Monday, February 29, 2016

High on Invincibility

—Anonymous Photos

—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

She’s lively, she’s gorgeous, 75 pounds,
and now, she’s my new German Shepherd.
“Sit, lie down, quit pacing, wait . . . “
Didn’t think this thing thoroughly through.
I find I’m constantly repeating myself.
She’s lively, she’s gorgeous, 75 pounds;
she’s starving—or, she wants me to think.
I have only a small can of dog food, here.
“Sit, lie down, quit pacing, wait . . “
We happen to be in a trailer house,
she’s staring out the kitchen side door.
She’s lively, she’s gorgeous, 75 pounds.
Must I keep repeating myself as if
I’m writing an unrhymed villanelle?
“Sit, lie down, quit pacing, wait . . . “
I have a new German Shepherd companion
and only a small bag of kibble, here.
She’s lively, she’s gorgeous, 75 pounds.
“Sit, lie down, quit pacing, wait . . . “


—Carol Louise Moon

        Tuanortsa after “Mad Day in March” by Phillip Levine:
        “On a bare limb, a bird, alone,
        arrived with wings frozen, holds on and sings.”

the doctor never arrives
the day I was hospital born
holding on and singing
Mom in a birthing gown
arrives with wings frozen,
like a bird alone
on a bare limb—
like a bird alone
arrives with wings frozen

Mom in a birthing gown
holding on and singing
the day I was hospital born—
the doctor never arrives

Note from Carol Louise: In 1949, the nurse actually tried to
shove me back into the birth canal to wait for the doctor.
It was AFTER I was born that the doctor finally arrived
and cut the umbilical cord.


—Tuanortsa by Carol Louise Moon

Please don’t sing
By the Light of the Silvery Moon, but
sit and read to me
my favorite poetry book.

Let me take
that silver coin
and travel to town to search for
a rhyming dictionary
to better work my craft—

a rhyming dictionary …
and travel … to town. To search for
that silver coin,
let me take
my favorite poetry book.

Sit and read to me
by the light of the silvery moon. But,
please, don’t sing!

—Marchell Dyon, Chicago, IL

They move in unison across the polished stage
Their bodies are as sheen as ebony glass

They move in unison from midair onto the stage
Their arched toes alight as soft as summer rain

They move wearing tutus as blue black as night
Their toes flexed straight now pointing to the drinking gourd

They move in unison their thighs parted and flung towards heaven
They move like a thing with feathers defying gravity taking flight

They piquet in unison
Their hourglass waist is a whirlwind across the polished stage

They are dark matter dancing
They are in unison suspended on nothing electric

They are twin queens of Sheba
Their skin tells the story of freedom

Of dancing on the banks of the River Niger
Before the first slave ships came

They are African ballerinas once chained
Now free to move their bodies once again


—Marchell Dyon

She knows soon she will fly
Her dream is predestined to be true
Hidden underneath her brown skin enflamed
And freckled like a pimple are her wings

An aria of wings, musical scales, rainbow wings,
Wings still in their chrysalis waiting to flutter
Like a bird captured by sunlight in a midair portrait
Trembling like a newborn’s heartbeat

She is a teenager; change is nothing new. BUT WINGS!
When the tiny buds of feathers sprouted
When she began to fly, spring scented the air
Across the concrete gardens where nothing grows
Without the hardness of stone

Beyond the bars of that inner city prison
Systematically built to cage her
Till her wings thinned to the bones
Till she forgot about blue skies and flight

Not everyone thought she should fly
They shot bullets at her, striking her in her shoulder
Till she bled crimson across the sky
Still she opened her wounded wings to fly

She would fly not only for herself
But for the others she carries with her
Souls without wings
Souls who could not be forgotten

Beyond the concrete gardens’ poverty
Where nothing grows without the hardness of stone in it
Over that invisible wall
To fields of daisies she takes them

To rest like butterflies
She bundled their dreams with care
A flash of color and light
Then back she went into the air

—Marchell Dyon

                For Katie

Her life has been a blessing not a curse
Although, by the way society measures
She was not by choice left but made the choice
To go it alone

Her children tossed aside by men who refused
To become fathers, she would not abandon them
These little ones at her breast

She had dreams like other women
Although these dreams were never fulfilled
For her the stars above held different cards
For her

The mother role is an honor of grace
Sometimes this role is like heaving out stones from
The parched earth with only her four fingers

Her bones under every rising sun, so
Her children may stand in the shade
Denying herself as a woman putting her children first
To society

She never makes apologies for being single and
A good black mother, now that her hair is gray
Her children gone, the memories of her daily
Struggle still lives on.


—Marchell Dyon

They join hands in a circle, arms stretch
Fingers flex flat
Their fingertips a palm branch in the still breeze

Their incantation mulls into smoke
Their incantation builds and flows over
Their five circling hands

They are a sculpture not of stone but of blood
Blood pumping vehicle churning ready
For whatever next is to be thrown their way

Their faces are as bright as sunshine
Their mood is as serious as a burial procession
Their voices echo like thunder shaking the earth with lightning

Their voices bellows like a ghost high on invincibility
They are a thing of fire and ice
Never do they swelter or fade into ash

To heaven and earthly ears
They do cast a spell
Their hands are a balm for healing

They are the mothers, daughters, sisters, children, lovers,
When no one else is there for them
They are there for each other.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Marchell Dyon

She dreams in oil slick kaleidoscope
Rainy days never wash away her rainbows

She dreams of music
Drifting on scales of meter and rhyme

She dreams of manuscripts feathered and alive
Breathing like bird in the lofty places in her mind

She welcomes this bird with outstretched hands
She is open to the wild wind riding her cheeks

Despite the wind she coos to this poem
Shy as it is to come forth

She inhales its African magic
Then she gives it form


Many thanks to Marshell Dyon for today’s poems (all the way from Chicago!), helping us to finish off Black History Month on this extra day in February. Anyone you want to propose to, ladies? For more about Leap Year Day, see

Thanks also to the local photographer who chooses to remain anonymous.

And thanks to Carol Louise Moon for her poetry and for the tuanortsa (“astronaut” spelled backwards). A tuanortsa is a Palindromic poem. A palindrome reads the same from front to back as from back to front. In other words, the lines can be read from top to bottom, or from bottom to top.

Poetry events in our area this week include Sac. Poetry Center tonight, featuring A Commune Editions Reading with Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover, Juliana Spahr plus open mic; Mosaic of Voices on Sunday w/Amalia Alvarez and Ricardo Taveres; and Poetry at Einstein Sunday with Patricia Wentzel, James Moose and Jerry Fishman. Scroll down to our blue box (under the green box) for details.

Poetry journals struggle to survive. Canary editor Gail Entrekin writes:

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