—Loch Henson, Diamond Springs, CA
First step: find your expired passport.
In order to make a getaway, you’re
going to need a way to get back into
your home country.
Second step: suspect a destination,
perhaps a short list of a few.
Third step: wrangle up your documents
and make an appointment for your
Fourth step: shower and make pretty.
You’re going to need a new photo.
(And what color IS your hair anyway?)
Fifth step: save up every penny you can
scrounge or scavenge.
(Wait, was step two first?)
At some point, you’re going to slip
yourself a file in a cake and get out
from behind door number one: normalcy.
FAR FROM HOME
Is it a relief or do you
get anxious when you
realize that you are
far from home?
What feels far to me
may not even begin to
seem like a day’s journey
to you. My passport
hasn’t seen the amount of
exercise that yours has recently.
Trips to ethnic restaurants serve
as my big adventures right now
(and some trips are more adventurous
It’s not the exterior landscapes
that I roam. Learning the mind
from the inside, peering into
hidden corners…these journeys
uncover stained glass mosaics of
thought and feeling, monuments
from times passed, and other
features not often suitably captured
by the post-card of a poem.
LOST PUPPY POSTER
—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA
likes to cuddle
sorry no photo
we found soul
in the park
meet at park pond
not seeking reward
—Claire J. Baker
I lie in a lakeside meadow,
slowly turn the aquamarine,
cold, heavy in my hand.
Yet under Shelley's clouds
a poet wrote
"...how when grass breaks
has it not added to the meadow."
Grief relaxes in shade
of an ancient oak.
I yield to memories of
my part played in mother's
bright dark life.
Her stone, warm, lighter
on my finger, mirrors
lavender lupine, stems of grass.
slain scholar of antiquities at Palmyra
—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA
The old magnificent man who tended the gods,
the columns and antiquities of Palmyra,
killed brutally by vandals who desire an
afterlife tacky with blood. What are the odds
you ignorant black-robed young, my dark hearts, mistake
your assumed arrogance for purity?
Toppling the works and lives of centuries,
putting the torch to all you so much as dislike,
the minglement of many god-beliefs,
engagements of life—but do you not see it? Look
deeper into the mirror’s silver leaf,
stones of your exploded stone. Gods enter again.
Who else put delusions buzzing in your young brains?
For you, old gentle Lion of Al-lāt,
nestling the limestone gazelle entrusted to you,
reflect on the words of a young poet, and quite true:
she wrote how the last of twilight is a dawn
obliterating, not yielding to, the night,
leaving silver remembrance long since light
seemed abandoned forever black upon the lawn.
So the gods for whose service you at last
fell forever, know how the lovely long stain
silvers forever over the good one slain.
YOU, AT THE VANISHING POINT
Perspective, in a poem by Robert Graves,
is only a set of tricks played on our eyes:
we know all tables really turn vees; the wise
highways aim narrower, they recede in shaves
like curls of cheese grated far off over hills.
Does what we remember taper differently?
I lost sight of you under our shared table.
Where’d your legs go, did they get littler? How free
you’d rather they ran dwindling the hall convergence.
You’re a steel ball Shoot-the-Moon twin rods make flow
or roll—to a score? To a vanishing point? Just once,
I high-fived you; your small hand flinched an ounce
—a flick of romantic startle?—one gust and oh.
What touch was it that shrank you down the hallways?
You see your fine points as pinpricks. I read emergence.
Be an opening fan. Fan open the Infinite Always.
may not be lonely for long
According to the California Wolf Center,
wolves seem to be returning to California
even after nearly a century of being hunted to extinction
Wolves appear to be wandering in from Oregon and surrounding states
who also should be thanked for saving the wolf
While the lion has been revered by Western civilization
the wolf is like the symbol of God to the Native American
Americans tried to wipe out the wolves, much like the indigenous peoples,
because they wanted to ranch cattle on the plains instead of having wolves
Those “fairy tales” of the “Big Bad Wolf” were wrong
when it was bad peoples' tyrants who wanted to see the wolf gone
—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento
You sit beside the road wondering
2. Trek Weather
It was hot. But here we were on a sandbar
by the river beckoning with its pool
shallow enough for puppy-swim, and cool
in August. I tossed a stick. My pup—
who does laps in my mop-bucket—chose
wading with one paw still on shore.
He barely glanced as my stick made ripples.
I tossed a bigger stick, he quibbled.
I peeled off boots and socks, waded in
calling Trek! What if I wrenched my ankle
on river-rock? Would he dash in to save
me? He swam two strokes to prove he could,
then paddled back to land. I sat down
in water cool as upcountry treks
with other dogs—dead now, but brave
in memory, while Trek chased an orange
butterfly along the shoreline, making
ripples that almost reached me.
Stones below the surface,
But I turned from that news to a poem Edith Wharton wrote when only sixteen years old, to which my poem makes reference. Her "Impromptu" contains the lines:
I love the silver dawn of night
That melts the dark away;
The ecstasy of pallid light
That bathes the ended day...
TURN, TURN, TURN
—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento
Turn your back or
Turn the other cheek
Turn a hair or
Turn up the heat
Turn back time or
Turn to salt or
Turn to sin
* * *
—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA
All the same