Monday, February 09, 2015

Brussels Sprouts and Other Surprises

Hatch Graham, with newborn formerly known as
LambLamb, now called Lucinda
—Photo by Taylor Graham, Placerville

—Taylor Graham

The rag-tag bummer lamb dances on linoleum,
a zig-zag step of shiny black patent hooves
that can’t keep their legs upright and straight-line
at the same time. She’s gypsy outcast, cinder
in a fairytale, lamb-lamb. Her brother
is the prince. The aging queen-ewe can’t afford
twins, but shoves her girl-child out the Gate-
of-Where? to rag-tag dance for supper
in a stranger’s kitchen. Are ears not wings?
Can tiniest hooves not pirouette to magic
slippers? She suckles anything—newsprint,
armpits, thumbs and collars—she tugs at rubber-
nipple happiness milk. She doesn’t seem but is.  


—Taylor Graham

Boots. A brisk walk before sunrise
to scare coyotes out of rimrock so they flow
up-creek like the dark of dreams, up
the pass to daylight. Images, not teeth.
A walker’s blood runs after them, washing
off sludge of sleep. Words to spring
the barnyard gate and out come sheep, new-
born lamb speckled as pied beauty
on February grass. Sun’s up now. Lift
my arms, open my hands, let the dreams
drift on a downslope breeze. Fill my palms
with nothing, with light.


Up the mine-trail, past the graves,
a fragment of gold-slate, jigsaw piece
to the mystery of a poem; lay it back
in its place. Destroy nothing.
And down the trail, a bearded man
hefts sacks of litter, recyclables—
$200 a week he earns. I’ll recycle
him too, not for money. Poetry takes
and gives, but it doesn’t pay.



full-moon lamb-ewe
born in a drought,
we shall name you
fortune and doubt.

Who wants sheep
for pastures that wane?
Soothe you to sleep
with songs of grain.

Full moon tonight
will spend in coin
its silver light.
The stars conjoin.

Who knows what comes
next aborning?
Fortuna hums
this good morning.

—Taylor Graham


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

I’m about to burst. I’ve downed both of them:
two women, two gamines, two bittersweet drinks.
One lady, this melnais balzams, ink
of Latvia, licorice stir and stem

of everything muddled in a vodka blur,
birch and oak and linden tree,
dense enough, spoons could take root, stand free
in such thick blackness, such sweet liqueur.

The other, this ouzo, light and Greek,
a shy sharp deceiver, all sugary clear
drenched in Mediterranean wet, her sheer
melt-on-the-tongue icewater-creek

infusion, merriment and rue,
star-anise-flavored innocence,
not Latvian black—still, distilled licorice,
now cloudy, now clear, but what afterhue.

Twin absinthe rainbows, each one my “true gen,”
my test of the tough in an apéritif.
One is a vixen, one is a thief.

Two swigs of dark eyes, two hallucinogens…

—Don Feliz, Vacaville

I braid memories—
follow my family maze
from birth among
unintelligible giants
whose first services
crave only a smile—
but then expect
athletics and speeches
until I serve myself,

enter life’s literal labyrinth:
shabby noisy rooms,
dark dangerous streets,
unemployment lines,
crowded classrooms,
costly textbooks, and
sleepless nights through
decades of career.

I reel up memories—
find unexpected love.

Bouncing Rain
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Lelania Arlene

I can hear the friction of my corduroy’s rubbing.

Taste the tang of sour grass.

Feel the illicit thrill of writing a symbol or word of importance on your jeans.

The impertinent pain of borrowing a ten speed bike that is too tall.

Chocolate milk day!

Taste the Bonne Bell Lip Smackers and the comfort of a Big Ass Goody Comb in my back pocket.

Love's Baby Soft and hormones....
The brown writing paper that tore.

Sparkly erasers that looked better than they erased.

Cat’s eyes, Steelies, Boulders and most of all, playing for keeps and never fudging.


—Lelania Arlene
The grief wrenches me as if to my knees in sand, as to nuns kneeling on rice....
I wish him wrath, I wish him to eat songbirds poached in a hood of shame,

Trapped on branches of rendered lime, I’ll fly to rip my own claws and tail out in self-blame.
Slake the volcanic thirst for acceptance, for love with paltry delusional suffice,

Rush to the empty sky in plumage of plummy shame I wail, is my best advice.
Vain and powerless, an empress with a newly donned crown of flame,

Snared in fauna, poached without remorse, caught and released sans shame.
In affluence of fury, in fight or flight, audibly impotent column of throat in a vise,

For meat of the tender, eat a bruised heart, for the tears of the abandoned, sweet words entice.

—Photo by Katy Brown

—Lelania Arlene

The Moon and his Red God came walking my shores,

The Moon picked me up and held me to his ear to hear my ocean.

But he heard with his all-encompassing heart, 

I whispered to the Red God about true natures and intentions of love.

Blessed by the Red God I encroached upon the spaces between the Moon Man’s hands.

It felt right, as if embrace of warm sands.

We handed, we footed, we are twice-born.


—Lelania Arlene
She marches in seven-league boots to the very cliffs of aspiring,

Throwing boulders she has clawed from the earth, she howls—I LOVE YOU.
Knocking down small shrubs of aspiring hope, heel to toe, shoulders bowing,

She recalls rolling out dough with wine bottles, remembers breasts like piloncillo.
In Wednesday’s panties she recalls piercing an orange with thumbnails, firing

The oil's release, half-moons on skin coaxing pleasures, bringing things true.
By Bodega candles, moaning until the very rings of Saturn are glowing,

Under saints' watchful eyes, knees that balance lust pivotal like a globe, nectar flow.
Bringing to mind, stares at broken fingernails, tasks at hand—the rending,

Bees buzz where her legs meet, she beats the ground, her mouth in screw.
Hating her hair, she pulls it in grief and now small stones bruise palms, not hushing,

Wailing now, she folds the pity of things to her breasts and freshets of tears begin anew.


Today's LittleNip:

I went outside to see whether or not Magritte had painted a hole in the sky.

I felt it, but could not locate it.

I did however meet a Corgi who begged a roasted Brussels Sprout from me and he politely and woefully observed it on the sidewalk.

I reassured him, as he was not expecting a roasted Brussels Sprout after all.

—Lelania Arlene



Cowboy Watches Over LambLamb