Monday, April 29, 2013

Finding Aldebaran

Nesting Dove
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Katy Brown, Davis

She holds me hostage
with her wild vulnerability—
her shyness—a barrier
to my human routines.
She’s out there now,
the rose-grey dove
sitting on her hasty nest
in the empty bird feeder.

She brought strands of dry grass,
weaving them into an oval
in the hanging square
of the mesh feeder by my door.

She softly croons, a song heard
only by the wind and stars—
and waits in feathered patience
for what will come.


—Katy Brown
The crows look disgruntled this afternoon,
the feathers around their necks in disarray from wind
that sprung up ahead of an in-coming storm.

They strut on the lawn across the street,
leaning back in that stiff commandant-stance
they assume when claiming territory.

No cat today to notice their slow patrol;
no mockingbirds or magpies to intimidate.
It’s hard to say what draws them here.

They tilt their heads at the distant rumble of thunder;
and all five lift off at once—like a gang of thugs
exiting a motorcycle bar.

They circle the street, climbing steeply,
cawing displeasure, and flap toward the row
of tossing eucalyptus trees down the block.

The whoosh of wind sweeps the sound
of the retreating crows down the street.
The sun appears a little brighter

on the lawn where five crows congregated
to plot some new, unfriendly mischief
in the quiet neighborhood below a row of blue gum trees.


—Katy Brown
Rock me in the rigging
rock me, rock me
up near the crow’s nest
and northern star—tied
in a hammock of salt-stiff jute
where the boson’s lute drizzles
a song through
the swaying spars.

Well-patched sails luff in the wind;
it’s enough up here—now—rocking
rocking, rocking in the salt-stiff jute
—the notes of a lute drifting
up from the bow in a tune
like a lullaby: rock me, rock me.

The crow’s nest swaying
the sound of the lute—
salt-stiff jute forms a creaking nest
grant me rest, grant me rest
rocking    rocking    rocking  
up in the rigging with luffing sails
while the boson’s lute plays a lullaby.


—Katy Brown
Today the word is limits
—well, maybe it was flower or follower.
Brace for the intense hum of bees boiling out
—or the hollow silence of an empty hive.

I’ve depended on routine and ritual
to keep me grounded.

Someone is cooking bacon and onions
down the street.
I think of ringing their bell
and asking myself to dinner.

Colors shift toward orange
in the evening light.
I’ve walked this concrete route
all hours of the day
in all seasons
looking for the white crow
that lives in a neighborhood flock.

Orphans come in all ages.

I’m working on letting go—
not the closing-doors and opening-windows kind.
I’ve seen too many windows open onto brick walls
and doors that lead into cellars.
Letting go of the ephemeral:
things I thought I could count on
but were only mine on loan;
mine only on loan.

I’m learning odd facts, new ways of thinking.
How to cope with shadows.
How to find Aldebaran.

—Photo by Taylor Graham

—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
around there
in the mid 70s
and he taught a course at De Anza Jr College
“Deductive Logic”
promoting greater knowledge
in the Humanities
in the Dept of Philosophy
I thought
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
  and essentially
was assumed to be a part of his mastery
But now
  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!
“Oh Really?”
Just thumb through so many pages and look
  at the true table provided in Copi’s book
  and lookit:  
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
  takes time
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?
Well, anyway
I know the overpasses will never fail


—Katy Brown
No phrases or stunning words or forms;
no sentiments that I desire to share:
the muse has left for good this time.

Language has its limits, here—
no term for this creative void;
no phrase or moving word or form.

Words are an imperfect bridge
from heart to heart when meaning counts.
My fickle muse has left for good.

There is no language for a stranded soul
caught between expression and desire—
no catchy word, no form, no phrase.

The syntax of the heart, the lexicon of charm:
there’ll be no poetry today.
The muse has packed her trunk and fled.

No term for dread that causes such distress—
no crumb of inspiration or incentive;
no phrase or form or thought-provoking word.
My muse has flown and left no forwarding address.


Today's LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

What's riffling
the quiet of cedar pond
this hot spring
day? No breeze—
just puppy splashing dog-joy
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...

    —Photo by Katy Brown