Monday, August 19, 2013

Let's Start Building Something!

Phil Weidman reading at Shine Cafe
Saturday, August 17, 2013
—Photo by Ann Menebroker, Sacramento

—Caschwa, Sacramento

It has color extraordinaire
And is an interactive experience
With dazzling movements
Commanded by one’s eyes

Unlike TV talk shows and
Boring panel discussions
That give full audience to
Thick-headed spokespersons

Who interrupt one another with
All the decorum of the Watts Riots
Rampage, successfully discrediting
Each other until no one can win

I can sit down and play several
Hands of Solitaire knowing it will be
Background to a winning experience
Even if the cards fail to add up

All the while my mind is giving shape
To opinions and foundation to logical
Arguments, untied to other people’s
Talking points and agendas

Aces in place
Let’s start building something!


—Taylor Graham, Placerville
No moon, in spite of the almanac.
Two raccoons dead in the road.
She lay awake in a wash of dark, night
sweeping the deck of its litter
of bones. Words kept turning in her
head's clock-dial: who killed
the pork chops? A man she'd never
met, there he was out of the flesh
across the table. Watching
the boat disappear. An ordinary
evening, meant for full-moon
under stars. A month till equinox,
a sky of smoke. The limits of
our known. Zucchini from the garden,
that thin green belt tightening
around whatever lurched inside her
toward fall. Out on the deck
she could hear small bones dancing
to the song of morning stars.


—Taylor Graham
When will the door open
to rain? The fields are bare. Our sheep
wander counterclockwise circles,
trying to turn Time back
to a pasture that was green. They leave
behind a gossamer of dust.
The hay-crops failed. Farmers slaughter
their cattle. Goats hear the distant
rattle of the ranch-butcher's
truck, and with the wile of goats,
invent gaps in fence-wire; wild
bands escaping to forage a countryside
of dust. Black hills where
last spring's dry grass burned.
The mountains drift down smoke.
Lightning without rain.
I've seen black-faced sheep gathered
outside a slaughter shed,
standing in their woolen habits, heads
lowered as in prayer, or
mourning. Heads bent as if to keep
the wind at bay.

Phil at the Shine
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—David Iribarne, Sacramento

Do you ever think about
what it’s like to hear a voice
no one else hears?

Do you ever wonder
what it is like to have
an imaginary friend as an adult.

To fall apart
to be apart at the seams
not sure of where the pieces go
or how they fit back together.

To have no one understand
not even yourself.

To be labeled constantly
to be separated
to be put in a room
where you know no one
to never feel safe.

Constantly question
the outcome
the surroundings
the feelings.

All of it matters
all of it matters
none of it matters.

Back and forth
racing in your mind.
changes always changes.

To have everyone hear you
to have everyone look at you

To have no one look at you.
To have no one hear you.


—David Iribarne
That night I heard you scream
I was sitting in the corner
my head buried in my hands
wondering why you had left
your heart in his hands.

Seven days straight
of shrieks and cries
Hours of tears
cuts, bruises on your face
insults shouted out without remorse
can’t remember a night when it was just quiet.

You tell me when I get older I will understand.
“You will understand once you find someone
that you love.”
Thirteen years have passed
watched you go through a decade of torture.
“It’s difficult to find love,”
you tell me.

Your face is beet red.
Your hair all astray
I can see the pain in your eyes.

I raise my hand to comfort you
and you step back scared
Is there a time you haven’t been scared?
A time you didn’t stutter in fear
when you talked about leaving
because you knew he would find you.

That night I heard you scream
It was very high pitched
I cringed like never before
and I wondered if you  know what peace is,
do you know how beautiful you are,
how strong and courageous you are?
Has anyone ever told you and
will you ever believe it?


—David Iribarne

Don’t die in the winter
for I cannot bear how cold
my heart will become.
Please follow me close
have our voices echo
one another.
Trust me I will provide
strength to get you through
to another season.

Don’t die in the winter
please don’t
freezing cold rain
hail, thunder, lightning
it is just too much
for me to fathom.

When I first met you
I never envisioned you
as someone I could dance with
but you took my hand
and took the lead.
You pulled me near
and when I looked
into your eyes I knew
I wanted to continue
dancing with you
through every season.

Don’t die in the winter
if you were to
my legs would turn to stone
my arms would hang limp.

Don’t die in the winter
I promise I will be here for you
to get through another day.
I promise I will listen
to the rain
I will listen to every drop
and savor the water’s juices
and give them to you
every time we kiss.

Don’t die in the winter
for I cannot be alone
I need you to teach me
how to help the plants grow.

I can remember watching
you in the garden.
You took so much pride
in planting the seeds
of the tomato plant
I loved watching you
walk into the room
carrying a basket of tomatoes
basking in all your glory
big, beautiful grin on your face
eyes gleaming.
Everything bloomed.

Don’t Die in the winter
for my soul would
turn to ice
every part of me would be chilled
and I would never
never be able to dance again.


—David Iribarne
You have to understand
that I took you there
to bring us closer
to make our bond that much stronger.

I wanted to introduce you to me
let down walls that I had built
brick by brick
stone by stone

In years past, I had felt so alone
No one ever stayed with me
through every season.

When the storms came they fled
state of my emotions
constantly changed
no stability
never was I prepared
for the next storm.

I was never ready
surrendered to the consequences
rather than rising above
I got down on my knees.

With you, I feel at ease
like I can finish my journey.


Today's LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Yesterday I walked the bone-dry creekbed—
woodpeckers going crazy in the oak,
and then a blue heron passed overhead.
Just this morning, the sweetest bird-song broke
from an adobe field I thought was dead.
I caught a glimpse of phoebe—monkish folk
with dark cape over cumulus-white breast,
weather gathering from the east or west.


—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors, and a reminder that David Iribarne will be reading with John Bell at Sacramento Poetry Center's Hot Poetry in the Park at Fremont Park in Sacramento tonight, 7:30pm.

David Iribarne, in a past reading
at Shine Cafe