Wednesday, June 29, 2011

This Day Becomes

 —Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Allegra Silberstein, Davis

Gradually I emerge from sleep
search for place
in unfolding nothingness.
Above my narrow bed
knotted redwood boards
of the high cathedral ceiling
cross over four heavy beams—

soft brown eyes seem
to look down on me—no
they are too scattered,
more like dark stars.
They form constellations:
unicorn, cow, bear. They
keep their ordered space.

I begin the orbit of my day:
turn on the teakettle,
feed the cats, replace lenses
that wake me to all the lines
on my face…
then steal a moment
to lie down again.

The knots are clearer now
darker and more luminous,
their rings with varying degrees
of dark, some with deep flaws
cry for notice.
The constellations of my waking
no longer seem as clear.

Beneath this dream place
these old bones of mine
threaded together with muscle
and sinew need to come upright
against the pull of gravity
toward the pull of light

to ancestry deeper than membrane
or molecule, to the dust of stars
from which we come.
I stand again to find the morning.


—Allegra Silberstein

This day
in the
blessed by light
streaming through clouds
on the high peaks
of morning.

This morning
tells the sky
secrets of soul
stored within
stone halls
waiting for song...
to sing
this day.


—Allegra Silberstein, Davis

Quietly I come to this day
warmed in wooly-soft morning robe,
the brown caress of earth
beneath my feet.

Above me a white road
crossing a bottle-blue sky
paved with clouds,
a nimbus of early light
wrapping the storage-
shed facing east.

Dark peace of the night’s rest
left behind separate…
the unlettered silence
still holding in this quiet dawn.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Give me a morning canyon, where
the light, “the glorious Sun” not quite
“uprist,” mimics twilight but can’t
for a moment fool: this orb’s
headed up! and draws with it mist,
as a poultice iron-hot draws poison…
is this the reason of the myth
decreeing marsh mist a danger?
But the strong vapor makes of this
morning ravine a vessel. How many
calderas, daring elliptical bowls
rimmed with lemongrass, what old old
archetypes of soup simmer in the superb
essence, roux of shadow in Kettle
Canyon? Let’s bow our heads, folks, over
the dawn broth, in a slowspoken grace.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

No grandfather clock chimes
to wake this day.
It's radio alarm and anthrax,
possible dangers of mountain laurel;
a money-lord gunned down
in his island hideout;
a royal snub.

I'm out of driftwood sleep
and moving on transistors. 8:00 date
with a mechanic, brakes sound
like gravel in a pewter bowl.
To ease me through
the wait, I'll take a walk
with Morning.


—Taylor Graham

AC not working/window wide to
headlights on the interstate
grind of 18-wheelers all
night voices shoes slamming doors—

At last it's morning early. Bright.

Let me not be that woman
hauling her Great Dane gripped
like a purse by its collar
from deadbolt room to car.

Let my poor animal run

on a delta breeze.
Let my daylight spirit roam
between painted lines.
There's poetry on the road.


—Taylor Graham

Who would guess what rich
illuminations can be disguised
in black type on white paper?
A secret script in a tongue
whose code is metaphor, and meter
its breath and punctuation.
Imagine written lines that twine
invisibly with roses; mythical
beasts running in harmony
with common backyard-dogs, or
taking wing with gutter-sparrows.
A fox peers from the hollow
of an O. There's a haunting
of luminous spirits
in a half-rhyme; and by sleight
of phrase, the watchwords
of marketplace and war
become a canticle of peace.
Can these scrolls survive
an audit—these words
that translate English
into poetry?


Today's LittleNip: 

I like pushing the form, over-reaching, going a little too far, just on the edge, sometimes getting your fingers burned. It's good to do that.

—Gay Talese



 Last Monday's readers at Sac. Poetry Center
From right to left: Josh Fernandez, Aschala Edwards, 
Josh McKinney, Elison Alconvendez, Teresa Silvagni
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento