Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Wolf That Belongs To Time

Played it for my delight...
Painting by W. Heath Robinson

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

This is a child’s moon.
It is that yellow, crooked
And obviously wants someone
To play with, anyone would suffice.

Here it is above this written landscape
With ascending letters playing the part
Of buildings and the windows of other letters
Allowing an entire city to be built
Below it, making a small night in a village.

When we can’t remember names
Any longer and only the sweetness
Of faces comes through the door
Of the soul, tossing their light around,
Let us remember this child’s moon
With its big eye and bright smile

Glowering upon us, trying to be serious
About it all and knowing we have
No way to explain that we would have
This evening no other way than how
It now appears, throw in a few more stars.


—D.R. Wagner

They will find where all the heart goes
When it must break. They will
Arrive at dusk on cloudy horses,
Hooves wrapped to make no noise.

They will steal into the passes, the canyons,
The long distances where the heart stands,
Sighing toward the fingers of the evening.

It will look like a mission, a tactical
Movement planned and commanded
But it will not be so. It will be
The hands and the emotions reaching
Into the holy body and twisting
Until the whole thing falls down.
First to the knees, then prone upon
The ground, all the sense kicked from
What was its home and breaking the eyes

That nothing may be recognized again
As it once was. All the words
Changed to other meaning. All the
Looks changed with deeper meaning
Undone, unlocked, left to flutter
On the evening, victims of wind.

We will not be able to hide.
We will see the fires coming for miles.
We will hear ourselves disgraced by lies,
Begging the beloved for a moment of sanity
That is not forthcoming. It will go
On without touching one another again.

It will seem like midnight but we are still
Not sleeping. We will not sleep.
Our pockets emptied of the lovely charms
That once meant everything and are now

Smooth stones in grays and dark
Ochres that can fall into the water
And never be seen again for ten
Million years when that land finally
Lifts itself from the sea
And becomes a road, a trail, a path
Leading somewhere that seems both
Vaguely familiar yet full of foreboding.
We will head that way anyway.
It will be the way that seems
Somehow beckoning.


—D.R. Wagner

You are not the ocean
And I am not a sailor
But I’ve spent my life at sea
And meaning may escape me
But nuance never does.

I can wear music like a glove.
I can wear even deeper dress then,
In the name of love and walk with those
Sailors across the feckless path that wind
Uses to tear the edges of the land,
The edges of the soul like windows taped
Against the coming storm. We can stand
Watching glassy-eyed but keen as blades
Leaning on the sheets before the wind.

This is our ocean. I will speak to you
In the language of the sea and you
Will understand it as the voices of all
Those upon the earth who used the water
To hold their nerves and muscles,
Tissue and bones together, look out from
Watery eyes across watery mornings of drifting
Rain. And I will hold you there becoming
Only another day in your life when something

Extraordinary happened and we discovered
Desire alone on the high places
Announcing the end of all waters
And saw it listened to by thousands
Of non-sailors like ourselves carrying
Our cargos of ginger and of nutmegs,
Of bolts of fine cloth and raisins
Yellow as the sun, exchanging them
With one another, trading memories
Of this time back and forth
Until the wolf of time itself comes into
Our bazaar and leans against our flesh
Again. “How is this possible?”
We all say of this great wolf.

It is immense and faceted as diamond is.
It holds our names within the great
Confusion of the days and asks a
Thousand times a day,
“Can you feel it brother?
Are you speaking? Is this our spirit
That makes me howl aloud this way?”


—D.R. Wagner

There is a kindness in watching the fires
Coming down the street carried by so many
Men dressed in radiant plumage and terse
Straps wrapped around their body.

They carry the lights high above them
On long poles so they swing to and fro
As they go through their series of routines
That mean nothing to us but seem to reflect
A solidarity among these men.

The people without clothing follow in the
Shadowy darks punctuated only by flares from
Lighters used to fire cigarettes. They show lips,
The form of a hairdo, the lurid makeup of evening,
A smear on the mascara the night wears to
Prove it is beautiful. There is so much more.

The dead move through these ranks and files,
Streaming through the air, dangling their shrouds
Behind them, sweeping and looping over our heads,
Silent in their endless forward press to escape dawn.

