by Jennifer Grotz

There is a sadness everywhere present
but impossible to point to, a sadness that hides in the world
and lingers. You look for it because it is everywhere.
When you give up, it haunts your dreams
with black pepper and blood and when you wake
you don’t know where you are.

But then you see the poppies, a disheveled stand of them.
And the sun shining down like God, loving all of us equally,
mountain and valley, plant, animal, human, and therefore
shouldn’t we love all things equally back?
And then you see the clouds.

The poppies are wild, they are only beautiful and tall
so long as you do not cut them,
they are like the feral cat who purrs and rubs against your leg
but will scratch you if you touch back.
Love is letting the world be half-tamed.
That’s how the rain comes, softly and attentively, then

with unstoppable force. If you
stare upwards as it falls, you will see
they are falling sparks that light nothing only because
the ground interrupts them. You can hear the way they’d burn,
the smoldering sound they make falling into the grass.

That is a sound for the sadness everywhere present.
The closest you have come to seeing it
is at night, with the window open and the lamp on,
when the moths perch on the white walls,
tiny as a fingernail to large as a Gerbera daisy,
and take turns agitating around the light.

If you grasp one by the wing,
its pill-sized body will convulse
in your closed palm and you can feel the wing beats
like an eyelid’s obsessive blinking open to see.
But now it is still light and the blackbirds are singing
as if their voices are the only scissors left in this world.

The Space Traveler Talks Frankly about Desire

by Benjamin S. Grossberg

Out here the pull of bodies keeps
everything moving. Mass desires
mass, in even the tiniest of quantities.
But what differentiates us, this
sentience, is that it isn’t simply mass
that compels, but the idea of it:
the weighted notion, the notion
of waiting. A physics of our condition—
you might call it a strange force—
gives the dream of bodies more pull
than those orbiting close. It’s as if,
human, your Earth suddenly tore
itself from the Sun, flung itself
chest first into the void, for the idea
of another: a sun whose conversions
were more compelling. You know
all gold’s forged in a star’s heart?
Well, it’s as if your Earth lusted
for a sun that could generate better
luster. No matter the likelihood
of the planet spinning endlessly
forward—bowling ball (blue marbled)
gliding on a never-ending lane toward
no pins. No matter that the star—
if it existed—might crisp it to coal.
The idea must be satisfied. But
I was going to talk frankly about
desire, wasn’t I? Well, I desire
frankly: this dark is cold, and I
distinctly remember back there, still
pulsing, the place where I left my sun.

How Blue Can You Get

Twitter tells me that BB King has passed away. He was 89. They say he passed peacefully away in his sleep in Las Vegas.

I purchased his “Best Of” album (cassette tape) from a grocery store in San Diego in the early 90’s and it was a constant companion for quite some time. He brought it.


I need to be there
bundled up with you
on the lake shore
at dawn
silently watching
two Double Crested
Cormorants fly low
through the mist
to the burned out tree
on the other side

can you see
the White Pelicans
veiled in the distance
resting on their evening rocks?

lean into me
the sun is rising
let me sync my
breath with yours