Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pleasure's A Sin

Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Sorry, could you spare just a moment of your time?
I seem to have lost my connection here,
like something essential is missing.

It’s like trying to fill in the correct answers
on the wrong answer sheet…

Or like when an individual with good judgment
is presented a menu of poor choices…

Or like finally finding the right terminal,
only to learn you’re at the wrong airport.

You get the idea.

So somehow I’m just hanging here in midair
with no way to maneuver
(forget spell check, thank you, I just got lucky!)
my way out of here.

Maybe you have some extra kite string I could borrow?
It’ll only take me a moment.

Thanks! You’re an angel.


Our Kitchen has more and more links: click on Kel Munger’s All Poet’s Corner at Sac. New & Review for a ‘way cool, complete listing of all the poets she’s published—and don’t forget to submit poems to her, too! And check out Bill Gainer's poem at

Teen Poetry Contest in Stanislaus County:

The Aileen Jaffa Young Poets Contest is currently accepting submissions. This is open to all students in Stanislaus County. Winning poets may win prizes and have their poems published. Each student may submit up to three entries at $1 per entry. Poems may be any style, no longer than 24 lines. The deadline is Friday, April 30. Entry forms are available at county schools, the McHenry Museum (, or by e-mailing Cleo Griffith at

Poetry Month at Fairytale Town

Did you know it’s Poetry Month at Sacramento’s Fairytale Town? Fairytale Town is offering a Can You Haiku? activity to celebrate National Poetry Month: children can pick up a haiku template and follow the instructions to create their own creative version of this Japanese poem. Children who turn in a Haiku on Mondays at the box office receive $1 off their admission, and the poem will be placed on the Haiku wall in King Arthur’s Castle. Go to to download haiku info, or stop by the Fairytale Town box office.

Upcoming Workshops:

(For more workshop listings, scroll down past Danyen on the B-Board to HANDYSTUFF)

•••Sunday (5/2), 1-4pm: Salvatore Salerno will lead a workshop entitled "Making a Poem: The Best Words in the Best Possible Order." The workshop will be held at Homeword Village, 2000 Mable Ave., Modesto. There is a $15 fee. If you'd like more info, please e-mail Gillian Wegener at and she will forward your email to Sal.

•••Sat. (6/19), 11-3pm: Memoir Writing Workshop by Linda Joy Myers, author of The Power of Memoir: How to Write Your Healing Story (, and Founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers ( The Workshop is entitled "How to Write Your Memoir and Still Go Home for the Holidays", and will be held at the Off-Center Stage behind the Center for the Arts in Downtown Grass Valley. This will be a hands-on workshop where participants will gain practical skills and address the concerns they face when writing their stories. Workshop limited to 25 participants. Tickets at The Center for the Arts, or call 530-274-8384.

Workshop schedule:
—Free Reading and Book Signing from 9:30-10:30am
—Memoir Workshop 11am-3pm
—Extended workshop from 3-4pm for therapists who want CEU credits


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

Needing to get away
To think to hear, to listen, to heal
I drive into the desert
A stark beautiful place
Gray shadowed with falling light
Across the shale-broken desert floor
On the horizon stand the chocolate mountains

In the distance a thin reed of sound emanates
Musical, compelling
Winding through the air
The flute strains of the dancer
Calling along the mountain paths

Calling, calling
To me, to you, to the world
To no one in particular
The dancer calls us to risk
Spirit of the sacred fool in each of us
The dancer plays the path
Of the growing spirit
Floating in the mountain air reverberates
Let go, let go, let go


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Seeing the vibrant hummingbirds
top-spinning nectar-crazy among the sage and desert
succulents in the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden,

I muse on our one family trip
to the Arizona desert country, car whisking past
saguaro, saguaro, saguaro: brilliant December sun.

And then, in Phoenix, we visited Gammy,
who said soft kind things, kissed
our seven-year-old cheeks with wrinkled lips,

bought us little kachina dolls on a short jaunt
to Scottsdale. Seeing Camelback, imagining
donkey rides downslope into the Grand Canyon

(Ferde Grofé even then the soundtrack),
we wanted more desert, more lizards,
more lizards, more desert. How in the world

did Arizona Trailways muster those
extravagant photos of cactus blossom,
wildflowers and honeybees alive just fine

in the mud-snow gaps between ice-laden high desert pines?
Now Gammy’s brick house, orange trees
bent low with Christmas fruit, is vapor, displaced

by hospital administration buildings, just another
glass and steel behemoth in downtown Phoenix.
Bring back the desert house I loved

with the elder lady in it: that would be once-killed
bird again come aloft from fire and ash, flight
expanding on a pincushion of arid heat. That would

be saguaro made browsing beast, gently crawling
and thornless, that would be giant insect made
delver and keeper of sacred water, that

would be desert miracle.

Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz


Today's LittleNip:

—Lord Byron (Don Juan)

What is the end of Fame? 'tis but to fill
A certain portion of uncertain paper:
Some liken it to climbing up a hill,
Whose summit, like all hills, is lost in vapour:
For this men write, speak, preach, and heroes kill,
And bards burn what they call their "midnight taper,"
To have, when the original is dust,
A name, a wretched picture, and worse bust.