Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bugs, Sheep, & Whistle Pens

Photo by Taylor Graham

—Carl Bernard Schwartz

Life itself just comes and goes
like oceanic tides and waves,
smashing land, carving sand
retreating and repeating
over and over again.

In this grand scheme, what in life
is not a fleeting moment?
Well I’ll tell you ma’am,
I’ll tell you sir, just try making

an inappropriate comment
or a bad choice of actions
and the repercussions will last
past your life, longer than even
cockroaches and Styrofoam,

etched forever in the memory
of the universe on the Wall of
All Time Losers, that carefully
documented archive of pathetic
dimwits who just don’t get it.


Thanks to Carl Schwartz for more on last week's Seed of the Week: Fleeting Moments, and Taylor Graham for kicking off this week's Seed: Black Sheep. A lot of poets feel like "black sheep"— unusual, that is, in the world they move in. Then again, some poets HAVE black sheep, like Taylor Graham! (Moments are fleeting, though—"Chuckle" is no longer a wee black lamb but now a big black ram.) Anyway, tell us about black-sheepness, literally or metaphorically. Send 'em to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs, though—click on the Calliope's Closet "page" over in the skinny blue box to see all the SOWs we've done in the past. Maybe some of them will inspire you in other directions.

While you're exploring those pages, be sure to check out all the workshops happening in our area this fall! Bob Stanley just sent me a big list, and they're posted on the Workshops/Retreats page. Many of them are part of Sacramento Poetry Center's new "Room to Write" series. Lots to think about!

Yesterday's article about Honey Bee Haven in Davis inspired Pat Hickerson to send us a bee poem from a series of hers; this is Part Three, and she says Part One is in the current Yolo Crow. So I tacked on a bee poem of my own. Then Michelle Kunert sent us her poem in the Insects Who Are Less Popular Department [see also Carl's cockroaches]... And thanks to Claire Baker from Pinole By The Bay for our LittleNip. Oh—and I couldn't resist a Russell Edson poem about sheep. Is there anybody else in the world like Russell Edson?


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

what happened to Honey?
it was a sad story
Queen Bea told it many times
she was heroic, the Queen buzzed,
and what a worker! she
oozed more honey than anyone
she was the essence of the hive:
sleek-smooth and amber-sweet—but look out!
when she went on the warpath…

Honey took part in the legendary Bee Wars
an Amazon of the tribe
carried her lancet like a warrior
always poised
pheromones at the ready
fight or flight!
mostly fight

her barbs were bold
chitinous plates dissolved
at her valiant penetration

but when in the heat of battle
she mistook human hide for enemy cover:
her barb flesh-embedded,
her insides yanked out,
she fell to the ground
lost to the hive, Queen Bea sobbed,
my sweet darling Honey…


—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines

Raw material from
last night’s dream:
hundreds of bees
spread out ahead,
the only way to cross being

straight across, over
all those bodies—dead-
ahead through tomorrow’s
pain: dreamy night-flotsam that
doesn’t matter now except for

this residue of
wincing along through
today’s sinister grass:
stingers left in soles—

all those painful
moments /memories
piercing calluses,
just like
walking on bees…


I learned on the radio bedbugs like fleas and lice
don't discriminate whoever they may hitch a ride on
or if their hosts be rich or poor
For instance they can hide anywhere
such as on upholstered theatre chairs
then they bite when one brings them home
leaving their feed sites as itchy, swollen red spots
all while one thinks they have some skin condition
World-wide there is an increase in such parasitic Cimicidae
(maybe as a sign or plague of the "last days"?)
No I don't want to be a manic germ-phobe
I guess after being at the movies
I should immediately go bathe and clean my clothes
Better safe than sorry

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


—Russell Edson

They are in the house. They move like clouds over the floors.
They are in the bedrooms. They return from the cellar. They wander in the attic like balls of dust.

A man is sitting in the kitchen, his face in his hands. He is crying, his tears wetting through his fingers.
The sheep baa and to him gather, licking his hands for salt.

A ewe then sweetly offers herself in heat.
He turns her on her back, his face in the wool of her breast . . .


Today's LittleNip:

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole

A round black hole
atop new pen's cap;
can make it whistle
if purse lips, blow lightly
in pause-search for key
word in poem's line.
In thought and whistle
trying for truer, sharper.



Another Black Lamb
That Isn't Chuckle