Wednesday, October 15, 2014


—Ann Menebroker, Sacramento

Don't believe in that rat that crawls into your bed.
Believe in the dishes in your sink, a load
of dirty laundry.
Can you hear the damn wall clock
struggling to pull our lives forward?
Fill up the bucket with warm and soapy water.
Pour it over the floors.  Mop it.  This should take
a long time to do.
There are those who love you and make thick
creamy soup to deliver to your house.
You can buy flowers out of season
and the winter garden will bloom.


—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

grounding, burying, submerging
eating earth—
not crunching sand
nor jarring teeth against specks left
in a carrot or potato skin—
but breathing, tasting dark loam
from your body and soul
plowing under my hesitation
rooting at last

white grub strings trail from my scalp
fingers, toes penetrate, explore, grind
you suck me in
surge back for more

take me within you
flesh, marrow, heart, soul
ground me by bones
at the base of my spine
craving, pulling further
deep down inside

plant me, secure me, within
your body, your black, fertile soil
that I might bear fruit
bitter and sweet

—Ann Wehrman

shiny black Singer, granny boot, spit-polished
hourglass reclines on its side
spider’s web thread winds down its face
through needle’s eye

since childhood, my left foot pedaled the treadle
lattice, black metal
kneaded air when I lay down nights
faster, in rhythm
slowly, careful not to tangle the stitches—
hear Nana’s Texas drawl: “feel the bobbin’s tension”

mended my brothers’ grimy jeans
each late August, summer’s dust wars
yielded ten or more pairs from each of them
inseams split from ankle to ankle like gutted rabbits

made a bridesmaid’s dress for my neighbor—
and for myself, an empire gown
red-on-white dotted Swiss, lace, puffed sleeves
we danced at the Sweetheart Ball
but he was unfaithful

knitted mittens and vests, long cape—
netted a few dollars on consignment
pinned and grommeted
for a designer who wouldn’t let me sew
but did arrange my hours so that
in addition to sales
I could clean her office and restrooms
nights, my eyes tiring
embroidered a wedding shirt for a man I wanted
finally packed it away in my closet
barely stopping myself
from picking out all the stitches

lately, sew on occasional buttons
wear old clothes too beat up to repair
in my room, by sticks of incense
and a broken statue of The Little Mermaid,
still stands a one-inch tall, perfectly painted replica
of a Singer treadle sewing machine

—Ann Wehrman

I stood by Nana’s mahogany, king-sized bed
where she slept alone, night after night
eased by Mentholatum and bourbon
hard contact “eyes” resting on her nightstand
massive, curved bureau under its wall-sized mirror
overflowing with powdered sachets, costume jewels
satin girdles, silk stockings, gloves for all occasions
her Tony died thirty years ago
when her face still glowed, fresh as an airbrushed print
pride, passion throb in her voice
rare occasions when she mentioned his name

when I’d visit Nana during summer vacations
we played hand after hand of Bolivia
an obscure, difficult variation of Canasta
at eleven, my hands barely spanned the cards
yet we both played to win

I’d go to bed at nine
she’d come in an hour or so later, after the news
I sat on the edge of the nubby chenille spread—
the darkened room fragrant with chocolate cake
sirloin steak, Nana’s Pall Mall
I raised the window against the air conditioner’s chill
toxic with city life and exhaust, the hot breeze
swept up thirteen stories from Lindell Boulevard
stung my nostrils and throat, excited me

St. Louis night busy
honking cabs, red and white lights
hypnotic heat, six lanes to and from Forest Park
Ralston Purina’s giant, floodlit, checkerboard silo
marked near distance
hungry patrons pushed in the door
at the diner across the street
I leaned out over the grimy sill
inhaled the possibilities
lowered and fastened the glass

—Richard Hansen, Sacramento

Y'all just a bunch of wimps!
I was the one that ate my vegetables
I even talked to Jesus
When I was young enough to believe it
I kept his picture in my mind

His hair and eyes
and now that I...
I think of of it
He looks Dutch but
He was with me!
He watched over me
all the time

brings tears to eyes


—Richard Hansen

Sun rises on a life breathing its last
remembering his promises to mom and dad
"I drive careful doggone it!"
he already washed it
and buffed dry with cotton towels
a shiny '52 Dodge ragtop
brought back without a scratch and
far less questions occupying
his mind
his mind
drifting in and out
in and out
in and out on this day


—Richard Hansen

Once there was a mouse important in my life
He was brown with white spots
used to wander around on my desk
while I worked on college assignments
Linda fell in love with him
it wasn't hard to do
He was a big fully grown male
Even big for a mouse
which is still pretty small
he got sick when he was 8 months old
which is bad news for any mouse
crusty stuff ringed his eyes
snot flowed from his nose
Linda instilled boric acid drops
I think that’s what she said it was
and added things to his food
And Spot stayed extra warm
Riding in Linda’s bra between her boobs
he was a lucky mouse
and he got well
and he fell in love with Linda
so I gave her his container
that kept him safe from the cats when he slept
I could still hold him of course
He Loved Linda
you could tell
it kinda hurt my feelings
but Spot was happy
That’s what really mattered

—Richard Hansen

“given time…
and a tasty little treat
would not it be so reasonable to allow:
Which is Extraordinary!
A mouse apart!
An individual of strident will and boldest of bold rodent heart!
That sees with its stomach when its balls say WHEN to!
And to wend through the shadows cast by sturdy wooden slats
to pluck sharp cheddar from a bloody hand that
has barely a grip and
is desperately offering friendship
from the bottom of its palm
the very ends of jittery fingertips.”

They wouldn’t have sharp cheddar on a pirate ship for a condemned man. That’s silly. Hmm.


Today's LittleNip:

—Ann Wehrman

clouds rose early
before the sun
gray and white, translucent
they flow one over another
like gauze scarves
my heart fills—
rhapsody at gold-rimmed clouds
in cool, pre-dawn autumn breeze
yet leaves turn, fade, fall
baring bones of trees