Monday, October 08, 2012

Quadannual Fish and The Trickster Loki

—Michael Cluff, Corona

The puffer takes precedence
in these election years
(as if there aren't any non-voting years nowadays),
the more attacked it feels
the bigger and more inflated it becomes.
I would rather watch it
at ratcheted debates
since the animal does so
to survive
through poison sometimes
while bipeds
balloon to impress, wheedle,
and confuse via honeyed catch/buzzphrases
no matter what stripe
or hue they don.


I don’t know how I got turned around,

walking backward through September.
This month, choreographed by
The Trickster Loki—
slipping around me.
I’m facing receding days and hours—
I can’t see what’s coming:
those lunch dates,
those deadlines.
The near-past is all that scrolls by.
It is as though some celestial compass

has whirled around and left me rootless.

It is as though some celestial compass,
the nearby-past, is all that scrolls by.
Those deadlines,
those lunch dates:
I can’t see what’s coming.
I’m facing receding days and hours
slipping around me.
The trickster—  Loki!
This month: choreographed by
walking backward through September—
I don’t know how I got turned around.

—Katy Brown, Davis



It begins with throwing roses in the street;
by pulling the tab on a can of milk
for a child in a homeless shelter.

It begins when one young woman
chooses to learn to read;
when one young man protects his sister.

It begins with a cleric who leads a crowd
of marchers into the square―
preaching that we are more alike than not.

It begins with mothers
who teach their children to be tolerant
of playmates who are different.

It begins when divisive speech is challenged
for the explosive fuse it is; when bullies
and bigots are called out and named.

It begins when the right to express any idea
you want comes with the responsibility
for violence you intend your words to ignite.

It comes when the generals of armies
and the soldiers of every nation
wage peace instead of war.

—Katy Brown


—Caschwa, Sacramento
Powdering the delicate bottom
of Today's LittleNip
putting it to bed
and us too

Waxing crescent

Fresh baked, served
glowing, savory, sweet
wish there was more
to share

First quarter
Framed on the tree behind
the old lemonade stand
someday hopefully
a first dollar will follow

Waxing gibbous
Ending a hot, humid day
a sweaty gargoyle
reflects the glare from
your high beams

The flip side
of the Vacancy sign
shown to unwelcome

Waning gibbous
Gravity still dictates
the body's contours
post Liposuction
that didn't go well

Third quarter
Big box retail
going green
half is lit, half is dark
bring your own flashlight

Waning crescent
As dawn turns to day
not much is left
of this famous icon
of outbuilding doors



the bare yellow moon
slid from behind clouds
and stole the pumpkin's identity
holding a knife to its face

threatening to carve stark
silhouettes all over the landscape
a large mouth with jagged teeth
terror personified with no voice or bite

beginning the day being rudely yanked
from a plush pumpkin patch
now orbiting the Earth, higher and wiser than the owl
spending all the day overlooking the farm

—Photo by Roger Langton

—Roger Langton,
Louisville, Colorado

In a dream I ask
my mother, "what's
it like to be dead?"
She tells me to go ask
my father, he has
more experience.

I search for my father
but can not find him.
The other dead tell
me they have never
heard of him. They
point to a scarred man
and say that nobody
knows his name.

I go over to this
man and ask him
if he has a name.
He answers, "Frank."
It's my father's name but
he doesn't seem familiar.
I ask him anyway:
"what's it like to be dead?"
He replies, "It's like
not being alive."
Roger Langton


—Roger Langton

first eight years
16th Ave.
up and down
the driveway
kitten was run
over there
large dining room
leading to basement
the Lionel train fell
off the track
stains from coal shoot
pushed into a fish pond
walked home for lunch
radio loud
heard "jack armstrong,
all american boy"
checked garbage cans
for treasure
pearl harbor scared
all of the kids
set fire to a weeded field
kid hit in the mouth
by a sling shot
was pushed over backwards
in the school yard
the classroom airplane
looked large at age five
walked along the creek
offered a cigarette
ate at coon chicken
tiny store at end of block
little post office
to buy plate blocks
newlyweds died in yosemite
visited grandparents
drove by the prison
and orphanage
was baptized
moved to california


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

They pulled you over for no reason
you could say in either language;
took away your ID, your registration.

You gripped your pencil like a last hope,
wrote down his badge number, uniform
name. He smiled as he tore up your paper.

Dead-ended, right there on the street
deserted as a field beside a ditch
ten miles east of town, where on this

day or another they found a dozen lined
up dead. Or maybe hundreds,
in the forest of another language altogether,

at the end of a rutted wood-lot road
where boys had to dig a ditch of their own
dialect. End of the road, in a scrub-

arroyo or a marshy bog, a grassy hill
overlooking their lives. Lights
of a city shuttered. You were lucky to

get away. No matter the accent
or the words, a whisper is a prayer.
History repeats itself every day.


—Taylor Graham

This Sunday morning, early—
October just beginning
to shiver willows between road
and creek. Around a bend,
a dozen wild geese take off from pasture,
so close and low, I see their
underside of wings. Dark asphalt.
And suddenly,
dawn opens like a flower
behind the hills.
It zings the web of powerline, gold
filament. As the road climbs,
the flower's a willow tree
bouqueted in light.
The two-lane straightens out
ahead, blinding
Sun, so who could tell
where it's leading, but clasping
golden centerline.
Beckoning. Share, it says,
this Sunday morning


Today's LittleNip:

—Katy Brown

A crumpled sky, a stone door—
and voices, low on the other side.
It has been too long in coming—
this reunion of friends:
my journey plotted
by Sadr, the yellow super-giant
in the heart of Cygnus.
One of us listens to the winds;
one speaks with the nation of wolves.
I name the stars.
After so much disconnected time,
the three of us once more gather
to weave the world.



—Photo by Roger Langton