Friday, November 04, 2011

To Love Things Nothing Worth

—Photo by Ronald Edwin Lane

—Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax

It looked dead and it was, I think.
After all it was severed at its petiole,
skin tanned, veins browned. It had

fallen to land upon a bench on
its journey to the ground.

Phyto-fleece—nothing more.
“It was just a leaf, Man!”
But then I saw it really was
a leaf-man, or

perhaps a Noh Mask.
Yes, a Noh Mask,
a disheveled devil’s death-face
of irate eyes, contorted chin,

chonmage topped and
twisted rictus lipped,
cut of blade, of slits,
donning a design of brown
dichotomous lines.

Through three seasons it had
battled sun, wind,
drought and won,
surviving, thriving verdant
and strong, but then
cold crept into veins and
nights grew long.

On a cold sun day
with a stark white sky, it fell,
to lay flat
upon its back upon
a slat of oak, cold and wet,
a place to rest, before

that final step.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

For I am shamed by that which I bring forth,
And so should you, to love things nothing worth.
—Shakespeare, Sonnet 72

Politicians, lords, and spies
All about the kingdom rise.
Such “murder sleep,” and thus wake fear.
To combat them, arise “Shake-Speare.”
Upwafting ghostlike from a cellar,
Honor-bound to play truth-teller.
His safety in a nom de plume,
For only secrecy gives room
And vision-angle overplus.
Outsiders, only, earn the trust
Of masses, ranges, schools of men
Who crowd playhouses, denizens
Of poetry's home, the Muse-inspired
Fledgling Englanders all choired
Thickest where inn-yards trump the church.
Begin right here the nation-search,
Let feeling, thought, and honor thrive
On all a renegade earl can give.
Let’s today examine corruption,
That downward-thrusting earth-implosion
Eating at the state’s own vitals.
Listen: history’s recitals
Warn us to avoid these ills,
The lusty bloodline royal’s blood-spills.
A ruler owes unto his public
Conduct fitting a republic.
Looms over our navy Spain’s Armada?
Let enemy whatsoever plot a
Storm of violence and blood,
England raises up a brood
Of men with falcon, eagle wings.
These listen as the lyre sings.
How can this earl speak of such “things”
As “nothing worth?” Lord Burghley’s line
Comes down to us as lofty, fine;
Yet what of Lord B.’s politic words?
All rotten smoke and rusty swords.
His vast and empire-building joys
Loom like the castle-sands of boys,
Next to this earl’s poetic “toys.”



before dawn, east of the poor side
of town, a broken toy; silent figures under
streetlights. Roses dropping petals.

There was a man who dreamed so
beautifully, life became an artifact of words
you could hold on your tongue.

Off the boardwalk, onto sand, listen
to the sea slip up and down its changing
shoreline. First light turns the surf

gray as ocean sings to itself from the dark,
never alone. Gray light dims or brightens
a bit of driftwood, or is it bone?

smoothed and beveled, worked
by sand, salt, and water into something
different but the same. It glows

of its own light forced from its
form. Dawn again, with its briefly
fragrant petal-of-rose.

—Taylor Graham, Placerville


—Taylor Graham

I saw the new moon late yestereen
wi' the auld moon in her arm.
           —Sir Patrick Spens

Between this Old World with its broken treaties
and men's limbs shot off in war, and that New

World of greenstick promise not yet fractured,
rolls the sea away in moonlight. Each ship

a child's toy tossed on phosphor waves. So many
moons since he sailed off for a new life.

She dreams spirit-lights, drowned sailors
breathing under the tide. Between two worlds,

the postage is too dear; a letter with its news
she can't afford. Is he still alive? Tonight,

the new moon rocks the old moon in her arm.
A mother walks the shingle, up and down

the shoreline, watching for star-board
lights beyond breakers—proof perhaps of life

on another side. The new moon
cradles her son in the sickle of its arm.



Nick left the ladies’ room
with a limp
not congenital
or accidental;
he had brought it
all down on himself.


The birds in trees on the hill
behind the gym
flew away at the sound:
such caterwauls of distress
and death imposed upon
the open air frightened them.

—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA


—Ronald Edwin Lane

      Since daybreak, four, slimy, cat scat come-to-life like souls, have clung, upside down, to a bed—a debarked edge of weathered cambium, striated like stratified rock, atop layered seasons of weathered cellulose, vessels and tracheids, embedded in the ground, amid patches of their own excrement, white sheets of tattered threads, brown pocket rot, black inky fungus stains, and muddy detritus, resting, aside a worm hole (that of a Buprestid), of sufficient size for them to slip inside without a sound—until I turned their world ‘round.
      They recoil at the sudden forces, (acceleration, centrifugal, deceleration – the shift in the pull of gravity), but mostly at the vapor pressure deficit and touch of mid-day blue-sky light that threatens to transmogrify these spineless blobs—who spent the night, I’m sure, as they always do, smearing opalescent snot under foot along meandering paths, carousing, high on grass, eyes bulging, while adding their mass to moonlit mobs engaged in unprotected orgy sex—into dried out lifeless turds.
      With slow deliberation they poke heads from beneath rubbery mantles, open whale-like blow holes, extend short sensory limbs, pop-out eyes, stretch feet, and glide on undulating soles, to shadows I suppose, to wherever their souls shall lead.


Thanks to today's cooks, including more of Ron Lane's stunning poems and pix, another two installments of Mike Cluff's story, a "a ditty writ in Elizabethan (Oxfordian?) manner" by Tom Goff, and two fine ones from the other TG, Taylor Graham. And yes, there's snow in these-here mountains, about an inch, but it didn't "stick" to the roads much in Pollock Pines.

Three links of interest today: two from Trina Drotar, bless her, and the last from Sam the Snake Man, who took note of a still pic in the Sac Bee to hunt down the video. Awesome! No, I mean truly AWESOME........!

For the 99 Poems Project, go to

For Trina's preview article of tonight's Facunda Cabral tribute, go to

And for a video that'll knock your garters off, go to


Today's LittleNip: 

Not much to offer you—
Just a lotus flower floating
In a small bowl of water.




Painted Without Light
—Ronald Edwin Lane