Friday, December 28, 2012

Looking Forward, Looking Back

Let's go someplace toasty!
—Photo by Caschwa

—Caschwa, Sacramento

counting months to term
belly expanding greatly
weeks left, then days
finally the moment

First we count the fingers
and the toes to make sure
no factory warranties
can't take it back

we start a savings account
with the hope that its
future owner will mature
enough to use it wisely

then we look around and see
some of the horrible things
grown adults do
to other people

she will always be our baby


—Charlies Mariano, Sacramento

December 27th
staring, somewhat cautiously
at 2013
racing ‘round the bend

paying bills,
scraping at a bowl of oatmeal,
and typing this

did you know
you don’t even have to lick stamps

and the stamps,
famous dead poets
(least i think they’re all dead)
Stevens, Roethke, Hayden,
Brodsky, Bishop, Cummings

a regular
dead poet’s society

billions of unknowns
in life’s darkest rooms
like me,
infinitely lost,
trampled to death,

and no postage stamp
no sir,

just take your complimentary
your ink-stained
Costco notebook,

and exit out
the back door


On Dec 26 it was almost as mad as Black Friday at Arden Fair Mall
  But only now there were no more parking lot attendants as before
  I guess they said they were now all fired
  so we go back to chaos as usual
  with the fear of a collision with someone else in the parking lots
  and what your insurance company will consider about that
—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Photo by Caschwa

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Back then, we set out in the old van—
the also-ran, max speed set by the weather,
oil-pan held in place with duct tape.
Carefree days before cholesterol pills
and fueled by the astonishing fizz of lime pop
from a bottle; before someone told us
the evening news was truer than
poetry, full as it was of people falling
to their knees in hopeless gray cathedrals.
Now we keep arrays of jars carefully labeled,
and worry about water from our kitchen tap.
Look outside, it's raining. Let's set out
again and wear out the tires. Find
a world. See how everything could change.


—Taylor Graham

Phenomenal snowfall, afternoon into dark.
Erstwhile granite heights meringued, ermined—
we searched for simile as east-wind played
banjo with our tent-strings, tent-flap a flag
extended for battle. Still the snow fell as we
shivered in our mummy bags, made strategic
plans for morning. Uneasy sleep to the cant
of fir-sway, pine-limbs creaking under weight
of snow. We woke to dawn—gold-rim sun-
burst under cloud, this silver snow-gift world.


—Taylor Graham

On this last day I put away my books
of otherworldly journeys, gothic lore
and fictions, history or not. How dawn looks
now, here: endangered, never seen before.
I walk out, latch the latch, and gaze around.
A hawk is taloned to the highest bough,
a towhee goes scratch-shuffling winter ground.
A scrub jay tells me, loudly, This is Now.
My two dogs chase each other on the grass
until the old dog stops, lies down to roll
and grunt delight. All this has come to pass
like shadows playing catch on fields and knoll.
The old dog rises, shakes, and leads the way
down fence-line, to the gate of this next day.


—Taylor Graham

Your mother's larder, when she died,
was full of chicken-fingers fried
and fish filets, a breaded tide.
Put it aside, put it aside!

It's so greasy, it makes you sick.
But it's a dish to fix real quick.
Pop in the microwave—it's slick.
A breaded trick, a breaded trick.

And yet you love my homemade bread
so full of fiber. In its stead,
this stuff's enough to leave you dead.
That's what I said. That's what I said.


Today's LittleNip:

—Olga Blu Browne, Sacramento

Here poetry is the thought of

Where there is more space than
time can offer,

and the night is empty except for
a thousand stars,

waiting for a winter's moon to rise.



—Photo by Caschwa