—Evan Myquest, Rancho Murieta
what is it with anxious mortals
and their fascination with the unrigid portals
is it a function of declining hourglass time
fear at the tintinnabulation of the doorbell chime
who or what is behind our airy door
nothing we want and more
are we so sure we are worthy players
expiring super marios of multiple reality layers
the doors knocked are identical to the bells’ toll
no one needs remind we populate the call of that roll
of joyous birth and death’s ferried castaways
that hinged door’s passage opposing ways
while we are at such musing
I say I consider voices beyond the doors confusing
alive or dead or in between
I never know what they mean
rather I would not hear them at all
damn my heart pounds backed to this side of that wall
this business of going to the light
well I am washing my hair so not this night
and the morrow’s night after that
and sure the night after that—someone must put out the cat
say cowl’d stranger suppose you let me call you
until then do what you do
and pick other doors to do it to
(for D.R. Wagner)
they hung on to me as if I knew more than they
they to a man asked to be remembered to her
none of them cared who I was
from where I had come
in the villages between many rainforests
where rivers met
I saw her traces in their spices
in their art
in their speech
in their dance
the sheer amount of newness
in the old villages
people hum songs now as their own
from places they would never see
they said there was a sign
a foretelling in the fire
then she was there among them
spirits lifted as she carved the wood into stories
painted the murals which took in the rain
how she called the animals
and how productive the animals became
but then as she had come
and as she had said she would to no believer
she was gone
there was much ado about her absence
singling out and blaming
realization as other villages’ dance drums
spread word of her arrival there
and those other greater celebrations commenced
I told them about her wanderlust many times
in an attempt to quiet concerns
that she had come to harm
that other villages had imprisoned her
other villages would not let her leave
over this I said
no village could have such power
your visitor is not of the same
ground or aging path
or even the same air you breathe
but those visiting knew they'd been lifted
through the heavy clouds of change
never to fall back to what went before
after my words they danced and celebrated
bade me remember them to her
should I see her on my journey
to which I gave assurance
of every believable sort
before they would let me take their leave
and fully supplied I followed those other drums’ sound
let me recount—
her stay per village shorter
the murals less detailed
it was as if
she knew she must hurry now
that I was gaining on her
my camera ready
for a miracle a magic akin to what some call science
I wanted to record those feathers
near Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Eagle Falls, clear snow, white snow,
opal-laden feather duster,
shake off mystic flecks of luster.
Icy horsehair, harsh downbow.
Wheeling eagles above glide slow
next to your essential bluster.
Carve from that essence the shapes I know,
wet smoke, wet face, wet flower cluster.
Glassblower, shatter the bells you outblow.
Jostle the crystal of the encruster,
load up your opal feather duster.
Eagle Falls, white snow, clear snow:
carve into my essence the shapes you know.
AT TONIE BRENTANO'S
Big bearlike men have the hairiest hands.
Hair-handed bearlike men don’t understand.
Beethoven’s wrists grew thick black hair.
Patrons threw their hands up in despair:
the Ludwig-upbraided ones wanted him banned,
that black-haired, big-handed man of a bear.
When Tonie Brentano, immortal and fair,
knew her own husband unable to share
the loss she was reeling from, at her fair hand
pressed the gesture, the silence of one big hand.
One hand, then two: as if pressing the air,
cajoling strange notes soft as Tonie’s fine hair.
Brentano’s piano, not one touch too grand.
Through Tonie’s own windows rushed soft air
to lend help in the hairy-hand’s fight with despair.
His hands were thick with the blackest of hair.
Big bearlike men have the hairiest hands.
Hair-handed silent men do understand.
after practicing bravura tears for days
with every confidence in the world
he took the podium and
dried every eye in the house