Monday, August 10, 2015

Remembering Rain

S.F. Velocity Circus at Sac. Banana Festival, Aug. 8-9
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—Patricia A. Pashby, Fairfield, CA

Let's not talk—
here, take my hand.
Let's just walk.

Smell the wetness:
a snail underfoot,
exposed, homeless.

Raindrops filter night
through soft porch light shadows:
symmetry of sight.

We stroll into the mist
in balance and harmony
as our poems persist

Let's not talk—
here, take my hand.
Let's just walk.


—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA

Rained hard, those years,
In the spring, back
In western Illinois,
To wash away
The little river towns
Along the Mississippi.
Our high school would let
You work off detentions,
Going to fill sandbags.

Always two towns we
Were sent to: New Boston,
Picket fences, white clap-
Board churches, town
Looking about as New
Englandly as its name.

And there was Gulf Port,
Barge terminal town,
Tavern on every corner,
Several in between, and
One in particular, where
The talent ate light bulbs,
And lip-synced to
The juke box.

Gulf Port was always
Secure.  As to New
Boston, well, there
Were the churches.

Fenix Dance & Drum Co. at the Banana Festival
—Photo by Michelle Kunert 

—Caschwa, Sacramento
On my regular commute home
In the slow lane getting ready
For a right turn ahead at the light
Traffic was a grinding mixture of
Slow and go and
Stop and go

Two lanes northbound
Two lanes southbound
All full of drivers just creeping
Climbing sand dunes barefoot
Slow and go and
Slide and go

Someone turning
Thought they saw a gap
An open space across 4 lanes
Where they could just shoot through
To a side street
Free to go

They floored it and suddenly
My little sailing vessel faced
An enormous iceberg
I slammed on the brakes
We collided terribly hard,
Not a movie, no explosion

The other vehicle
Toppled over on its side
Right near a fire station
Firemen and paramedics
Pulled the driver out
Through the sunroof
He could barely crawl

I managed to park my car
Safely off the street and
Got out to survey the situation
Traffic continued very heavy
Slow and go and
Stop and go

 Peeking Trek
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA


—Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA

The seasons’ swing has brought us here

under a gunpowder sky, forgery of weather.

It will not rain, not on parched fields

nor the indifferent city. The planet’s biorhythms
out of whack. Remember rain? My dog

sniffs dry concrete, sidewalk, curb and gutter

under a tenement window, and the last door

closed as if expecting storm. Someone has hung

her wash off a balcony as if a tease, a taunt

to gray clouds: I dare you, rain!



—Taylor Graham

Frogs fall out of the wet-mop I hung to dry.

They migrated from a neighbor’s pond

whose bottom is a puzzle of baked-hard mud.

They find no water in his land

of fourth-year drought. For lack of pasture,

the flocks of sheep are gone to slaughter.

Who will meditate under oaks at noon?

The landscape’s brittle as thirst,

fields all silent of beast and bird. I keep

a basin of gray water-thrice-used

for the few live plants outside my door.

Just now I dunked my mop. Its long

strings—stiffened dry—begin to loosen.

And out swim two small frogs,

imprisoned since yesterday when

they clung to its damp hung out to dry. 

 Trek & the Mop Bucket
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham
What keeps you here? this height meant

for healing, its air crisp as snow,

clean as the stars whose names you study

every night, names of history and myth.

The doors to a mountain are an open wound

filled up with snow cold enough to reflect

stars. Or is that pure white crystal only quartz-

chips mined for gold? What is precious,

this high up? Your brother died here,

or down below. For all you called his name,

he kept not coming back, as if

everyone in heaven were dead. At last—

such a difficult rebirth—he came

stumbling, sunken as into his death bed.

Nothing to say. A prophet? A ghost

of silent howling gone again into dark.

Now you gaze upward, simply

naming each star as it appears and then

at dawn winks out. In sunlit grass

a snow-flower. Still alive. Start walking.  


Today's LittleNip:

Dissatified: one ear ever attuned to his inner chorale.

—Stephen Dobyns


—Medusa, with thanks to today's lively contributors (did you go to the Banana Festival's Viva Las Vegas which was presented by National Academy Youth Corp. at William Land Park?). Yikes, Carl—glad you're okay! 

Pat Pashby's poem is in a form called "The Snare": 
Syllabic: 3,4,3  4,5,4  5,6,5  6,7,6  3,4,3
Rhyme: a,x,a  b,x,b  c,x,c  d,x,d  a,x.a 

Trackers Taylor Graham, Trek, and Loki
—Photo by Katy Brown