Monday, May 23, 2011

Is It The Rapture, Or Is It Poetry?

—Brigit Truex, Placerville

Manipulate this sliver of glass

     lens held close. Open your eye

          to a constricted view, a peep-show

of persuasion:

     Observe the delicate etchings,

          the scored bands of this

impossibly ancient survivor,

     each parallel flex revealing

          leagues of labyrinthine

darkness spiraling back over eons,

     to a slow turn of seething

          earth, the trumpet of a thunder-lizard,

the chill sweep of leathered wings

     scribing the dawn of early azure

          beneath a freshly-made sky.


Thanks to Brigit Truex for these musings on an armadillo, prompted by a "word-can" exercise at the Tuesday at Two workshop she shares with Taylor Graham and some other lucky Placervillians. (Some of you may remember the word-can exercises from Taylor Graham's column of the past in Rattlesnake Review: drawing five words at random from a tin can, then using them in a poem. I'll leave it a mystery as to what the five words actually were in Brigit's case.) After she wrote the poem, Brigit discovered our armadillo on our "Local Presses That Want You" page under the Snake on a Rod in the green box over at the right on our bulletin board, so she sent us her poem—I believe it's our first armadillo poem, ever. For more about Brigit, go to; for more about Tues@2, go to "Workshops/Retreats", also under the Snake on a Rod. If you're ever in the Placerville area on a Tuesday at 2pm, drop in and join the hilarity.

Brigit and Taylor are part of the Red Fox Underground group of poets, which will be out in full force for two events this week: one tonight (Poetry in Motion) and one this Friday, when they co-sponsor (with El Dorado Arts Council) Berkeley poets Judy Wells and Dale Jensen. See our b-board for more about both events.

Also tonight, closer to home, Laverne and Carol Frith will be reading at Sacramento Poetry Center, 7:30pm. Both of these prolific poets are celebrating the release of new books: Imagining the Self by Laverne Frith (Cherry Grove Collections), and Keepsake Houses: Crooked Streets by Carol Frith (Finishing Line Press). These are two of Sacramento's poetry heavy-hitters; come join the celebration tonight.

Thanks to our other contributors today, too, including Carl Schwartz, as well as newcomer Max Soucia (welcome!) and Robin Odam for their takes on the world that didn't end. (Or did it?)

Meanwhile, D.R. Wagner and Taylor Graham continue their conversation. TG writes: As DR says, this is so much fun. Here are some riffs on his recent, and on n.ciano's from a few days back. By the way, Medusa screwed up again: last Saturday's post listed D.R.'s poem, "Reflections Dissolving," as being by TG. She wrote to say she didn't remember writing that poem—a graceful, kind way of pointing out my error. The poem THAT day was written by D.R., but I can guarantee that today's "Reflections Dissolving" is by Taylor Graham.........almost guarantee, that is, given my recent decrepitude. Hopefully these recent snafus have been mostly the product of my poor health, which is, fortunately, improving. If dementia is setting in, though, the future of Medusa's Kitchen might be very interesting, indeed. Just imagine all the ways I could get things wrong/confused/snafu'ed!

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

California condor on a power-
pole, warming its wings
outstretched ten feet wide—
it flaps once
to wake the wind,
then a glide out of sight.
Storm clouds
could not be so dark, alive
and dying, silver
lining the underside,
taking the wind for a ride.


—Taylor Graham

At dawn I walked out to see
what night had done to the world.
A grass-trail across the pasture,
down to the creek, the rocky stairs
where a deer once left the world.
Only her bones stayed behind
to mark her beauty, reflections
dissolving in riffles. Clouds
left no imprint on the grass.
The creek's now dry. A wake
of vultures followed her
back to sky.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

The accountancy firm of
Couth, Kempt & Der Wear
was given the enormous task
of balancing the budget

Using its old, yellowed,
hardbound Book of Analogies
CK&DW chose to pair these
disparate scenarios:

S-1: A camera on a tripod
S-2: The 3 branches of government

The key in both scenarios
is of course maintaining a
steady balance by carefully
adjusting 3 supporting entities

One tripod leg could not be
raised or lowered without
matching adjustments to the others

Nor could one branch of
government be diminished
or enlarged just by itself

CK&DW turned in its report
and was shortly fired because
all the legs were unequal and none
of the branches could agree to agree…

which is exactly what CK&DW
said in their report.


—Max Soucia, Citrus Heights

No whimpers, no whoops, no driverless cars.
Unwashed sleep in alleys,
on park benches, church stoops,
and neighborhood bars.

No rapture, no salvation: pols argue about life,
yet Big Oil, Big Drugs stand in ovation.
Nowhere at all they acknowledge
the strife.

We died last decade—maybe last week.
Cerberus waits while
Saint Peter spreads incense
to cover the reek.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Robin Gale Odam, Sacramento

My heart soared into the clouds—the wind
had layered them above the setting sun
and then had become motionless.
I prayed as the last day passed.
I am still here—not remembered, not taken.
The sky is clear today.



The Last Day
—Photo by Robin Gale Odam