Friday, February 24, 2012

The Wags of Sin

 the moon shines brightly
tempered steel flashes its smile
dog soldiers die well

—Poetry and art by Dave Boles, Grass Valley


—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove

True, the pay isn’t much,
But the hours and benefits
Are quite good.

You’ll be working with
People a lot like
Those you probably
Already know.

There are seven areas
Of specialization within
The corporation: you’ll
Be asked to concentrate
On at least one.

There’s no real dress code.
You could call it business
Casual; shades of red
Would be
Right on target.

We have a company
Softball team, and
I’m told their smoke
And scarlet uniforms
Are quite beguiling.

And the flame and
Scoreboard is very
Effective, especially
When The House of
David comes to play.

Oh. You were interested
In a salaried position?
For that, I’d have
To examine your feet first.


—Kevin Jones

In response to godliness,
Sacrifice and good behavior,
She’d nod her head
And chant, “Your crown
In heaven will be all the
Greater for it.” (How will
I be able to lift
My head, Sister?)

In response to questions
About sin, its wages,
Satan and his pomps,
She’d waggle her head,
Chant “No, no, no, no,”
Until we gave up
Any thought of what
It was. At least until
Eighth grade.


 in morning's first light
elegant robes sway softly
the last of their kind

—Poetry and art by Dave Boles


—Michael Cluff, Corona, CA

For encompassing many negatives
people can identify
in their own approaches
and relationships,
the lion
is a regal beast
in human estimation
must be controlled and curtailed
aggressiveness punished
via cages and counterburns
of habitat and habits
or more demeaning, demanded
to a weaker physical biped.


—Caschwa, Sacramento

Ones: old nearly extinct singles
Twos: the wages of sin
Threes: Irregular

The hearts that we soften
Are broken more often
While we are just off in
Self pity

Tuxedo and cologne
Expensive gown on loan
Where did I leave my phone?
Big city

Count seven syllables in
Each exactly fashioned line
Until the unthinkable
Rhythm bashing two left feet

Like unauthorized parking
In the handicapped zone
How dare they be so
With my



The first guy browsed at a gambling ledger.
Sweating and shaking his head he
Stumbled through the darkened hall
And barked to the barkeep, “What a rough day!
I’ll have a Wages of Sin, and make it a double!”

The second guy paused at the entryway,
Nodding his head over some pages in his
Gold-leaf Bible and interceded,
“Don’t waste your money in there.
See the light: the Gift of God
For everyone. It’s free!”

The third guy snuck around to the back
And marched up to the counter with his
Very thick Code book open to highlighted
Passages. “Under the law, both wages and gifts
Are taxable. Pay up or I’ll shut this dive down!”


Thanks to today’s contributors, some of whom continue to riff on our Seed of the Week, The Wages of Sin. (Maybe we should call them The Wags of Sin.) About his work, Primal Urge Editor Dave Boles writes: The art pieces are interpretations taken from Kyokutei Bakin and his most famous book, The Tale Of The Eight Dog Heroes of Satomi. Bakin lived from 1767 to 1848 and the book was published in 106 installments from 1814 to 1842. The book was made into a Kabuki play which is still popular today.

And about the House of David reference in his poem, Kevin Jones writes:
They were a barnstorming (20s-50s, maybe)
Baseball team sponsored by a religious movement
From Michigan. Their players eschewed barbers,
And most of their beards bordered on the biblical, if not
Z.Z. Toppish. It’s said that Shoeless Joe Jackson finished
His playing days with The House. They made him wear shoes
And the beard. The Wages again at work?

We have a new Facebook album on Medusa’s page, this one thanks to Michelle Kunert, who sent us photos of the Writers’ Guild reading which took place at Sac. Poetry Center last Monday. Thanks, Michelle!

Lots going on south of us these days in San Joaquin and Calaveras Counties, starting with A Starry Night Poetry Series this Sunday featuring D.R. Wagner. Starry Night will be having a birthday party for Vincent van Gogh on March 25, and then they’ll be featuring Red Fox Underground’s Brigit Truex on April 22. See also the “More Than a Week Away” section on our blue board at the right of this column for all the happenings down thataway in March and April. Stockton will be having its first-ever poetry festival on April 7, for example. And Manzanita Press will be presenting some workshops this spring, including one this Saturday—there may still be room. See the blue board for details, and be sure to keep an eye on that “More Than a Week Away” section so’s not to get caught with your bloomers down…


Today's LittleNip: 

—Caschwa (Carl Bernard Schwartz)

So hard to be discreet when
The only thing to eat is
Another human being



My goodness, Carl! Get back in your cage!

birds take flight quickly
as samurai wields his blade
for all of heaven

—Poetry and art by Dave Boles