Monday, March 04, 2013

Suns of Not-Quite Spring

Miner's Lettuce
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Of the holly, only stalks remain, quite
dead. Sheep's teeth ripped its leaves of shiny green,
and each of our perennials that might

have wintered within sheep's reach. Hunger's keen
in ovines. Now the sun of not-quite spring
steeps hungers in a gardener caught between

woolens and the first violets' dizzy fling
on the fairgrounds lawn. Out of tune, a jay
makes squawk as if to disprove birds can sing.

And yet the sky's so blue-jay brash today,
it's spring no matter what the forecasts say.


—Taylor Graham

His dog led the way into the woods, showing
him snapped-off twigs, proof of someone passing.
Can't you smell it? the dog would ask. Dogs
know forest-stories. If the man glimpsed flicks
of yellow plumage in the brush, the broken parts
of flight, his dog knew the birds by name;
and the journeys of air: where each wind came
from and all its histories. His dog could find
the path to take in cloudy weather when sun gave
no direction, or at night when canopies of trees
hid the stars. Following his dog, he almost always
found what he was looking for, and much
besides. His dog's alert would set him listening
for the soft tread of cougar, seeing its shadow
behind his eyes like tribal memory. A man
has no words to describe these mysteries.

Cowboy, Master of Search-and-Rescue
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Why, I don’t know, but when I see you near
it brings back times I tried to rescue you.
I knew you were grateful. Everything was clear,
and here was all the world, and the world was who?
You, just you: and for me, that world was fear,
that boundary-fear I’d someday speak or do
those things that disgust a friend: I’m outta here,
you’d too soon be saying. Abduction is rescue to
barbarians like me. But I’ve seen Rome,
you’re my urbis et orbis. I’m the denizen
who tries to behave around you. This is your home.
You’re noble by birth. May I be your citizen?
I don’t know your Greek and your Latin. I’m just folks.
Will you laugh at my table manners? Get my jokes?


—Tom Goff

In tattered oriflamming banners
I flay the orangeskin: microfine spray
misting as players of Shakespeare’s plays
mouth-spout whilst they speak. Orange force, orange fray
spewed front-row-spittle by opera singers.
O sprightly syllables! Damn good manners…

Thistle Bides Its Time
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

When I journeyed
to Balbec searching
for wisdom
from Marcel Proust,
to seek his grounds
for finding signs for love
heightened by the springs
of the countryside
far away other students
driven from the Eiffel Tower
cafes and tourist traps
to find his secret
of what will remain after us,
it wasn't affairs
of business or sated times
which will collapse
it was in art
that you believed
and realizing my part
was no longer deceived.


—B.Z. Niditch

Losing it
through my deception
starting now in rehearsal
every ides of March
within a mine-field
of words
with an audition
of having to play
a good Brutus.
In a Roman costume
covering my bones
outspoken at our new
staged rehearsal
at the announcement
of Caesar's death
to a fusillade
of immortal lines
and losing my crown.
Now being stabbed,
and being damned
or praised
by the conspirators
which blankets
each of our consciences
like the wolfish tongues
from the roof
of our mouths
unsure that anyone
will not witness
the consequences
of the unfolding plot,
yet through great words
assigned to speak
with vexation of halting
we endure the applause
as Shakespeare
ends his play.


—B.Z. Niditch

When life suspends us
on a swing
of disappointments
in hours or days
blinded by mercenary
loss and a stranger
to our future,
we still hold on
in our breath
between reflections
of sun and clouds
making our way
even slowly
by open boat,
with doubts
of a poet with words
heavy on his back
of older knowledge
unable to answer
for a new voyage
of where to escape
like in childhood
away from parental storms
wanting to explore
a windswept island
of good memory
never lost from time.


—B.Z. Niditch

The other name
your identity
life's green card
matches the form
of a poem
and works to shelter
our absence
from betrayal.


—B.Z. Niditch

Everyone has a pulse
of a chimera's echo
in a poet's mirror
like a domino of words
of self immunity
interrogates language
passes on unspoken justice
as in a captive passport
from a rapturous reading
for our own enlightenment.


Today's LittleNip:

—Patricia Pashby, Sacramento

When she loves,
is it about him
or who she becomes
when they are together?


—Medusa, who reminds you that a new issue of Tiger's Eye: A Journal of Poetry is available from Tiger's Eye Press, P.O. Box 9723, Denver, CO 80209. See

Spring Greens
—Photo by Taylor Graham