Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dads, Cont.

—Photo by Janet Pantoja


was a Sears 1936 floor model
with a warm cherry wood case—a large
Golden Jubilee dial arrested your attention
with its emerald green tuning eye.

Indeed its tone was silver—10 glass tubes lit up
in high fidelity . . . beautiful,  wonderfully full-toned
music flowed outward from behind a cloth grille
and directly into your soul.

The powerful Silvertone brought in foreign stations
with ease and clarity—voices jabbered at me in Spanish
at an alarming rate when my language skills were young—
later, I would understand and speak at that same level.

Dad sold radios for a living—he carried the Silvertone
on his back--up and down stairs—to make a sale.
This model would completely satisfy the family
who expected to pay around $100 for a new radio.

I loved listening to the rich sound of the Silvertone—
I thought it would be the one thing I would always keep.
It was such a large piece of furniture though . . . 
I sold the Silvertone for $200.

The memory of the old Silvertone  . . .
and my Dad . . .  is priceless.

—Janet Pantoja, Woodinville, WA



By the still water
He leads my sorrowful soul . . .
refreshed and forgiven
I am beloved of Heaven.

Beloved of Heaven
I always was, even though
trial and tribulation
led me to feel separation.

Separation from Goodness
How could that be?
My life is filled with memories,
special moments, great stories.

Stories told and untold . . .
by the still water
in my mind, revealing
Truth and I am rejoicing.

—Photo by Janet Pantoja


—Caschwa, Sacramento

The old TV show Get Smart
Featured a see-through "cone of silence"
That would descend on characters
When they discussed confidential matters

So it was between my Dad and me
On topics like fighting in the war,
Sex, negotiating a raise, other big stuff,
His lips moved but no words reached my ears

The cone suddenly lifted when it came to
Archery, fishing, servicing the car,
Soldering techniques, ham radio
Those moments, Dad was a best friend


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Still water’s a noble drama: if you
put a gun in the play’s first act, it should
be fired, said Chekhov. Count on it, if pond
water isn’t rippling right this second,
one instant it will (liquid sifting, hair lifting
on a back, the way my Billy-dog’s wrath-
lightning announces his slow-rolling growl).
Water’s predestined: If it’s here, God’s already
been using it. Wind, rain, zero cold scripted
to reshape the swaying, standing pond. She-Poet’s
already described how it should ruffle, how
the subtly lapping kisses of water on docks
turn boat-shoving, bucking agitation.
Debussy’s play of the waves becomes
my tragical-comical-historical-pastoral
in honor of your love-liquid, your strong brine.
She-Poet meant all waters to be bathed in,
kicked, splashed, buffeted. Pined for at a distance
as you are, my absent one. Touch me, turn wet
within me, lady poet, for I too am that
swirling, sucking, drowning substance.


When you held me that recent once,
one arm flung around me, my shoulder blade
soft in your right hand, your left hand
still clasping a book, I liquesced. Oh
how I wanted you to turn net, knowing full
well I’d slip through, but I still needed
you to try & catch me. Chekhov’s
little catchphrase comes in at least three
versions, so he thought much of it. Wanted
to erode theater, wear away playwrights
(much as you do me, sweet challenger).
The water in my basement sump takes
life from the breath of an opening door.
Ibsen has Hedda reach for the given horse
pistol, maybe both pistols, and debrain herself.
Depending on how she sprawls, Tesman
will note one entry wound, possibly two.
Could she fire into her head from both
sides, two guns at once? If so, would her bullets
kiss? And would that be Hedda’s idea of death
done beautifully? We can be sure Hedda’s
blood sprays or spatters, seeking purchase
on wall, on quaint hard sofa satin.
Surface to seep into, skitter or drip down.
Ibsen, writing a year after Chekhov’s first
note on the prop gun, could easily have taken
Anton’s hint, but—since Henrik liked
influence to flow downstream from himself—
probably didn’t.


If I pour you into this poem, will you stay surface?
Become the upstream I must leap through? May I
crown you soft as a pond? Tremble, let raw
breeze disturb your skin into feather. May
these words dilate you, turn you pregnant fence
under the rippling stab of a boystick.
What non-fingers come beautifully to
corrupt your transparent form?


I’d forgotten your hair: shining and sheer, never
free of vibration, forever tangling, untangling,
blending & tumbling in and out of trouble, river
a flowing sheath or shell or skin over
skull, pebble, boulder, gentling the moody
stuck rock under your lullaby clamor. How
might the liquid medium you now are
warp from a Chekhov’s bullet, one sharp report,
one slender straight-through tendril of distorting thrill?


—Tom Goff

Little fisherwoman, little
Maidu, what possessed you
to soap my liquid house with
soaproot, sudsing, intoxicating
the rapids and calms I swam?
You set off explosions,
magic stun-buzz in my
little brain. Before I dissolve,
ease me back into my
usual pleasurable current,
upstream from where you
first weakened me, enticed me
into your firm young hand.
I can wriggle no longer
in the old lamprey way,
you pluck me into the terrible
drying air, flaccid as a male
human member shying
in the coldstream, fluid as
the innocent milt of a salmon.
Be good, my girl, and release me,
or, if you must have me airdrown,
let me stifle away from that
being so like me you’ve
subdued. Pity him, yelping,
barking, tethered helpless
at the neck by a rope of hemp
to a rock while we flung swimmers-
no-more flail and expire just
beyond reach of his teeth…

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove

I was about fourteen; it was
Around one in the morning
And there was a humming
Noise in the cellar, where the
Murder-suicide took place.
Maybe Nellie and Mike
Were back.  Maybe they’d
Talk to me again.

Turned out it was just my
Father at his grinder again
To make his dental plate fit.

“Chappie,” he said in his
Best George Raft, or as
Good as he could with
His teeth in his hand,
“Never trust a dentist
Who makes house calls
Or one who drinks
On the job.”


Today's LittleNip:

My father hated radio and he could not wait for television to be invented so that he could hate that too.

—Peter De Vries



 Phorkys, Medusa's Dear Old Dad 
(with Ceto, her Mom)