Monday, August 31, 2015

Itsy-Bitsey & Johnny Cash

—Photos of the Salt-and-Pepper Shaker Display
at the 2015 California State Fair
by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA

Some hairpins,
I think.
A mummified
Of wedding cake.
Three bowling balls.
One shoe.
Size eleven,
Possibly. Right.
A brogue, probably.
A notebook,
Something about
A water engine.
And one
All needed soon,
We know.
To be claimed
Soon, too,
We hope.

—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA

You came in with a thought-disrupting startle,
stunning as if on point of chin a fist.
A friend says a Scottish word, the delightful tartle,
conjures that wordlessness that draws down mist
around the friend you wish to introduce,
but whose holy name, one sodden moment, escapes.
Oh, tartle is also the true name for the bruise
that darkens my eyes then spreads from nose to nape

when you rise before me wholly backlit by heaven,
my shadow dear, my not-my woman young
as can be whose silhouette relights ancient stars;
whose laugh sets me to st-stammering uneven
stabs at wit, my tongue alone laced with scars.
My bumblebee abdomen torn, yet it’s not yet stung.


The fireworks, no, the bombs in my chest went off,
noise-rippling, sheet-metal ripping here to there,
ecstatic catenas bursting with pungent grief,
all erect standing condemned due to disrepair.
In her familiar office you stood, back
turned: yet you, no mistake. Fears, joys confirmed
by the spirals of pulsating blood I’d seemed to lack,
red throbs through fledgling veins still scarcely formed.

Never can I decide: you’re small, you’re tall—
tall, I declared forever, seeing you
true shoulders, voyager legs très militaire.
At last you faced me. Suddenly being you,
inside your skin I traced sine-wave surges and falls:
I pierced lush clouds, I gulped the much thinner air.


—Tom Goff

I used your absence as excuse,
I put you together from many women;
from her your shoes, from her your hair,
if hers was dark enough brown to compare.
From this one your delicate pale skin,
from that one your dearest insidious sin.
Ghosting you whole when you’d dissolved
into that vacancy of revolve
the world…well, why this translucent ruse?
I put you together from many young women,
all of them fathers’ beloved daughters,
their summer legs glistening waters, otters.
Yet all these well-put-together women
are less in sum than unfinished you
(subtract from your sum the w,
carry the mystery word, and who
might you be if not my dark omen?)…

Arnold Bax, 1939
—Tom Goff

Farewell to the vast symphonic hoard, to all
the played, the unplayed, soon to be consigned
to my trunk at the White Horse Inn…to outlast my fall?
Will it now be poetry, music cast out of mind?
Farewell beforehand, small-fingered Harriet
of the sweet soft flawlessly white shape
and ivory trill, us long since caught in the net
of sun-pierced tide along Cornish coast and cape.
Farewell soon, my hearty whimsical happy Mary;
farewell to Ukraine; and Scotland; English friends;
to my lost-behind-mists green Celtic veldts of faery,
and to long-prized Willie Yeats, who this instant ends,
the ink still beading the note-heads on this fresh score
of farewell to a life of vision in love and lore.


—Tom Goff

Abbey, the white-black cat, with soft ears rounded
seemed always to train them, aim them as do cattle
their auricular satellite dishes to the prattle
of grass, and where the rich alfalfa lies mounded.

Her nonpareil pounce, a leap for the sofa arm;
to your mimic mews, a retort in mild sweet Cat,
nestling alongside you. Rarely her tail would bat;
at most, a Celtic burr of a purr: no harm,

no claws outed in anger I ever saw.
Abbey, you loved to browse as the bovines do,
but on softest certainty: never an empty bowl.

Wrenching, I found, to feel your small breath go,
to fondle you, kidneys shut down, through the last pink draw
of injection, one final world-to-no-world slow roll.

A lion in Zimbabwe killed a safari guide
   It was right near the park where a lion named Cecil was illegally killed by an American who wanted him as a trophy
   The safari guide was leading a group of tourists to see a pride of lions
   How were these lions supposed to know they were not being hunted down by humans as well
   and that these humans only wanted to only shoot pictures instead of guns at them?
   Let this be a lesson to just let lions be and leave them alone,
   and do not harass lions to make money off of them for the tourist industry 

—Michelle Kunert


A neighbor’s outdoor calico cat is always happy to see me come by
“Hello Itsy-Bitsey” I say and she comes to me to get petted
This cat enjoys the attention she gets from me
Yet this cat hardly knows me, unlike my mom’s indoor calico cat Hurley
Hurley once used to be more sociable
Now lately she runs off and hides under the sofa or heads under a bed
I don’t know what got into Hurley’s head
I never hurt Hurley in her life
I’ve also fed her good cat food and given her catnip
I’ve also offered to play with her with a teaser wand
but she doesn’t care to return any affection anymore
It appears she’s going to get grumpier in her “old age"

—Michelle Kunert


The Folsom Arts Association and City Council plan to build a 40-foot statue of Johnny Cash in a park next to a bike trail named after him
     They also are planning seven other “tribute" sculptures with it
     including a 7-foot guitar pick, a 17-foot high steel "Rusty Cage", and a portrayal of "Grey Stone     Chapel" in granite blocks
    While they are not using public tax dollars
     for the estimated 8 million the project needs to raise for the cost
     the real Man in Black would want contributions given instead for art, writing and music projects    for Folsom’s prison inmates
     as well as for other rehabilitation and employment programs
     which could also include causes such as banning employment application boxes that say “Have    you been convicted of a crime?"
     Maybe Merle Haggard who was “rescued” from Folsom Prison by Johnny Cash could explain this better than me

—Michelle Kunert

Today's LongerNip:

—Caschwa, Sacramento

Cock the gun
Kick the can
Down the road
Take aim

Trucker lane
Geared for gain
Sugar cane
Covered from rain

Hi ho the merryo
Dang busted radio
Lots of recordings
Fresh from the studio

Someone passing
On the right
Might be a uniform
Looking for a fight

Fuel gauge low
Prices too high
Just can’t beat yesterday’s
Hot apple pie

Take the wheel, Joe
I need a nap
Visor don’t work
Borrow my cap

Here come the ladies
Wanting things nice
Gleaming with gold
And glittering ice

Stay in the kitchen
Fix me some grub
Bring that hot water
To put in the tub

Back on the highway
More road to go
More road to go
More road to go


—Medusa, thanking today's fine contributors, and suggesting that you head down to 25th & R Sts. in Sacramento tonight for Sac. Poetry Center's "Raise the Roof" open mic reading at 7:30pm, celebrating all the repairs that have gone on down there recently!