Photo courtesy of D.R. Wagner
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
In the little story
The house could sing.
The trees had faces.
Their thoughts had wings.
They called them birds.
They kept them in their arms.
They played among the branches.
Their songs were magic charms.
In the little story,
The end of the day was long.
The twilight went forever
As it eased across the lawns.
There were dragons, any color.
They could be spoken to.
They were fierce, then tame, then magic.
You could watch them as they grew.
In the little story
With its adventures, plays and tales,
The wind would fill the sails,
Wandering the sea with whales,
Calling them by name.
They answered like an old friend.
They talked about the plains,
Places far from water,
Where they could remember names.
Like buffalo and Indian tribes,
Things they weren’t supposed to know.
In the little story, all that seems,
Was so, each thing, and real in time.
A moment, a year, a million years
Or more. That is why we must repeat It.
That is why the tales still grow.
So I’ll tell you not a thing more.
I’ll leave it for you to see,
And when you do, believe it
And come tell the rest to me.
•••Polymer Grove is putting together a podcast (as well as a website) and is interested in your poetry/experimental-spoken-word audio recordings. If you have anything to submit, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. By the way, Robbie Grossklaus, Polymer Grove Editor/Publisher, will be reading tonight at the Sac. Central Library, 828 I St., Sacramento, 6pm, along with Brad Buchanan of Roan Press and Kathy Kieth—I forget what she does...
•••Song of the San Joaquin, the poetry quarterly for the Central Valley, is accepting poetry for the Summer Issue through June 15. PO Box 1161, Modesto CA 95353-1161. For guidelines: Cleo Griffith, 543-1776, email@example.com or go to www.chaparralpoets.org/SSJ.html
FEAR OF SAILING
—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento
The sailor from his love has gone.
The sailor from the mainland’s gone.
Now parted from his love…
May never meet his dear again…
May never meet again.
Ancient sailors would sail on unknown waters
of the dark broad sea, where gulls and whales
play. Where the sea moans with many voices,
and gaping hungry mouths of sharks await,
An old seaman gets ready to sail the uncharted
waters. He feels a mindless fear stray into his
mind…fear of a noise in his ear, fear of anything.
Fear of nothing…some fancy of his brain…
He tries to throw those thoughts away, knowing
that God is at his head…the Devil at his feet…
both tugging on his soul so it will grow. Then
he smiles and thinks of all he needs to survive...
That fire will burn, rain will get you wet, and laws
being laws, have their own punishments. Then he
sighs and goes to sleep, like a lamb with no sense,
who lets himself be clipped by people for his wool.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
All night the wind performed its wire-tap
and lightning arrowed down,
and earth groaned like the slaughterer’s truck.
All night you hung by a fingernail—
in and out of dream—over the black gulf
of your imagination.
By morning there was nothing left
of storm, only this evidence
in daylight: the world re-drawn
by a steady hand
as Tuesday follows Monday.
(Pocahontas by Annie Leibovitz)
Running with a deer—almost a deer herself,
fawnskin fleet and wild—she ought
(that iron English word)
to look where she’s going.
See how water and the woods
and even sweet blue sky are running
away. (That ship already anchored
just offshore.) There will be
cliffs ahead. Does she think
if she runs fast enough
she might fly like the deer?
not saying i'm great
it's just that
i've got lots to say
and i type really fast
—Charles Mariano, Sacramento