—Ann Menebroker, Sacramento
There were all of these little thoughts kept
on small pieces of paper, backs of grocery lists stuck
in corners to come back to, make them into poems
illuminating quick words that had a certain ring to
them, as if the brain had some motive other than
keeping its energy alive with cautions and fuel.
But too often these possibilities stayed quiet. There
were sentences lost: She often felt like a devotional
chore, a rosary-counter. Or how about: There was
too much day to handle, that never found where
it belonged. She pulled off the side of the street to
write down: Pulled together with reality and tricks,
but none of it was going anywhere. She heard a famous
movie star quoted with: It’s hard to have a private life.
And later, in an e-mail to a friend, she ended with:
In the end, very little ends up being monumental.
—Roger Langton, Louisville, CO
Words are playing tricks
on me. When I want
to use them, a few
go missing, playing
miniature golf or some
other unexpected game.
While sleeping, lightning
brings them back, just
in time to convince me
I'm not senile.
Once in awhile words
are lost in traffic
too slow to be useful
seemingly lost forever
I go to word books to
search for them. When found
fire burns: of course, I know
And that word, And that word.
They have been reliable friends
for decades. What did I do
to make them unfriend me?
The words come back
one by one with
an apology and a big smile,
I forgive them,
go on using their gifts,
hoping they will stay with
me this time.
and we have
from our friend
we call Chet
the Frisco baker
the rented high rise
ten stories above
every November 28,
always losing his keys
in the South End
when there are art
festivals all around
like the painter
of men and women
who are surrealists
and hearing music
even at hours
in snow shoes
like the horn player
out of a coma
or the jazz violinist
fresh from Harlaam
meeting her Dutch uncle
the first time
since the last war,
but it's Blake's birthday
and even though
two wine cups
and a bit of stuffing
falls out of the sofa
and the door bell
we will celebrate
"Heaven and Hell"
Drivers grapple with the grade
under a weight of cloud.
In a hillside cabin, a man studies old legend
as if it were a relic of stenography,
a crosscultural puzzle in code.
Over the summit,
the clouds heap themselves to storm.
A small boy sees wild plum
dancing saffron-yellow with the willow.
He whistles this joy.
DOGS IN FOG
November bivouac by the Patuxent.
My dog and I talk, to warm a night of fog.
My dog runs in circles after a lost scent
that fills this whole canyon bound up in fog.
On Trinity's high peak, by moonlight,
we drift to sleep above lowland oceans of fog.
My low-beams trace the road-edge. Breeze
will brighten scent if sun ever lifts the fog.
Searching the winter Bypass—my dog's
neon eyes. A flashlight shines halos in fog.
By moon's hazy glow I walk the old dog
tonight. His whiskers silver with fog.
TINY MOMENTS OF JOY
Sun leaves its track across a child's eye.
That cursive L on postal parchment takes you back.
The mouse asks little, and praises in quiet.
In pine woods, finding bear track a blessing.
Morning's ungreased wheel, a cartload of surprises.
The sadness of a horse's soul is its beauty.
Sage takes over the garden of cleansing.
Under your bare feet, the silk of black mud.
By magic, the box erupts in tabby cat.
Toadstools leap up and dance for joy and rain.
When the dog laughs, be ready to follow.
Dawn opens its wide windows, even behind clouds.
and its still existing
after five days
a tiny moment
of great joy
since my children
for the most part,
fish tanks, careers
of their own.