—Ann Privateer, Davis, CA
jagged blue shadows
against a darkening sea
sharp shadow shards
define a porcelain sky
openings part, show
the way fog percolates.
A lid stands where algae
for a thousand years.
We weigh in, it could be
another minute until it
shears off imploding
the tiny one-man skiff
and yet, we stay, transfixed.
the joy of water compares
with the joy of sound
both surround the body
each orifice, reverberating
the chest, sending thrills
and chills that wiggle
up and down, binding
the next nexus
and there you are
flattened and smoothed
eyes smiling radiantly.
we run with scissors
hang on for dear life
go in all directions
to become friends.
you know when to let go
when to habituate
when to not budge
so you go around
in circles, resting
while the ocean
sleeps warm or cold,
no comfort, so deep
let go of places
IN MEMORIAM PÁDRAIG PEARSE
—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA
(Symphonic poem by Arnold Bax in tribute to
the Irish revolutionary,
executed after the Easter Rising, 1916)
One meeting was all you had to take the measure
of this odd poet-schoolmaster-warrior, carved
so the whole face seemed scenting, with its curved
stark-angled delicacy, for that air-treasure,
no sooner minted than lost upon the wind
(spirit) and sunk down deep under a cairn
(body), where none’s to discover it, gone blind:
just how many bodies and spirits yesterday bairn
did Pearse lead to a Falstaff’s honor in Irish dust?
Not even a coat of arms to rub with rust.
Yet you found him sympathetic, sorrowed for him
in music more fitting a Beowulf on a barge
atop soft sheaves of flame, as if it bore him
onto, not off, a thundering shore whose margin
slaps first life-shock into heroes. Just one rann
Pearse wrote foresees everything: in one brief span
he invokes the soft-spoken king of blackened clay,
wants sleep in the keep of no grain, no face, no day.
I’m bad today: I skipped a college meeting
and the ensuing doughnuts, muffins, juice.
Enough, I swore, with the undersong of greeting,
the buzz of hover, status-check, and ruse
of busyness about plans. If I were to go
to any sad meeting, it would be to see you,
my much-missed joyous seeker of nothing faux,
desiring to know how you fare in the quest to free you.
We carry like cages around us history,
we’re shackled to bars at each bright chakra point.
These iron cubes, an invisible mystery
to prattlers outside the pain that cramps each joint.
But you are too young not to escape that jail.
Signal me soon with your gaze you did not fail.
KEATS’S DEATH MASK
Here lies one whose name was writ in water.
No, I think not. The mask shows one whose face
the water is writing on. So, with the grace
of icicles in spring, we see the daughter-
delicate features melt away to breath,
thinning, attenuating, vibrating
the resonance of molecules whose ring
stings truest upon the escapement-lift of death.
Oh the life mask was also a lovely thing:
moved, we compare it to the sheath, ice-wet,
that glories the large-eyed features of the pup
seal who’s broken the breathing-barrier yet
keeps for one instant more the shine and cling.
The liquid swarms outside—it is—the cup.
—Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch, CA
Her face is veiled in earthshine
But for a catty crooked grin
As Mars and Venus are undone
In their adulterous dancing
And the peacock screams
PIGMENTS OF MY IMAGINATION
—Robert Lee Haycock
Glaze of dawning brushed
Across unsullied ground
I set my back to morning
And leaning at my cane
As if on a mahl stick
Scumble my sandy-eyed shadow
Onto another day's canvas
Stretched from too early
To the west too far
—Robert Lee Haycock
Cheshire grin of a crone moon
Cacaphony of the spheres
Morning way too soon
Flames of grass
Pall of fogs
When dawning comes
Where do dreams hide?