Monday, July 26, 2010

Laughter Sounds in Quiet Raindrops

Poetry Center Piggy
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Lo, whenever somebody looks upwards
Others will follow, it matters not
At all the basis is hollow.
Yell Booo at a game, surely
More will chime in, it’s a
Reflex, it’s fun, not
Counted a sin.
Easy as
Downhill, to
Exercise our
Democracy, an
Expression of free will.
Starting from sources remote
And ballistic, represented
As if it is truly holistic:
You will look sage if you share our outrage.


The piggy in today’s photo reminds us that there’s a poetry reading at Sacramento Poetry Center tonight, featuring Dorine Jennette and Rob Schlegel. 25th & R Sts., Sacramento, 7:30pm; bios are on the b-board.

Some deadlines coming up, including the Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest (7/31), and the early registration deadline (8/1) for the Be Your Own Publisher workshop in Mokelumne Hill August 28-29. And, if you’re going to the Surprise Valley Writers’ Conference in September, Aug. 1 is the manuscript deadline. Scroll down on the b-board to me in my bathrobe for details.

While you’re poking around on the b-board, check out Bob in the weeds—right now he’s featuring Kel Munger—as well as all the other stuff ‘n such going on. Speaking of Bob, he’ll be one of the presenters at the Mendocino County Writers Conference next weekend; maybe it’s not too late to sign up. (Details on the b-board in the HandyStuff section, under the upside-down snake.)

And congrats to Emmanuel Sigauke for the new anthology he edited with Ivor W. Hartmann: African Roar: An Eclectic Anthology of African Authors. If you’re going to be in LA next weekend, stop by Saturday’s reading at Eso Won Bookstore, 4331 Degnan Blvd. (Find out more about the book at Or, if you’re going to be in San Rafael on Saturday, stop by Rebound Bookstore to hear Sacramento’s Shawn Pittard: Lots of NorCal poets are doing Bay Area readings this summer! Apparently the word has spread! Shawn will also be reading at Sac. Poetry Center in August with the Londonberry Salon.


—Arthur Sze

Caw Caw, Caw Caw Caw.
To comprehend a crow
you must have a crow's mind.
To be the night rain,
silver, on black leaves,
you must live in the
shine and wet. Some people
drift in their lives:
green-gold plankton,
phosphorescent, in the sea.
Others slash: a knife
at a yellow window shade
tears open the light.
But to live digging deep
is to feel the blood
in you rage as rivers,
is to feel love and hatred
as fibers of rope,
is to catch the scent
of a wolf, and turn wild.


—Thich Nhat Hanh

Here are words written down—
footprints on the sand,
cloud formations.

I'll be gone.


—Thich Nhat Hanh

It is night.
Rain pelts the roof.
The soul awakens
to a flooded Earth—
a sea of storm
then passing.

In that short moment,
shifting lines and shapes,
barely seen.

Before the passing moment tilts
and falls to melancholy,
laughter sounds
in quiet raindrops.


—Patricia Y. Ikeda

(for Chris Nash)

I wanted to describe the wild iris
blooming in the hills above Oakland,
how it stars the darkness beneath trees
exhaling coolness in the green spring dusk.
But instead this poem wants to express
your slow step on the damp path
and my year-old son's face
as, strapped to your back, he reached up
to touch leaves, and waved to me.

I know I'm out of touch with the world,
that Eastern Europe is on fire,
the suffering and terror continues,
bad jokes and bad jobs.
I know that some things fall down, others build,
I know how my son fits a cover to a box
as though it were important. It might be so.
I know the wild iris blooms in late April
because you showed me; I cannot guess
what this poem wants to be, growing
long leaves and veiled buds into my life
through chaos and clutter. This poem says
it doesn't want to end; it has strength
like rain, or human loss. It wants
to hold everything, it wants to rise up
amid the ordinary course of our lives.


Today's LittleNip:

—Jonathan Greene

I tell the truck
where to go.

The road tells the truck
where to go.

The road almost always



Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz