Thursday, August 30, 2012

Arabesque Melodies

Grace Marie Grafton

—Grace Marie Grafton, Oakland

The arabesque melody.  I want.  Song
of the frog, song of the blue damselfly
to placate the welts rising inconsolably
on my classical score.  It’s too wary,
too fretful.  It wears a straight mouth, it wears
tight hose.  More nakedness please, more slippage.
The raucous raven’s song, boisterous,
irreverent.  Oh blaring trumpet, tickling
timpani, but I don’t stop there.  Open
the back door, open sequestered dawns,
midnight rain, the small silver fish.
I sit on the limb, lean against the trunk,
ask permission of the doves to watch them
set on eggs and create grey, create brown. 


—Grace Marie Grafton

The world is never still.  Moving, shifting,
rising.  Is it that the molecules life
is made of are lonely, must constantly
nudge their neighboring manifestation?
Contact, communication, ‘lectrical
charge.  Or could it be, life is so in love
that molecules must kiss and hug and mate?
Water specks into drops into streams into
rivers.  Matter gathering into palm fronds
or beetle’s green lacquered wings beating
night air to bits that bump the eyeball
of a watching puma who wants to change
its prey into itself.  Even in death
bodies transform.  Not to exist is still.


—Grace Marie Grafton

My mom ironed my white cotton slacks
and I failed to recognize them as mine.
They were so beautiful I didn’t want to wear them,
wanted to hang them up in my room
and stroke their smooth gleam every day,
admire them as testament of her love for me.
Next is always cluttering up the fervent package.
Begin at any edge, sunset, the end of breakfast,
noon’s tilting, try to make the square corner
plumb, how long does that last?
Earth shifts, sometimes wind mimics
the gods.  Interesting that Jesus was
a carpenter.  Yet he was called wise.
How much do we have to give up?


—Grace Marie Grafton

Lost, the moon uselessly begs the stars
for a guide.  The constellations are a hall of
pictures, revolving around moon
until he wishes he weren’t a circle,
wishes he could stop in one spot
and grow teeth to eat some green beans
and blueberries and carrots.  Absorb color,
sprout hands legs hair, live modestly
under a magnolia tree, something
big and old to hide him from sky                                                  
with its constant drift and demanding expanse.
The only thing he really can count on
is his invisible tether to Earth,
the one who winks at him the lucky colors.


Thanks, Grace, for today's poems! Grace Marie Grafton's newest book, Whimsey, Reticence and Laud/unruly sonnets, came out in Spring 2012 from Poetic Matrix Press ( Her book of prose poems, Other Clues, 2010, was published by Latitude Press ( A chapbook, Chrysanthemum Oratorio, 2010, is available from Dancing Girl Press ( Her poems, "Evoke", won first prize in the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition (Pen Women, San Francisco); she has won prizes in the annual Bellingham Review contest, and was twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Poems recently appear in Glass, Prism Review, Ambush Review, and She is also active in the California Poets in the Schools program. Grace lives in Oakland with her extended family.

Grace Marie Grafton and Gail Rudd Entrekin will be reading from their poetry on September 7 at 7pm at Laurel Book Store in Oakland. The reading will celebrate Poetic Matrix, the poets' publisher. For more info:


Today's LittleNip:

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Brother of flame
to mourn the future
sister of fire
putting a wreath
on an unknown field
called poetry.


Gail Rudd Entrekin