Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Keeper and the Kept

—Photo and Caption by
Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

I will show you the world

and shield you from it.


—Carl Sandburg

Many things I might have said today.
And I kept my mouth shut.
So many times I was asked
To come and say the same things
Everybody was saying, no end,

To the yes-yes, yes-yes,
me-too, me-too.

The aprons of silence covered me.
A wire and hatch held my tongue.
I spit nails into an abyss and listened.
I shut off the gabble of Jones, Johnson, Smith,
All whose names take pages in the city directory.

I fixed up a padded cell and lugged it around.
I locked myself in and nobody knew it.
Only the keeper and the kept in the hoosegow
Knew it—on the streets, in the post office,
On the cars, into the railroad station
Where the caller was calling, "All a-board,
All a-board for...Blaa-blaa...Blaa-blaa,
Blaa-blaa...and all points northwest...all a-board."
Here I took along my own hoosegow
And did business with my own thoughts.
Do you see? It must be the aprons of silence.


Thanks to today's contributors for writing about the various facets of the restless heart—including Janet Pantoya's cat-spirit that hasn't quite left yet.

Last night I went to two Sacramento poetry events: The tribute to Quinton Duval which was held at the library by Sacramento Poetry Center (well-attended and nicely done) and the book release at The Book Collector for Jose Montoya's beautiful new book from Copilot Press (see the b-board), which was also WELL-attended (not even standing room!). TBC Owner Rachel Hansen is holding the fort while husband Richard is in Scotland with his sick mother, but it ain't easy. Stop in and say hey...

Needless to say, our new online Ophidian is on hold while Editor Richard sorts this out with Mom. Thanks for your patience. Meanwhile, feel free to submit to WTF; the next deadline is next Thursday, July 15. Scroll down to the Big Blue Box at the Bottom of the Kitchen for guidelines.

Questions about Copyrights?

•••Thurs. (7/22), 6:30-8:30pm: California Lawyers for the Arts presents COPYRIGHTS at The Barton Gallery, 1723 I St., Sacramento. Join CLA and attorney Steve Davis as he presents an overview of Copyright Law. Topics include What is Copyright, International Copyright, How to Copyright your work, What does Copyright Protect, Pictorial, Graphic, and Sculptural works, Sound Recordings, What rights are secured for copyright owners, Co-ownership, Collective Work and much more. There will also be a Q&A. Steve Davis is an attorney at the law firm of Davis and Leonard in Sacramento ( Phone 916-442-6210 (ext. 102) or email to register. You may also register online at Fee: $20 general, $10 members of CLA, $5 student/senior members.


—charles mariano, sacramento

the efforts
feeble, measly
quite predictable

don’t know why
i go on

there’s no substance
of late

the times i’ve left
far behind

is it
the time of year?

is it
my disgruntled
aging mind?

should never be taken

the ride
always the fastest

and how beautiful it was
to dream in youth

the world
and i pretended

setting these fingers
to words
is really
quite easy

they fly
a will of their own
but too often
without heart

i see much more
of endings
than horizons

the totals

passion, desire
used to be here
at the forefront
guiding the wayward path

and i
along for the ride

used to let my fingers
paint childhood
precious youth

tell it to me
like we saw

bumbling innocence
and hurt

it’s possible
i may have died

and have not been told


—Janet Pantoja, Woodinville, WA

A white cat with vivid blue eyes sits at the side of the garage
meowing and staring at me—its gaze arrests my attention—
its insistent meowing calls to me as I roll my luggage up
the walkway for an extended visit to Gatito's widow.

I've never seen this cat in the neighborhood before. How odd:
a blue-eyed white cat shows up out of nowhere soon after
Gatito's death . . . Gatito—Spanish nickname for kitty—
used to greet me at the door. Gatito had white-blond hair and blue eyes.

Where did this white cat come from? Those piercing blue eyes . . .
they remind me of Gatito. Could this be him? A guardian angel?
Nonsense. "Shake it off," I tell myself.

I arrive at Gatito's house for another visit. The white cat with blue eyes
appears out of nowhere and stares at me—its gaze piercing and unnerving.
My heart leaps in my breast. "No way!" I exclaim to myself.
"People don't come back from the grave as cats."

With no sign of the cat since my arrival, I prepare to leave.
I put the luggage in my car. Say what?! There's the white cat again.
Its vivid blue eyes bore into me—it meows at me . . . meows goodbye?
I stare at it. My heart quickens its pace. I whisper . . . "Goodbye Gatito."


—Carl Sandburg

(for Wallace Stevens)

Renoir goes on painting.
A man from south France tells me it is so.
One picture a day, good or bad, the old man goes on.
And a little work every day on one big picture for God
and children and remembered women.
So, Renoir, his right arm no good anymore
And the left arm half gone,
So Renoir goes on.

And when you come again
We sill go to the Edelweiss for jazz
Or to Hester's dirty place on the river
Or to some Chinese dump where they bring what you want
and no questions asked,
And I will ask you why Renoir does it
And I believe you will tell me.


Today's LittleNip:

Poetry is a sky dark with a wild-duck migration.

—Carl Sandburg




—Photo and Caption by
Carl Bernard Schwartz

I followed you onto that ark,
and now look where we are!