Monday, July 30, 2012

Dreamed by a Poet

 Blue Danube Dancers, 25th Annual Strauss Festival
July 2012, Elk Grove, California
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Layers of dream. The boy was dancing
in silk black trousers with a crimson stripe.
hip to ankle, a strip of red
so it flashed as he leaped
and twisted, twirled and dark silk swirled,
he was red-legged hawk in air,
and all the young girls watching,
clapping, swaying to the dance.
he'll march off to war, to battle across
the river, to trample haystacks under boots—
seedheads flying golden
into air, then stomped to dust
by troops as the horses flee from the fields.
Stripping off
layers of dream. The boy dances crimson
slashes flashed by sword-light,
gunfire light, each red stripe not cloth but
blood in spurts and drops, in tides
of war.
What does the dream
mean, and how to make it stop?


—Taylor Graham

Under the soft blue stone of heaven,
the way from field to garden is paved with shining
stones, a place dreamed by a poet
with rhetorical follies and similes of ponds.

Not far from here were brick-works,
just out of sight of these poetic vistas. Bricks blue-
black as the under-nails of girls who labored
without hope of metaphor in their lives.

But here is the home of the poet,
his shining stone. Today, it's the landscape's
skeleton surviving. In the end, a poet's
music flutes through bones.

 —Photo by Taylor Graham

—Caschwa, Sacramento

Don't you dare walk on my
Rare, expensive, antique
Turkish rug!
I'd rather you

Walk on my people,
Tread on their rights
Make inhumane gestures
Put respect out of reach

Twist the facts
Confuse the issues
Manipulate spin
Prosecute the truth

Ship jobs overseas
Burn the American flag
Make English hard to find on ballots
Defy the Constitutional ban against royalty

Do whatever else you want to do
But leave the damn rug
Hanging on the wall
As a beacon of hope and pride


—Michael Cluff, Corona

The inside of the old Oldsmobile
even in the Illinois night
was drenched near-deadly
by the swelling smell of sow
hogging the road above of us
and infiltrating inside the interior
of the five-packed car.

In the early sixties
interstate travel was on highways
sometimes just two lanes
in rurality
and being Jewish
this encounter
will living swine
just enforced
via the olfactory
what I just started
to read about
as a smaller kid.

  Swan Boat, Strauss Festival
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

Before the air conditioner
came back on
Mr. Franks
had stripped off
his blue glen-plaid sports coat
and his green, blue
and black striped tie
and his black penny loafers were
sighted across the room
under his chipped
pre-Vietnam era desk.

The class
continued the history final
and the gunshots
coming out of Mr. Franks'
battered soul
recalled to him
the delta, hot
summer nights just
outside Saigon
with fatigues
as drenched as his now-
yellow pit-stained
white dress shirt
was now
and then...

—Michael Cluff


—Michael Cluff

Looking at the red numbers
and not recognizing they exist
beyond the basics of 7, 0 and 4.
Showering after shopping
for coffee, bananas and arugula
a bagel with the full cream cheese

The water paddling
the skin and memory
nicely for more than minutes
the need for deodorant
replaced by the want
for its smooth and even application.

The Internet gandered at
and work e-mail to be viewed
at my determination of a later date
clean a betta tank
in a manner respecting
the baby male
for today.

Then gazing at the hibiscus
and begonia on the second floor
when the sun
like me
decides to peek down
at the outer world
all in our own time.

  Betta Fish


Our thanks to today's artistes for their fine work! We are proud to announce a new album on Medusa's Facebook page: photos of near-by Locke which were taken by Cynthia Linville.

The Kitchen itself has a new page in the FUCHSIA LINKS at the top of the blog: Interviews and Articles is just what it says—interviews and articles! Check it out for a link to a new interview of Mary Mackey as her books go Kindle.


Today's LittleNip:

In the world of lying
clocks I dwell
unsteady in solid knowledge
and happy some dead-
lines may not be met

—Michael Cluff



Several local writers have stories in
this new anthology from Harlequin:
Jennifer O'Neill Pickering, Trina Drotar,
Maryellen Burns. Order it at