From the top of the buildings we watch this night
Parade, thinking is must have some profound
Meaning connected to it and discover nothing
Of the kind, just shape shifting and the sound
Of heavy garments against the ground, a dim
But profound gathering that mounts the back of night
To declare its property before all light ceases and
Before the moon can shake free of clouds and rise
With book after book of sweet tales and fears,
Tides and trysts, longing and fulfillment
Learned only in her pale reflected light.


—D.R. Wagner

There were birds here.
One can see where certain
Kinds of grasses have been bent
Down to form places for their
Courting. There are hollows too

Lined with feathers and nests
Made of twigs and string, of floss,
Bright bits and scraps of paper,
Forgotten by all else but them.

Here too are tracks upon the ground.
Here, a book of soothing gathered
From their shapes and movements
In the sky or by the nature of their calls.

Yet, when we come here now,
There are no birds at all. Only
Signs of them remain. We must

Learn a kind of quiet, a special
Patience too and remain long
Enough for us to see them
With our own eyes, hear their songs.

They are like our own dear souls
In that souls must be regarded
In like kind to reveal and be
Revealed before us, full of colors, voices
Moving through the air, among the trees,
The shrubs, upon the waters too. Looking
Deep into the heart, toward dreams, toward
What is every morning of every blessed
Day that we may find birds there,
And know them, that may be quite enough.


Today's LittleNip:

Blinding heat divides day from night,
Brands short shadows into fecund soil.
Green tendrils, heavy with beans,
Coil around rustic bamboo racks.
Violet flowers gape erotically among velvet leaves:
A single gourd contains the entire world's dream.

—Deng Ming-Dao



Photo by D.R. Wagner

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mineral and Marrow

—Maxine Kumin

They have lain a long time, these two:
parsnip with his beard on his foot,
pudding stone with fool's gold in her ear
until, under the thrust of my fork,
earthlock lets go. Mineral
and marrow are flung loose in May
still clinging together as if
they had intended this embrace.

I think then of skulls picked clean
underground, and the long bones
of animals overturned in the woods
and the gorgeous insurgency
of these smart green weeds
erect now in every furrow
that lure me once more
to set seeds in the loam.


Check the b-board or for this weekend’s offerings, including, locally, Terry Moore's The Blackout Poetry Series and The Show. In the Bay Area, Sacramento’s Shawn Pittard will be reading with Christina Hutchins and Roy Mash at the Rebound Bookstore on Saturday:

Here’s another colorful, inspiring Bay Area event—The 25th Annual Berkeley Kite Festival, which runs Sat. and Sun. from 10am-5pm in Cesar E. Chavez State Park at the Berkeley Marina, sponsored by Highline Kites of Berkeley. See giant kites, a “candy drop” from low-flying kites, team kite flying and kite battles, Octopile 2010, kites sales and demos, and kids having a chance to build their own kites. Go to for directions and details (and ‘way cool pix!). The event is free, although parking costs $10. But there is a free shuttle from the North BART station.

Then on Monday, Sacramento Poetry Center presents Gillian Wegener, William O'Daly, Lenore Myers, Allison Meraz, Kathleen McClung, Katie McCleary, Devi Sen Laskar, Penelope La Montagne (also reading a poem by Connie Post), L.A. Jones, Taylor Graham, Tom Goff, Susan Flynn, Margaret Duarte, Clark M. Dixon Moses, Sandra Bozarth, Naomi Benaron, Francisco X. Alarcón, all reading from the new summer issue of SPC's journal, Tule Review. That’s at 25th & R Sts., Sacramento, 7:30pm.

And for further inspiration, see Sac. Poet Laureate Emeritus Viola Weinberg’s latest blog-post at

Happy Birthday to two SnakePals this week: Taylor Graham (7/28) and Katy Brown (7/30). I figure they both like kites…


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

the afterlife of a tornado:
street flooded
bridge out
house crushed

the residue of an ice storm:
branch down
power line crackling
road blocked

in the wake of your suicide threat:
hands shaking
heart racing


In Line
—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

In line and damn it she wasn’t skating either
She was just standing in this colossal snail paced line
Creeping ever so slowly forward
Unemployment it sucks
All the forms, all the waiting just to have enough to get by
Trying to be patient, cheerful
But hey at least when she wasn’t waiting she had time to see friends,
Skate, go dancing
Compared to her 24/7 overwork job before she was downsized
At least she had time now to stop and think for herself
She smiled


—May Swenson

Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen

Where will I sleep
How will I ride
What will I hunt

Where can I go
without my mount
all eager and quick
How will I know
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure
when Body my good
bright dog is dead

How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door
and wind for an eye
With cloud for shift
how will I hide?


