Shine Cafe, Sacramento
The Orient has evaporated
Before our own eyes.
All the fine silver, gold and silk,
Each and every tale which
Great imagination can devise
Has passed, splashed against a thick
Film of oil and stone, smashed
To pebble, entire cities relocated,
A history rehashed and bashed
Into a doctrine of growth
And the will of a magnificent few,
Who at one time grew the most
Beautiful of gardens, now shrouded in smoke
And left to wake us in our beds
Full of foul and departing aromas,
Of spread cloth and incense
Swirling in dark rooms filled with
The most fantastic of horses, and
Women and rulers of great station,
Ideas flowing from them to move
Entire civilizations to pure wonder.
Now dust on stone and ground to
Huge and endless industry with the
Bleakest of souls, a Thousand and
One Nights in which each one
Is like another and the great mother
Is no longer a teller of tales
But a dark and sinister builder
Of dams that tilt the
Center itself into submission.
“I know another defense, a better one.”
The speaker was notably concerned
Right before his keynote presentation
On how to manipulate the past
So that it would seem like part of the future.
All those thoughts that had set his mind to action
Were now a barricade to his ever reaching the start.
The time machine was his holiday present
To the world, a way to jump past
The tedium of well-planned action
Like a rocket that orbits ‘round the start
And bypasses all common concerns
Then seals the gap with the suture of future.
The trick is not in financial market futures
Nor in any board meeting action
That quantifies and honors the past,
Technology aside, you have to be present
To be in from the very start
Of this enterprising concern.
Fueled by hormones in action
As far as everyone is concerned
Right here right now in the present
The time machine will grunt and start
On its journey to the future
With only buried memories of the past.
More hairs and bigger parts start
Emerging in our brand new future
Distancing us from the concern
That had always defined our past.
The time machine has thus presented
Us with a new course of action
That does not try to begin with the past
But rather is an entirely novel start
To a wonderful, mysterious future,
Building and defining a new kind of action
Consuming and consenting, concerning
A new window of time: the present.
Our future actions start
Right here in the present
Oblivious to past concerns.
ON KISSING A TOOTHLESS POET
I wanted to kiss the famous poet
I read with him here and there
so encouraging he was
so brave, outrageous
wonderful poet famous
rebel with a cause
the cause of the Red Star
had a chance to kiss him
wanted to see what it was like
to kiss a flaming radical poet
so I kissed him
what, no teeth?
he didn’t have teeth, didn’t wear teeth
where were his teeth?
It was like kissing small pink pillows
lips and tongue soft and cushy
wet, juicy, mushy
sucked me into his featherbed of gums
where I expected hard, edgy, dangerous
I wanted to ask
where are your teeth?
but I already knew—
in his poetry
ODE TO HALLOWEEN
Halloween’s a time for goblins and ghosts,
For witches and devils to scare us the most.
Spooky little critters all frightful and scary,
And ugly old monsters all smelly and hairy.
We’ll recognize Dracula by the glint in his eye,
And the Vampire Bat who never seems to die.
You might see a black cat on the end of a broom,
As she casts her shadow on the face of the moon.
There’ll be alien beings from deep outer space,
With drivel and slime running down their face.
Little kids will come calling for candy and things,
And enjoy all the goodies this fun night brings.
You’ll see some dinosaurs and frogs who are princes,
Just waiting to be kissed by a beautiful princess.
You might think it silly to shiver and shake,
By these horrible persons and the faces they make.
But we’ll have a good time in this season of fright,
And have lots of fun on this scary old night.
fan of country music, jelly beans, Lhasa Apsos,
and listening to baseball on the radio.
for Bill Reynolds
Sweet William is what they called you,
the lady at the bank where you drove
every Wednesday and who you told was
beautiful, who laughed at your jokes, the
jokes that only you could tell in that certain
way and never offend anyone; the lady
at the home who listened to your song about
trains and heaven and sat with you in the
garden where dianthus covered the ground
in shades of pink; the lady at the office who
prepared your insurance papers and found a
home for Bunny, your beloved dog; the ladies
at the bowling alley where you spent six of
seven days each week and where you felt more
at home than in your own home; the ladies
who grew the flowers and picked them and
propagated them and walked barefoot in them
even called you Sweet William, but I called you
Thanks to today's contributors: you may be able to see D.R. Wagner in Annie Menebroker's photo (go to our Facebook page for more)—think good thoughts for him this week as he undergoes angioplasty. Carl Schwartz tackled (and won!) the ever-illusive sestina, and he agrees that it does indeed make you crazy. Pat Hickerson shares more of her past, and Trina Drotar pays a lovely tribute to her dad and his Halloween poem. And thanks to Michelle Kunert for the photo of Lawrence Dinkins (NSAA), who will be co-hosting Brown Bag Poetry with Mary Zeppa at the Central Library in Sac. this Thursday.
Speaking of poetry events, we're cranking our way toward our 25th Annual Sac. Poetry Day on Oct. 26 (see blue board) with lots of events this week, including the final Red Night Poetry reading at Beatnik Studios (Genelle is looking for a new location). Davis will be hoppin' this weekend with the Natsoulas Series on Thursday, The Other Voice on Friday and the Fifth Annual Jazz and Beat Festival Friday and Saturday; check out these happenings and the other 'way cool ones for the week and beyond—all of it on the blue board!
The latest edition of DADs DESK, Sacramento's only large-print poetry journal, edited by Carol Louise Moon, is available at The Book Collector. Get yours while they last!
And in the Nobody Ever Tells Me Anything Dept., I just found out that SnakePal Katy Brown will be the new editor of Sac. Poetry Center's Poetry Now next year, with the assistance of Laura Baumann and Paco (Katy's trusty camera). Congrats to all!