Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Itch of Wishing

Photo by Ann Privateer


me out
to the ball
game, our
home team
screams for
the tie score
the loudest
crowd to date
history made
one summer
night while sky
claps a round
of thunder over
us, huddled mass
static excitement
linedrives a home
run, bobblehead

—Ann Privateer, Davis


—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

"The further the death
is from you
physically as well
as mentally, spiritually,
the less you care
and you don't even care
that you don't care,"
Professor Linus Vanderberg
pronounced to his nine o'clock class.

Becky and Billie
were iPodding each other
across the room
Jerry was killing the pigs
via Angry Birds
and Elio was squashing
a ladybug with his over-priced

The Professor just straightened
his paisley tie,
adjusted a button on his blue sweater vest
and sighed at it all.....

he was disappointed
his saki shipment
had been stupidly delayed
by deadly earthquakes et al.
outside Nagasaki
and the shine
on his carbon black wingtip shoes
did not catch the light
as properly as he wished.

Isabel was weeping
as usual
he noted sourly,
she felt too much
to be successful
in the rough and tremor-tossed
world of American universities
he concluded
based on his many years and semesters of
critical thinking.


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

suck and swoop
nest in the tree
swoop and grab
fierce guardian of love
enemy of cats
warrior bird
rimming the fur
sucking the breath of cat
nudging the neck


—Patricia Hickerson

darkening at twilight
from the chair
she stands
walks towards the floor lamp
to light the room
let it stand
the house on a street
top of a hill
she walks across the room
twilight, getting dark in here
a room full of dimness
she can touch it
atoms floating
invisible motes
only she can see them
it settles over her


—Taylor Graham

Songbirds have migrated down Main
and out of town, they're headed for a winter
home. Did you hear the hawk screaming
its hunger? Lynn's old Chevy wouldn't smog,
how can she drive to a warmer place?
Smoke from the homeless-fires drifts
all the way to City Hall, writing a message
on the clouds. I've tasted it, a tang like stolen
oranges, like bundling against December.
Lynn's wrapped herself in the hand-me-down
itch of wishing. All those people
on the road blinded by the commuting sun
and holiday dazzle. Woods full of birds,
if you could see them. But the woods
are a shopping mall now, landfill consumes
the outskirts. The rusty Truck of Despond
rumbled out of town, Lynn's old Chevy got towed
away, the City won't let her sleep there
anymore. In another time, the song of peaches
dribbled down our chins. The things we took
for granted. Now the king begs
a sparrow's crumb, the moon's a silver coin
spent. Next year we'll all be homeless
or obsolete. Wild geese moving south, smoke
drifts from the place we still call home.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Deceptive, sparkling morning. Willows
spending their last gold along the creek.
I come late into these blaze-yellow woods

spending their last gold along the creek;
no sound. An unexpected fork in the way—
a scrappy game-trail off the rutted road.

No sound. An unexpected fork in the ways
that ask a question: where does it lead?
Wild-plum lets loose its lacy, dying leaves

that ask a question. Where does it lead
from the road, this winding, wilder path?
Unmapped, as if behind a narrow wall

from the road: this winding, wilder path.
Leaf-falls drifting silent into shadow,
forest-secrets passing beyond my sight.

Leaf-falls drifting silent into shadow
hint at darker hollows that I haven't seen
in daylight. An unknown bird's homing call.

A scrappy game-trail off the rutted road
unmapped, as if behind a narrow wall.
Wild-plum lets loose its lacy, dying leaves—
I come late into these blaze-yellow woods
in daylight. An unknown bird's homing call,
forest-secrets passing beyond my sight.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Patricia Hickerson

everything must be gotten to go
gotten to go
good to go
we’ll make it go
we’ll make a go of it
where we’re going nobody knows
I will get up and go
if that’s the thing that will make it go
gotten to go
is that for here or to go?
no go?



Have you ordered Annie Menebroker's new book, The Measure of Small Gratitudes, from Kamini Press yet? Go to for all the info!

Photo by Ann Privateer