Today's LittleNip:

—Steve Sanfield

Inside—the laughter of friends.
Outside—the moon & I alone.



Thursday, July 29, 2010

Back to Then and When

Photo by Robert Lee Lane, 1970

—Ronald Edwin Lane, Weimar

What thoughts had I
As I sat
Upon the rocks beside the pond
Upon the mountain

As a boy?

Did I, the boy, die?
Or is he, me, the boy
In me still alive?

Can he sense
The man I am
Looking back at him
Knocking at his brain
Saying “Let me in”?

Are we one in the same?

Can I transport that boy
From the past
Into the future
In my brain?

Or better yet

Can I, the boy before the man I am stand
And reach out through this photograph
And take my hand
And pull me back
To then and when, and
Then the boy I was
Could keep the man I am



sit here waiting for the
waiting for the news
waiting for the news of
your death

waiting for the hiccup
the sneeze
for the turn of a card
roll of dice
end of race
phone call
mood change

wait for the wave
to the shore
the leaf in its fall
for what you said
it will happen, you said
in a half breath
not tonight but soon
I’ll do it, you said
wait for the

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis


—Charles Mariano, Sacramento

don’t want to get into
it felt so damn bad
that we were poor

i wore ugly shoes
and pants
that fit too big
with holes

that brown duplex
on 12th and K
we lived in
government housing
for those
woefully without

it bothered me
when i drove by
saw every building
an empty lot

i stopped
took it all in
the air
hauntingly quiet

it’s all gone now
like mama
and my childhood

nothing’s forever

family gatherings
mama cooking up a storm
in that small kitchen
the black neighbors
the Harris’s
the McDaniel’s
magnificently poor
like us
shared tables
best friends

a variety of music
Trio Los Panchos
Nat King Cole
James Brown,
out our windows

the sweet smell
of capirotada
and barbecue
wafting, curling

a framed picture
of JFK,
next to the Virgin Mary
a lit candle
in the middle

Thanksgiving, Christmas,
countless birthdays
that ugly house
filled to the brim
with warm memories
every loving inch

don’t want to get into
this empty lot
bothers me
why my chest aches
for every last
precious piece

i see mama
at the window
her foodstained apron
hair in bobbypins
her scarf
wrapped tight around her head
like Aunt Jemimah,

waving goodbye


Today's LittleNip:

—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

there is that hollow place
between them needing you,
you wanting them—

you pause, wait awhile,
then walk together
through the many myths of each other.


—Medusa (with thanks to today's contributors. And yes, Pat Hickerson's poem does end on "the". Leaves ya waiting, doncha know...)

Even in this modern age
This valley has
Its lazy days

—Photo and Caption by Ronald Edwin Lane

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Rocks Are Smarter Than Others

It may be harder than it looks to toss a bean bag through this hole.
When little hands first try this, it can feel like a ton of coal.
—Photo and caption by Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

I’m tired of waiting, waiting
for the Internet to shed
mindlessness, arrest its
stone-skipping, pond-rippling
shallow traject. Time to delve into

the raisin-studded rice pudding
of philosophy, rife with rum.
For every good site (the Internet
Encyclopedia of Philosophy),
a bazillion that ricochet the same

two white balls across the baize
table (this is English billiards,
no pockets, so nothing ever drops
to our satisfaction): I thought me
quite brainy to finger Louise
de la Valliere, second of three parts

of The Vicomte du Bragelonne,
culminating in the deaths
of Musketeers, that’s right,
iron mask and all, but, get this
(yes, this just in from the aforesaid IEP):
…Louise wasn’t just
brood mare to the Sun King,
she was a freaking philosopher!

Well, Louise knew how to wait, pray,
and suffer like one, the job descript
of smart concubines eternal…meanwhile,
I too pine like a concubine,
dusting/rusting Lord Chesterfield’s
outer parlor, hoping & praying against my
own tired-old-man diatribe:

the Real History will never get
onto the 'Net…



how you spent that unplanned
overnighter. Let’s say trail dust seeped
into every seam and pore; your path
got lost in thicket

your canteen ran dry. Dark
came down too fast, held you between
cliff and water. Under Saturn
you flexed and unflexed

cramping muscles; joints ground
into granite.
So many hours of waiting, listening
for coded messages:

constellation, river, rock. Voices
of the distant current. Is it a mindless
song of slow erosion, or could it
be angels?

