Thursday, January 03, 2013

Mirror, Mirror...

—Photo by Richard Hansen, Sacramento

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

So many years married, and all he hears
is what the breeze says.
One day, he packs his duffle, steps
into a rickety old boat and hoists the sail.
Leaves his wife with a house
on three acres; two dogs and a cat,
and 17 apple trees.
Says he's going to sail the world
until he finds himself. Defeat, she thinks,
he might as well have gunny-sacks
for sails.
The wind blows through, whistling
like blue shirts hung empty on the line.
Over breakwater and orchard,
the sky has a million doors to open
behind its clouds.
A door for apples, a door for dogs,
a door for a wife who closes
it each evening and turns out the light.
A door for a man to sail through
and disappear as if he'd walked to the edge
of a meadow and off the continent
into waves of air.
Air that whispers down her chimney
at night like secrets of so many seabirds.


—Taylor Graham

Holiday music. A warm home, family
gathered by a cozy fire, dog curled asleep
on a rug, cat in its basket—
Flash to the most trustful soulful eyes,
a lop-eared speckled dog sitting on cold
concrete, looking straight at
the lens; a kitten reaching through bars
of a cage. They're begging me
to adopt, to save a dog, save a kitten.
I can't stand it. So many homeless pets
in this world. No room
in my house for another cat, another dog.
I bend down to stroke my puppy,
so briefly at rest. She moans,
lifts her head, stares at the screen.
She understands whole phrases of English.
Homeless? A word beyond
our language to fix upon the screen.


—Taylor Graham

Here in this back closet, some clues.
Was he scholar, minister, or both at once
and at odds? So many treatises
dog-eared and broken-spined. A hand-
drawn map of Eden and a catalog
of Babel's tower, tongue by dead tongue.
A horoscope with certain aspects
underlined: a trifle self-indulgent, and
Liberty is a blessing and a need.
Sketch of a sailboat rigged for storm,
and a chart with notations:
The Horn Gate, and Here be Dragons.
Here be Angels. What did we know
of him? This is what he left.

—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Olga Blu Browne, Sacramento

Two faces in the mirror, eyes that
hide the truth,

eyes that know the truth, looking

Sowing the seeds of yesterday,


—Caschwa, Sacramento

(If only we could give our children
the same level of protection
we install in our computers.)

When a drunken motorist speeds
the wrong way, crashes headon into
a church bus killing 27 people

there is no cry of public outrage
that we must now ban
from everyone's use

the kind of motor vehicle, maybe it was
a Toyota Hilux pickup truck
that the errant driver drove

but when a mentally impaired person
willfully disregards the regulations
attendant to a well regulated militia

or even those normally observed
at firing ranges and turns a gun
on innocent, helpless children

there is a sudden surge of outrage
that we must now ban
from everyone's use

the kind of firearm, maybe it was
a Bushmaster.223 semi-automatic rifle
that the errant gunslinger fired

Yep, that'll do it. 
Problem solved.
Now let's talk price on that bridge...


Overly familiar with
one cracked square
of grayish sidewalk that
framed his wiry silhouette

he stood nearly five feet
tall on tarnished toes
bare heels in the air
rocking to balance

in constant fidgety motion
adjusting the backpack
shifting its weight
right to left

then back again
mind racing ahead to
incredible destinations
then back again

he always rode
first class
paid in full
wrote the book on hubris

now one of the compartments
was failing to stay closed
inviting paparazzi
to steal the next chapter

damn cheap zippers!
the story is not at all ready
to burst from the backpack
like a sexy lady from a cake

rather it is fated to drip out of broken
seams like the rivulets from daring
tides that smash on the rocks, then
escape sheepishly, not looking back


—Nanci Ginsberg, Sacramento

It was a cold-brisk morning here in Sacramento.
I sat with my warm cup of coffee, writing holiday
cards and watching my daily morning talk show.

My feeling was happy, calm and serene until
my show was interrupted with the news of
another "school shooting".  Innocent children
and school staff had been senselessly killed in
an evil massacre.

As I listen to the broadcast my eyes well up with
tears.  Not again?  I think of my precious
grandsons.  That could have been them.  Within
minutes my mood changes—my spirit releases
an energy of despair.

My mind wanders as I think of the families of
these angels—how a few hours earlier they were
looking forward to Christmas—presents
eloquently wrapped under their trees.  What
they must be feeling: shock, anguish and
overwhelming disbelief.

I try to get on with my day.  How could I be
content when so many people are suffering
without normalcy in their life.

All we can do is have empathy and pray for
Faith, Love, and Peace in this disturbed world!


Thanks to today's contributors for helping us get the new year started! 

I hope you didn't go to the John Natsoulas Gallery last night hoping to hear Briony Gylgayton read; that was an error on my part, since the reading is actually tonight! Which gives you a second chance—rare in this uncertain world of ours. Readings for the new year are starting to pop up on a daily basis; it'll behoove you to keep a daily eye on our blue bulletin board at the right of this column (under the green one) so's not to miss out on anything. 


Today's LittleNip:

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

My dad never swore
Because he didn’t like the choice of words
Used to swear.

When he would get really mad
He would say "Son of a pup.”
And we would stay away from him
Until he calmed back down.



—Photo by Katy Brown