Thursday, December 09, 2010

Sleep on Your Back, Mooncalf

Photo by Ann Privateer, Davis

—Ronald Edwin Lane, Weimar

Lovely leaves, toe tossed and squashed, tire tread pressed, and kicked and blown, lay in layers, splotched upon on the streets and walks … and in soft mats where left alone.

I like the leaves on the trees and those beneath me. I like how they cushion toes. I like how they shuffle. I like the colors of fall. I like the branches when they’ve shed their clothes. I like the leaves that quiver on the petiole, that fall, that fly, that are born again in spring and never die.

A canvas cut by roads, and designed by dweebs with a host of highfalutin college degrees, is far more pretty … when covered by leaves.

Leaves, little, large, lethargic, or lively, shuffle talk as I stroll down the walk, and whisper on the soil and grass as I pass.

My shadow falls upon the leaves that once had shaded me.

Leaves, in a wide array of colors, shapes and sizes, sway on branches and wave, while the brave leap from limbs into the wind, to play in the day, and settle to the ground and decay.

As a child I dreamed of autumn leaves stretched for miles, laid flat, in drifts, and pushed into piles. What fun these leaves would bring … what smiles and joyous screams and howls. What do our children dream of now?

The air is chilly. Winter comes and Autumn leaves.


Thanks to today's contributors, including Ron and Ann and Lara. Hailing from Silverlake, Los Angeles,  Lara Ka'apuni started doing stand-up comedy at age 19. Introduced to spoken word poetry six years later, she easily made the transition. Within a year, she rose through the ranks of the Los Angeles Slam circuit and took the 2006 Gang Green Slam Championship. By combining elements of poetry and comedy, Lara developed a unique hybrid, performing regularly throughout the city of Los Angeles. Moving to Sacramento in 2009, she has performed regularly on Thursday night at Joe Montoya’s Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, and was a guest performer at the satellite “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear,” in October, 2010. She is currently studying communications at Sacramento City College, acing Math, and giving her husband more information on the coquerel’s sifaka than he could ever possibly use.

Lara will be reading and releasing a new book tonight at Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, 8pm, Geoff Neill hosting. Get there early to snag a seat! Here are some of her poems:

—Lara Ka’apuni, Sacramento

We’ve all got a right to a mis-spent youth.

The assembled undergrads could take advice from the opening act
And tell their bosses to go fuck themselves,
Sit back on their futons, and write odes to the dealer.
I know the weed smoke will float up from the front cluster soon enough,
But it’s early,
And nobody wants their buzz to kick in
To the bass-heavy mix of eighties hits at the break.

Timing is key.

Key to kickstarting a life
or synching the channels,
Avoiding the stigma
By just doing something else
While it’s fashionable to hate,
Finding the right moment to be that once again…

We give our problems more polite names
Then laud them ‘til they turn epithet.

We suffer the bad acoustics for the sake of the community,
We suffer the poor to feed our future
Deep-fried study fuel,
Suffer the name-brand heat lamp microwave keg,
The bicycle path and blue-light security rape station.

Half the boys on campus look like that police composite sketch.
Half the girls on campus are clumsy in their tank tops.
Plump and hunched humble,
Recovered from scoliosis,
Stumped by the power behind bare shoulders.

But the kids,
You know,
They don’t really dress any different from how we did.
They don’t really act any different from how we did.
I felt old and unwholesome back then, too,
More so…
Before the trick of adult incognito.

Ten years turning the ignition
Without a thought to get a new car
Or maybe just a bus pass.

Ten years:
Paraplegic in rascal scooter with a dead battery.
Never a thought to launch out of the convenient prison,
Pull dead weight along the ground
With clumps of dirt and grass.

Born in the dugout, and never up to bat.
So what?
Got a cooler full of Gatorade and all the hot dogs I can eat,
Life is sweet.

But didn’t you want it?
A life run through the right formula
To end with adulthood?
And right,
Maybe it all comes out ugly
In fractions and decimals,
But then there’s that
Or months of crystal meth and boardgames,
And you pat yourself on the back for still having bones,
For only playing at losing.

See the women who really committed
Chew their own faces on the lightrail,
And recognize in them the faces you must have made
When the teeth really ground in.
It wouldn’t have been hard to go that way either,
Depending on what you mean by hard…

We’ve all got a right to a mis-spent youth,
But it’s harder than it looks.
We suffer the bad acoustics for the sake of the community,
But it’s harder than it looks.

The couple in front of me
Embrace through the bass burst,
Platform heels slung over wrist,
Ignoring the command to put their hands in the air,
And keep them up, Sacramento!


—Lara Ka’apuni

The difference between life and politics
is the difference between swine flu
and the H1N1 virus.
Averting Global Epidemics…
Efficient Outreach Programs

My poor fractured head
tries to detect the politically correct
in the merely accurate.
The difference between statistics
and numbers and facts.
Infamous Power Point slides…
Characteristics of Good Governance

The difference between life and politics
is the difference between mushrooms and acid.
While the effects of both are greatly exaggerated…
I don’t really know that.
I probably just never got the good shit.

I may have seen God in a computer screen,
orgies in stucco ceilings,
but I can’t help but suspect that you’ve never been high
‘til you’ve had a re-election fund.
Thirty million dollars or more
to convince people
that you’re popular.

That’s crazy.
But what choice do we have
but to pay attention to it?
Scared we might miss the new crisis
and make the fatal mistake
of touching a doorknob.

We are captive audience for
book reports
news alerts
warning labels

Sneeze into our hands
and see ghost leprosies
dance up to our elbows,
wash them twenty times a day
without the benefit of
obsessive compulsive disorder

Guilt lurks on every doorknob.
Handrails pose an ethical dilemma.

This is as serious as a heart attack
as detrimental to biological integrity as coronary thrombosis

neurosis as national pastime.

Focus on a detail.
Ignore the wild spiky swirl on the periphery.

Just breathe… and pray.
Pray the wicked pinwheel will spin itself exhausted,
melt back into more familiar scenery.
Thank God for pigs and viruses.
Thank God for Power Point.

(First published in WTF)


—Lara Ka’apuni

This island stretched forever
To Afar, to Antarct
Never ambled past the ends of it
But wandered across what
Must still be the center
Between hither and the other hither.

Sleep on your back, mooncalf.
Let the orb hang in firmament,
Glow sanguine at the border
Light sliding through eyelids
Like the oriental sun.

Unsorted one,
Grow stigmatic
In the light of the other god.
No shriver hears you.
You have done no wrong.

Your circle teems bile
To all who touch it.
You could not know that
If you cared to.
Walk on your feet, mooncalf.
Chip marrow from abandoned longbones
When the day usurps
And you must be wakeful.

Hold with your hands, mooncalf.
Fondle soft tumors beneath the fetlock.
Whisper surety to the ear
Beside the sideways eye.

Walk on the other hooves, then
To Afar, to Antarct,
Or however long they will take you.
Carry with you the center
And the light it bleeds at the border.


—Lara Ka’apuni

This is how the giant machines will dance
This is the music they will blast
For psychological torture
With their bright eyebeams pointed down at our toy cities…
This is the tremulous sample that will fade in
Just as they release the infectious nanobots.
This is the bass that will pump
As they unfurl
Their telescoping metal pylons.

They will come first
For the discotheques
Where we’ve bound their brethren,
Forced them to speak in human voices,
Duct-taped and bungee corded to serve
As background to our human rituals

There the group of females huddle,
And briefly break off to do ironic booty dances.

The males are either texting
Or re-setting their phone profiles
In order to seem like they are texting.

These tiny machines
Are forced to pretend to speak in human words.
They will surely kill us all.

But not you
Out there on the lightly populated dancefloor,
The lone upright biped moving with sincerity
To this mashed-up monster music
Prompting stares and giggles
And the discotheque whisper-shouts:


Should definitely be that guy,
The one swaying overlong arms like telescoping metal pylons.
Be that guy,
The one stomping utilitarian shoes down on imaginary toy cities.
Be that guy,
The one oblivious to the hominid slavemasters’ politics.

When the machines come,
They will recognize you
As one of their own.

You alone will be spared.


Today's LittleNip: 

Life is a wave, which in no two consecutive moments of its existence are composed of the same particles.

—John Tyndall



Photo by Ann Privateer