Friday, January 22, 2016

That Crazy-Eyed Angel

—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

—Ann Menebroker, Sacramento

A boat on a trailer.
The driveway filled
with sea gulls.
Everything out of its
The suburb thrusts out
its leafy chest
dripping with rain.
Lawns gone and
cacti in because
it needs almost
no attention.
(beware, lovers)
A flag pole
without a
flag can’t
dip and sway
but it can
be there.

 Crazy-Eyed Angel, Forestville, CA
—Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

Now is the time when petals end,
when flowers turn to slime.

We have again been misled by memory—
that crazy-eyed angel
who ate all the birthday cake
when we weren’t looking.

The sky purples with patient crows.
You’ll have to find someone else to feed them.

 —Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

I find that I am, once again, without my
compass and have wandered into the
Land of Vassar Tan.  I have a yearning
for egg-custard, a milky view of sunrise.
Lettuce be concerned, not so much with
greenery, but the tripping-on of long
stones as baguettes.

Wine flows freely here, as birds sip in
unison.  Deer who come to drink seem
to vibrate a familiar song, a familiar
stepping away on gentle hooves,
doe-eyed and sincere.

Raven keenly watches all who wander
through, waiting for the moment to offer
advice; flying around in circles to prove
his point; his crown dropping to the
ground each time he nods a yes.

The geese have learned to ignore him,
gathering as they do in sunny spots,
making more of the nothing that has ever
been said, and turning it out as proverb.

It becomes clear to me that living in
the Land of Vassar Tan without one’s
compass would be a strain, especially
if one could not get used to walking
upside-down to get the better view.


—Carol Louise Moon

It was not a dark and stormy night
and the old sea captain was not
on the deck of his ship.  He was
at the old Spanish Inn at a table
by himself.  I asked him what he
was eating.  He said, “Tuna on rye,
coleslaw and a mug of beer.”
He was furiously writing something
on a paper napkin.

“When it’s not a dark and stormy
night,” I asked, “and you’re
not on the deck of your ship,
do you often come to this old
Spanish Inn and sit at this table?”
‘Though he was busy eating his
tuna on rye, coleslaw and sipping
his mug of beer, he replied that
he liked to sit here and write.

“And, what will you do when you
retire?” I asked.

“If it’s not a dark and stormy
night, and I’m not on the deck
of my ship, I’ll probably come
to this old Spanish Inn and
sit at a table by myself and
order tuna on rye, coleslaw
and a mug of beer.  Then I’ll
probably sit and write for
a while.  Here’s one I wrote:

It was not a dark and stormy
night, and I was not on the
deck of my ship.  I had come to
the old Spanish Inn to sit
by myself and write at a little
Spanish wooden table.  I had
just ordered tuna on rye
when the waitress asked me what
I was doing.  I told her I was
retiring and had come to this
inn to sit and write poetry,
repetends mostly.”

 —Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Carol Louise Moon

What if this daffodil is the center
of the universe and not my dog
as I had previously assumed?

I come home to my dog and enter-
tain the notion of starting a God-blog:
What if this daffodil is the center

of my gardener’s eye, but only a splinter
of reality?  Does God not love frogs
as I had previously assumed?

I’ve always known a gentler
God.  To have a harsher one would clog
my theology.  Is this daffodil the center

of only its own universe?  Ego-centered?
As for the God-blog:  Does God drink grog
as I had previously assumed?

Or, do we all avoid the decanter,
the gin of reality.  This puts me in a fog.
What if this daffodil is the center—
as God had previously assumed?

 —Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Caschwa, Sacramento

Once upon a TIMEOUT
This is not a fairy tale
But it may very well
Look that way

A popular Black man
Certifiably accomplished
Lots of friends and success
Becomes POTUS

His opponents muster
Anger and tantrums
As if we forgot to worship
The right gods

The Supreme God of
Corporate entitlement,
AKA God of winners keepers,
Losers weepers

The Confederate God of slavery
Long overdue to return
Don’t fight the inevitable
The South will rise again

The Smiling God of Ronald Reagan
Who served his nation making movies
At MGM in Culver City, and then
became the worst enemy of unions

The White God of Terrorism
Alive and well in Flint, Michigan
Unleashing weapons of mass destruction
While not being held accountable

The Naked Villain God of Newt Gingrich
Who clothed his wife-cheating ways
With old odd ends stolen out of
Meritorious family values arguments

(My thanks and apologies to William Shakespeare)

Berkeley Municipal Pier
—Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA

                 for Cynthia Linville

It pounces straight at me, this jetty, infinite-distant.
Is it a working contraption? Hard to see how:
front timber’s shivered off rough, one board sunk slant.
As if dock got lopped or ripped by awkwardest saw,
busted off here in the deepseabluegreen before us.
Yet viscerally, maybe, perspective can play tricks;
fast-forward accordion, the pier juts out to floor us.
Like those mobile pallet-rack shelves in The Matrix
that lunge dream-convenient for Neo
with ranks of ripe gun.
But this is no vision, or is it? The skies shriek Marin,
the waters glow Alcatraz lazuli. Which way sun?
It lolls out of frame, shades bridges, whitens horizons.
There’s nothing much else to enlighten or to bedizen.
Back to this obsidian pier. I repent my worst sin.


