—Charles Mariano, Sacramento
i went over
all the half-assed pages
on this screen,
in “limbo land”
the Last Chance Station
death by deletion
one by one
stumbled to the light
to plead their case
“i was grand illusion,
“i was born
from deepest, darkest pain
“i was inspired
a wild, dizzying blur
of arms an legs…”
i surveyed the field
of piss-poor writing,
with steely-eyed glare
raised the gleaming blade,
“off with their heads!”
LINE IN THE SAND
i see you there
the outer edges
with all those
to the front
so i play along
to fit faces
to pass the time
you’re not real,
least you weren’t
so quit arguing
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
The fox is a brush-stroke through leaves
and grasses moving with the evening
breeze—this bit of sky caught briefly
in twigs and awns, crevices of bark.
The trees remember what sky smells like,
ionized; their canopies crowning
clouds before rain. The fox pauses
at a metal bucket left out to catch sky
when it falls, as it did last week,
and will again tonight. Metal galvanized
silver, so morning finds it full of silver
reflecting rippled blue. Is this what you
mean by chalice, every thing blessed?
A fox makes no sound in passing.
Praise in that stillness of the sky.
It was as if you had just left the room.
If I looked hard enough I swear I could
See the imprint of your heel on the carpet.
The door was slightly ajar, being held
By a breeze for a few moments, sunlight
Leaking into the room to dress the walls.
I stood up next to the bed waiting to hear
A voice, any voice that would indicate you
Had actually been there. I must have been
Sleeping, holding the ribbons of dreams
In my hands like precious myrrh or water.
When I looked across the room to the mirror
I could see you dissolving into its surface.
I must have been wrong. Such a thing is not
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
In this valley the clouds seem confused.
And not knowing which way to turn
Finally give up their burden and disperse.
They don't do this without consideration.
They know, as any god-fearing cloud would
What is required of them and rain
Is not always the answer, although more often
Than not it seems to be.
The small streams gorge themselves
On these recent clouds and soon the roads
Are flooded. The carefully cultivated
Fields are gutted of their patterns
And sent awry in a weltering of gray rain,
On gray days, in gray landscapes
Until all feel the decision of the clouds
Not to hold their position in the air,
Not to spell out the weather but rather
Be it in eddying puddles surrounded
By squalls of European starlings making
Their crazy suggestions to the atmosphere.
One could do worse than be a cloud,
Voice of thunder, voice of rain,
Often challenged but never blamed
For their roil of wet which came
As a surprise to us tonight, watching the
Clouds in flight. The hills caress
Their last remains and set them free
To form again.
ANGELS OF BREAKFAST
Sun went off
To a quiet
No one would
She covered her body with chalk.
She had seven children.
One was blinded by the rain.
One was the lover of the wind
One was she who danced with life.
One ate the world and everything
One became the morning.
One was the queen of dreaming.
One was my lover.
Blinded from all of your faults
love brought us here
and love tore us apart.
First laughs and smiles,
now fists and fights,
you reduce me to tears.
I’ll stab you in the heart.
Watch you bleed.
How satirical is this?
I watched our love blossom and bloom
then decay and hang
my Spanish rose
we could have made it
we were almost lovers
I almost shared.
TO MY MUSE
—Dillon Shaw, Davis
To My Muse,
Thank you for guarding my dreams,
vigilantly keeping dark thoughts at bay.
You bring me insight
into parts of my heart
I dare not venture alone.
Your sympathetic gaze
is my only source of warmth.
I apologize for my crudeness,
my unrefined hand is unfit
for your celestial beauty.
You do not love me.
Yet you grant me more than I deserve,
you grace me with your presence
and your tireless wisdom.
It is more than enough.
Without you I could not dream.
Why would the
Wind care to
Be so beautiful?