Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Imprecise Dialect

Graciela Ramirez reads (with JoAnn Anglin)
at the final Crossroads Reading Series
on Saturday, Dec. 15.
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

She gave me a flattened silver egg
in a box that said, hold it under water
and you'll make things fresh again.

The egg held in my hand like river-
rock, wise and smooth, reflecting
light; it skipped stars across water.

It's quite useless for removing stains,
freshening bad blood, or disinfecting
dreams. But the stars are beautiful.

—Taylor Graham

You came from a foreign land,
across great waters, berth of a language
I don't understand—a wordless
syntax of barks and chirps and chirrups,
cheer-ups in our imprecise

dialect usurped by TV talk of breakfast-
food and mass mayhem at a school.
No one understands you here;
they say you wear a mask from the realms
of deer, wolf, eagle. We have our

plays and spectacles to amuse us in our
horror. You sniff the emptiness
through the cloth. Your eyes break into
messages... How to find, not
how to lose. This is why I trust you.


—William S. Gainer, Grass Valley

There's never 




for the angels.

It seems

put together

this way—

never enough


to make it all 


never enough 


to make any of it 

the way

it could have been.

There's just 

never enough...

Tim Kahl sings an Italian opera aria
at the Italian-style Christmas party at 
Sacramento Poetry Center on
Monday, December 17 
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Roger Langton, Louisville, CO

The two gangs have been
enemies for years.
The neighborhood children
take the places of those
who die and there are plenty
of guns to go around.
Two gang members
initiate a drive-by shooting
seeking revenge for some
unknown act of little consequence.
The driver shouted,
"There's one of those bastards."
The bullets rage from the gun.
One strikes the side of a house,
another whistles toward
the shaded porch.
One missile strikes a dark
figure crouching in the bushes.
The shooters speed off
with sounds of screaming wheels.
Next day the headline proclaims
that a famous athlete has been arrested
for drinking and driving.
There is a small article
reporting that a drive-by shooting
killed a child and his grandfather.


—Roger Langton

The tribal eye peered
out and judged me hard.
I had rejected the
family and broken the
ancient law of reciprocity.
Later, jammed
by culture lag
my blood kept the past
and made guilt the
wheelbarrow of
calloused hands.
The eye kept staring.
I shot my
squirt gun at it
and emptied a bottle
of wash but the
stare melted my behavior
into conformity

(Red Cedar Press, 1992)


—Roger Langton

Picasso stands next
to the lake.
He bends and extends
with head stretched
to the sunset.
A club foot protrudes
from his armpit.
A yellow bird flies
through his mouth
while a bone slides
up and down
his orange back.
He grins at the water
with skeleton teeth
and splashes
with a foot-long toe nail.
In time
he will come together,
but the time is not yet.

(Red Cedar Press, 1992)


Our thanks to today's poets, and to Michelle Kunert for photos of two recent readings. For more of Michelle's pix of last Monday night's Italian party at SPC, see Medusa's newest Facebook page. Sacramento mourns the loss of the Crossroad Reading Series hosted by Trina Drotar and Sandy Thomas; it will be missed. Crossroads does have a Facebook page also; there you can see wonderful photos of some of the readings and those who attended.

A further loss to our community is Brigit Truex, founder of Red Fox Underground, who has moved from Placerville to Kentucky! Brigit, I hope you're reading this, and that you'll send us a wee poem every now and then.


Today's LittleNip:

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

   I dreamed instead of being on a Easter egg hunt
   While I was pulling plastic eggs out of the dirt
   I came across a little fir tree decorated with foiled eggs
   which turned out to be made with my favorite dark chocolate
   I quickly stuffed the candy in my pockets and my purse
   children came by and just asked for some
   but I demanded this tree was all mine



The gracious and graceful Graciela
—Photo by Michelle Kunert