—Ann Privateer, Davis
Unmask me because I long to be
free, up in a tree, swinging out
to see all that lies beyond.
The sea roaring indecently
while this tiny one creeps higher
and higher insanely toward
more incessant realms.
—charles mariano, sacramento
read your blog today
like i do most days
before i start
and noticed, after years
of not noticing,
that the dark blue background
behind the bolded, highlighted,
are my eyes playing tricks?
was it always moving?
am i dying?
i suppose, if these are words
vast and creative,
they need to be
it takes thousands
of pixel soldiers behind the scenes
to pull it off
a thankless, practically invisible
staring now, at dark blue
a river flows wild, silent
oh raging blue,
carrying the load daily
far from the light
so that we may display easily,
our dam-bursting paranoia’s,
of metaphoric, melodramatic frenzy
without a hitch,
confined neatly, conveniently,
in a box,
with a dangerous,
rise and fall, them, him, her
before the time of what they knew
to known no more, gone from those
who still recall an evening sojourn
the excitement of rain
an ominous bonfire when
for a brief time their masks fell.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
As we climbed, we found no footprints
on the trail, only the echo of river
far below, its outrage against rock,
its litter of brickbats grinding to gravel.
Where would he have gone?
his mind bent on expressing eons—
as if a human could transform himself
to stone. Impervious, metamorphic;
sediments of outworn custom pressed
down upon itself, beyond patience.
At a switchback, gravity sang to us.
Did he, too, listen to the voice of angels,
or sirens? We found a face on wings,
two giant eyes unblinking; moth
or monster, it told us nothing.
We found a hole dug into weathered
moss, damp and forgiving. Above,
the critical wind blowing man to myth.
on some words in a poem by Tom Goff
Our walk up Main Street starts under August
heat already climbing, not yet eight
by the morning's clock. I let my dog lead me
past a fringe of lawn with all its fragrances—
maybe some terrier passed by, leaving its scent
on tufts of bunch-grass in a planting. Snap-
dragons red, yellow, and every vibrant
shade between; odors caught in the soft trumpets
and velvety leaves. But, shouldering aside
the flowers, a young tree-of-heaven—ripped
out by gardeners, and now it's grown anew
with frondy vengeance, vibrating each
feathery green fan to set the still air tingling.
My young dog samples with her nose,
until I declare it's time: bottle up that loose
energy, put it back in the training-cupboard.
“Heel!” I tell her, and she settles to my
stride. Then abruptly pulls like a dray-horse
and stops at a corner-post. This she scans
inch by centimeter, counting the dogs
who lifted legs here, or lolled against façade.
Each mark's unique. Hounds, retrievers,
mutts, their aunts and mothers—my guide
knows them instantly from second-hand
sniff. She'd recognize them in a crowd.
I hang onto her leash as if I were a stranger
in this unfamiliar city, my home town.
I'm breaking in two grieving
over you, our faces change places
your leaving as I return before
forgetting, before we shut the door
and seal the past, for joy did not last.
With pruners and harvest-basket I kneel
between the rows, look up past twining pillars
of stalk and vine into leafy vaults and arches.
One delicate white flower promises more
as, surrounding, a band of arrow-helmeted Okra
stands stiff on-guard. Eggplant bulges purple-
plump, eternal as any green. And golden
Pattypan swells sweet with planetary visions.
Peppers—Bell and Poblano—gaze down.
I wonder about sins of omission. So much
bounty, where shall I give it away?
In this season, dare I approach Zucchini's lair?
Peeking between the great fanned leaves,
I see two slitty eyes appraising me. The serpent
of Eden? No, surely a friend: slender-striped
Garter-snake grants me one quick nod
before disappearing deeper in the green temple
already flowing into a next season; sweep
of stars turning above us as I sleep. Whose
garden is this?
NO FEAR OF FALLING
A way-out-of-the-world mining town
wedged halfway down a mountain-slide, over
the river knifing its gorge a thousand feet
below the traffic of these hills.
How to get there? Nobody dares drive a one-
lane cliff-hanger unless he has a home
on the other side. No one confesses
to a queasy stomach.
Where had he gone, beyond the diggings,
looking for color in that tremendous
water-gouge? The farther it continued
down a sort of practice-trail, the insaner
it felt. No big-picture survey, just
a sketch-map, a few glimpses through trees.
Then wide open. A hogback
plunging out of sight; dark mist rising
from deep; gleam of rapids roiling
the bottom, bound from upcountry to ocean
as quick as it could get there,
cutting as it ran. Water wanted to really
eons of rock, boundless waves, a human
rushing headlong to join them;
unable to stop.
illuminates, elucidates, syncopates,
it hypnotizes as it unravels
my ability to know perfection.