Monday, November 07, 2011

Solitaire Under the Still Life

—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

—Katy Brown, Davis

The sea, a hammered-tin beyond the breakers,
moves in restless swells against the lowering sky.
The old woman stands at her window,

drawing a filament of flat light into a ball
which she stores in an iron-bound chest
at the foot of her bed.

A jar of dried rose petals mixed with lavender
sits open on her dresser.
An oil lamp casts a shadow on her nightstand.

From her room, she watches ships come and go:
tall-masted schooners, exotic junks.
She’s watched these floating sepulchers

take sailors beyond the horizon.
Today, a black-sailed sloop
tacks its way between the rocks,

slipping into the harbor.
Gathering her shawl around her shoulders,
she makes halting progress

down her worn stairs and into the street.
Black sails flutter and snap against the wind;
the gangway lowers as she approaches.


—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Playing solitaire
under the still life
you hear
unaccompanied Bach
from an old tape
on chords
of timeless memory
become audible
scattering like foliage
full of whirring tendrils
along back roads,
trying to imagine
the nature of things
even as your nerves
by squinting light
wish the capture notes
or etudes
that stay with you
on the card table.


—B.Z. Niditch

All alone
except for
the chocolate milkshake
handed to you
by your stage mother
and having to remember
every cadenza
of the French concerto
forgetting stage fright
you proceed
with passages
in the musical logic
of the critic
with the bifocals
who called you
in a foreign tongue
a child prodigy
as bravo rings out
in your debut.


—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

The pudding bowl
untouched on the frosty front porch
my best silk tie in teal, gold and chocolate stripes
stuffed halfway in, halfway out of the mail slot
the beta fish staring at me
mean with the intent of demise
from a punch bowl hanging
where the chandelier used to be
and Carmela smiling in the foyer
glad to see
my old off-the-wall self
spontaneously spry, sudden
is back in full bloom.



Tonya never regretted lending out
keys to community facilities
especially when the person
who asked so properly and politely
had such good connections
with the Board of Trustees.


Andrew was breathing lighter
the labors of fatherhood
were so much pleasanter
when a child like Nick
was the bright cloud
in a family of thunderstorms.


The election was close this year
several of six could barely
win or not
Andrew Marrington on the bubble
between defeat and
just scraping by.


Kyle Lucette moved
much too abruptly
from dead end
to cultured cul de sac
to back away
from harsh words and hisses

—Michael Cluff (for previous chapters, see previous days in the Kitchen)


—Caschwa, Sacramento

Elbert, high chief of the Snisuoc tribe,
Was cisum cousins with the beautiful
Oigada, whose twin brother Otnel
Allied the sharp biting forces of Otacizzip
To abut their journey to Aznedac.


Today's LittleNip: 

Yesterday on Bank Transfer Day I cashed in my Daylight Savings account and got one free hour to dabble in futures.




 Berkeley Museum of Art
—Photo by Cynthia Linville
(Cynthia has a new album on Medusa's Facebook page,
about her recent trip to Alcatraz. Check it out!)