Monday, June 06, 2011

Those Incessant, Selfless Waves

Part of Dad's tin toy collection
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

Atop an armoir
a Siamese twin
pair of cats' lamp
sat staring out
blank blue fake glass eyes
into nothing
into me.

One of the authentic-enough looking pusses
was standing in full feline glory,
on a braided rug
in front of a fireplace
circa 1962
out in Ohio, North Carolina or Oregon

Aunt and Mom
are arguing about Grandmama
and Second Aunt.

What are they going to do
with them?

You know,
Second Aunt
had a lamp
just like this one.

Lent it to Grandma
never got it back.

It was not lit ever
in my knowledge
in my sight.

I recall now
and then, I crouched before it
here in 2011
and some sour Sundays—
dark, yet pulsating
in the sixties


Thanks, Mike, for the poems—both the Keepsake one above and the Off The Beaten Path one below—and thanks to today's other contributors, too. Michelle Kunert sends us this photo of her father's collection of tin toys, saying My Dad's tin toy collection originally belonged to his mom. I remember her telling me she rescued a number of the items from WII scrap collections (such as the kind ready to be turned into "bullets to kill a German or Jap") while no one was looking.

Don't forget to come to our last offering in the Rattlesnake Reading Series this Wednesday, June 8, at The Book Collector, 7:30pm, featuring a new littlesnake broadside by Michelle Kunert (If Trees Could Talk...) and a new rattlechap by Ann Wehrman, Inside (love poems).

Donald R. Anderson of Stockton writes to say that he is putting together a new anthology of poetry, short stories, photography and graphic arts that reflect on the good things about Stockton. (This is a counter against the Forbes rating of Stockton as the #1 most miserable city in the US this year.) Deadline is June 30. Send submissions to   Donald is also training the new Editor-in-Chief of Poet's Espresso, Patricia Mayorga. Send submissions to that journal to:


—Michael Cluff

The trails ends
in unsalted tears
covered by short oaks
and long, virgin weeds

when dissected
they produce a false milk
that could quench
but can't.

The jackdaws
are perturbed
the crickets migrate
and a body maggots

in the upswing
of any clock

since the sun has frozen
in my motionless eye
her Pliocene footsteps not to be
heard evermore.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Worked hard for that promotion
Put in extra hours
Results with a smile
History of success

But there was one hill left
Too tall to climb
The very person
I needed to impress

Left the company.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

Eggs are beaten
Don’t complain
Pop and sizzle
Feel no pain

Dough is beaten
Whipped and spun
All different shapes
And some are fun

Sidewalk ants
Are underfoot
Leave no space
Your feet to put


     (inspired by the Medusa Mulls image
      over the caption “Where Were We?”)
—Carl Bernard Schwartz

Gourmets and connoisseurs worldwide
have long touted the benefits
of extra virgin olive oil.
The right ingredient.
The only one.

In our tough economy, though
regular cooks and diners
may have to settle for
something more


—Carl Bernard Schwartz 

Looking back,
there is no part of the past
that isn’t blanketed with doubt.

It is a mental cemetery
fraught with   
misplaced markers,
blank markers,
and no markers at all.

Pondering events that
have already transpired
can be every bit as confusing
and frustrating as
predicting with certainty
what the future has in store.

The past and the future
side by side and back to back:
childhood, social networking,
leaving the nest, finding one’s niche,
falling in love, raising kids,
building careers, digging graves,
cutting the budget, sharing the blame.

Whirlwinds have a start and an end
but static moments
snapshots of the past
reveal only one small part
of a perfect cloud.

Today's LittleNip: 

—Carl Bernard Schwartz

Small secret terrorist cells
of 7 incessant, selfless waves,
ready to die on impact
thrust themselves violently into
the rocky seawall.

The waves and the seawall,
each believing they stand
for the greater good,
continue to attack and withstand
for eternity.



Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz