Thursday, November 29, 2012

Whistling Joy

—Photo by Taylor Graham, Placerville

—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
those words!
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.


—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

It's Blake's birthday
and we have
angel cake
on hand
from our friend
we call Chet
the Frisco baker
the rented high rise
ten stories above
who arrives
every November 28,
always losing his keys
or I.D.
in the South End
of Boston
when there are art
festivals all around
like the painter
next door
knowing lots
of men and women
who are surrealists
with exhibits
and hearing music
even at hours
in snow shoes
or raincoats
like the horn player
out of a coma
playing sax
for us
or the jazz violinist
next door
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
are broken
and a bit of stuffing
falls out of the sofa
and the door bell
and telephone
keep ringing
we will celebrate
our poet's
"Heaven and Hell"
with aplomb.

 —Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham

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.


—Taylor Graham

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.


—Taylor Graham

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.


Contributors from here, there, and everywhere today—our mighty thanks to them! Cousins Roger Langton and Annie Menebroker sent us poems intended to bookend each other, and Taylor Graham is continuing to put together her dog manuscript while she and Michael Cluff work on our Seed of the Week: Tiny Moments of Great Joy (have you noticed all the tropical fish Michael has thrown into his poems lately?). Unfortunately, we didn't post B.Z. Niditch's poem about Blake's birthday yesterday on the exact day, but we can always celebrate it, right? 

By the way, Roger Langton writes that a poem of his which appeared on Medusa's Kitchen, "Hooked", later made into a broadside by Paul Fericano, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Congrats, Roger! Several other SnakePals have written that they've also been nominated; 'tis the season. For more info about the Pushcart, see our green board at the right of this. If you want to see Roger's poem, go up to the little cream-colored bar at the very top of Medusa, at the left, and type in "Roger Langton Hooked"; the post in which it appeared will come up and you can scroll down to the poem.

And while you're over there on the "boards", scroll down to the blue board and check out the poetry readings that are coming up this weekend, including Susan Kelly-DeWitt at The Avid Reader on Sunday, and don't forget the Sac. Poetry Center's annual Fundraiser at the Millers' home tonight! Sometimes readings come to the Kitchen at the last minute; best to check the blue board daily.

Cynthia Linville writes: The Winter 12 Issue of Convergence is online at! Look for work by Jason Dean Arnold, Myles Boisen, Doug Bolling, Melissa Donovan, Anara Guard, M. Boyd Houts, Erren Geraud Kelly, Pete Madzelan, David McAleavey, John McKernan, Simon Perchik, Robert R. Sanders, Anita Scharf, Allyson Seconds, Randy M. Taylor, David Thornbrugh, and Brenda Yamen. In addition, Editors' Choice pages and photos throughout the website are updated bimonthly, so stop by often. Frank Andrick is my featured poet this month.


Today's LittleNip:

The birth of a platy
and its still existing
after five days
a tiny moment
of great joy
for me
since my children
now have,
for the most part,
fish tanks, careers
and rubrics,
of their own.

—Michael Cluff, Corona, CA



—Photo by Taylor Graham