Monday, September 02, 2013

The Back Row of a Neo-Flea Circus

Portland Elephant
—Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

Last night the Virgin Mary took me to Disneyland.
It was 1971.
Mary wore a white maxi dress
and a light blue cardigan shawl
with tennis shoes and a roomy backpack
from which she extracted
whatever I asked.
We climbed the Swiss Family Tree
and took the Jungle Cruise.
Mary loved It’s a Small World
and the submarine.
I couldn’t whether my favorite was
the Haunted Mansion, Peter Pan, or
the Pirates of the Caribbean.

The Mad Tea Party, however, was my undoing
as the tea cups spun me
back into the present
and I found myself at Luna’s
where Warren Bishop,
wearing a disheveled top hat,
was pouring tea
asking about ravens, writing desks and treacle ink.
Art Luna ran through with a huge pocket watch
mubbling about being late
(thanking Aja for opening up the place).
David Houston up on the stage
sang about Shakespeare’s daughter being mad
and kept vanishing behind his dark glasses.

Frank Andrick wandered around with his clipboard
asking folks what size they wanted to be
and blowing hookah smoke rings.
Evan Myquest sported a mouse-head
and both Alisons, fuzzy pink rabbit ears.
The twin Tweedles read in unison at open mic
while Ken and Crawdad argued
too loudly about cabbages and kings.
Sage in her Alice-dress
pointed at me, shouting,
“There’s the Red Queen!”
“Off with her head,”
is all I said.
I took off my tiara and went back to bed.


—Caschwa, Sacramento

Avalon, Santa Catalina Island
High school buddies
Glass Bottom Boat
Tijuana Brass
Olds Recording trombone
Le Blanc clarinet with gold-plated keys
Love in the air
Abalone sandwiches
Room and board
Lots of pretty girls
Horseback riding
Silly millimeter longer
Everything closes at 5:00 PM
Too young to drink
The historic Casino
Airport in the Sky
Innovative color TV
No gas engine cars
Supplies by barge
Splendid views
SS Catalina
Diving, surfing
Must return

 The Lazy River Six Dixieland Band
—Photo courtesy of Caschwa

—Michael Cluff, Corona

Growing tulips in Death Valley,
a platitude works as well
as smoke and vapors
in a magician's act
that can't make it off
the back row of a neo-flea circus
in a canine-free land.

I will save the liquid
for those important to me
especially when it melts
and wanders, long before it will ever
get near the vested tongue.


—Michael Cluff

Come away will me
on this momentous day
far off from this island
to where it is safe and quiet.

The north may attack again
or the east or the west
even the south
but the last one
remains just a little
longer than the others.

Chunks of buildings
will fall away
people will leap to death
to escape the unforgiving heat
and the sun will be hidden by smoke.

Well, maybe not today
but soon
or never
does one ever really know?

The past can become
the present even before
you recognize its approach.


—Michael Cluff

The man in the vested suit
was a different you
but just enough different
for my love to glom onto him
from you, a long
way off in the temper pique
of your own fallout.

Mundane tigers and wolves
were that person's forte
not yours
with fifes of travertine and tartan
notaries of ending day telenovellas
and Uzbekistani umbrellas
the eartag of your sibilants.

Add the wingtip shoes,
pinched waist
and tight neckties
and whomever
I pretend to be you
may work,
nearly so,
but not...


—Olga Blu Browne, Sacramento
Like a thorn in my side, love vs hate.
Fire, no desire.

Yet thirty years held me back. Love
to hate, hate to love.

Poison poison, pretty poison, should
have read the label. 


Today's LittleNip:

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

(In Memoriam of Seamus Heaney,
who died Aug. 30, 2013)

Into the stillness
of your Irish consciousness
with nature's insights
in a house narrative
touching the bright sun
to chance the unknown
though eternal weeks
over the hypnosis of language
lost in shadowy breath
with the countless hours
of a proverbial poet of dawn
whose words are a second light
to all who heard your voice.



Japanese Garden, Portland, OR
—Photo by Cynthia Linville