Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Sweet Unheard

—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

    (Carmichael, Presidential Election 2016, just before 7am)
—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA

No threats, no Trump poll-watcher. Suburb here.
Earnest about our civic exercise,
we multiples file in quick—early rise
is easy for us. Our vote: untinged by fear.
Pray for our Midwest ones, or in Southern spheres,
those breasting long lines, dauntless at gauntlet cries
deep-purpling faces, rocks-break-scissors-guys
in alpha display. Lord see the good ones clear

to booths nude of seclusion, half-enclosed.
A Clark Kent nightmare: loss of his change-zone.
Polite, our queue: swapped sagas while in wait,
one man met a man who knew, well, Air Force One.
Of us, one pilgrim’s tales conveyed most freight:
dark-lovely, from unfree Zambia—glad he chose

even this Fox News nation. Urged, at work,
his buddies to hear both sides. Brave man, fine quirk.


—Tom Goff

So quick to learn and lively as you are,
you’re much too young, thank God, to feel defeat.
Yet somehow you won’t have to travel far

to see your gender clear that one last bar:
you will among the elect achieve that, sweet,
so quick to learn and lively as you are.

By shining sunlight, brilliant as a gar,
burst through steel as easy as watersheets:
you will, I know, not have to travel far,

just spear old illusion-barriers with your spar,
fill all the dark voids bright until replete
—so quick to learn and lively as you are—

in honor of long-ago girls left to scar
and toil through weathers of a cutting sleet.
You will somehow not have to travel far;

you’ll orbit as planet—or you’ll reign as star,
your motion love: your speed of whirl is fleet.
So quick to learn and lively as you are,
you’ll win by how you’ve traveled, however far.  

            (AP photo, San Francisco, 11/10/16)
—Tom Goff

Young Aracely Seminario,
your gaze, directed at the camera,
all disillusioned blaze, all stoic glow,
stabs us, dismayed we’ve nursed a chimera

of hope you trusted, we elders, then let go
that incense crumbled from our fists. Too tame
—our fires may singe our faces, yet below,
deep in our chests, the guttering ash-choked flame.

Brave Aracely, our mere votes cannot
hide from your dark eyes, your round Mayan chin,
complacency so overripe it rots,
nor excuse to your seawave mouth our cringing sin.

Dropped aimless below belts, our hands let things slide.
With temporary tags you ink your face
against this buffoon we gave electoral grace.
You won’t reach him, he’s damned; but we read pride.

We marvel how your leonine stare, clear brown,
can jelly our knees without one trace of frown.

—Tom Goff

I seem to specialize in watching cars
for signs of music left inaudible
wherever a rolled-up driver’s window bars
to me the brunt of the delectable.
Or of the crass and crude. But beautiful
this day’s commute, where bare arms, rising slim,
make twinning cobras, leapt from basket brim,
headed by hands no way deplorable,
spread-fingered where her unseen finger-cymbals
punctuate the silence silently.
How does she drive the car with knee and knee?
Her balance, music around an organic gimbal,
proves her formidable-adorable.
Make me someday of my wheeled steed as free…

—Photo by Katy Brown

the moses who made the sky rain frogs is sleeping on the round pillows of your breasts. will he split the red sea? yes, of course, but not right now. now the fleshy skin of your chest is damp with his steady breathing, his eyes are lightly closed. and the children of israel can wait a little longer. so can we.

—james lee jobe


"am i beautiful?" yes, of course you are. i've been telling you so for a thousand years. you are as beautiful as the most terrible thunder in the storm that never ends, as lovely as the most crushing wave of the final tsunami. day and night are measured by the light in your eyes. your soul is part of this world and the next, and other worlds, too, worlds where your silence is the ice of a timeless glacier. to keep your gift is my life's treasure, and if i should ever lose the gift, my own darkness will begin. are you beautiful? yes, daughter, yes.

—james lee jobe


late in the afternoon the sunlight in the western window is rich, golden. when the white curtain is closed, it glows like a beautiful lamp. on slow days i'll watch as the sun, a little at a time, drops below the tree tops, and the lights settles down and dims until it matches the light in the north window. and so in this way, the day fades. looking down at my hands on the arms of the chair, they seem to be the hands of a much older man. they are. and so in this way, life fades.

—james lee jobe 


Today’s LittleNip:

Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me.

—Sigmund Freud


Many, many thanks to today’s fine contributors!

Save the date: Wed. (11/30), 6-8pm, for the Annual Sac. Poetry Center Fundraiser at the home of Mimi and Burnett Miller, 1224 40th St., Sacramento. Food drink, music, poetry. Music by the Golden State Brass; poetry by Susan Kelly-DeWitt. General admission $35; SPC Members $30.

And tonight, Molly Fisk will present her new book of essays,
Houston, We Have a Possum: Further Observations from a Working Poet, at Sierra Mountain Coffee Roasters, 671 Maltman Dr., Grass Valley, 5-7pm. Info:


Celebrate poetry!

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