Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tickle, Tackle and Tango

—Photo by Michelle Kunert

Me using a nutcracker on the last of the Fall season's walnuts:
Sunny suddenly goes crazy over flying-off bits of shell
He knocks and scatters the pieces around the patio floor
even though I was trying not to make a mess
The fifteen-year-old orange tabby rarely plays anymore
not even to wrestle with his now mostly blind brother Morris
But certain things do make him become like a kitten again
especially when he's got something he is not supposed to play with
which he then "hides" to claim it as his prize toy
and you've got to poke it out from under furniture with a yard stick

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

There was an old woman she was dancing
and dancing in a big ballroom with a boy
named Billy she’d dated in high school or
was it the old man Chuck who had recently
befriended her [both men were rather
slightly built] they were dancing and
dancing she said to him, ‘we’ve never
danced together before’ and then a young
girl came up to her and said ‘your black
slacks are pulled down in back we can see
your white underpants’ so the old woman
left her partner and left the ballroom and ran
upstairs to her room and saw the elastic had
broken on her slacks and she put on another
pair of black slacks and then, going back
down the stairs, saw she was wearing bright
red satin long-legged underpants and when
she got downstairs to the outdoors her
partner was nowhere in sight and she had to
go down another flight of steps on a cliff
side and when she got to the bottom, she
turned and looked and saw a gorilla was
coming down the stairs after her, following
her she was frightened and started running
along the path by the cliff but pretty soon
she heard the gorilla singing Night and day, 
you are the one, only you and you alone 
under the sun whether near to me or far it’s 
no matter, darling, where you are, I think of 
you, night and day….he had a beautiful
voice; the song made her sad and she turned
around and he was holding the gorilla head
in his arm; she smiled and he smiled—he
was a nice-looking older man—and she
thanked him.

(previously pub. in Punk Me)


—Caschwa, Sacramento

Right now my nose tingles
Fight off that sneeze
Might face a challenge
Quite hard to appease

Bringing me medicine won’t
Sing me to sleep
Ringing up charges that
Sting me so deep.



Broil the chicken breasts
Foil wrap those taters
Loyal customers, according to
Hoyle, don’t have to be waiters

Grill me something spicy
Chill something quite hot
Fill the cornucopia
Till it’s too big for the pot.


—Patricia Hickerson

I’ll dance till I die, said the little girl
as she tied the grosgrain ribbons
of her shiny patent leather tap shoes

I’m percussive, she said
I pound the floor a rhythmic beat
I tap the floor a special code
easy to remember a routine of steps
just don’t interrupt me during my 3 minutes
or I’ll lose the message

she danced and danced all over the stage
a time step
a soft shoe slur
a shuffle off to Buffalo
and she disappeared behind the curtains
to wild applause

after she made a curtain call
and was handed some flowers
they asked her what it all meant

it means whatever you want
like any music that comes from an instrument
it should make you happy
it’s always made me happy


—Patricia Hickerson

tickle, tackle and tango
tingle with tango
lift the heel
wrap the leg
drop back down
bend and sway
drumbeat angle
finagle your way
she lifts she stops
she drops and bends
she sways to music
and makes her way
he nods against her sleek black hair
he’s drawn to women who love to pair
they rhyme and tickle
they tackle their steps
these tango women
with steep black heels, long black hair


—Patricia Hickerson

While I was dreaming about the dance I once did
with my teacher an older man in his 50s,
his name was Michael Bell
Mother thought he was Italian like the opera
real name Bello?
(people bothered about those things then)
the dance we did together
was to the music of Il Travatore by Verdi

I was 9, wearing a simple white dress
white socks and black patent leather tap shoes
we danced on stage before an audience of 300

the tempo changed frequently
the Anvil Chorus was part of the medley we danced to—
my father loved the Anvil Chorus

sometimes Mr. Bell lost his way
I had to show him
even onstage as we were performing
he would smile a little at his forgetfulness
and look to me for guidance
he had to hold so many different
dance routines in his head
how could he remember them all?
he had so many pupils to teach
I was the one he had chosen
to dance this intricate routine with

the dance was an exercise of intellect
I understood that
even then, even though
I didn’t know Il Trovatore meant the troubadour
I became a teller of stories, not a dancer


Today's LittleNip(s):

—Patricia Hickerson

we danced a little
we danced a lot
we danced all night
on a drunken yacht

we danced at sea
till up came dawn
we danced to bed
without a yawn



Today is all about nutcrackers and dance—appropriate for the season—plus Carl Schwartz's odes to seasonal colds and Home Cookin', our Seed of the Week. And be sure to head down to Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe tonight, 8pm, to hear Pat Hickerson and Allegra Silberstein. That's AFTER you stop in at the Main Library at noon today to read poems about this season of lights. Details on the blue b-board at the right of this.

By the way, a certain bookseller has returned to Sacramento from Scotland—finally!—so stop in at The Book Collector to say hello and Happy Holidays to Richard Hansen, and to do some holiday shopping. Welcome back, Richard!

One of this year's Claras from
Sacramento Ballet's Nutcracker Suite
—Photo by Michelle Kunert