Stars blink on and off, a Morse
like Time. Last spring’s raindrops
gone downriver, how many
ticks of pulse till dawn.

—Taylor Graham, Placerville



for a glimpse of light under the closed door;
for what eventually will come;
waiting for hymns through the walls, and no one singing;
waiting for what won’t come; for what never
was expected, a blue-green marble
swirled like a miniature globe
in a house untouched by children;
under the cushion of the couch, two crushed
candy eggs, one red, one purple;
waiting for a word from out-there; a howl that turns
to hound-song, a neighbor’s dog rethinking
language; waiting as things miraculously appear.

—Taylor Graham


—Ann Wehrman

for you
one hundred days
five senses etiolated,
I meet you
again and again
in vast open space
your face materializes
your granite eyes of desire
your grin that makes light
of all this pain


waiting to begin
—Ann Wehrman

midlife, finally, my love
I rise full of hope
waiting to begin

* * *

the first day of spring
shoveling out of a
snowbound house
I leave behind the dead
and those who watch
through sentimental haze

* * *

rhapsodic ideal or
deserving of compassion—
each, both, you are
my lover, my other, my self
fish swim upstream, down
in the middle, I wait
bound by passion, promise


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

When small souls gather,
sometimes their mindless chatter
turns to things that matter…

Two men sit on a park bench waiting for
their friend, Monroe, who takes them to
their weekly poker games.

Henry, a young bank clerk, has lost lots
of money playing cards. He nervously sits
twiddling his fingers.

Charlie, a car salesman, asks Henry what
is bothering him. Henry sighs and says that
his wife thinks gambling is a sin.

Charlie laughs, and tells Henry, that since
Henry’s an atheist, and there’s no god, Henry
cannot commit a sin and can do anything that
he pleases.

Henry shakes his head angrily, saying he’s
not an atheist, but an existentialist. A person
who cares about this world, not any imaginary

Henry asks Charlie what he believes. Charlie
tells him, I prefer to think we’re all put here by
intelligent design, and that I am not just some
evolutionary freak.

Henry waves his hands in frustration and says,
Life must be like a poker game, you win or you
lose…that’s all there is to it.


Today's LittleNip:

Heron stands in the blue estuary,
Solitary, white, unmoving for hours.
A fish! Quick avian darting;
The prey captured.

—Deng Ming Dao


—Medusa (with thanks to Carl for the photos and to our other poets for their contributions to our Seed of the Week: Waiting. Got some thoughts on waiting? Send 'em to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.)

Some rocks are smarter than others, you know.
They have passed the tests of time, and fire and snow.
—Photo and caption by Carl Bernard Schwartz

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Love is Dangerous

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Tomas Tranströmer

Night, two o'clock: moonlight. The train has stopped
in the middle of the plain. Distant bright points of a town
twinkle cold on the horizon.

As when someone has gone into a dream so far
that he'll never remember he was there
when he comes back to his room.

And as when someone goes into a sickness so deep
that all his former days become twinkling points, a swarm,
cold and feeble on the horizon.

The train stands perfectly still.
Two o'clock: full moonlight, few stars.

(translated from the Swedish by Robert Bly)


Today’s photo from Katy Brown is about waiting. She writes: I took the Waiting photo over at Mary's cafe in Sonoma the other day with Robert. The table looked so '50s and empty . . . like a country song about to happen. So that’s our Seed of the Week: Waiting.

The Capitol City Young Writers Summer Workshop is next week, August 2-5, from 8am-noon Monday through Thursday. Young writers in grades 6-12 can join award-winning authors, editors, poets and literary agents for four full mornings of inspiring and educational workshops. Various classes will be offered, including fiction, non-fiction, screenplay, poetry, broadcast radio, journalism, technical writing, etc. $100. Limited to 25 young writers. [The notice says to check website to determine if the class has been filled before contacting CCYW (, but the site only says that the group was half-full by June 16. So I’d contact ‘em, anyway.]

