Monday, December 23, 2013

A Street Called Tranquility

—Photo by Ann Privateer, Davis

I live in a house on a street called Tranquility.  No one yells
there or stamps their feet.  When searching for a spoon, we
never pour the silverware into our metallic sink, what would
the neighbors think of the mighty din that act would make
and probably wake the dead.  Our six-hour work day feels
right, the other worker bees huddle over their wares sun-up
to sundown, no time to sing  or laugh, their spine slips into
itself, no relief for their pain, where's the gain when the
overseers take bigger bites from the steak?  The gardens on
my street serve all who happen by, insects, two- and four-
legged friends, all may partake of what sun and rain provide.
—Ann Privateer


—Ann Privateer

One French deck of playing cards contains
no small numbers, only royalty and tens through sevens.

Designed for big thinkers who wish to
play this game without shame or disagreements.

What fainthearted player shows his hand,
what sharpy doesn't lead the band to slaughter

if they can, isn't winning in each plan?

 —Photo by Ann Privateer

—Caschwa, Sacramento


Scientists, of all people
Really, really don’t like to
Have to cope with failure

So they invented a method
Called experimentation
Which tests ideas

Experiments then may
Yield a range of outcomes
Subject to interpretation

If they test a crash dummy
And the dummy is destroyed
The experiment did not fail

Rather, it may have served
To prove what the limits are
Of crashes on dummies

Very good teachers use
Tests as teaching tools
Where providing a wrong

Answer takes a student
Along the path to
Getting it right, because

If everyone could get it
Right the first time
We wouldn’t need teachers

Or tests, or schools
Or classrooms
Or erasers




(It’s the economy, stupid!)

All those poor little elves
Put out of seasonal work by a
Robotic mega-warehouse
Philosophy that displaces
Hand-made artifacts with
Online catalogs, free shipping
With orders of $150.00 or more

“He went to North Pole!”
But he had forgotten to visit
The corner drug store, exclaim
Multitudes of broadly smiling expectant
Brides who had paired up with guys
Who failed to pick up some condoms
Before sharing the family jewels

I am ready to join the NRA once it
Changes its name to “A Well-Ordered
Militia” in strict compliance with the
Second Amendment.  Till then, it is
All about profits from the manufacture,
Distribution, and sale of guns, parts,
And service.  Everything else is puff.

And then there are the esteemed
Members of our beloved Congress who
Themselves enjoy all the perks a head of
Household could hope to have, accepting
Money from the super rich while claiming 
To reach the far corners of our great society:
Unemployed, Hispanic, black, ailing, poor

This line for sale, just $20.00
Terms are cash only until I amass
Enough funds to open a special
Account designed to receive tiny
Deposits from millions of weblog users
Happy Holidays!

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

That rush of wings. Remembered, it takes him
back somewhere he’s never mentioned. Dark
woods above the slough, unnatural glow
through oak, cottonwood, and willow. Past
nightfall, tricky walking without a light.
He should have gone home with his buddies.
Unlucky, gray weather. He was exhausted,
ready to vacate the place. What kept him?
A wish to reconcile, redeem the day. Then,
in the dark, those mystery lights that drew
him down toward water. No one—no flash-
light beam, no butane flare of lighter. Just that
unexpected, muted brilliance. He crept closer.
The phosphorescence faded when he moved,
illumined when he lay still. He fired a shot.
That rush of wings. Not angels. Birds lifting
from broken water to black sky. Then silence.
On shore, a dead heron. Its glow was gone.


—Taylor Graham

What forces operated on this land-
scape—toppled, chipped before recorded time—
and now a boy is lost on granite-sand.
From bluff to game-trail’s end, compass in hand,
which way? My dog must lead me on the climb.
But forces operated on this land
to block our progress. Outside Man’s command
its dins and doubts, its stony pantomime
where now a boy is lost. On granite, sand,
stone, stone, and more stone, my dog leaps to stand
atop a boulder, snatch the brusque wind’s rhyme.

What forces operated on this land
my dog might sense, or dimly understand:
for balance, she goes switch-tail on a dime
to seek a boy who’s lost in granite-sand.
She’ll tack and shift, regain her course, her stride
We’re searching deeper into layered time,
the forces operated on this land
where now a boy is lost on granite-sand.

—Photo by Taylor Graham

Today's LittleNip:

—Emily Dickinson

The Savior must have been
A docile Gentleman—
To come so far so cold a Day
For little Fellowmen—

The Road to Bethlehem
Since He and I were Boys
Was leveled, but for that 'twould be
A rugged Billion Miles—