—Painting by Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh, 1888
Each source of light on shore—each house,
shop, and inn—casts its golden lantern
to the river, reflections deepening with current
so light becomes a stalk, a pylon, a support
wavering and rippling in the water's way.
So many pillars of light. Imagine
cables of a bridge strung pillar to pillar.
Boats rock in the dark along shore, masts bare
as trees in winter. Their sails are stowed.
They sleep. But here on the nearer bank,
a couple walks as if wishing to somehow get
across a river that's always been there,
separating shores; river that washes away all
its bridges. And above, the stars shine
pale golden possibility of webs and arches
built of light, reflection, and desire.
That couple walks so close as if amazed to be
almost touched by gold reflected upside-
down, mid-current in the dark.
His office is the edifice of dreams,
mind-architecture with an overlook on fields
of harlequin yale yellow-spotted black,
and gamboling January lambs.
A gothic arch casts breathless light
through windows of every color of cloud.
Artifice of space and woven alphabet.
He smiles at how the artless wind blows
through. Penniless benefice
of the poet with a pane-view beyond time
and owl-song. Some say his calling
is a sacrifice, or a waste of ink.
Someone finds a flaw
in the downspout of his western façade.
Yet he sees what no one else does.
O blessed rain.
—Patricia Wellingham Jones, Tehama
She seldom did late nights,
that cut down on her chance
to do wild ones. Those that happened
were more from happenstance
than advance planning—
the night she spent in the Jakarta airport
herded by small men in brown
with big guns, flying through stars
in a sky like ink to land in Beijing
frisked by soldiers, the ride
through that sprawling city
full of murky shadow, slithering feet
with hardly a light bulb or lantern to be seen.
Some party nights when she was young
got rowdier than others, she does remember
leaving her petticoat
puddled on the dance floor.
The luscious nights filled with soft strokes
and murmurs turned into sighs,
those memories are too precious
to be shared on a page.
Pastor Craig Hardinger of Arcade church says he used to allow couples
to exchange their own wedding vows
But decided to quit when he thought they got too corny and cheesy
For instance he claims one time this guy said in the ceremony to his bride
"Dude, you are like the sun,
and I am just a planet orbiting around you..."
Afterward he decided to go back to espousing the message of 1 Corinthians:
"Love is patient, love is kind..."
But I guess, according to Pastor Craig,
God isn't also forgiving or tolerant of lovers' "bad" attempts at poetic expression
—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento
Woke up pretty darned
Concerned about a distinct
In my toes
And sheets tucked in
Over my head
When I opened my eyes
It was sill pitch dark
Then I took my foot
Off the alarm clock
Turned around 180 degrees
And saw the light
Hit the snooze button
Was this the 5th or 6th time?
And settled in to grab
A little more weekend.
What to title
A poem you wrote
So a name comes to mind
That you are most eager to
Research and test to see if it
Might just be something original
Then you surf several Internet sites
And find all the property rights to your name
Already belong to some unknown garage band
I was out of work for far too long
So I took a job digging trenches
In the cold
And to be prepared I went shopping
For a trench coat
Not sure how they got that name
But the ones at local stores
Were not meant for
People who have been out of work
Who need to dig trenches
In the cold
REMOTE AND FADING
Stepping outside to the backyard at night
Leaving the telephones snugly inside
A few lights from street traffic
Greet our squinted eyes
And then they change
Color and move
Along comes the rhythmic rumble of a freight train
Carrying heavy goods late night, early morning
Slamming cars together like sea lions in
Mating season proving who is boss
Sometimes commuter trains meeting schedule
Downtown and back again and again
About once a year a circus train
Magnet for dogs’ noses
In clear weather the sky offers a fulldome presentation
Of moon, planets, and stars with the occasional
“Look at me!” flashing lights of aircraft, as if
Trying to upstage the heavenly drama
Aromas of BBQ melt together with night blooming jasmine,
That flavor of the day when the driveway is hosed down,
The smell of diesel fuel from trucks and cars,
A little piece of dinner still on the plate
The water is off, gates are locked, cars and bikes parked
Another set of household regimens awaits inside
Maybe there is some truly breaking news
On TV if we can locate that remote…
NOW YOU SEE IT…