Thursday, December 05, 2019

When All Else . . .

—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


Wildfire’s on the news, a galloping blaze
consuming hills, homes, this field of horses.
Red-glow daylight as it leaps and courses—
or is it night? a dead black overlays

the picture, everything’s a smoky haze.
And here’s a human against such forces—
wildfire on the news, a galloping blaze
consuming hills, homes, this field of horses.

Human leads a black stallion through the maze
away from stable and herd, its sources
of comfort, safety. Man reinforces
his halter-tugging with words of horse-praise.
Wildfire is the news, a galloping blaze. 


Look for a shop door flung wide
to let natural daylight in—
here’s the used bookstore.

Browse the back shelves by flashlight,
buy your book with exact change—
cash-registers/card-readers are dead.

Back home, feed the wood-burning stove,
make whatever supper you can,
and in lovely dark quiet, sleep. 


Our clever black cat plays with matches,
pens, pencils, whatever he snatches
that used to be mine. Plots he hatches:
unplugs bread-maker, then detaches
external backup drive, and catches
claws on couch, shredding it to batches
of fabric now ragged as thatches.
Mend it with thread, needle and patches?
No foiling him, he just outmatches.
Look at the doorsill—full of scratches.
Nothing’s safe, he’s master of latches. 


dark-eyed juncos feast
on birdseed kicked down by finch
at hanging feeder 

Hail and Birdseed


dull November sun
strikes dead oak leaves on dry grass,
makes scatter-crystal


I woke up in the dark wondering why? Why another Thursday, everyday everyweek prosy stuff needing doing? Our black cat materialized out of dark, tickling my cheek with his whiskers, purring. Hungry? I got up, shoveled ashes, crumpled old news in woodstove’s ashy bed, added twiggy tips of oak that fell in last winter’s storms. So much work, dismantling what’s left of a great oak carcass. Remember how beautiful standing in the woods. Strike a match, miracle of instant fire. Get coffee perking. Lucky—power’s on, this dark morning. Dog’s curled with cat on the couch, patiently waiting for the room to warm. They’ll be wanting breakfast.

If all else fails, be
thankful for these everyday
prosy Thursday things. 

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

When the ancient parchment turns
to worn-out carbon paper
wordless and lifeless and gray—
walk outside and breathe.


Our gratitude to Taylor Graham for today’s poetry about our recent Seed of the Week: When All Else Fails. She sends us many forms today, including the Kouta for a LittleNip. Check it out at; those of you who love counting syllables might have fun with it. Her "Master of Latches" is a Monorhyme (

Tonight is Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar on 16th St. in Sacramento, this week featuring Jen & Sho plus, of course, lots of open mic. Or head over to Poetry in Davis, featuring Len Germinara and Frank Graham plus open mic at the John Natsoulas Gallery on 1st Street in Davis. Both events start at 8pm, with open mic sign-ups at 7:30pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

—Medusa, celebrating inspiration, wherever it finds us!


Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.