Some are intentionally encouraging.
Some are classic and simple.
Some are leathery, others are glossy.
There are dragonflies, trees, and keys.
Some few have birds.
There are celestial influences.
A couple may be suitable for tattoos.
They offer comfort, or insight.
(Not to be confused with “nothingness”)
Lifetimes on the page, as yet unwritten.
The variety dazzles, even as the
—Charles Mariano, Sacramento
no high-tech gadgets
no sir, not me
grab a pencil, pen, or crayon
before stepping out the door,
and i’m good
would be a notepad,
but when out in the jungle
i operate on the fly,
if something moving,
or strangely exciting
bites me in the ass
and needs writin,
i grab a scrap of paper
and jot a few trigger words
preserve the thought
all that’s needed
is a word, or line
to rattle my brain
take me to the exact moment,
like a snapshot
if no paper available
scribble on my hand or arms
front and back
if i need more room,
take off my shoes and socks
if i run out of skin
then call 911,
because i’m passed out
—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA
Give me the implements I need to simply write:
a pen, a hallway card table, enough for Ted Hughes
(when fiery young Plath commandeered his working space).
Dip my pen maleficent: writing signifies fight,
it’s battling down the acrid thousands of rues
and wounds in life for the sake of laying a trace.
Pervert, contort, invert sonnets, monkeywrench form,
since form is a tool too, and I want to control
shape so it obeys me in savager modes than storm,
than painful the lady horse who expels the foal.
I grub or I mope with the pen but the laptop delete,
key of all keys, arouses in me the desperate
urge to be loved by death. When I’m replete,
life long overdrawn, sting me on to insult lean fate.
DRIVING TO SYMPHONY SEVEN
His forms are simple, but his moods complex,
conductor Tod Handley declares of Arnold Bax:
Stark anger yields as elegy impacts
this otherwise blistering scherzo, then, to vex
the symphonic commentators, lilting dance
patterns ignite brief raptures, reveries
befitting an Isadora Duncan frieze,
her Grecian electric slide. What’s languid turns lance,
frenzy again stabs through the music. So.
I listen to Bax’s lovely Symphony Seven
while driving: Slipstream. Sidewind. Cars shave close.
Ecstasy mingles with rage, involving heaven
—unsummoned sharp dreams: your evanescent face.
Strange drive that can so enrage, console, displace.
FEBRUARY SPRING, MOON FULL
Spring, stumbling in early: green, rich, inflorescent,
just as the night-sky rondure widens, ripens.
It’s now I most think of you, plenilune to crescent,
the court before whose light each truth or lie bends.
Your heart-core clings to her orb through tilts of orbit,
swaying the nights and tides, purloining light
from the great daymaster who corrodes the starlit
pulsating darkness with harsh backlit whitewash.
He takes, and you reclaim, the wedding-band
shape, the close-knit charm, a type of light-sash:
dancers, ranged ring-a-rosy, sarabande
their adoring arabesques around your heart.
Grave sweetness attracts then pins them to this chart.
Long-ago Sappho crowns you my sapphire rose,
mystery around whom the universe turns and glows…
Each evening you arrest your axial grace
while balancing, one leg drawn up taut as a lace.
You, in your most languid spearlike yoga pose.
QUICK CHANGE ARTIST
—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento
My bright blue vixen wig
platinum pixie-cut and
pink circus puff-balls
aren’t enough for him.
He says, I imagine you in
a jet black bob with bangs
a long wavy ginger wig
a Marie Antoinette updo
a blond 70s afro to complement
your pink paisley disco dress and
silver platform shoes.
He says he knows I have a secret drawer
in my desk at work
with rainbow eyelashes
and sequined ankle boots.
He knows one day he will catch me
slipping out of the supply cupboard
like a super heroine
slinking off to a post-work photo-shoot.
—Richard Hansen, Sacramento
Distant Lovely One
allow us to meet in Dreams
I am not here consulting
problems for unloading
because of loneliness
I've been here
since that instant which
inspired our desires for each other
Joy and Love
be in our lives
separate or together
I am here because I never lost you
makes my love for you stronger so
just one simple pleasure
That which we have
and always had together
and right now is doing
stopping it is impossible
I AM ENFOLDED
I am here with Bright Delight
I am here to enjoy
DINNER WITH MOM
My mom and I had so much fun yesterday
dining during Happy Hour at
O'Conner Woods Senior Living Facility
the offerings were Sparkling Apple cider
Baringer Wine red or roze zay I asked for
"Scotch Straight up"
It was delicious
I met a lot of Mom's friends
"Dah suit's Italian don't touch!"
I laughed again
giving a frail woman a warm hug
"I preferz not washin' my hands buh'fore dinner
due to dah delicate nuances they deliver
tu dah olfactory glands
while con suming my meal,
"Call me 'Yah hee'"
related the story of a child and her family
being assigned to a horse stall with two other families
"We had hay and horse feed to stuff our mattresses"
were given canned heat and bare essentials to cook rice
and things in cans "we were unfamiliar with"
there were no plates
"We shared spoons."
Kids couldn't get over
Grandpa farting, unaware of any silly taboos
I hope to have dinner again
with Mom soon.
Took the wind chime in
It remains in the
Hallway on a nail
I believed a promise
Voted for it
Older and ….
Well, just older
Was invited to come
Stay at IA, American Heartland
Came to mind, but they meant
Which backwards is
I made a New Year’s
Resolution to get
On the very first
32nd of the month
Yes, I’ll do it!
If your ground round
And your boots