Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Words Hang Like Breath

Dusty Bottles
—Photo by Joyce Odam, Sacramento

—James Lee Jobe, Davis

Blood Moon; the onslaught of winter is coming,
it won't be long now. The dog end
of autumn is treacherous; bleak, windy days,
each one shorter and faster than the one before,
giving life the illusion of being out of control. Really,
the universe unfolds exactly as it will,
as it always has. Look! Do the stars not shine
through the frigid angels of space? Is the Blood Moon
not the face of love? An iceberg the size of Dayton
breaks off of Antarctica. Schools close, libraries close,
and prisons are full. A soul lives inside a shadow
like a hat in a hatbox. Voices are hushed
and lost deep inside a winter storm.
Words hang like breath in the bitter air,
frozen and alone.


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

churning the harbor waves
our ship rides out toward the burnt orange moon
watch sleepily from my cushioned deck chair
curls of wispy fog wreathe the railings
ocean full of feisty salt
remember another cruise
drunks tried to throw a girl overboard
I shudder, look around
anyone sneaking up on me?
shouldn’t have had that last martini at the bar
but the ship’s captain was there
smiling and tall and dark

snuggling into my deck chair
I am drawn to the moon
seems to get larger and rounder
swift flight into its dripping hollow
the inside of a pumpkin
garish strings hanging wet full of rumpus

oh here’s a guy tall and smiling
must be the Man in the Moon
he leads me along a candlelit hallway
the bright orange walls pillowed, sheltering
others in mask and costume
lined up lifting their glasses to me
don’t know who they are
doesn’t matter now I can sleep
living inside the Halloween moon, best place


—Caschwa, Sacramento

The book I have not written
Is flying off the shelves
Now in its 23rd printing
Worldwide distribution
In 19 languages
None of which I understand
Authored by another’s hand.

The boat I have not sailed
Is halfway ‘round the globe
Common law married to the sea
Beyond that misty horizon
Discovering different cultures,
Creatures, and culinary delights
That would astound us urbanites.

The solo I have not played
Elevates the trombone to
Another speaking person
Discarding the words on the floor
And expressing just the emotions
A most captivating vibrato
Exciting as winning the lotto.

The moment I have not enjoyed
Is that odd warp in time
When one is well stocked
With verbal ammunition
To completely put down
That cocky speaker of lies
Until he or she just cries.

There will come a time
Very soon I do hope
When fantasies dictate
The real shape of this Earth
Looking from a perspective
Closer to the dreams one sees
Below ground with the roots of tall trees.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

They called it a “Blood Moon” on the news,
to coincide with Halloween and the mess
in Palestine and other places on the globe.

That got us going on politics, mankind's
lust for blood. How about stars and planets,
the lunar eclipse? You said it's a question

of us human frontal-lobists casting our
big black shadow over everything, even
the Moon. Earth gets in the way of the Sun.

The coming dark is our own fault, you said.
Was the heavenly event upon us yet?
We walked out to stare at a sky as black

as the evening news. No Moon. Just talk.
Some time later, that uncanny light returned
from the shadow we threw over its eclipse.

(first pub. in Poetry Super Highway, 2006)


—Taylor Graham

What's behind the door? Nothing,
he said. Then why is it locked?
It isn't, it's just stuck shut.

For her, it opened by star-wish.
Light-switch didn't work. Stairs.
As if pulled by strings in the dark

she ascended past ceiling with its
promise of safe-haven,
past joists and rafters to the roof.

Tarpaper underfoot. A parapet.
Stars! She'd never seen
so many bright pinpricks winged

as angels. No choirs, no questions.
Only silence of dark oceans tiding,
a blood-moon riding overhead.


—Taylor Graham

Your mother loved to talk about Heaven—
the All-Knowing's inscrutable leaven
in your soul's dough. Or not. Could you be saved?
What went through your mind, a boy of seven,

the devil's quarry? To the cellar; caved
among blind potatoes—when all you craved
was the Lord's sunshine. Apples blamed for sin
were your companions. Above, preachers raved,

your mother prayed. It made a pious din
that echoed through floor, into sack and bin,
upon you. Then, you crept back up. The sky
was full of light. Shadows slipped out and in,

invited you to ask the question, Why
hide in the dark? Here's God's blue dragonfly.
In the elm, a robin finds its haven.
The world lies open to your hand and eye.


—Taylor Graham

Where is that city of serene waves?

Dragons live in drains, inhabit
the drone of news rehashing history
that happens 24/7. Water
dammed or poisoned, earth dredged
and dozed. Histories of war.

Who can trust a locked door?

In dream you enter a room worlds
away. Good-luck dragons—silken lady
like a flowered river that no longer
flows, her hair a poppy closed
at end of day, feet stilled in a dance

beautiful as sleep. Gardens'

departing aroma, blossom of a red
scarf covering the crimson
sword-slash across her throat.
History of war, of water dammed,
earth smashed. Our world.

City of dark waves in your dream.


Thanks to today's contributors! Judy Taylor Graham says her “Inside Dragons” harks back to n.ciano's latest and D.R. Wagner's “Transforming Angel,” and her "Predestined?" rubaiyat is in response to Katy Brown's “Quarrying Mitzvahs.” Right now we're working on rubaiyats and our Seed of the Week: Blood Moon (see the green board for details), but of course anything your muse comes up with is more than welcome on the Kitchen table.

Davis is also well-represented today, and there will be lots going on there this weekend, as I mentioned before. Please take a look at the calendar on the blue board by the way—there are some new items, including Luna's and Grass Valley for tomorrow (Thursday).


Today's LittleNip: 

My favorite season:
fresh blood runs through
that looming autumn moon.

—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines



Photo by Katy Brown, Davis