Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mary's Bears and Charles's Bloody Knuckles

Arthur Gonzalez, UCD Library, Davis
—Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

(In the style of Mary Oliver)
—Jordan Costello, Davis

I discovered today
while walking alone that the path
I was taking was not my own. It pulled at
my heartstrings and drew my face near,
telling me not to go. The deeper I went,
the more unlike me I got.
It consumed me, that path it did. Until I was so deep
that I could not turn around. I pulled
at the weeds that grew behind me and yanked
at the branches that had twisted around me.
But the more I struggled,
the worse I got.
And the worse I
got, the more I struggled.
My hands began to shake
and my voice began
to crack.
But I kept pulling and shoving,
finding strength that was not my own
the weeds began to
weaken and the branches ceased to resist
my blistered hands
that tugged at their heartless roots
until I could take a step
and another
out of those woods and
onto my own unknown


(in the style of Mary Oliver)
—Jordan Costello

Time doesn’t stop when you want it to.
Time does not answer to any master
that controls its actions, thoughts and worries.
Time only listens to time, not to your pleas
or wishes or what time should be.
Tell time what you want and it will disregard all that you say.
Time stops for no one.
Time turns the leaves green to orange to brown
and moves them away when their time comes,
to places you cannot see
through lakes and forests.
Time tells the bears when to find shelter, hibernate
and fill their bellies until its warm once again.
No matter how important you think you are
the world is at the mercy of time
ruling over you like it does those bears, scary but reassuring
that the burden of normality is on time
and you just have to listen to it.

 Black Hands
—Photo by D.R. Wagner

(in the style of Charles Bukowski)
—Phillip Tan, Davis

It was on the 3rd floor of Malcolm Hall
I used to get livid
And punch giant holes in the wall
While I was screaming, and, obviously
My punch would indent the wall
And my fist would fit perfectly
Still bleeding
And I'd tell my roommate,
“Hah, what a soft wall!”

The next moment I'd take my hand
Out of the wall
And walk out of my room
To the one person
Who could wrap my knuckles.
I kept punching that hole in the wall
Each time I got livid
And it would leave a hole
Still gaping—
A bleeding fist
An indented wall,
And each time I'd take my hand
Back to that one person.
I don't understand when I exactly stopped
Although I do recall
I was forced to move out.
There was a man down the hall who worked for
The school in a suit and tie,
He really fixed holes well
And put all his tools out on the table
And I would stand right behind him
And watch him do his thing
While my knuckles bled.


(in the style of Charles Bukowski)
—Phillip Tan

I see you smiling at me with deep
Round dimples, wait, your dimples are not deep.
They are dents, and you are in New York
Where you wrote that last letter to me and
I responded but never got a response back.
You used to pen the best letters about
Me, myself, and I, all in reference, and you
Knew me quite well and mostly
I was your one love, and I wrote back, but it's okay,
Sure, go do your thing, don't worry about me
Because we won't meet. We were in love once back
In the day, for about two years, but we parted, pausing
What we had. Then you went east with the smart and studied
About the smarter, and obviously, what you realized
Is that the smarter only care about
Their knowing instead of the west coast girl in school
With them, who gives them her all, but then realizes
In sporadic moments to write letters about
Me, myself, and I. We know we're done, We talked about
It, but listening to your words I reconsidered. Possibly
It was your diction or syntax. You were one of the
Best writers I've known and I used to tell myself,
Us, You may be a worrier, but me, I am
A warrior. There is no lie in my lines. I loved you
Like the ocean tide's refusal to stop kissing the shorelines
Even though time after time, it is always sent away. I would've
Loved you even more if I was all alone in a room watching
My nails grow and hearing you count the seconds from one to done,
But that will never happen. Your letters got saddening,
My love felt unappreciated. Babe, I wrote back but I guess every
Love becomes underappreciated. It didn't help that you said
You are enjoying and having the time of your life, but
I realized that is both the worst and the best part, knowing
You are doing fine without me and moving on with your life but
Remember I haven't forgotten you. I wrote back, it's not a question, but
I wish I got an answer. A friend of yours told me of your doing
A couple months after our pause. If I had met you
It probably would have been unfair to both you and I
To press play. It is best like this.


Our thanks to today's cooks for the final "in the style of" poems from D.R. Wagner's students at UC Davis. Tuesday is normally the day we post poems from Joyce Odam, but as some of you may know, she fell and broke her hip on Friday and had surgery on Saturday, from which she is recovering well, but we'll have to wait a bit for more poems from her.

And it's time for a new Seed of the Week. Let's take a cue from Joyce (either see the LittleNip or her recent mishap) and write about "Oops". Is this about mistakes you've made in the past, or regrets of some sort, or just banana peels... Or maybe it's not about you at all, but something you've seen somebody else do, or in the news. Tell us about oopses at kathykieth@hotmail.com, but as usual, no deadlines on SOWs. Heck—write about anything! Photos and art, too. Medusa is, well, an easy gal..........


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

A stone dislodged from a path,
a butterfly torn by wind,
a voice-echo as it fades:
oh to reclaim what is said,
oh, to restore what is harmed,
oh, to return what is moved
—symbols of all I regret.



—Art by Gavin Cheng, Davis