Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pumpkins and Butterballs

Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

The butterballs
attract me
so much more room
for what I need
to stuff into their insides.

Nuts are my favorite
they increase the taste
of the pale, then tanned
meat surrounding them.

The breasts inveigh
my allegiance to what
come below
and I have no problem
with dark or white pieces
as long as
they are succulent enough
for my pugnacious palette.


Lots of contributors today (thankfully), including some for our Seed of the Week: Enough. Send your "enough" poems to by midnight on Sunday, Nov. 28 and I'll send you a free rattlechap of your choosing.

Jack Frost has settled in here, there and everywhere on the West Coast; Janet Pantoja (Woodinville, WA) sends us her pic of frost on the pumpkin; Jane Blue (Sacramento) says she rushed her geraniums into the house; and Ann Privateer (Davis) brought in her massive, 30-lb. squash (see below). Still, it's the cold that makes for good persimmons and beautiful tulips.

THE WRITING LIFE with Ellen Bass in January at Esalen, Big Sur, Jan. 28-30:

From beginners to experienced, all writers are welcome. Whether you are interested in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or journal writing, this workshop will provide an opportunity to explore and expand your writing world.    

Esalen fees cover tuition, food and lodging and vary according to accommodations—ranging from $360 to $695 (and more for premium rooms). The sleeping bag space is an incredible bargain and usually goes fast, as do some of the less expensive rooms, so it's good to register early. Please register directly with Esalen at 831-667-3005 or at Some work-scholarship assistance is available, as well as small prepayment discounts and senior discounts. All arrangements and registration must be made directly with Esalen, but if you have questions about the content of the workshop, please email or call her at 831-426-8006.

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

what a gift you’ve given me, Rachel
as I circle the traffic of our life
the drawings, photos, letters
the dolls we loved
the book of poems we created
all that you left behind
in the wake of your death…

let’s face it, honey
much as I hated you at times
resented you born too soon
in my haunted marriage
jealous of your talent your beauty
even put a curse on you when you had cancer,
called you the evil malignant bitch…
you storming into my room
a swolled-up virago
your quarrel with my buoyancy
you said I lived Daddy’s bad boy life

we’ve had a rough 60 years, haven’t we?

you were everything to me
you enflamed me
your fire in madness and sanity

you and I limped across the street
to our favorite café trying to find happiness 
in a piece of cake
you called us the wonkapotami
we’re wonky, you said—
I, the old one on a cane, legs going,
still feeding on your mind
you, the sick one, your mind eaten up by disease

I pull a cloak of sadness around me
it’s just you and me again
little golden baby I mourn for both of us


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Almost home, I’m trying to beat late-
November light turning fields
and bramble-thickets amber-golden,
leaf-fall cottonwoods
shivering before a storm—

when across the two-lane
loping up the cutbank—
a bear, black as night coming,
disappearing into brush as easy as
a wild beast closing in on home.


—Taylor Graham

Vertigo of edges, hawk’s-
beak vista: drought and downpour,
water’s insistent urges
against rock; adagio of freeze and thaw—

thanks-giving song
to a goat-trail, the rhythm
of my couplet feet
to carry me back home.


—Janet Pantoja, Woodinville, WA

Positively delightful!
Pumpkin is snow-capped by flakes
Precipitated by cold—
Peculiar sight to behold
Pleasing incongruity
Privileged orange squash not yet
Perished under frost and snow.


—Ann Privateer, Davis
I give thanks for glowing red sunsets
for baby's first laugh
for the way California voted
for my winter squash
for sonny calling home
for Lilas sleeping with her poem
for all of Renee's reminders
for my very own messy room
for friendship and for umbrellas.


Today's LittleNip:

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.  

~W.J. Cameron



Poet Angela James at the Tellebration Festival
at Carol's Books in Sacramento in November
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento