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Inner Ocean Fantasy 2011
25” x25"
by John Babcock

Photo by Linda Babcock

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Ken Weisner

For a Teacher

A name lives on
in exile after a man.

Federico García Lorca
is a beautiful name,

moves through its canal
silently, intelligently,

letting its hands sift
the dark water.


When the bird leaps
from your stringless guitar,

you will see it later,
still singing

above this river that holds
a shape to it, face down,

not breathing, but moving
visibly through the water

and uttering something
like the cause

of a breath.

Live and Let Live

Have a little mouse in my temporary cabin,
named him Batholith since he lives
so deep within the foundation—or at least
the cabinet wall beneath the sink
but races around each night to behind the stove
and back around under the cabinet…
I leave the cabin tomorrow,
so why not just coexist? 
Someone else will have to decide
to kill him or mouse-proof the place,
no easy ethical task.

For now, it's as if we're all outside together.
I'm reading at the kitchen-table-campfire—
his territory, we’ll call it—so I try to indulge him
with some respect; after all, the vagaries
of rustic sierra sink-cabinet manufacture
are not his doing nor his responsibility,
so Batholith and I are spending evenings together…
walls insulating us humans from the cold,
but not Batholith from his frolics, for whom the augured
space around the gas line is his invitation, his welcome into my heart.

So he claims the space between as his,
moves freely across the border and back,
indulging me now and then with the thrill
of his swift shadow body, visible only peripherally
at times, as if from another dimension,
or other times I catch him for a moment square,
the full romp, even the wild eyes,
hiding here, then dashing there,
between each safe point, industrious, surely feeding himself
and his fine family with these liminal bravados,
these encroachments; have at it Batholith,
no rules between us, you and me,
but the old, fierce unwritten ones.

Open the Curtain

The whole 
house bathed 
in primal forms.
So much to get done!
light just barely
beginning to gather.

So what’s the hurry? 
First kiss the nape,
the magnificent soft skin
of her back. Then
if she wakes,
kiss her mouth.

California as Late Beethoven Quartet

Like the beloved asleep,
green hills,
in a world without rest…
so the clouds, cumulus,
echo the hills,

and you are no longer
as you were… headed north
somewhere between
Santa Maria and Lompoc
through emerald seas
and winter grass.

Writing in the Mission Church Replica

             after the death of a dear friend
                        and after Allen Ginsberg

Among the saints holy holy
And the flowers fresh Sunday and the Latin
Words benedicimus holy holy
Adoramus te Christe holy
Gilded illumined script over the stucco nave arch
Among candles and smoke
Scents of presence and absence
Hydrangeas roses sunflowers lilies
Holy holy
In the peace of the empty
Chapel replica Sunday holy
In the peace of the train whistles
The metal-tipped whips
Holy holy
In the peace
Of the third pew surrounded by
The stations of the cross
The space holy
With its dark-stained redwood
Open beams and slatted whitewashed ceiling holy holy
And its wagon-wheel chandeliers
Electric candles
Memory of harpsichord
Music here holy
In every holy place, she heard
A song, a poem, a chord,
A human being—
Here in the pink stained-glass light 
holy holy
Grieve what is lost
It leaves and is no longer there
Holy holy
Like summer air
Or an old friend holy
A friend of half a lifetime
Who tinted your sky, holy,
Who understood you,
Who believed in everything and nothing, holy
Who believed in friends
In mind
In ocean
Who was brave in her strangeness, holy,
Who was strange and strong
In her always-ness
Who was part of the light
The verbal light, of our city
The subversive light
Holy her mind
Holy how she thought about things
A listening
How do I express
A loss I cannot grasp
A loss that grows each day
Holy holy

Her not being here
To hear these sirens—holy
This father and daughter whispering
Holy giggling and lighting a candle—
This young man on his knees
On the cold tile floor a few feet away
Whispering his prayers in Spanish—
Who was his mother
Holy holy
His grandmother
Where are they now?

Her complexity
Her courage
Her independent-mindedness, holy,
Her singular mind
& spirit & delight!
            holy holy holy
                        holy holy holy holy

                        for Tilly Shaw

Ken Weisner lives in Santa Cruz and teaches writing & literature at De Anza College where he edits Red Wheelbarrow. His most recent collection of poems is Anything on Earth (2010, Hummingbird Press). His work has been featured on the “Poets Against the War” website, in The Music Lovers Poetry Anthology (Persea, 2007), on The Writer’s Almanac (2010) and in recent editions of the Chicago Quarterly Review, Porter Gulch Review, DMQ Review, Phren-Z, Perfume River Poetry Review and The Monterey Poetry Review. This year he's also joined a team of Bay Area writers and teachers doing Friday workshops for inmate writers at Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad. 

Julie Minnis
Veronica Zaleha

Charles Atkinson
Farnaz Fatemi
Maggie Paul
Ken Weisner

John Babcock

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