Monday, October 03, 2016


After Dancing
—Photos by Stacey Jaclyn Morgan, Fair Oaks, CA

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA

Yes to you and me, together
and separately. Yes to that feather
floating on the ocean. Yes to devotion
and the art of compromise.
Yes to skies, to red carts and red carpets.
Yes to pets. Yes to words "please” and
"thank you."

Yes to yes! Yes to flowers, to towers
of cumulus white clouds. Yes to keys,
to donkeys not called asses. And yes to
intriguing classes. Yes to pyramids
not schemes.
Yes to helpful math.
A bigger yes to healthy dreams.

Yes to oats,
cheerful notes and sailboats
on a sunset bay.
Yes to balloons that float
longer than expected.
Yes to a colloquial "heck"
and "nope."
Yes, my dears, to peace—
a double yes to hope.


—Claire J. Baker

Sparrows flicking off from edges
go flitting up to higher ledges.
A bustling city will not see
this flash of serendipity.

It's like birds are in a trance,
winging for joy or to enhance
reflections in the glassy wall,
appearing now more tall than small.

Finding eaves, they build a nest.
Sheltered from rain and fog they rest,
then chirp out petroglyphs of song
that mankind's kind and spring is long.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA
As I wrestle my way toward freeway
early Monday, swaying to Bax’s
Viola Sonata, turned up a delicate
two shades of loud purple, behind me I catch
a driver’s Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) face
in the rear-view mirror: her mouth
is working incessantly, open with lips
and teeth working incessantly. Maybe
her flowing hair troubles me. My eyes
seem to admit flecks of grit while
this music passion wrenches my heart’s
blood flow dizzily retrograde,
but what can she be uttering?

Curse words? Hands-off cellular dialogue
with a frenemy? Breakneck Buddhist
mantras? On and on, her lips, moving moving,
though her body does not bob appreciably.
Oh, it is a sweet wide mouth, it is a harmless
thing she speaks and speaks, I can tell from
her inward-outward eyes. Is she in harm
as she steers? Accurate enough aim, but
is she safe? A fly might buzz the way her utterance
buzzes against her windshield safety glass,
but then she and I are doubly glassed off.
Inaudible Hailee Steinfeld, Yell County elocution
against the gun-toting grownups. But was
mine the only music this commute? Goodbye
sweet Hailee, as you peel off, easing off
somewhere Freeway to new Territory, still plying
those wide strawberry lips, I would bet,
singing, incessantly; I would just bet,


—Tom Goff

    for Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford

Below “SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS,” vacant parallel lines
stretch tantalizing across the title page.
Those tracks, those never-joined utensil tines,
the barest sendoff for the agonized sage
who penned the intimacies that brokenly trace
the man-for-man love we deem so universal,
refusing to read what coupled ghost haloes of face
impart around each crude printsman’s letter: love’s missal.

Those empty two lines cry out, “dead author,” abyssal
and echoing like unto boots in stirrups reversed
that icon the absence, miming the snareless drum
whenever a fallen horseman's to heaven come
yet lain and led slowly behind, black-swathed, enhearsed.
This page is a grave awaiting inscription’s chisel.

 Verbascum and Grapevine

—Tom Goff

The students have left: too nice a Friday
early in the semester. The Wordsworth mood
made as the motion sensor finds no one, light dims.
Out the motionless room’s great window,
faintest cloud-striations aquatint, pale white,
the thin blueberry wash of this late afternoon.
I listen to Bax’s Red Autumn: in his mind, leaf-blood,
mystical faery-blood perhaps flows in the maple-scatters,
though autumn in the leaf is a last dry precipitate,
brittling, crusting, belying the supposed fatness of harvest.
I shrug away these thoughts, musing on
the students’ community garden, where
Western Bluebirds and house finches sweeten
with songs as of innocent youthful Bax the light winds,
the miniscule seed-strews that please them so much:
it is a jittery rejoicing in the birds, they delightedly flit
from fence-top to tree-top between bouts
of seed-gorging. And I join in these rapid
flits and jitters of thought, downcast
that my companion has left,
glad as the highest lark
that my companion has left…   

 I swear on my mother's eyes...

