Saturday, January 07, 2012

Too Much Beowulf?

Enhanced photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Rhony Bhopla, Sacramento

It’s bone cold, so cold
that my dog refuses
to go out.
I fumble
for her leash so that
I can somehow bribe her
with a quick walk.
The curb is lined with
yellow and auburn leaves, sticking
to the asphalt, making
me feel guilty about not

We approach a small house
on the corner, walking
through our steamy breaths.
It’s a garage sale, and I find
an old pipette oil can,
rusty to the core. Something
I can paint red, and maybe put
some pens and pencils in.
There is a barber chair
and a pack of customer aprons.
The man sucks his cigarette
hard, after I ask him about the chair.
We haggle about the price.
Finally, he said for a deal he’d rig
his old truck and bring it over.

The chair has a metal loop bar on the
bottom, where you put your feet.
It swivels around and around.
I give it a few twirls, then notice
all of the dust, and maybe some
hair stuck to my shirt. After a
good cleaning, I make room for a trolley
with a pair of scissors, electric shaver
and one of those soft brushes.
I steal a construction wooden
horse sign, use it as signage:
Southside Barber Shop.
Then I wait for customers.

Hey guy! I call out. I want to cut
your hair. You need one!
You have to volunteer or work for free
to get business.
He’s up for the idea, and sits
on the chair. I turn on the small
black and white television,
I plug in the shaver.
My dog
cocks her head to the side
at the buzzing sound.


—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

Cornelius espied
through an open window
an apple pie,
he later learned,
cooling in the tepid Temecula air
at Melinda's house
on the sill leading
into the Colonial dining room.

Hungry, he availed himself
and swiped it away
clean and swift.

He had not eaten all day,
not of his own accord.

He took it out to the parkway
checked his blue pinstriped suit
and grey plush tie
in the side mirror
and opened his Mercedes.

Driving off
he recalled
the expensive Serbian wine
he had purloined
from Otis and Cornelia's cellar
dedicated to such
while they were vacationing
in Gstaad.

Not half bad
he thought
as he admired
the polish on his penny loafers
he had.....

bought at Allen Edmonds.


—Michael Cluff

Through the open window
the past is staring back
at me in now neutered forms.
The stale air mixes with the new century
campanula, peppertree and zinnia accents.

I have not actively lived here
since deaths overrode the need
to be so alone and onery.

Poetry from the early nineties
nestles in the red plush chair
that no one has occupied
since Gore was Vice-President.

On the second couch
flyers about readings
point to the unaware ceiling
and remember
the sound of some now-silent voices
that rattled the beams above
a fire pit in a coffee bar.

Dress shirts and pants
sleep in the closets
knowing I would have to adapt
to them and so would
the world of fluid fashion
for them to leave
their pleasant hibernations.

Azure goes to umber
the sky says goodbye
to the sun
and today's memories
are born in the unformed
grass and purple shadows
on the right wall.


JANUARY 5, 10:58 p.m.
—Michael Cluff

Auditioning to play
the Jewish father
I never had,
the section on the Seder
was not acted
but real.

I may not get cast
but I felt back home
in this space
even though
it was in a church
auditorium in Ontario
just north of Edison
on Archibald.

Being Abe
in Beau Jest
with his suits,
herringbone trench coat
and wingtips
would be nice:
a touch back to a culture
I miss

I am happy to
just have been
allowed to act in his shoes,
attempt his Hungarian accent
for that little tab of time.


—Kevin Jone, Elk Grove

“Another lecture
On Old English,”
Moaned the student
On the windowsill.
“I can’t take no more.”
And he jumped.

The classroom was
A Fed surplus module,
With windows
Floor to ceiling.
He hit the ground
Running, headed
For the cornfields
And was never
Heard from again.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Michael Cluff

Placing honey
in my mouth
holds no intrigue
for Mimi anymore
only vinegar wine
will do it
for her alone.



Leaves, Mike's House
—Photo by D.R. Wagner