Friday, July 20, 2012

Escape From New Jersey

Turkey Vulture at the State Fair
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Kim Clyde, Sacramento
The first remembrance I have of
Waiting for “him,” it was Hallowe’en and twilight
And I wore a harlot-red satin strapless cocktail dress that
My grown-up sister Jackie had made
With her own two hands.
I imagined myself a princess as I stood there
In the picture window of the ranch-style living room
And watched the Trick-or-Treaters tearing
Up and down the street, the third sister in the front yard
Handing out candy from a cauldron
Boiling with dry ice while I watched,
Recalled from the fray because I was too young
To stay out so late.
How well brainwashed, little me
In all that finery with forehead pressed
Against that window, I stood, alone
Surveying the knots of children
As they ebbed and flowed
Tides of sugar gliders squealing and laughing
Trailing the draperies of their home-made costumes
Pirate. Hobo. Ballerina. Ghost.
No store-bought superheroes then.
I remember wishing for the carriage to arrive,
White horses, footmen and all, to carry me away
To carry me to my own true love.
I remember feeling sad
At not being able to stay and join in,
Sad at the thought that “he” might be out there
Searching for ME.
It is a feeling that has stayed
And stayed, and stayed,
And never have we met.
The fairy tales have done their work.
I am still well brainwashed.
—Kim Clyde

Light and shadow
Gambol across ceiling and walls
Driven by the unheard breath of
This summer morning.
Tonight it will be the moon
Whispering in my room, in my ear
Remembrances of childhood trips
In the bed of daddy’s truck
Lying amid the detritus of camp gear
Flying down the road under the trees
Light and shadow flickering red
Upon closed eyelids.
—Kim Clyde

Sactown Summer
It was one of those nights
A night so hot
The only music worth hearing
Is cool, dissonant, New York jazz
So hot.
The air so thick
You have to chew your way through it
Just to get down the sidewalk.
So hot.
You want to lick the asphalt
To see if you can taste
The wind of fall or
The rain of winter.
You feel like a clay vessel
In a solar-hot kiln,
Golden, molten,
Like that last lonely note
Crowing from the bell
Of a dead man’s
—Kim Clyde
You smile
As I walk in and later
Sit by me.
I say “I can’t get your
Ode to fast food
Out of my head.”
You smile again,
A sly secret smile and say
“That’s Mario’s.”
“Open mouth
Insert foot!” comes to mind,
And I think how glad I am
I didn’t bring anything to read…
There’s no following the likes
Of you.

Michelle Kunert as Mona Lisa [note corn dog]
State Fair, 2012 

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis
the books scattered
the desk abandoned
the stale-smoke living room
the lamp standing tall
the walk across the rug
the piano by the stairs
the front door
the porch outside
the bush
the grassy lawn
the maple at the curb
the corner on the lane
the bus to the bridge
the river to the city
the buzz of subway
the dash to school
the classroom
the street
the building
the elevator to the third floor
the door to his rented room
his waiting bed 

—Patricia Hickerson

I dreamed I was re-writing the Bible, Uncle Bill
What? How can this be?  You don’t know the Bible
yes, I do, just as well as you know Chinese
the new words were pouring out on the paper
burning it up with a fiery sun of ideas
changing words that create wars

Where was that? in Exodus? in Deuteronomy?

I was stopping wars, Uncle Bill

so you blame it on the Bible?

I’m just saying….

say, kid, come indoors
the sun is heating up your brain
—Patricia Hickerson

cooking oysters casino
Uncle Bill guiding me
at the same time talking
about his cousin Kimbo Bienvenu, age 18
ran away with his 13-year-old girlfriend Darlene
up to Bay St. Louis
they rented a room behind the local Winn Dixie
and after they finally wore themselves out in bed
Kimbo got a job as box boy
and used to steal prime steaks,
filet mignon, run through the butcher shack
to the back door and throw ‘em over the fence
to Darlene and she
would catch ‘em and fry ‘em up
with shallots and Madeira wine
so simple
like this recipe, kid
now I already shucked the oysters for you
and they are beauties, let me tell you
big and gorgeous

all right get on with it, Uncle Bill
what’s next?

nothin’ to it, kid, when the oil’s hot
throw in the sausage, peppers, onions
pimentos, garlic
next, cheese, salt, cayenne
now we’re gonna bake the oysters till they curl
up at the edges
oh wow let me look at those sweet babies,
they’re smiling at me I could kiss ’em
well, kid, you know the rest
we’re gonna cover the oysters with the sauce
like putting ‘em to bed with a blanket and….

eat ‘em, Uncle Bill, we’re gonna eat
those sweet babies, aren’t we?
Today's LittleNip:
—Patricia Hickerson

you came to me from Planet X
after 30 years in bars
speaking of Zark
your constant companion out there
Zark’s wisdom had become your own
I didn’t understand
but took your word for it


 Danyen Powell and Shawn Pittard
—Photo by Sandy Thomas, Sacramento
[Just a reminder: Danyen and Shawn
will be reading at Crossroads tomorrow,
Saturday, July 21. Check our blue b-board
at the right for details.]