—Michael Ceraolo, Willoughby Hills, OH

No epics for the twenty-first century
I have re-written a selected seven
of the Proverbs of Hell
for the new millennium:

Drive your cars and your pipelines over the bones of the dead

The road of excess sometimes leads to the prison of addiction

A fool sees not the same climate that a wise man sees

The selfish smiling fool & the sullen frowning fool
will each be thought by some to be worth electing

Always be ready to speak your mind, and insure that most will avoid you

The tygers of wrath are not wiser than the horses of instruction,
but they are more effective at achieving political ends

Some never know enough to know they don't know enough

 Feathers Fall Into Laps


Our thanks to today’s contributors for a sound beginning to the week! And congrats to Claire Baker for being a Grand Prize winner at this year’s Dancing Poetry Festival in San Francisco!

A new issue of Ekphrasis, the journal of ekphrastic poetry edited by Sacramentans Laverne and Carol Frith, is now available, and this is the anniversary of their 20th year of publication! To get your copy, go to

Also note that Lummox Poetry Anthology #4 is now available for 20% off retail at, along with examples from the issue. Check for other cool stuff from Raindog (R.D. Armstrong) at

October is Sacramento Poetry Month! Actually, the only official proclamation about that came from Mayor Emeritus Anne Rudin, who declared the 26th of October to be Sacramento Poetry Day. But Rattlesnake Press has always said that all of October is Poetry Month, and it is definitely one of our livelier times of the year.

Speaking of which—wow! This is a very busy week for poetry in our area, with fun things almost every night and through the weekend, beginning tonight at 7:30pm with Women’s Wisdom artists and poets at Sac Poetry Center. On Tuesday, drive up to the new read-around series in El Dorado Hills, Poetry Off-the-Shelves, 5-7pm. Then on Thursday, Sac State of Poetry will feature Cynthia Linville, Daniel Rounds, and Maxwell Stenson at CSUS, 6pm, and Susan Kelly-DeWitt and Katherine Hastings will be reading at John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis at 8pm.

On Friday, 12:30pm at The Imaginarium, 1301 37th St., in Sac., Sac. Poetry Center and 916 Ink will co-sponsor a celebration of three young authors whose work has been featured on RT buses. It will be a lively weekend, in fact, with Keynote Poets & Writers at Stellar Studios in Sac. on Friday night at 7:30pm, as well as the Jack Kerouac Poetry Contest and Jazz and Beat Festival at John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis on Friday and Saturday—including the winners of the poetry contest on Friday night, lots of music on Saturday, and a reading by Peter Coyote on Saturday night. See the schedule at On Saturday, Sac. Poetry Center will be exhibiting archival posters, articles, and other ephemera from the Sac. Poetry Archive (“Leaves from the Poet Tree”), 6-9pm, opening their month-long display. Or, if you’re of a mind to head down to Manteca, the 2016 Great Valley Bookfest will be happening on Saturday:

Sunday will be Gallery 1855’s opening reception in Davis for their exhibition of screen prints with poetry texts by Francisco Alarcón, 1-4pm; see Also on Sunday, 1-3pm, the “Capturing Wakamatsu” poetry workshop with Taylor Graham and Katy Brown will take place at the The Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Colony Farm in Placerville; see

Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming readings in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

Late edition-addition: See today's Sacramento Bee at for an article (in a good position in the paper) about the upcoming visit of US Poet Laureate Felipe Herrera on Nov. 12. Thanks, Allen Pierleoni!


Today’s LittleNip:

Dear Monday,
I want to break up.
I’m seeing Tuesday and
Dreaming about Friday.
Sincerely, it’s not me, it’s you.




Now, now—don’t be cynical about those poor Mondays. For “24 Inspirational Monday Quotes to Start Happy”, go to

 Anonymous Photo
Celebrate poetry—and Mondays!

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