Monday, December 29, 2014

Wachet Auf!

Distant Domains
—Artwork by Patricia Wentzel, Sacramento

—Allegra Silberstein, Davis

Weathered driftwood
tossed up on Bolinas Beach
lines of the tree it once was
an eye where a branch
once reached out...
but this is only
outward description...

driftwood chance
ocean weathered
enters the soul...
the inward...
and you have found me. 

I am here.


—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, Ca

I order
at the P.O.

clerk hands me
or credit?
she asks.


—Claire J. Baker

I don't
officially pray
don't thud down
on my knees
beside a bed
or altar.

But, hey
I whisper
helpful words
or monologues
into the air
most anywhere.

Celtic Cross
—Art by Patricia Wentzel 

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

The one whose
smile I feel across
foggy miles
like sunrise.
The one who makes me grin clear
out of hospital.

When my voice
gets tight, the one who
opens her bag
and there’s a
spotted filly taking her
first step. The one who

brings me a
dried-up tuber to
care for, to
see how it
disappears into the earth
then magically blooms—

who brings me
this lesson to learn.
The one who
wakes before
dawn to weave us all like yarn
together, snakeskin,

oak leaf, swan’s
eye and Celtic harp,
and fairy
cadence; one click of the mouse
and here’s a coat of

so many
poems! So many
names, they would
run right off 
the page. But friends will find them-
selves in the music.   


—Taylor Graham

On the kitchen counter, a carafe of marsala—
too deep to drink, but dip a paintbrush
and swash it across an old brick wall, see
how it recalls the color of soil and autumn vines
that might twine verses against a window;
play of sun across fields at treeline. Follow.
Into the woods, a trail beaten into clay. Three
brushstrokes, look, a fox peers ruddy-dark
of shadow. Here’s animal-scat dotted red
with seeds of berry, at the base of a skeleton-
tree—gray storm-struck cedar pocked
with acorn holes and crevices where a density
of insect life goes on. Cricket-strings
and frog percussion. Higher up the trunk,
a cavity glows with eyes. What creature? One
dead tree becomes baroque intensity of life.
Move on. Splurge with your red brush,
the color-wash forms itself to river pounding
over falls, dropping into pools marsala-red
with sunrise. Clarity of air and water
with a brushtip incarnadine.


—Taylor Graham

You’ve been looking at the wallpaper too long. A kind of striped floral pattern deep and intricate as Victoriana, like the chandelier that used to hang overhead. Once, you had gumption to get rid of all those crystal tears, and paint over the florid paper—document of somebody else’s life. But now it’s showing through again. You imagine flowers twining themselves together on their striped bars, pushing roots deep into wallboard. You stare at it like discarded newspaper that blew against the bedroom wall. As if it bore a message: Lie down, just go to sleep. At night the pattern thickens into dream. This wall-paper could go on forever. Open the curtains. Wake up, out the door.

—Art by Patricia Wentzel

—James Lee Jobe, Davis

I want to turn and see you there in the field,
Among the even rows of corn and tomatoes.
I want for you to become like a vegetable,
Rooted in our rich soil, and growing stronger
From the sun and the earth and the showers.
In the roots I will know the gentleness of your hair,
And in the stalks I will feel your firm, ripe body.
When the harvest comes I will release you
With my easy touch and with my lightest kiss.
I will then take into my home, into the kitchen
To be prepared for the feast. And dear one,
You will know that you have lived when I eat you.


—James Lee Jobe

The sound of bullets in the air, the knowledge
That more bodies are but a second from falling.
Bits of lead that cut through the air like rockets.
Death meets life as life meets death. 
The sunlight needs the darkness as much
As the darkness needs the new sun.
Blood sprayed on the trees and the ground.
Bodies. Parts of bodies. The screams and cries
Of those whose lives are now shattered, mixed
With the screams of those who are dying.
The trees dance in the dawn breeze.
That which is green still grows, beautiful,
Complete and perfect, untouched by death.
A terrified dog hides behind a parked car,
Then the car explodes and both are gone.
Somewhere nearby a child is crying.
What have I done? What am I a part of?
I will stand up once more and feel
The morning air on my face.
The end of this life might be moments away
And there is only one thing I can say,
"Forgive me." And only one thing I can do,
To spend my last seconds simply walking away
From this.


—James Lee Jobe

When the sun comes up again, I won't be with you.
Don't look for me in the world, look for me
Where the world is not. In your thoughts, in your breath.
Look for me in your dreams, in those paintings
Made of memory. It doesn't matter, you know. This
Isn't even close to being all that there is.

When the sun comes up again, I won't be with you.
The door is open, and I intend to walk through.
The window was left up, and I am ready now
To fly away. The ocean is calm, warm, and the time
Is ripe to wade out, then swim into the deep water.
Far past the buoys, out where the water is dark.

When the sun comes up again, I won't be with you.
I have cleaned the tools, and put them all away,
Each one in its proper place. I brought in the linen
From the line. I fed the pets and gave them my love.
And I give you my love, too. For in the end, at
The finish, what else is there to give or receive?


—James Lee Jobe

Please let me rest now. My soul
Is a tired and worn-out muscle,
Overused, and somewhat broken with time.

I need to close these eyes
For a very long time, eons, and then wake
In another life, in another world.

I have exhausted my voice, for I spoke
Far too much. I have ruined my heart
Because I beat it like a drum.

No, don't be sad for me. No need.
I never wanted to live here
Forever. A beginning and an end.

And no, don't be sad when I am gone.
Life is a wheel, rolling in and
Rolling back out again. And again.

And again.

Today's LittleNip:

wachet auf
—Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch

Just here 
Between aborning day 
And decrepit night 

There is 
Music in the sky 
In the teeming light 

That would 
Suage deluge of dreams 
Set all things aright



Pyramid of the Sun
—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock