Thursday, May 30, 2019

Dreaming of Wings

—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


It’s California, late May. The rain comes down
like a soldier who didn’t hear the winter war
is over. It shrouds the trees and improves silence
with supernatural white noise drumming
on a back room roof, drumming like the beak
of a post-historic bird. It crosses, re-crosses
the waking mind like nightmares of dry-creek
flooding, bodies of water rising to swallow
Earth. Rain falls to bring-down-the-house claps
of thunder, filling a fragile dish of sweets
from a land that knows no drought. You’ll recall
this rain in August like a promise, or an omen.


Gray envelops us
in Sierra spring foothills—
Roadside elderberry and
buckeye in full white May bloom.



Stormy-dim morning
three dark figures at roadside
three black capes flapping
in wind, red-blue flashing lights—
mystery I won’t solve.


Early morning. I’m weed-eating again,
before sun reaches our little canyon
and the mercury heads for summer.
My trimmer-head spins circles of cut grass,
tangles of vetch garlands spiked with
filaree and brome, seed-heads sharpening
in sun. Morning’s a good time to see
what happened in the dark. Another rock
surfaced from underground. Strewn feathers—
some night-raider on silent wing or paw.
Mysteries of our land that never sleeps,
dark or bright—sun growing grass,
wild creatures biding through the heat
of day, out of sight. New blue-oak saplings
hoping to extend the woods into treeless
field. At last, evening, golden slanted
spring light when you’d think the day will
never end, there never could be enough dark
to recover from the sun. And here I am
again, early morning, weed-eating.


I’ve tried to map the route on Google—scrolling down into canyon. Here’s the Rock Creek ford, Point A, famous in Nisenan history. Point B, a village long-abandoned, is off the screen. Two points connected by a zigzag line to cliff, switchbacks into gorge, through geologic ages to the river that made this place. The canyon revised by miners rearranging bedrock with pickaxe and shovel; a panned- and shafted landscape. Somewhere in sky-earth-water is unknown Point X. A treasure. Code to the river’s never-ending affair with rock. A triangle I haven’t solved.

awake under stars
the river keeps its secrets
eroding through stone


A purple flower hosts an orange butterfly—
I don’t know their names:
what flower, what butterfly? Beautiful
without question.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Just ten days ago
in the nest-box six blue eggs.
Now, six feathered chicks
soon to fly. A mystery—
but it happens every year.

Thank you, Taylor Graham, for your whispers about mysteries today—including this year’s conundrumous weather in our area! Taylor writes, “[Husband] Hatch the old forester tells me grasses don't have flowers, so I don't know what kind of plant the bug is on. Another mystery….”

Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar meets tonight, 1414 16th St., Sac., 8pm, with featured readers and open mic. Free, but please partake of Art Luna’s fine food and libations.

This just in, another addition to Friday’s poetry reading options: besides the Walt Whitman Bicentennial Celebration at SPC tomorrow night, as well as Speak Up at the Avid Reader on Broadway in Sac., you have another choice: Renegade Literati at City Hall (yes, City Hall) at 7:30pm, hosted by Indigo Moor and Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas. 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 [have been, this week!] added at the last minute.

And don’t forget the 4-day WakamatsuFest150 in Placerville, the 2019 Sesquicentennial Wakamatsu Farm festival which will take place June 6, 7, 8, and 9, 10am-4pm each day, sponsored by, among others, the American River Conservancy. There is a lot of information online at, including their fine WakamatsuFest150 Commemorative Festival Program:, which includes haiku from some of our poets up here in El Dorado County. So check it out, and save the date(s). Remember: there will never be another sesquicentennial for Wakamatsu Farm!


 Our new Seed of the Week is Spring Chickens.
(And all their pals...)
—Anonymous Photo

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