—Jane Blue, Sacramento
A tall cane scratching at the window in a gale
bows down as if calling help me.
The rose with its green arms stretched up
wears a pink turban. During the 13th century crusades,
St. Francis trudged in his dirty brown robe
to Egypt, to have a talk with the sultan al-Kamir.
He meant to convert the heathen, but came away
marveling and chastened. At another time, St. Francis
trudged to Rome in his one dirty brown robe
to have a talk with the Pope. Squatting
in a brocade-draped niche, he waited to be noticed.
The elfin brown saint like a winter-damaged rose
owned nothing. “If you own anything,” he said,
“you will be compelled to defend it.” Slack rays
of autumn tilt through the denuded trees.
The wind increases. The rose
bows and scrapes, low, low, in a salaam,
then springs up, pleading,
bobbing and bowing, pleading for its life.
A drift of leaves in the gutter
rises up, eddying in the street, playing
ring around the rosie all fall down. The wind
abrades your face, pink as the still-supple rose
and you must bend to it.
(first pub. in The Way of St. Francis, published by the Franciscan Friars of California. Also in Turf Daisies and Dandelions, Jane Blue, Rattlesnake Press)
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
For Antoine Leiris of Paris
So powerful the urge to hit out at
whatever makes the world (our world) ugly,
raw feeling seems to will the spheroid flat
under fist. Yet to pound the round rug bug-free
un-lumps the dark fabric, but ephemerally;
how often it scatters noxious pests and larvae
as far as the horizon's baseboard willy-nilly,
seeds all our environs with rank strews and sprays.
Today, a young Frenchman speaks, hurt fresh at heart,
his wife forever torn from him by hateful
jihadists hopped up on rage’s unslayable Captagon.
Yet this man uncovers his core: the nuanced, grateful
mind joins the soul’s innate forbearing part,
can dismiss without spite the profoundly lost
in wrath and wrong.
Captagon is the powerful little pill, illegal in the US, that can drug a terrorist, or anyone, into feeling immortal, invulnerable...whatever the expression for that exact high. It's everywhere in Syria, we're told.
ON A CARE HOME TODAY BURNED DOWN
(Sacramento Bee, 11/16/15)
If your life has been lived in board and care,
your days consisting of pawn-moves from that
house to the next house-square, each home a spare
since no set hovel kings you as its heir
—what then, if now the house burns, thermostat
or unattended space heater or cig,
your living room incinerated flat,
your couch both roasted and melted? Jury-rig
foundation shaved to burnt cement beginning,
charred as you are yourself, do you praise life
without your innocence, and yet not sinning?
Or lie squashed as in Paris, miming bread
dough under a corpse who, husband-embedding-wife,
bequeaths you the blood to masquerade as dead?
This poem has a cold
Came home early form work
Straight to bed
Challenging crossword puzzles
I challenged them
To keep me awake
They were not up to it
Dozed a while
Got up hungry
Throat no better
Enjoyed some left-overs
Hope I am better
In the morning
When my alarm rings
Time to start the regimen…
Manzanita Writers Press has also been busy. This weekend, those folks in Angels Camp opened Manzanita Arts Emporium, featuring art, books, jewelry, and gifts in addition to offering seminars and publishing. On Facebook ("Manzanita Arts Emporium"), download their workshop schedule poster, or see manzapress.com/. Congrats, MWP, on an ambitious project!
What she picked kind
Kind sells a of
Of sea peck noise
Wood shells of annoys
Would down pickling an
A by peppers oyster
Wood the bumpers a
Chuck sea black noisy
Chuck shore baby noise
If black buggy annoys
A baby Peter an
Wood buggy Piper oyster
Chuck bumpers picked what
Could black a kind
Chuck baby peck of
Wood buggy of noise