—Carol Louise Moon
A great elm stands before me
as I sit on my front porch.
I love this daily ritual—
appreciating this tree which
grows and cleans the air, shades
the folks who sit on the porch,
shelters the jay—flashes of blue.
There! A flash of light to the left
at 90 degrees. Across the street,
a segmented window full of leaping flames.
I run (small dog in arms) to the sidewalk
corner for a better look. (No smoke?)
Mike, Mike is your house on fire,
I wonder—until I see at 90 degrees again,
a parked city utility tuck with amber lights
flashing—leaping color projected
on Mike’s living room window
across the street.
Damn you, you useless utility.
There’s the City interfering in our lives,
again. Now then—when is the City
going to come trim my tree.
—Carol Louise Moon
Ruby the Dragon of Fab Forty-First sits
in tied-up rebar in her front yard, dreaming
—away from her backyard buddies the elk,
the alligator, the bison. Her time to think.
Her time to shine—rust-upon-rustic.
I have met the man with the dragon, the
gray-bearded man with the gray-bearded dog.
I’ve strolled by to see his dream lit up.
And the sidewalk was lit up at night, leading
me home to sit and read books about dragons.
—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento
This day I go to walk the dog:
it is the edge of dawn,
I with my jogging suit and
he with jog-suit on.
We walk the narrow path that leads
past those who drink their tea
and those who gather all their gear
to go into the sea.
And so we’ll travel here today,
with cool winds picking up,
walking slowly to the pier. He
with cap, me with my cup,
we’ll watch the yachts, the fishing boats,
the pelicans and gulls.
We’ll hear their cries, the waves that crash,
the clanging of the bells.
But he and I’ll not stay too long,
nor venture very far.
We must go home, and there we’ll watch
the sunset with its fire
through picture windows, nice and warm,
then early we’ll retire.
—Michael Cluff, Corona
are always brought down
by bullets or bombs,
blind, stinking prejudice—
such was the way
it happened to you.
After the door of this life
inevitably closed on you,
the ones you cast open
while on this side,
the bridges between
and better understanding,
remain flung wide for all
to pass easily forth and back through
what the trail
was meant to do
that quarter-odd century ago.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
The owl calls an elegant man—Don Juan?—
who had no Tuesday plans for his own demise,
as a castle crumbles into dry lawn
by daylight of threatening November skies,
or that glitter—gold-glint alights upon
static in a cat’s fur; the kingfisher’s prize
of silver-flash becomes fish-scales gleaming,
optical illusion of our dreaming.
BY THE CREEK
Paths through shadowed bramble full of birdsong
lead me on as, word by word, sun writes
good morning, and my dog’s nose chooses this
turn and the next, loses nothing—sights
and scents of cedar; reeds along the pond;
the blackbird’s song; sweet taste of berries
ripening past fall; this dawn’s change of breeze,
the strange-familiar news it carries.
Yet another poet has died,
breathing with the outgoing tide
his last line like a tracer-guide.
It’s quiet but for a dog’s bark
across accumulating dark
and the brief loneliness of sky
at edge of dawn as he passed by.
Gold and red tomatoes under late sun.
The date, eight October, brings a chill
into autumn. But at dawn today I
clipped a spray of mint, of summer still.