cast in the morning light
survive for a while.
Acres of weathered angels
keep silent vigil for spirits
no one remembers today.
On the far side of the weeping yew,
a family sings a song of deep mourning
beside a fresh grave.
They burn incense and scatter flowers.
I brought nothing to offer for you.
And for the first time,
I could not feel you in the early light.
When I look at how far the headstones
have washed out over the once-unbroken grass,
I realize those were the ones
who would have remembered more about you.
The burden of remembering rests with me;
and, I fear, you are mostly shadow, now.
Get your submissions together for today’s deadline (!) for the Winter Tule Review, then head on down to Luna’s Café (1414 16th St., Sac.) tonight to hear Trina Drotar, Sandy Thomas and Martha Ann Blackman. Get your beauty rest, though, because you’ll be wanting to be fresh for the Big Doin’s By The Bay this weekend, including the first of this year’s Litquake events in SF on Friday, then back across the bridge to Berkeley for Watershed on Sat. (start with the walk in the a.m. led by Chris Olander and others), then The Nature of Art Festival (Art in Nature) in Oakland on Sunday. Info about all these goodies on the b-board, of course.
Census of Poets and Other Artists in El Dorado County:
During the month of October, artists of all genres (including poetry), arts organizations/businesses and other arts venues are asked to participate in ED County’s first Arts Census, sponsored by El Dorado Arts Council and the El Dorado County Office of Economic Development. If you fit into any of these artistic or business categories, contact Deb Jensen at email@example.com to take an Art Census interview (four short questions, takes about 15 min.). They want to know how many “practicing” artists there are in the County, and how they can be better served.
They also need volunteers to help take the census; training will be this coming Saturday (10/2) at ArtSpace, 459 Main St., Placerville. Contact the arts council at 530-295-3496 or email EDAC@eldoradoartscouncil.org for further info about volunteering.
of music and poetry
she draws a circle of quiet
around her world,
embracing the solitary—
the sighing brook,
the secluded niche,
the sleepy sun stretching
as forgotten yellows soften
into warm lazy days.
Someone dances barefoot—
a stunted heart opens.
THE EMPTY BENCH
—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento
We came across an empty bench
that sat alone in the bright sun
among shrubs hiding rattlesnakes,
poison plants, and yellow jackets
too close for comfort.
Given design by creatures who
regularly transcend the mere act
of sitting and waiting, this bench
was not just for resting one’s weight,
or for lifting weights, or for
watching for the next bus, or for
herding people in an institutional
This was a thinking man’s bench
that those in the know would no
more dare to crouch upon than a
Ming vase, or an expensive gadget
from Silicon Valley.
There were no fancy velvet ropes or
thoughtful signs to steer onlookers
away, just the hope and the sometimes
false assumption that others would have
the common sense to appreciate a piece
of art for the spectacle that it is, and not
pry behind the lens to find a golden egg.
And so the empty bench is still with us
today, in our memories, alongside the
cherished images of loved ones who
have passed away.
Our long history leads us
where we need to go,
fall to your knees,
remember the simple act
of grass growing;
standing still in the sky.
Return to the Garden.