Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Music Finds Itself

Song and dance by Sacramento's Sinag Tala members, 
portraying coconut vending girls in the Philippines at the
Asian Pacific Festival in Old Sacramento, May, 2012
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

             (for Amy)
—Brigit Truex

Nothing here
but the odd souvenir
from your journeys through folded maps

while I traveled with your postcards, your calls perhaps
if reception was good, the hour right. Time-lapse
images spin backward, go whirling—

you, first walking, laughing.
You, waving.


—Brigit Truex, Placerville 

Memory of standing
straight keeps the walls
from yielding to the lure
of wild grasses flicking
their raspy tongues
against the weathered boards,
whispering come here, stretch out
along my softness

like the fallen ladder, its coupled
H's forever at arm's length
from each other, lost among the heady
odor of ripe rot, the orchard studded
with decay—apricot pits, shriveled
brown faces of elderly apples,
forgetful, forgotten.
Even the muscular vines of pumpkin
and bean have stopped searching
for support. They lie flaccid
in the weak sun, whipped one way,

then another, as the fickle wind
paces the yard, plucks the corner
of a tattered curtain, once white,
now a vague wash of shadow,
color of the ceiling
inside the echoing house,
where untrod steps creak by themselves
and the stove's iron lip is cankered
with the drip of fruit pies,
years of hot meals,
served in silence.


  Sacramento City College music teacher Matthew Grasso 
(left,, with one of his 
invented guitar-sitar inventions and a drummer 
from his Neda Brahma Music band at the 
 Asian Pacific festival in Old Sacramento, May, 2012
—Photo by Michelle Kunert


—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

Somehow the music found itself
In Cuba, beyond Son and the rhythm.

Brilliantly feathered birds
Devour the afternoon.
A clacking of beaks.

Ramon says, “They sound
Like they are driving nails
Into the sunset,” just as
The guitars come up and
Play some instrumental music.

“What is this supposed to be?”
“You are under arrest."

The clouds announce our names
Without stumbling on a single syllable.

The air catches inside a
Clay pot and we hear a whistle.
You ask if it also sounds like your name?

We begin to understand music,
Pay attention to where the notes have been
And where they are going,
What they intend to do next.

You pour me a beverage.
It is blue.
—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

She said she liked Billy Strayhorn,
That there was something in his chords,
She said, in his chords, that made
The night a little softer and consequently
The morning a little bit closer.  “You know,”
She would say, “makes it easier to close
Your eyes and just go someplace.  Billy
Could let you go places you’d never
Thought of before.  You could actually see
Big hunks of sadness break off from
Where the night gets too hard to get
Through, just break off and float away,
As if the dark were some kind of slow-
Washing river that could make things
Happen to your soul that could never
Happen at any other time.”

And she would snap her fingers,
Light another cigarette and hum his
Melodies just under her breath,
Reaching for something she couldn’t
Touch without that piano coasting that
Close to tears that the whole world
Could be there, just looking back at you
From the bottom of a glass and damn
Didn’t that whiskey taste just as good
Right now.  I mean right now.


—D.R. Wagner

I show to you a broken watch
And you make a reply that hides
What your heart might know
Of such a thing and I open a
Small wrapped bandana that
Features a small herd of wild
Mustangs on the Nevada plain.

You try to tell me what it means
But the horses run away into
The red of evening desert without
The smallest of sound.  We decide
This is a joke.  We still don’t laugh.

We vomit every idea about
Today we have held, even if
It has already happened.
What’s more, we are not crazy.

We will never have enough information.
Don’t let them come closer.
The dogs in huge packs run along
The edges of the cities these days.

I wander through the streets
Driven by your voice.  It sounds
So beautiful, as a song serves one.


Today's LittleNip:

—Michael Cluff, Corona

The eggshell's thinner
and more silent than before
the straw from Farmer Grayden's
collapsed haystack near the cedar
the dullest yellow of the year
and a bit of down
where the youngest chick
finally lifted up
after fifty-two previous
aborted take-offs
in last solo flight
never to return
with hardly a
backwards peer.


Don't forget the tribute to Gene Bloom tonight at 8pm at Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento.


Liza Chu, Miss Vietnam of Sacramento 2012, 
shows off a dress she designed in a fashion show at the
Asian Pacific Festival in Old Sacramento, May, 2012
—Photo by Michelle Kunert