Monday, July 23, 2018

Mornings of Heatstroke

—Photos by Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

—Michael H. Brownstein, Chicago, IL

morning of heatstroke
a fall into the rage
tumble down ferocity
blue sky turns beige

heat index rises
temperament awry
lightning without thunder
birds thirsty/earth too dry

another day of warnings
it’s not even summertime
mercury rising rises
skin sweat and grime

evening of dehydration
no breeze no wind no stream
a crevice opens into rage
dead fruit/too strong sun beam

—Ann Privateer, Davis, CA

Blue as the night
Where we sit
In a solitary sift

Watching what might
Sheer off at any minute
Transfixed by nature

Alone as in a dream
Yet here we stay.

—Ann Privateer

I navigate the street
Try not to slip on the ballbearinglike
Seeds from the Aziza tree buried
Beneath the leaves from wind blowing
In the night while men in India
Sew in silence.


—Ann Privateer

A hot day, on a train, next to
A youth attached to his phone
By ear, I get to hear the base,
Ta dum, ta dum, another wears
A tee that messages, “TV
Killed Radio", I see swallows
Circling their meeting place,
To be together again.


Today is Saturday, which is
pretty dull on news reports
so instead we get earnest,

expert, stale, educated guess
pre-game forecasts by the top
commentators, or their subs.

The Manafort hearing has not
yet started, and Mueller has not
yet disclosed those findings that

we are all yearning to feast on.
We don’t yet know if Cohen or
other subjects will flip like a fish

so all we get are spoiler alerts
about who is likely to prevail
in expected matchups once

the game has actually started .
We interrupt this report for

[camera goes close up on pretty
ladies with million-dollar smiles,
stays there long enough for evil
eyes to undress them, then it
nonchalantly drifts back over to
one or another White House
staffer, or their attorney]

Partisan camps are already
planning celebration events...

will Mueller be rewarded with
a shower of sport drink?


We know full well because they
once surrounded our house

teasing us with three colors of
pleasant-looking blooms, adding
welcome height to the vanity
barrier along the back fence

a known effective deterrent for
deer, although deer are not a
factor on our premises

and the strength of their resistance
to any weather extreme could only
be matched by their intolerance for
allowing other plants to flourish

when finally it tried to strangle to
death one of our Mexican Orange
trees that itself was a magnet for
helpful bees, we called in the pro-
fessionals who cut and removed all
visible parts, and burned the roots
to ashes all around the house except
for leaving a portion of the roots of
the one that had been vining around
the Mexican Orange because a more
complete approach would have also
killed the tree we most wanted to keep

by the book, all parts of the oleander,
the roots, stems, leaves, and flowers
are known to be deadly toxic to humans

which makes it all the more ironic that
oleanders have now assumed a human
form and taken over the White House.


Maybe that shockingly bright, red,
silken, button down, Hawaiian
shirt that doesn’t fit me anymore
could be made into a pair of



When I visited the Grand Canyon,
employees greeting tourists said
“Anywhere you point the camera

is a great picture.”

that notion was so inspirational I tried
applying it to writing poetry, and to
playing the piano, and to other pursuits

great poem
great musical expression
great commentary

Sure enough, everywhere I pointed
my camera, my pen, my nose
utter greatness would bloom and flourish!

in the eye or ear of the beholder, which
maybe explains why there isn’t a Nobel
Peace Prize offered for vacation pictures,

or for singing in the shower.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Ann Privateer

On blue note paper,
This was all he wrote
No return address even!


Our thanks to today’s fine contributors on this mid-summer Monday morning, and a big congratulations to SnakePal James Lee Jobe on being appointed Davis Poet Laureate, beginning on Sept. 25. Way to go, James Lee! Watch for James’ poetry every Saturday morning in the Kitchen, and he also hosts two reading series in Davis: The Other Voice (third Fridays), and Davis Arts Center Poetry Series (third Sundays). Watch the Kitchen for news of these, and other, events in Sacramento, Davis, and the rest of our area…

…starting tonight in Placerville, 6pm, with the monthly Poetry in Motion read-around at the Placerville Sr. Center, then continuing tonight at 7:30pm at the Sac. Poetry Center with Doug Blazek, Josh McKinney, and Jeff Ewing (plus open mic).

Thursday brings Art/Play/Say at the Crocker Art Museum from 6-9pm, in honor of the exhibition, "Becoming a Woman in the Age of Enlightenment: French Art from the Horvitz Collection." Open mic poetry (bring poems of your own or of your favorite French poetry), drinks, games, scavenger hunts, gallery activities. That’s at the Crocker, 216 O St., Sacramento. And of course Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe also meets on Thursdays in Sacramento, with open mic and featured readers, 8pm.

Friday at 7pm, Sac. Poetry Center presents Kathleen McClurg, and Maw Shein Win will read from her new book,
Invisible Gifts. On Saturday morning at SPC, Writers on the Air presents CharRon Smith and Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas plus open mic, 9:30am-1pm. Also on Saturday, the monthly Poetic License read-around meets at the Placerville Sr. Center, 2-4pm. 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! 

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