Monday, December 01, 2014

A Few Words...

Stone House
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch

words scratched in the walls
cut like broken glass
words carved in alabaster
words hinged together
an old door that sticks
words hammered on an anvil
words raining down
burning up
words flying away


—Robert Lee Haycock
There were holes in the ceiling
Holes in the walls
When Lolly came to visit
She talked of her Jesus
Then lifted her skirt
Her legs were covered
In beggar's velvet
From lips to tips of toes
I was filthy with it
When Lolly ran away laughing
You said nothing
Tried to clean up the mess


—Robert Lee Haycock

The cobblers are much happier
And our boots are so supple
Since we started flaying the children
While they are still breathing

But our closets are full of screams
Blood pooling beneath our beds
And the Moon can hardly stand
To look down on us


—Robert Lee Haycock

The foppish pirates
Danced their way ashore
Passing out candy
Disabling fax machines
Stealing keys
As they advanced

The flying babies
Blood in their eyes
Spit in their palms
Swooped down
Joining them in
A pincer movement

The first line of defense
Redecorating our offices
With jarring combinations
Of stripes and plaids failed
Gathered in the employee cafeteria
We sang the old negro spirituals


—Robert Lee Haycock

R. was tired of being dead
And so he wasn't
Driving around in my beat-up truck
We ordered huge breakfasts we didn't eat

But it was inconvenient not being dead
The stripes on his back festered
One night he turned toward me half-asleep
"I've pushed the off button," he said

Only a matter of time now
And our hosts were relieved
When I got up that morning
The records were still spinning silently

 Vallecitos y Vaqueros
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Richard Hansen, Sacramento

Ne'er a frivolous flowery ballad lover
weeps seeking solace
surrounded by family and friends with no end
blankly approving of
your every fart and holler

Neigh !!!!!
such being are you
good Sir and good Mam
but for them such so
your sympathies are granted
your diligent works
financial resources
behind stand
not empty words
but your tireless efforts
on their pathetic behalf
if only
you could just be allowed
to lend a hand
but for they to themselves command
blatant mediocre crap
soothes their self-indulgent
sense of them selfs
They know not what they do
to any near degree that
you and I do

Oh that I shall heap
such Grand
and Endearingly
Tons and Tons of Accolades and Praise
Awards of the Highest Honor
so obviously earned
that anyone ever questioned would heartily never argue
Grand Judgment under Pressure
You are That
and so much more
the massive rock on sandy shore
that isn't phased by mere
18 billion hurricanes or tsunamis
whatever unpredictable
that seeks to do
put a dent in your Armour
they shall fail

Tho the lowly of human beings among us
invited to join and dine
to share in the warmth of your hearth
and spared the indignities
brought about by
less lesser human beings that
happen to be
incredibly wealthy

To those who buy my book and words
Gratitude of Unworldly Measure
ejaculates uncontrollably
from my soul
onto you
with every point of my IQ
there be surrounding you
in heightened awareness of
just who you are

I Thank You


—Richard Hansen

he was just...
walking around
had food to eat
usually had dollars in his wallet
slept comfortably
in a warm spot
was due to gifts he had
that quite whimsically fate
had granted
in the brutal human condition
of our current advancement
families sailing or failing containing
anchors or wings
or those being
particularly nothing
of any good or ill to anyone
at equal distribution into
every social-economic strata
breeding sociopaths and saints
some grow to be above the law
some grow up to see
no justice at all
and where he came from
was a place below a line
by the green almighty
and he wasn't white
so naturally he was denied
safety nets and alternatives
less access
to positive male role models
but nonetheless
there must have been kindness
plus he had brains so
He authored a technique
taught himself to be
didn't think much about
what a luxury
to consider his tomorrow to be
an expectation that was reasonable
just went up and
talked to people
I mean anyone!
had to make some listen
No problem!
he was that clever and funny
he could draw a crowd
his laughter was bombastic
and sometimes
it was only me and him laughing
I love him now
more than I could back then
he was one of God's most
precious and delicate flowers
with huge white teeth
contrasting black skin
chicken and biscuit crumbs sprayin'
when bombastically laughing
there were those little
silky petals of course
the sun's blinding brilliance
when he was insightfully analyzing
what was happening
during the hours pimping whores
at the airbase
payday to drunk horny soldiers
He died at the age
of 42 in bed never waking up
I was half way around the world
heard about it when
a few years later attending
a High School reunion
turnz out
his heroin habit was
second to none
I never knew
How the fuck
do you hide that?
ya wanna keep a friend
you're loyal to
that doesn't do heroin

—Robert Lee Haycock

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Fog so thick, I want to cut it with an axe.
Mud sucks at my boots, clogs the laces.
My flashlight makes halos on ground-cloud.
It’s dark as pretend. Let’s say I’m here
for adventure, lost treasure without a map.
The topo in my hand is sodden with sky,
and useless where I can’t see the land
beneath my feet. Lost treasure, old woman
whose car got stuck in mud by the levee.
Somewhere through fog breathes willow
in its zen, its soothing celadon lapped
by slough-water. Water—river condensed
to fog—carries away everything, even sound,
any color but gray. The old weatherman
gets high, talking of radiation fog, inversion
building up from the ground; our Tule
fog, as if that clarified anything, as if
it told us where a lost woman would be.


