at the final Crossroads Reading Series
on Saturday, Dec. 15.
—Photo by Michelle Kunert
She gave me a flattened silver egg
in a box that said, hold it under water
and you'll make things fresh again.
The egg held in my hand like river-
rock, wise and smooth, reflecting
light; it skipped stars across water.
It's quite useless for removing stains,
freshening bad blood, or disinfecting
dreams. But the stars are beautiful.
You came from a foreign land,
across great waters, berth of a language
I don't understand—a wordless
syntax of barks and chirps and chirrups,
cheer-ups in our imprecise
dialect usurped by TV talk of breakfast-
food and mass mayhem at a school.
No one understands you here;
they say you wear a mask from the realms
of deer, wolf, eagle. We have our
plays and spectacles to amuse us in our
horror. You sniff the emptiness
through the cloth. Your eyes break into
messages... How to find, not
how to lose. This is why I trust you.
at the Italian-style Christmas party at
Sacramento Poetry Center on
Monday, December 17
—Photo by Michelle Kunert
GANGS AND GUNS
The two gangs have been
enemies for years.
The neighborhood children
take the places of those
who die and there are plenty
of guns to go around.
Two gang members
initiate a drive-by shooting
seeking revenge for some
unknown act of little consequence.
The driver shouted,
"There's one of those bastards."
The bullets rage from the gun.
One strikes the side of a house,
another whistles toward
the shaded porch.
One missile strikes a dark
figure crouching in the bushes.
The shooters speed off
with sounds of screaming wheels.
Next day the headline proclaims
that a famous athlete has been arrested
for drinking and driving.
There is a small article
reporting that a drive-by shooting
killed a child and his grandfather.
The tribal eye peered
out and judged me hard.
I had rejected the
family and broken the
ancient law of reciprocity.
by culture lag
my blood kept the past
and made guilt the
The eye kept staring.
I shot my
squirt gun at it
and emptied a bottle
of wash but the
stare melted my behavior
(Red Cedar Press, 1992)
NOT YET, PICASSO
Picasso stands next
to the lake.
He bends and extends
with head stretched
to the sunset.
A club foot protrudes
from his armpit.
A yellow bird flies
through his mouth
while a bone slides
up and down
his orange back.
He grins at the water
with skeleton teeth
with a foot-long toe nail.
he will come together,
but the time is not yet.
I dreamed instead of being on a Easter egg hunt
While I was pulling plastic eggs out of the dirt
I came across a little fir tree decorated with foiled eggs
which turned out to be made with my favorite dark chocolate
I quickly stuffed the candy in my pockets and my purse
children came by and just asked for some
but I demanded this tree was all mine