Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Philosophers, Professors, Prophets & Reverends

Al Young, Calif. Poet Laureate Emeritus,
reading at Sac. Poetry Center last Monday (Feb. 17)
to help celebrate Black History Month
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Jennifer O’Neill Pickering, Sacramento

It might be you forget where you are. It might be you enter 
a dark room or one drenched in light furnished only with a 
prayer pillow, a desk with pen and paper, with the blue glow 
of the computer, the comfortable chair. You’ve not meditated 
for a long while but sit, release your breath. Thoughts cross 
your threshold; it might be you say “not now" or it might be 
you say nothing. You see a word spelled out on a great white-
board, or a blackboard, or virtual screen.  Your mind has an 
eraser; your mind has a delete key that makes any other word 
disappear. It might be you are here now, and not there and not 
ahead of where you are or behind where you already were. 
After a time, your thoughts travel where consonants and vowels 
chain, words gather, linking breathy sentences.


—Jennifer O’Neill Pickering

sparrows chirp under full moons

the dog’s hair thickens at the nape of her neck

cats refuses to go outside

roses drop false blooms 

grey mouths of sky

swallow dark fruit of crows

spiders nest in corners of the house

crickets appear on the hearths 

pigs gather sticks.

there is an abundance of acorns

pipes burst before they can be wrapped

dreams lengthen

heavy fogs in August

frequent halos around the sun

we take to bed earlier and wake later

raccoons sport bright bands 

rats strum the rafters 

we crave brandy in spiced cider

ants drink from kitchen faucets

mice pilfer the hoosier cabinets

cheeks ripen in the morning cold.

Will Alexander reading at SPC last Monday
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Celeste Hackenberg, Davis

Yarn bombs are hand-knit jackets of excess yarn—

           loose ends bunny-looped like laces dangling
                                  old, empty shoes over power lines.

Graffiti is a lower case g stenciled and sprayed—

           between the Han and over Dr.
                      decreasing property value,
                      & substituting plain with urban.

Graffiti is not a message written on a leaf,
or paper littered in a floating bottle.

Words carved in a tree could be controversial,
depending on how many, what kind, and how deep.

Mechanical lights hang in pre-programmed sockets—
changing on fixed timers,
                                                 while obedient cars
                                                 wait impatiently.

Night is the only chance to break—
The sky dark, red and empty.


—Sage Robbins, Sacramento

The way my fears finger their way into my dreams.
To watch sunlight dance on the grass that I keep green.
Scumbag disguised as a Sleazeball
Isn't any better than
A Creeper masked as Dirty.
A dream job isn't any better
Than one that lets you sleep.
The only way to increase your wealth
Without more worry
Is to spend the most on charity.
Little lies are told
By those who will also tell large ones.
Lofty goals are achieved
Only by those most selfless.
Thus, no reason to retaliate.
To each their own.
Have faith in fate.
Tending my own garden,
Watching art awaken,
Reveling in childlike wonders,
I find beside me allies.
The more times I get up to open the door,
The more gifts I find have arrived.
I'll strive to live with certainty.
Step with strength and a smile.
Poets are philosophers,
Professors, Prophets and Reverends.
But only because we're more like
An ancient trade-bound family
Than we are polite, informal friends.


Today's LittleNip:

—William S. Gainer, Grass Valley

If you are going to hang pictures
you have a responsibility
to keep them

Got it?


—Medusa, thanking today's contributors—all these poets will be part of the new issue of Rattlesnake Press's WTF, due to premiere tomorrow night (Thursday, Feb. 20) at Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, 8pm. Editor frank andrick will host, and he has plenty of surprises lined up!

And thanks to Michelle Kunert for the swell photos of last Monday night's reading at SPC. For more photos of some other recent readings in our area, see Michelle's latest album on Medusa's Facebook page.

Host Justin Desmangles reading at SPC last Monday
with bassist Harley White
—Photo by Michelle Kunert