—Trina Drotar, Sacramento
I found an old coin in an alley, a Shiny Nickel,
a crumbling Victorian that outshines the
View Point of those who believe that
dryer lint, hair strands, and
dead flies are art.
I placed the coin with its Reggae beat
inside my pocket, remembering
Marley’s words that followed
even as we rounded the corner.
Kyle blowing harp.
A man asked if there was a gallery nearby.
Sacramento Art Complex had,
a friend claimed, real art. We crossed
the street to transparent
dragonfly wings and leaves in
one room where the artist
spoke about her work. A dark-haired
girl with earthtone skin, red lips,
and a multi-colored, swirl lollipop stood out—
untagged. My friend asked the title.
Tags removed from pieces
withdrawn. A man with a cart
stopped and asked for change.
Jodette’s prompted questions
about beads and dangles and the meaning
of belly dance. Women comfortable
in their own bodies. I
remembered the friend
whose body would soon
become the artist’s canvas.
The Kama Sutra is not a sex manual.
Kyle’s harp, Marley, the untagged,
although blocks behind,
travelled to the corner where
DJ Rated R spun and scratched, where
spectators became participants, and
performers spectators. One fellow said he’d
freestyle with objects from
pockets and handbags. A cigarette,
phone, cup. I should have offered my
booklight. Guy’s got talent, a woman said.
Next to the collector of books, a business
closed. Not closed, I said.
United State, bass pounding into the street
vendors selling painted LPs for Valentine’s Day.
Hawaiian shirts pounding their colors onto
the sidewalk. A friend converses
with street vendors and
I returned the coin, newly shined, to its alley.
Inside the crumbling Victorian. Asked the artist
what he meant.
Thanks, Trina! Trina Drotar came to poetry via art, fiction, and memoir. She expects to complete her MA in English—Creative Writing next spring and then write and make art and volunteer. She served as executive editor of Calaveras Station at CSUS for two years, creative nonfiction editor for one year, and recently began working as managing editor of Poetry Now and serving on the Board of Sacramento Poetry Center. She has won several awards for her writing and art and has work published or forthcoming in Word Riot and Rattle. In her free time, she designs, creates, and sews clothes and accessories, makes art, writes, rides her bicycle, and reads.
IN MY POCKET
is a lipstick in the shade you
always said was too bold for me.
I wore Hot Buttered Rum
every single day that you
were not around. I kissed
envelopes, my hand, paper,
and that man down the street
whose name I no longer recall.
I bought ten, no twelve, and kept
one in each purse, two in the bathroom
drawer, the one on the upper left that you
never opened, and one in the freezer where
you’d never have thought to look. It was
always in between last week’s leftovers and
some heat and serve cardboard dinner that you
In my pocket is a lipstick
in my favorite shade.
EARLY WINTER MORNING AT THE PRESERVE
as eyes strain through the
silver veil of droplets that shimmer
not like diamonds
dug from the ground.
like a million tiny beads
stitched one by one
on silken webs, woven.
Droplets like pearls, cultured
moisten dried leaves and seedpods
barely emerging growth.
Sometimes we need to hear a symphony,
a symphony of browns and grays, not
reds and oranges or blues and magentas.
Sometimes a symphony of browns and grays,
countered by the green spores of moss
or the seafoam of lichen.
A symphony reverberating
not inside a concert hall, but
in nature’s own hall, surrounded by
the fur of catskins, the sharpness of seeds.
Sometimes we need to hear a symphony,
a symphony not of trumpets, not
violins and cellos or flutes and clarinets.
Sometimes a symphony of silence is required
in a day filled with beeps and buzzes and whistles
and the ticking of clocks
Peacock iridescence in veridical shadows,
Violet blooms spread to noonday sun.
The world's beauty is a swirl of color,
But in the flower's center is bright stillness.