FREE FALL TO LOVE
—Patricia Hickerson, Davis
warm water plunge
Domina, the whale shark—
her free fall
to the sea floor
one mile down she goes
surge of plankton
warm water and a caress
free fall to love
majesty of pupping
mystery and majesty
pupping and plunge
surge of love this pupping
plunge of Domina
warm water Domina
FULFILLMENT, THE NOVEL
that he loved her that she loved him that they would
be together forever that they would be married and
have kids that he would get drunk and go after other
women that she would go to the racetrack and they
would go into debt that their kids would flunk out
of school and do drugs and go into rehab or get
married and have sick kids and die—that the couple
who fell in love well, they would grow old and look
at each other and wonder how they got to this place
I NEED TO BE ALONE
—Dillon Shaw, Davis
I need to be alone, you see
Some time to explore why I'm me
For too long I've relied on you
On my own I don't know what's true
That's why when you approach I flee
I need some time for discovery
It's time I made a recovery
So please don't be so sad and blue
I need to be
I once thought we fit to a tee
I know now that I was crazy
We both need to find something new
Where to go next I have no clue
All I know is that I'm lonely
I need to be
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
I saw two of them walking nearly
parallel in the field behind my mother’s
House on the edge of the woods.
Winter had not everything white yet
But it was trying hard to do so.
The foxes were certainly helping.
Noses down, tails flicking they
Made their way from the edge of
The trees almost to the house.
Their business was voles and mice,
Being red with the quiet of a bucket
Full of water reflecting the sky.
Here in these places above
The sea, it is often possible
To hear the many messages
Borne upon the winds.
While all wind is only air
Passing across a surface,
Without regard for consciousness,
On occasion one may discern
Certain sonic vibrations that may
Evidence themselves as language.
On a given day, there may be
Songs of Summer, or a telling
How trees came to have such
Irresistible glamour and presence.
At other times, long, mournful
Exclamations that drill into
The heart. Great winds may
Force one indoors where
Exclamations find voice in woodwork,
Door jambs, spaces between window
And sash, between shingles or loose
Pieces of metal flashing upon a roof.
Some would not consider this to be
Language. Consider then, how music
Changes through the ages, how certain
Sounds become part of its making.
Also how all words come and go in
Our discourse from age to age and are
Renewed or lost as time becomes its
Own wind. Then listen once again
To a description of a Summer night
As proclaimed by breezes in the screen,
How certain periods of silence may
Change the meaning of the moment
Again and then again, how these
Words whirl through your mind,
A fluttering like a flame in air,
A language seeking understanding there.
(for Elihu Burritt)
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
How does it happen that a thing
means more—or differently—
than you supposed?
Take that old watch. You carried it
like a prize possession 120 miles on foot
to Boston, though it didn't work.
And then, footsore from the walk,
soul-sore because your hopes wore out,
you turned back, another way;
but too tired to keep on walking.
And a boy came along driving a wagon
just that way; offered you a ride.
You gave him the watch in return.
Was it the broken time-piece
of your father who died so young?
You watched over his long sickness.
And now half-broke yourself,
you've given the watch away.
How many stars tonight?
What do they say of chances—the boy
will fix the watch and find you,
after years, as if time could fix
itself in hands, in loss and forgetting,
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
The wind shakes the transparent air
clothespinned to a line of light. The ash
and cherry trees beat sifts of dust
from the clear thin sheet. A dragonfly
shuttles here and there, stitching up
every rent in the fabric, humming
the melismas and flourishes of a Tagore song:
I had no idea dragonflies were Bengali.
Oh for a dragonfly seamstress or tailor
equipped with invisible packthread
to fix the rips and rendings in my life,
in my heart. In my one photo album,
where fading Kodachromes fall from
their black stick-on bracket corners, or tear
and peel from the heat of long possession,
we boys are throwing a baseball in the backyard,
a dog no longer living is affectionate
fluff in young Robert’s arms, and, oddly, here
is a man standing in sepia, one foot edging forth
as if about to step off in cadence, a neat
straw hat on head, a summerweight suit
and a gaze into the band-shell harmonies
of the future. He is my grandfather, young
and cornet-handed, the bend at the back
of the trumpet-cousin the loop of an ankh.
As he lifts the horn brimming to his lip,
I hear the dragonfly sheening, skimming along
in its Tagore song, stitching air to air,
distilling the light in a croon of heat.
I had no idea dragonflies
were Bengali, but then, I never knew
dragonflies were grandfathers,
—Dillon Shaw, Davis
as i melt
It must be Firm
for i am falling
i am saved
by the Consistency
—Medusa (with thanks to today's contributors as they continue on-going conversations about lovers and foxes and keepsakes and whatever else pops into their Muse-minds—including whale sharks! Thanks, Pat, for the photo of Domina. And to Sandy Thomas for the photo of Charles Plymell and Richard Hansen, taken at The Book Collector this past weekend. Plymell was in our area prior to his reading in SF this past weekend, and some of our intrepid poets visited with him here, then traveled the Great Distance to see him before he headed off to surf and read and ride the roller coaster in Santa Cruz.)