an upsurge of curls
brandishing beneath her surf board
foam sprays azure
women’s naval reserve takes leave
—Pat Pashby, Sacramento
push, pull, rock and toss.
Swells the color of emptiness—
Strong underwater turbulence
intensifies her malaise.
Heave ho . . .
feeling like Venus
my breathless body quivers
echoing her pleasure.
When she whispers like that
the clouds part—
revealing the moon’s blinding rays.
When she whispers like that
I am stripped—
she is mocking my surrender
mocking my breathless body
echoing her pleasure
—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento
—Michael Cluff, Corona
I have passed
half a day
in the umbra
of what you perceive
as your destined glory.
Funny, the potato leek soup
was as unwholesome as usual,
the Gatling gun spat
as it is wont
and the stars still winked
when your encrusted back
(4 her who sleeps in the Casa de los Picos)
—Jeremy Greene, Folsom
Don't be proud of the fact
That I've given up
On the higher image I praised
And allowed for the cynicism
To possess my inner demons
But, in the distance,
I hear a woman shouting "Hosanna!"
Re-awakening the real me
From the reality the heathens claim
I must believe in
I still hear you… the one who’s out there
We'll find each other, I swear...
AS IF LOST
in the woods that overhang this town,
the old man who lived here is gone.
We found his door wide open, gate rusted
on its hinge. Was he guided by voices
of wind that seemed to call his name
as it wound its syntax into fence-wire
at the edge of field, among leafless oaks
outlying forest, and the deeper dark
of woods, night quilted of deadfall leaves?
Or did he wake one morning to the call
of geese, a wild skein flying north
over Stone Mountain, and one lone
goose as if left behind, crying after them,
hurrying to catch up? What energy
sparks a soul-body's every filament
when all the light-bulbs of the house
burn out, when the sky is such
electric blue? Where has he gone?
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
WHAT I THOUGHT I KNEW
Evening: I brushed and flossed,
I walked the dog.
I laid out everything for morning.
But in the night, my spine
stretched out trying to touch the farthest
reaches, the whole dark unknown
while in dream my bread
failed. Too much
Elliott Carter or maybe
too much yeast. Heady with sky
each synapse tingling electric blue.
I woke before dawn, fingers itching
to knead the clean white
sponge of daylight dough just rising.
PERCY ON THE SILL
On such a bright spring day, almost near
the end of winter, Percy knows he was born
lucky. Painted bird, a minstrel to the lost
at heart. A social songster for those
who cannot sing. Battalions of fast-food
sparrows with their single note of hunger
neither fly nor versify, while overhead
the mighty cranes—those platonic
conversationalists of the upstroke wing—
go searching afar for the Idea of prairie.
But Percy's place is right here, windowsill
guardian of song. Green-painted bird
of finest whittled plumage (knotty pine)
and brightest brush-point eye—well yes,
he's only wooden. But has he words
in his heart and head? Ask the little girl
who listens to his tales, and repeats them
every evening as she goes to bed.
—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
Distant as memory
these waves witness
like a brook's rivulet
of last night's dream
I was losing it
under a whole sea
of Pacific shadows
my language breathes
from a yellow snorkel
from leagues silver waters
where kissing fish absorb,
in nature's bubbling tongue
of captured solitude
in a hideout of reflections
on the ocean floor
of green, red and orange
rolling by me
with luminous secrets.
AUDEN'S BIRTHDAY FEBRUARY 21
Uncle said be
try to be modern
and read W.H. Auden
Kick the habit
of feasting on Easter
of Welsh rabbit
Listen to operas
the immortal playing
of Lily Krauss
Auden's great love
for food, drink and music
he taught us not to
be rude or sick
The poet's advice:
it leads to a headache
go visit God in confession
Beware of fascism
of men's dirty little minds
Stick to the catechism
and lively poetry's lines,
from each of your friends
we learnt our lessons
now get out your pens!
Our thanks to today's contributors as we wind up our cameos and waves and start on Self-Deceptions, our new Seed of the Week. The poem I posted by Michael Cluff actually gave me the idea for this seed, so thanks, Mike! And welcome to the Kitchen, Jeremy Greene! May your pen continue to flourish.
Our thanks to all the readers who sent us poems about waves and other subjects in cameo form; I was pleasantly surprised by all the poets who tackled the cameo. No form is for the faint of heart. All of those intrepid poets will be receiving a free copy of WTF in the mail. If you haven't gotten a copy yet, you can either order one for $2 from rattlesnakepress.com/wtf.html or head down to The Book Collector, where there are still some copies, hopefully.
I had lunch with Debbie Reeves on Monday, her day off. You may recognize her from The Book Collector, where she has worked part-time for seven years. Debbie has taken over the management of The Book Collector, and she has a lot of ideas and energy to invest in it. TBC will remain the Home of the Snake, of course, and Debbie tells me she is willing to host the occasional reading by poetry groups around town, as well as to offer books on consignment. The month of April, which is National Poetry Month, will feature a month-long sale: 30% off of most poetry books! Awesome! Debbie is also willing to purchase some of your books outright and to offer bookstore credit on others. Good luck to you, Debbie, on your new adventure, and poets should watch the new "TBC Nooz" in Medusa's green box at the right of this for sales and other TBC events. You can order books online from Debbie at AbeBooks: see www.abebooks.com/the-book-collector-sacramento-ca-u.s.a/3416/sf Debbie can also be reached at email@example.com New TBC hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10am to 5pm, Saturdays from 10am to 6pm, Sundays from 11am to 4pm and closed on Mondays.
And our thanks to the anonymous shutterbug who posted the pig photos today. Tune in tomorrow for more about carrots (and more from Ann Privateer)!
—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove