Friday, August 05, 2011

Woods, Moons, and the Beach

Katy Brown, attending the Bistro 33 reading in Davis
on August 3, 2011
—Photo by Trina Drotar
[For more of Trina's photos from the Bistro reading 
and from the Sac. Poetry Center reading on Aug. 1,
see the Medusa's Kitchen Facebook page.]

—Katy Brown, Davis

Traditions of shadow surround us
deep in this primeval forest,
circled by soft-footed hunters:
the cougar, the grey wolf, and fox.
Cedars and pines grow up straight here,
like columns of ruined cathedrals.
A silence like Cistercian cloisters
hangs in the pale bars of moonlight.
Here, you and I are but travelers
amid all this primeval darkness.
This weight of the forest around us
is a world where we never belonged:
a weight of the past born in shadows
of trees far more ancient than song.


—Alfred Eisenstaedt, Chico, 1967

When I was in my teens, they’d have said this:
 She’s not as smart as her brother.
When I was in my 20’s, they would have said:
 She’s the strange one who speaks in photographs.
In my 30’s, they’d have said:
 She’s the quiet one, married to that brilliant programmer.
In my 40’s, they’d have said:
 She’s Miranda’s mom; she’s divorced.
When I was in my 50’s, they’d have said:
 She’s a social worker for the county.
Now I’m in my 60’s. They say:
 She speaks in images; she’s happy.
She’s happy. She speaks in images:
when I was in my teens, they’d have said this.
In my 20’s they’d have said,
she’s the quiet one, married to that brilliant programmer.
In my 30’s they’d have said,
she’s not as smart as her brother.
In my 40’s they’d have said:
she’s a social worker for the county.
In my 50’s they’d have said,
she’s Miranda’s mom. She’s divorced.
Now I’m in my 60’s they say,
she’s the strange one who speaks in photographs.
She’s the strange one who speaks in photographs:
in my 50’s they’d have said this.
In my 20’s they’d have said,
she’s not as smart as her brother.
In my 30’s they’d have said,
married to that brilliant programmer, she’s the quiet one.
In my 40’s they’d have said,
she’s divorced. She’s Miranda’s mom.
Now I’m in my 60’s they say,
she was a social worker for the county.
When I was in my teens they’d have said this:
she’s happy when she speaks in images.

[*Eisenstadt once told Katy that she had great promise
as a photographer]


He walked into that bar, an accident waiting to happen
Wearing jeans and carrying a knife on his hip
Slowly sauntering up to the counter in boots
He walked like music, like rock and roll, like drugs and sex and dancing
He ordered a whiskey as he surveyed the crowd, gone quiet and staring
I couldn’t breathe when his eyes met mine, deep and dark and cold and hot all at the same time
A minute later he had finished his drink
Set a few crumpled bills down and strode out again
I swallowed and followed him out into the night

—Allison Ferrini, Davis


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Of course, you tell me—quoting
Mr. Flood—the night sky has two moons.

Climbing the last hill home, a man holds
reflective memory with two moons.

Too much moonshine, they say.
But a spire slits a single into two moons.

Your retinal specialist measures inside
your eye. How can you see two moons?

My father read the medical literature
but stayed silent on two moons.

So many moons allotted to one lifetime—
this month we cheat. Two moons.

I’m walking the dog under a moon so full
it spills into the pond: two moons!

Tadpole moonlight metamorphs to silver
frogs—way more than just two moons.

Someone tried to explain all this to my
dark head. It split into two moons.


(Inspired by Brigit Truex’ "Says Who?")

A lot has been said
About the moon and the sun
Rising and falling

When in fact it is the Earth
Rotating on its axis and
Orbiting around the sun

Causing its inhabitants
Earthbound with
Rocks in their heads

To suffer spells of
Dizziness and craziness,
Totally lose their orientation

Only to invent silly stories
About heavenly bodies
Rising and falling in the sky

Even to the point of
Documenting the exact details
Of moonrises and sunrises

As if that was the reality
When in fact the only reality
Is they have rocks in their heads.

Yes, we have encountered
This phenomenon before,
In both houses of Congress.


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

My thoughts know this place as Muir Woods
National Monument. John Muir called these
redwoods coated in crimson wool, monuments.
I walk in leather, insulated against the cool
dirt-ribbon of trails.

Branch to branch, the very tall redwoods impart
ancient truths through color, vibration and
scent. Tips of branches on lacy limbs make small
finger-dances; dew collected then let go—bathing
and tickling the branches below.

Fog rolls in to blanket what it must protect, not
just against the heat of summer, or the chill of
winter, but to hinder the further encroachment
of this grove. And so, it fades the air in mist
and lace.

I visit and leave the clutter of myself, my chatter.
What a curious thing to be invaded by aliens.


—Carol Louise Moon

Tree roots above ground—moss-laden, bent/
gnarled. Cracked bark ridges/creases
browns/greens; yellowing leaves.

I lie here remembering. And it is you, Father—
the last time. Hospital beds are for clinging to,
and for letting go of... flying away.

And wasps at the base of this tree on this
summer day. Do angels fly prone, or upright?
Forward, or backward like memory?

I turn on this summer grass and ask of the
angels... grass blades pricking my belly.
We all have questions about the afterlife,

even the wasp, his stinger engaged. Is he
so informed? The gray squirrel knows better
than I. He flicks his tail—buries a large seed,
and scurries away.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Cheryl Conery, Chico

Afternoon breezes
whisper through pines and cedars
reach for wispy water vapor strands
high above.

Afternoon breezes
caress marshy meadow flowers and grasses
nod with pleasure and bow
to earth below.

Butterflies and dragonflies
cavort in the meadow

afternoon breezes.


Thanks to today's contributors, including Katy Brown, who went up to Butte Meadows a couple of weeks ago to help with a poetry workshop for three aspiring poets as part of the Butte Meadows Association Recreation Program. She says they talked a little about repeating forms and syllabics, and her cousin, Cheryl Conery, composed this poem (her first). Cheryl writes: The eyes may the "window to our soul" but I believe that poetry is the key to our heart as well as our soul, and it is often very painful and scary to let out what is really hidden deep within (our real selves?).... Welcome to the pain and pleasure of being a poet, Cheryl!

And Carl Schwartz ("Cashwa") writes that the way to a man’s heart is through the Kitchen. Awww, Carl, you really know how to schmooz a girl! Incidently, the way to the Kitchen appears to be blocked, off and on, these days; people are sending me things that aren’t getting through. Except for rare occasions (such as my being out of town), I WILL respond to your letters within 24 hours—and if I don’t, please write and ask if I got them!

And speaking of being out of town, you know how Medusa's heart is by the sea, so we'll be gone tomorrow, then back in time to post on Sunday. "See" you then.....


Cheryl Conery
—Photo by Katy Brown