said you should
become more tolerant
loose with a smile
and forfeit your turn?
sailor’s cloud warnings
could issue in a delightful day
conversations sometimes realize
what’s boring so, unfriend me—
have a good life, then click---
dead air. I won’t
mind your frailties
if you don’t, sip
life or gulp it down
sleep in your own tortoise shell
but don’t torture my abalone
with diverse divers.
—Ann Privateer, Davis
My room accordions
with other rooms
rooms muffled by right angles
like earworms gushing
down the drainpipe.
Sounds expand my concentration
while I fumble with eyeglasses
watch reflections in the mirror
that seem earnest, that seem
intelligible, that have no
agenda, only the sound
of muddy people talking.
Made up of those
who drive while folding
and refolding their road
LANDSCAPE ARTISTS OF 2012
—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento
Carefully spinning tales
that voters will embrace
suggesting our entire ship of state
our lives, our treasures, our fate
hang in balance on the next race.
Every sagging limb
on each imperfect tree
becomes the highlight of display
the news focus of the day
a ragged economy.
Ciphers, codes, enigmas
form the heart of each campaign
nothing you haven’t seen before
blanket us like rain.
War chests spill to the media
as the candidates paint their spins
what cannot be explained
is portrayed as something stained
it is all about who wins.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
Looking for a lost sheep, I can lose
myself on five familiar acres, this local
landscape of oak and rock.
I could sit under wild plum by the creek
and weave brittling grasses
as if to make a basket, willow-ribbed,
holding nothing but sky.
This garden I never planted—
annual grasses bent by wind, and
poison-oak climbing fences
meant to shut things out. What evidence
under leaf-litter and loam, under
a summer's fall of thistledown,
of who once lived here?
Bedrock mortar, feather of a red-tail
hawk, a fern enclosed in stone?
Did Miwok grind their acorns
on this hillside? And what of the
lady who planted garden-roses
behind the house? Each rose a star
burning itself out in crimson.
And the creek that every winter runs
away with our fences, off to sea;
in this season, a dry rock stair-
case down this landscape
we for a time call home.
FIELD OF LOVE
—Don Feliz, Sacramento
Love thrives in sunshine
until cumulous cancer clouds
obscure the sun.
Love finds solace on its borders
in fences of poets’ phrases
and compassionate words.
Love surveys its boundaries, finds
an open gate to a meadow
drenched in sunshine.