Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Donna Summer & Cream of Ammonia Soup

Photo by Caschwa

—Caschwa (Carl Bernard Schwartz), Sacramento

A salsa bar: 
Mild, medium, hot, super hot
Variety of colors, tastes and textures
This one’s a winner

A salad bar:
Fresh, healthy, good
Dark leafy greens, roots
Carful with the dressing

A candy bar:
Irresistibly tasty, sweet, comforting
The wrapper unfolds to read
“Sorry, not a winner.  Try again.”


(If it weren’t for those dirty, slimy worms
The grass would not grow,
Lambs could not eat,
The shepherds would have no flock
The cradle of civilization would not rock.)

The almighty media has harnessed
The mystical energy of popularity polls
To tell us all we need to know
About sex, religion, politics… anything

Breaking news stories on slow days
Feature the outcomes of
Organized sporting events
Plan your life around them

We follow the teachings
Of people with title
Some of them are rotten folk
But we must follow them

For they have done our thinking
For us already, no-brainer
Kodak point-and-shoot Brownie
No settings, fewer choices

Titled people with ADHD
Who have devoted their lives
To helping other people
Will not go to Heaven

Because their “condition”
Won’t let them conform
To Heaven’s rules, even if
They wrote them

Neither will they go to Hell
With so much history of helping
So they end up back here
Giving us good rules they can break


As a girl in the 1980's
      I thought "Donna Summer" wrote music for the roller-rink arcade
     When the D.J. announced her hits, "Bad Girls" or "I Will Survive" or "She Works Hard For The Money",
      it was time to pass off your pinball, pool, or video game, perhaps to some guy friend to continue
      but you knew that he'd really just be watching you—
      going along with your girlfriends to roll onto the rink floor to attempt some "cool" chick moves
      You tried to shake your booty and strut your stuff along with her whines and moans
       much like if James Brown was a feminist woman who did "disco"
       we even did some nasty "roller derby" stuff to compete with each other
       to which the male D.J., watching, would grin
       perhaps for his minimum-wage job it made it worth his day
      Oh yeah didn't know Summer had another life—by then was an evangelical preacher with her birth name LaDonna Adrian Gaines
      Maybe then Mama wouldn't have minded me playing the pop star at home

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


TO DONNA SUMMER, May 18, 2012
—Michael Cluff, Corona
I hate that your last dance
is over and MacArthur Park
is going to fade into final black
for you, I wish
you did not have to work
so hard for your money
but heaven knows, you did
your job so well
that I will enjoy
the gender sexuality awareness prom
I am chaperone tonight
and will definitely save
that last dance before midnight
for you and your memory
even if I have to do it alone.

And the air all around
the former Twin Towers
will weep for you
and all the several thousand others
it malignantly affected
over ten years ago.


—Michael Cluff

An extra day off
before the extreme hot temps hit,
a cabana hidden behind cypresses
a copy of Sonnets From The Portugese
an attempt on Thelma's part
at a mojito or mimosa
Paul reading Fleurs Du Mal
in a morocco-bound
badly-translated version,
after a mutual sip
Bastille Day becomes
a Fourth of July
for them both.


—Michael Cluff

Trying to find
a copy of The Graduate
novel, pre-movie,
Toby spent three months
traveling from Tulsa
to Taos to Tacoma
to Tuscaloosa
to Taunton, Massachusetts
before it came
into his quavering possession.

Driving between Baltimore and Blair
he discovered pages 69 to 77
were jaggedly
ripped out,
a desecration

and to him,
he then knew
they were the parts
he would have
enjoyed the most.


NORCO POEM # 22, May 16, 2012
—Michael Cluff

The Canadian geese
in Lake Norcoian
visit too infrequently
during temperate months
and then disappear north
to Alberta or Manitoba
much too early
for my rebelliousness
to acquiesce to.

They defy the boundaries
of the naval center
to enjoy a spot of peace
for the winter

nothing happens to them.

I sometimes
envy them
their wild-based disregard
of propietary rulings.


—Michael Cluff


The wild goose
goes over
the clean car

freshly washed
buffed brightly
the bird slows

a bored glare
and flies on.


In a dream
by another
the new shoes

are defiled
by wild geese
and diets

to pollute


Where I can't,
the wild goose
flies going

into free
air and sun
divine space

awashed in
terse tributes

Today's LittleNip:


Hard to tally those countless times
I ended up totally exhausted and bruised
Stumbling down the jaggedy precipice

Trying to reach the summit where
Elusive answers hide, where knowledge is king
And the king is holding court
Someday, maybe… 



German Maibaum (Maypole) Dancers
at the Sacramento Turn Verein Center
May, 2012
—Photo by Michelle Kunert
[For more about Maypole Dancing,