—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
The day was much too warm
To truly be called a Winter’s
Day. Narcissus were in bloom.
The greening of the fields was overloaded
For the time of year, but there it was.
Evening had loaded itself on moisture,
Banked the clouds into sheets,
Stretched them across a valley landscape
And was pushing the sun down behind
The whole thing in poured golds and
metallic hues that could easily have
Been kept and put aside for
Late Spring or early Summer. Five
O’clock was not used to handling
This kind of display at all.
The sky was slightly embarrassed
But would never deny that wealth
Of colors and special fashion
Such a rare gem as this could command.
And so it commanded and looking we obeyed.
Thanks to today's multiplicity of contributors, including Pat Hickerson, who'll be celebrating the release of her rattlechap, Dawn and Dirty, at The Book Collector tonight (7:30pm at 1008 24th St., Sac.); Taylor Graham, who'll be co-hosting tonight's new read-around series in Placerville (Poetry Off-the-Shelves) at the Library, 345 Fair Lane, 6pm; D.R. Wagner, who'll be releasing a SnakeRings SpiralChap (A Limited Means of Expression) at Rattlesnake Press's Seventh Birthday Extravaganza in April; Tom Goff, who'll be one of the poets represented in the newest issue of WTF from Rattlesnake Press, due out next Thursday (2/10) at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sac.; and Cynthia Linville, who'll be hosting A Marathon of Love Poems at The Vox Gallery (1726 11th St., Sac., 6pm) this Saturday. See how busy our poets are??
Anyway, it's Love Week in the Kitchen, so brew up a few love-snacks (or any other kind) for us and send 'em to... well, you know...
But first, a poem for the juror who texted that he was "bored" while going through phone records during a jury trial. Remember: in this society, you are what you text.
TODAY IS VERY BORING
Today is very boring,
it’s a very boring day,
there is nothing much to look at,
there is nothing much to say,
there’s a peacock on my sneakers,
there’s a penguin on my head,
there’s a dormouse on my doorstep,
I am going back to bed.
Today is very boring,
it is boring through and through,
there is absolutely nothing
that I think I want to do,
I see giants riding rhinos,
and an ogre with a sword,
there’s a dragon blowing smoke rings,
I am positively bored.
Today is very boring,
I can hardly help but yawn,
there’s a flying saucer landing
in the middle of my lawn,
a volcano just erupted
less than half a mile away,
and I think I felt an earthquake,
it’s a very boring day.
SONG: HE, TO HER
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
If loving is hard in the long run,
love me today.
Weave me an astounding paperclip chain,
fashion from last December’s,
next November’s long rains
a rain bracelet, woven through
sunglow and moonflow
link by link, dawn by dawn,
but love me today. Let
the key turn in the secret lock
one not unlimber tumbler at a time.
Do love’s long-hauling
coursers appear lashed
to the twelve-hour clock?
Does our love-spirit faint,
brio and élan dashed
Let love dive a while unseen.
(Love me—when? Must we delay?)
Soon, breaking the clear blue plane,
the soulfully streaming marlin,
the icy-wet glimmering swordfish!
In one waterspout-passionate
piercing of oceanskin (ah, this
...Love me today.
SOCK THEORY OF LOVE
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
Among the clean clothes on the bed,
3 socks. You put two pairs in the washer.
Where did the fourth sock go?
Sometimes you end up with one white,
one blue, and a mystery passion-pink sock
you've never seen before.
(White sock, he loves me. Blue,
he loves me not. Pink…)
Everyone loses socks, everyone has
theories: poltergeists, sock gnomes,
shape-shifters, wormholes, dark magic,
Some objects are averse to pairing.
For years you kept a single shoe
in your closet, hoping its mate would
find its way home. Waiting
for the phone to ring. Pink sock,
he loves me….
FOR LOVE OF A COW
Even as a cow she was lovely.
Farm-boy, what made you take this detour,
missing the tourist sights along the north coast?
You turned south, instead, following
the Torridge into hill country, where forest
swarms so thick, a traveler can hardly catch
his breath on a sultry day. You press on
to the summit—a clearing: fields
of Devonshire cattle—the Old Red Oxen
of your New England childhood; beasts
who labored without complaint at cart
and plough. And here, among the lowly chattel,
she stands: Io herself, priestess
in heifer-gown. Did Hera's gadfly pester her
this far from Argos in her mythic flight?
No matter. You'd know her anywhere: perfect
symmetry of grace and line, sleek
in her rich-red, silky robe against the sweet
green of pasture; her horns translucent-
pearly as a diadem; eyes soft brown,
pure as any maiden's. Io, grazing on the bounty
of Zeus's rain-clouds.
Do you wish to change her back
Or is she just too lovely as a cow?
—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento
I wake up to find my fingers
twisted through your long hair
and your arm tight around me
and the stereo going on, then off
then on again in the storm.
I’d been dreaming of a woman
pacing round and round the courtyard
her boots clicking over
the heart-shaped stone
near our door.
My mouth is dry
and I almost taste blood.
I go back to sleep and dream of an old woman
dancing naked in the rain
brandishing yellow fig leaves like fans
and when I wake again
I don’t know where I am.
Then I remember that I heard your name in my head
before you even told me.
I have no map
for this new terrain.
MANY HOURS (for Rachel)
—Patricia Hickerson, Davis
during the long night
I held your hand
in the street below
a police siren started up
stopped in mid-scream
its abrupt terror
spinning out to claim a fresh victim
from among the broken and helpless
at the window our murmurings
like doves in conspiracy
cleared a space for us
in the city’s dense web
Many nights I held your hand.
Many afternoons I hoped you were safe.
Many hours I guarded you.
Many hours I dreamed of you.
Many hours I rejoiced in you.
Many hours I regretted you.
Many hours I loved you.
Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
—Harriet Van Horne