Lots of workshops starting to pop up, especially for Fall—don’t forget to keep scrolling down to the upside-down snake on the b-board! Molly Fisk will be starting another Boot Camp this Sunday; go to for info. Speaking of Boot Camps:

Self-Publishing Boot Camp Workshop in Bay Area Oct. 16:

10 Steps to Self-Publishing Success with Lisa Alpine and Carla King will be held from 9am to 5pm on Sat., Oct. 16 at the new waterfront arts center on the bay—The Craneway at historic Ford Point in the Marina District of Point Richmond, right on the San Francisco Bay Trail. The $155 workshop fee includes a sit-down lunch at the BoilerHouse Restaurant and the 87-page Self-Publishing Boot Camp Workbook. Go to for info.

And thanks to Joyce Odam for finishing up our Seed of the Week—that form, whatever you call it—with some variations on same. She says the first poem is new; the others are from her chapbook, Gradations.


—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

will you wear
to the ball — it's
midnight already.


—Joyce Odam

old gods
still wait for
the seven years
of your next mirror.


—Joyce Odam

in the rain,
running swiftly,
blurring their laughter,
splashing their reflections.


—Joyce Odam

to dance with
you in the rain,
but you did not want
to dance. All our quarrels
seem to be about dancing.


—Joyce Odam

heard the
geese just now —
not yet light out —
sky mysterious
with those old/new hauntings.


—Joyce Odam

me out
of paper
on the dotted
lines — but carefully.
I want to be cut free.


—Joyce Odam

makes birds
from paper—
frogs and baskets—
bird after bird — and
frog after frog, with skill
and patience, she makes these things.


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

we kissed
you drew blood.
Or I drew blood.
Love is dangerous.



Young Girl Writing at Her Desk With Birds
Painting by Henriette Browne

Monday, July 26, 2010

Laughter Sounds in Quiet Raindrops

Poetry Center Piggy
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Lo, whenever somebody looks upwards
Others will follow, it matters not
At all the basis is hollow.
Yell Booo at a game, surely
More will chime in, it’s a
Reflex, it’s fun, not
Counted a sin.
Easy as
Downhill, to
Exercise our
Democracy, an
Expression of free will.
Starting from sources remote
And ballistic, represented
As if it is truly holistic:
You will look sage if you share our outrage.


The piggy in today’s photo reminds us that there’s a poetry reading at Sacramento Poetry Center tonight, featuring Dorine Jennette and Rob Schlegel. 25th & R Sts., Sacramento, 7:30pm; bios are on the b-board.

Some deadlines coming up, including the Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest (7/31), and the early registration deadline (8/1) for the Be Your Own Publisher workshop in Mokelumne Hill August 28-29. And, if you’re going to the Surprise Valley Writers’ Conference in September, Aug. 1 is the manuscript deadline. Scroll down on the b-board to me in my bathrobe for details.

While you’re poking around on the b-board, check out Bob in the weeds—right now he’s featuring Kel Munger—as well as all the other stuff ‘n such going on. Speaking of Bob, he’ll be one of the presenters at the Mendocino County Writers Conference next weekend; maybe it’s not too late to sign up. (Details on the b-board in the HandyStuff section, under the upside-down snake.)

And congrats to Emmanuel Sigauke for the new anthology he edited with Ivor W. Hartmann: African Roar: An Eclectic Anthology of African Authors. If you’re going to be in LA next weekend, stop by Saturday’s reading at Eso Won Bookstore, 4331 Degnan Blvd. (Find out more about the book at Or, if you’re going to be in San Rafael on Saturday, stop by Rebound Bookstore to hear Sacramento’s Shawn Pittard: Lots of NorCal poets are doing Bay Area readings this summer! Apparently the word has spread! Shawn will also be reading at Sac. Poetry Center in August with the Londonberry Salon.


—Arthur Sze

Caw Caw, Caw Caw Caw.
To comprehend a crow
you must have a crow's mind.
To be the night rain,
silver, on black leaves,
you must live in the
shine and wet. Some people
drift in their lives:
green-gold plankton,
phosphorescent, in the sea.
Others slash: a knife
at a yellow window shade
tears open the light.
But to live digging deep
is to feel the blood
in you rage as rivers,
is to feel love and hatred
as fibers of rope,
is to catch the scent
of a wolf, and turn wild.


—Thich Nhat Hanh

Here are words written down—
footprints on the sand,
cloud formations.

I'll be gone.


—Thich Nhat Hanh

It is night.
Rain pelts the roof.
The soul awakens
to a flooded Earth—
a sea of storm
then passing.

