Somewhere in the house or garage or
Maybe an outbuilding are a stash of
Unsorted boxes and in those boxes may
Be found a small collection of film cameras
With various accessories, many now obsolete
It is quite possible that there remains some
Exposed film in one or more of those cameras
Holding images once carefully chosen, framed
With a certain point of view in mind just waiting
To be developed, enlarged, and printed
Untold thoughts still bounce around in the head
That at one time would have been connected to
A photographic image, but without that image
Struggle like a live person in a coffin, barely
Breathing, but quite intent on achieving freedom
It is like when a person starts a sentence and
Then forgets how it was to finish, left to insert
Old codger remarks or dead silence or nonsense
Or like putting in half a pin code and then
Coming up blank on how to complete it
Will I locate those cameras?
Will the film still yield pictures?
Will I remember the point of taking the picture?
Do I already have a suitable digital photo of that subject?
Will my digital cameras meet the same fate some day?
UNDER A WING
Day after day I count the
Coins in my piggy bank
Another tooth is getting loose
And I rejoice: Soon there will
Be more coins
Week after week I count the
Number of kids in my class,
Bicycles at the rack, and the
Times the teacher repeats the
Same expressions over and over
Month after month I observe
My mother counting her inches,
Growing ever larger, signs of a
New sibling and between the pains,
All the talk is positive
Year after year I begin to count
More and higher costs setting a
Pace that my earnings can never
Match, even if I give it my all
And come home exhausted
Decade after decade I count the
Fall of mortal men who had tried to
Manipulate the world economy,
Only to turn countless kings and
Queens into useless pawns
Generation after generation I count
All those broken piggy banks
Empty of coins and dreams
Except for here and there
Under a wing.
—Charles Mariano, Sacramento
in a dead sleep…
through heavy layers
i could hear laughter
somewhere far out
in the darkness
the laughing got louder
i take that back
couldn’t hear it,
i could see it
out there in the distance
small words at first
one by one
in caps now, bolded text
until the words
became a single line
“Hah Hah, Hah Hah, Hah Hah!”
opened my eyes, sat up quickly
“who’s laughing?” i yelled
tried to go back to sleep,
but the words just stayed there
mocking me, daring me,
wouldn’t delete, refused to erase,
so i crawled out of bed
pissed off, grabbed a pen
and wrote this ridiculous
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
We are luminous beings, you said to me
after you’d been to the Spiritual Life Center.
Although a woman of India helped you see
the truth of this axiom, what lone enchanter
first inked it on wise papyrus for the world?
Lo, “Luminous beings are we; not this crude matter,”
growled the green Dagobah man, who’d just unfurled
to Luke the Darth part of his dark path, no flatterer
of his presumed Force-readiness. Yet gave hope
(a new new hope?) Force-forklifting a muck-sunk spaceship.
So you, my Latvian woman, do help me to cope,
point being: that saying, in trouble-time—for the rest, lace lip.
Isn’t love the true lumen behind the gnome, whether Yoda
or you, my sweet, said it, or Paul Badura-Skoda?
And now luminously you face the lens, all sunbeam
right to the top where twin light lozenges
work over the part in your hair, the glowing stream
probing your russet locks with phalanges
of interstellar candescence to teleport
or beam you off somewhere, or convert you to energy,
clear radiance, all glassed in, a human retort
for testing how others like you might join the Synergy.
Yes, I see it at last: you are part Angel,
half Rilkean Angel ready for that Dominion,
needing only to swear the Oath of Uplift.
Your white blouse, your bright arms, your open enigma-angled
smile: you’re poised to outshine stars, to shapeshift
past the coarsest galactic salts. Will you be my guardian?
—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove
I’d hoped for somebody like Michael—
You know—a kick-ass warrior angel with
Armor bright as the sun.
What I got was a guardian angel
Who looked like Bozo the Clown
With enormous wings. “How are
You going to protect me from
Satan and all his pomps?” “I got
Seltzer,” he said helpfully. “Besides,
Kid, this is much better. Nobody’s
Gonna come up and ask to touch
My Sword of Light. That can get
Embarrassing for an angel. And
People don’t like clowns, think
They’re creepy. They’ll keep
Their distance. And we can
Travel faster this way. Now—
Wanna see me fold these wings
Into the little car?"