EXPLAINING OURSELVES TO A MARTIAN
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
To be human is to die,
to keep that knowledge like black silk
on the brain's back wall, a darkly shimmering
uncertainty that will surely come
to pass. Death rises with us
as our blue planet spins to meet the Sun
each morning, inhaling the silver
lining of a cloud. Black silk. We breathe in
a little more of it each day, we spread it
like tears in the sun to dry. We are
salt. We sprinkle it on our breakfast eggs
and stir it into our stew. Take, eat,
this savory mutton was once our old ewe Daisy,
who has died. The potatoes from our
garden are dead, but already the vision
of their blind eyes lives underground.
All of these books of recipes and philosophy
and verse: how to live with death.
SLOW MORNING AT THE CLINIC
Click of heels on spotless floor.
Sick people sitting everywhere.
Tick of clock, breath-hitch, time
thick with worry, waiting air.
Den of doctor, diagnosis, pill,
men and women, nose and ear,
wen and cyst and failing parts.
When will we be out of here?
TALES OF THE HORIZON
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove
So we must return to tell
The others what it is we
Have seen or heard or tasted.
We could just stay ‘there’ on
The bridges forever while the planets
Whirl and stars explode and the glory
That is our language flares and burns
Enough to light up any horizon.
“Maybe they will see it from
The other side and send us signals...”
It never happens. We unhook
Our bolts and pull the seven
League boots from our feet,
Reach for a beverage, try to sit
If only for a verse or two.
To say, to tell the tale, to pull
Stones and bright bits of glass
From our pockets, singing songs
We have heard about these places.
Then, we get up and gaze from the doorway
Upon the night outside the house
And the mystery floods in again
And it is as if we have not
Been anywhere at all. The best
We can do is tell what we’ve dreamt.
TOO SMALL FOR BREATH
The cloth will hold us.
That which is hidden will know
The caress. We move our hands
Toward the flaming pylons.
We will wait in the light
Until we are born.
This breathing is a special mystery.
We understand the beautiful
As if it were a headline or something
Made captive and a spectacle.
They heave some rotted timbers
Toward the fire. We uncover the horror
Of the moment. The stars
Begin their thick howling.
I reach down and pull my clothing
Together around my body.
I can hear death laughing in the alley.
The young men weep and their souls
Flap up and down against what
We will call tomorrow.
My friend, quickly, come this way.
We must dance. NOW!
LOOK! IT IS NIGHT.
It has filled my body and peers
Out through my eyes, become moons.
I do not want to think how
This thing happened. Perhaps
This is a treasure. I swarm with
The stars, not believing the persistence
of the hard driving glow that seems
to sift into my very pores.
ANGELS OF BREAKFAST
sun went off found a quiet
where no one could
she covered her body
She had seven children.
one was blinded by the rain.
one was the lover of the wind.
one was she who danced with life.
one ate the world and everything
one became the morning.
one was the queen of
one was my
—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA
Mom always made the best Swiss steak
and upside down pineapple cake
her okra blend was not so bad
and her chili would drive me mad.
After that it wasn't so great
a good chef was not her fate
yet she keep the family stable
with engaging talk around the table.
Every night we did so
imagination allowed to grow
the appetite for witty words
was like a visit to Lourdes.
The Friday before finals
is always a pain
too much to get done
makes you insane.
Grading a priority
yet shopping to do
do equal mounts of both
and you'll get through.
Prep time is a joy
I would rather forego
Yet, I will push on as usual
being a pro.
THE SATURDAY BEFORE FINALS: English Essays
Fourteen papers read
twenty-two to go
in this class alone
no lunch with Aunty Flo
no time to contact her
even on the phone.
Melina and Rhinna and Kevin and Shaun
are in for a shock
their papers so bad
content's a crock
of last-minute platitudes
making me go mad.
And the poems are waiting
just to be written
too much to attempt
I just keep grittin’
I'll reach without contempt.
The moving I would like
to do today
will be postponed
to maybe this May
life would be better
if I had been cloned.
Thanks to today's contributors! D.R. Wagner writes: The "Tales of the Horizon" is commenting on an introduction d.a. levy did for my '18th Dynasty Egyptian Automobile Turnon' I wrote back in the sixties. His introduction was very beautiful. I am thinking of republishing it on drsspoon. The 'dramatic' is by one of my students from an exercise we do in "Form & Color" called Word Play Typography.
D.R., Taylor Graham and Katy Brown will be reading at Sac. Poetry Center next Monday, 7:30pm. I was a wee bit disappointed to see that the advance publicity didn't include any mention of the fact that they are the Meduskateers—that they have come together on Medusa's Kitchen in an on-going "poetic conversation" that continues even today. Anyway, be sure to head down to 25th & R Sts. for their reading this coming Monday.
The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin.