Monday, April 22, 2013

Pocket Dreams of Future Poets

California Poppies
—Photo by Taylor Graham

The earth is no more fragile

than a baby, or an old winter leaf
or no more fragile
than a thin spun web.
But babies survive
their newness and
the cracked brown
leaf makes rich soil
to grow things.
The web is often broken
yet when we turn around
it's always whole again.
A good song is sung
over and over again
until the needle dulls
or the tape warps
or the charge goes out.
But we don't forget
the words and we hum
the melody.  You have
to turn us all out, sweep
us into the next galaxy
to finally be rid of us.
No remnants.
No Morris Code from
the universe.
Your ears are ringing.
"Stop, hey, what's that sound?"*

—Ann Menebroker, Sacramento

*Buffalo Springfield, song:
"For What It's Worth"


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Love-seat—cheaper than a couch or Davenport.
It sat in the living room facing the front window
and, later, the TV; across from the Federal mirror
reflecting the love-seat with child pretending to
be a lost prince riding a bay horse to Montana,
land of exploration. That old piece of furniture
accompanied every move from house to house in
a city that grew vague as child came to know it.

At last child escaped its childhood, running thru
many years; and found, in the newspaper of a
foreign place, a smiling photo: “four friends over
40 years.” Fifth grade, high school, college—did
the grown child know names of its own class-
mates from so long ago? What became of that
faithful old dog, the love-seat?


—Taylor Graham

The one with the broken mouth
can speak, but only of ruins,
and neither dances nor sings.
When she told about the cat
it was with her hands, a gesture
for that certain earth-fur hue
of a creature curled in the hollow
wood-chipped alluvial-till
alongside parking lot, broken
mouth of storm-drain. The cat's
eyes did not look directly but
beyond, at its tenth life, perhaps,
or feigning dying hoping for
a mouse, a lizard, even joy a bird.
By the time the broken mouth
could tell us, the cat was gone.

Calla Lilies
—Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—B.Z. Niditich, Brookline, MA

A crocus in the clear glass
of nana's Parisian vase
along the sunshine's vibrancy
of an opened earth day
shaming the low clouds
trying to form
its dizziness of rainfalls
on an inkwell sky,
we are hiding children
outside the French blinds
of the moistened window,
soon we will trek down
the airy white mountains
of our former ski lodge
to reach a flower bed
where a runaway poet
once camped out on
to escape a parental storm
sliding over porous blue hills
with an unformed shadow
held by boulders
deep in ravine crags
near the ditch water pond,
where gulls corner us
with salient sea voices,
it is all nature's fragility
for a four-seasoned refugee
living between life's solitude
near trembling evergreen trees
with its April mistiness
of enveloped light
and scraps of survival,
under a moon's eye
after dark.


—B.Z. Niditch

At noonday
here by the Concord River
in a revolutionary day
a new emerging nature
will always caress us
for future snapshots
as we take cover
on new blankets
from the still rain
bringing out our memory
like a water on walls
of a landscape painting
bring us back to life
from a sleepless night
in the cozy Colonial inn
after a self reliant visit
to Emerson's house,
we warming to every sensation
of history's time
with our fragile curiosity
longing to spring out
from all night showers,
with many lined verses
awakening on my lap
on huge beds of daffodils
and everywhere clover
as new buds glisten
on bright flagstones
in a colossal sunshine
like the stained glass
reflected by light
along a cathedral ceiling
in the Fine Art rooms
at the little reader inn
near the Alcott's,
as two of us on the walk
over the endless
Concord bridge
covering our mossy clothes
face dancing waters,
a tranquility forms us
in one natural body
as anonymous nameless
waves still rise up
on the shore's edge
in a continuous ripple
from April floods,
and miraculously
all the earth,
unseen blinding rocks,
pocket dreams
of future poets
joys of gold butterflies,
swans pass by
with slight shadows
on their upturned voyage,
bells strike the noon hours,
we retire on the tall grass
on green sleeves ourselves
being together with birdsong
whispering by the trees.

Dandelion Seed-puff
—Photo by Richard Hansen, Sacramento

—B.Z. Niditch

(To William Shakespeare for his birthday, April 23)

Once in fervor
of speech discovering
a poet's favor and wit
no equal in lines
cast at loving
of a colossal writ,
occupying a place
in language's ear
agreed by skill
in every age's audience
who will hear,
we offer two minutes
of silence to fulfill
on our shattered earth 
and drifted sea and bay
to plant us by roses
in every thicket's way,
we can't know
what trace or part
fate discloses art's gift
for Shakespeare's birthday.


—B.Z. Niditch

In the bluest air
with a gesture
that opens an alphabet
of appearing words
on a shadowy page
obliterates any suspension
in a solo passage
of subterranean fire
within a time zone
as quickly collapsing light
emerges from our spirit
as unlimited phrases
our exercising voice
mysteriously hits
the right tone
of an alembic silence,
phrases are all lined up
as in a doll's house
of sister's small furniture
we sit on the kitchen chair
marveling at the Muse
of unknown codas
at the prophetic utterance
from the Medusa.


Our thanks to today's many contributors for this, our Earth Day posting, in the Kitchen. NorCal poets will be alarmed to hear, however, that Joyce Odam fell when she was at the Cal. Federation of Chaparral Poets Convention in Modesto last Saturday, fracturing her hip. She had surgery yesterday and is doing very well with the three shiny new brass screws on board, and should be back home soon, after a stint in rehab.

Speaking of CFCP, area poets did VERY well in the annual contest there: Laverne Frith won both top prizes (Golden Pegasus and Roadrunnerup); Joyce Odam won a Roadrunnerup also; Katy Brown won the Theme poem; and scads of prizes were scooped up by other names you might recognize: Carol Frith, Lynn Hansen, Claire J. Baker, Patricia L. Nichol, Allegra Silberstein, Norma Kohout, Nancy Haskett, and Betty Temple. Congrats to all of them! To read the winning poems, go to and click "read the poems" for Laverne's winning work and some info about him and his writing.

The latest issue of Convergence is online at Look for work by Andrew Aulino, Jane Blue, Myles Boisen, Darren C. Demaree, James Ducat, Grant Flint, Bill Freedman, A.J. Huffman, Michael Lee Johnson, Erren Geraud Kelly,  Kirby Light, Ann Privateer, Fabio Sassi, Allyson Seconds, and Brenda Yamen. In addition, Editors' Choice pages and photos throughout the website are updated monthly or bimonthly, so stop by often. Linda Collins is Editor Cynthia Linville's featured poet this month.
Friends of Roseville Poet Cleo Kocol will be saddened to hear that Cleo's husband, Hank, passed away on Saturday. And recently we heard about the death of Sacramento poet/Deftone musician Chi Cheng; Chris Macias did a wonderful article about him in The Sacramento Bee yesterday; see


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

Now feel
the balancings—
all the subtle
shiftings—the changing light,
shadows quickening—music
of the rain.



 This Fragile Earth
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis