Friday, April 22, 2016

How to Use a Sword

—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—J. D. DeHart, Chattanooga, TN

I used to have
a sword but it was blunt
and disappointing;
I had no idea how to stand
with a blade, then one day
at a gun show a man told me,
People used to defend their
families in the Civil War
with these things.  Now
I don't even bother to pick
one up, and that's the best
way sometimes, really,
to handle a sword.


—J. D. DeHart

The strong warrior
reaches for his arrow
but finds it removed
from his narrative,
the brave man thinks back
to page three to remind
himself of how he became
so brave, and if only we had
our own stories to stand
on and remind ourselves
of why we decided
to become noble in the first
place, on the first page.


—J. D. DeHart

he reaches for the wrong
part, tweaks it,
pulls it, squeals at it,
then puts it back
so the engine can finally
idle once more.

 Year of the Monkey
Moon Café Gallery, Locke, CA
—Photo by Katy Brown

—J. D. DeHart

The fire that we felt
burning inside
quickly dispelled,
the word that was spoken
was left behind,
a child crying because
it had been abandoned,
the promise that was made
was just formed from
these clay words, devoid
of meaning, and our energy
felt the moist fabric
dampen us until we said
At least we have each other.


—J. D. DeHart

she's little miss
sassy teeth
a wise-cracking remark
for any you can
manage, and she's
disappointing at times,
like all humans, but
tiny moments of frill
and good promise.

 —Photo by Katy Brown

—Katy Brown

They laughed at us
when we wrapped the cat
in a paisley shawl.

We talked about putting her
in a canoe and setting it on fire
like a Viking funeral
in the pond behind the house.

But the little one said
it would be “an atrocity”
(she just learned the word)
to set a perfectly good canoe
on fire. 

“I’m not sure our insurance
would cover that,” my oldest brother
said—trying to sound grown-up.

We sucked on flowers
from the honeysuckle vine and
squinted at the paisley bundle.

Finally, we decided to bury the old Tom
next to the almond tree—
an old flower pot for his tombstone.


—Katy Brown

Time rolls and gathers in swells,
moving toward the far horizon; and
the three of us, spinnakers billowing,
steer our cutters toward a common port.

If only desire were as easy to fill
as a luffing sail;
or faith as constant
as the unfailing North Star.

If only the distances between us
were not so great and full of dark water.
The path of this full solstice moon,
fractured by the wake of my plunging ship,

reassembles itself in the distance—
a shaft of light, tipped by my boat’s prow.
Too much time to think tonight.
Time:  an arrow of moonlight;

a wave, cresting in the distance;
fading memory of the three of us, laughing.
We come from diverse points in the wind’s twelve quarters
—toward a port with a foreign name, filled with beings of light.

—Photo by Katy Brown

—Katy Brown

A season of paisley tombstones;
an atrocity of insurance;
a canoe full of vines from the garden

—I claw my way out of the surreal dream
face to face with the calico cat.


Today’s LittleNip:

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

If Michael Jackson
was the King of Pop
memory won't stop:
Prince is gone,
with an angel star quota
in his final "Purple Rain"
singing in Minnesota.

—Medusa, with many thanks to J. D. DeHart and Katy Brown for a hearty breakfast in the Kitchen this morning—as well as B.Z. Niditch for the timely LittleNip!

 Sheer Poetry
—Photo by Katy Brown
Today is Earth Day, and April is National Poetry Month. 
Celebrate by going to the Red Fox Underground Collective 

reading tonight in Placerville at Fausel House Gallery, 
772 Pacific Street, 7pm!