Monday, September 30, 2013

Don't Die Young

—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Lytton Bell, Sacramento

Don’t die young
momentous experiences are waiting for you
losses you can never win back
I want to hear your song forty years from now

The song after both your parents have died from lingering illnesses
The song thirty years after your fortune fled
The song five years post-rehab
The song about your prosthetic hand

Song of dust and alleys
Song of torn knees with no thread or patch
Song of no one to call for bail money
Song of vomiting into your only pair of shoes

Don’t give up
One day you will walk out by the sea
You will never have felt this alone
The crash of the waves is an accusing hiss

The dying beams of the red sunset are a cry from your own life
A seagull circles, diving into a wave
You don’t care if he ever surfaces again
Your feet in the sand leave no footprints

In this dark moment, you will feel a pull
just under your navel
You will feel the pressure rising up from the base your spine
a massive wail of futility and despair

You open your lips
Every failure, every doomed and thwarted attempt
Every anguish, gripping and squeezing your intestines
will erupt from your mouth in an existential howl of unparalleled beauty and pain

Suffering will pluck the strings of your soul, making music
And I from my wheelchair
or my gurney, or my grave
I will listen


—Caschwa, Sacramento

Considering those two words
On the back of a buck on
Either side of the floating
Eye atop the Pyramid

At first glance, the easy
Translation of that Latin
Expression gives us: “He
Approves of our undertaking”

Then taking into account a
Deeper analysis that explores
The ablative case, gender,
Passive voice, past participle,

Indicative mood, imperfect form,
Subjunctive mood, and genitive
Form, it clearly boils down to
“A panty raid of coeds is God’s will”

Bumpy Gourds
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Richard Hansen, Sacramento

I heard the scream
it was horrible
a child died
I was sure that’s what it was
it couldn’t have been anything else
We started looking for the mother
frantically at front doors
having walked through front yards
it seemed she was within three houses
but there was a wilderness
with lots of tall trees
I could see their silhouette against a darkening sky
and this wasn’t my neighborhood
and I was alone
even though the front doors were open
there was no one
I wasn’t alarmed but…
then I woke up and would remember that dream
over the years I forgot about it
but just lately it's come back
I understand it's not a dream
it’s a fundamental thought at the core of my being
it's no longer valid


—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove

It is a thing of grace and possibility this dynamic orb:
A metaphor and a microcosm of the earth, its turnings and returnings,
Embodying the Eastern philosophers’ yin and yang, the western theologian’s
Light and dark, and bound all and brought to fruition by this hempen
Umbilical cord—the Great Mother at last freed from eons of mythical
Dreaming and here, here, palpable, bright, useful in my very hand.

For aside from the mystical nature of this ingenious machine, I see
A much more practical aspect. This is not merely a tool for contemplation,
A toy for a spring-fevered and wayward child. No, it has come to me,
Sure as the vision of a hawk when the wind clears the sky off Point Lobos,
This is a tool for the hunt. I see one of the old ones, in a tree, or atop a cliff,
Waiting to drop this on passing pray, giving the animal, or an enemy, the quick
And sacred gift. Yes, I am told the device’s inventors did this very thing.
But I am sure they cooked theirs before they ate it.


Today's LittleNip:

—Caschwa, Sacramento

It must be the very same
Unruly snakes that gave
Medusa her perpetual
Bad Hair Days

Answerable only to their
Own reptilian style

That are now slithering
Around both Houses of
Congress, adamantly
Defiant of staying in place


—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors! Kevin Jones' poem is one from his new book, and he will be reading it at the Beach Walk which will culminate the 2013 Fall Festival at Tor House in Carmel this weekend, Oct. 4-6. Kevin's book is called Throwing Down: An Apocryphal History of Yoyoing in America, and it's available at, free to read, a charge to download (type "Kevin Jones" in the grey search bar at the top of the page). For more about the Festival, see

Small Pumpkins
—Photo by Katy Brown