Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Trying To Hold On

Carl Schwartz is one of the many SnakePals 
who may be at the Rattlesnake Press
Lucky Seven Birthday Bash tonight! Will you?
—Photo by Trina Drotar, Sacramento

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Americans generate more waste than any other
nation in the world with 4.5 pounds of municipal
solid waste (MSW) per person per day.
—“Cashing in on Climate Change,” IBISWorld

Four and a half pounds a day, Monday
through Sunday without a day of rest. It boggles
the mind and clogs the landfills.
Our lovely green earth littered with rusting,
decaying, unbiodegradable junk that festers with
noxious gases. Our littered lives.

Didn't I just read about another little old lady
found under an avalanche of old magazines,
margarine tubs, shoes, and broken radios?
She wouldn't give it away. One evening,
fixing dinner, I heard a skreek of metal against
wood, bolts tearing loose, overloaded cupboard

wrenching from its wall. I tried to catch it.
Plates and glasses in smithereens on kitchen tile.
That glazed ceramic aubergine, dark grape-
purple with fired sea-foam foliage—heirloom
from a grandmother's house—I swept it up
in shards. My arms ached from trying to hold on.


Thanks to today's contributors, including photog Trina Drotar and poets Taylor Graham and D.R. Wagner. Trina and D.R. will be at the Rattle-read tonight; Trina has consented to be part of the open mic (a rare event at Rattle-reads, and I still have one opening; lemme know at, and D.R. is, of course, reading from his new Rattlesnake Press release, A Limited Form of Expression. And Taylor Graham? She'll be holding forth at the Poetry Off-the-Shelves reading in Placerville tonight—see b-board for details. Meanwhile, she's sent us poems about our SOW: I saw in the news... As she puts it, "What wonderful fodder the news brings!"

By the way, yesterday I said the photo of last week's baseball reading was by Katy Brown. That was erroneous information; will the real photog please step forward? This just in—D.R. done it! Come see him tonight and congratulate him on a mightee-fine foto.


—Taylor Graham

In the Lucky parking lot, a small dun mare
waits under saddle, reins looped to a light-stanchion—
sundial on asphalt as the shoppers come and go.
She flicks her ear, shifts weight from one hind leg
to the other, turns her head, gazing past me.
Waiting. The man who rides her is buying some
small item. Maybe the weekly paper.
He'll stow his purchase in a saddle bag, untie
the reins, mount with a hitch. He's no longer young.
Jacketed to keep out weather. I've seen them
on the highway shoulder, slowing rush hour traffic
as if they had no deadline. But now the County
is about to iron-bar a gate across the bit of scrubby
woods where the homeless keep their camps.
I've walked there, nodding at folks who used to have
jobs, doctor's appointments, soccer games.
Does the dun mare live there? By the 15th of this
month they'll be gone. Where does a homeless
horse find fields to graze? The mare stands
speechless as a history of horses.


—Taylor Graham

1960, you paid 15 bucks in a Eureka pawnshop
for that old worn pair of chaps. Stockmen
on South Fork Mountain would see the new
District Ranger was no mail-order greenhorn,
he knew how to ride. Cowboy-chaps
to turn the brush. Rough-out leather pilled,
rubbed smooth in patches, no special color but
trail-dust. Later—you in an office-job—
those chaps hung useless from a railing. Now
years after your last range ride, here
you stand in faded Levi's, cowboy boots,
your old slouch Stetson. I'll help you
with the buckle on those chaps. You've
got your rhyme about a Roman-nosed
old sorrel, Blaze. It's Cowboy Poetry Night.
You've ridden miles.


—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

Somehow it got into my mind
That you meant something completely
Different than I had supposed you did.

Funny how that works. I don’t suppose
It happens all by itself. “Summer
Is a long way off now. I can’t remember
What the flowers looked like.”

We were staying at that hotel
Near the shore we liked so much.
The air was a curious color of
Red-violet and when we spoke
We knew what we were saying.
Love, that was the stuff. Parts
Of dreams caught in the trees,
Shaking themselves furiously
To get free of their meaning.

I dressed slowly and kept looking
Over at you. Your shoulders, your
Fine hands, the way you gazed out
The windows toward that golden light.

There were many small fires that night
All along the beaches. They were so beautiful.
And your lips. Your lips.


Today's LittleNip: 

A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.

—Emily Dickinson



—D.R. Wagner