Thursday, January 31, 2013

News From the Four-Dollar Motel

Toy Dolls, Folsom Historical Museum
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

it wasn’t our fault you said much later
that we were both stranded at the same time
from our companions in the woods
we didn’t even know each other
but there we were
both groping through snow
it was blinding
where had we come from?
how to get back to our campsites?

it was getting worse all the time
and then we found the cabin
unlocked, deserted
we pushed our way in

there were logs by the fireplace
old newspapers piled nearby
matches in a drawer
we found a sleeping bag
could we both fit into it?
just to keep warm we said
we wrapped arms around each other
each inhaling the other’s  strange smell
each feeling the other’s body
the shapes, the rounds, the hidden places
we were warmed, deliciously
we fell asleep

we woke to a moon shining on us
a dented moon through the iced window
the storm was over
but we were not   


—Patricia Hickerson

my saxophone player makes me cry
the sweet wailing the tenderness
smoother than a lover’s touch
he takes me to another place
a thrill of nerves shudders my legs
his swelling and wailing
takes me down by the river
a dog barks
a child cries for his mother
in the crescent along the levee
shell-strewn washed up by the river
where I once lived in heat and swamp
listening to the rise and fall of life
that only my sax player can express
smooth as chocolate
sweet as pralines riddled with pecans
and we are down by the river
under the sugar spell of the saxophone plaint
the ripple of his sax
has sharpened my eyesight
your best friend will let his horse ride over you
in dust and heat
down by the river
so cold
so very cold
let night cover it all
you don’t want to see what’s going down
just hear the sound…
the sax player pauses to give everyone a rest
far across the city at a winding park
you spy a ketchup-colored shirt
that would show no stain from a hot dog flurry
then—a blood-red shirt or is it murder
not yet laid to rest?


—Patricia Hickerson

a certain place
just off 580
we used to meet
a jug of bourbon
a load of chips
and thou beside me, love
singing in the wilderness
of lowered blinds
puffy pillows
snowy sheets
wooly blankets
and thou beside me, man        


—Patricia Hickerson

pain perdu the Cajuns call it
Mom called it French toast
both the same
old bread on the verge of death
old bread almost stale
old bread hardened by time
old bread soaked in egg and milk
fried in mounds of butter till crispy
singed at the edges
burnished gold at the center
a miner would be proud
to find this glittering bread in his kit
bread isn’t lost
it’s found and refurbished
made good
made delicious
topped with powdered sugar
or pure maple syrup
not lost
not pain perdu
revived to live another day

Mourning-Style Dress, Folsom Historical Museum
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Tehama       

Only in the black of night               
do I feel safe enough               
Awake in a sleeping house               
trucks on the highway finally still           
I unzip my heart                   
take a cautious look inside               
Tears flow hot and sticky               
across my face                   
catch in my hair                                       
Light gathers, radiation                
therapy of the soul.                   
Tears stitch up the seam               
mend the break                   
The heart is whole again.               
Thirty years later I learn               
they always loved me.               
I never knew.                       
I am undone by love.


—Patricia Wellingham-Jones

Do you really think I like it, huh?
I’m stuck here on a pot-holed circle
without even a tree to shade
my flaking shingles,
my other half plastered to my side,
only a thin wall keeps us apart.
One or the other of us
always has low-lifes overnight.
They make noises like hogs,
bang the headboard against sheetrock,
leave me in the morning smelling like a sty.
We have holes in our shared wall
from fists in rage, disgusted elbows
and no one should sit naked
on the bedspread.
Forget about bare feet on that crud-brown rug.
Worst of all, I never get a good scrubbing.
The so-called maid swishes her rag around
just enough to sop up the puddles,
spritzes air freshener to hide
her long smoke breaks,
and only every three days bothers
to change the sheets.
Oh, how I’d love to move
but they’ve got me attached to concrete.
My only hope is some drunken loser’s
lit cigarette.


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

A word
word's unheard.
What's worse is
extinct words,
words of non-distinction.

Words unheard of.
"Of" as a word
or "if"
as "if" it was
(as it were)
a word.

A weird word
that's weird,
and nothing more.
There's nothing more
weird than the word

So many moors:
more, Moore,
and Moor—
and mooring.
A boat load "mooring."
A boat load of Moors

on the water,
getting wetter
in the winter.
Other words, like
"Birds in the water"
already wetter
when it's winter weather.

Moors and birds
gathered together
like words
of a feather. . .
on the water
in the winter.



what comes to mind.
The form, the pith,
the sense of it
I do intend.
And, as the pen moves
on the page
and on ahead,
I wonder if what I have said
is worth the reading,
worth the telling.  Let me tell:

My thoughts by day
are clouded just the same
as night time comes.
At night the wine works
wonders on these lines
so loosely writ,
that pretty soon the poem
takes on a turn
before the turn
is meant to turn.

And candles burned
at both their ends
are now so done.  The poet is
undone as well,
with wine and spell
that grammar matters not no more,
nor spelling seen as use-full
two the pome.

—Carol Louise Moon


Today's LittleNip:

—Patricia Hickerson

the remote
can’t find it
and is that a cracker my toe is touching?
have you been eating crackers in bed again?
and don’t tell me it’s your paperback
what is this rag?
oh, your boxers
and what is
this thing?


—Medusa, with thanks to these lovely ladies for the photos and colorful poems about, among other things, that poor, ramshackle No Tell Mo-tel. My word (or yours!)—what tales it has for us! Write them all down and send them to No need to be just a lurker...

Toy Washer, Folsom Historical Museum
—Photo by Michelle Kunert