Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Rocks Are Smarter Than Others

It may be harder than it looks to toss a bean bag through this hole.
When little hands first try this, it can feel like a ton of coal.
—Photo and caption by Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

I’m tired of waiting, waiting
for the Internet to shed
mindlessness, arrest its
stone-skipping, pond-rippling
shallow traject. Time to delve into

the raisin-studded rice pudding
of philosophy, rife with rum.
For every good site (the Internet
Encyclopedia of Philosophy),
a bazillion that ricochet the same

two white balls across the baize
table (this is English billiards,
no pockets, so nothing ever drops
to our satisfaction): I thought me
quite brainy to finger Louise
de la Valliere, second of three parts

of The Vicomte du Bragelonne,
culminating in the deaths
of Musketeers, that’s right,
iron mask and all, but, get this
(yes, this just in from the aforesaid IEP):
…Louise wasn’t just
brood mare to the Sun King,
she was a freaking philosopher!

Well, Louise knew how to wait, pray,
and suffer like one, the job descript
of smart concubines eternal…meanwhile,
I too pine like a concubine,
dusting/rusting Lord Chesterfield’s
outer parlor, hoping & praying against my
own tired-old-man diatribe:

the Real History will never get
onto the 'Net…



how you spent that unplanned
overnighter. Let’s say trail dust seeped
into every seam and pore; your path
got lost in thicket

your canteen ran dry. Dark
came down too fast, held you between
cliff and water. Under Saturn
you flexed and unflexed

cramping muscles; joints ground
into granite.
So many hours of waiting, listening
for coded messages:

constellation, river, rock. Voices
of the distant current. Is it a mindless
song of slow erosion, or could it
be angels?

Stars blink on and off, a Morse
like Time. Last spring’s raindrops
gone downriver, how many
ticks of pulse till dawn.

—Taylor Graham, Placerville



for a glimpse of light under the closed door;
for what eventually will come;
waiting for hymns through the walls, and no one singing;
waiting for what won’t come; for what never
was expected, a blue-green marble
swirled like a miniature globe
in a house untouched by children;
under the cushion of the couch, two crushed
candy eggs, one red, one purple;
waiting for a word from out-there; a howl that turns
to hound-song, a neighbor’s dog rethinking
language; waiting as things miraculously appear.

—Taylor Graham


—Ann Wehrman

for you
one hundred days
five senses etiolated,
I meet you
again and again
in vast open space
your face materializes
your granite eyes of desire
your grin that makes light
of all this pain


waiting to begin
—Ann Wehrman

midlife, finally, my love
I rise full of hope
waiting to begin

* * *

the first day of spring
shoveling out of a
snowbound house
I leave behind the dead
and those who watch
through sentimental haze

* * *

rhapsodic ideal or
deserving of compassion—
each, both, you are
my lover, my other, my self
fish swim upstream, down
in the middle, I wait
bound by passion, promise


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

When small souls gather,
sometimes their mindless chatter
turns to things that matter…

Two men sit on a park bench waiting for
their friend, Monroe, who takes them to
their weekly poker games.

Henry, a young bank clerk, has lost lots
of money playing cards. He nervously sits
twiddling his fingers.

Charlie, a car salesman, asks Henry what
is bothering him. Henry sighs and says that
his wife thinks gambling is a sin.

Charlie laughs, and tells Henry, that since
Henry’s an atheist, and there’s no god, Henry
cannot commit a sin and can do anything that
he pleases.

Henry shakes his head angrily, saying he’s
not an atheist, but an existentialist. A person
who cares about this world, not any imaginary

Henry asks Charlie what he believes. Charlie
tells him, I prefer to think we’re all put here by
intelligent design, and that I am not just some
evolutionary freak.

Henry waves his hands in frustration and says,
Life must be like a poker game, you win or you
lose…that’s all there is to it.


Today's LittleNip:

Heron stands in the blue estuary,
Solitary, white, unmoving for hours.
A fish! Quick avian darting;
The prey captured.

—Deng Ming Dao


—Medusa (with thanks to Carl for the photos and to our other poets for their contributions to our Seed of the Week: Waiting. Got some thoughts on waiting? Send 'em to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.)

Some rocks are smarter than others, you know.
They have passed the tests of time, and fire and snow.
—Photo and caption by Carl Bernard Schwartz