5 Poems in The Wagon Magazine

I’m very proud to be included in the August 2018 issue of Krishna Prasad’s The Wagon Magazine. Please click and enjoy!

Link:   https://issuu.com/krishnaprasad975/docs/august_2018w


Krishna Prasad, Editor The Wagon Magazine

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A Sunset Falls—Live! on Califragile

A Sunset Falls Pablo Cuzco Vernal_Fall_Walter Siegmund


In these times when the Earth and humanity seem so breakable, as if they might break each other, we search for answers in the air. What’s our next move? What did I just see on the news? What does this moment demand of me? Poets interpret their screens, sing to nature, and admonish us our selfishness. Califragile is a portrait of turning, questioning, stretching, stepping up. Our name is a nod to our bioregion here in Northern California. But the fragile faultline we explore is planetwide and in each person. While we weren’t inspired by Mary Poppins, if she wanted to float down and help us straighten out the mess we’ve made, well, that would be quite a show!

Wren Tuatha, Califragile Editor


My poem A Sunset Falls, just went live on CalifragileThanks, Wren, for including me in this issue: Link

The Pneumatic Steampunk Doorway – Yellow Days


At a spot on the eastern edge of the scorched Mojave Desert, where the Colorado River converges on the Three State Lines, lies an area known as Cal-Nev-Ari. There, it is said once lived a terrible monster—a behemoth coal-fired steam power plant. Officially designated the Southern Mojave Generating Station by the engineers who created the steel and molybdenum beast, it was called SMOGS by everyone else. As if the infernal climate of heat and dust was not enough to make life miserable for those who lived under its shadow, at inexplicable times during the day, the giant erector set belched a cloud of noxious gas from its deceptively cheerful, candy-striped smokestack. This cloud of sulfurous ash hovered in the upper layers above the sleeping town of Cow Rock, a small resort just across the river from the gambling halls and casinos of Layton. The steam and vapor rising from the cooling towers, along with the yellow ash from its exhaust, gave a fearful impression. To the untrained eye, it was part living creature, part fire-breathing contraption—snorting death and carnage from its every orifice into the pristine skies of the bustling desert community.

Ned Bean was a tool room attendant at SMOGS. Immersed in the inner sights and sounds of the steam plant at night, despite frequent fits of yawn and torpor, the unassuming clerk tried his best to keep alert. Motivated by his muse, the never-ending night, Ned often experienced moments of lucid wakeful dreaming. These visions, coupled with the active imagination of a man driven by a surreal sense of reality, are preserved in a log he kept as part of his work duties. The letters which you are about to read, along with the accompanying Pneumatic Steampunk Doorway are the result of the experiment in mental purgatory that was the life of the steam plant clerk.

 

 


 

Yellow Days

 

“I remember when the sunlight had a special kind of brightness…
yellow days, yellow days”

Alvaro Carillo and Alan Bernstein
©1965 1966 Ed B Marks Music Co

 


 

the steam plant
nestles on the banks
of the Colorado River

perched
on an alluvial slope
where the valley rises
to meet the mountains to the west
(another range flanks it to the east)

in a rocky
desert terrain
dotted with scrub greasewood
the electric power generator
stands out-of-place
with the idyllic scenario
of the small desert resort town
that lies just across the river

it seems contrary
that in a landscape so picturesque
surrounded by rugged hills that slope
down into a lake of dazzling cobalt
topped by a sky so perennially blue
the clouds become cameo
—lies this ubiquitous
steaming
smog-heaving
mechanical skyscraper

a labyrinth of girders and platforms
a giant gray steel erector set
cradled in the bosom
of desert ecoloia

a spewing volcano
—it shrouds the basin
in its jaundiced cloud


“Yellow Days” originally published on Apr 19, 2015 

On the Road to Satori – Alice Texas

the hitchhiker by christiano bill

the hitchhiker by christiano bill


Each one of these stories is like a small window—a motion picture into observations made during a period of travel during the early 1970’s. I hitchhiked the roads of America and spent the years that followed in reflection. These poems are what grew from that soil.

They are to be enjoyed, read as rhythmic rolling narrative. They need no explanation except that, with a few exceptions, they tell a story that follows—one title to the next.

Pablo Cuzco

 

Alice Texas

in the wee hours
of a pitch black Texas night
in Alice bound for Nuevo Laredo

the road deserted
not even a gun-rack pistol-packing
Texas Truck in sight

no drivers dusted
from too many hours
entertaining the yellow line
looking for a rider to take the wheel

the rattlesnakes chattered
the coyotes yip-yip-yip-aye-ayed
into the pitch-black prelude
to the dawn

a thousand miles from nowhere
with nowhere left to go
a lost and lonesome
highway vagabond

the rumble down ten-wheeler
that eventually picked me up
was headed for Freer

blaring rhythm and blues
on the AM band cracking
and squawking like a CB radio

left little room for conversation
yelling over the noise
grinding gears and rattling truck parts

“Leroy Simmons—glad to meet you
Headin’ far?” Nuevo Laredo
“I can take you part of the way”

Dawn…
the Sonoran Desert
a desolate stretch of highway
Mexico—twenty-five miles to the south


Originally published on November 12, 2014

On the Road to Satori – Haight-Ashbury

circles by orzz


 

” Joaquín doesn’t live here anymore. . .

 

he died of the Vietnam War
—from drugs and alcohol.”

—it’s what I tell whoever asks
about my brother these days

 

I remember Joaquín
he’d fill my head with stories
about his time stationed at Treasure Island
on leave while in the US Marines
after his tour in ‘Nam

the summer of ’67, San Francisco
the long-legged blonde hippies on Haight sitting
on the sidewalk with blue eyes staring,
spaced out…sit down I
think I love you

Eric Burton
at the Fillmore—before
there was an East and a West—
singing blindfolded, stoned
smoking a cigarette
tempting the edge
of the stage
—tuned in
turned on
and dropped out
from the British Invasion


the yellow corn-cob pipe
and the nickel bag of Vietnamese
smuggled on the plane. I closed my eyes to
Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream, my thoughts a stream
of moving pictures, eyes closed
in an instant, opened
to a new sense
of time and
space

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