Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Getting Out Of Dodge

Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Caschwa, Sacramento

Chrysanthemums are
Supposed to be insecticidal but
They fail to numb the gums
Of moths, who eat them quite a lot

“Get out of Dodge”
A dash light would demand
If we tried to put 8 people
In our 7-seat Caravan.

I wandered into the kitchen
Drawn by the aromas of cooking
And was given several chores to do
No room for guys just looking

Armed forces serving far away
Vacationers cruising day by day
There’s no good reason you should stay
On the sofa watching TV

Twelve men on the football field
A penalty flag was tossed
One too many, can’t drive home
The limit has been crossed.

The schooner Eclipse
Was anchored so well
It failed to rise up
To ride out the swell.

An absentee landlord delegated the marshal
To pay a visit one time on the absent-minded
Absentee voter renter who could not
Marshal the funds to pay the rent on time




Rebuilding a vintage auto?
Of course the parts need to be
The real thing
No imitations allowed

The same in the garden
Where the requirements for
Healthy flowers
Vary widely from strong trees

Then we get to the subject
Of political races
All candidates claiming to be true
To the roots of our nation

Thankfully, consumers can buy
“One size fits all” gloves
And never have to touch
The soil of OEM.



For some countries war is
A spare tire locked in the trunk
It is only used for necessity
And then eagerly stowed away again

Then there are the
Continental kit wars
Bright and glossy, worn outside
Like dueling pistols

And other nations recognize
The need to stockpile whole arsenals
Of inner tubes and patches
Just in case war is declared

Here at home we have
Spike strips in our driveways
So we are always at war…
That is the American way.


(and it’s night all day)

Served in honor, so they say
It didn’t matter who I’d slay
Given an order, just obey

Now I’m back, well most of me
Having seen more than a person should see
Puts a whole new twist on that notion of free

Half an hour of good night’s sleep
Half a morsel left to eat
Half a lifetime on the street

If you’re strong as a tree, they’ll help you to grow
A wounded vet, they just hand you a hoe
The land of opportunity, don’t ya’ know.



Tell me again why
We’re supposed to own
Our own homes

Or to use our own
Energy to move
Our own bones?

Why can’t ownership
Just be rented like
Everything else?

We’re entitled to
Water that others
Dragged from the wells

And to the babies
Borne to surrogate
Mothers, tax-free

From false eyelashes
To wigs, even a
Replacement knee.

Tell me again why
We’re supposed to think
Our own thoughts

Or prefer to read
Poetry than stare
At ink blots?


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

Our midday moon
so round and pale—a lacy disc.
Our midday moon
looks down on us this day at noon;
studies browns and blues of earth is
mapping us—cartographer, this
pale midday moon.


—Carol Louise Moon

Fall’s last leaf
on this tiny twig, finally falls.
Fall’s last leaf—
thin, crusted coin. And no relief
for me from winter’s chilly halls
and gales, as winter tugs and calls
fall’s last leaf.


—Carol Louise Moon

What ignites within my soul a fire?
The Dance of Moon and Tide,
the tug of strings on my desire.
The Dance of Moon and Tide;
crouching down, then reaching higher,
leaping, twirling—arms out wide.
My soul ignites to dance this fire,
this Dance of Moon and Tide.


—Carol Louise Moon

Snowmelt carries nature’s debris
past my boots. A circling hawk is
aware of my plight, sinking as I am
into a winter depression. Great-
grandfather’s voice, carrying our
name, swirls in an icy breeze. I am
new to this Ohio winter, California
tan beneath my coat. Ears ringing,
eyes stinging, I press on to the
clearing where my horse left me, or
perhaps I am mistaken.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

From the train window, bonfires
in the long, dark expanses between towns.
Fields of night uneasy

in the long, dark expanses between towns.
Passengers whisper among themselves
the languages of a land divided.

Passengers whisper among themselves
in a row—rumors, a town occupied.
The locomotive slows, pulls to a stop.

In a row, rumors. A town occupied.
Train platform with a single dim bulb.
So many tongues. Irini.. Unser.. Hermano….

Train platform with a single dim bulb.
You understand nothing, imagine
click-off-safety, shutter-release.

You understand nothing, imagine
this a stop of your life. Books. Snapshots
flash. What weapons? But words,

so many tongues—Irini unser hermano—
the languages of a land divided.
The locomotive slows, pulls to a stop—

click off safety—shutter release—
fields of night. Uneasy
flash. What weapons but words?


—Taylor Graham

On the commons they were burning
books. No, they were only
burning book-readers' eyes, and it was
temporary. Did the blinded eyes
see a collective, entire light as if each
eye became a candle?
For miles across rice paddies, asphalt,
tidelands, wild geese and
wintering cranes woke to moonless
midnight, gathered
together and took wing for shores
of light. And the readers,
as they opened their eyes and mouths,
a song like tongues of flame.


—Taylor Graham

At dawn the lanterns fade, as by themselves.
They hang empty, paper-thin; opening
to store brief, golden light in fragile shells.

And on the tree, countless brittle leaf-shells
still hold saffron sunlight within themselves
as if, about to fall, they're opening.

I walk out, doors and windows opening
as if they, like the house, were only shells
of waking creatures—who?—finding themselves

or losing themselves, opening dead shells.


Today's LittleNip: 

When the cold comes to New England it arrives in sheets of sleet and ice. In December, the wind wraps itself around bare trees and twists in between husbands and wives asleep in their beds. It shakes the shingles from the roofs and sifts through cracks in the plaster. The only green things left are the holly bushes and the old boxwood hedges in the village, and these are often painted white with snow. Chipmunks and weasels come to nest in basements and barns; owls find their way into attics. At night, the dark is blue and bluer still, as sapphire of night.

―Alice Hoffman, Here on Earth 


—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors for playing around with forms and rhyming. About her "What Town?", Taylor Graham says it's "a tartoum with liberties taken in stanza-break at the end. We're allowed liberties, aren't we?" Medusa agrees, being a bit of a rule-breaker herself...

Photo by D.R. Wagner