In that short moment,
shifting lines and shapes,
barely seen.

Before the passing moment tilts
and falls to melancholy,
laughter sounds
in quiet raindrops.


—Patricia Y. Ikeda

(for Chris Nash)

I wanted to describe the wild iris
blooming in the hills above Oakland,
how it stars the darkness beneath trees
exhaling coolness in the green spring dusk.
But instead this poem wants to express
your slow step on the damp path
and my year-old son's face
as, strapped to your back, he reached up
to touch leaves, and waved to me.

I know I'm out of touch with the world,
that Eastern Europe is on fire,
the suffering and terror continues,
bad jokes and bad jobs.
I know that some things fall down, others build,
I know how my son fits a cover to a box
as though it were important. It might be so.
I know the wild iris blooms in late April
because you showed me; I cannot guess
what this poem wants to be, growing
long leaves and veiled buds into my life
through chaos and clutter. This poem says
it doesn't want to end; it has strength
like rain, or human loss. It wants
to hold everything, it wants to rise up
amid the ordinary course of our lives.


Today's LittleNip:

—Jonathan Greene

I tell the truck
where to go.

The road tells the truck
where to go.

The road almost always



Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz

Sunday, July 25, 2010

By the Edge of the Morning

Hubble telescope photo

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

I had a plan like evening.
The stars were a soft red velvet.
Someone had picked the moon,

Kept it written on a small piece
Of paper I kept in my back pocket,
Even washed it twice, but it was good.

I could pick it up anywhere and dance
To it and everyone would be surprised,
Like someone knowing your name after
Not seeing them for many years.

Someday I will tell you all about it.
We will sit by the edge of the morning
Whispering about everything, afraid to wake
The day but wanting to do so badly.

There is a rapture that comes
Just in speaking of treasured things,
That wants them to be memories,
That wants them held in the mind
Until time comes for its claim.
We need be fully present to notice them.

Maybe if we stand here on the edge of this
High place and reach up as if to touch it all?



Hubble telescope photo

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hit And Run

Holly Eva Allen

—Holly Eva Allen, Sacramento

Strained with the pressure of dark.
Strange noises wake the dreaming.
A cat or a dog down the alleyway to yowl,
Or a neighbor making heavy love, sweating, sweating…
But nothing in the mortal mind was firstly right.
Gravity mounting in my lungs,
A lover whispers beside me, the end of loving.


Thanks, Holly! Holly Eva Allen is a published poet and writer living in the greater Sacramento area of California. She is creator and head of The Raven of Lancaster, literature and art guild of Rosemont. She is currently working towards a Masters degree in English through the California University IGETC transfer program. Holly's interests include works by H.P.Lovecraft, opera, and linguistics, and she says her personal works are often odd-metered and questioning. For more about Holly, go to


—Holly Eva Allen

The peak of beauty
Reached by stubborn legs on a dirty plane.
The soil is loose,
Hues of saffron,
Like jealousy,
And crimson,
Like those bleeding hearts:
Those little girls with puffy eyes,
Their stockings torn at the knees.
Climb on, ignoring love.
For at the height of handsome flesh,
There is no love,
But vanity.


—Holly Eva Allen

What a thespian!
Played like a pro,
He lived his life by vintage Cream records
And aspartame.
Hair dyed in divinatory thought,
A peacock treading an asphalt road.
You definitely didn’t reek of sin.
You didn’t look twenty-nine.
You held yourself like a Henri Matisse,
You made me out to be a deer in your headlights.
And you just ran me over.


—Holly Eva Allen

Through cement and gravel
We tire the soles of our feet.
And the cobblestone comes to argue
Its place in our lives.
And the moss,
The grass,
They need no introductions.
If padded feet
Make us like cats,
Like lovers,
Then the tile would have nothing to say.
Little whiskers warn you:
Walk no further.
Two steps forward,
Five steps back.
Come and lie down beside me
Before my heart bursts
Within me.
The soft ground will wait
For the cry
Of your footfall.
For the mewing of kittens
At my doorstep.


—Holly Eva Allen

From dawn to dusk,
From daybreak until breaking,
We were pretending not to pretend.
On the porch and under the sun,
Burning on the summer pavement like
Demons on holy ground.
And how sacred the seconds seemed.

An ironic blessing.

