Monday, July 19, 2010

Cymbals Played by Deaf Men

Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

It sure feels hot today!

Well duh, it’s summertime!

You think that’s hot?
Try being a first responder in the Sahara!

The record high temperature for this
location is blah, blah, blah.

Don’t forget your sun screen, and be sure
that it’s the right rating.

You get what you deserve.

A good time to go green and line dry your clothes.


Tonight is the Poetry/Music jam at Sacramento Poetry Center, plus the Davis leg of James Kaelen's Zero Emissions Tour, which will be followed by another installment tomorrow night in Sacramento. Later in the week, local poets will hit the Bay Area: Shawn Aveningo ( will be reading at Studio 333 in Sausalito (Weds.), and Tim Kahl ( will be reading at Moe’s Books in Berkeley on Thursday. See our b-board for details on all these happenings! And, as always, check for a more complete listing of this week's NorCal poetry events.

Convergence ( has been updated with new poetry from Crawdad Nelson (on Cynthia Linville's Editor's Choice page) and new visual art from Myles Boisen, Tom Lux, Allyson Seconds, Rosario Romero, Curtis Wheatley, and Marlene Burns.

Thanks to today's contributors, including this poem from Katy Brown, based on the recent photo of a bird-of-paradise flower:


Out of their purple throats,

the flowers speak fire,
recite a golden catechism
of the last days.

The woman tends
her flower bed with leather gloves,
beheading withered blossoms,

dodging heavy bees who weave
a polonaise among the greenery.
She ignores the noise.

She has heard the oracle before:
every spring the flowers
burst from fist-tight buds,

wait for sunrise
to chant their warning–
then tip their heads and speak. . . .

—Katy Brown, Davis


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

People who don’t work are just plain lazy!

You can say that again!

We should race to the hospital and pull the plugs on
anyone in bed.

Why die with the most toys if it’s just work?

It’s all about just compensation: put up or shut up.

That explains why Sarah Palin quit her governor’s job
for speaking tours.

Disabled war veterans hope you will join them someday.


—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

(for Tom Kryss)

There is a moment when the lights
Become dull memories and the territories
We have come to understand in our travels
Begin to unwind and contrive their own kind
Of knowing, one coupled with the notion that

Soon an emptiness will sidle up to us and clasp
Our hand, explaining the while that we will have
Little chance of understanding emptiness and the
Damp that descends with the evening, even here

On these mountains or in this desert or along these
Trails still dusty with the echos of elephants, ostriches,
Creatures of mystery. They will crumble, we are told
And in that moment, we believe that we are hearing
The truth rather than the banging of cymbals played
By deaf men who sold their imaginations long ago.

The multi-colored lamps make this place seem dreamed,
Not found on maps we carry, nothing promised here,
Only the trail of words that leads us on. We will recognize
Nothing but will continue so that we might see these places,
So that we may fall into the mouth of fables breathed
Over fires on some future night when the Nightjar’s wings
Begin their tale and summon us from the dust once again.

I will see you there, crossing the winter night just ahead,
Betting destinies on seasons, correcting the optics
So all may see mythical beasts and believe in them
If only for the telling. Make in your mouth a story now

While you walk and breathe here that it may be told
Again at some set date far beyond these landscapes.
Favor mystery and what is lovely. Avoid the invisible
That I may feel your hand and together we will build
Toward the favoring winds, tell the dates, catch the
Glint of light on our words as they dance away from us.


Today's LittleNip:

—Gary Snyder, Nevada City

It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light



Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz