—Viola Weinberg, Kenwood, CA
(for Monsieur Edw. Cahill of Montparnasse)
There is no romance as rightful as that found, unbound
walking in a strange city in ringing silence, there is no
love greater than a poet falling in love with a place
where no one speaks her language and it’s raining
I know the sultry nights, the marbled stones, the absinthe
of dreaming in beautiful solitude, the intoxication of gas lights
breathing evenly along a small street off the avenue where you
have penned a word with blood red lipstick on a matchbook
taken from the drunken hand of a Russian sailor in a tiny
bar called Le Cave, where the vodka flows and everyone
is laughing, living and dying in the same breathless moment
and you don’t feel beautiful, as much as wondrous and invincible
I know the sense of being utterly alone, as if in a womb
unimpenetrable, an unflinchable tower of the heart pulsing in you
a city that was always waiting for you, as if this city is your
true mother and not that poseur you remember from a spanking
This place never grows old in your imagination, or even
in a waking hour when the spirit of all you wished for as
a girl has faded, and a dirty floor calls your name or
when dinner, banal and inconsequential, is still uncooked
Trust me, this romance will outlast the miasmic linoleum of tattered
wishing although, by its very nature, it is mysteriously shellacked
by desire, because this city, this poem of your nature, this is more
honest than any impetuous promise or bond, this, ma cheri, is fact
4 a.m. and your face appears
like winter shedding petals or
snow coming down on a tree bough
quiet, weightless, ephemeral sapphires
bobbing in the night skies, your life force
lighter by the moment, slipping, away
from the warmth, forever out of my
grasp, child of mine, outlived by
your mother’s grief, your aching mistakes
a hob knit chain of downward spin
a broken song of beauty left in broken notes
left and gone, my little baby, a beauty
so seemingly unconstrained, so full of life
now missing from life’s puzzle, everywhere
and anywhere, everywhere and nowhere
somewhere, you may be a pink streak of daylight
come home, come back, and end this endless night
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
He claimed no memory of how he came.
Did he take first breath on wind-steppe,
or door-step scrubbed on Mondays?
His language was a mystery, how he
worked his mouth around the sweet taste
of birdsong. No word for himself.
Sans identity or accent—so many incognitos
this world offers. Did he run his fingers
through a she-wolf's mother-ruff, listening
into her grumble-croon-deep sleep?
What kind of dreams?
He wept at the Tombeau de Couperin,
as we watched through window-glass,
a futile means of capture.
He slept curled into the piano like
a warm shoulder. Which of us
can name his own true parentage?
Maybe music was his mother.
But where is the moon, I want to know.
It's right there, in the rabbit's eye.
It's passing over the dismal downs.
I don't find that on the map.
The moon is a silver pushpin that holds
the calendar together on the wall.
The world through corrective lenses.
Moon is a joy-song in Medieval script
limned on disintegrating parchment.
But I was looking out the window.
Do you see those thin strands dangling
with tickets and tokens like jewels?
Tonight the sky is too heavy to see.
The moon is a deep-blue pond
waiting for earth to get out of its way.
Is it important that I see the eclipse?
Everything's held up by the pond.
Watch where you step, you might fall in.
The news item said
An elderly man died
In a house fire caused by
Cigarettes discarded outside
One source said he was 60
Which is pre-MediCare
Teetering on the threshold
Of being elderly
If one’s life is not cut short
Perhaps the story’s author
Was one of the younger folk
Who left burning butts
On the lawn to be blown
To the house, sparking the fire
Revolution is in their blood
Defiantly they disprove the actuaries
Who carefully count the days of our lives
Driven by an overwhelming impatience
They hasten the end.
At first it seemed like
Such a nice machine
Then the cataclysmic converter brought doom
There was a rebellion of the slave cylinders
Mr. Clutch lost his gear at the airport
Both air bags were deployed to a war zone
The undersized spare was beat up by bullies
That old antenna couldn’t stay erect long enough
And the universal joint was confiscated by narcs
So today it’s just me
And my cheap shoes
Thanks to our Master Chefs today: Taylor Graham (you can catch a glimpse of our famous TG at Poetry Off-The-Shelves in Placerville this Weds.—see the blue box at the right of this for details); Viola Weinberg, Sacramento's first (with Dennis Schmitz) Poet Laureate who now lives in Kenwood; and Carl Bernard Schwartz (Caschwa), whose botanical bonanza is the new photo album on Medusa's Facebook page. As you may have noted on our Kitchen post yesterday, Kathy Kieth's Hotmail acct. was hijacked on Saturday night; many of you were amused/horrified to receive ads for Viagra, Moroccan restaurants, and other such nonsense. I'm sorry about that, and the problem has been solved, so you can go back to using the Hotmail address at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're uncomfortable with that (even though the baddies have been expunged), write to me at email@example.com
Anyway, some interesting things did come out of the hacker-spamming: I heard from some old friends, including Colette Jonopulos, who has moved to Denver! Viola Weinberg sent us poems and pix, bless her. Charlie Mariano had an intriguing take on the whole thing: use it to inspire more poetry (of course! Whatever else would a poet do??). And Carl Schwartz wrote the hackers a poem; see today's LittleNip.
This other poem by Carl attempts to ask our Question of the Day on Sat/Sun: Can one EVER have too much Beowulf?
This version was adapted for the modern TV audience:
Beywatch, hero of the Heats in Savannah Naval Yard, comes to the help of Rover, the king of the Great Danes, whose dog house has been under attach by a human being known as Geraldo.
After Beywatch slays him, Geraldo’s mother attacks the dog house and is also met with poor reviews. Beywatch goes home to Savannah and becomes king of the Heats.
After 50 seasons, Beywatch defeats a gargoyle, but is fatally injured in the battle. After his death, his sponsors bury him within a TV tomb in the Heatland.
Today's LittleNip (dedicated by Medusa to spammers everywhere):
Baby Boomers too rigid
To sit on their hinds
Lose some of their boom
Before losing their minds
Can that boom be restored
With one little pill,
Or will Destiny control?
It is all in God’s will