DEBBI, Part One
—David Wright, Sacramento, CA
One drunken night
I was about twenty and found
Myself in dark Debbi's closet.
She was trying to keep me in there, and I
Forearm-shimmy'd the door, which broke wide open
Hanging there by a single twisted hinge.
I felt proud and macho and validated.
A half-hour before, we had taken a break from our drinking ritual and
Stumbled into that closet, making out.
Now, that episode over, with nothing broken but the door
We went back to her kitchen table for more tequila shots,
This time passing on the lime and salt.
DEBBI, Part Two
Months later Debbi calls, "Listen, I've got something to tell you.
There was an abortion and I think it was yours".
I ask her to pick me up and we
Went to Denny's for pie and coffee.
On her father's Master Card of course.
We talked about our times together, the trips to Folsom Lake, and our
Crazy maniacal Philosophy Professor at college.
About how we soon went different ways.
Now, old and childless, I wonder about that boy or girl.
The pie and coffee were good.
Closing in on that
Final lap and
It sure doesn't get easier.
Hard to breath,
A knee aches,
A side stitch, and then a
Sudden wind comes up
Right into our face.
Winners have already won and
Gone home with all the prizes.
We tread on.
Public glory has evaded us again.
When we cross the finish line
No one is there to greet us.
All for nothing, the kids say.
You old fool.
But back home
We meet the eyes in the mirror with joy.
We limp to our bed smiling and
Know in secret that the
Greatest glory of all is ours.
—Frank Ramon, N. Highlands, CA
Into this well of sadness
I drop the bucket down
Drinking long of melancholy
Minute’s madness swirls round
Now I know there are no answers
To these questions now that creep
Into the rooms where demons dream
And keep me in a fitful sleep
I used to think that we would win
All gentle souls would bathe in love
I waited for the angels then
Believing they would come
But even now the planet rules
Are set by dark hearts, and I cry
It seems the worst is yet to come
Tears for my baby fill my eyes
I'm so afraid I cannot keep
Some glimpse of goodness
As I leap
From door to boundary
Dark to clear
And watch the days melt
Month to year
I know that some have ears to hear
Whispers of the planet weeping
A smile a frown
The clown wears both
Which one the guest
Which one the host
As the sun and moon
Divide the light
These demon dreams
Divide my life
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
There are some really good days
Still visible in the little mirror that warns
Images are closer than they appear
Back when bountiful health, the stamina to work
Two jobs [optional Oxford comma] and the insulation
Of continuous joy allowed infinite patience
What fun being an autocrat!
An open season on rules and choices
To make and break as one pleases
Now stuck in heavy toll booth traffic on that
Bridge between comfortable retirement and
A desolate non-world of no choices at all
The default is “pay the toll and follow traffic”
But would it be too greedy to ask for better
Days than the fulfilling ones already enjoyed?
MAYBE DON’T CALL IT A WAR
Between the pinnacles of
Acute stress and miserable tension
Lies a broad swale of
It is here that all
Our Chief of Swale threatens nuclear strikes
As if the ability of chaparrals over time
To recover from fire paints a roadmap for all
Tainted air and water, broken infrastructure
Unlimited fatal shootings anywhere, everywhere
The roll-out is proceeding
Of course the loss of countless present-day lives
Is a fair price to pay for the privilege of living
Just look at the
From Westwood Village
Up and past the Janss Steps
Beyond the upside-down fountain
Sits Schoenberg Hall
Where music composition
Is guided, not taught
By learned professors who
Have done it all
They each proclaim that
They cannot assign a grade
On original ideas
Of all things
Only asking students to
Commit to a plan and be
Graded on effort even
If it stings
Walter Piston’s Harmony
Is not a rule of law
Just toss it clear out
If you wish
And embrace that a cycle of
Fifths is some Happy Hour
Routine as told
By a fish
Penning notes to a scheme that
Someone else proscribes is
Orchestrating, not composing
There it is
One might as well ask a scuba diver
To sketch an oak tree
Vis à vis
For Americans who recite “It’s the economy,
Stupid”, a deeper analysis shows that
Some business activities are in perpetual
Motion, like the Earth rotating and orbiting
In any post-depression economy, some
Of the most secure jobs are newspaper
Carrier, stock broker, florist, and anything
To do with groceries or office supplies
Because these pursuits go on and on
Whether news is good or bad, whether
Trading is helpful or not, whether people
Are delighted or grieving, as long as a
Business is open for business, a good part
Of the economy is essentially divorced from
What policies drive the government, what
Laws are passed or not, what headlines
Break, what pundits offer, the national deficit,
The Index, what treaties are in place, who
Won the Super Bowl, what Trump said, what
Oprah said, or what is in your daily horoscope
When my ninety-year-old father was in
Hospice, they asked me if he wanted a Clergyman.
I leaned down by his ear to ask him.
"No, CLERGYMAN”, I said, even louder this time, right into that ancient ear.
"Clergyman", he said, looking like the world suddenly stunk.
"Hell no, religion is bunk."
We shared our last laugh.
Thank-yous to today’s fine poets, and to Katy Brown for her recent fine photos from the Sonoma area! Frank Ramon is new to the Kitchen, and was sent our way by D.R. Wagner, who is having cataract surgery today. Our best to you, D.R., and welcome to the Kitchen, Frank!
Poetry events in our area this week begin tonight in Placerville, 6-7pm, with Poetry in Motion read-around at the Placerville Sr. Center, and then continue at 7:30pm at the Sac. Poetry Center with the launch of Lara Gularte’s new book, Kissing the Bee (plus open mic). Thursday at 8pm, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento continues as usual with features and open mic. Then at 8:30pm that night, T Mo Entertainment presents Sac Girls Rock at Laughs Unlimited in Old Sac. 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.
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