—Rhony Bhopla, Sacramento
Sacred banyan tree, adhesive sap
You seal the fragments of my incoherence
Bohar, vast twisted bearded bark is essence,
your reaching growth calls for Amritsar’s pundits
Oh, Great Teacher! India belies common mantras—
a shaman in the temple at your roots attempts the havan
No sparks fit in your crags, none can ever alight
except away, in the wanton darkness of solitary pain
I touch your nakedness.
Your aerial roots bind the braid of the deity within me
She speaks of what you have done, cleaning teeth
of poor children with your twigs
She whispers the letters of slaves, written
on paper made from your bark
The sun, drips along the sides of your trunk
as I fall prostrate, knowing that you exist
Sensuality scatters during a meditative reverie
I drift into the soil that nourishes you
Baba Bohar: A tree that has not been touched for centuries, and the surrounding buildings have actually been built around it.
Amritsar: City in Northern India, Punjab. It is most known for the Golden Temple.
havan: a consecrated fire
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Don’t ever lose your accent: it’s a detail
different in you from me, as any one leaf
is its own essence, distinct, aloof from the sheaf,
alive in the lone. Category’s no holy grail.
Do you speak Thai or Greek, Swahili or Hmong?
Inquiring minds want to know, not really to hurt;
we’re your kind audience, we’d rather you blurt
your beauty, your smidge or smudge. It’s friends you’re among.
I don’t know why, I think of Yeats the poet
and how he celebrated his Nobel Prize,
by scrambling some eggs. I would devoutly learn
how gold or pale those eggs, and if he’d throw at
the cooking mass much peppercorn while it fries.
Does he add bacon? Eggs toughen, or simply burn?
Details for him to keep Irish and live inside,
as coats come herringbone-accented, Irish in pride.
He sang as much as he spoke his verse, with lilt
he could chant around and above his Maud Gonne guilt.
The salt to his egg-feast of song, a musical psaltery.
Umbilical, Delphic, each chord, not one whit paltry.
There were people who nevertheless put down their towels to lay on the rocks in the sun
To do so was probably as uncomfortable as it looks
Me, I didn’t even want to take off my shoes to stick my feet in the water
Not only did I fear I would cut my bare feet
I knew there would be no “foot massage” like you get while walking along the ocean shores
On June 20, 2015, though the weather was cooler by Donner Lake than in Sacramento
I enjoyed the sunshine and a breeze on a picnic bench with a female friend named Marie I had originally met in my Russian classes
which it usually does in July
but this time, for my June birthday
I tried to give away some for free at vegan potluck and church
but they have somewhat of a bitter taste and therefore not to all’s liking
and I think they will taste sweeter dried in my dehydrator to become prunes
“A man’s home is his castle”
Until he puts a moat around it
Filled with critters that will tear
Intruders to shreds
Then he is reminded ever so
Harshly that local laws and
Ordinances were drafted in terms
Of the home being a domicile
And if he is a member of a
The moat must resemble all
Other neighborhood moats
And the sounds coming from
Captives in the tower, or visitors
Falling into the moat and being
Eaten alive must be muted
So as not to be a disruption
That would tend to lower
The market value of
THE HOG FESTIVAL RETURNS
—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove
Normally dour and grim
As a Grant Wood portrait,
Once a year, the citizens
To pig out, to go hog wild.
Everywhere, a celebration
Of sheer pigginess: the
High school band, fighting
To play through the slippage
Of their rubber pig noses
In the early September heat.
On Main Street—the World’s
Largest Pork Chop Barbeque.
In the lagoon, the Hoggata
Regatta boat race. For
Bikers, the Tour de
Pork. Out in the cemetery,
The Hog Jog: no stopping,
No pigs allowed.
Over near the Burlington
Tracks, the Pork Chop
Sculpture Contest. Think
Stonehenge, but with
Gristle. The mud volleyball
Tournament. Can you
Spike? Can you wallow?
Once again this year, no
Entries for the Miss Pork
Pageant. Ditto for
The Hog Calling Competition.
Are you surprised?
On the carnival midway,
Whole families, seen just
This once a year, stroll,
Resplendent, sort of,
In hog ears, ham-themed
Aloha shirts, and yes, in
A daring fashion statement
For the heartland, bacon-
Patterned boxers. It’s
A special time after all
And just once a year.
By Monday, it’ll all
Be gone but the flies.
It’s a fifties sort of
Thing, yes, and not
A little tacky. But that’s
The point. Eggsactly.
where the only way anyone in America will see once-wild animals at all
will be taxidermied specimens in museums
or with their heads mounted on walls