Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Morning-Moments of Joy

Bodega Bay
—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento, CA

—Loch Henson, Diamond Springs, CA

I can still see the scars on my knees
from when I groveled for

I self-defined my worth as
little more than arm-candy,
and partnered with a man
more than happy
to let it be so.

There was structural damage,
internal and external, that
high heels and corsets
could not remedy.

Repairs and remediation
have been underway
for some time now.

The next time I am
tempted to strain and strive
and hustle to feel worthy,

I will touch the soft scars
and remind myself
not to volunteer for more
rug burns.

 Sebastopol Cemetery
—Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

young girl bends her head in submission
worn hands rest upon thick curls
up her spine leaps a thrill of flame
from some subterranean place
past the bottomless inner base of her spine

she has held her breath
not spoken back,
not run away or hit
not touched herself or anyone

from somewhere deeper than
her body or body’s desire
the power begins
fills her and rises
caressing all her nerve endings
her virginal body, inside and out

she kneels in her ragged, hand-me-down, cotton shift
feels the strange woman’s bony hands grip her hair
    drain passion from her locked muscles
    silence her need to scream, to run
    appropriate her by-now urgent need for release

her breathing calms
the crone’s sepulchral voice
intones a dry blessing
hands lift; steps shuffle, fade

through the open window
breeze revives with cool, liquid caress
she rises, knees leaving a bloody smear on the flagstones
no rag to wipe the floor or bind her knees
takes stone stairs spiraling down
onto the empty street
Perverted witch!
words beat against her sealed lips


—Ann Wehrman

I gaze at you in secret
you sit, lost in a book, utterly still
your jeans are old, loose, dirty
your shirt doesn’t match
your sneakers, like a boy’s
torn and dirty, too
you didn’t wash your hair today—
pulled it back in a tight ponytail
it shines with oil
your chin slopes
your stomach isn’t as flat as you’d like
a half-finished plate of spaghetti
rests at your elbow

I want to wrap you around me
like a familiar, favorite sweater
ripped, unraveled, ancient—
surety of warmth

 Sebastopol Cemetery
—Photo by Cynthia Linville


—Allegra Silberstein, Davis, CA

Lemon leaves curl ‘round,
against an oppressive sun—
await evening cool.
       Walking stones.
       Talking stones standing in a circle.

            Have you thought of thousands 
            torn apart on earth by intelligent bombs
            that know not remorse...

Red geranium
brave in summer heat
blossoms by my doorstep.

       Walking stones.
       Talking stones standing in a circle.

            Have you thought of madness
            men and women longing for revenge—
            idealist-martyrs defending against evil...
Three crow feathers fell
black and beautiful
on the green grass I cut yesterday.

       Walking stones.
       Talking stones standing in a circle.

             Have you asked—where am I going
             or ever wondered
             who God would bomb...

How mysterious 
the pattern of the feathers resting:
the points of direction.


Our thanks to today’s fine contributors, all of whom will have work appearing in the new issue of Rattlesnake Press’s WTF!!! which will premiere at Luna’s Cafe tomorrow (Thursday), Nov. 19, 8pm. WTF is edited by frank andrick, with help from Rachel Leibrock. Be there!...

...Or be at one of the other fun poetry events that night: the read-around in Placerville, or the tenth anniversary of Poetry in Davis reading series at the John Natsoulas Gallery. Scroll down to the blue box (under the green box) at the right of this column for details. 


Today’s LittleNip:

—Allegra Silberstein

Like a seed in the dark earth
that breaks open
reaching toward light 
may your spirit rise
with the dawn of each new day.

With each breath may you feel
in the silence of the grass,
of the trees,
of all things blossoming, 
the spiral of love
that circles round you.

The story of your life
emerges with power
not as we usually think
—to be able—
but simply to be. 

In the miracle of each awakening,
in the unknown hieroglyphics
written in that same river
that flows in all of us 
may you float past moments
of sorrow and disappointment
into morning-moments of joy.




Bodega Bay
—Photo by Cynthia Linville