Jed Myers and Bob Stanley
Monday Nov. 24 at 7:30 PM
SPC at 1719 25th Street
Host: Tim Kahl
Jed Myers is the author of Watching the Perseids, the 2013 Sacramento Poetry Center Book Manuscript Contest winner and another collection of poems, The Nameless (Finishing Line Press, 2014). He won the 2012 Mary C. Mohr Editors’ Award offered by Southern Indiana Review, and received the 2013 Literal Latte Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Atlanta Review, Crab Creek Review, and elsewhere. He studied poetry at Tufts University, then studied medicine, and migrated to Seattle, where he’s raised three children and is a psychiatrist with a therapy practice.
Watching the Perseids
The broadcast’s breaking up in static—
solar flares, snow, ozone
fluctuations, I don’t know.
Should I care? I can still play the message
my phone captured one year back—
“No Time for Love”—he sings
the refrain in that same boyish tone
I’d heard come out of him over a steak,
or climbing the bleachers to our seats,
my hand in his, before
a night game at Connie Mack. Even
on his way out in the cold in the dawn
to catch the train, singing whatever
he said—his brisk See ya lat-er!
down the steps. See ya to-night!
Singing the tireless dance of his life—
he left no time in it for the quiet
closeness of watching the Perseids
or the river from its banks, the fire’s
sparks disappearing into the dark….
Not until it was near the time
for hospice, to never again know
where he was. Those last hours on his own
bed, I’d lie beside him and we’d sing
whatever old tune came into either
one of our heads. Quiet.
Like watching the tide.
Now, his music is drowning
in surf-sound. My brain’s magic
receiver is shorting out. Or is it
the train I hear, him on it, still
singing, voice going remote
in the clatter and hiss? Has he lifted
the ticket out of his coat pocket,
handed it over to the conductor,
and sat back, softly sounding out
Lullaby of Birdland? I can wonder,
try to hear his voice in the white noise
between my ears, while he travels
like the seasoned commuter he was
to that city past the meteors, out
past the planets, in the stars.
Bob Stanley has written poetry and volunteered in poetry organizations for over three decades. He edited Sometimes in the Open, an anthology of poems by sixty-five laureates. His poems have won a number of awards, including the California Focus on Writers prize in 2006, and have been published in numerous journals and anthologies. Bob got his BA in English at UCLA (1974) and an MA in Creative Writing from Sacramento State (2005). Bob teaches Creative Writing and English at Sacramento State University, Sacramento City College, and UC Davis Extension. His first chapbook, Walt Whitman Orders a Cheeseburger, was released by Rattlesnake Press in 2009. Miracle Shine, his first full length collection Miracle Shine was released in 2012. Bob was selected to be the poet laureate of Sacramento from beginning in July 2009-2012.
the grey-green stems
leaning over, looking frail.
Their small yellow flowers
are easy to spot, at least the big ones
in their noxious clusters.
Where hillside rocks meet river sand
I probe with gloved fingers,
gently pull to lift roots,
but they grab back, they know
I am both destroyer
and carrier of their seed.
As my eyes scour the riverbed
I see them, now, everywhere
Yellow Star Thistle ever smaller —
and bending low, I keep pulling
as they reach for me,
fuzzy crescent burrs like worms
burrowing into sweatshirt, shorts,
they creep on and into
socks, knees, nape of neck, hair.
We burn them tonight
but in my dream
yellow star thistles
rise beyond sky
burn their way
forever into my world.