Monday, January 28, 2013

Casting Prayers on the Wind

Mozart as a Kid 
—Philippe Noyer
[Happy Birthday yesterday, Amadeus!]

—B.Z. Niditch

You captured me early
with a miniature of you
on the Steinway
where mirrors offered
a touch of the sublime
in your delighted
bronze eyes
and I played you
as a young beggar
hungering for harmony
for your listening ear
and leafy laughter
at my attempts
to gain your favor,
then I wrote a novella
and put on a play,
"Mozart's Birthday"
which was published
and performed
in recital, 1994
and today I have
composed this poem
between my fingers
in the sound-proof room
by the piano
and computer,
for Mozart
whether on the open sea
from the Rhine to Danube
in foreign cities
or in a heavenly realm
we cannot yet reach
any more with words
over your joyful chords
or still under your spell
in my thoughtful hand.


—B.Z. Niditch

Time for a poet is always right.
—A maxim of BZ Niditch

Today's sky
will not be missed
in a sorry shade
of black and blue
when Arctic air
quietly smuggled in
from Canada freezes
the lifeless bodies
of snow into ice
bright figurines,
and my chilled sax
is exposed
as an orange slice
eaten on my motorcycle
on the jazz corner
for my timely gig,
yet a poet is still
a Beat for life
in his runaway suit
when the same shade
shines in darkness
from a cool club
on the blind window
staring back at him
with a sponged fog
on a wasted visage
and an angel stranger
helps the poet
with the gas
both knowing the blahs
will not survive
the skittering waters
on our overcast faces,
and that spring
may still be early
when words
will go down
when the sax
will again beat out
its underground notes
to play the Blues.


—Caschwa, Sacramento

A survey was taken at work
to assess the preferences
of the employees

We all knew that management
had already made its final choices
so we picked outrageous

both parties to a lawsuit
fiercely allege that the other's claims
are not valid under the law

when the matter goes to court
God's honest truth is distorted
like a penny on a railroad track

the vending machine accepted only quarters
all I had was a roll of dimes

I came back with a roll of quarters
which pulled my pants down
now I'm a punk rocker

the teacher: what point are you trying to make?
the judge:  what is this evidence offered to prove?
me:  is it lunch yet?



OK, a person who has
never had much money
wins a ton of it
blows through it
back to square one

a person who drinks
way too much with
no fear of consequences
suffers serious consequences
hello 12-step plan

a corporate entity
that outlives humans
loses stock value and
advertises its approach as
"in the best interests of our children's children"

a poet has huge dreams
of his work being loved
here and there a good review
mostly rejections
back to square one

Musical Instruments
—Pablo Picasso

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

On the stove, a splash of oil: a star-
splatter, a bright hot hiss,
a wisp of smoke
as Physics spoke:
Splatter! A bright hot hiss

summons. The day begins like this
with winter cordwood oak.
You struck a match
to make sparks catch
with winter cordwood oak.

A day that's bitter-cold, a cloak
of frost on frozen latch;
a door ajar;
a scent of char,
of frost on frozen latch.

But look how field-frost leaps to snatch
the sun as morningstar.
Our daybreak's bliss:
from night's abyss,
the sun as morningstar.


—Taylor Graham

I meant to touch-type the word “kiss”
but it came out as “loss”—
no pencil-slip,
a keystroke-trip
but it came out as “loss.”

How shall my meaning come across?
so clumsy is my grip.
My brain as well.
Misnomers swell,
so clumsy is my grip.

My soul would soar and sky-dive-flip,
immortal stories tell,
and such sweet his-
tories—can a hiss
immortal stories tell?

So I keep tapping for a spell
to catch ephemeris—
a typo-gloss,
a phrase to toss
to catch ephemeris.


—Taylor Graham

A kestrel flies over the labyrinth
I've made of my life—walls
of passwords dead-ending at a clue
that disappears when my lamp
gutters out, I forgot
to fuel it up, to recharge, to change
the combination.
The hawk is no hacker. She's simply
hungry to feed her nestlings
in the crevice of a tree,
a home that opens to no password,
just those gaping mouths.
Last week they were four speckled
eggs, each containing a sea:
life. The kestrel glances down
at me in my dead-end unmapped
bit of maze. But I'm
too big for prey. She casts her own
prayer on the wind, flies free.


—Taylor Graham

It's not in any bird-book I can find,
the hawk that circles overhead, just here
above our house and pasture fields,

our woodland oaks. As if at home
just here. Bright underside illumined
by the sun, but wingtips dark,

it soars in spirals, plays the current air
or speeds from north to south,
screaming the news of borderlands.

Screaming the news of borderlands,
it speeds from north to south
or soars in spirals, plays the current air—

the hawk that circles. Overhead, just here.
Just here. Bright underside illumined,
it's not in any bird-book I can find

by the sun. But wingtips dark
above our house and pasture fields.
Our woodland oaks as if at home.

Our thanks to today's contributors: BZ for reminding us of Mozart's birthday; TG for her responses to DR as well as her tasty Roundabouts (our current Form to Fiddle With); and CS for his lighthearted airs. By the way, BZ may have the January Blahs (he does live on the East Coast, after all), but James Lee Jobe feels otherwise about our winters here on The Other Coast: see his blog at And you can see TG at Poetry in Motion tonight in Placerville; scroll down to the blue board at the right of this for info about this and other readings coming up in our area.

While you're Internetting, here are three journals for your attention:;; and


Today's LittleNip:

When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I’ve never tried before.

—Mae West



Yellow, Red, Blue
—Wasilly Kandinsky, 1925