In a small room in the north
a son sits with his mother
and wonders how she has grown old so fast
comes next. He has chosen
to be there; they watch
a movie together on Sunday.
In his dreams he folds
very small books, so small
even his bird-related eyes
have trouble with the type.
Lining up edges
he staples pages
together, and while work
is slow, his eyes
lift watching the small pile
of small books grow.
stories and gatherings,
each with a message
knowing we can dream
He is setting up pages,
new font announcing
a plan for the hours, the days
as if one could give
shape to the word, the work.
—Arash Ghorbani, Auburn
Like the curls in your hair
Like the things you don’t say
Hearts miss a beat at your thought
Life quivers at your sight
Legs fold under when you talk
Sky clears when you walk
A kiss is not just a kiss
In the imaginarium of life
I found my friend, in the shadow of the rising moon
She shone as bright as thousand suns
Had my reach exceeded my grasp
Was it lost love I found, or was it, love lost
—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento
I was driving around using
my undersized spare and
got pulled over by the police.
Your head is too small.
This is just temporary while
the regular one gets repaired.
The law says you must use
your head while driving. There
is no slacking allowed.
But this is all I have. More
inflation will make it explode.
Normally we’d let you go with
a fix-it ticket and a warning, but
for everyone’s safety, we just
can’t let you drive around like this.
Anteaters unite! We must stop this
—Carl Bernard Schwartz
A judge’s robe blocks the truth.
If the pen is really mightier
than the sword, law enforcement
officers would carry jumbo pens.
People kill trees to spread the
word that one shouldn’t kill.
Political propaganda is a skillful
blend of truth and fiction that puts
both in doubt.
What’s the difference between the
tooth fairy and the truth fairy?
One leaves coins, the other leaves town.
If you can’t say something nice, there
are many publications willing to print it.
The very term verisimilitude has 4
“eyes”, suggesting the image of a
person who requires corrective lenses
to see things properly.
—Carl Bernard Schwartz
Who cares about being the center of attention?
I just want the money.
Who cares about meeting production quotas?
I just want the honey.
Who cares about headline news?
I just want the funnies.
And I’ll take it lying down, thank you.
I am not my father, who braved the unspeakable
horrors of war on a bouncy ship off Normandy.
I am not my mother, who raised three boys
well, but spent her entire life under the
oppression of an older, unwed, childless
I am the Earth, oft taken for granted while I
hold my position among other orbiting spheres,
one player in a large marching band executing
intricate halftime show formations, knees high,
flawless musical performance, while onlookers
wait their turn restlessly in long restroom lines.
I am the stinky, smoking casings left over from
the finale of a fireworks extravaganza. That’s
nice, now get out of the way.
I am the heartbeat that keeps others alive from
four decades of donating blood, which doesn’t
stop me from griping about traffic congestion.
We rely upon the poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy or sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we can only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering I rush to them. They give me the wisdom of acceptance, and the will and resilience to push on.