Thistle & Brilliant: Poems of Relationships in Motion//Performance at Blackbird in Chico

Blackbird 4:20 Poster

Northern California writers and readers:

Join Califragile founding editor Wren Tuatha and Poemcrazy author Susan Wooldridge, along with poets Bob Garner, Cory Himp Hunt, Patrick Napoco, Heather Rayann, Travis Rowdy and more for an evening of the messy!

Wren will read from her new collection, Thistle and Brilliant, interspersed with other poets’ offerings on relationships in motion! An open mic on the topic will follow, one poem per reader.

Blackbird Books and Cafe

1431 Park Ave., Chico CA 95928

Saturday, April 20, 2019, 6pm

**This will be Wren’s final public Chico appearance during T&B’s promotional period.**

Let me count the ways…you can order Thistle and Brilliant–

• Connect with us at Blackbird.

• Order via Finishing Line Press‘ website before April 26, 2019.

• Contact Wren via Facebook or Califragile.org before April 26, 2019

• Contact Wren to host a house party before April 26, 2019.

The Fires By Rudyard Kipling

800px-only_fires_set_in_the_barrels_are_keeping_people_warm_as_temperatures_plummeted_down_(11099190053)

Men make them fires on the hearth
Each under his roof-tree,
And the Four Winds that rule the earth
They blow the smoke to me.

Across the high hills and the sea
And all the changeful skies,
The Four Winds blow the smoke to me
Till the tears are in my eyes.

Until the tears are in my eyes
And my heart is well nigh broke
For thinking on old memories
That gather in the smoke.

With every shift of every wind
The homesick memories come,
From every quarter of mankind
Where I have made me a home.

Four times a fire against the cold
And a roof against the rain,
Sorrow fourfold and joy fourfold
The Four Winds bring again!

How can I answer which is best
Of all the fires that burn?
I have been too often host or guest
At every fire in turn.

How can I turn from any fire,
On any man’s hearthstone?
I know the wonder and desire
That went to build my own!

How can I doubt man’s joy or woe
Where’er his house-fires shine.
Since all that man must undergo
Will visit me at mine?

Oh, you Four Winds that blow so strong
And know that his is true,
Stoop for a little and carry my song
To all the men I knew!

Where there are fires against the cold,
Or roofs against the rain,
With love fourfold and joy fourfold,
Take them my songs again!

 

 

Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936. 

 

Original photograph by Ivan Bandura. 

 

 

 

 

Garage Fire by Terry Adams

flowers_by_frogstar_23_dcd3rml-pre 

He began all his dreams in those curled painted flowers
on the wall facing his bed
as the house quieted.

then he was dreaming the flowers burning and
his cousin with flames on his face
shaking him

under the window glowing and ticking with heat –
then the black spider nets his bicycle spokes
the seat charred tower of bare springs
where he dreamed of riding no-handed
and it came true

then the smoldering flowers were above
his pallet on the school floor beside
black axe-head, melted rake,
nested saws welded scattered
sins of screwdrivers with no
handles

then he got on his knees to look out
the window at the blackened
yard and remembered watching the one
black side of all those rescuing
strangers

pulsing with odd light as they yelled
throwing water and dirt
their red flat faces fastened
to huge shadows
bending and weaving
across the glass.

Terry Adams has poems in Poetry, Ironwood, The Sun, Witness, College English, Catamaran, The Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. He MCs a yearly poetry festival at the Beat Museum in San Francisco, and co-MCs, with Joe Cottonwood, the monthly “Lit Night” in La Honda. His collection, Adam’s Ribs, is available from Off The Grid Press. He lives in Ken Kesey’s infamous 1960’s cabin in La Honda, California, which he rescued from destruction in 1998.

Painting by Jenn Zed.

It Begins by Friends of Califragile

CT leads closing activity at launch party

It begins with a dying fish,
tangled in faded lace.
Squirming, frantic, delicate.
A desperate daydream of swimming through the nearest window.
Almost bluish grey.
Like the opaque eyes of the slender ribbon snake readying to shed its skin
into golden light
and it ends with a flying fish
untangled, SPLASH!

 

Cooperative poem from attendees of Califragile’s launch party. We love our Chico/Butte County community!

 

Photograph by Gillermo Mash. 

Thistle-Down By E. Pauline Johnson

Thistledown

Beyond a ridge of pine with russet tips
The west lifts to the sun her longing lips,

Her blushes stain with gold and garnet dye
The shore, the river and the wide far sky;

Like floods of wine the waters filter through
The reeds that brush our indolent canoe.

I beach the bow where sands in shadows lie;
You hold my hand a space, then speak good-bye.

Upwinds your pathway through the yellow plumes
Of goldenrod, profuse in August blooms,

And o’er its tossing sprays you toss a kiss;
A moment more, and I see only this –

The idle paddle you so lately held,
The empty bow your pliant wrist propelled,

Some thistles purpling into violet,
Their blossoms with a thousand thorns afret,

And like a cobweb, shadowy and grey,
Far floats their down – far drifts my dream away.

 

 

E. Pauline Johnson, 1861-1913.

 

Photograph by 3268auber.

 

#CampFire: No Wonder it Looks like the Moon by Amanda Pyle

800px-Grass_growing_after_fire

We were down at Woodrat Flat yesterday
working on erosion control, horrific this time around.
No ash blanket, the fire wind blew it all away.
Nothing left to slow the water down.

the cabin windows melted, I noticed for the first time.
Not broken—liquefied and turned into puddles,
rehardened.

Glass melts at 3,000 degrees.
No wonder it looks like the moon down there
for acres and acres, as far as the eye can see.

But plants are coming back…
saw shoots of monkey flower and lupine,
fairy lanterns, miner’s lettuce.
It’s an ordinary miracle…the best kind.

 

 

Photograph by Greg Henry for the National Park Service. 

Older Than Dirt by Tricia Knoll

5cps_w_1_by_frogstar_23_dc3wrz4-pre

Mother, Father, whatever name,
Earth is tired too.

Not from make-young-again magma,
grinding tectonic plates that might
yawn in ennui, star-dust meteors,
off-center tilts, or hot sea vents.

Weary of extraction.
Extinction – weightless shadows
on the steps of nuclear death,
war zones, mass graves.
Fracture – refugees
crawling under desert fences.

Under the weight of all words
for home, dom, nyumbani, বাড়ি ,
the universe’s common hum
most resembles womb when home is
more than the dirt we are born to
or are buried in, common ground.

 

 

Tricia Knoll moved from Oregon to Vermont in 2018 – two places that underscore the importance of eco-poetry holding up beautiful places in transition due to climate crisis. Website: triciaknoll.com

 

Art by Jenn Zed.