Monday, September 13, 2010

A Bird With Soft Feathers

Enthusiastic fan at the 2009 Fair Oaks Chicken Festival

—JoAnn Anglin, Sacramento

Use the firescape, Z-stepping down
the brick outer wall, essential

as a skeleton, a clean way to leave
via window to window. And

with landings for moments to gulp
air, recalibrate grips. Reconsider

temptation of plunge into air.
If only we could take ourselves

this way: descend via logic,
measured, away from what burns,

not linger to snatch another heated
yearning, lifted in shimmering warmth.


Thanks, JoAnn, and thanks to the rest of today's contributors! This is a VERY busy week in NorCal poetry—check it out on the b-board (skinny blue box on the right of this column). And it’s Dancing Poetry time in SF on Sat. (9/18), from noon-4pm, when Artists Embassy Int’l presents the annual Dancing Poetry Festival, a unique and colorful combination of dance and poetry. Come hear prize-winning poems read by the poets, and the three Grand Prize winners will be danced by Natica Angilly’s Poetic Dance Theater Company. That’s at the elegant Florence Gould Theater in the California Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum in Lincoln Park, 100 34th Av. (near Clement). Go to for info and tix—use the menu on the left side of their website for “DPF Tickets” as well as the 2010 Winners list. This year, Laverne and Carol Frith from Sacramento both have prize-winning poems, as well as SnakePal Claire J. Baker from Pinole.

Don’t forget the upcoming Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize; deadline is a week from Tuesday (Sept. 21). The Cultural Action Committee of Davis, Downtown Davis Business Association, Armadillo Music, and the John Natsoulas Center for the Arts are proud to announce a poetic tribute to the reluctant leader of the Beats, Jack Kerouac, with the Jack Kerouac Poetry Prize. First Prize is $200, Second is $100, Third is $50. For more info, go to

Carl Schwartz sends us a poem about Fair Oaks Blvd. Speaking of which, don’t miss the Fifth Annual Fair Oaks Chicken Festival this weekend; go to for details. As you may know, when we think of Fair Oaks, we think of the many “wild” chickens that roam the streets, the sidewalks, the parks in the Fairest of Oaks where Rattlesnake Press was born and raised. Alas, I don’t see any formal poetry scheduled for the Festival, but there should be inspiration a-plenty!


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Maybe you’ve been there?

The light changed to red
and all were poised ready
to go in different directions
at different speeds, tension

high, looking more like kids
playing tug-a-war than
educated drivers dedicated to
the orderly flow of traffic.

In fact they were kids, some
with their own kids, with
college degrees, piles of
memories, anxious to keep
movin’ on, to keep up with
the latest styles.

By the time the light changed
to green a large delivery van
was seen slowly completing its
turn. Everyone was stuck like
a sea star under vicious tides,
barely inching along on a route
that would always be in doubt.


love’s look touched my silent heart and taught it to sing
—bob buckenmeyer, lincoln

love’s look touched my silent heart and taught it to sing!
its touch i felt but i could not see a thing;
my eyes looked everywhere to find this spring,
but i saw only buds and blossoms cling

to branches, as nature displayed her love
in its new life fling so her wind might rove
throughout her buds and kiss them into flowers,
as her silent heart beats out its song of love!


love is a bird with soft feathers
—bob buckenmeyer

love is a bird with soft feathers
that nests within the human heart
and chirps warm tunes without a word
and never stops once loving starts,

why its sweet sound calms the daily storms
when winter rides through with snow unkind,
and its soft call warms sleet and snow,
humbly soothing the bite of swift wind,

then its warmth wakes up the night so dark
and gives the human world new sight,
as dark’s shadows genuflect in flight,
since the light of love new life sparks!


—JoAnn Anglin

At 30, I recall a phrase from the forbidden
Erskine Caldwell novel. I blush. I say, ‘Oh.’
Did I say it out loud? Understanding flows in
like a found dollar, a rainbow, a surprise gift.
One day, I realize what my son was up to at age 12.
On another, the malice of my ex-husband is clear.
What I thought ineptitude had been intended harm.
So many discoveries come late, if at all: grasping
the double entendre of an old movie, appreciating
the patient kindness of a neighbor, now dead.
Small illuminations, little prickings of history.
Some enter, some take another path, like an earring
that silently falls through the grate, perhaps to be
fished out later, perhaps to sink into the substrate.


Today's LittleNip(s):

The barnyard rooster
tries to act like a lion
by preening his feathers.


This rooster
struts along as though
he had something to say.




Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento