Monday, April 09, 2018

Let the Poetry Flow!

—Photo by Ruben Briseno Reveles

—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento, CA

I wipe a circle clear on the dusty window, griming my fingers. Lean in, peer anxiously into the murk.  And I see it amidst the rubble, illuminated: the lost shoe, left behind when we fled.  Still red.  Dirty, but still red.

—Photo by Brenda Yamen 

—Cynthia Linville

Half-empty glasses. Lips moving.  White hair.  Smoke.  (I can smell the bullshit from here.)  When his eyes crinkle like that, prepare to be the butt of a Mark-Twain joke.

—Photo by Myles Boisen

—Cynthia Linville

Zen chimes wash over me in ripples.  I scent sandalwood in grape seed oil, sense the soft caress of sheets.  The table firmly cradles me.

—Photo by Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Folsom Lake College Professor Emerita (1955-2018)
—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA

I knew you slightly, knew you perfectly;
the way two—Irish, is it?—will fast relate,
no matter what rough roads have separately
fetched them wherever from Kerry or Cork at what date…
You were my real first mentor here, and strong;
I remember your unshy admonishment,
it went like this: Whoop—nope, you’re taking too long:
thus you’d part the too-absorbed tutor from the student.

Too much help was unsound. It might’ve been me,
too nice to a fine pair of eyelashes at a paper.
But you were right: I really had to taper,
not tamper, help with pen in hand yet free
the student to think. You valued poetry;
we found we related at lunch over sorry states
of benightedness in this ailing democracy.
Yet you envisioned us riding someways the long slate-
and-blue techno-waves so as to guide novices,

the digital natives from the silicon provinces,
in how it’s kept, the nice balance of screens with books,
for we at times float wide high distances
above our crystal materials, with hooks
kept ready to grapple closer in with ink
and dried pressed pulp that speaks best whispering.
You made it a point to attend my wife’s art opening.
All that you did and felt had stamped on it, Think.

You vouchsafed glimpses of your computer savvy,
roamed 3D, restive, avatar-driven glides
above and into a cyber-learning-world
James Cameron later taught us all to envy,
for this world, as should a ne plus ultra, swirled
past palisades, tessellated floors, and rides
of swaying, wind-tugged life in leaf and flower.
Each distinct spatial chamber, stairway, bower,
served to remind, as did the Guidonian Hand
instill the musical memory broadband
in Dark Age monks. You knew piano. You led choir.
I even prized small notes of your accent: choice
adapted you Californian, but your voice,
one note of it, Keystone State? You pronounced “rawther”
for “rather,” like that Pennsylvania-Carmel Father
of Poets, Robinson Jeffers. So much to know
—soul could not help but glow—
to admire, consider in you—mind-life and fire.

 —Photo by Caschwa

—Tom Goff

How to account for Norman Del Mar’s classic
record of Bax’s masterwork, penultimate
entry in that multi-symphonic epic,
Bax’s Parthenon cavalcade to fate,
that mystic pageant, frozen cycloramic?

For certain, Del Mar’s second-movement weight
near swamps the Scottish boat. And is it Jurassic
enough, that world-breaking final spate
of saurian roar—apt raptor in the capture?
Even the breathtakingmost notes of strain
sharp-scissored from the eerie trumpet solo’s
high spiral thermal wing-glide over the battle.

How is it Del Mar convinces, by what rapture
—the breakneck scherzo’s knifepoint pressed to the vein?
How does his baton strike friction against the grain:
what disturbs like skin-susurrus the glow
yet overmasters humanity? What sheer
harmonic remove from breathable atmosphere?
Apocalyptic hints, plucked from one thin
prolonged rictus of harp—or Satanic mandolin…

 —Photo by Caschwa

—Tom Goff

I worried my way along the walk.
This was college, and serious.
Worry and work so fastened on me,
The walkway swayed, delirious.

I walked on further: a squabble sound.
Familiar, but what? A turkey squabble.
Acoustics of the school quadrangle
Made the wrangling sound a whole rabble.

At length I saw: one solo turkey,
Piping his bagpipe full of pebbles.
His fantail fanned at intervals;
The mating season seized like devils

On this lone pompous turkey bird.
Without a comely turkey girl
Nearby to court on the college green,
Still the boy skirled his turkey skirl,

For if there were no female bird
To flirt with by that outrageous fan,
Still with a sharp spur some male rival
Piper might prove more turkeyman.

Oh, read by these lines how far I felt
From all that worry that walked with me.
Yet something tugs at one who views
Such birds and cannot depart mind-free:

We take and take green space away
From turkeys, other birds, and more.
Like Native Americans who reclaim
Their long-stolen lands, peak, plain, and shore,

Such as these turkeys return for title
To even the littlest squares of green
Theirs by long right. Don’t let that wattle,
that silly courtship strut, that fan,

fool you: old business is what they mean.

 —Photo by Caschwa

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Mother Nature told the cloud
to release the rain upon the land,
the cloud asked “How do I do that?”

Just do it
replied Mother Nature
May the power be with you, great cloud

The young teacher solicited tips
on maintaining discipline
in the classroom

Just do it
said the school administrator
May the power be with you, great teacher

The new executive
obstructed only by his own shortcomings,
discovered Executive Orders

Just do it
he told himself
May the power be with me, I’m the very, very best!!

 —Photo by Caschwa

Long ago and far away
in the Age of Epiphanies
it was considered a good thing
to have original thoughts
and to use initiative

Boy, did that get old fast!
When I get an “original” idea
and then perform a routine
internet search on it I find
I am the proud owner of

one tiny share of penny stock
that is rapidly sinking in
value because nobody
in the entire world wants
to trade it anymore

Someone else probably
already has property rights
on my own birthmark, and
the autocorrect already knows
not even my typos are original

 Hidden Bluebird
—Photo by Caschwa


As I sit down
to write a poem
it occurred to me

why plant my butt
in a chair for this?
poetry, rather, is

more like a cat
standing up tall
approaching a tree

scoping, planning
to achieve a view
sitting does not offer

And why write?
True poetry is
flow and motion

which suggests
itself to some
deeper parts of

our confused
and complicated
brain cells

It is not a report
or an essay
that some sitting

schoolchild labors
to compose while
locked into a chair

forced to obey
the daily recitations
of a taskmaster

Move around
and let the poetry
flow within you!


Today’s LittleNip:

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.



Many thanks to today’s fine potpourri of photos and photographers! About his poems, Tom Goff writes, “One of these poems touches a sensitive spot for me, the one to Debora Larry Kearney, the first lead instructor I worked with in my FLC position. She had suffered from a long illness in a string of illnesses and misfortunes, but she was a wonderful professor, and a most reliable guide through the academic thicket of what should be taught to whom and by whom, and in what productive ways. She was a musician (who also played Native American flute, I seem to recall) and was definitely attuned to poetry.”

And about his photos, Carl Schwartz (Caschwa) writes: “I saw a very pretty, bright blue bird fly by and land in a tree. I later Googled this subject and found it may have been a mountain bluebird." I reminded him that Placerville poets Hatch and Taylor Graham have been very active over the years in aiding the restoration of the endangered bluebirds, placing nest boxes around the foothills and regularly cleaning and checking them.

SnakePal Michael Ceraolo writes that his new book,
500 Cleveland Haiku, is now available: see Several of these poems have appeared in the Medusa’s Kitchen. Here is the back cover, so you can see what Michael looks like: 

Poetry in our area is doing fine justice to National Poetry Month, with plenty of readings and workshops, starting this week at Sac. Poetry Center, 7:30pm, with Bill Gainer, Andrew J. Thomas and open mic. Then tomorrow, Sage Robbins and Carmichael Public Library will host an open mic at 5605 Marconi Av. in Carmichael, 6-7:30pm. Tuesday will also be an improvisational community sing, Poetry Meets Circle Sing, at SPC, 25th & R Sts., Sac., hosted by Griffin Toffler. And the Poetry Off-the-Shelves poetry read-around will meet tomorrow (Wednesday) at El Dorado County Library in Placerville, 5-7pm.

It will be an action-packed weekend around here, starting on Friday at 5:30pm in Georgetown, with another of the Laureate Trail readings, this one featuring Taylor Graham, Kevin Trammel, Michael Paul, Poetry Out Loud finalists and open mic. Georgetown Library Branch, 6680 Orleans St., Georgetown. Free. Or, at 6pm, check out the second in the series of four free workshops at SPC, the NaPoWriMo Generative Workshop hosted by Bethanie Humphreys. This week, April 10-15, is the CSUS Festival of the Arts, and on Saturday (4/14) at 3pm, there will be a poetry reading by CSUS alumnae Heather Judy, Lisa Dominguez Abraham, Rebecca Woolston in the CSUS Library Gallery. Also Saturday, 5pm, Second Sat. at the Brazilian Center features Art by Alicia Heffington plus poetry open mic. 2420 N St., Sacramento, and from 6-6:30pm, CK Gallery presents ekphrastic poems by Indigo Moor, Jennifer O’Neill Pickering, ChaRon E. Smith and others in response to “Welcome to the Flower Shop” artwork by Tyson Anthony Roberts. 2500 J St., Sacramento.

Choices on Sunday:  Poetry in Placerville presents D.R. Wagner, Dave Boles plus open mic at Love Birds Coffee and Tea Co., Placerville, 1-3pm. And at 2pm,  Davis Arts Center Poetry Series has its first reading in this new 2nd-Sunday-of-the-month series hosted by James Lee Jobe. This month will feature Andy Jones and Connie Post. Davis Arts is at the corner of F St. and Covell in Davis.

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.


 Celebrate poetry! 
For tips about writing poetry concerning civil rights issues: 

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