—Ann Privateer, Davis
I play the mother,
father, child, the many
on this night of deception
after the day job's demands
and look to see who you will play.
WATER AND ICE
when do they mingle
how do they interact
when will they be one?
you are well connected
the sun, the moon, the stars
seem to know where to go.
I am disconnected
inside, outside, belonging
where? the estranger
of gravel and sandy particulates
so frayed, burnt, frazzled
I could drink a lake of newness
and still long to fuse
with a moment
—Michael Cluff, Corona
noticed Uriah Heep
entering the conveyance
at 10:32 on a Thursday night
the obsequious one
just kept bowing
until his head detached
and ended up on the teacher's
dead black wingtip shoes.
was shocked to see
a wisp of a spectre
hiding in the corner
the spittin' image
of Emily Dickinson
both were not shocked
by the dead fly
right at the edge
of their granny clodhopper feet.
right after entering
from the first floor Chem lab
that the salt of tears
could not easily disfigure
formica and bad brass fixtures
as it had the beaker
a few minutes ago
just under her upset eyes.
And the sound of her long-lost
in the space
about three times as big
as his permanent house
now in Lycott Cemetery.
or one such
not too long ago,
Edmund, the just-hired
saw his predecessor,
enter right upon
his brown penny loafers
and argyle socks' gartered heels
which was a surprise
that late at any night.
The previous professor
was carrying his own
with heavy eyelids
and grimacing jowls—
too many French Revolution
re-actings on Bastille Day
in Berrydale Park had caught
up with him.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
This morning I snapped a cell-photo in the city
courtyard tiled in desert-tones of sand.
My picture transmuted browns and grays into
purples and blues that escaped perhaps an artist’s
brush of aquarelles as he sat at easel there,
applying colors to canvas before he packed up
his pallet and imagination, and went away.
Those colors live in air, to wash my photo just
then snatched by shutter-click. Color-squares,
a quilt sewn of remnants, jigsaw puzzle pieces
from assorted lives and boxes, autumn valley
tree-scape, seashore, cathedral stained glass,
all wishing to be put back together in a whole
design. Ghost images of what, for one split-
heartbeat, was. A flock of birds whose feathers
were once an old woman’s weathered hair. Bits
of the tree-frog’s song in my afternoon garden.
My dog was supposed to find you. You left your
car and wandered among the pillars of City Hall
as if weaving cats-cradles, and then went jay-
walking across streets and lawns. A peacock
crossed our path, as if expecting us to stop and
bow. My dog wanted that bird. “No peacock!”
I told her. She sighed and resumed her trail.
There was a fence around the Animal Park
where my dog sniffed the air like it was alive
with bears, lions, and jackals. She quivered,
her tail a lowered sword. I told her the fence
was meant to keep the wild within strict limits.
Unlike my mind, my dreams, and my dog’s
over-shaded by oak trees—dark thoughts
against blue sky—a blue oak
where the speckled hawk nested above
golding grass. Voices, not of angels,
but sheered and transmuted by distance.
The dead TV antenna (c. 1980) on the roof
catches them, messages unwinding
like an insect hum, truer than anything
the news reports, filtering through shingles
to fill the house when we’re asleep,
or absent. That vestigial antenna searches
the airwaves for old movies, hoping
to find bit-parts of the man who built this
house. And we—we built the fences.
When I open the gate, I feel the vibration
of T-posts and stockwire transmitting
our last-night’s dreams along the corridors
of sky, and the imprint of our breath.
Too poor to buy a box
The old fisherman put
Everything in his hat
Hooks, lures, bait
Extra line, everything
So WHAT? He’d say
Never guessing that
In Medusa’s Kitchen
He was really wearing
A SOW hat.