—Todd Cirillo, Grass Valley
I stopped and picked flowers
from a neighbor’s garden
on the way to your house.
Gave them to you,
smiling at the door.
After a hug and kiss
you informed me
that you were seeing
There was no hug or kiss
on the way out
but I was happy
that I hadn’t paid for the flowers
this had already cost
CONVERSATION WITH A REJECTION LETTER
WHILE DRINKING BEER
How can you NOT love my poetry?
Don’t you see how much booze
I put in it?
This stuff isn’t cheap.
I even started a tab here
because this was supposed to be a celebration,
full of free drinks, poetry, and girls wanting to go home with me.
Then you arrived—
you can really bring a fucking party
to a halt,
do you know that?
I put everything I had into those poems—
my broken heart, my broken hope,
my fucked up relationships,
my view of the world, man!
I thought we would have a long and productive relationship;
me and your magazine,
you are like the hot girl’s bitchy ugly best friend
who won’t let you take the hot girl home,
yeah that’s exactly what you are,
are you even listening to me?
What time is it?
Great, now I’m drunk, broke, sad, lonely
No free beer, no hot girls, no poems,
I guess that means
you’ll be coming home with me tonight.
Thanks to today's contributors! Taylor Graham continues her conversation with D.R. Wagner, though she bemoans, Ah, the precarious joy of writing poems about places I've never been... Thanks to Michael Cluff for the stunningly appropriate and tasty LittleNip. And it's good to hear from Carl Schwartz, who's been, well, MISSING from the Kitchen lately.
And thanks to Todd Cirillo for the poems and pix! Todd says he was born of bastard lineage in the dark but fun-loving swamps outside of New Orleans. He is co-founder, editor and publisher of the notorious Six Ft. Swells Press (www.facebook.com/pages/Six-Ft-Swells-Press/427010140157) along with the pirates Julie Valin and Matt Amott. He has four chapbooks of poetry, including Everybody Knows The Dice Are Loaded from Rattlesnake Press, and he co-authored the infamous book, ROXY. His performances can be viewed on youtube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmX4JLePPdk or (with longer hair) at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft0Nj6hA4aI and he can be contacted at email@example.com/. For more about Todd, go to rattlesnakepress.com/Todd_Cirillo.html/.
Join us this Wednesday, May 11, for the Rattlesnake Press release of Todd's Rattlesnake LittleBook, Still A Party, at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30pm, along with the release of a RattleChap Chapbook from Chris Olander, Iris. (More about Chris on the b-board.) Two hotties from up in the hills, Grass Valley-way. Be there!
Meanwhile, Trina Drotar notes that today is the Calaveras Station release reading (CSUS's annual literary journal) at Hinde Auditorium, Cal. State University, Sacramento, 2:30-4:30pm. Readers include Anokina Shahbaz, Janette Iverson, Ryan Rich, Peggy Kincaid, Kellie England, Kathleen Uttinger, Helen Tran, Traci Cohen, Carissa Mahorney, and Ellison Alcovendez. Hosted by Joe Montalbo. Books will be on sale for $10.
And it's time for another Seed of the Week: The Art of Losing. Send your musings on losings to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadlines on SOWs. For previous muse-jigglers (see the Trap of the Week over on our bulletin board at the right), go to Calliope's Closet under the Snake on a Rod.
In fact, as I look at them, all our poems today are about loss. Here's Elizabeth Bishop's take on The Art of Losing (and a delicate Art it is...):
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.
—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
NEAR THE MINES
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
No moon. A keening on the breeze.
Cool for this time of year.
A lost child could be anywhere.
Is that a mother crooning
as if to lullaby a son to rest? Gone
since afternoon turned the winds.
This brushy ridge; a clearing,
single strand of wire strung to mark
a pit darker than the night
around it. This country's full of pits—
shafts and adits dug for gold,
then left abandoned, unguarded.
Those men, too, are gone. But
such things draw a child. Mystery
of distance, of separations.
No moon. A crooning. Is it the wind
or a wild beast humming
from its den? A far-off owl? or
does it come to us from under-
ground? What mother-song
on breathing air, singing to its child?
Carn Brea, 1864
Traces of Neolithic ramparts—
walls and ditch on a tor-scape
made of stone. And here, this
old castle—is it rising out of rock,
or melting back into it? Granite
walls built atop boulders
as they lay, gaps bridged by arches.
Careful how you step. Look,
a giant's petrified hand reaches
out of hillside, as if he'd pull
himself back up for a breath
of living air. For every mortal
man who lifts his eyes to heaven
as he plows his field, twenty
men burrow underground
for metal, eyes cast toward
planet's core. A traveler-by-staff
might slip in, as children
will trespass a forbidden door,
to find the mystery
of what lies beneath. Listen
to the breaking of rock.
—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento
It was a terribly cloudy day
and my garden was in
desperate need of light and heat.
I called 911 and reported
that my sun was missing.
They couldn’t help me.
So I barked up to the clouds
that if they stayed any longer
I would have to charge them rent.
That worked. They left.
Time goes by real fast
days turn into mere minutes
friends get lost sometimes
—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA