—Michael Cluff, Corona
Empty boxes now
flowing with leftover nothingness
gathering nil space
hungry for fulfillment
into wholeness whores
judging is answered by bulk
kiloed items of memory
loaded with intents
meant for biased or
ordered into degrees
rational from inflating
tarnished and timeless
umbrella logos enclosing
vast hopes and hangers
wavering in the sebaceous
xeon holdings flopping
yoked amulets toward
zero apathy weekends
arriving when the endrizzled
beach flattens into civil
curves filling all but
dreams enclosed within cardboard.
Our household has
Welcomed cats and dogs
Which share one quality:
When they are hungry
They want to eat
RIGHT THEN AND THERE!
Bewildered and astounded by
All the freezing, thawing,
Chopping and cooking
After that wonderful moment
When the master brings
Home some perfectly good
Raw animal guts.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
In their late-summer famine, the sheep
have consumed the latches and connections,
nibbled into backup files and pushed
some switches. They understand nothing
but green grass and the hunger
that takes refuge at the back of the eye.
Subtraction, a wisp of smoke,
5 acres from 250,000 burn-charred; grazed
to bare soil. Dreams of rain
washing everything away. Familiar
faces from the hard-drive of memory,
a door that might burst open
when sheep or stormwaters mob
hard enough against it. Multiplication,
flooding the creek, ripping out
fences that once held, names and dates
you recorded so you’d remember.
Math or myth? Something twitches
quick as a lamb’s ear,
exponential as poppies in the field
of your mind.
I dreamed I’d make a cape of the white
north wind, snow to cover the fields
and let them heal; a full Wolf Moon
howling through a litany of loss
till it snowmelted into spring. Dreams
multiply their light, their vision
like mirrors. When I woke it was still
such a long time till winter.
If I can’t explain this to my dog, must I
live by the literal calendar?
My dog checked the wind that brought
no winter-news, only smoke
that pooled in canyons at night
and rose to a bruised sunrise.
I tried to explain visions to my dog,
who sniffed intently at what was
on the actual air, then charged
into the dawn of Saturday morning.
THE BIG MOUTH OF GHOST JAMES LEE
—James Lee Jobe, Davis
Who is that tapping
on the window?
Who is that rattling
It's Ghost James Lee!
He's come back to visit
from The Place Beyond,
and he means to come inside!
Shall we let him come in?
We could pour the him
and let him tell us
the secrets he has learned.
Or we could hide,
that we are not home!
We had better hide.
Once Ghost James Lee
we won't get a word in
WHAT I WOULD SAY IF I COULD SEND A MESSAGE
—James Lee Jobe
You're full of shit, I can tell you that much for sure. Most of
what you think is right, isn't even close to being right. It isn't
even helpful. Listen, here it is; be kind to people, and be kind
to yourself. When you screw up, and believe me, you will,
forgive yourself and move on. Forgive everyone else, too.
Don't carry the weight of it all! That's the whole thing. It
doesn't matter where you go, happiness isn't a place. All the
happiness you need is already in your heart. It's all about the
journey, not the destination. Walk lightly, and keep your eyes
open. And try to lighten up a little.
JAMES, WHAT'S THAT ON YOUR FINGERS?
—James Lee Jobe
Your body tastes of figs and olive oil, and I am here to devour you,
bite after delicious bite.
Your heart tastes of the kindness of strangers and of the faith
that only a child knows.
I love that, so I'll eat your heart last, holding it fast
in my red-stained fingers.
Our thanks to today's contributors! A confluence of Friday the 13th and Halloween is in the air, and it seems to be seeping into local writers. Michelle Kunert made it to the Poe Project last Friday, which was part of the Sacramento Film and Music Festival which ran from Sept. 11-15. The Poe Project, a competition to create films and scripts inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, is a creative program hosted by the CFAA and the Sac Public Library, along with sponsors that include Sac City College, The Sac Film & Music Festival, Access Sacramento, and the Sac Horror Film Festival. In an attempt to merge the literary and the visual, participants had two categories of competition: short film production and screenwriting. Ten short films and seven feature-length scripts were submitted, and the winners were awarded over $3,000 in cash prizes and awards last Friday. Cool!
through the weeds
of her internal garden