Monday, April 26, 2010

Life! Love!

Bear, Darling House, Santa Cruz
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

where I sit on the shore
I speak to your nerve-ringed colonies
nets of touch and sting
that vein your skin
calibrate canals
spread umbrellas
cover oceans
emboss a charter on the currents

where old fish
go extinct
in the acid flow of waste
you unfurl tentacles
devour ancient haunts

where Vikings plied their craft
through icy waters
you six-foot navigators, Cyanea,
now cast out oars a hundred feet
sweep catch to under-mouth
sail on to denser prey

where slave ships docked at Cuba
you Man o Wars float free
to dot the waves
orange blue pink
of pouch and disc and bloom

where have you not charted seas
stretched through ponds and lakes
captured whole gulfs
swarmed and spermed and daily spawned
teased the moon, Aurelia,
lodged your eggs in oral pits?

where will you not live for 30 years
(or only months)
or live forever reversing
medusa to polyp and back
like you, Turritopsis,
pulsing toward the light
when I no longer sit here
talking to you?


Thanks, Pat, for responding to last week's jellyfish-in-the-medusa-stage photo. Cynthia Linville writes: Convergence website has been updated with new poems from Patricia Hickerson and new photographs by Joseph Davancens, Kevin Olson, and Curtis Wheatley. Check it out at See below for an Earth Week poem from Cynthia.

Lots of workshops this weekend; scroll down to HandyStuff on the bulletin board. I hear the Goldrush Writers still have room, and I'll bet the others do, too.

This week in NorCal poetry:

(for a more complete listing, go to

•••Monday (4/26), 7:30pm: Sacramento Poetry Center presents John Murillo and John Bell at R25, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. [See last Friday's post for bios.]

Coming to SPC next Monday, May 3: Viola Weinberg and Mario Uribe

•••Weds. (4/28), 6-7pm: Upstairs Poetry Reading at The Upstairs Art Gallery, 420 Main St. (2nd floor), Placerville. It's a poetry open-mike read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen. Free.

•••Weds. (4/28), 6:30pm: Teens are invited to play the “Exquisite Corpse” game and design a poetry bag at the El Dorado County Library, 345 Fair Lane in Placerville. Info: 530-621-5540 or

•••Thurs. (4/29), all day: In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, New York City is hosting the 8th annual Poem In Your Pocket Day (PIYP). Join in the excitement by carrying a poem in your pocket. You can write your own poem or borrow one from your favorite poet; just make sure to share it with your friends, family, and colleagues. Info:

•••Thurs. (4/29), 8pm: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, presents fifth-Thursday open mic.

•••Thursday (4/29), 7-8:30pm: Liberty’s Quest: The Compelling Story of the Wife and Mother of Two Pulitzer Prize Winning Poets, James Wright and Franz Wright—Reading, Q and A and book signing by author Liberty Kovacs. Liberty Kovacs' life story has all the elements of the American Dream, both its myth and its reality. Suggested $5 donation. MatrixArts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento, 25th and R Streets (behind the fence). Info: 916-768-6077 or; and

•••Sat. (5/1), 1-3pm: How to Write About Your Mother: Just in time for Mother's Day, an afternoon of lively discussion, journaling, and writing exercises with Jennifer Bayse Sander, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published and the founder of Write By The Lake women's writing retreats ( $10/$5 MatrixArts members. MatrixArts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Info: 916-768-6077 or

•••Sat. (5/1), 1pm: Come celebrate around the maypole, as San Francisco's Poet Laureate, Diane di Prima, hosts this delightful afternoon of poetic revelry
in historic Kerouac Alley (between City Lights and Vesuvio Cafe), San Francisco. May Day is celebrated as a green holiday. Dress conspicuously festive for the occasion! Merriment is encouraged! Poetry shall be read by Diane di Prima, Sharon Dubiago, Maketa Groves, Joseph Lease, Alejandro Murguia, and A.D. Winans. Presented by City Lights Bookstore ( and Diane di Prima. [For an article about di Prima being named SFPL, go to]



naked as the dust
sitting among corn-stocks shooting up
like magic bean-stocks
and watermelons bigger than the moon.
I was naked too.
Mint and thyme sprang up
in my cool, dark foot-prints
as I walked toward you.
Tomato vines embraced us
twining up our legs
caressing us with bright red fruit
falling faster than a breath.
Pomegranates and apples showered us
grapes grew in our hair
and when your tongue touched mine,
I knew this was Eden.

—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento


—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

my fingers in your hair
your face moves close, lips brush mine
recline, our bodies side by side
day turns to night turns to day
ripe fruit hanging near
sweet water from the spring
almond tree
that had dropped white stars on us
as we slept, now droops
slender branches, husked fruits
sun sinks beyond trees
lavender twilight hears us
softly laugh, tease, murmur
fearless before changing light
welcome night’s rich, black mantle
look, Saturn hangs low, glows white


—Ann Wehrman

for my sister, Jane

I wouldn’t have known it from strolling by
Jane’s humble, rented duplex,
building shared with a friendly, young, gay couple.
Enter through the front, screen door, rub my shin
against Jane’s sinuous cat,
trail towards the kitchen, past bundled lavender
in glasses, past the white deer skull on the
credenza, next to her un-strung, standing harp.
Walk past shelves with her vitamins, big jar of
Taster’s Choice above the gas range,
but she’s still not here;
push open the back door, and Jane’s world explodes
in my face, long driveway overgrown with grass,
hollyhocks and lemon verbena in tall sheaves
nodding, commingling, growing like beanstalks
up to the sky. Jane is further back yet, where the yard runs riot;
vegetables, flowers, all fruits of the earth kindled to life
by her magic. She reaches and strains, filling the bird feeder;
scolds greedy magpies who stalk around boldly with
white tuxedo chests. Jane looks up at me and smiles,
eyes crinkling in the sun, her thirty years seeming young;
who knew then that in just a few more,
she would be gone?


—Ann Wehrman

wind richly perfumed
with clear silver
whole, fat, wet drops
on my shoulders
gray sky heavy
fecund river smell
from miles away
high, bright grass
fertile with
cat, worm, bird droppings
small animals
watch from hiding holes
feel rain come
clean open
step inside my studio
gulp a full glass of water
desperate to feel
within myself
water coming
spring’s promise
greedy nerves
shout silent affirmation
Life! Love!


—Today's LittleNip:

The science of life is a suberb and dazzlingly lighted hall which may be reached only by passing through a long and ghastly kitchen.

—Claude Bernard

Darling House, Santa Cruz
Photo by Katy Brown