Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dream Dance, Drowning Moon

—Photo by D.R. Wagner, Sacramento

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

in a dream of Father not doing anything
a mechanism of doom
Father likes it, lets it stand
right outside our window
uncle wants to call the fire department
I stand around waiting with mother
mechanism strikes lightning
sounds of bolts and locking-in sounds
there it goes again
smoke and lightning from the mechanism
cutting across the back of the house
we look out the window
what can it be?
Father still enjoying it
stands around waiting for another strike
finally I call the fire department
I sit at the round Duncan Phyfe table
the one I grew up with
pick up the remembered old black telephone
call the fire department
uncle is happy
fire truck rolls into the driveway
destroying some of Father’s grass
he’s upset, doesn’t want the fire department
will they destroy his precious mechanism?
it remains to be seen….


—Patricia Hickerson

Grandma Mammaw Bammaw
Bammaw, that’s it, that’s what she was called
dreaming about Bammaw last night
Bammaw Susie always busy
born in Louisiana c. 1870
chopped cotton in Texas a nasty job
growing up half-poor
father a teacher/telegrapher at Bagwell’s Junction
named after Grandpa Bagwell once the trains started coming through
Bammaw/Susie wanted so much, dreaming
she hustled, how she hustled
hustling to fulfill her dreams
hustled her husband up to Ft. Worth
then out of Ft. Worth up to Brooklyn NY
my what a hustler she was, dream dream
ran a rooming house with 22 rooms to rent
made a concert pianist out of her oldest man-child
he toured England at age 12 with his daddy
Daddy became a theatrical trainer and director
had an office downtown
Bammaw/Susie busy busy with her dreams
busy Susie
lived to 83
Buttons and Bows her favorite song, sang it all the time
gimme eastern trimmin’ where women are women
in high silk hose and peek-a-boo clothes
and French perfume that rocks the room
and I’m yours in buttons and bows
Bammaw died of leukemia in a NY hospital
she had a high-pitched voice, do a little dance she squeaked
whenever someone was feeling down
oh mother for God’s sake, said her older daughter Valerie, an actress
Susie’s husband died in 1918, day of the False Armistice
had a heart attack Susie married a younger man
said lying in bed with him gave her youthful energy
Susie was busy busy
supported her older son and his family
never lost the cotton-pickin’ joy of lifting her long dark skirts and
peeing in a field of weeds
Susie Tabor singing Buttons and Bows
and she did a little dream dance



Whoever first invented the wonderful
Wheel wisely saw how rolling works
While woefully failing to look forward to
What worlds of problems all that
Wear and tear on roadways
Would pose to future generations

When well-worn roads suffer severe
Weather and weighty loads we
Wind up with serious, widespread
Wretched ruts and potholes which
Without warning serve to weaken
Whatever rolls across them

Waves, conversely, roll in like wild,
Wanton warlords, wasting no time worrying
Whether the road ahead is warped, and
Wash ashore whittling their own path
Waltzing forth and back eternally
Wanting not of a worthy warranty


—Michael Cluff, Corona, CA

Vacationing in Java
close enough to be
near but safe from lava.

To spend an idle hour
underneath a reinforced
Eiffel Tower.

To sleep in a banyan
at the inner edge
of the Grand Canyon.

To wear a silk tie
while not be made
to teach the pedantic lie.


—Michael Cluff

I want an alienating celibacy
no longer than it takes
to release the belt from
the soft glen plaid loops
of my unpleated dress pants
so you can see
what is naturally built into
my briefs
which is a misnomer
for what lies beneath

And each button
you undo
of my blue oxford
long-sleeved dress shirt
adds starch
and stiffness
to every vital part of
my outer body

And when you pull
the deep purple tie
through and then out
of the still-buttoned down collar
my middle grows
at the same rate of the silk's descent.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

This morning, again, I choose the rowing
machine. Good exercise for lungs and heart,
for elbows, knees, and shoulders, for our lives.

A blue, transparent lake that was our lives—
we skimmed the smooth surface, hardly rowing,
under a moon reflecting the whole heart.

But now the moon is severed, half a heart
as if you were on one shore of our lives
and I somewhere mid-water, just rowing—

rowing for my heart and yours, our paired lives.


Half a blue moon, mirrored, spun off last night.
Was it a trick of sun-flare, or my eyes,
of space or human frailty, failing sight?
Half a blue moon mirrored, spun off last night
like one star wishing for a farther flight.
If I could name it, it would not be lies—
half a blue moon, mirrored, spun off last night,
and not a trick of sun-flare or my eyes.


Last night in dream we crossed the river.
No, it was a black sea of sky between shores
of cloud. In midst was the Drowning Moon,

and the boat was a raft of rotten boards.
It wouldn't float; the other side obscured.
Last night in dream we crossed the river.

I couldn't see the other side. You waited
in clouds, remembering how to row
across a black sea of sky between shores.

I recalled nothing but some of the words,
your arms. Teach me to trust the waters
of cloud, in midst of the Drowning Moon.


—Taylor Graham

Howl of wolves under a full moon
and beacon-lights on distant hills, all
that long-lost, lonesome history—
but I've come to the wrong places
here-and-now. Swarms of pigeons
over City Hall leaving white splats
like liquid-paper on bus-stop benches
and the brim of a new straw hat.
I couldn't even find a postcard of
that lost place I always imagined—

What's left in baggage seams?
Butts, stubs of tickets, dreams.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

When you enter rooms,
gone are all the glooms.
Smiles you’ve never seen swerve lip
bubble in your wake.
Sidewalk’s turned to lake:
you’ve sailed by, my pleasure ship!


—Medusa, with thanks to today's cooks. About her "Rowing Past the Blue Half-Moon", Taylor Graham says, "I wasn't going to write anything, till I saw Katy Brown's photo [on Monday's post]. Wow! And then fitness class gets the brain pumping with nothing to think about.... So, here's a mishmash in 3 parts, tritina, triolet & cascade. Hope this gets it out of my system." And about his photo (below), D.R. Wagner says this is "a photo I took in the UCD Shields Library of a small section of a very large painting by my friend Stephen Fleming that he painted in 1984. This section shows, left to right: the painter Ann Gregory, the late artist Kevin Adams, and yours truly with my signature blonde patch in the front of my hair. The painting is on loan to the Shields and has hung there for many years."

Painting by Stephen Fleming
—Photo by D.R. Wagner