—Katy Brown, Davis
She holds me hostage
She brought strands of dry grass,
She softly croons, a song heard
They strut on the lawn across the street,
No cat today to notice their slow patrol;
They tilt their heads at the distant rumble of thunder;
They circle the street, climbing steeply,
The whoosh of wind sweeps the sound
on the lawn where five crows congregated
Well-patched sails luff in the wind;
The crow’s nest swaying
I’ve depended on routine and ritual
Someone is cooking bacon and onions
Colors shift toward orange
Orphans come in all ages.
I’m working on letting go—
I’m learning odd facts, new ways of thinking.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
Today they let me go.
I can't wait for the forest to catch up with me.
Past the old railroad grade
for hauling logs out of the woods
to be mechanically turned into walls and doors
that long ago became kindling for a fire.
When did the trees give out?
Berries upgrade everything with their dusty
sweet black breath, their voices.
Coyotes eat them in the dusky dark, and leave
their sign full of seeds and fur.
I taste one berry close to the thorn, to the bone.
Game-trails beckon through the green
eternity of bramble. Old sleeping-bag
adobe'd into clay, someone found
a hidden space to sleep among sweet berries
by the pond, where they put a cyclone-
fence around anything so wild,
but maybe that's just my amnesia. Clouds
of pond-water when my pup emerged to shake
her joy all over me. Today
they let me go, issued me fresh batteries.
I didn't tell them about the pond,
out beyond the bridge, quietly slipping away.
They'd've said I'm crazy.
—Richard Hansen, Sacramento
Dr Kay was a Civil Engineer
for the city of Cupertino or Sunnyvale
in the mid 70s
and he taught a course at De Anza Jr College
promoting greater knowledge
in the Humanities
in the Dept of Philosophy
we’d be discussing John Locke
Or Plato, perhaps Alexander Pope who wrote:
“what is is right”
And a learned Professor
with intellect and insight
Could demonstrate the greater meaning
of such lofty thinking
Comprising the lyrics
of songs musicians sing
oooooWeeeee this was heady!
I bought the textbook by Copi
and was horrified to see
Mathematics on every page, like:
A implies B
B implies C
then of course
A implies C don’t you know
Well Fuck! I didn’t and so
Everyone failed the mid-term
except two who got As
being engineering students
they didn’t have much to say
and Dr Kay’s expression dropped
not being at all stern
sharing some thoughts
talked about his doctoral pursuits
and all that he had so easily learned
with one notable struggle:
A course in metal fatigue
when one builds with railroad trussels
And being the man in charge
of so much public safety
Taking very seriously his responsibility
Dr Kay spent many extra hours researching
knowledge of metal fatigue was vital
was assumed to be a part of his mastery
he’s charged with increasing our knowledge
He adopted new modalities of instruction Plus:
extended his office hours
re-wrote the course syllabus
got those engineering students to tutor us
And one of his lectures included
a slide show of The Parthenon too
Mentioning the creativity and beauty
of elegant Greek engineering including
The logic and math so tightly wrapped
The Parthenon IS right and true
Isn’t that a fact!
just look at it man!
for deductive reasoning
was the logical result
that which was supposed
earlier in the semester
Long story short: I got a B
learning conditions in logic
that combined with validity
a truth implies a truth
“hey that’s easy”
a nontruth implies a nontruth too
and it valid!
Just thumb through so many pages and look
at the true table provided in Copi’s book
We can make a premise negative
with statements such as:
“it isn’t the case that”
but in notation we use a squiggle that
looks like a drunk minus sign
placed in front of a premise
to oppose what’s originally defined
And transferring language to symbols
But with practice you’ll do fine
A nontruth can never validly imply
Something that’s true
in logic or in life
So I never worry while driving
in the south bay
in and around San Jose
Was it Cupertino? or Sunnyvale?
I know the overpasses will never fail
Language has its limits, here—
Words are an imperfect bridge
There is no language for a stranded soul
The syntax of the heart, the lexicon of charm:
No term for dread that causes such distress—
the quiet of cedar pond
this hot spring
day? No breeze—
like it was heaven.
—Medusa, suggesting you click on today's pix to see enlarged versions of them, including the shadow of the head of Loki, Taylor Graham's dog, lurking near the pond...