Thursday, January 12, 2012

We Will Dance Again

Raven Dances

—Caschwa, Sacramento

A lady sat limply at the light rail stop
Tattered slacks baring tattooed ankles
Her focus fixated on 3 or 4 pair of
Different colored dice on the ground

If she was to have any luck at all
It would be with the right numbers
Coming up in the right order
She put her trust in those dancing dice

Trains and passengers came and went
Every 15 minutes, predictable people
Commuters, convicts, connoisseurs,
Posers, papas, patrons of the arts

Each with a cell phone or similar device
That disconnected them from light rail reality
And put them somewhere else
Apart from downtown and punctuality

The lady with the dice remained in one place
Rolling those same dice, watching results
Rolling those same trains, over and over
Everyone’s luck depending on those dancing dice.


—Rhony Bhopla, Sacramento

I kneel by the kitchen flap
fist made like triumphant, it loosens
drops small amount of flour
into the steel bowl. 

When there is water
there is no flour.
When there is flour
there is no salt.

Cold New Delhi air
chokes me awake.
I’m banging
on hotel room doors
asking for work.

One Rupee to press a pair
of jeans, means
will make food dance
on tongues.

When there is salt
there is no masala.
When there is masala,
there is no dall.

A blind beggar girl
on the silt covered street
gestures towards me
with her forehead,
pointing to my Rupee-lined pocket.

We all have a third eye.

I tell her a story about
beautiful flowers floating softly,
drifting in the sky,
sending their scent
to all of the little
girls of India.

When there is dall
there is no spoon.
When there is a spoon
there is no bowl.

The girl is holding
a small steel dome
empty, wanton of
soupy, spicy dall.
She and her bowl
enter my steamy kitchen.
There are no
missing ingredients
hungry mouths.


—Sibilla Hershey, Davis

When I was a child in Latvia,
during Russian occupation,
we held our breath at night
listening for the KGB knock
on the door, fearing deportation
to Siberia, from where
few ever returned.
My father’s brother
was deported from the apartment
on the floor below.
My father slept in the bathtub
to avoid detection
or rode the street car
at night to escape deportation.

Now, safe in America,
living in a rustic college town
on a quiet suburban street
where roses bloom all year long,
at age 76, I sometimes listen at night
for a knock that, according to statistics,
comes around at 4 a.m.
An unknown Agent
is said to deport, those selected,
to a place from where
no one returns.


—Janet Pantoja, Woodinville, WA

fall dissolves into winter
as nights grow longer
days shorter,
darker, colder . . .

fog . . .

then . . .

we become
aware of slightly
longer days, and somewhat
lighter evenings—mood shifts to hope, renewal . . .
spring time, summer warmth, longer days . . . happier times ahead.


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

dance while you can
with or without
in time or out
forward and backward
single file and double joint
along the river
up the road
around the bend
down to the lakes
across the deserts
hum while dancing
spread the fingers, linking hands
around the waist and arch of neck
dizzy with love
of dancing forward
out of time


DANCE AGAIN (for Aaron)
—Patricia Hickerson

We will be holding hands,
under the sun and planets
dancing for joy
down the avenue
up the alley
around the bend
dancing out of town
along roads
beyond houses
where horses, goats, sheep graze and nibble
where tomatoes shine
strawberries tumble.

We will dance again, yes,
circle the world, skim the seas
call out to each other at night
crossing the street from a theater
moon will light our faces.
There will be joy under the trees
in the bear caves and wolf dens
dogs and cats will scramble at our feet
all creatures our pets
as we dance across fields of mustard, poppies.

There will be a time, I promise.


Thanks to today's poets, including Davisites Sibilla Hershey (welcome!) and Pat Hickerson (who's writing a lot about dance these days), plus Sacramentan Rhony Bhopla, back in the fold after some absence, and Washingtonian/ex-Sacramentan Janet Pantoja. About his poem, Carl Schwartz (Caschwa) writes that "The scene of this poem was downtown Sacramento on K Street, at the base of that multi-faceted building so beautifully captured in the photo you recently posted by [Davisite] Katy Brown."

Speaking of Katy Brown, she brought me the piggie picture postcard [see below] as a souvenir of one of her trips to England a few years ago. How did she know I'd get spammed?? Was she the spammer, or does our Katy have a special prescience? Is that the title of a poem? Can you even SAY "special prescience", with all that mush-in-the-mouth shushing...?

Sac. Poetry Center has a busy weekend planned, including Bellingham Review Editor-in-Chief Brenda Miller visiting tomorrow (Friday the 13th!); Writer's Brush on Saturday (not Monday, my error I briefly posted yesterday—thanks to Trina Drotar for the heads-up); and the Martin Luther King, Jr. reading on Monday. See the blue board at the right of this column for all the details.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Patricia Hickerson

butterfly line
film of yellow chiffon
soft shoe of rhythm
girls dancing in the light
ripple of applause
wings lift
they fly up to the sun
wings wilt
they drop to the floor
their dance is complete
sun motes cover the stage
applaud the flight
the pile of sun



Caption: "What's Spam, Mum? It's something on the Internet, darling!"