We have a façade for every day of the week,
Blue, red, green, yellow, and purple.
To match every outfit we own.
We believe those colored prophets
Even though we know the blind cannot see visions.

I’m a Monet—
Bright and blooming to the passerby
But jaded and wilted to the wise of eye.
You’re a tourist and a sightseer—
You say bad things about me right to my face
And flash camera lights in my eyes to
Forever capture my suffering
But you pretend you faun over this painted beauty.

I’m gorging my ego in your lies.

How I want to go on a fast.

The signals were blue as we drove through
The middle of nowhere.
Confrontations came up from the eviction of my mind
And you killed it with the desert of my womb.
Insults on my Eve’s blood were made,
So I became Lilith.

So I became Lilith.

I’m gonna shed these colors
And soon the nowhere will merge with somewhere.
Running out of canvas and off the porch
And I’m drunk from fasting
And I’m full from truth.


Today's LittleNip:

—Jack Kerouac

Don't use the telephone.
People are never ready to answer it.
Use poetry.



Fireworks at the State Fair
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stamps on the Final Envelope

Valley Sunset
Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Lew Welch

All these years I overlooked them in the
racket of the rest, this
symbiotic splash of plant and fungus feeding
on rock, on sun, a little moisture, air—
tiny acid-factories dissolving
salt from living rocks and
eating them.

Here they are, blooming!
Trail rock, talus and scree, all dusted with it:
rust, ivory, brilliant yellow-green, and
cliffs like murals!
Huge panels streaked and patched, quietly
with shooting-stars and lupine at the base.

Closer, with the glass, a city of cups!
Clumps of mushrooms and where do the
plants begin? Why are they doing this?
In this big sky and all around me peaks &
the melting glaciers, why am I made to
kneel and peer at Tiny?

These are the stamps on the final envelope.

How can the poisons reach them?
In such thin air, how can they care for the
loss of a million breaths?
What, possibly, could make their ground more bare?

Let it all die.

The hushed globe will wait and wait for
what is now so small and slow to
open it again.

As now, indeed, it opens it again, this
scentless velvet,

this Lichen!


This weekend's poetry events are listed on the b-board over at the right of this; as usual, go to for a more complete listing. On Monday, Sacramento Poetry Center features Dorine Jennette and Rob Schlegel at 25th & R Sts., Sacramento, 7:30pm. Rob Schlegel’s The Lesser Fields was selected for the 2009 Colorado Prize for Poetry. He lives in Missoula, MT where he teaches poetry. His poems and reviews can be found in The Boston Review, New American Writing, VOLT, Barrow Street, Octopus, AGNI and the The Grove Review. Currently he is teaching at Linfield College and Portland Community College.

Dorine Jennette is the author of Urchin to Follow (The National Poetry Review Press, 2010). Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in publications such as Verse Daily, the Journal, Ninth Letter, Puerto del Sol, Sacramento News and Review, Memorious, Santa Clara Review, Los Angeles Review, Terrain, The New Orleans Review, and The Georgia Review. Originally from Seattle, she earned her MFA from New Mexico State University and her PhD from the University of Georgia. She lives in Fairfield, California.


—Gillian Coote

I know all the notes of your voice
all the cat-fox eye glints
and grey sheen cheeks.
I know your face.

I know
all the strength and
power of your heart
and the charged space around
your being.

I know
the spring that's tripped
in me
my hair-breadth heart that
plunges and swoops,
a lion-kite on a
wild journey.


—Telly Wong

A voice
On the phone
Without face
Without form
The waiting
The call
The one hour
When we are together
Poetry in the dark
The one hour
The call
The waiting.


—Susan Griffin

This is civilization.
We have inherited it.
We love the glitter.
It is growing dark and trees
crowd the sky.
A pink glow comes to us.
There is a yellow line
we must follow.
Music I find my mouth saying,
Music somewhere back there
in the trees.
Something glowing pulls me
and I whisper heart.
But we keep on
don't we,
we keep on down the road.


I saw myself
a ring of bone
in the clear stream
of all of it

and vowed,
always to be open to it
that all of it
might flow through

and then heard
"ring of bone" where
ring is what a

bell does

—Lew Welch


Today's LittleNip:

—Lew Welch

Seeking Perfect Total Enlightenment
is looking for a flashlight
when all you need the flashlight for
is to find your flashlight



Photo by Katy Brown, Davis