Friday, May 20, 2011

Glass-Eyed Canaries

Photo by Ronald Edwin Lane

—Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax

Two, glass-eyed, canary yellow
birds with royal blue striped sides,
and outstretched wing tips, winking
green and white right, to leeward

white and red, circle in a white to
slate gray mottled sky, to tilt, dip,
and dive, billowing belly fog, a wing’s
width above a patch of sea green

waves of blades yet to break grain,
flowing to a ditch of coffee
brown rich soil cut along the road,

to rise into rain, skipping drooping
power lines, three at a time, to turn,

turn, turn, turn and do it again, always
on opposite sides, singing like rag-dung
trumpets accompanied by a thousand
Tibetan monks chanting, “Om ah hum,”

with pitch and pulse in this score
rhythmically varying from meditative
to frantic ear throbbing roars. Eventually
one sails south, beyond the sea, over a

pinkish-white almond blossom bluff, to
disappear into mist. The remaining bird

circles left, right, belly skirts the sea, fogs,
rises, skips, peeks south and cries,

then rushes after its mate.


—William S. Gainer, Grass Valley

The old man
is trying to die.
He's never done it
it's taking

He's finding death
to be a friendly sort,
likes to visit,
hangout with the living
longer than he should,
what he's here for.

In the hallway,
Someone whispers,
"God will be here
soon enough."
No one prays.

The old man
stares at the ceiling,
tells me
where he hid
his wedding ring...


—William S. Gainer

He was that close.
That close,
we all know
how close

He was trying to die,
it was his first time,
he needed
more practice.

Then he changed his mind,
made a comeback,
a miraculous

He sat up,
said, “Hell
ain’t half bad.
Of course,
I was only
in the lobby.”

Asked for an

We buried him
seven days later.


—William S. Gainer

He had a thing about
having enough flowers
at a memorial

I don’t know
how many times
I sat with him
as he glanced around
the chapel
and mumbled,
“Cheap bastards.”

We had plenty at his.
Made sure
it smelled
like a funeral.


—Ronald Edwin Lane

It’s gray and it’s raining out and
the daisies are in disarray. Chains
ching upon the passes in May,
slip, slap and grip. Below rivers

run full and reckless, like the
tailgating highway traffic fool
hydroplaning in the two-lane, or
the mom in one putting her

makeup on, one slip and she’s
a rodeo clown, or kissing dash,
or imprinting her face upon an
airbag. And will the levees break?

What’s the legislature’s take?
Who’s on the dole?
Don’t want to tax the wealthy,
no siree, gotta layoff, stifle demand,

that’s the plan, preserve the wealth
of the man who sits on his butt
watching his stock portfolio grow,
while complaining about the

common man and his lack of
productivity. It would be great to
go to a park and escape the
rat race, but the parks are closing

down and so why the hell would
anyone want to come visit this state?
For Mickey Mouse and SFO? Sure,
but that’s not California’s gold, its treasure,

that’s not what brings in the bulk
of the butts, the tourists bucks. So
we save one and lose ten on the other end.
And this earth still spins, but it’s spinning

off its axis, and when was the last time
you stuck your head out of your butt?
‘Cause I’m telling you it’s gray

and it’s raining out and the
daisies are in disarray.


Today's LittleNip:

Butched, flaired
A lighted match of hair screaming
For attention

—Photo and poem by Ronald Edwin Lane