Thursday, April 01, 2010

Quick—Fetch the Snake!

The 2010 National Poetry Month poster, designed by Marian Bantjes.
Request a free poster for April 2010 from

(go to National Poetry Month under Poetry Near You)

or sign up to receive free Poem-A-Day emails in April.


it looks like we are circling the drain, boss.
The computers all share a virus;
no one has been in reception for a week;
and payroll has not given us our time sheets.

The computers are all crashing with a virus;
they are painting-over your name on the door;
payroll says they don’t have our time sheets
and the lights are beginning to flicker.

They painted-out your name on the door;
a real estate man is measuring the front office;
the lights have all gone out.
Half of the phones are dead.

A real estate man is measuring the hallway;
even the junk mail has stopped coming;
and most of the phones are dead.
They are tearing up the parking lot.

We haven’t gotten any mail for a while;
the ceiling is leaking;
they are re-paving the parking lot
and we are up to our high-tops in water.

The drip, drip, drip in the hallway is distracting.
Someone needs to empty the buckets
because we are up to our knees in water.
Did you see the news van out front?

No one is in reception today and, well,
someone has to empty the buckets.
Did you see the film crew in reception?
I think we’re going down the drain. . . . . Boss?

—Katy Brown, Davis

Photo by Katy Brown


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

A week on a tip
Conference and family visit
Road food
The seduction of no work
Some one else cleans up the mess
The enticing descriptions in menus
Which like the smell of bacon and coffee
Can never deliver what is promised
Too large a serving of everything
I sit contemplating after eating too much
Watching the diet go down the drain


—Patricia Pashby

echoing nightly
through the upstairs tenement—
the leaky faucet.

she carries washers
in her handbag—repair kit
for drip, drip, drip, drip . . .

finally it stops—
yikes, the drain is backing up—
run and fetch the snake.


—Dewell H. Byrd, Eureka

Like a bundle of pin-feathers
you young sparrows flap, fly, fall,
bounce off each other
into my butterfly bush.

Nature taught you to fly
but no one gave you lessons
in how to land on a twig
in a gusty cross-wind.

Feathers tremble, mouths gape,
and squawks startle the squawker.
Come, little featherlings, this is a
butterfly bush, so make like a butterfly.

Perch quietly, observe the butterfly.
It doesn’t attack the air wildly.
When you think airborne, remember:
take-off is optional; landing is mandatory.

Show some dignity; flap with grace.
Learn from the butterfly or get out of their bush.



off broken bottles
smashed in anger
dropped by accident
some, forgotten after lunch—

blue, green, brown shards
clunked chunks
glisten in the apex
of a curve, stuffed
along railroad tracks
sidewalk grit
blunted on a building
edge, exploded on
supermarket floors.

fallen back to earth
after traveling
from beach sand
to blowing tube
after gracing the prince’s table
after a wino guzzles
the last drop, someone
crafted a perfect shape

glass—both delicate and strong
a container for many
becomes unglued, sifted
into mosaic rubble
ghostly patina oxide
hues of pearled lives
formed, transformed
discarded, lost, broken
out of fashion, useless.

A glass lip severed whole
from the bottle’s neck, intact
a ring both jagged and smooth
edged to wear like an amulet
on a string as the sun fades.

—Ann Privateer, Davis


Today's LittleNip:

Water which is too pure has no fish.

—T'sai Ken T'an


—Medusa, who says (1) Happy Poetry Month, which starts April 1, and (2) thanks to today's contributors, including Pat Pashby for the LittleNip, and Mitz Sackman, who managed to meet the challenge of two SOWs in one—food and Down the Drain!

By the way, Poetry Unplugged will be all Open Mic tonight; no readers that I posted last Monday. 8 pm, Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, Mario Ellis Hill hosting.

...and happy April's Fool's Day!