—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove
I wanted one too.
Decided I wanted
To be called
Kobe Bryant’s dad, or
To the guys.
Had another idea.
Called me Jerk.
THE APOTHECARY JAR
Every year when school
Started, a huge jar
Appeared in the drug
Store window. Was
Full of jelly beans.
There was a sign:
“Hey, Kids! Guess
The number and win.”
I should have. I mean
How wrong can
“A lot” be?
Have always been fond
Of jelly beans. Could be
Because I sort of
Look like Mr. Jelly Belly.
If Mr. Jelly Belly
Had a beard
And a black t-shirt.
JACK AND NEAL AND THE BAG OF JELLYBEANS
“Jelly bean?” asks Neal.
“Give you a quick rush of energy
For traveling.” “What flavors?”
Jack asks, eyeing the bag.
“The usual, licorice, grape, lemon.”
“Why don’t they make them in
More adult flavors?” wonders Jack.
“Don’t think there’s ever gonna be
A Muscatel flavor,” says Neal.
—D.R. Wagner, Locke
There was no need to make arrangements.
It was possible for a very large number of people
To dream collectively and make events occur.
He was walking down the Ramblas in Barcelona.
The human statues were flashing colors yet remained
Perfectly still. There was a low hum but it seemed to come
From deep inside the earth. No one seemed to notice.
There were only a few days left. This afternoon might
As well be gold. The light in the woods. Voices
Filtered through centuries of gospels are carried
By our own glistening bones with their stardust
Flashing as it holds the meat of our bodies aloft.
We see the ships approaching and climb as high
As we are able to see how many of them might
Be coming toward us here.
They are of such bright colors in this light.
The size and color of jelly beans from a distance
Such as this. And perhaps as sweet. “Sweet dreams,”
Everyone said, and rising from the tops of the cliffs,
An updraft that compels us to exactly that.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
The scent of a missing girl is carried off
into the woods, strewn thin on air
and tangled into scrub, litter, blown leaves.
My dog leaps ruts intended as a road.
Wind has erased every track in the dust.
Here’s a mattress-bridge over a ditch;
olive-drab drape of old canvas, once
a tent. Working against the sun, we pass
No Trespassing signs by a worn couch
and easy-chair, three empty buckets
astronaut-blue. No one’s home. Tonight,
extra rooms in the stars. Where
could she be? In a clearing a torch
flares gold-crimson leaves November cold,
her scent keeps leading us away.
AUGURIES OF WEATHER
Under the pot, the flame burns electric-
blue. Inside the pot, a hen with two hearts.
Seven months since rain. The sky
sparks heat-lightning at night. It sizzles
like the absent song of birds. The chicken
stews in the pot, having given up
on pecking hardpan clay. Even that prince
of the free atmosphere, the sparrow-
hawk, has flown, its scream diminished
to a low boiling on the stove.
The grass is clay, the sun a shadow-stain.
Birds gone from our dreams except
for this one hen in the pot, her double-
heart perhaps a sign for the mercy of rain.
WHAT DOES COLOR TASTE LIKE?
Pale pink light pink
dark red orange
jewel orange and yellow
light green bright green jewel green
dark blue light blue and blue
purple off-white black licorice
she dreams in colors
cheaper than oil paints less messy
on a gray day in sensible
shoes in a square room her mother
says candy’s nothing
but sugar and bad for the teeth.
But oh the colors.
YOU NEVER KNOW WITH HYBRIDS
Planted a handful of jelly beans.
“If this works, I’m fixed
For life,” I thought.
Gum drops came up