Monday, July 06, 2015

The Grace of Poetry

Cedar Dance
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA

An improbable landscape of railed precipice
and concrete stairs, nothing swerving from
right-angle and diagonal—and at this end
a bit of forest canopied soft with sunlight
seeping through. A tepee of cedar bark.
Grain of the wood, a hobby-horse
for the casting of dreams. History holds
things as they were or we think them.
Rock me to sleep in the memory of trees.

—Taylor Graham

‪As we ascend, we pass frescos like cave‬
‪paintings on the walls—golden limb of a hero,‬
‪soldier, or child so swift he ran himself‬
‪into death, and so was graced with gilding.‬
‪What do we know? Bells announce‬
‪the passing of each floor. Is it angels who‬
‪man the machinery, inscribing names‬
‪on a scroll? Ascent feels like descending‬
‪the history of a canyon by its layers‬
‪of rock. Do you believe we’ll arrive at‬
‪the beginning if we reach the top? We left‬
‪our reason several stories down, but‬
‪still can see our lives fossil’d in the walls‬
‪as we keep rising by the grace of poetry,‬
‪how it makes strangely beautiful‬
‪what we’ve thought yet we don’t know.    ‬


—Taylor Graham

The deck is swept of all that old litter,
fallen leaves on puppy papers,
tho at times I glimpse a ghost at the unseen
corner of my eye, or is it memory?

A hand-me-down blanket
from a neighbor’s bummer lamb—
tartan-wool laundered, aired, and folded—
lies against the wall.

A black-silk bat zigzagged thru our house
seeking a dark crevice under eaves.
By the truck our dogs
are waiting for their weekend joy.

Hunger grows
a puppy on a spot of earth alive,
to see if he might come
to fly across that ridge, a river, the sky ajar.

It’s summer, we’ve been waiting
for a breeze. We live in and out of doors
and all between. Collect our shadows,
break out in stars.

 "Sophia and the Bath"
—Photo Reflections of Watercolors
by Keely Dorran, Sacramento

—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Behind the hill a lake dissolves.
Crumbles of lake now powder the light.
Vapor, rise slow as a roast revolves.
Behind the hill a lake dissolves;
all shape redefines and unresolves
while light drifts into talcum night.
Behind the hill a lake dissolves.
Crumbles of lake now powder the light.


—Caschwa, Sacramento
Suddenly a card-carrying
Official, certified senior citizen
I stumble onward
Policing the grammar
On headstones

My focus is tomorrow
And I feel less and less
Guilty every day
About leaving others
Back in yesterday

Although not meeting the profile
Of jet set, or fast lane, or even quick
My entire landscape of images
Now converts to one superimposed
With generations of aging

Which paints a labyrinth
Around others’ agendas
While I amble straight forward
Unobstructed and

Neighborhood Watch
—Photo by Keely Dorran

‪One of my tomato plants from the 99-cents store is almost dead‬
‪ It's at the Mission Street Lutheran Church of the Redeemer plot‬
‪ its leaves are brown and shriveling‬
‪ reminding me somewhat of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree‬
‪ Maybe just like that, it needs some “love"‬
‪ If it was gathered around and prayed for‬
‪ maybe it would revive and grow into a beautiful, fruitful bush‬

‪ ‬—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento
‪ ‬
‪ It's not just cute furry and feathered creatures that need conservation‬
‪  It came to my mind at a booth at the Carmichael Farmer’s Market‬
‪  This vendor had shells, including those endangered sea crustaceans like nautilus ‬
‪  I told the vendor‬
‪  “Look, I can’t make these sea creatures ‬
‪  look any cuter like kitties and puppies ‬
‪  to make you understand why they should be saved and not killed for their shells‬
‪  Fishing already has mined out our oceans,‬
‪  and these animals are vital for the entire balance of our ecosystem‬
‪  As a vegan who doesn’t believe in killing animals‬
‪  I want these sea creatures alive for future generations‬
‪  and not just as useless remains laying around museums.”‬
‪  He thought I was crazy and didn’t know what to say‬
‪  He just wanted to make more money‬
‪ ‬
‪ ‬—Michelle Kunert
‪ ‬
‪ ‬
‪ The day I recall hearing of Elvis’s death, Aug. 16, 1977‬
‪  I was about six, but I knew how to read already ‬
‪  Mom was reading the newspaper at breakfast and said something surprising, like‬
‪  “Oh God, honey, Elvis died…‬
‪  but he’s not one of my favorites like Johnny Mathis,”‬
‪  “What, who died, how!?” I responded‬
‪  I had just become obsessed with the concepts of human mortality and had previously read obituaries‬
‪  “He did himself in with a combination of drugs and alcohol,” Mom explained ‬
‪  Mom then put down the newspaper and I decided to look at the article of Elvis’s demise myself‬
‪  I learned Elvis died in a way I wouldn’t want to—all alone by himself in his bathroom one morning‬
‪  "How come someone with such fame and money ‬
‪  didn’t die instead as an old man with friends or family gathered around his bed, ‬
‪  but instead at age 42, with nobody around to call a doctor or hospital until it was too late?" I thought‬
‪  I then told Dad Elvis had died and asked if he had any of his records‬
‪  Dad did have some best-of hits and he played them for me on his stereo ‬
‪  I think I had heard some of the songs like “Hound Dog” before and thought them corny‬
‪  I told Mom and Dad I still liked Buddy Holly’s songs better, just like they did‬

—Michelle Kunert

 Seth's Skull (Silkscreen)
—Photo by Keely Dorran

Today's LittleNip:

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove

The garden gnomes
Have all fainted,
Their red hats
Faded to pink
In the sun.


—Medusa, with thanks to today's lively contributors!

—Photo by Keely Dorran