Friday, January 08, 2016

This Minder of Meanders

Evening Crows
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento
See those crows out there
in the empty lot?
They’re all looking for
carrion, except… there.
Look at the old crow at
the base of the tree trunk.
With his beak he’s
flipping dried leaves.
He’s searching diligently
for baubles, coins, foil—
anything that sparkles,
teases the eye.

He’s about to retire and
has lost his appetite for
competition.  He’s left his
girlfriend behind.  He’s
got jazz running through
his veins.  Most days he
hums his life story of
so many made-up tunes.


—Carol Louise Moon

Crow-cocky, all business, these
Chimney-sweep-looking tough guys—
Cousins to crows out here in
California—come from the
Coldest altitude of Alps.
Could it be that the over-
Confidence is “cold shoulder”?

—Carol Louise Moon

broad-winged, long-tailed
light-green moth,
her dark outlined spots—
her cloak and camouflage.

Now listen for her voice—
silence lilting in her
chambers dim.

Look now, and see
the pale moon rise—
light shed on her leafy bed.


—Carol Louise Moon

Every night by candle light
the old woman cannot sleep.
From the past a random shadow
settles on her tired chest.

Settling on her tired chest,
her breathing rasped and shallow
lulls the woman’s cat to sleep
every night by candle light.

—Jennifer O’Neill Pickering, Sacramento

samaras jig the air
from the branches of maple trees
orange blaze

dance to Beira, guarantee the return of red robed robins
flicker’s drumbeat, ruby gorget humming birds

Bared limbs warm beneath blankets of cerulean skies
the wind without strings of leaves goes silent

Only the jay winters over with crow
sirens pronouncing the cat’s stealth,
a hawk’s folded dive of wings

We want to embrace the darkness
kindle the hearth, drink toddies
curl into a cozy mysteries—stay in the happy endings

We want to curl like the leaf fold into reflection
ignore the laws droning toward
unholy wars—caliphate, presidents and wanna-bes,
marking territory into states of hate

Is it time we dawn the dove’s winter coat
roost beside the crow and jay form a line on the wire
tweet tweet.

—Jeanine Stevens, Sacramento

                  for my Mother

Uncle Jon warms bricks for our feet.
The horse snorts white clouds in icy air.
We cross the river in frozen dark.
We pull blankets over our shoulders.

In the schoolroom, I fill a large pan
with water, place it on the iron woodstove
heat lunches in glass jars—
leftovers: soup, stew, bacon chunks and bread.

Older students work on their own,
today—geography.  Chile is a red slash
on the map (we are told "pronounce it She-lay")
a bright spot lighting up homespun and denim.

By afternoon, windows steam.
Younger children practice cursives:
up, down, down, down—thick pencils
scratch, boots tap and scrape the raspy floor.
Uncle Jon warms bricks for the ride home.
On our laps, quilt squares hold pale sun.
In the dusk, the river is gray and bleak  
and the horse must be fed before dark.


Today’s LittleNip:
—Carol Louise Moon

This midday moon,
face of milky white
looks to be mapping out
this green, green meander.
Friend of magnolia, mossy oak
and turtle in river’s muck.
Ancient cartographer,
this minder of meanders.


Our thanks to today’s contributors, and a reminder that Jeanine Stevens and Jennifer O’Neill Pickering will be reading tomorrow (Saturday) at Poets' Gallery at SPC’s Second Sat. Sable and Quill spoken word/art exhibit featuring Dean Goldman, Jennifer O’Neill Pickering, Tim Mchargue, Wendy Williams, Dave Boles, Matt Mora, Gabe Merriman, Rhony Bhopla, Jerry Fishman, Jeanine Stevens, with music by Singer Lisa Stinson and Musician Mike Pickering. The exhibit will be from 5-9pm; reading begins at 7:30pm. Sac. Poetry Center, 25th & R Sts., Sac. Be there!


 Pretty Bird