Monday, May 07, 2012

Passing of the Supermoon

Brigit Truex reads at A Starry Night 
Lodi, April 2012
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis


—Jeanine Stevens, Sacramento  

I still crave sulfur
the taste of spring water black
from the underground bubbler,

the scent of yellowed planets
and stars twirling
on the ceiling—
“glow in the darks,”
to cheer us during blackouts.

The neighbor boy ate dirt,
my school chum sucked the top
button of his shirt,
and yes, the ones who ate paste

the same tannins 
we all crave.

Black coffee tastes
so sweet, creosote works
for coughs, and I prefer
bitter compounds in a bold
“Cougar Hill Zinfandel.”

Now, the drink in my new
stainless steel bottle: cool water,
creosote, astringent, reminiscent.


—Jeanine Stevens                                             

Wrapped four to a pack
in white paper dotted
with cherry, raspberry, grape,
and butterscotch, a rubber band
around your little loopy
 “safety” handles, you satisfied.
Shaped like a giant’s
teardrop, huge in our mouths,
a perfume stimulating
salivary glands. Sumptuous
pleasure filled tiny cheeks—
jaws ached exquisitely, syrupy
juice trickled down, soaked my dress.  
The last bliss—sucking
the soggy limp string. Oh!
your clarity when held to the light,
transparent chips like stained
glass, a jeweled window
guarding the witch’s cottage.  


—Taylor Graham, Placerville
This nearest moon casts shadows
in the hall—ghosts of kings, conspirators,
and lovers. Alone they're walking,
room to empty room tonight in a world
they never knew in life. Maybe
they only lived their lives as we remember
in words for a stage. The death
of Caesar, Lady Macbeth's mad mind.
Outside, somewhere a dog barks
at that supermoon that won't come
so close to us again. A meteor
has flashed above us, fallen, scattered
itself in fragments. A distant
siren. Silence. Inside, imagined voices
fade down the hall, trailing lines
composed by someone centuries gone.
I know no more of him
than the man in the moon; and yet
they say he taught kings how to speak
and act kingly. A cloud across
the moon. Down on the main road,
a motorcycle takes the curve;
brief flash of headlight, and it's gone.  

 Taylor Graham reads at A Starry Night
—Photo by Katy Brown


for N.
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Sometimes you are the river, flowing and fresh
with egrets, tule stalks, blue herons, cormorants:
and wild are the ways you break apart, break against,
rock with snowmelt, scattering frantic fish.

At other times, you become the spiral ascent
toward giant sequoias, or through moss-clad pines
to a droplet of alpine lake clear as white wine,
where sky-folds gather in one teeth-chattering tent

above marsh-wet meadows where innocent humans
goad bears to absconding on their terrified fours;
you’re that same small silvery lake where the only pinafores
worn are dragonfly wings. O shimmering woman,

you are my compass rose, more graceful than Point de Gaze 
my all-points directional guide, in the shape of a lovely face.


—Tom Goff

He wishes he could be of use.
From another room,
her laughter sounds: practice room door
closed on a trumpet, straight-mute sardonic.

He thinks of Vincent Millay’s line: Your laughter
pelts my skin with small delicious blows.

No, he corrects: Your laughter
ricochets deep inside me, pool table,
side cushion kissed off, 
thunder in the corner pocket. And your
little striped ball, pealing its joy
clicks like a stopped small bell,
falls into unreachable recesses
of the table.

He is desperate for metaphor,
and it shows in this poem. His heart
is weed. Not the far Northern
California Weed, which nears Oregon,
sustains cattle and horses, seeds its
grasses in the coitus of the rain.

The red pulse-making organ one tall
sword of weed, and he wishes
you would come, O most fruit-sweet
lady with your song of Solomon mouth
pink as the ripe insides of the wild fig,

come to him with one relieving snick
of your garden shears…


—Tom Goff

The only sight that matters:
you, spirit, your soft facial curves
framed in the flow of never-do-you-
cut-it hair. If for a day you hide
tresses and forehead under a cap,
perhaps it is a San Francisco Giants
cap, so that all I see of you is
the steady brave gaze of brown
from under visor cover, forest
cover. The amazing full smile
and the SF logo in branding-iron
orange, burning you into me.
Must my muse also be the dawn goddess?
And with that SF I remember
that slightly acrid flavor sassafras.

The synesthesia
of touch, scalding touch, sight,
painful sight, and bitter taste
bodying forth your sweet
aura, your aura, your aurora.
I can sniff your perfume,
the delicately grainy scent
of your lipstick, your eyeshadow:
strange, for you wear precisely
none of these. Yet the minglement
of odors, fragrances, makes
my ears and temples pound,
and I reel dizzily though rooted
in place. All the world comes to me,
poverty, starving skeletal children
and dogs, cesspools and overflowing
sewers, magical palaces, jam pots
spiked with ink, all the world
through my flooding senses, simply
because you stand here, and I here.
I heed all of this chaos, and none of it.
We live Mexicos and Irelands apart.
Oh, immortal, we stand
aches and ages away from touching
and loving. 


(an amicable rejoinder to Katy Brown)
—Tom Goff

Yes, we can agree Shakespeare
had a bike, a bike kinda like
the one Fred Seidel wheelies
around the town. It must’ve been

a nice Italian racing bike, racy
curves, commedia dell’arte
carburetor. Just to idle it
puffed the exhaust of privilege

into the faces, into the minds
of five thousand spectators
the blank verses, the quatrain-
and-couplet sonnets, smothering

them in Juliet thoughts, Romeo
bladethrusts. The very rumble
of his fifth gear, ermine making
like burlap. When that silver

exhaust trumpet squirts his sennets
of squid escape ink, he becomes
Anonymous, Ignoto, Master
Apis Lapis, Sweet Shepherd Willy,

ribboning the Stratford (London,
not Warwickshire) road along
the Avon (not by the sacred
fake Birthplace, but Bilton

manor). Oh, he peels his road and flings it
lording his whirl into heaven’s riches,
Will Shake-Speare, invented name
alongside Pessoa’s, world’s

grandest, noisiest of skylarks
busting the great gate into rolling pearls…


Today's LittleNip: 

Each day I live in a glass room unless I break it with the thrusting of my senses and pass through the splintered walls to the great landscape. 

—Mervyn Peake



Hatch Graham reads at A Starry Night
—Photo by Katy Brown