—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
Dear little lambs. They are not
Moving tonight. The moon
Holds them still, still as harp strings
And David will not sing tonight.
Cold beneath the stars, the hills
Dark then light then dark again,
Clouds shifting, rearranging how
The earth looks. And it was good
And he smiled but it was not for joy
But for the darkness and for his cloak
Wrapped close about his body
For he would be king and still
He could not complain and he
Could see the plains and his people
Wandering and finding food where
There should be none and going where
They were led and where a pillar
Made of fire would guide them through
Standing on a rock, not wanting
anything at all. Not wanting anything.
Thanks today to D.R. Wagner and Taylor Graham for continuing to "talk" to each other and Katy Brown; and thanks to Dillon Shaw, who sends us another "where there's smoke" poem. He writes that it was inspired by something I once read from Kurt Vonnegut. He said that he had smoked as a means of suicide, which he had stopped and become ashamed of. But he felt that all smokers were attempting to commit suicide, and I was inspired to write this poem.
Also posting on the Kitchen today is Rhony Bhopla, who writes: These poems are each inspired by individuals who donated to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I pledged that for each donor, I would write a poem about them/inspired by them and submit them on the last day of National Poetry Month, and the day that the NAMI walk would take place—which was Saturday! We did it! $515 raised. Here is the link for your information: www.nami.org/walkTemplate.cfm?section=NAMIWALKS&template=/customsource/namiwalks/walkerpage.cfm&walkerID=160312 Rhony's nine poems will be posted on the Kitchen throughout this week. What an original idea she had! Thanks for including us in the process, Rhony!
I savor the smoke, so ashy and dry
I remind myself it's the last one
Yesterday I smoked because I wanted to die
Today I stop because of my son
A cowardly way for a man to go
I recall it only with shame
The delicious poison lifted my woe
And promised a death free of blame
But today is the last sweetness I puff
For I now have a child to rear
Living is hard but it is enough
To have beautiful new life grow near
—Dillon Shaw, Davis
YOU DO NOT KNOW A POET
until you have breathed in
her lines or taken a brush
against the red hair that
humbles sweet mango thread
and presses the soul
out of you.
You do not know her
until she lets you understand
that as a mother,
she will not tolerate your
uneven buttons, your misdirected
advice, and your tall vision of
your stout self.
You do not know a poet
until the final word is sung
and then she creates a poem
about the last word on earth
that emerged after its millionth
Infinity is not enough
to know a poet.
If she allows you to
walk with her, just hang your
head low. Do not disturb
which you do not know.
—Rhony Bhopla, Sacramento
The dancer looks from
left to right,
moves her head in the
form of a geometric
She walks with
bells around her
if she could sleep with
Time has come
You no longer have to
follow, but lead
shredding the grass
with your footsteps.
You are a thousand miles
still with me is your laughter
your silly finger foods
and the tea aroma that
you create when the
children are asleep.
We giggle like
that we are alone,
but the moon has always
been watching over us
knowing when it was
to draw the curtain
ST. PIRAN'S ON THE SANDS
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
You leave this place, its paradox of stone:
man's faith in earth-ribs vaulted to the skies,
and then the rock erodes, the temple lies
in ruins under sand. The sea-winds moan,
elemental. Water, earth, and air own
this sainted spot, sands shifting as you rise
to leave the place. Its paradox of stone,
man's faith in earth-ribs vaulted to the skies.
You came to see the church of Piran, sown
like rock on water. Did it vaporize,
or turn to sand that mocks the seeker's eyes?
What's left is wind when all the birds have flown
and you have left this paradox of stone.
I'm a stutterer. Words fascinate me. I've had to have six synonyms ready at all times while talking, because if I know I'm going to stutter, I can make those interchangeable shifts.