Monday, October 12, 2015

The Sweetness of Unheard Music

Nearly Done
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch, CA

Traversing this city of the Vandals
Entangled in nets I have mended
That graffito speaks to me
I can not, will not read it

An old man in a cardboard box
Plays Punch and Judy without puppets
Scaramouche, Columbine, Pierrot
He wears no mask, no greasepaint

I stand quayside listening
To an eruption of hornpipes
Stare sadly at widening waters
Unwilling to leap, unable


—Robert Lee Haycock

Glimpses of pyramids and parabolas
Silvered against the sky
Engine between my legs
Visits I did not want to make
Abandoned city in bas relief
Neglected dog and the hair thereof
Blind mummers on parade

Our necks intertwine
We pillow one another

 Pin Mount
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Charles Mariano, Sacramento

turned on the faucet
and a thick stream
of brown
poured out

water’s dirty
couldn’t drink it
so let it run awhile

it turned pink,
then red

i turn the faucet
full blast
to flush it out,

then stopped quickly
as a voice boomed,

“Turn That Water Off!”

“the water’s dirty,
and i’m thirsty,”
i answer, shaking

“We’re in a Drought, Stupid!”
came the booming voice

turned it off,
looked both sides,

“The Water Police,”
i whispered,
“they’re everywhere”

 Speckled Leaf
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Loch Henson, Diamond Springs, CA

My jewelry and

my rock collection share

space, and occasionally

gossip with one another.

Under it all, my granite

waits as granite does,

with tremendous patience.

Front and center is a chain

of carved citrine,

shining and glowing, bright

little suns on a silver strand.

The garnets glitter and are

deep blood red, reminding

me to be grateful for the

stuff in my own veins.

Glinting and flaring a vibrant

blue from dark depths of gray,

the lively labradorite echoes

a youth spent lakeside.

The rose tinted quartz, in

spheres and strands, tumbled

bits and bands of chips, all

mingle together to promote

relaxation of my restless mind.

 Red Rock
—Photo by Katy Brown

            near Graeagle, in the Sierras
—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Silence forever, unless a storm or stir,
dragonfly brisking about the ear with messages,
unless a light wind bothering the water-surface or
tempting the mossbright tree to thrum,
vibrating it like a sounding-post inside a universal
invisible violin, unless any small something that
goads the white-faced woodpecker to leap
or peck. Today, there’s none of that noise, so, being
the chatterbox creatures we are, silence absolute
is a substance we notice only while breaking it open,
revealing the silver light inside all woodland ornament.

But while my honey and I chatter, notice
how hiking can stop our mouths:
last night’s rain, still cloud-immanent, essential
matter-of-cloud-fact. Not only puddling our trailway
amid small pine, past lapping lakewater,
but lingering in these lightning-shorn, beetle-crumbled,
axe-hewn, thoroughly soaked tree-stumps:

All that’s cut open, cross-sectioned, laid bare
and saturated—look! it’s waterlog gold. At the heart
of each amputated pine tree, masses of raw
wood-gold, geld-hoard enough for Beowulf,
the grain of the nectar-wood where shaven or shorn
a veritable honey-horn; where beetle- or beaver-gnawn,
a mass of wet velvet crumbles. Such candied splinters
are the stab of the bee, each last shard an utter stinger,
its flaky consistency, that of a stickysweet Butterfinger…  

 —Photo by Katy Brown

—Tom Goff

I never speak of any woman’s hair,
but your hair was my first waterfall in so long,
so long a twin darkness, parting as only a song
can, that around some island-silence will dare:
you came in filled with impertinent merriment,
untrammeled sweet notes in your brashest talk;
I male-gazed straight in your eyes, but had to balk
at caressing with looks brown tresses like one bent.

That white line we call the part was exquisite; so
was each soft ear with its forelock of tendril-span,
each offshoot dark, to offset your skin-rich glow
(Red wine diluted? Or charging the white-sea cup
with sanguine tinge?). Now you’re a grown Peter Pan
paganly shorn of sweet weight, just soaring far up.


—Tom Goff

Morning, and my mood is traffic-battling blame:
look! one car ahead, a lovely hand with fingers
drumming quick beats atop her window frame,
at doorside, or anywhere rapid-flicking clingers
can flick with delight at a music I can’t hear.
A small hand, an Indian, Pakistani hand,
Persian, Hispanic hand, but dark and neat
as she raps with a joy no android can understand;
no human not. Yeah, unheard music is sweet.

Oh, I would dislike utterly what she beats to,
yet she’s a reminder of you in all your joy,
your sweet mind and subtle body you cannot still,
and how you would dance around me, a grownup toy,
just when life roared for affection with all its will;
she drums with each finger in turn—a charm that defeats who

ever describes without savor. Like when sun
poured through—late sun—you sat all dear and young,
sun, in its red rehearsal for night, on-streaming:
you drummed soft words into my clandestine dreaming.


—Tom Goff

Still the Seventeen-afflicted sentences:
oh, yes, the queen bee attended by drones and strivers
mesmerizes, but not in these warped wax hexagons:

a Bee Saga become only B story, B movie.
Only her poetry sings via wings of Grade A honey,
dark and on toward ferment.

I except The Bell Jar,
that stifling yet bristling hive,

thin brittle glass abuzz.

 —Photo by Katy Brown 

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA
Choose carefully
A small stone.
Hold under
The tongue till

You are cured.

(first pub. in Home Remedy Poems by
Kevin Jones, 1975, from Front Street Press)


Our thanks to today's bouillabaisse of fine poets and photographers, and a note that this is one lollapalooza of a weekend in our area, poetry-wise! Davis is cornering a lot of the action—do note the Battle of the Books this Thursday; it's not too late to put together a team, but you have to do it today. Too many readings to summarize, so go over to the green board at the right of this column and scroll down to the blue board under it for what I hope is a complete listing of this week and weekend's events.


Today's LittleNip:

—Robert Lee Haycock

There was an old lady who swallowed a never-ending story. I don't know why she stooped to conquer a remembrance of things my mother taught me. Take the long way home and abandon all hope all ye for whom the bells toll requiem and remember as I lay dying what we talk about when we talk about love.



(Thanks to Charles Mariano for finding this quote.)