—Ann Menebroker, Sacramento
this river moves so slowly it never seems to
go anywhere at all. it’s not as if anyone can find
inspiration here; yet, if someone loves you
like this river moves, you don’t have to
impress or speak in tongues.
it’s a slow melodious song backed up by
the sweep of wind through sticks and leaves. the standard
here is long-lasting. nothing gets lost
that can’t be found again, and the
fish grow fat from the handouts. dead critters
on shore turn to instant beauty. they
have left their bones to form art
in layers of dirt and moss. I saw a man
playing a violin, sitting in a tree branch. it
was foggy and he kept having to tune
the strings. this river, if you listen
sings a song on its journey. and the song
ends up maybe in Mexico, or Brazil.
and the river pretends it doesn’t know
anything about the journey. but it’s all
I would like to have met Chewbacca,
the actor beneath the suit, my
favorite character in early Star Wars.
Did he have to beg for the part? Did he
wear deodorant? Did they pay him
monetarily, or in ape food? Did he
belong to an ape-impersonator's guild?
Did they give him free tickets to the zoo?
Chewy. I thought he was cool enough
to have a dog named after him.
—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento
I am ruff and I am growl. I am
footprints on her towel. No bites
she finds from canine teeth
on Persian carpets fine, nor
fluffy, lacy pillows that we share.
A sudden green is seen between
my pads from romps on grassy
ground. Birds I love to chase around.
Their songs are twang in summertime
game. In sun, in rain... it's all the
same to me.
I'll tear a bathroom-basket cloth.
I'll drag off socks to chew and hide
from mistress of our house. She be
with me. We share affinity.
that subcutaneous layer
that makes you as supple
as a drop of hot wax
on white table linen
the squishy parts you want
to squeeze but fear
the trembling thighs
the swishing pink folds
sounds throb, gurgle
and fascinate, eleven heavenly
days in the sauna might
reduce this water
you can't cut it with a spoon
you dream of swimming nude
shocking the masses, you pull
up the covers and sing...
to eat is heaven to grow fat
is divine, at least that was
the case for Hawaiian royalty.
TO BABY FAT
Smoke fills the room
sounds haunt, throb, question...
to have children or not
to rot in place
to be accepted
to attend college in Norman
to read The Dress Code for Women
to menstruate at eleven
to be shocked by the color red
to be surprised eating an oyster
to save its shell, make it a veil
to hide it in a sarcophagus
to join the masses and determine
to uncover sweet dreams
to perfume secrets from the viewer
who sports a smoke-filled eye.
To be willing
to sing like a dove
at the echo of dawn
as a human witness
to a once-flickering
pitch black sky
disappearing as daylight
like zealous Daniel
before a jealous God
in an exile's den
tested by living fire
here in a monastic retreat
in these numinous hours
to uplift the lamps
of the earth for souls
in a solitary dim time,
to be as disembodied
from the world's pleasure
in the burning depth
as mystical ventures drift
over all sublime mysteries
in a thorn of a rose,
by every loving gesture
at a peace garden
of a blazing poetic Word,
carried you aloft to discovery
between death in life
in the spirit wind gusting
you unfolding passages
up on Jacob's ladder
in the solitary library
printed out downward
in a note and prayer book
from invisible dark nights
naming only the phrases
which live on in us,
heirs of nature and landscape,
arrivals by sea and train
writers of in scape and escape
on Kentucky blue grass
with creative gifts of grace.