PLANTING THE CRAPE MYRTLE
—Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Tehama
They caught my eye,
captured my gardener’s soul,
those brilliant red crape myrtles
massed in gallon cans
at the nearby nursery.
I do know to stay away from there,
succumb too often to whims.
But on this day of seeking for chard
I found the fire-shrub of my dreams.
So home we went, scarlet crape myrtle
and I, to the shovel and perfect
spot of land: Full sun, direct view
from my kitchen table
and in a place it can sprawl
to its heart’s content.
The shovel barely dented
the hard packed clay,
so I ran the hose.
Dug away the mud
an inch at a time,
found my muscles tightening.
I located the ancient crowbar
lurking in the garage,
dusted off wegs, started chipping
my way downward.
The former river bed
yielded a fine crop of rocks
cemented in place
by eons of clay pack.
I persisted, made the hole
twice as big in all ways
as needed. Tucked the carmine
crape myrtle in a new bed
of plant mix and compost.
Settled it in, gave it a good drink
and a mental reminder:
Don’t drown the baby.
THE ROOM WHERE YOU DIED A MONTH AGO
Your desk is gone, file cabinet
and hospital bed given away.
Even the bedside commode
found a home.
I threw the corner windows wide,
let the north wind scour the walls,
burned cedar incense
to cleanse and freshen the space.
Now a chair and floor lamp stand
on a flowered carpet.
A new bed with new linens
hugs the far wall.
Your cat settles in that room
as if your scent still holds her fast.
I lie beside her, tears streaking my face,
stroke her soft fur.
(First pub. in Chiron Review, 2009)
I no longer make resolutions
or promises I doubt I will keep
I’m sure there are things I haven’t fulfilled
but for those things I haven’t lost sleep
The sun shines through storm breaks on grass
the camellias bloom pink on their tree
The cat purrs, the birds sing, the creek bubbles brown
as the year slides good-bye, clock hands sweep
—Michael Cluff, Corona
The map of the year
is nearly drawn,
the plastered lines
now drying into
The perception will alter,
driven by whim and will,
wile and waggishness
but what will maintain itself
is the rock of realities
reaching above the shift
of memory oceans
or chimeras of wants.
James Lee Jobe is starting out the new year with a blog change. He writes: Please note that I have move and renamed my blog. PUTAH CREEK has become PABLO is now at: jamesleejobe.blogspot.com/ Pablo? For Neruda & Picasso, my two favorite Pablos. The content will remain the same, focusing on early drafts of my poems, but with poetry news links and announcements. As most of my readers are outside the Sacramento area, I will leave most of the local announcements to you, who handles this so well already. Aw… thanks, James Lee. Medusa is blushing...
She is also blushing because of her poor tracking skills: yesterday's photo of tracks in the snow was actually from a cat named Venus who lives in Port Sanilac, Michigan with Katy Brown's daughter, Miranda. (I thought it was Miranda's dog, Daisy. Oops.) Be sure to check out Medusa's Facebook page for a new photo album from Katy's recent trip. It's entitled, "You Think It's Cold in California??" Katy reports the wind chill factor is "arctic" back there.
Cleaning out your closets lately? Our Seed of the Week is Cleaning Out My Closets, speaking literally or metaphorically or any which way. Send what you find there poetry-wise to firstname.lastname@example.org. No deadline on SOWs.
Again, may we write the world's greatest poems in 2013, and a whole passel of 'em, too, starting today!