THE MADONNA INN, 1967
—Carol Louis Moon, Sacramento
The night is short. Her royal
blue gown hangs as pillar cover
over her Greek athletic. Patent-leather
shoes of black crocodile peek out
from under. Gem and pearl earrings
dangle from a face so lit by moonlight
that her Valiant squints his blue-gray
eyes of delight. A creamy wrist
orchid megaphones their proper
names. Penguined musicians play
in an alcove of this cool, stone-lined
cellar. A dream is unfolding; its
memory is sealed.
ULEAN BAGPIPE DREAMS
—Carol Louise Moon
For weeks I heard, in my mind, the bagpipes playing.
I wondered if I would see or really hear them.
Then my dream came true in early autumn
as I waded, pants rolled up, across a stream.
In summer stream were many children playing, and
two elbow bagpipe players, on a log in sand.
They played some jigs for me, at my request.
The Welsh and Irish tunes I’d always known—
till now, heard only on my granddad’s gramophone.
HER SON SHINES THROUGH GLASS
—Carol Louise Moon
A dark man smiles through
a sculpted brass picture frame
which rests on polished maple.
This brass-framed picture sits
near a triangular spot of light
reflected from the mirror behind.
This triangular spot of light glows
beside a small flower-painted urn
which holds a blue carnation.
The small flower-painted urn
is companion to a white teapot
which wears a gold-rimmed hat.
For company, she pours the teapot
which, dressed in white, tips his
gold-rimmed hat and whispers,
“Good day, Ma’am, whose
son shines through glass.”
UP IN THE STONE MOUNTAINS
—Katy Brown, Davis
She beckons to me from the middle
of the stream, jumping and balancing,
graceful as an Alpine Ibex,
from one perfectly smooth stone to another.
She was born to a family of adventurers,
like mythic explorers of the deep earth and air.
She ignores the churning water, rising
in the streambed from afternoon snowmelt.
There’s a mine halfway up the ridge
that her grandfather told her about—
walls lined with candle nooks—
a mine that calls to her in his voice
like some hypnotic, dark lullaby.
She wants to share this world,
carved from living granite—
then abandoned years ago.
The miners saw something waiting
in the dark. They climbed back out
and kept on walking—
heading for the open—for the path
of wind and stars. Beeswax candles,
in melted suspension await a match.
The sable breath of the mine
still tries to speak its name;
still swallows shadows;
still exhales a plume of bats;
waits for someone brave enough
to light the candles once again.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
You left a desk behind, to cruise
its 9-to-5 without you; sold your house,
and bought a motor-sailor.
This new love rocks you to sleep.
In Greek her name means “Freedom.”
In her galley, provisions
for a season, or the next port-of-call.
This winter morning, the sea
screams like a cold gray fish-wife.
A sailor will never be free
of weather. It's the sting of salt-spray
that smarts, and keens the eye.
Fifty years, a receding shore.
Your heart's a stone
with wind and ocean beating.
GIFTS OF THE WIND
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
She filled the evening
With a quiet song that
Made me put my head
Against the earth and close
My eyes as if I were very much
In love and very much alone
At the same time.
Soon other voices joined hers
And the sky grew darker.
I could hear kalimbas being
Played far away. They sounded
Like birds might sound when they
Realize they are dancing.
SUCH WAS MY HOME
The song breaks open,
Spills on the floor,
Looking for something
That will become the bells
Of the morning, your smile,
Or water making magic
As it falls from a great height.
I still long to see you
On the mountain path,
The fire opening up the night
To where your eyes glow
Once again against the lines
Strings make when they are played.
The footsteps move so quickly
Away. These are not the winds.
They are notes of crystal and
Moments flabbergasted to even
Be here, caught in the voice,
More than music, more than song.
THE CITIES ABANDONED
The cities abandoned. I saw you
Walking there long after the others
Had left. It was as if a huge
Truth stretched out in front of you.
It glowed and had teeth, sparkling
Pointed and sure to find flesh
Before feeling. Great winds
Filled with lightning moved
Throughout its body.
Could this be the same place
Where we had made love together?
Could this shower of glow discharging
Ether be the same feelings
That once were tender in our hearts?
Oh poor mankind, to be caught so far
From harbor on this night,
Slouched and desperate, far from
Arms that love you.
“Come home,” I said
But none could hear angel music
In this place, save animals
And the pure of heart.
Thinking about the people in this floating world
far into the night—
my sleeve is wet with tears.