Monday, February 27, 2017

Blind Mice & the Buckeye

—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento, CA

—Don Feliz, Sacramento, CA

Red rain of dread fell for a month
on outsiders and blue urbanites
marching throughout the nation.

Floods swept unprotected travelers away,
heavens bled nightmares of doubt
on massing threats to the czar’s reign.

Rain only fogged gullible vision
of bumpkin-land basking in assured
retro-wish fulfillment while,

above the mist, oligarchs and plutocrats
enjoyed gleaming gold rays
sparkling from shards of

shattered under-class dreams.

 Creek With Washed-Out Bridge
—Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

For years I have covertly
Inserted my personal touch
Throughout your vocabulary

Now I am so asha_d!!
The ti_ has co_
To leave _ out

I will _et you under
The capitol do_
The epito_ of all that is wholeso_

So we can enjoy the
Aweso_ outco_ of
Ho_ cooked _als

Never will geo_try se_ the sa_
When I no longer
Am the one to bla__

 —Photo by Ann Privateer, Davis, CA

—Ann Privateer

The macro or the micro


poison leaves no trace

liquor may be quicker

even candy can do you in.

Silent and fast

is preferred, even 

a sharp pencil

could be fatal. 


—Ann Privateer

Time's currency
lights the way
forward, nonstop.
Oceans rise and fall
Lovers come and go
yet something
is always there.

 —Photo by Ann Privateer

—Taylor Graham

I found it on an old skid-trail.
Shiny black to fit like obsidian in the hand.
Who lost it on that mountain-misery
hillside where, a summer ago, the fire-dragon
flew its furies all over the forest,
no cosmic wind but tower-thermals, pyro-
cumulus anviling over the summit;
at last, smoky-blue residues
dissipating like an after-whiff
of passion settled into ash,
like a lover’s phone call gone wrong.
I found it, black as char,
lying in a place never meant
for plastic, its memory of static
and words against cheek and ear.
Months or weeks ago,
it gave up calling in rings and chirps
as if to summon the ravens
who always discover what’s lost
or left behind.


—Taylor Graham

Lest the landscape return from pines to blasted
sand and scrub, there’s a bird of the high Sierra—
shiny-black wings and tail, and long pointed
bill. Listen. Clark’s Nutcracker is calling down
kra-a-a-a at us from a treetop. Without him,
certain pines would go extinct. The whitebark,
limber, and piñon have no wings on their seeds.
They need a bird—eating, digesting, sowing
their seeds on suitable ground.

I’ve learned other mysteries under the halcyon
heavens: how granite boulders send telegrams
almost to-the-moment transmitting news across
canyons and ridges, miles away. While I’m
asleep, what else is happening without my
knowing? Even the tick, the flea, and the stick-
tight may have something to recommend them.
What weed, what pebble on our five acres
shall I seek for guidance?

 Buckeye Leafing
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham

In Alaska, spring was breakup
of a winter’s ice and snow. Here, it’s that
big old limb from the birds-eye oak broken off,
lying between two forks of our little
seasonal creek that flooded overnight, a lake
above our driveway culverts, our drive-
way part of the lake.
Loki and Trek chase each other
through storm-wet grass; stop abruptly
at the right-of-way fence; bark madly. Across
the road, a pack of mud-brown dogs
dashes down-creek—chasing
traffic on Green Valley? wild dogs bucking
leaping springing, running full-tilt
for the sea. No dogs, it’s just Dry Creek
on the other side. We never see it
except in flood. This afternoon, or maybe
tomorrow, our lake will recede
downstream, we’ll get across our seasonal
creek where the buckeye’s
leafing out so it must be spring.


—Taylor Graham

In a back corner of the closet you found
tattered blueprints but no sonogram
of the old house opening doors in the dark
before dawn, after tremors—the quake,
the thunder that is Spring. Nighttime
vocals? maybe the bald-pate oak wrenched
from its connector roots above the pond.
Geese in pairs honk over new-cloven roof.
Everything is ripple, wave, and echo
of life that’s gone on, quiet or in hubbub
since before you came; winging outward,
downstream, disappearing into sky or sea.


—Taylor Graham 
The historic old house is in ruins,
the ghost haunts her dead attic.
Let her rest. I didn’t come for her,

but for Spring rising up green
in the fields as if to meet two hawks
in their own Spring ritual—

clasped dance of descending spirals
that never quite plummet
to earth. Somewhere beneath,

minute as the focus of an eye,
their prey—vole or mouse—scuttles
through knee-high grass.

What’s to fix in these cycles?
When might the grand old house
open its doors, admit this new Spring?

—Photo by Taylor Graham

Shorts from Election Mother Goose by
Michael Ceraolo, Willoughby Hills, OH:


As the campaign grew longer
the bullshit grew stronger

   Fears and Fears

Donny fears and Hilly's fears
will make us old before our years

   Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on his ass
Humpty Dumpty passed so much gas
Yet all of his name-calling disquisitions
didn't convince anyone to adopt his positions

   See, See

See, see! What do we see?
The electorate's head where its tail should be


Brains, brains, go away,
come again another day;
Little Donny wants to play

(The following were previously published in Bear Creek Haiku)

  Blind Mice

Two blind mice! See how they run!
They both ran after the elected life
And in doing they stirred up strife
Did you ever see such a thing in your life
as two blind mice?

  Hark! Hark!

Hark! Hark! Pundits do bark!
Kleptocrats're coming to town:
some in Jags, some in flags,
and some in designer gown


Today’s LittleNip(s)

—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA


How is it, despite your brown hair piled whatever way,
or your unmade-up lips, untucked shirt green-black plaid,
laundered as if in a woodsman’s labor all day,
auroral of aura, you freshen the stagelit play?


Your salt-sweet flesh, in glasslike translucence clad:
dream, you come in clarity I never hoped nor had.
Small-breasted ghost, your ermine skin’s your one array…


Many thanks to all of today’s contributors for cooking us another wonderful Monday-morning breakfast here in the Kitchen! Poetry for this week in our area begins tonight with the Poetry In Motion read-around in Placerville, 6-7pm; then hightail it down to Sacramento to hear Jay Passer and Genelle Chaconas read at Sac. Poetry Center, 7:30pm (plus open mic). Thursday is Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe, of course, 8pm, with plenty more open mic. Then on Sunday, Mosaic of Voices presents Kenneth Chacón, Marisol Baca, and Michael Medrano at the new Avid Reader location, 1945 Broadway in Sacramento, 2pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


 Celebrate poetry—and families!

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