March Release! Saltwort, Selected Writings Poetical

Announcing, Scheduled for March, 2017 Release – Saltwort is the title of a collection of selected poetical writings from 1973 thru 2017 by Joe Linker, author of “Penina’s Letters,” “Coconut Oil,” “Scamble and Cramble: Two Hep Cats,” and “The Coming of the Toads.”

With a Forward by Salvador Persequi!

Still in proof and editing stage, Saltwort collects previously published pieces (on-line and print) with some alterations and some new writing as well into a fine 1st paperback edition.

saltwort-cover-preview

On Letting My Hair Grow

letting-my-hair-grow

I’m letting my hair grow.
It’s starting to snow.
Nothing to be done,
Estragon fond.
“Now I’m a donor,” I told Susan,
“on the recent license renewal.”
“They’ll take your anatomical
hair,” she said, the young one
at the Department of Motor
Vehicles: “On your license,
be a donor?” she asked me.
“Sure, and why not.”
“It’s not like you’re going
to be needing it,” she laughed.

I don’t need it now,
I thought to myself,
she in Santa Claus costume
red and white furry thick
and outside snow falling
and her hair black maroon
hanging tussled out
the Santa red cap rimmed
white and the big white
ball at the end bouncing
about as she whirled around
to grab the form
for me to be
an anatomical donor.

My papers in order –
DD214, Birth Cert.,
proof of address – but,
“We don’t need them
this time,” she said.
“You’re in the system.
You showed us all that
last time. You only
have to prove it once.”
(On this I did not
correct her.)
“But let me see
that discharge sheet.
Why don’t you have
VETERAN
on your license?”
She read down my DD214,
taking her time.
I was number 106,
the DMV not crowded,
middle of day middle of
week middle of month.
Not any, any, any.
Middle, middle, middle.
“There it is,” she said.
“Other than dishonorable,”
she happily smiled,
as if given a gift,
or handing me one,
the white ball again
twirling as she turned
and grabbed hold
another rubber stamp.
I was 18, number 16,
that first drawing,
I might have told her.
I looked good a few
of the squad said
of my shaved head
coming from the barber
at Fort Bliss, zero week.
I went in full curled
long and wild just out
of the surf at El Porto.

“OK,” she said. “Take
this to the photographer,
end of the counter.
Merry Christmas!”
And I said it back
to her. It’s best
when at the DMV
to remain calm
and try to relax
and let your hair grow.

“Number 107? 107?”

Coconut Oil – A Novel Book Launch

Salty and Penina, the war torn, young couple from “Penina’s Letters,” return to Refugio in “Coconut Oil,” a sequel.

They come home to Refugio (the fictional beach town located north of El Porto and south of Grand on Santa Monica Bay) in an attempt to retire a bit early. So forty or so years have passed since the close of “Penina’s Letters.”

Salty is again our first person narrator. But “Coconut Oil” continues an experimental narrative form, and Sal hands the mic off to several other characters as we are brought up to date on Refugio.

The themes of “Coconut Oil” include aging, housing and homelessness, gentrification, and how we occupy ourselves over time. The form is experimental in a way a common reader might enjoy.

The paperback version of “Coconut Oil” is available now, and the electronic version should be up next week.

The back cover photo for “Coconut Oil” was taken from the northbound Coast Starlight train as it passed by the point at Refugio Beach, California, a campground about 26 miles north of Santa Barbara. The photo was taken sometime in the late 70’s.

Refugio from Coast Starlight
Refugio from Coast Starlight Special

 

Lady Gaga Sitting Cross-legged on Her Gomden

Dancers with Band The Touch Yous 2Largess the monstress Lady Gaga sunscalds her saga
Lady who? Lady Gaga, aka radio caca
from Saginaw hitchhiked qua-qua
down to Lollapalooza maga
a funny thing happening on the way to pay paga
and on her gomden she sings her hagiography

Her saintly lady hagiography
with still a lot more to saga
heorte abut America her maga and her paga
and how baba gets her yagas out no caca
on her gomden a tabloid tatoo-bio gone maga
Lady Gaga’s letters to a lil monster qua-qua

Poker faced on her gomden qua-qua
the androginous Germanotta hag
monster tattooed maga
eats her own saga
to satisfy our taste for caca
Lady Gaga please phone yr paga

Speechless she calls her paga
the sharp-toothed Gaga in her qua-qua
on the road in her caca
wrapped in a graphic rhapsody
from ragas to riches sagacity
of rarely heard magnitude

