Saturday, April 24, 2010

We, Too...

Jellyfish are amongst the most beautiful creatures in the marine world.
Although they are extremely simple marine creatures, their life cycle
is extremely complex and involves the jellyfish being transformed into
different body forms at different stages. The basic body forms adopted
by the jellyfish during its lifetime are planula, polyp, ephyra and medusa.
The medusa is the final form of the adult jellyfish… []
—Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

Night decides to take over the conversation.
The shadows stir, the spiders begin
Their spinning toward the dawn.

Spring begins its work toward those
Seasons it will never see. The exuberance
Of buds and bright flowers, the dazed
Spinning of elm seeds through the green
Air. Soon there will be no room upon
The ground for all will be growing.

We do not wait. We dig the soil, find
The seeds of plants we want to see
In particular, begin the garden rituals.
We too become fruits of the earth,
Laboring toward the harvest, privileged
To entertain the dance through all the seasons.

The morning excuses itself from the night.
The night pales before her great might,
Calls the dark spider back to itself
And bides until the story changes once again...


We’re celebrating Earth Week with a give-away—send me a Seed of the Week poem about Fruits of the Earth and I'll send you a copy of Emily and the High Cost of Living by Kathy Kieth from Tiger's Eye Press—or any rattlechap of your choosing from Rattlesnake Press—free. Send 'em to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. There's a deadline on this SOW though: postmarked or e-mailed by tomorrow at midnight.

Poetry Out Loud is coming to a climax; go to for the latest scoop.

Calendar addition for today:

•••Sat. (4/24), 9pm: Poets Heather Christian, Chara Charis, Nazelah Jeffries and singers Carla Fleming and Lakeisha Moody at Sol Collective Art Space, 2574 21st St., Sacramento. Hosted by Tenisha Michelle and DJ Novela. $10. Info: 916-504-9031.

Matrix Arts events to plan for next week:

•••Thurs. (4/29): 7-8:30pm: Liberty’s Quest: The compelling story of the wife and mother of two Pulitzer Prize winning poets—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.

•••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

Programs are held at MatrixArts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Info: 916-768-6077 or

Just a few of the many Spring Festivals to inspire you this weekend:

•••Enjoy the Asparagus of the Earth at the 25th annual Stockton Asparagus Festival, Fri.-Sun. 10am-7pm at Weber’s Point in Downtown Stockton:

•••Festival de la Familia at Cal Expo on Sunday from 10am-7pm (Mass at 9am):

•••134th Annual Scottish Sacramento Valley Scottish Games and Festival: Sat/Sun, 9am-5pm in Yolo County Fairgrounds, Woodland:

•••Return of the controversial Bodies Revealed exhibit on Alta Arden in Sacramento (runs through June):

•••7th annual Nature Festival in Georgetown, Sat. 9am-4pm: Native music, poetry, dancing, arts, massage, food, children’s activities and more—including Mary Youngblood Music and Healing Workshop from 2-3:30pm. Free, but fees for some activities: Native American flutist Mary Youngblood will give a benefit concert in the evening at the Georgetown IOOF Hall.


—robert buckenmeyer

spring rain clouded my noonday’s sight,
as clouds cried, trees dripped, streets ran,
while people slopped and cars skidded on rain
when my thought slipped on a leaf’s span!

as i looked at its veins upside
down, where sap ran inside green veins
so plants might grow, bud and flower,
then spring’s tears might wet seeds for life’s gain,

but, sadness is not the stuff of life,
though overcast sky cries water’s warm rain,
yet neither shadows nor sorrow do end life’s
gain, even though clouds and tears do reign.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

What drew us close was first your power of laughter,
primal, held out to share but yours to invoke
—think, cloudless lightning casually splits an oak:
the afterheat simply shimmers, not strained after.
What language must I master,
how could I catch your rhythm,
your electric tempo of chase?
Then the million-petalled aster,
sunrise in a calyx of chasm,
petal-fingered my lips with dawnborne grace.
Then your brush-of-an-eyelash embrace.
Now see how the young shoots of merriment, lightly strong,
thrust root-down, darken like life, deepen like song.


—Tom Goff

Whose wit is this? The English is exquisite.
And who takes credit for the omniscient culture?
The Master, his brain too restless for sepulture?
The youngster, brandishing twelve-tone cartes de visite?

Can Bob embolden one already bold,
his second act a rite of spring renewal?
Should Craft confess, be put on Socratic trial?
And he’s accused of what? Corrupting the old?


—Tom Goff

What cliff might be high enough
to dangle a high prelate of the church from,

if that priest, or one under him, has tormented altar boys
bed-close in the night of the hospitality of their parents’ houses,

or amid the things of the wardrobe supposed to be
a Narnia gate of satin white vestment? What precipice

for a pontiff whose lips smile beatifically, contemplative
of the total good of the church’s beauteous image,

reluctant to spoil, deface, or defile that image
by releasing the sordid slobbering truth of the carnal act

to the police’s benevolent ungentle investigation?
What cliff indeed? In fantasy we grin fit to split our faces

with crevices of contented vengeance,
acting the movie enforcer holding the shakedown

victim by one ankle out the window seventy stories up.
These are, many of them, old men we would hold thus.

Gives the hot mind pause. Yes, bless the innocent young
boys, the noble young girls broken in upon

by raptors. You understand, we do not forgive.
We cannot forgive,

unless, by the awkward workings of the mind,
we drift, we settle, we forget. These

are the senile times, in which we dream
as do our churches and governments. Our wits suffice

to conjure visions, not of universal peace or justice,
but of pleasure: fresh pleasures we seize upon as fast as

old ones decay. Who now, recalling earlier epochs,
will bring back the horsewhip and soundly beat the blackguards?


Today's LittleNip:

With your crow call you summon the crows. They are confused and can't make out the message. Do you want your art to be like this?

—Stephen Dobyns


—Medusa (with thanks to newcomer Robert Buckenmeyer and artists Tom Goff and D.R. Wagner for today's contributions)

In the Garden
Photo by D.R. Wagner