimes

along a deserted shore line

you follow the bird

on a salty hedge grove

dropping tunes and bread

from an open mouth
in the trembling air
you explore a declining fog

where a singing creature
flies over a dizziness of fields
longing to befriend its hunger

shyly catch a glimpse
of the bare trees

where the gulf's shining wind

offers you both shelter.



—B.Z. Niditch

In thawing days

by the cold shore

with crazy songs
of forgetfulness

a voice recalls

another earth,

snapping up morning

and pebbles

turning by sand dunes

you watch larger clouds

from black water surf
bubbling around her

for an eternal moment

trembling for fresh air

by coppery miles
of sunlight and laughter

near thresholds of rocks
forbidden to sleepwalk

through a cottage doorway

you emerge dauntless

touching sea flakes
to face the wind.


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Betty went down a rabbit hole

like spent water down the drain.
She found herself in Bunnyland.

What she saw was hard to explain

A white rabbit sitting on a toadstool

met young Betty with a scornful glance.

She asked his name…he began to dance.

Hello…Hello he sang, Everyone I meet,

everyone I greet, be it friend or foe,

never asks a thing, before he says Hello!

Betty said, Okay…I’ll play your game.
Hello…Hello, I’m asking you again,

What could be, would be, your name?

The rabbit squealed back, Let me see…

it could be Kenny or Fred, but it’s not.

My name is Benny, which I like a lot!

Betty smiled and said, I must admit,

I like your big ears that don’t seem to fit.

Could you please wiggle them a bit?

The rabbit grinned, gave his ears a twitch,

and asked, Is this some kind of trick?
Betty said, No…I said Hello, now I must go.

To you it might not matter, but I need air,

fresh air, and she asked him for a ladder,

then quickly climbed right outta there.

Today's LittleNip:

The Slithergadee has crawled out of the sea.
He may catch all the others, but he won't catch me.
No you won't catch me, old Slithergadee,
You may catch all the others, but you wo———

—Shel Silverstein