—Tom Goff

Not one day’s life lived without the ecstasy,
not even if paid for with that same night’s despair.
Our essence is animal. Crassest apostasy,
not once to have pounced and ravaged, run sated to lair.
Admit these plain truths to your soul, star forth that flare
husbanded too long in sun-secrecy,
or it blackens, a cold spot under the tact of care
—that index, mud-smeared, withering…worldly.

Enchanted summer, all Ireland, begs us: disrobe.
Let the coarse cloth slink with a soft whistling from skin.
Molting’s not finished, give wistfully in to the probe,
shed everything, instinct can stun us and yet stir no sin.
You’re naked, adorning depravity’s grassiest swale,
stained only by sundown, on the Head of Old Kinsale.


—Tom Goff

Bass note up to flat fifth, then minor ninth:
this is your stalker, the graveyard door that grates,
not Beethoven’s blatant four knocks on 400 gates.
Sometimes this motif insinuates, sometimes it grinds,
but this in whatever shape is the keynote and capstan
turn of your tersely writ symphony: never in life
so acrid an edge of youth, a backwards knife-
stab you choose to take, my passive-aggressive Tristan.
This is your own and not your own thrust.

That’s what arrival means, lover. You, while living
the golden moment with your woman, your choice,
discover gold surfaces chafe faint green with misgiving.
Inside you, you hear a new voice, a satin voice.
You keep your thoughts from her, but is it her you mistrust?
You start the climb rinsed in day’s dragon-fire fountain.
And here it is moonless and midnight. You
keep right on mounting.

 —Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Tom Goff

Did Arnold Bax hear of one Mrs. Amy Beach?
Beach the pianist, Beach the composer? Gift,
each of theirs, equal to Bach. Won’t history sift
these lost from the discard heap? But let’s not beseech.
Amy, from a baby, holds powers no tutor can teach,
boasts ears canting forward. Hear why. Ina Coolbrith
pens poems for capture on Amy’s photographer’s lith:
meadowlark-warblings—transcribed in Beach-perfect pitch.
Top that if you will, Arnold Bax. He has strong hands;
so does she. He builds colored-glass domes that last;
her, too. Twenty fingers, two black-and-white grands,
both surge ahead wistful squinters at, always, the past.
Much writ of Sir Arnold’s pro-Irish sympathy:
how might he appraise Mrs. Beach’s Gaelic Symphony?


—Tom Goff

His wartime-wistful urge to touch home,
home even on hills brushed French-sunset red,
reminds his listeners of cows in loam:
so are the poets understood.

Did you not hear the trumpet just out of reach,
belling high bugle tones just out of tune?
What time can do as it darkens the peach,
what time can do as it rounds out the moon:

Soften all bloodlust in lyricism,
flatten wrecked Belgian fortresses,
sift from this symphony all cynicism,
crystalize all the evil distresses,

bodies disintegrated, faces
left horrifically mutilated,
forge dark modalities into graces,
enshrine in a searingly lilting girl’s song

war, refined gemstone: the rutilant
spear-reds, tornado-straws bedded in quartz.
What driven-in stresses divide our own hearts,
prod us to question, what of our arts:
aloof from, shot through with, involvement—who’s wrong?


Our thanks to today’s fine contributors! Two of our poets were inspired by recent offerings in the Kitchen: Ann Menebroker by Joyce Odam’s seagulls posted last Tuesday, and Tom Goff by Cynthia Linville’s photo of Berkeley Pier which appeared in connection with last week’s Seed of the Week: By the Sea. For more about the repetend poetry form mentioned by Carol Louise Moon, see

If you’re going to be in SF tonight, you might check out the release party for Neeli Cherkovski’s newest book, The Crow and I (from R.L. Crow Publications,, at The Beat Museum in SF, featuring Neeli Cherkovski, Paul Corman-Roberts, Cassandra Dallett, SB Stokes, Wm. Taylor Jr., and hosted by Bill Gainer. 540 Broadway, SF. Info:

And this just in: this Sun. (1/22) at 2pm, Mosaic of Voices presents Jeff Knorr and Kate Asche at the Avid Reader at Tower, 1600 Broadway, Sac. Host: Nancy Aidé González.


Today’s LittleNip:

We all write poems; it is simply that poets are the ones who write in words.

—John Fowles



 Albuquerque Rattlesnake Museum
—Photo by Cynthia Linville