Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Slept With The Wind

The Kieths' back deck this a.m.

—Rolf Jacobsen

My soul is hard as stone. I slept with the wind.
He's an unfaithful lover. Now he's with someone else.
He hummed words, prattled in my ear
and stroked my hair. I gave him all my whiteness.
I let him chisel dreams in my soul—of clouds,
fierce seas, and soft flowery hills.
Now I see, cold, it was them he loved.
Where is he now? Tonight my heart froze.

(translated from the Norwegian by Olav Grinde)


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

(for D.R. Wagner, inspired by his photo 
of the Datura)

A student is writing about Sylvia Plath.
Some of what the Ariel poet knows,
this young lady knows. The knowledge—no,
wisdom—screens her subtly from others,
as inside petals: the walls of a golden flower,
inverted, hems just touching soft earth,
the calyx tall and broad enough to tent
her slender figure, seated at a computer.
In this chamber constructed entirely
of slender golden petals, wonders transpire:
Lakmé, in the opera, transgresses against
her vows as temple maiden, loving instead
a British officer. She loves and sings
under a dangling screen of datura flowers, under
steady rain, little bells. Her aria, bell song,
comes rich with rippling Asian raptures, little bells
ring inside her maiden sex: Lily Pons, Lily Pons,
Lily Pons is all we hear, the coloratura Himalayas.
Lakmé will suffer for her trespass, her delicate
foot across the magic threshold into
the sadder meadow where Gérald, her officer,
hears amid their tryst the distant trumpets,
trumpets to obliterate all the delicate temple bells
ever made to ring clingingly. She gathers
and nibbles ominous nibbles of datura petal,
perfect small teeth whitely working at blossoms,
as the stamens, prongs of the datura, bite hard
into her breast, as the sweet and deadly golden
bell jar descends, bleeding away air and the girl
goes on tapping intricate thoughts into the college keyboard.


—Tom Goff

Tippy is sick; the cancer leaves its taint
on her cockapoo skin, signalling
far worse internally. She has been
the best of companions. She eagerly
sniffs Billy after his walk: Where
did you go? Fiercest of happy dogs,
she plays, eats, will not refrain
from running, leaping, pouncing,
but in the early morning hours,
her eyes are always tired now. Why
must it befall me, me to authorize
her “putting down,” her execution
two days hence? “Put her to sleep?”
As the asp cuddles with Cleopatra! Now
Tippy picks up her little pony toy.
Eeyorish little thing, it fits and squeaks
in Tippy’s mouth perfectly; but
oh, the pity: Pony’s mane and tail,
mere squirts of loose lank yarn!


Thanks, Tom, and today's other contributors, for their poems. As you can see, the Kieths have a bit of shoveling to do this morning. Taylor Graham says the first snow calls for a hot buttered rum; maybe after I drive the snowplow around...

We're dreaming of the tropics here, and Sandy Thomas is in Maui. The bottom photo is of Napili Bay, where she's visiting, wherein dropped my first wedding ring about fifteen years ago while I was dreaming with a snorkel and the humuhumunukunukuapuaa. Pat Pashby, too, is dreaming of the sea—and thanks, Pat, for today's LittleNip. She tells us that Richard Zimmer has had a pacemaker "installed" and will be home from the hospital soon.

Hey—tune in Monday for some info about The Shape of the Future Snake—some musings from the usually stone-faced Medusa about where Rattlesnake Press is headed (for the next few months, at least). After almost a year of noodling around, some things have come clear, like after a snowstorm.........


—Sandy Thomas, Sacramento

South sea
golden pearl
housed in crater
the volcano cloud
into the red lava sky

—Sandy Thomas

White pearl above
palm tree sky
on the crescent shore


—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

surrender to the
constant movement
of the sea below—

hear the breakers
as they draw
a frothy edge in the sand

see the swells

before the fog
tucks it in


Today's LittleNip:

True words are often not beautiful, just as beautiful words are often not true.

—Japanese proverb



Napili Bay, Maui