Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Memory and Other Spells

St. John's Bridge, Portland, OR
—Photo by Janet Pantoja, Woodinville, WA

—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

Above the freeway
Calvin pauses
poised delicately
over the west lane
staring down
towards the pocked concrete

then towards the rising sun
just above the jagged line
of electricity in the sky
he turns
smiles somewhat
until he sees Noreen

his face moves
as does his cane
his heart stays still
until the rain relaxes
and passage to the other side
is more assured.


—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

I am your secret admirer,
at midnight, alone, freely
uplifting my voice in duet
with Netrebko’s shimmering soprano
in Song to the Moon.

Loving you from afar,
unexpressed to the world,
my fingers touch you
in dreams, ache for
the texture of your hair, skin,
movements of your body
within mine, your caress
as you utter my name.


              thanks, John Fogerty
—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

hey, daddy,
look what you did
you put a spell on me
making me think it’s love
the yearning, the craving
all mine
the moaning the howling
all mine

you put a spell on me
breaking me
tearing me
teeth of a wild dog
devouring me
made me stop runnin’ around
foolin’ around
doin’ the thing that I did

you put a spell on me
cuz I’m yours it never stops
the yearning the craving
for the hands that undo me
the fingers that hustle me

you put a spell on me
the craving the yearning
the howling the moaning
your mouth at my throat
making me think it’s love
teasing, cajoling
your growl pitched low
and thick with lust
grows deep inside me

spelling me
cuz I’m yours till I’m sick of you!


—Caschwa, Sacramento

I used to love to hear the
Notoriously funny standup comedy
Of Don Rickles
Who unapologetically poked fun
At everyone.

Then he was overcome
By a nation of laws
(no relation to Indian tribes)
And started adding in
Scripted disclaimers to his jokes
Thus diluting the humor
Till it vanished.

As the infamous Charles Swartz was heard to say:

It is okay for tightrope walkers
To have a net hanging far below,
But don’t give them more feet to stand on
Or else no one will watch the show.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

She stirs flour into the starter,
already savoring the bite
of sourdough—remembering
Kenai, that long northern summer.
But this is here, now—even as
September sun casts sudden color-
bridges from the stained-glass
pendant at the kitchen window.
Why do those shimmering
reds and blues make her think
of Caribbean sunsets?
Memory bridges—so many
far-off places, long-ago times,
all with their portents—if
she could read them—of this
here and now.


—Taylor Graham

He took a trifling fancy to extreme,
imagining that he was Everyman.
Quite unyielding but to his self-esteem,
he took a trifling fancy to extreme—
that all was fair and legal in this scheme:
to grab and not give back all that you can.
He took a trifling fancy to extreme,
imagining that he was Everyman.


—Taylor Graham

Una and Eduardo—who can they be?
these two who met by hazard in the dark
and drowned together in a starry sea.
Una and Eduardo, who can they be,
who woke up the next morning shocked, alone, free?
Be careful how electric glances arc.
Una and Eduardo—who can they be,
these two who met by hazard in the dark?


—Taylor Graham

Each man with his lunch box looks straight ahead
into the lens. It's dawning, above ground.
Why think about a sweetheart still a-bed?
Each man with his lunch box looks straight ahead.
They're going down. Lost daylight like the dead
who never rise. Their pay is pick and pound.
Each man with his lunch box looks straight ahead
into the lens. It's dawning—above ground.


Thanks to today's contributors, some of them dabbling with recent Seeds of the Week, and didja notice Taylor Graham's triolets? That's a fun form because you get to repeat so many lines! I say, the less work, the better. See the green board at the right for more about them.

This Sunday (9/18) the Sac. Poetry Center Team will walk or run a 5K race to benefit AIDS/HIV treatment, prevention, and awareness. Meet at the North steps (facing the Cathedral and Crest Theater) at 8:15 a.m. Please be on time! Accept the challenge and also write or bring a brief poem about AIDS/HIV to read on the walk with fellow SPC'ers, if you wish. Let Frank Graham know that you are walking or running (916.606.4303). Log on to the Sac Valley Aids Walk Registration page at to register online—OR print and fill out the registration form and send it in snail mail. Select Sacramento Poetry Center Team in your registration—or write it in.

Rae Gouirand always has lots going on, workshop-wise, including the tenth anniversary of the Cache Creek Writer-in-Residence program. See


Today's LittleNip: 

Patience: The open door that allows the world to enter.

—Stephen Dobyns



Our condolences to Sacramento poet Douglas Blazek on the passing of his son, Nathan.

—Photo by Katy Brown