The herd of monsters their magnitude
staggers the Grand Duchess of Paganini
oh, the fame, the fama, the bottle rocket saga
the dressing up of the pointed qua-quas
the beatific dress covers the hag’s gomden
stained and glossed in caca

Eyeless in Caca did Lady Gaga
usurp the sagitta of Madonna-non-maga
her songs to mill on a stone-grind
her etymologically reclined paga
singing la-qua-qua, la-qua-qua-qua-la
sacrosanct slanginess saga

Cacophonically paganan
maga dances the qua-qua
and the gnome sings under the saga

Heart’s Apron Sestina

Heart's ApronOozing down the sinuous sleeve the heart’s blood
tempts the jackdaws to table to dine
each bird a caddy for another’s purse
whose ears exceed hearing and have eyes to eat
who renounce not their heart’s guards
but pronounce things with ease and clarity

if left to their own corrections
sop with erasure the heart’s brood
I ago did watch one eye that pursed guard
too hungry to alone dine
for the ears on the word’s feast
a three egg amulet protects the purse

but there’s nothing in the purse
the notion needs correction
so we can sit down empty and eat
something other than this soul’s doubloon
good grief alone better to dine
than suffer the guarded guards gardening

the ones who taught the heart’s guards
deluge ago to spend with lavish the purse
so that today’s diners
might eat correctly
in a sacrifice bloodless
at an ordinary eatery

so with consciences clean let’s eat
bring us the menus guards
and napkins for these touchy emotions
unbuckle the rope that holds the purse
let it all hang out but with good manners
for our purposeful dinner

ago then we did dine
on hearts on sleeves we did eat
though correctly
under the apron of the guards
who held our purses
and allowed aloud no drooling

but this rectitudinal dining in and out
fills with bile and drool of toasts and teas
drop your guard forget the purse let’s flee

Waltzing with a Loon to the Tune of a Whippoorwill

Moondance 1Henry’s loon waltzed into the room laughing
laughing laughing at the phony moon
rising over the pond-like screen
laughing at Henry, at me, and at you too
who scorned the whippoorwilled
who loon-waltzed our way across the fall season

who tweeted twitted twisted and tallyhoed on
but what stilled the waters the antithesis of laughter
came the calm call of the whippoorwill
calling up to the ballooning moon
to Henry, Huck, Hank, and all of us who
waltzing across a lightbox screen

click click click the path of the reen
and fail to see the turn of the season
while flashes YouTube and you too
laughing laughing laughing
at the simple simple single moon
who waltzes with the whippoorwill

to the epizeuxises of the whippoorwill
the yoke on me preening for the screening
in a full no half no quarter no moon
in the turning turning turning of the seasons
as the lone loon laughs
at Henry, Huck, Hank, me, and you too

yes at you too you too you too
whistles the only whippoorwill
as the moon falls fades the laugh
and across the pond fills the screen
white going going gone the season
of the wry loon waltzing with the moon

with the dry improbably wry moon
then on the far shore you too
out of rhyme out of sync out of season
running running running for the whippoorwill
and across the pond comes a single scream
that echoes epizootically laughing

out of season the waltzing singing loon
laughing woo hoo! woo hoo! woo hoo!
the poor loon waltz in a pale fall screen

Sestina’s Angel

Sestina falls prey to the sound silence of the Angel
sitting in her lap playing with a ball of wireless
a wireless webbed feline bureaucracy
where pleas receive no reply
and the sole sound is a silent catty wind
and long days pass with nothing said of the terrible

Rilke ranted something about beauty being terrible
while in Sestina’s lap sat the lapping catting Angel
who cannot hear in the stringless whine
no place for the bird to come to rest on any wire
wireless carriages of desire race to a place where all replies
are lost in the terrible beauty of the host’s hidden bureaucracy

At Sestina’s night bureau sits a bird clicking crazily
a loon poet on the bum singing terribly
rolling out with rigor a robust reply
to the Angel
who threatens to wire
up the wireless wind

To tone down this tuneless wordwind
while sleeps the will-less bureaucracy
wireless
and terrible
but for now the Angel
sends no reply

Any ranting request certainly receives no reply
as Rilke races the ramparts terribly winded
and shaking her head the windless wireless Angel
disappears into the flow chart of blissful bureaucracy
to that place so terrible
wireworms crawl the tripwires of the hardwired

Waving to the boldest bidder of weird wire
waiting for the beauty of the instantaneous reply
that memo from the waiting Angel so terrible
dark wings unfold and the winds unwind
the galaxies of celestial bureaucracy
bang and bend in time to the tune of the supreme Angel

The terrible embrace of the wireless
Angel orders no reply
For wellness dwindles so deep in such a bureaucracy

 

See more Sestinas.

