bound to this body
limited by its edge
how I wish to fly
but wishes, like lovers
can be elusive.
longings and wantings fly,
sometimes very high,
away from landings
that are capturing me
a bird flits
in the garden
followed by a moth
as the cat measures
its next leap
to snare one or the other.
Daylight calls out
and a tiny mouse
scoots to gather
—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA
Day starts with sun, yet dreadful and morose
as last night’s mope, wet with the sprinkler soak
that blasted Billy-dog and me. Some joke.
My mood’s as quick to lift as lead. Suppose
a Puritan dose. Reprisal. Swollen sin.
Light trails behind the harbinger, Miasma,
town-crying dank November eons of asthma.
Day starts with sun; the smile of dawn smirks thin.
Shadows retire with senile painfulness;
then, look, upon the spears of grass encased,
some, still in yesternight’s Gray Goose excess.
On buttery dandelions bees—yes, bees—
buzz flowerheaded flits. Toxins and wastes
leached or scoured away…by Time? Skinned knees,
boy shorts in a poisonless garden. Utter clean
via nine p.m.’s drenching by machine.
Let no more Santa Rosas burn.
Let’s have no more of flame than can
upshoot young quail into the span
of safflower-oil-clear morning, turn
anonymous night to name-day fire.
Let morningflame light red-stroked cheeks
on Northern Flickers, tint their beaks
pure silver fit to sing desire.
Let no more Santa Rosas burn.
Comb the sere hills free of stubble,
topple the rain-jar, mend the rubble.
Tell us what we have to learn.
Our Grecian climate’s all one urn.
Let no more Santa Rosas burn.
DEBUSSY: SCOTTISH MARCH
We warriors hae climbed oot of the wrong trench
This morning. Bagpipe skirling, but where’s heather?
Nae bluebells, only pansies, lilies. Weather
Sniffs mickle a whiff o’ th’ mizzle. Damp, nae drench.
My Gaelic hawks and donkeys; losing my burr.
Lift high yer claymores, lads, afore they blur.
Straighten yer kilts and sporrans, my herty lads:
Pastels and rainbows, like to rub oot yer plaids…
CLEVER BEN JONSON
On his “To the Memory of My Beloved
the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare”
Clever to praise “my Shakespeare” oh so well
That we keep eyes pressed on the immortal plays.
Never we mind about Ben’s crooked maze,
“Will’s” social standing lost in the asphodel,
Such epithets as “gentle” of one meaning
To readers who scarcely con the pricey book,
Another sense to subtler ones who look
Through lenses tinted gold for slants and leanings.
Take “Stratford monument.” Which Stratford is it?
Play Station Central London? Warwickshire?
Which Avon spawned the Sweet Swan who flew higher?
A town stream? Hampton Court? Let’s make our visit.
(Will Shakspere no more staged plays for Court Hampton
Than did the Rose hear arias from Rose Bampton…)
ON RABINDRANATH TAGORE’S THE HOME AND THE WORLD
We say that Shiva assumes a great many shapes,
But surely never this thing of points, a triangle.
How everything hangs till it rots as do dark grapes.
Us: Wife, Landowner, Fanatic. Who would not dangle
In winds of fear?
Triangle, I did say. You cannot relate
Fully to me except as you speak through him;
Along all speech-paths, an interloper: Fate
Seems to have decreed this by apparent whim,
Nothing less clear.
Home spells intimacy, always bound with duty;
World signifies exposure to fire and beauty.
By what strange trickery of the gods is love
Shaped to excuse our wearying? Use and use
Thrusts iron spears through our relations. Rupee
embeds itself coin-hard in each one’s glove
Of skin: chill, severe.
What reconciles us to being used and used,
For domestic peace or revolution’s grandeur?
The conflagration I fear starts with my ruse:
Before I ignite it, who’ll first speak with full candor?
HIGH SCHOOL REUNION
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
It has been decades
Since homework and hall passes
Earlier circles of friends now broken into
Smaller arcs, each missing large pieces
We are all adults now
Says the calendar
OK to smoke, even chain smoke
No more parental taboos
The same giggles arise
From the same classmates
When viewing the fish of Pisces
Positioned like the numerals 69
And there remain a few Bubba’s
Who failed to meet graduation standards
But now proudly raise their own standards
And march around with loaded guns
There could be a monster among us
Or somewhere within each of us
Our blank slate of self-doubts and miscues
Now fully populated and heavy
Including the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster
Where fastidiously healthy astronauts met their death
So that corporate biggies could try to meet a deadline
That lesson ever since rudely ignored by the automakers
When younger we learned to
Follow the money
Now that our years weigh more than our gold
We follow the ashes, too
ALWAYS A GUEST
music played slow
or fast, hearts quicken
swirling turquoise pools
first snow fall
clouds at sunset
what we're made of.
Many thanks to today’s contributors, and bravo to Tom Goff for rhyming “Miasma” with “asthma”. For more about Tagore’s The Home and the World, see www.bookrags.com/studyguide-the-home-and-the-world-penguin-clas/#gsc.tab=0/. To start your Monday off in a lively way by hearing Toscanini conduct Debussy’s Scottish March, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=52_rgicVotQ/. And if you’d like to read Ben Jonson’s poem, “To the Memory of My Beloved the Author, Mr. William Shakespeare”, it’s at www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44466/to-the-memory-of-my-beloved-the-author-mr-william-shakespeare/.
Katy Brown’s fine photos today were captured at last Thursday’s Poetry in Davis reading, which featured Viola Weinberg and Traci Gourdine. If you’d like to see more photos from that event, go to Medusa’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Medusas-KitchenRattlesnake-Press-212180022137248/. Thanks, Katy!
Poetry readings in our area begin tonight at 7:30pm at Sac. Poetry Center with The Art of the Collection: Readings by the Poets of Kate Asche’s 2016-2017 Monthly Workshop. On Friday, Speak Up Stories and Poems presents Moon Don’t Go at The Avid Reader on Broadway in Sacramento, 7pm. Saturday morning, Writers on the Air features Ronald Brady plus open mic at Sac. Poetry Center, 10am. Then on Saturday afternoon, Poetic License read-around will take place in Placerville at the Sr. Center, 2pm. 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 very well be added at the last minute.
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