—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento
She’d run through sparkling fields
amid the yellow petals of her flowering youth.
Leaves on aspens shivered where she sat,
and there she’d rest in shaded dreams.
It was the time she cherished most,
the crumbled towers of doubt a distant town.
Wildflowers caressed her legs and dress
beneath the tree where songs are known and sung,
where time drifts by on willow fluff.
Soft memories tucked within her breast; those days
of life and love and song—warm days
near seashores line with snails and tiny shells.
And here, small stones lay round this tree
for her to turn in hand to see the variegated
bands like memories she held close.
SHADOWS OF GRAY
—Carol Louise Moon
Tonight she comes to see a Hunter’s Moon;
her secret moon (by sea a Sailor’s Moon).
The fog, a veil in shades of misty gray,
lies silent on the crescent silver lake
between the lonely mountains of her youth.
She longs to hear him call her from the waves,
his voice a veil of echo’s dormant gray,
and so she comes to seek her sailor’s moon.
Faith has brought her to this lonely place.
Her solemn eyes portray a patient wait;
her hair, a shadow of her veil in youth,
caresses shoulders thin and bent with age.
Tonight she comes to seek the Hunter’s Moon—
instead, she finds the moon in shrouds of gray.
—Carol Louise Moon
I wish I had known him better,
the old man.
Only this house remains.
And the ivy…
a living vine
of words so green
I cannot read
And the window,
the air whispers
what I cannot read
of the vine,
He is in the wood…
TAROT CARD JOURNEY
—Carol Louise Moon
A little dog begs at the heels of a Fool.
Feather clouds of evening make the journey’s
way easier on the Fool’s breath of grief.
The Fool follows the image of his dead father.
Feather clouds of evening mark the journey
through the town of Regret to a sandy bog.
The Fool follows the image of his father
carved on a walking stick he holds tight
through the town of Regret near a sandy bog.
I’ve come to plant a tree, he tells his dog,
the wooden walking stick he holds tight
leading the way. He plants the stick in sand.
I’ve come to plant a tree, he lies to his dog
who knows the truth and could better lead
the way. With the stick planted in sand
the Fool and his dog turn and walk away.
Who really knows the truth and could lead
the way? Or, ease the breadth of his grief?
The Fool and his dog turn and walk away;
the little dog begs at the heels of a Fool.
—Lelania Arlene, Sacramento
The reflections of the others twin in my head,
Worn shoes Buster Brown scuff at gum
In the place that reeks of shame.
Where to look, where to deafen yourself?
Linoleum, someone getting spanked?
Jesus Poster with yellow tape curling in empathy?
No denial here I’m afraid,
It is a mirror of dirt maps and snot.
Brown paper bag soft as suede,
Carries a bag of stuffing sealed with tape.
It’s not Thanksgiving until we run free,
Celery boats of peanut butter, childhood again.
Baptized in the stench of institution,
We tithed our pride and kids rejoice
Until we dance with olives on tiny fingertips.
Windows steamed allowing us the illusion
That we aren’t named charity,
That we warrant familial privacy.
Ten days later, the cupboard is bare and we collide to hope upon the turkey wishbone.
BURY MY WOMB
Bury my hands in the worm-cast earth,
Bury them deep lest they clap like a bell.
Bury my knees bound together close.
Bury them never to part, never to tell.
Bury my teeth, clenched under ant hills,
Bury them as if filling in an unused well.
Bury me cloying, bury me finite, bury me honest.
My teeth would be a knives' edge,
On my bare mattress in my pilled faux satin shortie pajama set.
Mama's dowry to the drug dealer's cherry gift.
The buttons of the mattress scrape me I twist them and feel dog hair in their dimples.
Sheets are for rich girls!
Sheets are for cared-for girls.
Not girls with dirt maps on their thin pale arms.
Not girls smelling pot smoke and hearing the moody blues, the forced laughter of the needful partiers.
Not girls that listen for the end of Saturday Night Live.
Then he comes to throw piss-scented stuffed animals with stiff fur to wake her.
She's always awake now.
But she will never tell.
Inductee to the white knuckle club.
He comes smelling of beer.
He comes to push her farther into the mattress buttons.
Do not remove under
penalty of law.
His sweat drips on her skin and tightens it with an unpleasant sting, an odd numb feel.
Visiting the Book Collector, Sacramento
—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento
autumn day, sun warm as spring
light breeze sweet from recent rain
trip down streets missed
in recent years, spent
alone before a screen
oh, this day, freedom
stride block after city block
over light rail tracks
greet line worker in his truck
pass Old Spaghetti Factory
streets quiet on Black Friday
shoppers online, at malls, in the Bay
has it just been two years?
more like five
there was the slow-down, recession
three years ago
I read from my Rattlechap
at The Book Collector
purple snake draped across my shoulders
hot summer night
perhaps you were there
today I visited The Book Collector
blank awning over the door
now in one cardboard box
on mid-room shelf
I search the room
clerk listens to me reminisce
says, change can be good
blankets with secrecy
spider down my back
EVENING STORM ENDED
leaves bunch, cluster
in light rain, at dusk
like Shetland wool or heather
dusk slips in
trees make wet, black strokes
air shimmers in street lamps’ glow
air washed clean by the blood
by sorely needed rain
—Medusa, reminding you that Ike Torres and Nancy Aide Gonzalez will be reading at Red Alice's Poetry Emporium at The Shine tonight (plus open mic), 1400 E St., Sacramento, 7:30pm. Host is Bill Gainer. Be there!