Monday, January 02, 2017

Pistachio Dreams (You've Been Here Before)

Get to Work
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch, CA

—Robert Lee Haycock

The wider world
Sick as a dog
Throwing up another building
Bone Woman rolls out my buffalo blanket
Sister Mary Patrick chants in the canned goods aisle
The stories that get told behind these eyes


—Robert Lee Haycock

Houses perched on hills
Like folding bleachers
Belayed with twill tape
By an unknown way
Too many people
Deserving favors


—Robert Lee Haycock

Spider woman’s kiss
Flying foxes
Tumble of rooftops
Lessons unlearned
Lunch on the riprap
You’ve been here before
I can tell now

—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock  

—Taylor Graham

Potter’s Slough, secretive as a cave
concealed by foliage almost in sight of
the highway. There’s an old man walking
the trestle—I’d take him for a panhandler
except for the clam shovel slung over
his shoulder. Along the tidal creek
foam’s caught like lace. The inlet’s bore
is coming in. Memory or imagination?
This place of transformations, water
and clay, the hand of Nature the potter.
Is this where to begin again?


—Taylor Graham

He used to be a bighorn ram—that magnificent
spiral rack, boulder to boulder, looking down

from the heights, backlit by rising sun.
Who could keep up with that speeding fireball,

spiral rack. Boulder to boulder, looking down
over the crest and away from his own shadow.

Who could keep up with that? Speeding fireball
into the serious. The step by step, one rock

over the crest and away. From his own shadow
what could he learn? A bit of caution, starting

into the serious, the step by step. One rock
marks his foot on a stone flight up to his house.

What could he learn? A bit of caution, starting
again. An old dog, his steps sunk in hillside, each

marks his foot on a stone flight up to his house,
leads to the next inevitably as time. He looks back

again, an old dog, his steps sunk in hillside. Each
he used to be. A bighorn ram. That magnificent

leads to the next. Inevitably as time, he looks back
from the heights. Backlit by rising sun.

—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock 

—Taylor Graham   
             How does the pond breathe?
Blue heron waits for a frog.           

            Are all fragments seeds?
Soft rain-fingers stroke earth’s face
that’s wrinkled by many years.       

             The path winds through woods,
their dead leaf-fall is key to
             deep forest secrets.
How will you find the foot prints
             of a mystery?

A doe in silent thicket
graces your thoughts unaware.       

            Where morning lightens,
bare branches tear it apart,
            moon shards showing through–
a broken pot mended with
streaks of sunlight in the trees.       

            Have you heard the crow,
his voice of shadow crossing,

         and coyote song?
When the blue kingfisher dives,
listen for the water’s heart.           

        Egret motionless—
a bird of calligraphy
slipped into feathers.

 —Photo by Taylor Graham
(Can you find the egret?)

—Taylor Graham
Into the winter hills they set
out with a GPS device,
just driving. Cold. Soon, snow and ice
ahead. The question: how to get
back home? They checked the net—
no signal. GPS? it showed
a way, or what was once a road
now whited out. Alone and stuck.
How to call for help? a tow truck….
Berserk, the weather snowed.


—Taylor Graham                       

Could this be where the man was lost,
where each trail marker disappears
in forest tangling of the years?
The rock-cairn’s message over-mossed.
Those broken limbs? an X was crossed
then blown apart by weather’s whim,
by snow’s cold, sublimating scrim.
A storm-torn cedar blocks the way.
A wanderer must ever stay
where mountain’s got the best of him.


—Taylor Graham                   

It’s a slow twenty miles from town
to celebrate her life. There stands
her steel-clad mount, 14:2 hands
high, red Kubota, blade bowed down
in grieving, pine-bough-laden, crown
of sunflower. Is that her ghost
smiling from its emblazoned host
of petals? Natural gold was she,
like sunrise and harvest; like free
blossoming of earth’s innermost.

 —Photo by Ann Privateer, Davis, CA

—Ann Privateer

Seamless blooms dazzle the eye
There, where we travel
To orange poppies.

They invigorate
Give voice with color
Thrilling our senses each day.

And yet, there is pain
Once again, stopping us so
Felt by heart and mind.

We, the weary travelers
Tired from wandering
Long to find our home.

—Photo by Ann Privateer

—Ann Privateer

there were so many
crumpled flower stems
we were younger than before

jewels lite up our days
petal tips resting
while our lives condense some more

desire lifted its head
I ran out the door
with blue memories.

 —Photo by Ann Privateer

—Ann Privateer

shall I recall you
my imminent one
born to purr and to cuddle

when heaven is late
the mundane will reign
bird and flowers give balance.

 —Photo by Ann Privateer


Today’s LittleNip:

Yesterday was the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.

—Brad Paisley


Many thanks and happy new year to all those who join us around the Kitchen table, today and other days! And that could be you! Send your poems/photos/artwork to

Tonight at Sac. Poetry Center, Samir Benouar and Friends will be reading, 7:30pm. Tomorrow is the Poetry Off-the-Shelves read-around in El Dorado Hills Library, 5-7pm; and on Thursday, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe will feature Genelle Chaconas plus open mic, 8pm. Then on Sunday, 10-12am, drive up to Placerville for “Capturing Wakamatsu: A Poetry Workshop” with Taylor Graham and Katy Brown, exploring the historic Japanese colony and then writing a poem about it. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—BUT, note that more may be added at the last minute!



 Celebrate what you want to see more of—including poetry!

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