Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Buffaloes & Question Marks

Cornerstone Gardens, Sonoma
—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove

The campfire was dying
And the scouts asked me how
I’d met my wife.  Told them
She was from Chicago, and not well
Versed in the ways of downstate,
And that I’d saved her from a fate
Smellier than death resulting
From a late-night outhouse tipping.
The troop committee chair
Cautioned me about telling
Inappropriate stories to
Impressionable young boys.
Odd: the scouts knew what
An outhouse was; the committee
Chair didn’t.  And my wife
Said that was just the way
She’d remembered it too.


—Michael Cluff, Corona


Brenda always drove by
Court and Westmonte
just to glimpse

Angus waiting for the bus
he was in tweed and wingtips
elbow patched sometimes

like her dad.

She felt the same
about them both.
One day,
her car breaks down
near Angus' seat.

his black dress pants
with pleats and wallet
are found to the north,

his blue tie
to the south

and his underwear
on a flagpole
at Sparks Middle School
in the east.


And in the West,
Angus now motors
her car to work
while she sleeps.

His shirts are better-pressed
shoes polished
hair stylish
while she still sleeps.

Last week he shot past
a corner
where Janine
stood looking for a ride.

She resembles Brenda
but only from a distance
and was

her image
her attitude
her logic

up close.


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

My Dad was born with a lazy eye.
His left eye would roam.
I know both my eyes roam,
and yours probably do, too.

I was at home and both eyes were
roaming when my cell phone rang,
in the West where the buffaloes roam.

I remember when you and I met,
my eyes met yours and
they got acquainted.
Then you met over at my house
where I phoned in an order
of buffalo wings.  But you said
you'd rather I cooked.

Later, I recalled how much
I loved buffalo meatloaf leftovers,
and how I love to be lazy.

Cornerstone Gardens, Sonoma
—Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

It was in a dreamscape, in blue shades
of marine magic.
No, it was under fluorescent lights,
studying a textbook on forbs.

I was the one hesitating toward you
in the light of the door.
Classroom 27. I was too engrossed
in the archives
of vanishing rangeland to notice. No,
that’s not quite true either.

I knew we’d be together until near
the end of time.
Or memory, whichever comes first.


—Taylor Graham

            for Loki

Born blind into the puppy-dark.
First to escape the whelping-box.
Her littermates moved on to new homes;

she was passed over,
learning life by teeth and bark;
then sold, and soon returned. Too much,
too smart, too hard.

How did we chance to find her, or
she us? Sheer accident.

This morning she pulls me at the end
of a leash, down steps of an unfamiliar city,
into April springlight. Up 13th
Street, startling at her own reflection

in glass; showing me
the scent of white begonias;
adventuring sidewalk, as strangers debark

from sighing buses. Bark.

Accident creating our new world.

(first pub. in What the Wind Says
by Taylor Graham, 2013)


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

What coils in the deep circle
of the brimming dark
that waits forever—
seething in oldest patience—
serpentine, unsurfacing—
from all your questions?
Just another question mark.

(first pub. in Hidden Oak)



Cornerstone Gardens, Sonoma
—Photo by Cynthia Linville