Thursday, November 26, 2015

Holding Hands of Language

Quilt by Peggy Robles
River City Quilt Show
Scottish Rite Center, Sacramento
—Photos by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


The ships are exiled
for it is that Thursday day
November 26
with this poet chained
to a rock in Plymouth
amid Mayflower air
gliding on waves to hymns
transfixed in a home harbor
with a lone love letter
from a distant relative
between oceans
swamped by history's plan
holding an alto sax
in his open hand
by a percolating coffee
under a faded Pilgrim poster
between whale sightings
reciting by a porthole's heart
a Melville poem
offering Thanksgiving dinner
to anyone at table
from morning to nightfall.



In the moon's solitude
waiting for the hand-outs
of my new poem sequences
among the last red leaf
in the whistled leaves
waiting to play sax
in the breathing of waves
from a montage of pages
in my impatient mind
and outside are November stars
grieving for the silent woman
Allegra a long-time friend
who has family in Paris
telling her the only answer
is to love a heart that is light
and she asks me to play
a lucid French tune
of her childhood
before she left for America
and the evil-doers invaded
her luminous memory.

 O Holy Night
—Quilt by Kelllie Wiley


The wind of the blue hills
drinks in my Fall morning
in a landscape I'm drawing
full of liquid horizons
in a vapor of life's shade
to make up for a poet's
lost Monet blue sky time
missing my Paris days
when parking my bicycle
near the iridescent Seine
when I was an extra
in a student film on 1968
induced a smile
playing the auditioned part
of a student of Sartre
and Simone de Beauvoir
talking to the camera
in two languages
from a documentary fashion
about Derrida, Julia Kristeva
and other deconstructionists
whose daring moments
update my poet's diary
of a zig-zag life
as liquid raindrops fall
on my cool drowned sax
with my music of smooth jazz
used in the sound track
was also recorded
from an absent street
deep of conflicted dialogue
by awaiting to be interviewed
from a group of reporters.



Smooth jazz playing
from now-shut mouth organs
at a natural good night
for my last gig
buried over quarter-notes
drowning in pockets of sax
bellowing over the townhouse
asked to play at a birthday party
by a warm bombed-out menu
warmed by wood stoves
in a November midnight hour
watching a bird through windows
chirping under trembling oaks
in the soft showery rain
the whole length of hours
remembering French onion soup
and vanilla pancakes
on the fire near the floorboards
to watch dancing and propose
a toast that persuades you
that the thirst and hunger
of our menu wheelhouse
is perfectly arranged.

Flower Fairies
—Quilt by Judy Riddle


On the Concord River
we sail my kayak in denims
by a swarming nest of hornets
over us by a fawn rustling by trees
we're spreading lines of Thoreau
at my students’ orientation
wishing to hold hands of language
flashing love and nature
by first circles of light
with a glow in companions
breathing hard in a marathon
from grassy hills and dunes
under dry orange leaves
as new Fall acorns drop
we run into shadowy strides
as a horseback rider waves
to us down hills of open songs
over Walden Pond trails
by breezy gestures of the wind.



Words fall on me
on length of days
with the same pulse
of verse as on my kayak
rolling on the bluest sea
on unexpected hours
or trekking over back roads
watching cardinals sing
over Jacob's ladders
in an open language
of seasonal herons
climbing on mountains
a woman in red high heels
tells me she has lost
her tourist visa and passport
on the last ship at eventide
holds my matches
on the sandy coast
for a neon campfire
near my hammock
out in the neighborhood
under the town's light
hearing my sax sonata
in the white deserted sand
my words wash over you
with a butterfly net
at the freshly painted gazebo
by the lighthouse luminosity
in wonder of woodwinds
over blanket quilts of love
on my peace arm band.

 Bicycle Quilt
—Nancy Elliot MacDonald


Early at my untied rope
from my anchor on my boat
lent to me by woodcutters
from the Azores
who enjoy singing
amid a rainy dampness
searching for blue fish
oysters or salmon
passing the heavy dunes
and sleeping rocks
in a sunlight landscape
on ports of call
by sea-voiced shore birds
in a chorus by pine trees
chirping on boundless Oak
touching the tall greensward woods
as acorns fall over green hills
crawling by white sands
my sax sings by the waters
off the Cape hidden by leaves
birds take off for the South
in an unusual consuming sun
at a November's noonday
with a Marathon companion
as a few deer run by us
in a flash of first light
of red and orange dry leaves.



Six outgrown petals
in a corsage
of last summer roses
three Valentines
not forgotten by time
a first woodland love
by wandering days
over my album leafs
page of my poems
in mute muse and stone by
the waiting hedges of vines
by yellow hyacinth groves
I'm in a Fall blue blazer
with apple scents
in faint trills from my sax
playing in my backyard
along wind-swept trees
along the home harbor Bay
by dangling shadows
of now ripened raspberries
on my walking path
holding my life within.

 Spring Through Summer
—Quilt by Sharon Moos


Alone in the arthouse movie theater
eating popcorn and M & M's
for three days of a blizzard
with my college Uncle Nat
a student at the New School
and projectionist
who became a director
and executive in L.A.
when he was older
watching accompanied
by Tuesday Weld
and Frankie Avalon in
I'll take Sweden
then remembering being
transfixed by the sunshine
after the storm was over
and outside the waterfront
eating at a French café
filet of sole and fries
hearing fog horns and tugboats
harboring coasting rocks
the ocean literally
started to sing
and for being a boy
without complaints
was taken to Sweden
by Uncle Nat as a gift
at that time for Christmas.


Born November 21, 1898

Who knew
that Magritte
would inspire
the sky sound of bells
in the spit of an exhibition
and an eyelid of the moon
for a surrealist poet
living before a gesture
of endless words of love
in all that is dusk
and ink learned pencil shadows
as an outside observer
whitened seashells and harbor
marble stone and rocks
etched in your drawing
with me in a helpless November
overgrown with elder flowers
and heavy dream songs
of my own sadness
would fill the night
to admit me to your gallery
holding onto your colors
shouting for green
do let me in your drawings
not caring to sleep again
on burning caresses
or sailing permafrost
full of forsaken awe
from shaken cranberry bogs
with my sheep dog on all fours
by mildew suburban roads
in nobody lands
kindling a thin haven
of your sculpted sinews
of overdue memory
with martins over me
open to hear your voice
in your etchings
of light magical figures
from trembling fingers
in the corner of my eyelid.



Butterflies at the exhibit
out of breath
from a marathon run
and enjoying Kokoschka's art
his painting of himself
and Alma Mahler
gathering into the parlor light
from pumice skyscrapers
in the lasso of adolescence
indurate with no sleep
and an assignment
for my class on my last lap
before final exams
mixing colors of bougainvillea
by my November's umbrella
my eyes transfixed
in the enclosures of phonics
on the highest range
of slamming on paint
with infinite strokes
brushing my sensations
and a day-old mustache
making everything persuasive
hanging out in a museum corner
with a first love
thinking everything to be new.


Today’s LittleNip:

Best of all is it to preserve everything in a pure, still heart, and let there be for every pulse a thanksgiving, and for every breath a song.

—Konrad von Gegner


—Medusa, thanking B.Z. Niditch and Michelle Kunert for today's sumptuous holiday breakfast (remember that photos in this column may be enlarged with a single click), and wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving—for every breath a song...

 Girl Dreaming of Kaleidoscopes and Tumbling
—Quilt by Sharon Moos