Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where All The Ladders Start

Some petals
Beckon for more attention
Than others

—Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax



fewer strange events than one might expect:
yes, we inhabit a revolving snow globe, or rather,
a rain globe, rinsing the everlasting cars, trees, dogs.
Stephen King has it wrong; the Dome does not
come down of a sudden, lopping naive limbs
on the blade of its obdurate unseen force field.

Yet it’s hard to get a sense of the rainglobe Dome,
holding it as we do, inside us and, by
telekinesis, tentlike over us, warm as moonshadow.
But we sense rain conspiracy, hatched overnight;
at dusk, the sky was clear and clean with no
need of water, the skyblood appeared to have done
the ablution. In the hollow of night, the bone-hollow
moon, holding Cyrano de Bergerac’s panache
suspended in its infinitely transparent marrow,

beamed on until intercepted by the familiar wet
wisps becoming the same old daymare laundry load.
Bring the slow-dry spin-cycle of May
and then we’ll see how clean earthly things
really look. Under a phosphor moon at full,

deformities, old spots and stains reveal themselves
breadcrumb along a Hansel and Gretel trail,
while Cyrano, again fetally tucked into
a lunar placenta fathoms under moonsea
craters, awaits rebirth, as a mocking smile
tugs at his Starchild lip corners. He shifts
mid-float, sharply so even the Mother can feel it,
then resettles, curled inside a dream inside
her white plume of a womb…

—Tom Goff, Carmichael


Thanks to Tom Goff for his riff on last week's SOW. Tom will be reading at Folsom Lake College on Thursday; see the b-board for details. And thanks to our other contributors today: Ron Lane, for pix and poems to go with them; Carl Bernard Schwartz for his poem about this week's SOW: Where there's smoke...; and Taylor Graham, for her SOW poem and two more, continuing the "conversation" she and Katy Brown and some others have been having.

Bob Stanley sent us a note announcing that Sac. Poetry Center's "Elizabeth Bishop and The New Yorker" program that was scheduled for this Sunday has been CANCELLED. Take note—and don't forget to attend the Tag Team Poetry event with Annie Menebroker and Paul Fericano at SPC on Saturday.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

(After “Mother Brings Me the News of Her Death”
                                        —Joyce Odam)


tea blends
old memories

Paying the price
for refreshments
for not sharing one’s love

Calling out
ready orders
for one who’s lost



—Taylor Graham, Placerville

for Elihu Burritt, 1841

Five months at the anvil
with only two days off—and suddenly
no work at all. No one wants
a pruning hook, or a key to fit a lock.

Two days ago, you worked
eleven hours at the shop; Congress
passed the Bankruptcy Bill.
You studied Armenian.

Today you have no mind for books.
Who can study when he worries
how he'll pay his board?
You haunt the empty smithy,

a shadow that fades
like smoke from a cold forge.
You could fill the penniless time
with words—Ethiopic, Gaelic,

Old Norse—while waiting
to hear from publishers who never
write back. Words don't pay.
You're out of work and money.

Can a man be truly bankrupt
with fifty languages
and a map of the heavens
with uncountable names of stars?


—Taylor Graham

Green-striped tree frog, graceful
as three brushstrokes—lies crushed
in the road. Caught in flight.

Remember spring evenings,
frogs filling their throats with jubilee,
their mouths with golden moons.

Bullfrog bass, his lady's tremolo
response—the pulse
of song vanishing into air and scant

water. Is it only in memory
or imagination
they fill the dark with spring?

Pond, leaf, frog—three-point
suspension, one green moment
shattered by a leap.


—Taylor Graham

Inside vaulted stone, light comes
suffused with old histories,
their symbols inscribed
in colored glass leaded into place.

Sometimes a new idea, a new
regime comes through
like Civil War, smashing
those stories into fractured light.

Shall we look through windows,
however stained or clear,
for a key to the heavens? Walk
outside tonight. Here's

Aurora Borealis dancing
with her angel-scarves,
colors never caught in glass,
her alchemy of light.


Today's LittleNip: 

...Now that my ladder's gone,
I must lie down where all the ladders start,
In the foul rag-and-bone shop of the heart.

—W.B. Yeats, "The Circus Animals' Desertion"



Stripped of your flowery exterior
With only your heart to attract another
How would you fare?

—Ronald Edwin Lane