Thursday, May 04, 2017

Scribble and Malpractice

A Flower that Grows Out of Itself
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA
—Poems by J.D. DeHart, Chattanooga, TN


I am not good enough, for sure
A pinwheel of mistakes and misspeaking
For the woman I love
She is all kindness and no edges
Strawberries and curled hair
I am misplaced emotions and temper
Stumbling on the cord over and over
She is dedicated, thoughtful, craft
I am scribble and malpractice.

(first pub. at Red Fez)



the voice spins on a story
about a 1980's play set
or a television show binged on
during days off at home
an actor or actress that appears
in a variety of roles—Romanian
doctor, sheep dog, archangel—
you name it, we watch it
instead of learning a name
the function of the inner being
the trajectory of a heart
time is spent relating person
to object, or a celebrity
too objectified for being
therefore, we are met not
as ourselves but as reference
points to the temperature
of the room around us.

(first pub. at Red Fez)


no one can ever be themselves in public
so the mantra goes, and the men know this
slipping away into silent weekends, holding
finger to lip when they see each other,
hiding behind the animal masks—the quote
by Nietzsche blazing across the wall,
erected in jagged scarlet lettering for them
        the lion, a loan officer
        the tiger, a teacher
        the bear, a barista
but no one will talk to the rodent, preening
                                      modestly in the farthest corner.

(first pub. at Red Fez)


Thank you for this small
piece of who you see yourself
to be.  Bound by a thin square.
A quick note about your purpose,
at least three ways to contact.
Imagine a life summed up in
a title, rendered in italics:
Consultant for the Arts
Student of Life,
on a tiny, snow-white space.

(first pub. at 1947)


The round faces watch us,
they are moons, Suns,
other celestial bodies
displaced by mood, time.

They gather us like
wheat to harvest and bid,
voice and history
on the proverbial block.

Round faces like gleaming
orbs, who knows
what travels in the gear.

(first pub. at 1947)



Light quenched,
given rest, the flick
of the switch should
issue bare the bulb
but the room is dark
seconds longer than
it should be
and we know our
true selves in the cave
of silence and waiting.

(first pub. at 1947)


1.  A picture on the wall
looms back at me, I don’t
know its identity, the swirl
of divine and human, of
absent and present, who
knows for sure, I ask

2.  A man with bad breath
takes my hands and holds
them up, “Fire Fire,” he says
in my face, “Let God move on
you,” but I am blinking, standing,
unsure what to do while wailing
women around me fold down
like lawn chairs and roll in aisles
and men dash around like they’re
running a relay

3.  My young face was pressed
to the floor until the imprint of
the carpet was laced into my skin,
the smell of this new carpet is much
more pleasant than the smell of
the fire-eater’s breath, and I wait
for heaven to pass by, and wait.

(first pub. at 1947)



There’s a screaming face
The real killer is an ape
The pendulum swings
The heart beats loudly
The wall is full of secrets
The house is really crazy
It has mad see-through eyes.

(first pub. at Life as an [Insert Here])


Just give me five
minutes and I would
take all these rotten
images and supplant
them with new ones,
I would be transformer,
would be heroic even.

Just give me five
minutes and I would
make gossamer out
of all these boxes we
insist on keeping
but are too afraid
to open.

(first pub. at 1947)


Today’s LittleNip:

—J.D. DeHart

Tall mammoth
Loud voice
Not much to be seen
Pounding out syllables
Blowing off steam
I turn my head to side
Politely exit
I have no time for displays.

(first pub. at
Life as an [Insert Here])


Many thanks to JD DeHart for today’s fine poetry! Our thoughts are with B.Z. Niditch, our usual Thursday contributor, as his mother passed away last week and he has been ill as well.

Don’t forget that today’s is the Big Day of Giving in Sacramento, with Sac. Poetry Center’s thank-you party this evening, as well, beginning at 5:30pm. Also in Sacramento tonight: the weekly Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe, 1414 16th St., 8pm, with features and open mic. Or head over to Davis to hear Chris Erickson at the John Natsoulas Gallery, 521 1st St., 8pm. 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—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


 Spring is in the air! Celebrate poetry! 

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