(a sea-chanty, arrgh…)
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Be ye fair, winds, and, following, seize my
sails, let these blasts rum-sodomy-lash the mizzenmasts,
yardarm these salt and sallow topgallants.
Sough me no soughs but the bluffest puffs,
the blowmedown seizures of breeze.
What mariner expects no ecstasy, epilepsy,
to reimburse the empty sag, lag, and bag, humdumb
doldrum-boulders crashing the dead boredom
wake of hymn who’s now forever waveless?
Like a fainted ship, a feinted chip, on a chessboard
ocean? Beats not me, not even impressed am I
into the lee of Robert E.’s admirablety. Nor hope
to find me, matey, savoring the cease and silence
of ebb tide where late the great squirts
ink-squidded from offshore far
at will into the cannonade,
enfilade of breakers, crash! Seems not too rash
to say the flay and rage of even cálm waters
and cléar winds most savage my following bird,
knock with knout, walkingstick knob or boss
upsidethehead poor booby or albatross
(do I sorrow, keen, reel,
or self-keelhaul, over the loss?
Not! ’cause who gives a limp rat’s toss
for such a ridiculous loss
as one lone fishsticksucking albatross?).
—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento
Like a kite whose string
is tugged from tiny hands
and blown skyward by the wind,
our destiny is buffeted by the wind,
tossed like a runaway kite with string.
Control is wrenched from our hands.
Time slips quickly through gnarled hands.
We sow seeds of love into the wind
entrusting them to the kite on the string.
The kite sans string
whispers into the wind—
love ricochets into our hands.
SPANISH RIDERS AND GHOST LANGUAGE
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
The quietest of gestures, spinning
Yard after yard of silk, trying to mount
The sky, feigning indifference or instinct,
The rooms open up one into another.
Here, the entrance to an ant colony
Here, the quick rush of water as it becomes
The edge of the sea, here, the placing of
Eggs in the larvae of an entire civilization
Without its knowledge. A fog of misinformation
Clouds over the country. No one is able
To understand what anyone else means.
Battles begin. Electricity becomes visible
Whenever one takes a step, crackling beneath
The feet, sending its delicious messages
Deep into the inner core. We learn to swim
Within these momentary caverns and jagged roads.
We can never begin again. For eons we have
Been riding down and still we are unable
To recognize the Saint Elmo’s fire in our fingertips.
We come to believe we are candles and trust
Many others will come to see our light, Spanish
Riders armed with ghost languages eager to
Offer recommendations and gesticulations
Deep within the social webwork where we live.
THE LEVIATHAN SPEAKS
In the dead of the night.
In the room of the Northern
Light. In the shop where the
Seasons learn their repairs. In
The port where the ships that
Purport knowledge debark, arresting
Thought like a thief and dreaming
Like a lake. We open up the doors.
Oh hear me sweet dreamers. You
Who walk in Jerusalem. We
are dancing, dancing, dancing. You are
Watching as best you can.
Rip the curtains from the door ways.
Open up the rooms. We are
The children of the moment.
You are prophets of the dream.
No one will believe you.
We cannot stay the course.
The horizon is sparkled with this vision.
We remove ourselves by horse.
Beyond rivers, we are the dreamers
Of the sea. No one can ever
Recall us. No one ever sets
Us free. But we do remain
To remind you that all songs
Are bred to three, the trinity. I will
Embrace your sweetest children.
They will belong to me.
Sing, sing, sing the bells they
Make to say, but there is never
Any difference, there is never
Any way that you may recognize
My hand here, that you may
Understand my plea.
When you wake up in the morning
You will never recognize it’s me.
(DR says: I think I wrote this one for all the poets in Sacramento.)
THE LITTLE STORY
In the little story
The house could sing.
The trees has faces.
Their thoughts had wings.
They called them birds.
They kept them in their arms.
They played among their branches.
Their songs were magic charms.
In the little story,
The end of day was long.
The twilight went forever
As it eased across the lawns.
There were dragons, any color.
They could be spoken to.
They were fierce, then tame, then magic.
You could watch them as they grew.
In the little story
With its adventures, plays and tales,
The wind would fill the sails,
Wandering the sea with whales,
Calling them by name.
They answered like an old friend.
They talked about the plains.
Places far from water,
where they could remember names,
Like buffalo and Indian tribes,
Things they weren’t supposed to know.
In the little story, all that seems,
Was so, each thing, and real in time.
A moment, a year, a million years
Or more. That is why we must repeat
It. That is why the tales still grow.
So I’ll tell you not a thing more.
I’ll leave it all for you to see,
And when you do, believe it
And come tell the rest to me.
I think it's more important to deal with life as it comes along than sit around pondering one's personal philosophy. What useful things you find out in this world, you invariably find out on foot, on the move. You can't wait.