Thursday, November 04, 2010

Can You Hear the Footsteps?

Photo by Ronald Edwin Lane

—Ronald Edwin Lane, Weimar

It’s cold 
Bones ache
Cracked granite, rock face 
Footprints in the sand  
Yellow leaves quake upon the aspen

A lake
Calm, in reflection
Leaves shed
Shredded cones beneath the tread

The sun isn’t hung so high 
It descends
A seagull flies, so far from the ocean
It cries 

Contrails cut the sky and fade.
Each dog has its day 
The sun sets
Can you hear the footsteps? 
It’s cold.  There is snow upon the mountain
The sky grows black, and
The night glows with diamonds


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

John Fitzgerald Kennedy
appeared to me last night in a dream so strongly,
solidly etched, I might have been seeing
the scratchy-expressive pen and wash drawings,
colored perfervid, in the social studies
book on Mexico my dad assigned at American
Legion School. All outline & watercolor,
but pressed stamplike on the air, Jack stood,
tremulous, the absolute JFK: Addison’s Disease

as nothing, beside the still-visible scars
in forehead and throat, the Dallas hand still heavy
upon him. Who could have spirited him
away, to what Avalon of health? Were there
limits on what they could do for him, evident
in his ivory, slightly Christopher Walken

cadaverousness? What nightshade
color was his once-rich coiff of chestnut?
It seemed silver, with an off tint
hinting of brass doorknob. Was it meaningful
that this man should come, and to me
of all people, in an election night
mare? What possible hope could I have,

knowing this glamorous man, at best
half-achieved in character, stood ready
to interdict missiles, was again President?
What is this unnameable longing, jingoistic
upsurge of Arthurism in our breasts?

Why care if the knights of King Wenceslas
ascend from their rockfast beds and pour out,
swords glimmering, onto the hills and plains
all across the rescued Kingdom of the Czechs?
There simply is no word for what we feel
when they beat back—for us!—the enemy hordes,
though hosts of pride, relief, love, grief
that it should take so long, encircle
our one vague sensation, and the music swells,
legions of long-wan ghosts
breathing in blood with the air, like
Risen Christs or vampires…  


(To legalize marijuana)
—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

It is my responsibility to undo years of  Reaganesque policy
A repeating of historical fascist oppressions
leaving a legacy of a multi-billion dollar "war on drugs"
Now it’s up to me to take a step for a sane drug policy,
for promoting policies of life and freedom rather than destroying
—and mainly over a plant that was created by God in nature
as Genesis says: "For I have given you every green herb…”
For instance, I recall in the late ‘80's in high school
"Mike" was in my advanced sophomore English class
A sensitive fifteen-year-old who wouldn't have hurt a fly
He liked to make friends
who shared his passions for reading and writing  
Of course those who didn't like him called him "gay"
as if he was a threat to their "masculinity"
Yet when he got busted for "pot" off the school campus
the English teacher who also liked him regretted to inform us
that the school administration decided he was expelled
and had been forcibly placed in a "rehab" facility
My friends and I couldn't talk or write to him
and we never saw him again
"Damn it, why him! HE WAS KIND TO ME!"  I screamed inside,
shocked! Before that, we had only heard
horrors of Communist Russia doing that
and I was now ashamed of what Russians would say
about our claims of being the bastion of freedom and liberty
Yet the school had jocks playing though their grades sucked
Shining examples of how
"zero tolerance" didn't apply to everybody
as they kept getting other chances—
not just caught doing drugs or getting "smashed"
but after committing on purpose acts of violence—
they liked to beat up on those like Mike
following in line just like the powers that be.


 Or, Why I Don’t Attend Homecoming Games
—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

I pledge allegiance to the football team,
because they have the awesome strength
to pull in the biggest sponsors, and to all
the best looking, athletically gifted kids
on campus, because a higher power put
them there as role models. 

And to those teachers to whom we owe
our very souls and our homework, their
special place is somewhere far from the
football field, because the gridiron of
course is exclusively reserved for our
highest values and most cherished dreams.

Okay, it is true that some players profane
the Greek ideal by resorting to violence,
substance abuse, and such, but let us not
scrap the whole program and lose those
good sponsors just because a few guys
leave a trail of death, destruction, and
unwed mothers.

And to the league which unites us, with
camaraderie and money for all.


Today's LittleNip: 

Someone, I tell you,
will remember us.

We are oppressed by
fears of oblivion

yet are always saved
by judgment of good men.



—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors, two of whom were sort of on the same track. Interesting when that happens. Must be in the air...

 Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz