Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Learning The Violin

Carol Louise Moon, winning, as
Cal. Fed. of Chaparral Poets President Laverne Frith
presents her with a prize in their 2011 contest
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis


triangular ears, cone nose,
trapezoid body, coil of a tail.

The abacus of your black beady eyes
speaks of arithmetic; calculations.
What algebraic mind sends you barking
down the hall seeking out equations?

Licking your paws in algorithms
you breathe in cycles of in and out,
plus one and minus one—

napping in the zero
of your doggie bed,
you small sweet mathematical
creature. I love you to infinity.

—Carol Louise Moon



to live in our living room, my roommate
won't hear of it. Fear of what? I will ask.
He has no horns. He eats only oats, but not yours
only. I bought him some barley.

He's not even hairy. I'm not even sorry I brought
him home. He'll sleep with me on the floor
of the washroom. I'll wash him down with a hose
and a broom. I suppose you think there's no room
for a deer without antlers (as dear as he is).
What do you want, I should bring home a goat?

—Carol Louise Moon 


Thanks to today's contributors, including Carol Louise Moon, who was one of the Chaparral Poets Contest winners this year, and who, along with the other winners, was presented her prize by out-going President Laverne Frith at the Annual CFCP, Inc. Chap-Con held in Sacramento in April (see photos). For more about Chaparral, go to  There are two chapters in Sacramento.

The rest of today's poems are about our Seed of the Week: The Art of Losing. Which brings with it the flip-side, of course: winning. People seem to know a lot about losing, on grand scale and small...

And we hope to see you tonight at The Book Collector for the release of two winners: Iris by Chris Olander, and Still a Party by Todd Cirillo. That's at 7:30pm, 1008 24th St., Sacramento—free! (The photos of Chris on last week's post about him were taken by David Pang and Jacquie Bucknell, by the way.)


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

Before the dawn of the day's
Buffalo kill, wooly-caped
Bison roamed—grazed the prairies
Beating grass; alert with hooves
Braced for the run, the stampede.
Battled with guns—a calf left
Beside heifer, stunned. Bereft.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

She's practicing the art
of persuasion—how to call the lost
thing from its league
of labyrinthine darkness that becomes
her mind. What gnome of nightly
mischief could manipulate
her car-key from its hook
in the pantry? Yesterday it was
the misplaced word
for a gray-scaled mammal,
roadkill on that two-lane
between Amarillo and somewhere
else. Words, the cupboards
and drawers of thought.
Each morning is a peepshow into
yesterday and, alas, tomorrow.
She keeps score.
Today, no points for keys,
but one for “armadillo.”


—Taylor Graham

In seven months, a cousin, uncle
by marriage, sister-in-law, poet-friend,
aunt by marriage twice removed;

all distant—across a continent,
a state, time zones of schedules—but
hadn't they always been there?

Closer: a dog, three lambs. Tree limbs
in a storm, our shelter-view.
This morning, the sun comes up again

after days of rain. It's May. The oaks
are leafed-out, glistening green.
They know so much about losing,

standing all winter in the wind
bare, bereft. Now, full of birds-nest.
After storm, our shelter-view.


—Ann Menebroker, Sacramento

It was the start of the day. Battery dead
as old meat loaf, resting its cadaver in the refrigerator,
oil two quarts down, water level "a tad low"
and not quite enough money for Jimboy's Taco special.
The car hood was hard to open, but tended
to fly up and bash in the windshield when
on the freeway, heading home; he had to make
sure it was anchored, which made it harder to
get to the battery. When the man at the counter
asked him if his model used the long or short battery,
he didn't know. "Well, give me the short battery," he said.
"At least we know it'll fit." And it did. The car restored,
he got $12 back for his old battery, and headed for lunch.
Loss? Nah, not this time.


—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks

At last call
They’d sell you
One go-cup
And one six-pack.

And you’d head
To Cowboy Lane
For the last

When he got there,
They stole his girl,
Drank his beer,
Laughed at him.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

I went fishing
lost my bait
caught a cold

I went through life
lost my youth
now I’m old

I went shopping
lost my focus
bought too much

I went crazy
lost my mind
out of touch

I went dancing
lost my balance
all grace erased

I went to work
lost my server
whole day’s a waste

I went broke
lost track of who
says I owe ‘em

I went home
lost my glasses
found a poem.


Today's LittleNip: 

Life is like playing a violin in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.

—Samuel Butler



Kathleen Lynch, Guest Speaker
CFCP, Inc. Annual Convention, Sacramento, 2011
—Photo by Bill Latimer, Sacramento, Current President of
the Mabel Mello Camino Chapter, Chaparral Poets