Friday, June 18, 2010

Blue Skies

Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

This afternoon
I grabbed a hot fistful of Pt. Pleasant sand
thought of you, Jack
how one day
we sat under the tilt of a striped umbrella
sheltered from the blistering sun
you with your paperback, and I,
well, I just stared at the sea
remembering an August night
when we boarded the old fishing tub
at Manasquan Inlet
climbed to topside
sailed into oncoming Hurricane Edouard
we rode down the Atlantic with some seasick folks
to view the promised fireworks at Seaside Heights

over the soaring waves we went
a rocky tide but we were happy, Jack
swaying side by side
too happy to be seasick
how balanced we were
we dropped anchor
along with other small boats
waited for fireworks never set off
too windy from oncoming Edouard—

headed back to Manasquan Inlet
I heard an engine cut out but said nothing
then—just as we reached Manasquan
the other engine failed
would we soon be joining the fish?
Jack, you were a good swimmer,
maybe I could mount your back!
I heard the captain murmur Mayday Mayday
we were towed into port
laughed about the surprise ending
and the people on shore who stared at us

I slipped on vomit stepping down the stairs
and you handed me out to dry land, Jack


This weekend in NorCal poetry:

Two offerings are posted on the b-board: SAYS and The BlackOut. In addition, don't forget Monday's Hot Poetry in the Park! Join the Sacramento Poetry Center for a Summer Solstice reading on the longest day of the year in Fremont Park (16th & Q Sts., Sacramento, 7:30pm) with Keely Sadira Dorran. Guests are encouraged to bring a picnic dinner to enjoy in the park during the reading, which will include an open mic.

Keely Dorran is a native of Sacramento who says that living in the valleys and foothills of Northern California all her life has offered an intimate perspective of the area's diverse human population in relation to the landscape, including the changes of this relationship over many seasons. As a Cherokee woman disconnected from her tribal roots by time, distance and genocide, she found herself continually drawn to search out the inexplicable Soul that God created in communities of living peoples, animals, plants, rocks, mountains, rivers, planets, stars, ancestors and the hope of coming generations. What she found was love and the continual renewal that love brings which can transform human suffering into beauty and wisdom when we have the strength to persevere, be good (harmless) and walk in truth. Her primary concern is distilling the essence of the bond between God and His Creation, which is love, and allowing the simplicity of joy to crown the triumphs and challenges of her own life with rebirth. She has been writing poetry since childhood and is also a musician, fine artist, film maker and avid family historian.


—Margaret Ellis Hill, Fair Oaks

For ninety years my father has seen
the rise of industry, governments, and more
good intentions and bad ones between
inventions, depressions, good times and wars.
But he grew up with music (one love of his life)
conducting choruses, and with his wife
let people enjoy his flair and good humor.
Two sons and a daughter learned early on
the value of melody, drama and laughter
and art to living one’s dreams and passion.
His thoughts are hymns on the praises of things,
but his life concerns beauty that music brings.


—Margaret Ellis Hill

Bent over the keyboard,
pencil in his mouth, I watch
internal wheels turn as he studies
the music, considers this or that chord
before transferring his idea to paper
(even now, I see the ghost of my mom
helping him decide which notes to use!).
It’s ‘Blue Skies’ he fiddles with today
for a group whose voices only reflect what
fifty years ago might have been.
He finds solace and worth using his skills
to place notes within a reachable range
for all those who sing and all
who smile the song in their minds.


—Tess Gallagher

For years it was land working me, oil fields,
cotton fields, then I got some land. I
worked it. Them days you could just about
make a living. I was logging.

Then I sent to Missouri, Momma
come out. We got married.
We got some kids. Five kids.
That kept us going.

We bought some land near the water.
It was cheap then. The water
was right there. You just looked out
the window. It never left the window.

I bought a boat. Fourteen footer.
There was fish out there then.
You remember, we used to catch
six, eight fish, clean them right
out in the yard. I could of fished to China.

I quit the woods. One day just
walked out, took off my caulks, said that's
it. I went to the docks.
I was driving winch. You had to watch
to see nothing fell out of the sling. If
you killed somebody you'd
never forget it. All
those years I was just working
I was on edge, every day. Just working.

You kids. I could tell you
a lot. But I won't.
It's winter. I play a lot of cards
down at the tavern. Your mother.
I have to think of excuses
to get out of the house. You're
wasting your time, she says. You're wasting
your money.

You don't have no idea, Threasie.
I run out of things
to work for. Hell, why shouldn't I
play cards? Threasie,
some days now I just don't know.


Today's LittleNip:

—Ogden Nash

A bit of talcum
Is always walcum.