Friday, July 23, 2010

Stamps on the Final Envelope

Valley Sunset
Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Lew Welch

All these years I overlooked them in the
racket of the rest, this
symbiotic splash of plant and fungus feeding
on rock, on sun, a little moisture, air—
tiny acid-factories dissolving
salt from living rocks and
eating them.

Here they are, blooming!
Trail rock, talus and scree, all dusted with it:
rust, ivory, brilliant yellow-green, and
cliffs like murals!
Huge panels streaked and patched, quietly
with shooting-stars and lupine at the base.

Closer, with the glass, a city of cups!
Clumps of mushrooms and where do the
plants begin? Why are they doing this?
In this big sky and all around me peaks &
the melting glaciers, why am I made to
kneel and peer at Tiny?

These are the stamps on the final envelope.

How can the poisons reach them?
In such thin air, how can they care for the
loss of a million breaths?
What, possibly, could make their ground more bare?

Let it all die.

The hushed globe will wait and wait for
what is now so small and slow to
open it again.

As now, indeed, it opens it again, this
scentless velvet,

this Lichen!


This weekend's poetry events are listed on the b-board over at the right of this; as usual, go to for a more complete listing. On Monday, Sacramento Poetry Center features Dorine Jennette and Rob Schlegel at 25th & R Sts., Sacramento, 7:30pm. Rob Schlegel’s The Lesser Fields was selected for the 2009 Colorado Prize for Poetry. He lives in Missoula, MT where he teaches poetry. His poems and reviews can be found in The Boston Review, New American Writing, VOLT, Barrow Street, Octopus, AGNI and the The Grove Review. Currently he is teaching at Linfield College and Portland Community College.

Dorine Jennette is the author of Urchin to Follow (The National Poetry Review Press, 2010). Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications such as Verse Daily, the Journal, Ninth Letter, Puerto del Sol, Sacramento News and Review, Memorious, Santa Clara Review, Los Angeles Review, Terrain, The New Orleans Review, and The Georgia Review. Originally from Seattle, she earned her MFA from New Mexico State University and her PhD from the University of Georgia. She lives in Fairfield, California.


—Gillian Coote

I know all the notes of your voice
all the cat-fox eye glints
and grey sheen cheeks.
I know your face.

I know
all the strength and
power of your heart
and the charged space around
your being.

I know
the spring that's tripped
in me
my hair-breadth heart that
plunges and swoops,
a lion-kite on a
wild journey.


—Telly Wong

A voice
On the phone
Without face
Without form
The waiting
The call
The one hour
When we are together
Poetry in the dark
The one hour
The call
The waiting.


—Susan Griffin

This is civilization.
We have inherited it.
We love the glitter.
It is growing dark and trees
crowd the sky.
A pink glow comes to us.
There is a yellow line
we must follow.
Music I find my mouth saying,
Music somewhere back there
in the trees.
Something glowing pulls me
and I whisper heart.
But we keep on
don't we,
we keep on down the road.


I saw myself
a ring of bone
in the clear stream
of all of it

and vowed,
always to be open to it
that all of it
might flow through

and then heard
"ring of bone" where
ring is what a

bell does

—Lew Welch


Today's LittleNip:

—Lew Welch

Seeking Perfect Total Enlightenment
is looking for a flashlight
when all you need the flashlight for
is to find your flashlight



Photo by Katy Brown, Davis