Friday, May 27, 2011

Poet Land

Clowning Around
—Photo by Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Outside the front door
sat the limousine.

Its shiny wheels were
top of the line
state of the art
We are the best!
they shouted

Made for high speed
all season tires
factory guaranteed
ABS, of course

The epitome of mobility
What more could one want?

Inside the master bedroom
sat the king-size bed.

No casters here,
its brassy bed posts
met the floor with large,
heavy, steady feet.

Made for deep sleep
only the finest thread
would adorn this bed
feather pillows, of course

“Save the limo for later,
I’ll be in bed, thank you.”


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

Tom was totally drunk
a good portion of each day
He could easily fail a breathalyzer test
from 50 yards away

At Christmastime he would drive his car,
singing a traditional carol
oblivious to the fact that
he put everyone in peril

Tina was a super careful,
attentive, fastidious girl
She was like a proud, grand flag
the community was about to unfurl

Then Tina had a few sips of wine
before driving her father’s car,
lost control in a fatal collision
while Tom was still sitting in a bar.


              (in response to Joyce Odam’s several poems)
—Carl Bernard Schwartz

The fearless young couple
teasingly splashed in and out of love
like a paddle wheel touching water.

Let’s do that again!

Then they grew older,
got a little rusty and
became hesitant to take the big plunge.

Something might break.


Thanks, Carl, and thanks to today's other contributors.

Last weekend, Charles Plymell met with some NorCal poets on his way to read in SF and Santa Cruz. Plymell was among the "Beat" poets and publishers, running Cherry Valley Editions and establishing Zap Comics, among other things. (Wiki him up at Sacramento's Sandy Thomas was among the poets who visited with him and attended the reading in SF, and she sent me this jaunty review of the experience. (See her photos on our new Facebook page, under Medusa's Kitchen/Rattlesnake Press.) Here is Sandy's review:

At Sunday's reading, Charles Plymell read his tributes to past times, places, and people—a walk through a poet's memory. He filled the room with nostalgia. Great reading; though for me, the prior and after reading conversations can hold their own.

I drove my trusty steed while Ann Menebroker rode in front and Trina Drotar in the stagecoach. I believe the ride went well. No bandits on the road. Paul Fericano met up with us at the Farmer's Market just a few paces away from the Readers Cafe. Soon, Bill Gainer and Dave Boles were on the scene. Trina brought her lunch, and Bill fed the pigeons (in a bright pink shirt I might add). Bill didn't get my humor, the color goes with his red Brautigan nose. Paul sported his high school letter jacket (in track) that still fits him nicely. Dave mentioned his son's wrestling, interesting segueway into sports. Bill was silent, of course. The hour was getting near, and A.D. Winans was in the house with his Nikon, a formidable lens. Charles Plymell came through the doors; the reading was being set up as he arrived. You can only imagine.

Ah, I'll stay away from the details. Will Staple came in and was welcomed with hugs and smiles. Meade, Ann Menebroker's friend, as well as many others (I do not know their names) were in attendance. Probably fifty or so with a no-host reading and unlimited time limit.

After the reading we headed to The Greens Restaurant, except for Charles, who was off and running to surf in Santa Cruz or ride the wooden roller coaster before his next reading.

Good times: Paul, A.D., Ann, Dave, Trina, Bill and myself, creating a cacophony in the restaurant facing the pier where the sailboats docked. A fellow and his wife were a few tables in front of us. Bill spotted him (sometimes I think I'm in Poet Land). Bill whispers, "He is very famous." Bill hollered over the conversation at the table. He finally got the man's attention as well as the entire staff's attention at this posh restaurant. Without skipping a beat, Bill introduced him as he approached the table—Latif Harris. Latif asked how many of us had a copy of Beatitude; he exited and returned with two copies of the Beatitude Golden Anniversary 1959-2009 and copies of his book, A Bodhisattva's Busted Truth: Selected Poems And Dohas of an American Buddhist, for everyone. He signed all copies. Latif, like so many editors and publishers I meet, contributed his works, always expanding and creating generocity and kindness that extends beyond the pages as one hand reaches another, passing on the printed word.

—Sandy Thomas, Sacramento


—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

So small, the day, standing slightly
Bow-legged, hand on its collection
Of hours, a goofy grin on its face.
I walk with you down a street
Bright with all the tea in China.
There is wild music in the signs and colors.
There are perfect clouds a-roil above.
The buildings giving everything a just
Washed look, like the way your eyes do.
And sun, leaning into the street,
Scattering the cars before it comes
Swooping into your face. I cannot
Tell it from you or you from it.
Here it seems as if every day looks
This way. We watch it hitch its
Thumbs in its belt and follow
It from bookstore to school yard
As if it really could go on into tomorrow.


—D.R. Wagner

The little palace where the
Children stop to drink.

Gabrielle understands the
Splashing noises of water
As language and tells us the stories
Water tells her as we sit along
The grasslands of the creek banks.

Annalesa knows the secret
Names of every cloud and can
Sing all the songs of the winds.

Many of us have seen dragons
In their far places.

The nameless rooms of sleep.

The great halls where dreams
Wind themselves into the long
Hair of the night.

Sylvan hollows where twilight assembles
Its cloak of whispered colors.

The feathered courts the birds maintain.

Highways in the air.
The curve of the seasons.

Symphonies of fish, garments
For the waters of lakes and rivers,
Jewels of the streams and ponds.
Living within the body of water
As water lives within our bodies.


—D.R. Wagner

There they are again,
Bleached bones of a young
Deer on the edge of a meadow
Just below some low branches.

I pick up a small bone
That used to be part of a leg.
I blow my breath across it at an angle.
Music comes out that is very
Lovely and can carry the heart
With it quickly like a deer
Easing itself into the filtered light
Through broken foliage at midday.

One hardly notices when the music
Is gone. It becomes so still
Like the bones of a young deer
Discovered at the edge of a meadow
Just below some low branches.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks

Hours of searching
By the
Whole family
But we
Finally found it—
Grandma’s good
Glass eye.

I wanted it
As a souvenir
After the funeral
But the undertaker
Informed me there
Are certain things
You take with you.



Bars for Cars
—Photo by Ronald Edwin Lane