Photo by Katy Brown, Davis
The autumn made colors burn
In the noise of swift wings
We spoke about winters inscribed on waiting lists
Of migratory birds who bang their wings like shutters
Then grow heavy calling the earth.
The autumn confused its colors
Your eyes were tired of being dead
We spoke of the great trees that wander
Of the remoteness of crowds
Of your last dull scream
I spoke to you peacefully under a layer of summer
Horizontal like stagnating planets
and now they have asked me to draw you
I sketch you with quivering leaves
(translated by Willis Barnstone)
Autumn officially starts tomorrow (9/22); let's make the Seed of the Week an easy one: Autumn. Send your autumnal thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. Anytime—autumnal or not...
Mountain Democrat Looking For Ghost Stories!
Send 500-750 words about seances, possessions, friendly/unfriendly ghosts, or any other Halloween tales by Oct. 8 to Mike “The Crypt Keeper" Rafferty, c/o The Mountain Democrat, 1360 Broadway, Placerville for possible $50 restaurant gift certificate and inclusion in their Halloween Special Edition.
RED FOR THE LONELINESS
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
(After Dreams and Illusions by Dolores Mitchell)
You sit alone in a pall of blue smoke,
wearing red so you can remember
why you are here—
to be loud with others who are alone,
where conversations blur into
the bluish air—
heavy and languorous.
You stay where there is music
in the cold loneliness
that connects you to others.
You can almost
through the din. But you
let it fade and let your dreams
your rose-colored dreams
you still expect to save you.
ONE WHO WAS LOVE
came through my life and left a wound for memory,
and left a love—bitter and sweet—and went away
and left a sleep to fill with dreams that wreathed
like smoke—and turned to pleasure—and to pain;
one who was love—composite now—became unreal,
was never real, was never love.
At last I was able to write the poem though it lived in the
forest of itself. It had long beautiful leaves like fingers.
It stroked the surrounding branches for the sensation
of love. It quavered with words, and it spoke,
though I did not understand it.
What is the use of it all, I asked the silence, but the silence
only offered more silence and I understood. But, why?
I whispered to the solace. But the solace was
stroking the grief of another. Thus was I
chastised for my jealousy.
THE GIFT OF SACRIFICE
(After Love without Hope by Robert Graves)
The anonymous young bird-catcher
lifts his tall hat to the girl
to let his larks escape
to sing around her as she sidles by . . .
and as I steal this,
I go to the heart of the scene:
the young girl, proud with disdain,
or shy with the power she must have . . .
the gush of freedom for the larks
as they relive the air and learn never
to fall for such darkness again
as the tall black hat of the bird-catcher . . .
and they sing free,
for themselves and each other—
not even aware of the impulsive purpose
they serve, or the sacrifice they complete:
that serves only the poem—not love.
They were never for this symbol—
not the tender image of a poem,
softly jeweled by glint of light
on a smooth face—but smear
of dark feeling—salty to the taste,
making wet stains upon some pillow.
Though I am all poem,
words fall through me . . .
Though I am a net,
I cannot catch them all . . .