—Don Feliz, Sacramento
We part in an airport parking lot;
you drive off to resume your life.
We stand, I with my carry-on bag,
wanting more than just goodbye.
Quickly as a photoflash, I glimpse
your smile, sense you hugging me,
feel or imagine lips brushing my cheek.
I turn to stone while you drive away.
Thanks to today's contributors: Don Feliz and Charles Mariano for some poems on tough subjects; n.ciano and Taylor Graham for continuing the poetic conversation that's been going on, as well as musing about love and time and foxes; and Katy Brown for some beautiful photographs to complement it all. By the way, Katy and Joyce Odam will be reading at the Central Library next Wednesday night, June 1, 6pm, sponsored by Sac. Poetry Center and hosted by Bob Stanley. That's 828 I St., Sacramento.
Speaking of Katy Brown, check out Medusa's new Facebook page for her album of photos of more than 30 poets who were captured in their lair by Katy at The Book Collector over the past few months, plus another "album" of pix from here and there that were taken by Sandy Thomas. The blog that you're looking at doesn't really allow for huge numbers of photos to be displayed on an on-going basis the way Facebook does, so we expanded over that direction—though of course they don't accept lots of words, so this site will remain our home base. Type in Medusa's Kitchen or Rattlesnake Press or Medusa's Kitchen/Rattlesnake Press! (I know some of our readers haven't signed up for Facebook, but maybe you can peek at it on a friend's computer...)
If you have photos of poetry events, especially NorCal ones, that you'd like to post on our Facebook page, you can either do it directly (thanks, Mo Hurley, for today's!) or send 'em to me at email@example.com. Or you can even snail mail them and I'll scan them (P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95826—SASE if you want them back). As you know, the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
Who climbs to the attic
to listen for chiming of a broken
clock? The oaks leaf out,
bending their canopies over the roof,
laundry claps on the line, shirts
and trousers fleshed out by wind
shimmying the transparent air,
skirts and blouses dancing
with the sky. And then
the trees let their leaves fly
in a resignation
like November, seasons
being so elastic, belonging to
past and future. The present
is not a broken clock, possession
of someone who was
once alive. Time is its own
(Continuing the conversation with DR Wagner, and an echo of Tom Goff's on Weds.)
A PLACE TO BE
(in response to D.R. Wagner's "Two Foxes")
The two foxes you see
are quite the obscurity.
A brother and a sister
named Tom and Blaire,
searching for a place to be.
The air is crisp
and the snow is cold
devising a plan
to enter your house
before the weather enfolds.
For upon their entrance
Tom will take your best coat
and a top hat to wear with his monocle;
Next he’ll enter the kitchen to light up a smoke
but only to find Blaire sitting there
Sipping on her tea
Wearing high-waisted pants
a green vest, and some brown boots to match,
Then he’ll say, “Sister you look fine,
but it's time to go—we have a place to be.”
On Sunday afternoons we use to fight,
No one was ever wrong or right.
You and I: the lovers plight
Waiting for something to take flight
but it was always out of sight
maybe we lost it that dreadful night
the one where you took our love
and said it no longer represented a dove
something so pure and true.
I really had love for you
but that didn’t last and in the moonlight,
you symbolically let go of the kite.
I understood our love was trite
cheap and worthless nearly dead
but it’s not like I haven’t already bled
Our love had fallen from the greatest height
but nothing was worse than our final fight
the one we had that Sunday afternoon.
You left my heart in pieces,
but said I’d find a healer.
Most women I know help
with hugs, a few platonic kisses,
poetry, long conversations,
and waves of caring, but none
seems like the one to seal the seams
leaking love from my heart.
YOUR BODY TURNED TO ASH;
your outer-clothes given
to daughters, friends,
Your underclothes, second skin
seen only by me at home…
I add them to the flames—
one at a time, in the hibachi
we bought fifty years ago
on our Japanese honeymoon.
I scatter the ashes with tears
among roses you described
with your sunrise poems.
EIGHT NIGHTS IN THE HIDE-A-BED
I hug your body pillow at midnight.
You lie in our bed where Morpheus
defends you from pain, but agitates
blood, guts, your attempts to sleep.
You moan, gasp, convulse, and twitch—
babble in German and Russian,
summon Death in English, see
Babunya, your parents, four aunts
calling you to join them—to rest.
Exhausted for days, breathing slows,
pulse weakens, you slumber.
Drugs continue to keep you that way
until evening, and you seem enchanted,
serene, barely inhaling and sighing until
Death finds time, answers your call.
—charles mariano, sacramento
for the phone to ring,
steams from my cup
the phone call
from my dear friend
and refuses to go
without a fight
clear to me though,
tried to believe
this miracle comeback
believe, like he believed,
but i knew
framed on my walls
his voice scratchy, barely there,
“can only talk a few minutes…tired”
got all worked up,
about these two
pitiful, old dudes,
FIFTY TIMES BETTER
we almost made
then thrown away
I’ll find another
fifty times better
then I will say
love—I gave it all.