Monday, October 29, 2012

Bats, Banshees & Norman Bates

Julia Connor and Bob Stanley transfer (oops)
the Sac. Poet Laureate's Wreath to
Jeff Knorr, October, 2012
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Between deserted rails, my pup and I
walk the tracks outside of town. She turns
aside. Dead oak leaf-drift against
tree-trunk shivers in October breeze. Subtly
moving—a breathing heap of dead-fall?

No. Camo-pattern snuggie covering
a form; distorting humanness—but not to nose
of dog. My pup sniffs fabric, toe to crown.
Tail-high wagging; nudging, pawing.
From under gray-green leafy sheet, a giggle

unwraps itself from mummy: Kay, today's
volunteer “search-body,” who offers
a cookie to the dog come trick-or-treating—
dog who loves a living human,
no matter the costume or the mask.


—Taylor Graham

Midnight was black with crows and biting
spiders. The child couldn't sleep,
but tore into covers as if to dig herself
an oubliette; forget the stings. Her face
a mask not herself. A switch. All night
she danced to fantasy transformations.

The man dreamed remote zappers
and lost orders. The woman rode dark
horses between sleep and twitching on
of lights. By dawn the child's herself again.
The black itch gone. Driveway littered
with feathers like black, fallen leaves.


            for Elihu Burritt
—Taylor Graham

Who lights the halls of heaven with his hopes
of human peace? We live here on the shore
which is a tidal maze of sand and shell.

Like broken walls and gates, expended shell
litters our prospects. Here we've sown our hopes.
Tide carries them away and leaves the shore.

Somewhere past ocean must be a brighter shore.
You'll find yourself a cast-away horned shell,
hold it to your ear, and hear heaven's hope—

hopes shore you. Build your boat of starlight shell.


—Taylor Graham

The husband came home to find his wife dancing naked,
waving a wand that turned the family dog into a pig.

I read it in the paper, so it must be true.
A wife-turned-witch dancing wild
about the old dog enchanted into pig.

A wife turned witch, dancing wild
in the living room naked as day.
Who knows what inhabits a home?

In the living room, naked as day,
a pulp tabloid with bold headlines
leading one to invent the details.

A pulp tabloid? With bold headlines
we light our way. As dog or pig
the family pet remains speechless.

We light our way as dog or pig,
as wifely witch or puzzled husband.
There is no ending to the story.

The family pet remains speechless,
leading one to invent the details.
There is no ending to the story
about the old dog enchanted into pig.
Who knows what inhabits a home?

Bat Kite, Cal. Flying Mammal Fundraiser
Shine Cafe, October, 2012
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Michael Cluff, Corona, CA

Little Delores
almost exactly a decade ago
between the ATEC and CACT buildings

into the drainage system below.
But never and nary a bit of her
is ever noted and negated and nulled
by numerous Norcoians near
and not so.

Every now and then
during the dusk
she sometimes arises
above the ground
through the two heavy
clotted egg-white colored cylinders
drilled with air holes
from what I have heard told
just right to accommodate
what she seems to need.

She delivers a dirge-like ditty
declares it was a cruel mother
that mashed her up at work and then
through the ducts
in the metal
into the enveloping earth.

Delores' duenna
is now the dirt and radioactive dust;
a death not delayed
her blood and soul ever seeping
right below
the student center
of a college here
in Norco.


—Michael Cluff

During the latter days
of October, La Llorona weeps
and her northern cousin
blows hard and headstrong
over Southern California's scraped land.
Ana is a cruel wind
set to uproot pumpkins
from even the most secured patches
pummel the scarecrows of holiday pageantry
into the straw from which they were born
and scatter apples, candy and treats
and costumed kiddies
down south to help ease
for a bit
the pain and cries
her sad relative
moans eternally
without relief.


—Michael Cluff

During drama class,
Malina noticed a red drip
every eleven minutes or so
would spot her paper,
the last time right below the "i"
in Richard.

From the floor above
an abandoned guitar string
was the culprit source
left long ago by Alex
in a closet never opened
since October 2008.

He had played his fingers off
at an audition
in Alhambra
for a Rush cover band
which he never had a half
chance of nailing.

Malina left the lecture
the way Alex once
had departed his cords—
both disappointed
by the way their live careers
were not


HALLOWEEN POEM 7  (Dan Rivers)
—Michael Cluff

Back in 1982
during bank auditor days,
I had to wear
three-piece vested suits
in dark, dull colors,
white, yellow or blue only
dress shirts
and heavy plain-toed businessman shoes;
however, since my hours were
usually from midnight to dawn,
I sometimes removed my feet from
my leather prison to air them out
or relieve the boring pressure of numbers
from my numbed skull.
On October 30 or so,
Mrs. Palatine saw my lilac socks
and crossed over from boss to ballistic
balance between a bewigged Norman Bates
and Leatherface with a tad bit of a banshee
on the side, and her voice tore paper off the desk,
pale notepads and the bathroom stalls sixty feet down the halls.
The next week, I started to celebrate Thanksgiving early.
I now worked at home
producing voodoo dolls
that I claimed always had singular minds
of their own.


—Michael Clff

About every 26th of October
for the last fourteen or so years,
the magical markers have become possessed
and taken on words and smells
of their own.
Professor Carlavho noticed the dirt smell
of a brown one
while Sally Yarmelle would find the citrus blossom tang
of an orange pen aggravated her allergy
and she had to let class out early
a rare occurrence indeed
in the first year of the new decade.
Doctor Sumari swore aloud
the blue reminded him of berries
from bayou country
and Larry Lebeu loved
the deep tomato bisque
he insisted always dripped
from a medium-used up red one
he found behind the computer in IT 142
but he forever smelled liquors everywhere.
Yet the black markers never emit
any odor since they are evil enough
all on their own.


Today's LittleNip:

Enough "sexy vampire" fantasies
the real vampires "bleed "you
emotionally stake you in the heart—
control thinking you love them
you also become your own worst enemy

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento



Glitter Jacks
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis