Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fragile Threads

—Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

old grey suitcase
—charles mariano, sacramento

looking for Daddy’s letters
figured it had to be there,
where i haven’t looked, haven’t gone
in over thirty years

stuffed my life
into a small grey suitcase
locked it, then duct-taped around it
at least fifteen times

wasn’t expecting to go back,
maybe never
knew it was bad, very bad writing,
not just that though,
it was a period of heartache, agony
buried deep in the garage
under decades of junk

didn’t want to see it again,
should’ve burned it

perched strategically on top,
to mark the spot,
my Royal manual typewriter
with the words “write on”
scratched on the metal cover, 1969

opened the suitcase
and succumbed to the smell of years
volumes of stained, yellowed pages
poems, stories, letters
of a pitifully lost, unrecognizable me,
old wounds

searching for Daddy,
piles of dust and paper
fragile threads
of a damaged son,
who lost his father
then closed the door,

too quickly


—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

In the art theater
at the midnight showing
we watch Yojimbo
and Roshomon
with subtitles
joining up
with your voice
of human long-suffering
as you lighten up
the silver screen,
the world will not
forget you
every film striking us
as we watch
the throne of blood
with war's shadows
and the Seventh Samurai
our eyelids weeping
and lowered against
men's violence
in bygone centuries,
yet today, peace and


—B.Z. Niditch

is breathless
on shadowy earth
in San Francisco
and am realizing
there is a voice
of octaves
I heard in the 1980's
living inside me
enfolded in
a wish for words
and renewed
here in a coffee club,
like the Redwoods,
finding my own
lot of the poet's notes
somewhere buried
on the piano chair
by my sun glasses
veined with the one-eyed
scales of a beachcomber
remembering March 24th
is your day of birth.


—B.Z. Niditch

A death may occur
at any funereal moment
as in the abstract life
of the painter, Igor
next door
who was a renaissance
man with sketches,
musical scores, carvings
as we uncover
fringes and fragments
of letters
and drawings
he left for us.

At all times of night
through the tint doors
of the kitchen
light beams
at all hours, shadows
an enigmatic figure
who once created
abstract art,

now still life.

Mel's Ride
—Photo by D.R. Wagner

—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

“The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning ‘equal night.’”

What were you doing
when spring came this year?
Earth loosened her scarf,
let breeze chap her cheeks.
Trees unfurled fat, green buds
almost overnight.
Light lingers now, days lengthen.
I drink morning coffee
by the open window,
sunlight warm, heater off.

Spring sneaked up on me this year,
as I busily strove and tidied,
surprised me like gray hair,
lines on my face.
Can the equal day and night
bring inspiration to my mind,
dry from earning crusts,
renew love in my shy, aging heart?

—Ann Wehrman

Spring swells fuchsia in soft buds;
white blossoms glow on dark, wet branches;
rain-soaked pavement steams
with a warm, mineral smell.

I race through my classes,
the day’s chores,
only to stop,
suddenly unable to go on
for missing you.

Your face at twilight
watching me from the shadows,
the nervous, happy tone
as you first said my name aloud.

Spring brings a rainbow of flowers
as the redwoods shake off cold winter’s rain;
I nestle in hope of your love.


—Ann Wehrman

I stared at you
over that buffet,
perfectly arranged,
laden with tiny, handmade
chocolate tarts, elaborate
cakes trimmed with flowers.

Speechless, desperate,
I remarked that
violet stems taste sweet,
told you how Mom used to
lock us kids out, and
that's how I ended up
eating violets.

You said your Mom
used to shut you
out, too.
But then
you turned away.


—Ann Wehrman

He lay on his back on the concrete,
damp spring night biting,
center of the quad,
filled days with students milling.
He lay on his back
on the concrete in the dark.

I felt the cold seep
through his cotton army jacket,
felt the skin of his back drink it in
like a drug,
like the lonely years.

She straddled him,
her back naked to the night
bra only covering white flesh,
tattoo an ebony trellis
lacing her hips,
straddled him snugly, riding.

Night wild around them—
icy stars glowing—
her black bob bowed,
white shoulders sloping.

My hungry eyes watched them
dance without movement;
he lay quiet, lost in a trance.

Yet I felt they were posing,
somehow had known I would walk by.
I’ve often seen him,
face like my lover from long ago.

I walked by in the night.
I couldn’t look away,
like watching an accident
or the birth of a child.
I couldn’t look away;
I walked the rest of the way home
with a full heart, thinking
somehow, this was meant for me.


—Ann Wehrman

security buzzes me in
dark, seamy room, packed bar
jukebox plays Pointer Sisters’ “Fire”

clutching a bucket
tissue-wrapped roses
I approach crowded tables

dancer takes her ramp
white girl, jailbait
gracelessly leans way back
grips the chrome pole
paints a new dimension
to my favorite song

Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” rides the charts
I knock on a trailer door
end of the block in Kokomo, Indiana
Massage blinks the sign

she buys all of my flowers
she has a child
she is only doing this
until her boyfriend asks her to marry him

rainy night, Indianapolis
small club, blacks only
completely out of place, I
squeeze between sophisticated, stoned patrons

in their center, on a dais
middle-aged woman dances
opens her thighs, shows me darkness
frightened, I turn away

years later, perhaps I understand
but still walk that ten-mile road of strip clubs
bucket of roses sloshing on my hip


Today's LittleNip:

—Ann Privateer, Davis

Hello he
obligingly cooed
nice to see you, I'm
eager to dance, I
yearn for you.



—Photo by Ann Privateer