Monday, November 05, 2012

Where is Shelter?

—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

From under the rug, or deeper, a sound
like crying. Almost a moan-song, as pine trees
make in a hard wind, or when they hear
chainsaws bringing down a brother.

The crying, intermittent but not ending,
came from underneath—a subterranean den
was weeping. Today I found barefoot
prints in mud, or maybe hands; studded

with tidy claws; digit-stubs reaching forward.
Forlorn in gravel that used to be
dirt road. Soon to be paved. Can we
sit here peacefully at home when under us

the pinewood floor keeps moaning like
a memory? A chord, maybe voice of bear
and pine tree united in plaint. You checked
the front door—nothing there walking,

creeping, flying. A flurry of leaves, filled
with nothing but light.  How long
shall we live here, before we build something
bigger, tighter, impervious to crying?


—Taylor Graham

She made a picture with her breath
which drew in ridges and canyon, the scent
of a small boy lost from yesterday,

small boy in jeans, blue cotton T-shirt
(can dogs smell color?), 3 yr-old

waiting invisible except as she inhaled
his image, lifted her muzzle higher
in the fitful breeze to fix the outline of his

wandering (adjust for contours, updrafts,
chiaroscuro of sun and shadow)—

it only took an instant, as her handler
checked the map. With her breath she drew
a small boy crying for his mother.


—Caschwa, Sacramento

Fall is a chasm between seasons
collecting the decaying leaves of
Summer fun and offering only
glossy photos of Winter sports

it harshly descends on the valley
floor like drunken sailors
crashing into port relieving
their bladders everywhere

warm and friendly lasts
no longer than cheap whiskey
soon everything is
drenched in heartache

sunrise becomes an abstract,
just one printed word in the
almanac thickly surrounded by
pages and pages of cloud facts

heavy trousers reluctantly extend
their fabric to the toes while
if they had their druthers
they'd be cozy cutoffs

Layers and layers of shirts and
coats and sweaters and vests
and ascots and headgear
hide the child within

who sits fidgeting in the dim light
of church windows stained by Fall
so very much wanting rather to be
out rolling in the mud.

 —Photo by Evan Myquest

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

say goodbye to what we knew
the rills and inlets have changed
they are wandering in new directions
the ocean is there
the beach, yes
the houses are gone
pretty much
and we are left to wonder why
the new geography    


—Patricia Hickerson

the dancer
under the weather from drink
trips down the stairs
to the subway
not noticing water
ducks under the turn style
with a wink at the change booth
bounds along the platform
throws his hat toward the tracks
whirls around the post
smiles at the red head in the change booth
shouts at the sounds of incoming rain
which he has mistaken for a train bound for South Ferry
what? no trains today?
well I’ll be an idiot! that red head was just a mirage?   


—Shawn Aveningo, Rescue

Heloise walks the beach,
remembers her first time,
holding a black cherry
ice-cream cone in one hand
her daddy’s hand in the other,
eyes popping at the enormity
of a Ferris Wheel.

She spies a mirror in the sand,
floating away from the fun house.
Reflections skewed anew,
distorted beyond shape shifters
and laughter.

She picks up a nautilus
holds it to her ear, hoping to hear
the roar of the ocean subsiding,
replaced perhaps by Sandy’s whisper
showing her the way home.


NOV. 3, 2012
—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Waking up early,
stopped working out
to fill out a birthday card
for my good friend, Dan
the director of my plays,
turned on the film,
"Black Sun"
about a Japanese guy
in love with Monk
and other jazz greats,
then another
black and white movie
this in Italian
"White Angel"
about the Madonna's
help to a suffering man
and a nun who prays in
a miracle,
then striking at noon
has D.R. Wagner's poems
about Monk and the Madonna,
I call CC. my Chinese friend
to go with me to church
and she says to me, "BZ,
there are no coincidences
in this life,
only God incidences,"
Dan will celebrate
at a Chinese restaurant
called "The Kitchen"
then go to Giovanni's
in the North End
for dessert.


—B.Z. Niditch

Dissonant rain
of voices
as the dusk
sun sinks in the west
before my eyes,
I move a mountain
of falling words
on my mind's blanket
with a thousand glances
over my shoulder
as an avalanche
of thoughts
rumble at the moon
murmuring against tomorrow's
eruptions of volcanoes.

Today's LittleNip:

—Michael Cluff, Corona



Our thanks to today's contributors, including Shawn Aveningo, who will be reading at Time Tested Books with Poetica Erotica ( this Thursday. Scroll down to the blue board at the right of this for details of that and other readings this week.

On the way past our green board, though, stop and stroll around and have a look at the Forms to Fiddle With. Last week we were talking about the Decastich, and Michael Cluff came up with the ultimate one (see Today's LittleNip). If you ever need an example of a form, by the way, go to The Desolation Poems by Sacramentan Jan Haag (, which includes an example of almost every form you can think of. Jan will be releasing her new book at Sac. Poetry Center tonight (see the blue board). Check out her website at for more about her needlepoint, her poetry, and more.


—Photo by Evan Myquest