Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Already Walks Tomorrow

Birthday Cake presented to Dennis Schmitz at the
Sac. Poetry Center reading on Monday, Aug. 13
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

From the boardwalk
can you see the Perseids? All day under sea-
sun, and still your eyes swarm
with visions, small dark squiggles, nomad
floaters of the aqueous. Are they here to stay?
Creatures below the surface
of the waves. You've walked sand until
your toes are crusted. You step
on shells, the itch of salt in your blood.
All afternoon the sun has written
letters in the margin of your eye, a script
so ancient, you've lost the words.
Your eyes are clouded
with light. And now, meteors
like the signature of aging sight, inconstancy
of stars. Their patient comfort until
dawn, their burnout and fall. This constant
business of the eyes, to watch,
to record upside-down in reverse
the collapse, combustion, creation
of worlds. Those mysterious sun-letters
swimming in your eyes.


on a line by Billy Collins
—Taylor Graham

As if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
drifted away in corked bottles, names detached
from faces, as tides subside from the Boardwalk, dogs
chasing after driftwood on the beach. You call
our Cowboy by the name of his grandsire, Taco. In my
mind Cody merges with Firebird, gentle blond ladies
shawled in black; so similar a glance; by pedigree
unrelated. Fifteen dogs over the space of forty years.
All of a breed, yet each as individual as smiles
in a high school yearbook. Three decades later, I still
can feel the silk of Prissy's ears. Just now, I retrieve
a poem Loki shredded, and by mistake I call her
Odyssey, the dog forever sailing wreckage through
my heart; gone seven years and longer, returning
but changed, with a different name and face. Such a
bargain Life offers. This image behind my eyes.


—Taylor Graham

Slowly, like a lover who somehow slips
a key in his pocket and walks out past
the boardwalk with no goodbye on his lips—
suddenly decades older than the last
time you saw him—the old moon, pale, aghast
with aeons, is distancing from our shore.
Don't ask the moon; it answers like before,

in riddles quicker than the eye can blink.
How imperceptibly this morning's light
illuminates and smiles, then dries the ink.
The old moon tarnishes its silver; bright
no more like memory with its dimming sight.
The moon is leaving us, not looking back.
The space between, mysterious and black.

  Quinton Duval Chapbook Contest Winner
Denise Lichtig reads at SPC Monday, Aug. 13
from her book, Crystal Gods
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

(a Rainis sonnet)
—Tom Goff, Carmichael

How did you steal at first light, like sea mist,
into my predawn dream? What benthic perfume
or attar of you, sweet sea-rose, enticed me into our tryst?
Cold salt truth, my talisman, useless in doom!

How do you work that billowing fine whirl,
ply your entangling aroma-ropes like seaweed in tidal spume?
Whole oceansides of scent, rolled into one on-wheeling pearl.

All light and arousal inside, our pearl chamber turned tomb.
You open our door now to fathoms and phantoms:
show me the scentless infinite room.


—Tom Goff

Under the boardwalk, a welter of motel keys, half-asleep
cockroaches, cigarette butts, spent condoms and cracked
seashells, brilliant blue and orange gumballs—a few
half-chewed and spat out, once in a while a wee hank
of girl-hair blended into the scrimtoothshaw surface’s
dried ick—not to mention dark red tickets from stupendous
ropes of tickets to every ride, and all the notes of every
calliope ever played, including those wine-barrel, fantod
wisps of corkscrew cantata lost to the far-and-wide foghorn,
or those glittering-star roulades, hymns, and melismas
scattered by the first Calliope when free and afoot
she circles the carousel heavens, shaking
free of night-sky sand
the hem of her soft goddess dress.  

Thanks to the two TG's, Taylor Graham and Tom Goff, for their contributions to the Kitchen today. Taylor is talking about the boardwalk (our Seed of the Week), and she also sent us a very fine rhyme royal. Tom writes: I was struck to see Joyce [Odam] writing a Rainis sonnet, since I've heard [my wife] Nora mention Janis Rainis as a significant name in Latvian literature: he wrote lyrics and mythic narratives, quasi- or completely epics, I think. So I had to do one... We holed up while our condo roof was being redone last week, and watched Olympics to excess, but were very pleased when the ultimate bronze medalists [from Latvia], Martins Plavins (MAR-tinch PYA-vinch) and Janis Smedins (YAW-nis SMAY-dinch) knocked off two powerful Americans, and then Maris Strombergs repeated as gold medalist in the dangerous BMX bike race. Hail, Latvia! [Tom's wife, Poet/Artist Nora Laila Staklis, is from Latvia.]
Livermore Poet Laureate Emerita Connie Post will be reading at the John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis tomorrow night at 8; you can catch Andy Jones' interview of her TONIGHT at 5 pm at  (go to the "listen now" section at the upper right). Connie will also be reading at the Woodland Public Library on Aug. 29. See Medusa's blue bulletin board at the right for details on all of these, and go to the GREEN board for a link to Trina Drotar's Sacramento Press article about Connie.


Today's LittleNip:

In today already walks tomorrow.

—Samuel Taylor Coleridge 



Sacramento Artist Tim Messick talks about
his display that is in the current Poets' Gallery at
Sacramento Poetry Center
—Photo by Michelle Kunert