Sestina’s Radio

My left speaker falsifies me,
crackles, hisses, clichéd toad.
I turn my right speaker to you.
Surf wax fills the air,
wave tubes squeezed tight.
An unreal bird sings,

pierces my ear with a ring,
and to my radio welds me,
night’s station holding tight,
while in the surf singing toads
fill the ringing air
with songs of greyouts.

I try to explain these sounds to you:
above my left ear a toad sings,
caught in my curly bird hair,
a secret word brings to me,
from KJOB, sings this DJ Toad:
“Silence is noise for you tonight.”

My ears grow frightened,
and I look for sounds to you,
the coming of the toads,
the interventions of Sestina’s sting,
for alone she sings to me.
My ear receives whispers of air,

a clogged blogging air,
seashelled, wax watertight.
The toads begin to mew
in the alleys of my ears joyously,
a clear and concise ring,
the singing of the toads,

about nothing much to do.
No sound fills the air.
Nothing outside this radio sings,
its channel fixed tight
to sing only to you,
asymmetrically.

Only in my left ear sings this toad,
for me a secret aria,
while fades like light your voice.

See more Sestinas.

Peccadilloes; or, The School of No Sestina

Peccadilloes; or, The School of No Sestina

In the School of No, every word
sounds a peccadillo,
every class closes a cage,
every cage captures a rule,
every rule regards no
with gusto.

No bites yes with gusto
behind a fence of words.
No, no, no
peccadilloes;
that’s the rule
in the land of cages.

Explained John Cage,
what cage you’re in, escape with gusto.
Well, that was anyway John Cage’s rule.
Silence was for the rule his word,
though he broke records of silence with every chance peccadillo
he got in the School of No.

No No knows
a Yes one day came selling out of a cage
peccadilloes,
from a food cart stuffed with gusto,
apples falling and rotting for a code was worded:
no Nos can know – the candy apple red rule –

a committee of Nos ruled.
So life is slow in the School of No,
for a world wrapped in rules needs no words,
and all the world’s a cage
where the only gusto
blows in from the occasional peccadillo

by some picaroon poet acting alone,
against tide and rule,
all hopped up on some street grade gusto,
but soon runs into a posse of nos,
and is put back in the cage
without a word.

So with a bit of tempered gusto we suggest this peccadillo:
every word should break a rule
to escape a School of No cage.

Big Dogs in Tall Grass

On the beach at Refugio we walked under palms through sea grass
Small waves rolling off the point from curlers coiled and we’re
Young and unafraid holding our long boards against our hips and in
Summer surfers with yellow and green bangs and those days only a few dogs
Peopled the campground under the fat wide palms big
Umbrellas shading the old watermen drinking cool beers out of tall

Cans telling stories of how in their days the waves were really tall
Paddling out beyond the kelp beds and diving through the ocean grass
Holding their breaths under water scraping off the rocks big
Abalone shells for eating on the beach around the evening fire we’re
Stoking in a giant hole near the high tide mark with dogs
Down the beach running after gulls swooping low and in

The water the dogs paddle into the shallows after the gulls in
The shore pound the old stories go out with the tide before the big tall
Pensheet dogs with designer stories of virtual waves but these dogs
Don’t see the sun also rising setting fire to the grass
We don’t need your tall tales we are a big dog generation we’re
Never going to passeth away we’re just that big

The pensheet dogs they said were high class the dogs were really big
Went to the finest schools in the prairie grass land in
With the in crowds in with the big dog push the big dogs were
All witty wealthy healthy hardly weathered at all and tall
And ran through the tallest grass
But didn’t notice on their tail trailing the three headed dog

Bidding them sign a yellow dog
Contract
and sign it they did the big
Dog generation in the tall grass
Trying to avoid passing away in
Dog dress posed in ties tall
And dog weary of putting on the dog were

Bone tired and dogged they were
Now in the dog days of their runs as big dogs
Woofing at their virtual waves barking tall
In the overhead grass under a big
Ocean prairie sky panting and drooling in
The tall dry smoky grass.

Who listens to this doggerel we’re wishing still big
And long swells to the lucky dogs under running laughter in
The whirling wind through the tall sea grass!