Monday, July 29, 2013

Frames of Reference

Cornerstone Gardens, Sonoma
—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

—Caschwa, Sacramento

Smokers habitually toss butts
Where a pond used to be…
Now its bottom too dry
To snuff them out

Under the canopy of a mature forest nearby
Hotel guests strip naked or nearly
And gently slip into carefully manicured pools
Seeking relief from the rat race

At the former pond an ember lay
From that a spark, then a stinky burning
While the ground cover ripples with heat
As more and more dry plants ignite

Bonding as if clasping hands
Each a small account holder
Investing in the greater flame
That lashes out beyond the pond
Brutally assaulting the forest
Stripping the trees naked, or nearly
Violently invading the perfectly sculptured hotel
Dragging scorching smoke and exploding branches

Into the carefully manicured pools
Where the guests run out like rats
Holding hands, seeking relief
Where a pond used to be…



As a child, my teachers regarded
My left-handedness nonjudgmentally
as a quality

My left-handed mother-in-law faced
The schoolmaster’s hard, swift, wooden
Stick repeatedly striking her wrist to
Drive out the evil

My father served in the Sea-Bees
Near Normandy in World War II

He came back alive and well,
Liked the military, hated the war,
Lived long and died an old man

Can people who die with hate in their heart,
Whether soldiers while fighting
Or veterans in a parade
Go to Heaven?

My wife and I went to the optometrist
To be tested and fitted for contact lenses
Turns out our prescriptions were
exactly the same, which was rare

Almost as rare as when we interpret
What we see
Exactly the same

Cornerstone Gardens, Sonoma
—Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

You are the bravest woman I’ll ever know.
Why else do I couple you with Socrates
in David’s painting, readying to swallow
the hemlock cup? His right hand about to seize
this is Adam’s electric hand, and I love hands
decisive and warm and active, like your pair.
His left hand thrusts a forefinger: he withstands
—by pointing upward to the Beyond—despair.
Pinwheel-lively seated on his last couch,
he’s so like you, my truthful one, I blanch
just thinking of how I’d crumble inside your kiss.
But suicidal dissolves are what cowards miss.
A Flaxman Socrates, drinking as if to quench
his thirst, not life, ignores the sloppy debauch:

His followers, convulsively hugging, weeping.
Warped willows, roots undermined by the bitter seeping…


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

What is a window, but a frame.
The existence of a frame on a wall.
I exist, therefore I am a window;
a window to my soul, and the souls of others
and their windows.

What is a window, but a frame.
I’ve been framed into existence by my parents,
God rest ‘em. They too were windows,
beautiful souls, a cool breeze and two colorful birds
flying by and into my window…
my frame of reference.

That’s why I refer to them now, in this poem…
Yes, I was framed… a silver lining
around two beautiful Birds of Paradise
in my forever garden. God rest ‘em.
I was framed.


Today's LittleNip:

—Olga Blu Browne, Sacramento

Whispered over oceans, echoing
off mountains, calling out to the

In a voice that breathes, silence
is softly spoken. Ecstasy and

Love escapes; poetry's sadness
is intimate. Chemistry expired.



Cornerstone Gardens, Sonoma
—Photo by Cynthia Linville