Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When I Was a Tiger...

Tim Kahl talks about Bob Stanley at the
Sac. Poetry Center tribute to him last Saturday
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Roger Langton, Louisville, Colorado

Energy is not evident
in the backyard.
It must have been stolen
and used elsewhere.
The grass is like a shag rug.
The plants are dry and
droop almost to the ground.
In spring there was great hope
that this year the garden would
become a masterpiece of
horticulture. In the planter box
a mother rabbit gives birth while
cats pace back and forth
in front of the window.
A long grape vine with abundant
leaves stretches outward,
navigating its way
through the neglect,
producing little grapes that
will not grow larger. Lack of effort
makes a mockery of a once
hopeful spring while the vine
displays the audacity of nature.


(In memory of Christopher Hitchens)
—Roger Langton

it's a strange little
rock we live on
far out in the suburbs
where the traffic subsides—
the constant turning
streaking around the
light that makes the plants grow
it goes on until our star
has had enough
the living creatures
seldom think of this—
the one second of
life is all they have and all
they will ever have
stories are made up
to make it seem worthwhile
while real answers come slowly
the primates who live
in houses don't know much,
the turtles, snakes, and tigers
know more, no one
will listen to them
most who lived here are gone
more are leaving every day
no answers will be certain
when the rock turns to ice



it was common to be at ease,
not being prey to any creature.
Disease and old age played with me
but knowing nothing of these things
there was no fear.
Lounging within the tall grass
after a sufficient meal
made me sleepy. I slept.
The clouds turned black,
drops of water got me up
and sent me hurrying
to secret shelters.
The white clouds posed
no threat to my slumber.

As a man there is less ease.
But wanting to go
back to my tiger self
produces no results or imagination.
There are too many
primates similar to myself,
hunting replaced by a supermarket,
constant noise,
eyes stinging with pollution,

too many inventions
that kill my natural ways.
I am a man participating
in his own extinction.
I look for the tigers
but they and the tall
grass are gone.

—Roger Langton

—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

I think one of my new neighbors got a "bengal" cat they let outside
      The morning I discovered him, he just glared at me through my kitchen window
       he was like a tiger caught prowling his rounds
       and seemed ready to tell me to keep my distance or else 
      Yet among the things I noticed (other than his glowing eyes) was his spotted coat pattern and size
      Such "hybrids" bred from the Asian leopard cats are not only bigger and more muscular
      (unlike the cats that have been domesticated for over three thousand years)
      these cats' behavior might reflect that they aren't really that far from their wild ancestors
      I sure hope he's "neutered"—
      but am still frightened that this cat probably not only goes hunting song birds in the suburbs
      but probably for thrills beats up on the weak, fat house cats who mainly just lie out in the sun    
—Michelle Kunert


—Michael Cluff, Corona

From t-shirts and zoris
to paisley ties, vested suits and wingtips
the story of Max's life
is success in reverse.
The nice nuances of childhood
have been raped and shaved
into harsh trajectories of credit and cant.
The fiscal has tenderized the physical spark
of jollity he once displayed
in ring around the rosies
atop Huckleberry Hill
into jaundiced ennui,
pachyderming palaver,
amber-encasing emissions
of Pavlov jargon and socially accepted
jugular gargles and gulps.
He can't miss what he can't
now remember.


Thanks to today's chefs for their tasty fare! Bob Stanley may be "graduating" out of being Sacramento Poet Laureate (the passing of the baton happens officially on Oct. 26), but he'll still be busy as President of SPC, along with the anthology which is being released over the next few weeks. Scroll down the blue board at the right of this for details; the October 26 date is under "More Than a Week Away" because it's, well, more than a week away...

Bob will be on the airwaves TODAY! He writes: I'll be on KXJZ radio [Wednesday] morning between 10 and 11; I think you can find it streaming live at  Beth Ruyak of Insight interviewed me today about the new anthology that we're releasing this week. There's also a new video that the station produced to go with one of my poems ("City of Slow Rivers")—they said that would be posted tomorrow as well.

And we have a new photo album on Medusa's Facebook page! Cynthia Linville has sent us pix of the weird and wonky Urban Ore shop in Berkeley. Enjoy—and thanks, Cynthia!


Today's LittleNip:

The hours slowing down
workshift should be ending now
clock becomes frozen

—Michael Cluff



Straight-Out Scribes were in town
for last Saturday's SPC event!
—Photo by Michelle Kunert