Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Waking Dream-Strokes

Gargoyle, Placerville, CA
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Crows preside high-roof above the old
market square. Today, a gospel choir is gathered
on the courthouse steps. Last week
it was a protest over wages before City Hall.
Friday next, a benefit bazaar. On a bare
brick wall someone has painted a trompe-l'oeil
fairy-landscape with castle on a craggy peak,
a dirt road twisting over hills and hollows
to achieve its iron-barred gate. With its
imaginary portal, the wall is no longer true
as wall; a fancied miracle. One crow
looks down on a small child pointing, reaching
toward the towered castle like a window
opening on the promised land. Crow flies
from the rooftop, descending not to testify, but
to touch solid pavement, to peck at cobbles,
trash and old dried scum; careful to be
not trampled by the crowd; seeking the forever-
promised, occasionally encountered crumb.


—Taylor Graham

This pup, who found a sea within the pasture's
tiny dammed-up pond and thought
she'd skim the stretched-thin surface to become
a swan—she sank. Then, as if a wand
waved to set her four legs swimming free, she
curved into waking dream-strokes
splashing the wild unknown, the wet-beyond.
The pond is summer-dry now.
She passes it with a head-tilt, maybe
thinking to test the blue-beyond, mica-shine
of wings, the August sky.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Here I am, 8th grade, told to smile.
A family portrait without a horse,
my eyes go cantering away.

Higher education, I sit atop wreckage
of a war. Pensive, though I'm not
sure who'd been fighting, or what for.

Couldn't hold still—I'm off to
somewhere outside the frame. You'll
miss me in the blur. That's OK.

Weathered; mountain meadow
under stormclouds, my arms around
two dogs, I know how to smile.

Placerville Wall
—Photo by Katy Brown

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

On the Canadian border
by parked cars
with unmarked licenses
a few teens feeling immortal
give out their numbers
to strangers
expecting adventure
which rarely emanates
by a ludicrous travel time

A poet and musician
searches for saxifrage
for the underground cover
of his rock garden
in the Arctic cold
remembering how
in the Song of Bernadette
at Lourdes she was told
to consume this red plant

The words in our ears
may be like city flowers
uncontaminated by the world
opening between leaves
and our sleepwalk morning
when my fingers play sax
to relax from the early day
here between two countries
in a heartful month of May.


—B.Z. Niditch

We cope in regions
of the underground
searching for
the joyful sound
not realizing
we are being
constantly surprised
making us more than
mere summer fireflies
on sun-speckled walls,
having learnt the arts
when childhood darts
were projected
and roped against us
but not getting burnt,
we may now forget
those adolescent webs
of fatigued nothingness
on faded tapes
and false pictures
of all those negatives,
from lost mirrors
of memories' narratives
which empty
the unbelieving past
for living images
which will last.


—B.Z. Niditch

Along the fishing pier
I sought out Eric,
a local rapper,
who wrote his own lyrics,
how he deals with pain.
"Fish for red snapper,
he said, and reel it in again
then relax, my vocal poet,
in your own lucidity.
There is no meal's tax
to sustain and it's free,
not a drop
of catch all liquidity."
I took my fishing rod
yet all I caught was Cod
yet it was worth the price
to ask for his good advice
and sing for a supper's price.


—B.Z. Niditch

Some on earth
think only their body
is in pieces,
and will write
a good will or thesis,
or say their nerves
suffer its strain
more than anyone,
or that their pain
is unmatched
to preserve what
is undone,
their mind appears
more enlightened
than any opposite
of being frightened,
we have our own
crosses to bare
yet labor to share
our own losses,
other neighbors break
their glasses
at their wedding canopy
reminding us of suffering
of their company
and has our sympathy,
so many collect or sell
their injustice tax,
yet rarely expect the axe,
others save face
or embrace sorrow
taking cover
in their own tent
others quietly say grace
and repent with love
for time well spent.


—B.Z. Niditch

When pain runs through
and cannot contain us
from porous nerves
going postal
by the window sill
leaving our tiny room
when body heats our voice
until it cannot sustain
any way to gloom,
we go by the spas
near the wharf
knowing the wind
by the lighted bay
will gather our words
that move to befriend
our day from night
to play on sax and write
with footnotes for a chorus
fishing out a beautiful tune
choosing my own scale
over the Golden Gate
away from the doom,
asking for bars of music
gesturing us to stay,
and pretend we are
on ships out of sight
masking any long suffering
by songs of refrain
until we are once again
on a coastal high
with glittering views
knowing others wave to us
with guitar and sitar
along the sea gull sky
refreshed by Frisco blues.


—B.Z. Niditch

Some day pain
will be seen in others' faces
more than in our mirrors
the sky will not be overcast
and will be consumed
by a repast of the sun,
on a writer's block
a poet will break all silence
to abandon his solitude
handcuffed from long days
of all time served
spying from a diary
to project the future,
a poet will unlock
any suffocated voice
to be life-sentenced
and translated to another
world of light,
here from nature's garden
he opens leafy red eyes
shadows his initials
planted on redwoods,
some day a sax guy
will play tunes in a body
of sweet water
along the Bay,
a painter will brush
by a color field painting
to reveal a landscape
of Wordsworth's imagination
with his favorite Dorothy
beside him.
Some day a poet
won't have to say
some day.


Thanks to today's contributors, from this coast and that'n. B.Z. Niditch is writing about his favorite painkillers, our recent Seed of the Week, and both are toying with This is Me... which is our current SOW.

Speaking of crows (as Taylor Graham did), next week's new WTF from Rattlesnake Press has a bit of a crow theme to it, photo-wise, by Allyson Seconds and Ruben Reveles, who will be having a group showing featuring crows on Sept. 14 at BodyTribe/NorCal Health Works. They are looking for "a few more people who do strong work featuring the crow and ravens" to exhibit with them. Interested? Email Allyson at for info.


Today's LittleNip:

—B.Z. Niditch

Over a sand-crossed mirror
entangled with beach images
with a sleepless foreboding,
this poet disappears outside
on the alabaster balcony
wishing for diary secrets
to interpret dreams
from luminous memory,
even my nightmares in French
which keep me awake,
entangled in a Sixties braid

washed out by the rain.



Placerville Wall, 2
—Photo by Katy Brown