Thursday, December 02, 2010

Even Raccoon Goes Shopping

Lora Lee Dress Shop in New York, 1950's

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

(for K.K.)

Says Kathy, I remember when Black Friday
referred to the day Christ was crucified…
yes, and black, deep, deep black, was summoned
when streamers of crepe ran up the cross
from its one seeping foot. How did black
blood from the most sacred outrage become
mere matter to splatter the pages of ledgers,
prove the bleeding books of red
healthy and black with blood sausage?

Pray, dear friends, that the Savior figure
may come to rule again the saintly season,
dethroning the bloat-belly. Remember
Howard Nemerov decrying satyr Santa,
who wears, cries Howard, a beard of cotton
waste! See if you can what sleight of name
excises from this jellied elfin fraud the names
“Jolly” and “Saint,” leaving, as we suspected,
only “Old” and “Nick”… Distend your nostrils
and breathe! as the scents of coconut candle
and Glade ineluctably recede, yielding place
to molasses—and sulphur…


Thanks to all of today's contributors; we're still talking about our Seed of the Week: Shop Til You Drop. Tom's poem refers to my comment yesterday, that I remember when Black Friday was the day Christ was crucified, not the day when businesses try to make up for...  It seems particularly nefarious to co-opt the term this way during Jesus' birthday season—and I'm not even a Christian!

Anywho, next Wednesday, December 8, is our next Rattle-Read at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30pm. Ron H. Peat of Auburn will be reading from his new book of poetry from Xlibris, and Rattlesnake Press will release a new broadside, A Bench Called Henry, from Sacramento's Richard Zimmer. We're also going to have a seasonal open mic again this year featuring Medusa's Kitchen readers and their poems of the season (winter, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa—whatever "the season" is to you, your own poems or somebody else's), five minutes each. If you'd like to read, please let me know (


—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks

I’m not saying
I bought out
The store, but
They did
Dim the lights
And that
Every available
Bookseller was
As I left.

Now it’s
Just a matter
Of getting
All home.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Tonight Raccoon goes shopping.
Endless corridors under dark
of a fluorescent moon. Sweet-nuts,
birds at ease, at roost. Cut short.

This season the shops never close.
Power-play of strung stars, ripple-
effect, reflections off white floor.
Desire in glitter-wrap snow.

Raccoon fingers the coins of
hunger. Bandit-mask. Hesitation
is a prey-word. Raccoon tracks
overlap themselves in running.


—Taylor Graham

I’ll take a livre, s’il-vous-plaît, of French,
a Pfund of German (all in the same bag, bitte)
for my sisters/grandfathers/great-greats
of Alsace, or Elsaß, as the borders shifted

with each war. Throw in un peu d’ail – ein
Bißchen Knoblauch – a little bite of garlic
to savor the tongue. A borderless feast
for friends and un-kissed cousins on each side.

For old-times sake, half a cup of Latin;
a dash of Greek. And a pinch of Sanskrit –
distant kin – for its grace, a dancing script.

Credit this to everyone who comes, bringing
some new accent, exotic spice. If potluck
pleases, next year more neighbors. Family.



we get past it all: zigzagging like
little yellow taxis down crazy

city streets: swerving around
bicycles and crosswalkers and

shopping carts into bus lanes
and one-way alleys: back up, then

back out into it: closing ears to
angry buzz of motorcycles—riders

with no helmets, nothing but
raggedy jeans between them

and the asphalt. . .  Somehow
we weave these rickety tin cabs

in and out of narrow lanes: feet
to the pedals and then the brakes:

get past it all, despite that sudden
slam for a toddler—blue eyes

and baby curls peeking up
over the bumper—those sudden

slams and near-misses that come
back to follow us, day after day:

dog us, night after night. . .

—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines


Today's LittleNip:

There's a television commercial where a customer in a drugstore has never heard of Preparation H. Where has he had his head?