Friday, March 30, 2018

Climbing On Air

—Poems by Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA
—Anonymous Carousel Photos


We follow the ermine interweaving
odyssey of clouds,
high wind through lofty leaves
an airy hymnal.

Charcoal shades of storm stir
wild irises… the storming over
now peach and apricot tints
frame a playground
as children return to play.

Prayers polish stars,
rain refreshes the moon...
a rainbow
moist colors sliding
off both ends,
a baptismal fountain.


Sitting in my truck
in John's pastoral cemetery
I do word puzzles
as he liked to do—
words forward, backward,
vertical, on the slant,
horizontal, upside-down—
words revolving around themes:

engines, desserts, dogs,
country capitols, airplanes—
a feast of words,
finished puzzles resembling
spaghetti with an inky sauce
as pen markings bleed
through the pages.

I'll once more greet friends
and strangers, hoping
that all words between us
translate as LOVE.


We love the way Bella reads—
a word, a picture,
another word, another picture.
Today a farmyard story,
different animal for each page.

Bella pauses on large letters,
feels secure, like leaning
all her weight on
the farm's giant collie.
Then she leaps ahead, swoops
down on unfamiliar words
like a Kansas tornado
before it whirls away the farm,
she clinging to the collie.

Instead of young Dorothy,
Bella is
the Wizard of Oz peeking out
from behind a curtain
of flashing lights.
"Boo" she says to each page.
I read you, you are mine!


Have you ever
aspired to rise so high
you felt
your shoulder blades tingle?
When no wings grew,
you climbed on air?


Injured animals are
shipped to her shop: lions
with chipped manes, broken toes;
giraffes with cracked knees;
ostriches, feathers kicked off;
horses with peeling paint.
All arrive shoddy, downcast,
soon enlivened
by tunes from her tools.

This gray-haired artisan
Dulled eyes brighten.

When the animals are remounted
for their merry-go-round-
and-round, lions once more roar,
giraffes stretch tall, nudge
colored lights; horses gallop,
excited kids holding reins
for the high-ride steeped
in the musical whirl of childhood...

(from the Berkeley ‘70s)

In a seminar on Being Human
we write first of stowing
away in mother's womb,
the watery float,
how we felt when the cut cord
freed us.
We recall breasted milk,
arm cradles,
our braced wobbly first-walk.

We grew, ventured 
into the world on our own:
got supported, detoured, done-in.
We banged our two heads
on the nearest wall, threw one
stupid head away; it bounced
back, determined to stay.
And, yes, there came a time
for love,
a lifelong chance, a treasury
from having been born.

(remembering B. Jo Kinnick)

The woman we sail to
over rough seas, the teacher
we invite into temples
and taverns of our talents,
is balded from chemo.

Wearing a wild red wig
she oils her funny bone,
signs up for a cruise,
flirts with ship's captain;
delights when storms
sweep the deck;
shuns lifeboats
lined up on a railing like nurses.

Home again
our teacher drops a pebble
into a pond, watches
as concentric circles spread
calmly outward.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Claire J. Baker

Great lovers
rose petals
and long
then kiss a
loved one's
healing them
with nectar
of rose.


—Medusa, thanking Claire Baker for today’s fine poems, and sending a reminder that Speak Up: The Art of Storytelling and Poetry will present poets/storytellers on the theme of “Growing Up” tonight, 7pm, at The Avid Reader on Broadway in Sacramento. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

 1911 Historic Looff Carousel, Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, CA
Celebrate poetry in motion!

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.