Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dreaming of Dragons

—Photo by Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento

—Robin Gale Odam

spawn shadow seeds
transparent and thin

they hold my breath
invade my conversation

devour forgotten thoughts
escape from beneath words

fall from my hair into the basin
litter the ground beneath my feet

I scribble their impossible pages
they are lower than memory

abbreviated from misfortune
unmeasured waste of day


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

The farther one lives, the more
deadfall scratches like chalk on blackboard
to form words; overwintered wool
woven dingy against tree-bark and twig
where sheep scratch themselves
for shearing. Unraveling threads of light.
The farther the more
one is burdened with carrying what needs
to be secured. Ratchet of breath
in pollen time. You tell me of burning
angel-skins. What do I know
of angels? Inaudible song. I saw a damselfly—
neon blue toothpick hovering
above weeds in what ought to be garden.
If I tell you anything, it will be
small blue as the flame of a damselfly.


—Taylor Graham

You dreamed of dragons, then woke up
to early morning, sun still slant.
Overhead a shadow circled—a flying dragon.
And by the creek, a wake of buzzards
where last week coyotes killed the deer
and left it to rot. The stench so bad,
you held your nose and looked away.
Today, half a dozen dragons beaked
and taloned tear at the carcass, lift off
on buzzard-wings. Circle, then settle back
to their task. Shadows cleanse the field.


—Taylor Graham

It swirls in arcs
as Loki whirls
to catch it on the fly,
and wild wings swoop
above the field
this hot day in July.

The pasture greens,
the birds will feed
on insects passing by,
and Loki leaps
through sparkles to
snag rainbows out of sky.


—Taylor Graham

A distant rumble, coming closer, above
the wetlands. Sun slips west against the sudden
blinding cyclops of an eastbound crossing
the trestle. Blue-teal water ripples into shadow.
Faint rustle of avian wings, as unseen birds
settle for the night. Tuck these images
in your jeans pockets like winter wings, and
keep walking into gathering dark.

 Sign in Chico
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Donal Mahoney, Chicago

I think you're right, Nora.
There must be a Man in the Moon
and a Man in the Sun

changing light bulbs all day long.
They are shy gentlemen  
the garden gnome said yesterday.

A smile from you, I'm sure, 
would make them blush.
The Man in the Moon

might hide behind a cloud
and the Man in the Sun
might dive behind a star.

But now and then
both of them would peek to see
if Nora ever smiles again.


—Donal Mahoney

Do you remember how
to tie a Windsor knot
the way your father taught you
on graduation day
in eighth grade

the man who wore a tie
twice perhaps at most—
on the day he got married
and the day he was put to rest,
the same tie for both events.

Then almost every day for 40 years
you tied that Windsor Knot
because office attire required it.
Now you haven't worn a tie 
since the day of your retirement.

You'll need that knot
twice more for certain—
as pall bearer for besotted
Uncle Pat and for yourself
the day you're buried.

Both days your Windsor Knot
had better pop out right
or the ghost you don't believe in
may drop by to show you
one last time how to tie it.


—Donal Mahoney

Dead these many years,
Dad's still there for me
every day, pointing

from a star
toward excellence,
the goal we shared.

I missed two free throws once
at the end of a high school game
and we lost by a point.

On the way home
after the game, he said,
"Why did you miss

those free throws?"
Years later in college
I came home with all A's

and one B. I showed him
my grades and he said,
over his newspaper,

"Why did you get the B?"
After graduation I was thinking
about getting married but I

wasn't certain. So I asked him
what did he think. Once again
he was there for me.

Sipping his tea, he said
"You asked the girl, right?
Follow through."


—Donal Mahoney

Wherever I go,
there I am
but if I'm not there

my wife is,
her eyes smiling.
It's been that way

for fifty years.
Not much more
to say except

whenever I go
some place
and discover

she's not there,
then I'm not
there either

even though
neighbors tell her
they saw me there

so I ask them what's
the difference between
flotsam and jetsam.

They have no answer.
Why in their world
worry about me.


—Donal Mahoney

The Alumni News
arrives by email now,
no longer in a
proper envelope.
This saves trees,

the college says.
Poppycock, I say.
Truth be told,
this saves
postage, labor.

Names of alumni  
appear by year,
most recent first.
Takes time to scroll
down to find

the Class of '56
only to discover
Fred is dead
and so is Ed.
Every issue knells

more classmates
nodding off.
One man's left
in the Class of '38.
He's the one

dead classmates
sent their news to.
By email, I imagine.
This saves trees.
Poppycock, I say.


Today's LittleNip:

The man who has no imagination has no wings.

—Muhammad Ali



Ann Privateer, reading at Luna's Cafe
for the WTF release party held last Thursday night
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento