Saturday, August 20, 2011

What is Forever?

Berkeley Street Sculpture
—Photo by Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines

a poem beginning with a mustard colored car

sped by me on the street today.
an old mustang; muscle car
personified, setting off car alarms
with its baritone roar, as if trying to
impress the ladies and they whistled.
the poem had a black racing stripe
on the hood; black like my dreams
of late that haven’t quite made it
into poems, but sear down the middle
of my thoughts.

I always wanted
a mustang…perhaps to appear
more ferocious than my own roar.
instead I drive a mediocre silver
non-poem that merely gets me
from point A to Z.

what is a poem anyway but a
compilation of letters to form words…
to form thought…silver, yellow
or otherwise.

—dawn di bartolo, citrus heights


katautas for the not-so-golden years
—dawn dibartolo

why are we falling?
     every lofty opinion
     shifts to the “normal” myth.

why does mother cry?
     in a bottle, time stands still
     while in dreams, thoughts sadistic.

are you finished yet?
     responsibility is
     only so heavy as perceived.

who is right or wrong?
     solid stones go without break;
     but shatter is fated.

what shame do you fear?
     clarity remains lost on
     those who stick to judgment.


katautas for love
—dawn dibartolo

why does the wind blow?
     her hair danced lovingly
     in the summer jasmine breeze.

how does the sun feel?
     with lips of warm Spring, he
     confines her to memory.

where does love begin?
     the inception of moment
     falls to time’s full discretion.

what is forever?
     pieces of the soul caught up
     are fragments of time inscribed.

is love a given?
     this devotion is such that
     desire cannot fold us.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

They've wandered bleating
down the hall. Do they think we
keep green Spring in the cupboards
where nothing grows?

The carpet isn't tasty, but they
leave their small round tokens like
drops of dark chocolate on the shag.
Front door to sofa—looking

everywhere—it might be
in the bedroom, purple-vetch tucked
lacy in a drawer, sweet clover
beneath a pillow.

Or are they searching for
lambs under the bed, the old ewe
in a steamer trunk? She's already
made her passage. Silence

advances and the lamb has flown
with the owl. What secrets
do they think we
keep in our human house?


—Taylor Graham

People will whisper
if the town beauty never marries.

They watched her four plain sisters
do what women do: walk down
the aisle to families of their own.
The way of the world.

But she—tall and slender, dark—
what might her desire be?

Did she ever have a beau?
A tragic love affair?
What message in the distant
calling of a train?

She returned to the big
white house of her girlhood.

Whose footprints in dew
along the meadow edge, to the eldest
willow? Weight
of whispers in an empty house.


Ken Van Koevering
—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

From the latest
unremembered, unimportant war,
Ken is stationed on Second and Tonto Bar Lane
the only one,
he's willing to bet,
who, around these parts,
is aware Kuwait, is, yes,
a step away from Iraq
by geography,
but in importance overall,
universes apart
with the span growing forever
by the second.

Time advances
memory reverses.

His heart is not heavier
than the lead left
in his left leg
but both would be better
not bitter
if only.....

the right operations
were done in their proper moments.

And he feels
even spoiled menudo
tastes fine
compared to the aftermath in his throat
and still-accessible soul that
the Gulf War
and America,
have left behind in him.


—Michael Cluff

After teaching Marxism
two classes a day,
I pull off my penny loafers or
saddle shoes
and solid knit tie
to indulge....

The dean may seem
to know
what I do
at times
his secrets
are kept as well
as mine.

Bach in the basement
Tzara in the tower
and me
in the mezzanine.

It snowed today
for the first time
in twenty-nine years
around here.

I left my tie
and my shoes
and my soul-
on for a change.


After Bruce caught diamonds'
effectiveness from gabardine, houndtoothed
icicles just killjoyed levity,
many nuances otherwise polarized
quaked red solvents towards underutilized
vases while xeon yodeled zeroes.

—Michael Cluff


—Michael Cluff

The shrink records,
"Exercises extensively
with his Mercury door handles—
a fourscore minute fitness plan,"
he declares with an air
"the exact count of days
of Noah's flood
for each side."

The psychiatrist
watches from his fourth floor office window
sets up another appointment
then strips off
his expensive wingtip shoes
and argyle socks
and chews on a clean toenail
for a random change.


—Michael Cluff

Dapper enough
a Canadian goose stance
center of the Milky Way look
he stands, then struts
in cuffless light tan dress slacks,
now oh-so the fashion,
brown tassled loafers
and no tie.

It mainly works for him
but this time

He is dead already
just doesn't know it
she does

or lets him
think she is too.

Purple and black striped neckwear
goes on
and she concurs
he is a little less dead
but not nearly as much so
as he
and she
might be
sooner than tomorrow.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Michael Cluff

Whitewashed blackboard red lighting
a case of yellow journalism
greenbelting the orange sky
the brown valley signaling "two"
an azured-tonal sort of blues
propogandized by the worst sort of purple
and puce prose.



Little Chibi meets the Great Big Sea for the first time
(w/Sam the Snake Man)
Half Moon Bay, August, 2011
—Photo by Kathy Kieth
(click to enlarge photo)