Wednesday, September 18, 2013

This Unexplored Galapagos

Road Trip
—Photo by Ann Privateer


of my property
stood an old redwood fence.
I was young when it was new,
set a vase of flowers there
next to the hors-d'oeuvre
for a garden party.  The vase 
disappeared, somehow, into the ivy.
Over time, other artifacts were added—                                                           
one zori wildly flung from
running in backyard merriment
many lime-green tennis balls
fetched by the dog
my son's Texaco Fire Engine
a mason jar for fire flies
some electric wire spools
left by workmen when a transformer
blew, bits of barbed wire found on a hike.

The ivy grew, weaving up, over,
around and through.
When the children left home
the fence was a wall of green protection
like a cemetery centaur... and then...
the wind blew it all down.
A new fence replaced the old
and beneath the leaf mulch
I found the vase, the rusted truck,
and one hairless blackened tennis ball.

—Ann Privateer, Davis


—Ann Privateer

Remember its fledgling body, more
umbrella-like than a fruit tree?  We
planted it before wandering off, left
for someone else to tend.

Years later, I returned solo
to heavy branches leafing out
to drooping limbs laden with fruit
to this spot of neglected earth.

Forgotten days caught in ambergris
injuries became knobby places
and each year the life force produces
royal purple orbs of sweet delight.



riding my bike, they carry skateboards
and the scent of clove cigarettes, memories
unleashed—of Sen Sen, Blackjack Gum, wax
lips, molasses cookies, candy drips on a slip
of paper, lemon ice, fudgesicles, a kid's appetite.

—Ann Privateer


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

Going in and out of old age,
my life it seems an open book.
Some days I barely turn a page.
Some think me wise, an elder sage.
You'll need to take a second look.
Today I'm in my fashion throes—
I'll wear tight shorts, or skirt that flows.
You'll find me in my breakfast nook,
a molting bird who's left her cage.

Today I'm in my fashion throes,
a molting bird who's left her cage.
I'll wear tight shorts or skirt that flows.
Some think me wise, an elder sage.
Some days I barely turn a page;
my life, it seems, an open book.
You'll find me in my breakfast nook,
going in and out of old age.
You'll need to take a second look.


—Carol Louise Moon

Early morning opens one eye.
I am a rat trapped in the corner of a
cardboard box; no creature comforts here.

A shower of grass clippings
falls onto a strange bed.
Fear races—thoughts of a lid
clamping down.  There are
others present, yet absent,
staring at me from one wall.
They seem relaxed, with an earnest
attempt at figuring my issue.
Each begins to empty his pockets
of excess change.  I offer grass clippings
in exchange for them turning their glance
to an opposite wall.

I feel a longing to call my mother,
to tell her how sorry I am that I left
home early.

Instead, I sit with my twisted tail
in my hands watching the second-hand
sweep on the silver band of a rich man's
wrist; feeling a tug at my tongue.

—Photo by Ann Privateer

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

A brief reunion with long-unseen friends
in music, at the store where I once taught.
Eric, a blue-eyed nine-year-old then, now tends
a register. Shave-headed, he seems fraught
with trends, more guarded—still gentle, like that boy.
Friend Nora greets me smiling, but her talk darkens
when she mentions you. You I saw once cajole
difficult Bach from the oboe: breath control
fought short gasps bent on release. You battled, you won.
Time, though, just lends us our strength. A series of strokes:
you’re weak and blind. Do you keep somehow some joy?
Part Japanese dove, part Latvian birch or oak:
I know now your Latvian name means “little folk poem.”
May unbitter music be yours
                        as you glide on a kind friend’s arm.


—Nancy Wahl, Carmichael

Ask the animals and they will teach you
or the birds of the air.
Or study Job’s bewilderment after Elihu's
didactic sermon…truth scattering like pebbles.
Or the blue butterfly.
George told me I would find a blue butterfly.
The Blue Karner, feeding on yellow Gladderpod,
high up in my sacred savanna

and they are here
now darting through lupine and wild hyacinth.
I don’t know if they are the Karner Blues
but there are hundreds of them, wisps of blue
flapping and bobbing
in the open canopy of a tall gray pine. I look
for Charles Darwin, the talking Blanding’s turtle.
He befriended me the last time I was here where
nobody knows I come. If I died no one would
find me. I take my bag of carrots to Charles Darwin,
see him edging out from under a log.
How do you know what a turtle is saying to you?

I might have prayed with the mystical
Blue Morpho in
South America where they are
messengers to the gods,
but instead I reach out, touch Charles Darwin’s head,
stare into his eyes and will him to talk to me.
I cannot reach out to you. Ever. You don’t even
know I come here to talk with Charles Darwin
or that I am trying to find a way out of my unexplored
Here Job’s god walks beside me and an ordinary
blue butterfly drops down out of the tall gray pine
and lights on my turtle’s back. They are whispering.


—Nancy Wahl

Brilliant visible light shoots out, fills everything in
the room—storm coming lashes streaks of white,
ruffling old schiffli lace and I am cold, so cold...
But I wouldn’t be if I could feel a calm touch on my
shoulder. I’ve looked to fireballs in the sky, something
big like a Hubble galaxy spewing out molecules with
light from distant galaxies millions of years ago, so
that now when I look out to the universe I am seeing the
past. Not the present. Not the future. No help there.
Dionysus tells us, man is joined with the one who is
Unknowable. In the beginning God had his first thought,
his Ennoia and she descended into the lower regions
and created the angels. Now the storm is closing in—
clouds are hunching, ready to kick and punch—
my juniper and yew are clinging to each other shielding
themselves from the wind. The blue sky is closing, and
this is when you explain to me again why I can’t go
back and talk to the angels, those make-believe angels—
and if they’re not real where are the real ones? If I could
go back and dig through the Cambrian era, would I find
proof that I evolved—that I would be who I am now?
Did a man die and really come back? The unknown
author of The Cloud wrote, “Gather your desire into one
single word"—your sacred word and let that be your
prayer. In my dreams I see my grandmother, the farm,
the snooty banty rooster, and my grandmother’s hands—
her hands with dirt on them as she digs around her tomato
plants and I feel her hands on my shoulder when she hears
the Sunday School teacher telling me I ask too many
questions. The storm is letting up, the winds calming
and the old juniper tree is bending, shaking off the water
extending its branches like arms outstretched and I hear
the real angels singing Sauvée! Christ est ressucité!
I think of my secret word which too has been evolving
and I whisper it to the Unknowable.


Today's LittleNip:

—Tom Goff

…Something instinctual…
Transmits the Essence
To her mouth
And It comes out
Oh really? And
When do you
Think It’ll
Come out
Just like that
For us?


—Medusa, thanking today's contributors! Nancy Wahl's book of poetry, Walking Through the Milky Way, is available on Amazon.

—Photo by Ann Privateer