Friday, May 09, 2014

Do We Dance?

Featured Reader Phillip Larrea at Sac. Poetry Center
Last Monday, May 5
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

(A Bus Poem)
—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

on the bus, 100-degree day
I sweat in tight clothes
unlike my comfortable
stay-at-home muu-muus, t-shirts

dressed up for the public, the bus
hands in my lap
remember Nana in white gloves
shopping for school clothes

Nana’s four small rooms, Lindell Boulevard
retirement, finances secure
TV, paperbacks, phone, occasional visitor, daily nap

what was her life in four small rooms
pocket bathroom, checkerboard tiles, narrow kitchen
big enough to bake a chocolate cake when I visited
could she call a friend when the walls closed in

now I take myself shopping
my dress-up clothes bind
as did Nana’s white gloves, starched dress

shopping trips left her shaking, reaching for a nitroglycerine pill
returning by cab with my new
Kelly green skort, matching patterned blouse
camel’s hair winter coat

she rolled down her stockings around each ankle
slipped on a housecoat
lit a Pall Mall, expelled a long sigh

hag’s secret garden in fierce bloom
crimson American Beauties
succulent sweet corn
sweet strawberries


dance in spring sunshine
—Ann Wehrman

feet caress earth
stride over concrete, leap over
city puddles
desert boots cushion concrete
pace, bend, stretch
arms swing past cream buds
in tight green spring jackets
breeze bathes
legs strain, hips relax
motion craved
hours of sitting
dance over earth, through air
sun warms arms
sweat beads face
breathe greedy gulps
sun kisses air


—Ann Wehrman

black slush, snow pushed to the curb
car door ice metal, bit my hand
garter belt, stockings, slip, and dress
midnight mass ended, go in peace

cold sucked the air from my lungs
folded into the family Ford
suffocation of another kind
air blue with Mom, Dad’s smoke

stale, cold, and toxic
even when the heater melted
star frost from the windshield
Ford crunched down our gravel path

we straggled inside
Mom like Morticia Addams
ever-present Lucky Strike emphasizing every point
Dad chose early bed, martini over ice

I set up the gift-wrapping table
once the kids went upstairs—
someone had to be Santa


—Caschwa, Sacramento

Well, sort of, at 30,000 feet
With head facing forward
Mostly wing and sky

But over the shoulder
About even with the back rest
The little window

That followed me from
Houston to Sacramento
Had some stories to tell:

First symmetrical allocations
Of developed land areas gifted
Generously with perfect dark circles

And spectacular watery mirrors
Of the undersides of
Moving cloud formations

Some exactly like cake icing
There were broccoli heads
Marbled table tops

Textures one sees gazing
At the multiple flavors at an
Ice cream counter

Pancake makeup
Ancient animals stuck
In tar pits

The speckles of discarded
Snake skins looping around
Wind-smoothed boulders

“The seat belt light is on”
We are preparing for

 Eva West reading at the open mic at SPC last Monday
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

A closet on the edge of a house withholds secrets;
jealousy grows crumpled carpets of mildew.

Loveless days and loveless nights are tied
with frayed green ribbons of resentment.

My gift tucked away in a closet is no gift
at all;  too late to save a sparrow.

Hangers, still and breathless, tipping neither
right nor left are sentries of the vault.

Let me hang on every word as if listening:
a coat fitting too loose until it rains on us.

The repository of my love has no walls, only
a door wide-open for your heart to fly in.

A little trail of bird seed leads into a doll house.
I meander home to the house of my childhood.


—Carol Louise Moon

    ...ravenous swearing and pleading
    of the gulls, donkey bray and hawker cry…
Holiday Memory by Dylan Thomas

Ravenous swearing and pleading of gulls
stir the air, brushing back eternity for yet
another hour.  Clouds: non-bothered
witnesses to a day made for quiet
contemplation.  The in and out,
the breath of life—alive and lively,
words repeated without end.  Amen,

the gulls reply:  donkey bray and hawker
cry over wind-foamed waves.  Pier posts
are asylum, accommodation for seagulls.
White-splash markings of visitation:
pages of a holiday memoir.


—Carol Louise Moon
Like a feather my soul descends
on a bed of coma…

as if a fish bowl of sayings and
prescription were not enough.

The tiger’s eye has no dark pupil
and, being stone, seems ghostly…

A dog whose nails tear at my flesh
intends to love me better tomorrow.

A multitude of centipedes and dragon-
flies are vying for turf and air space.

I beg favor with the silent one.
He wins… the Silent One.

The lady who dances unafraid, naked,
—as all are naked—she knows this.

I stand back wondering where these
scattered bones lead,

an ashen moon guiding all of us
in the same direction as the wind.


—Carol Louise Moon

These small and separate thoughts
fall onto me as dust motes
finding each their place on
yellowed childhood photos.

Thoughts that whisper haunting
words like barns and creeks and boats
in bathtub games.  Tadpoles
enter in this gate through locks

in childhood flows of thought,
till what becomes the most
to me in darkish places on
cool bare shores are dreams so

photo-like.  I find I’m hunting for
those skates, those childhood boots
I kept beside the fishing poles—
in little closets stuffed and locked.


Today's LittleNip:

—Carol Louise Moon

You know they dance, the dogs.
I’ve seen them, the way they step… lightly.
Grace of a tennis player, quick, then stopping
for the turn, head proud… the glance.
Curve of spine.  Their eyes gleam—
and not just in moonlight—but that knowing,
that knowing… about the dance.
It’s theirs.  They wonder, too, if we dance.
Or are we just self-absorbed and confused…
confused in which way to go to side-step
a dog, because we don’t want to dance
with a dog… not even in moonlight
if we are asked.




 Caroline Swanson reading at SPC open mic last Monday night
—Photo by Michelle Kunert
[Caroline is one of the contributors to the new issue
of Rattlesnake Press's WTF?!? (#22) which will be released at
Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe next Thurs., May 15, 8pm.]