—Taylor Graham
The child was born to thanks-giving,
congealing into a form more solid than before,
when its chest was full of birds, their song.
             His lungs worked well enough,
doctors were pleased, the mother smiled through
her cloud. But his wail was not birdsong.
             His bones began to harden,
an inner shell of what he had been, a skeleton
map of mountains with their veins of rock
and river.
             He wailed for the horizon where earth
meets sky and the sun pries them apart each
dawn, as if a day were a new life.
             He wailed because of the outer
walls, the unnatural lights, the hands grasping.
A nurse stood sweetly sentinel.
Each newborn is once in a blue moon,
she said, let us give thanks. But, all around,
there was no dust
             of stars and ashes. No print
of all he had learned before. Wiped clean.
What was this birth, anyway?


—Taylor Graham

One whiff of the color orange, and he stirs
out of old-dog sleep. House dark. I’ve pulled on
my SAR T-shirt, and he knows. It’s search-time.
His heart somersaults. Without a breeze, he
scents vast distances stored in memory, he’s
receiving signals—the sun’s agenda,
lofting air. The line between dreaming and
weather loping across the sky. High cliffs,
a man walking without aim. How to find
him, lost. My old dog comes alive again. 

Morning Moiré
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Today, more papers on To love, or not
to love: does Hamlet’s rapier wrist
caress in spirit, or cuff, the fair Ophelia? The mist
is all. All fog till I ascend the slight Folsom grade.
The law of mountainous winter California:
so much closer to snow, so much
farther from fog. The fog, so the eye of
cliché believes, is thus much lambswool,
thus much Alaskan Husky fur to pull,
to catch, to comb upon soft lithe tule snags,
rough rubbery pampas grasses and reeds
plucking the river blanket. But that’s down-
valley, where cloud dogs and vapor sheep
leave pieces of gown, fragments of parting rag.
And I think again of Hamlet. Been introducing
students to A.C. Bradley, stout Victorian
definer of character: good on the principals,
especially phraseworthy on Hamlet’s mom.
She loves, he says, to be happy: a sheep
In the sun. Wants all around her, Hamlet
and Claudius, Ophelia, Polonius, happy,
like more sheep in the sun. Ah, wretched
Danish queen, you should see these ramsback
fog-racks glisten from up here, in these Elsinore
Sierras. Here’s looking down at you, Gertrude…   


—Tom Goff

    Goodness gracious—mustn’t one pity the poor wretch
    who is obliged after having provided himself with the necessary
    documents, to repair to a locality where, with a ferocity
    unequaled by the cruelest cannibals, he is married alive
    at a slow fire of receptions and the aforesaid funereal pomp.

    —Vincent Van Gogh, letter of early 1889 to Paul Signac

Theo Van Gogh, the go-to dealer for
Impressionists, wildman painters of every stripe,
will soon be quite lost to Vincent. Who deplores
the nuptials; he can’t help but like the impending wife,
straight-gazing, sweet-faced, intelligent young Jo,
a woman of tact and languages and breeding,
at last a helpmeet worthy of a van Gogh.
What heartblood must suffuse his brooding, foreboding?
What suckling in diapers must lawfully interpose
between him and his tubes of paint, his canvas lengths,
his studio rent: his own de facto children?
Oh, envy intensifies fear. The lovely throes
still anguishing, star-whorls, swirls, star-cocoons
squeezed out in great gouts onto easel—his unique strengths—

won’t all this be snuffed, right down to his candlelit night-hat,
in one birth, one red-faced niece- or nephew-sprat?

And what are Vincent’s vast spasms of creativity
to one who can will the white pigment from his guts
into her guts, through the durance of starrier nights,
loud outcries more intense than the absinthe fights
with Paul under gaslight (that puce and baize interior!
That sump of billiards—no: bilious hungover despair—
the pimps and whores would shun, miscalled a café)?

Theo has done for himself, poor Theo the good,
Theo the shy, the refined, the neat, the trustworthy.
To stand in his presence makes one a crass inferior.
Yet Theo’s a sexual creature, a man of lusts,
while—just look at Vincent, the spawn of merde and dust
overlorded by beauty he crudely renders
yet masterfully, painfully, swept upon by gusts
of Arlesienne mistral. Such abject benders.

And yet whose offspring’s more likely to be remembered?
How soon will the tortured friendship be sundered,
Vincent gut-shot and gritting his teeth at death,
Theo’s last syphilis-tormented breaths
defending his brother’s writings, his spurned artwork.

Let’s leave with a salutation from letters of Vincent’s:
A hearty handshake in thought. So innocent:

…yet notice, black-garbed as Hamlet, Vincent lamenting
the funeral baked meats now hotly venting
steam over the marriage tables: Theo, by Jo
so subtly cannibalized, in his best suit,
his smile uncertain, yet polished as each neat boot.
Married alive in a slow ceremonial fire,
roasted and kissed, lips pried apart, apple-stuck.
Do grooms any more resume their human shape
than so much publicly pulled and shredded pork?
Consumable, strand by strand…is this Vincent’s desire?

See Lucien Pissarro’s rough sketch of Theo and Vincent,
hatched out amidst some bench-conversation event.
Arms crossed for a long sit, lips wagging…guess who that is:
the droop-hatted theorist buttonholing his brother,
loudly proclaiming a color-wheel revelation
involving, down the line, some fiscal subvention.
Now see the other:
Eye out for park disparagers keeping witness,
the top-hatted sibling leans in, listens, stiffens…


Today's LittleNip:

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove

Nights like this,
When I was young,
I’d go out,
Walk all night,
Looking for the other
Fog People.
Turns out there
Weren’t any.



And the Painted Ponies Go Up and Down
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock