Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Zebras and Keypads

Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

—Walt Whitman

A noiseless, patient spider,
I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them—ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing,—seeking the spheres,
to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d—till the ductile anchor
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my


Those of you who know Be and Jack Herrera will be saddened to know that Jack passed away yesterday. Our thoughts are with him and with Be.

Carl Schwartz sends us our Seed of the Week: Fleeting Moments—which seems appropriate at the time of the passing of yet another of our artist-friends. Carl sends us a photo of an okra blossom to go with it. Blossoms are fleeting, indeed. Well, hell—we all are!

The latest edition of DADs DESK is about to hit the stands (well, The Book Collector anyway). This is Sacramento’s only large-print poetry journal; it's nicely edited by Carol Louise Moon. Check it out!

We have a pretty potpourri of poetry today, from a variety of poets on a variety of subjects—still spiders and cobwebs, as well as talk of zebras, shadows and light, and ergonomically correct keypads. Enjoy! The zebras Michelle Kunert is referring to, by the way, are the two that escaped from a Carmichael zebra breeder (yes, a zebra breeder in Carmichael!) and went running around suburbia near Tom Goff’s house before they were eventually recaptured and sent to Oregon. Also in the Fleeting Moments category is D.R. Wagner's photo of his old Hudson; see below.

By the way, there was a mis-announcement on the b-board for a couple of days. ERRATA NOTE: The SPC Brown Bag Lunch Series meets on THURSDAY at noon at the Central Library, not Weds. My bad.

(Were you able to identify that blossom as an okra one? We don't grow much okra around here; maybe you Southerners remember it.)


Some zebras kept in suburban Carmichael, CA
broke out of a backyard to be free
Perhaps wanting to find someplace like an African plain
instead of getting trapped in car traffic
only to be rounded up in a paved parking lot
returned to their master and enslaver
Didn't the zebra read the previous day's news
about the state rounding up the last of its wild horses,
leaving legend now the only place for them to roam?

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

Careful, well-meaning parents dutifully block the light
from outside to protect their precious offspring
from its harsh realities: Slavery, our own civil war,
tunnels to freedom, the true first Americans, and the
small-minded choices of people to whom we entrusted
our future.

These man-made shadows now extend several times
around the globe, premising a culture that distorts and
confuses any outside light that may happen to reach us.

There are miracles within people, the same as spiders
spinning webs and pigeons flying home, that may only
be visible when we shed our status symbols, step out
of the shadows, and bathe in the light of knowledge.


Silent Companion
—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

It had been awhile since
Yes she had to admit
It always was awhile
Looking at the high corner of the window
Under the valance, she spies a cobweb
A gleaming spider in the center
Awaiting the next meal
She shrugs and does not reach for her broom
At least it eats the summer flies
In the apartment
She is not her mother
Live and let live she says


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

a hot wind
drove an herbal fragrance
up from a streetside hedge
to the balcony where I sat
in sun-warmed shade
Ophelia afternoon—
There’s rosemary; that’s for remembrance;
pray, love, remember:
she drowned in lost hopes,
her love for a tortured man

you, Rachel,
lately drowned in disease,
not despair;
I miss your fine-tuned soul
too delicate for this life


—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

The lock sticks;
I push it open—
puff of noxious dust up my nose.
More dust settles on my skin, in my eyes,
the light switch on the left works,
I shut the door.

Alone in electronics storage,
old computers, like old women,
wait, sitting on fat haunches in circles.
Their circuits still work,
“Hell, girls, our titanium components
will last a long, long time,”
they mutter, with sickly smiles.
No sun in here, no exercise, they languish;
no one touches their
ergonomically correct, taxpayer-funded keypads.
One takes my ear as I lean on the wall,
protests, “I can still be of use,
in a school, volunteer…”
The others glare at her.

Is it the light, the lack of oxygen,
cobwebs in my hair,
certainty of spiders?
I back out the door,
bolt the lock.


SACRED SPACES—Reclamation Project #2
—Ann Wehrman

after a long night
I wake alone in my small room
sunlight sparkling through
ancient Venetian blind
dusty, stained, one slat crumpled
where I slap killed
a thick-bodied, thick-legged spider

no trace of spiders this morning
after night’s long healing
when time stopped for hours
breath came deeply
feet and legs released
their battle weariness

doves cooing just beyond the blind,
I feel you present
surfacing within my mind
warmth of your loyal, loving heart
as morning’s ground fog dissipates


Today's LittleNip:

Two Eskimos in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving you can't have your kayak and heat it too.



Speaking of Fleeting Moments...
D.R. Wagner says: This is a photo by my dear friend,
Leslie Haber,
from about 1975
of my 1951 Hudson Commodore sedan

in front of a club. Our band, Runcible Spoon, was
on its way back to New York and Florida, touring etc.