was a washing machine in a pick-up truck
sliding and bouncing around unsecured
Other drivers don't want to be the next of unlucky followers
I quickly merge into the next lane—
Risking a rear-ender or side-swipe
is better than a head-on collision with a washing machine
It reminds me of a T.V. a story of an Indian immigrant
who likewise didn't hire a delivery service
He forgot the laws of physics and gravity
packing his new washing machine into his trunk
While driving it flew off and crashed into the car behind
killing a thirteen-year-old boy's dad in front of him
This Indian immigrant hung his head in court
his "American dream" was now dead too
Even saying "sorry" to the boy wasn't good enough
—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento
Thursday’s back! We didn't lose it, after all. Some of you may've noticed that Blogspot lost Thursday's post on Medusa's Kitchen (and all its other blogs) for a while, but now it can be found again. Just a wee Friday the 13th trick, I guess. And thanks to today's contributors, including Robin Odam's riff on my "lost in the ether" comment on Medusa yesterday, and for her sky photo. Maybe she and D.R. Wagner are having a "sky" conversation.
Speaking of D.R. Wagner, he has posted a list of all the names of the Winds on his Blogspot, drsspoon.blogspot.com/. You ought to download it; seems like it would be a handy thing to have—and a great poetry trigger, too.
TRESPASSING THE LINE OF VULNERABILITY
—Gary Thomas Edwards, Gardnerville, NV
a brilliant sun
on the blot,
Don't you see?
I am shielded,
REVIEWERS 1, GANDHI 0
(on Joseph Lelyveld’s “controversial” Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India)
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Attack we now in chorus Joseph Lelyveld
for looking afresh at Mahatma Gandhi,
depicting this transplant wrenched from India
to settle in South African dust and dung
mudrooted next to an ashram, who as lily, veldt
lily, grew stalk and petal. Nattily
garbed like a good flower, he has to unveil
by experiment and beaten pate and failure
the shaven head, the elastic if not young
gait through crooked and straight to swaraj and salt.
He drowns his lawbook Prospero’s Western magic
somewhere off Natal or in a lake of the Transvaal,
and, molting from suit to loincloth into tragic
epic, strides straight-backed through triumph and fault.
Lelyveld never forgets the young Mohandas
curled uncertain deep inside the grandest
man ever to touch the untouchable, or make salt.
But how to despise, and then distort, Great Soul;
fine points must override the central thesis:
a clutch of letters penned & kept indiscreetly
betrays a homoerotic Mohan sweetly,
prankishly lacking in sexual self-control.
And how the man prattles of goat’s milk, of spinning,
sees wheelbound India whirling free of Great Britain.
Dilemmas deep inside him make him India;
stripped of his earnest inconsistencies,
he’s coy, quite self-absorbed, and frankly devious.
Take Gandhiji cloaked in his mystery,
as Lelyveld aspires to, and he’s cunning,
admirably cunning, focused, principled, shrewd.
But, translated for those who read while running,
a risible crackpot, bladeless warrior streaking
through ahimsa’s nonviolent wars near nude.
He prophesies, he has his little jokes.
He vanishes in his charka’s flying spokes.
THE DISAPPEARED ONES
Lost, Mom’s Mexico snapshots, and the album
that held them gone with its cracked fake
leather and brittle glue, and lost the Moctezuma
plumes, bacon-thick rashers of emerald. Gone
the incubator pictures of us little naked premature
chickens. Gone the guides expert in geology
from Shasta Caverns, and the smelly schoolbus
gasping up the incline to the dark entrance.
Gone the grandma Gammy in Phoenix, long
lost to that brickfront house. Gone the house itself
and all its December sag of oranges.
Scattered the grandkids who visited, two of us three
immured in board-and-care replacement homes.
Gone many more days and things than that:
where are the snows of ancient Sylvania TVs?
Gone Dick Van Dyke from all currency
in the culture, gone sooner than we know it
even Lucy and her splaining. Gone Jerry Van Dyke
with cagier eyes than Dick’s behind the glasses
and the anxious-fervent grin and the plaid jacket
and the wack-a-wack-a-wacko guitar. Disappeared,
our three rusty tricycles, lost the father
who pushed the triplet stroller.
Closeted far beyond reach the bridal gown
that clad Nora in stiff rich brocaded ivory
proclaiming her finer than a sea of Kate Middletons,
and the billow of that precious fabric the float
of our hopes and visions from that day
until the great Whenever death, yet this gown’s
memory of the milk-and-caramel girl inside
too will pass from comprehension
with the comprehenders, as surely as Billy’s
plume of a tail, lit whitegold on today’s morning walk,
foredooms him to be airlifted soon by a mother ship
masquerading as a rapture cloud
stuffed with radiant & airy good dogs forever.
THE ART OF LOSING: A PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT
Let us sit here and start a conversation
as we begin to discuss the art of losing.
Losing is parallel to winning because
in both circumstances you are gaining.
Winning gains triumph.
Losing gains experience.
I am always losing
because I am an investor
and I invest in experiences.
Therefore, you may assume
that I am always losing.
But this is how the art of losing works
because in the end I am always winning.
I am triumphant.
LOST IN THE ETHER
—Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento
poems guard secrets, breathe behind
mountain peaks, watch as a playful wind
pulls through an early sky, remember
something about clouds loving, and
something about snakes of stone
lost in the ether