Monday, December 26, 2011

Mushrooms and Champagne

Photo by Ann Privateer

—Ann Privateer, Davis

strange things appear
on trees. Heaven
lavishly pours
nothing is dry
the slough
rousts everything
awake bringing
buckets of DNA

growing mushrooms
on tree trunks. Turn
down the covers
and hide, you might
wake up sporting


—Ann Privateer

In burning sun
with my two yearning
sisters, we’d love
to unplug, seek fame
beyond this rusty
incendiary holding place
rain down the drain
let’s bust out
live by chance
depend on trees.

We survive
Together lacing
visions of a private
space only to become
unlaced. Alone or
together, we find
our own egg place
in our local domicile.


—Arthur Winfield Knight, Yerington, NV

I remember getting up
to teach a class
at the university
where I worked,
to write a poem,
to work on a novel.
It was always something.
Rushing, rushing.
My blood pressure high,
nerves shot. Now,
retired in rural Nevada,
I read the paper
when I awaken,
have a glass of
cranberry grape juice,
then watch the news,
while I drink a glass of wine,
gliding into the day.


—Arthur Winfield Knight

We have hash browns
from McDonald’s
and champagne from Spain
for breakfast.
We’re drinking
our champagne
out of lead crystal glasses,
so they have a nice ring
when we toast each other.
Kit and I are celebrating
out 35th anniversary today.
I’m her second husband
and she’s my fourth wife,
so people were
betting against us,
but we fooled them all.
We were living in the East
at the time, but moved
to California,
where I’d grown up,
twenty years later.
Finally, we settled in Nevada
with our old dog,
a retired, racing greyhound.
We’re getting old, too,
but we like to tell people
we’re falling apart
with as much style as possible.
We forge on.


—Caschwa, Sacramento

Scene One:
Touch Here to Open Door
One passenger follows instructions, and nothing happens

Scene Two:
Push Like Hell on the Damn Door
Another passenger lowers shoulder and shoves, still nothing happens

Scene Three:
We dare you to open this door!
All the passengers line up with a battering ram, the glass breaks but the door won’t budge.

Scene Four:
Ask the driver for help
The driver pushes a button and the door opens easily

Scene Five:
Thank you for riding with the transit company
The passengers start shopping for cars



(Yale scientists have recently reported
finding evidence of other solar systems
with planets that could support life)

The loving parents gave their children
A little ant farm, of all things
With just one instruction:
Go ye forth and multiply

So they went out to playground Earth
And watched for eternities
Occasionally interceding
While the ant farm grew and grew

They saw the little farm
Explode into great hills
Colonies becoming civilizations
Working together, warring, what next?

Now those children have totally outgrown
Their interest in the little ant farm on
Playground Earth, and have moved on
To some freakin' awesome adult toys …



Notwithstanding the separation of
Church and State
These recessionary times call for
Bringing back the tithe.

Let’s start now with the 2012
Presidential race and take
One tenth of the contributions
From the several individual campaigns

Pool it into a single fund that
All the different candidates, to really
Prove their worth for public office,
Can together decide how to use

For the benefit of the United States
Because as modern politics teaches us:
Money talks ever so much
More loudly than words



Government is spending way too much
So we look for things just right to cut
But not this, but not that, etcetera
Leave our pork intact from hoof to butt

How ‘bout if we consolidate
Merge two programs into one
License marriages at DMV
Classes A, B, C, so fun!

Veteran and veterinary medicine
Already share so many letters
Let’s put them under one roof now
Form a cooperative of debtors

When it comes to courses hard to finish
Golf and law first come to mind
A pro must also pass the bar
Losing players are jailed and fined

We could just shrink the government
Back to one king on a throne
Let royalty collect what the people earn
Working their fingers to the bone

But didn’t we have a revolution
So we wouldn’t have to live that way,
Or is that just a fiction of history
‘Cause it’s all about stock market play?



Out in the Pacific a Navy warship
Beached on an island
And could not move

A little boy from the village
Put a message in a bottle
Telling of this spectacular occurrence

He cast it into the ocean
Carefully between waves
And watched it sail away

Meanwhile the captain
Ordered his crew to dispatch
An urgent call for help

They considered urgent colors:
Would this be a red, an orange,
Or just a yellow?

Then they pondered all
The ramifications of the wrong
People getting this call for help

We don’t want everyone to know
How vulnerable we are
Better use some kind of code

And better not let the admiral know—
He was captain of this vessel before—
Never had any such problems

A few days later the bottle was found
By the admiral’s grandson
Hey Grampa, looka’ this!

Must be a practical joke
Why don’t you just write a reply
And put it back in the ocean?


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

You've walked as far as you can walk,
to the edge of land.
People claim that, long ago,
Peace was settled here.
But all you find is a barren shore.

A glimpse. Haze on the horizon.
An island. War has burned the bridges
and the stairs. Did Peace
sail there? You have no boat, no oar,
not a piece of knotted

twine. On the reft shore, nothing
but what the sea brings.
Broken shells. You hold an empty
spiral in your hand.
Some creature lived inside and then

moved on. Which tide took Peace
away? Mankind has dynamite
in his blood. The mind
is a spiral, an ark, as wind can be
a prayer. Your breath inflates the sail.


Today's LittleNip: 

Some like poetry
some like it
                     on the fly
others want it to make
them cry
           a few to be a lie
like all four
              don't ask me
I could try
       but I really

—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA



Photo by Ann Privateer