Monday, January 25, 2016

Public Art

—Anonymous Photo

            —Han Solo

Critics often said
Of Henry James:
“He chewed more
Than he bit off.”
Not a bad thing,
Really. No choking
On big bites.
First dinner hour
On a first night I was
The orderly, woman
Began choking.  Did
The Heimlich, got
Her pork cutlet
Back up, though
The patient
Was pissed. Head
Nurse explained,
“It’s just her way
Of meeting cute
You aren’t.”
Was said, back then,
If you choked on
A piece of meat
On a Friday, well,
That was all for you.
Dentist asked: “How
Do you chew, with
Teeth like that?”
“I try not to use
Them much.”
Amazing, the
Creative things
That can be done
With gristle. But
Who’d want to?
Dentist said:
“Unless, unless.
You’ll be eating
Soup and yogurt
For the rest
Of your life.”
Like that was
A bad thing.
Father of our country
Was said to have
Wooden dentures.
He did, but two
Other pairs as well:
Bone, for that light
Bright smile that
Won’t come off, and
One more—actual
Human teeth.
Somebody else’s.
Horace Fletcher,
Noted dietician of
The late 19th century
Claimed (after chewing
40 times),mouth
Closed, of course,
It was the way to
Health. Early
Slow foods?  Maybe.
I don’t want
To floss much
On this, but one
Of his adherents
Was Henry James,
Which may explain
A lot about
Literary history.

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA

 —Anonymous Photo

—Michael Ceraolo, Willoughby Hills, OH


It looks like graffiti but isn't,
it has official approval,
was painted on the north half
of a bridge over the creek
in 2013 by students
from the nearby high school;
it's titled Walks of Life I,
the title is nowhere on the work

At the high points on the ends of the bridge
are painted the following:
an adult kneeling next to a child,
a boy dragging a bag,
bending over to catch a bouncing ball,
someone whose back is turned

On the low parts
under the railing in the middle
are painted several ways
of moving other than walking,
only legs and lower body showing:
                                   roller skating
using a wheelchair (no one shown pushing it)
pushing a small tricycle
                                     riding a small tricycle
riding a scooter,
                         along with
some walking carrying bags,
someone using a walker,
someone walking a dog,
someone doing ballet,
someone in high heels lifting a bag off the ground by a strap,
someone playing soccer,
someone kneeling to tie shoes

There was to be a companion piece
painted by students in 2015
titled Walks of Wild Life,
the homeowner at 4692 Mayfield Road,
on whose property was the south half
of the bridge over the creek,
somehow allowed to refuse
the proposed public art,
the students painted the animals
on a series of boards,
             the search began
for a permanent home for the work


Ugly red brick barriers
designed to dampen noise from the freeway,
those going over the creek,
dirtier every day from the ambient air,
they have their ugliness partly relieved
by a series of concrete reliefs
set in some of the barriers,
said sculptures showing various scenes
(the city's name periodically appears also):
a train
             sailboats on the lake
a cluster of buildings indicating downtown
the former Terminal Tower,
the arch over the entrance
of the former nearby amusement park

As you go east into the suburbs
the scenes depicted change
along with the city names


Some might not consider them art,
but just a little west
of where the creek goes under the freeway
sits a series of sculptures:
five giant capital Is in concrete,
an unintentional work that,
it can be said to have a creator,
is the product of a collaboration
between a driver who didn't get the concept of clearance
and so rammed into the pedestrian bridge over the freeway
and the powers that be,
                                   who decided
that the damaged bridge was beyond repair
and ordered it to be taken down
and a new one built a little farther west,
leaving the columns standing

                                             They also left
the spiral ramps on each side standing,
did fence them off at the top in hopes
of preventing people from walking off.

 —Anonymous Photo

Today’s LitteNip:

Homer has taught all other poets the art of telling lies skillfully.


Poets lie.

—Dennis Schmitz


Our thanks to today’s fine contributors, including our photographer who is a local who wishes to remain anonymous. Note also that we have another photo album on Medusa’s Facebook page from Michelle Kunert, this one of last Monday’s The DREAM at Sac. Poetry Center. Check it out!

If you’re not up in Elko at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering this week, there are poetry events here in the Valley and foothills for you. Tonight is Poetry in Motion in Placerville in addition to Pat Lynch and Penny Kline at SPC; on Thurs., Time Tested Books will have a reading to celebrate “The Women of Tule Review”; and on Saturday, Straight Out Scribes’ new Senior Readers Speak reading series will host Heera Kulkarni plus their Senior (over 55) open mic. Find the details to these and other future readings in our blue box (under the green box) at the right of this column.

Another intriguing event is coming up this Saturday (1/30) in Auburn: The Winter Storytelling Festival, hosted by Placer County’s Foothill Storytelling Guild from 10:30am to 9pm on 808 Lincoln Way in Aubumn. It’s free, and will include storytellers’ workshops, an open mic, and a lying contest offering an actual trophy (or is that just a lie?). Info, schedule, etc.: I couldn’t resist the LittleNip quotes about poets lying, because of course we are very accomplished at that. But we’re also storytellers, so check it out.



Bob Stanley, Abe Sass Memorial
Clunie Community Center, Jan. 23
—Photo by Michelle Kunert