Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Springing Forward

Pretty Coffee
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Charles Mariano, Sacramento

i am
for the most part
almost done

it’s March,
the end
of my latest winter,
spring forward

the clock ticks loudly
over the sink,

can feel
the walls breathing,
almost finished, then
abrupt silence

three cousins
in one month
into the ground,

a long, ragged winter

from freezing
to warm,
stifling heat

i am
for the most part
almost done

an hour late,
or an hour
too soon


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

A peacock aims tail-spread at hens 

unseen. Great mainsail, fully fanned; 

we behind him see back-of-the-tapestry 

coarseness, knottedness and fuss.
Tawny tail plumes, bloomers of organ bellows. 

These vibrate sexual gristle and strut
into a silvergray fan belt then yes!
a whole quill-forest rattles,
waist-high monsoon cloud, pelting a hollow.

Look! A gray peahen darts 

from under cock’s underskirts.
Peacock turns, now two-hundred-glare 
face-front. Many-eyed solo design,
wallpaper sheen. 

Nearby bench cavorts Daffodil Jill,
little vine twining up all the lap
momma can lavish. Now momma’s
feeding her raspberry airplane,
lips and tongue. Early-daffodil overcast
lids and vapors the crockpot:
for a moment, ever
so soft aromas flicker

(first pub. in Sacramento News & Review, 4/14/11)


—Katy Brown, Davis

He can find you from traces—
your sneeze captured in a tissue,
left under the seat of your car—
the residue of scent
left on your seatbelt or
on your pillow.

Cowboy, the expert search dog—
his nose sweeping the wind
for molecules—tracing you
through your breath, exhaled
in anxiety, or pain, or confusion.

He reads the air like a linguist
knows the tongues of other tribes:
go this way to a squirrel nest;
over here, a fawn shelters in the willows;
down this stony path—your human.

Some dogs put noses to the ground,
following the path your sneakers made—
unbraiding the scent you left
among all the other creatures
who came your way.  Not Cowboy.

Not the step-by-step retracing
of a wandering spirit;
not the winding, exhausted meander.
Following the trail is for others.
Cowboy maps the wind.

Taylor Graham has a treat for her veteran
search-and-rescue dog, Cowboy.
—Photo by Katy Brown

on a line by Emily Dickinson
—Taylor Graham, Placerville

So gay a flower bereaved the mind.
Small golden radiating suns
returned again with spring, dancing
in a vase, their glory just begun—

their petal-fabric softens, loses tone
as the most vibrant color stays.
They wither. See, they’re only good
for just so many sunny days.

Release them to the hope of bulbs,
hard nubbins underground,
and the coming of another spring
more lasting than you’ve found.


—Taylor Graham

The new pup has found a bone.
She’s been running the April fields
no matter how I call “Come!”
past where old dead dogs lie buried.

She’s been running the April fields
as if they were only always hers,
past where old dead dogs lie buried
under rain, sun, and earth.

As if they were only, always hers,
the stones and grasses of the world
under rain, sun, and earth
push up from underground—

the stones and grasses of the world
and the bones, like daffodils,
push up from underground
when we’re not looking; too busy.

And the bones, like daffodils—
bone that holds the memory of lives.
When we’re not looking, too busy,
she’ll chew it to its marrow.

Bone that holds the memory of lives.
No matter how I call “Come!”
she’ll chew it to its marrow.
The new pup has found a bone.

(first pub. in What the Wind Knows, 2013)


Today's LittleNip:

—Caschwa, Sacramento

Oh to make sport of pickles
That glisten in the moonlight
Tarting the tongue with spices
Laughing at the very sight
Of tears falling with each bite
Sweet in form of bitter pills
Bring me quick some Daff O’Dills



—Photo by Taylor Graham