(remembering W.C. Williams and plums)
—Allegra Silberstein, Davis, CA
I was saving those last two dark chocolates
from my daughter in Belgium for you.
I know you are a connoisseur
and you’d really appreciate them.
This just to let you know
that when I had to balance my checkbook
all the numbers had me dizzy
I was in a tizzy and needed something
to get me on even keel.
That’s when the chocolate called to me so loud
I couldn’t resist
but I must insist they were delicious
and I thought of you
as the last dark enchantment
trickled down my throat.
FRAGMENTS: A GHAZAL
—Jane Blue, Sacramento, CA
Laryngitis at Solstice is a monkish existence.
The sun rises late in the morning, as I do.
Squirrels chase each other lustily up and down
the smooth dusky limbs of the crape myrtle.
When Mary was ninety, she grew a tumor
in her womb, big as a big juicy cantaloupe.
A cockroach can live a week without its head.
Life is in the sinews, the bones, the genitals.
We are opposable thumbs, bipedal, large-brained
but weak-eyed. Predatory. Fingered and toed.
There are the lies, the secrets, the silence
of every family, every family bathed in myth.
THE SHOOTING OF HIS DEAR
—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA
(English ballad adapted
in E.J. Moeran’s Symphony in G Minor)
Richness of music, bound to folkloric weight,
translated to Moeran’s Irish-English fancy:
grafted on powerful structure, marble the gate,
ivied the building; equal favor grants he
to every Avon swan-segment of the big orchestra,
the affect deep-dark as if penned by his friend Bax,
and savoring still more of The Swan of Tuonela.
Pulse races each time the dire storm-shiver it cracks.
Is it Norfolk coast in these flute-swirling wind-skirls?
Or Jean Sibelius’s black-swan shrine below ground?
…When he shot his own true love in the room of a swan…
Mellifluous ripples, caressable swan of the windwheels.
Yet still seeps the guilt from the gun’s bark: two white birds,
one true swan missed, but belovèd a ghost, swan-gowned.
In the room of a swan’s breast, the wind howls, the wind mimes white down.
Heartbreak, the dissonant seafoam, remorse-wrack on stone.
…For my apron was bound round me and he took me for swan…
MORNINGS ON THE MOBILE FUNDRAISING TEAM
—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento
push it off quickly, bury my head
another moment will return me to dreamless oblivion
pull up my legs
crawl out of down mummy bag
“Get up, get up,” I nudge the other girls
race to toilet, shower
doubling up OK, trust each other
push against time, 6:45 a.m.
someone irons on a towel on the floor
“Hurry up; five more minutes”
dissolve packet of ginseng crystals in metallic tap water
coffee, later, will be savory
careful knock at the motel-room door
team leader pokes in his head, “Ready?”
looks carefully in both directions
hopes the office won’t guess
how many we are in each room,
he enters, followed by other young men
sisters and brothers, we kneel
bow heads in silent prayer
team leader center front
back to us, white shirt and tie regulation
gone my days of overalls and no underwear
maybe he, too, had been a hippie?
dare you to
A LONELY LOVE
—William S. Gainer, Grass Valley, CA
and a bath.
Six-fifty a month—
her secret place
where she keeps
the little things,
one chess piece
a little silver happy-face
drawn on its side,
a pill bottle
three lipstick stained
the lid tight,
a pillow to hold
when she’s lonely,
it smells like
and the corner of the bed
where she sits
just wishes ...
—W. S. Gainer
A different kind of
than most places I go.
The night lights
but few stop to notice.
In the morning
down at the Shanty Café
in the Lower Queen Anne
the girl at the table next
still in sweat pants
and her cleanest
tries to figure out
is left on the
A lot of short stacks
heavy on the cream
shared over cellphone
Nobody talks face to face
I get the feeling
is a town
of heavy tears—
If it wasn’t so pricey
I’d stay awhile
but like everybody else
I gotta go.
—W. S. Gainer
He’s good at those
I’ve met quite a few
because of him ...
I forget their names.
rainbows have names.
he’s got a good eye
points things out—
how the light
turns in the evening
the fog melts
with the morning
and how the night creatures
if you just
leave a window
Yeah—he sees things.
Things you don’t
THE ABSENCE OF CHARM
—W. S. Gainer
the bookstore cat
no one says
watch the door,
don’t let the cat
saw the cat
and I still don’t
I wish they would
such a charming way
to let the world
A LAST DRINK OF WATER
—W. S. Gainer
there’s an old woman
of the world
are someone else’s
at least for tonight.
All I’ve got left
I love you—
and I do.
it’s quiet ...
I hope I don’t
Many thanks to today’s artists, all of whom will be appearing in the new (and final) issue of WTF at Luna’s Café tomorrow night (Thursday 5/19), 8pm. Be there—you won’t be sorry!
I guess this is my chance to thank frank andrick and Rachel Leibrock for their work these past seven years, both in putting together the quarterly journal, and in hosting Poetry Unplugged release parties so the contributors could read their work. Thanks, kids—it’s been a swell ride!
So this is Rattlesnake Press’s final written contribution to the poetry world, at least for now. Medusa’s Kitchen remains online, though—the beloved child of my old age—as she swoops along in cyberspace on a daily basis. Cheers—and please keep supporting the Kitchen as you do.
Today’s LittleNip(s) by William S. Gainer:
A LOVE POEM
how I miss you.
WHEN THE DREAMS TAKE ME
I think of you
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