Friday, March 23, 2012

Twisted Tales of Testicular Torsion

Pont du Gard, Nîmes, France
—Photo by Ann Privateer


work next door
to their elders
their neighbors
where tourists snack
on 100,000-year-old
cave drawings.

While waiting
for the crêpes
at Café de Montmartre,
they read the messages
that cover the walls
and ceiling.

Marking modern darkness,
they mingle, single or paired.

—Ann Privateer, Davis

 Medieval House, Paris
—Photo by Ann Privateer


—Michael Cluff, Corona, CA

An argument by the Swiss is always
full of holes while Limburger's is always
one that smells to high heaven
some find Bleu's a bit too sharp
for their practiced palettes
and goat's just a tad bit hard to swallow
when they really cogitate about it.
Monterey Jack sounds mellow
and really isn't.
Cheddar is just de trop
forever and unforgiving
in its false sense
of processed homogenized self.
but at the end of the process
is Gouda

standing alone

more than all the rest

could ever would hope to be.


—Michael Cluff

In the elevator at the library,
rusty-red handprints raped
the sliding door
their size and source too hard
to decipher
when your own body calls
you to more urgent functions,
the eyes fall downward
to the floor
where the tile is too new,
too lucid, too white
for acceptance.


—Michael Cluff

Krystyna and Angelica
daily defeat the white page
of silence surrounding
the neighborhood of I Street
just where the concrete caves in
by writing homilies
on the parsnip-colored slabs
that separate speedway from urban unslightliness.

The messages are rustic and common,
attack those who oppress,
all that do not coincide in thought
with what these girls have seen
and been tauntingly taught
outside in this enclave
where the trains
carrying dead freight
go ever faster than over by A Street
where the Delarobbias are deigned
from above to live.


—Caschwa, Sacramento

(Seems ridiculous, but some legal documents, where every item on every page must be accounted for, occasionally have a blank page which is so marked. Then it doesn’t seem so ridiculous as I glanced back over the pages of my life and found a few intentionally blank ones there also.)

Blank Page #1
In my early bachelor years when I was like a bear cub or tiger cub, not yet ready to court or to kill, but pawing through the motions as if rehearsing for the part, my hiking buddy and I went on backpacking excursions in several of the National Parks. On one such hike, we trudged up a steep winding trail to finally reach a mountaintop view of the lush valley below. It was enchanting, it was romantic, but we were two guys who didn’t kiss other guys or hold hands. We just kept a respectable distance, and verbally agreed this would be a great place to enjoy the company of the opposite sex. Then we hiked back down to reality, to eventually find and marry our sweetheart gals.

Blank Page #2
In those same bachelor years I became Platonic friends with one of my many apartment neighbors, a well-educated, well-connected, curvaceous young female. One day we went to a jazz lounge out on a pier in Malibu featuring a baby grand piano on an immaculate white carpet, with a crisp bay window view of the breaking waves underneath. We enjoyed the scenery, the drinks, the music, the conversation, and then went home like a couple of factory workers punching the time clock at quitting time. No sparks, no magic…a blank white page in a book of dreams.



Tension fills the air
As we wait for the
First sunrise of
The first day
Of spring

A sprouting leaf
Begs for sunlight
And some heat
To fulfill its

Rejoice, reload, recoil
Let the new season
Ready for action
Break out of the

Forces of compression write
Their own rule book
As they compete
Down to the

Testicular torsion is
Twisted tales
That take it
Totally too


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

My tutoring partner Renee
explains for a student the schwa,
that irritant upside-down e:
Renee pegs that sound as “a blah
syllable,” since the one way
to say it is grunting an uh,
as when we grope for, uh, whatevuh
it is we were meaning to say,
and, uh, stop in our tracks with a bluh
rarely coming far short of a duh.
Bluhs and duhs never rise to the height
of what we connote by “Pronounce.”
So if we can’t get rid of the schwa,
that one dud in our depot of sounds,
why must we continue the fight?
Merely shrug with an “uh” of surrenduh,
and rename it the Blah (or the Bluh?)…


Today's LittleNip:

along the road
—Robert Browning Hamilton

i walked a mile with Pleasure;
she chattered all the way,
but left me none the wiser
for all she had to say

i walked a mile with Sorrow
and ne'er a word said she;
but oh, the things i learned
from her
when Sorrow walked with me

(with thanks to Charles Mariano of Sacramento)



The latest issue of the online environmental poetry journal, Canary, is out: go to

 Photo by Ann Privateer