Monday, September 12, 2011


 Covered Bridge
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Wasps scale the slippery pane of the window.
Down below, students, lightly dressed girls, pass;
Morning shadows and birds (crows, sparrows, swallows)
glide, every kind of silent thing across the glass.

So rapt upon what they’re doing, shadow and bird
alike evanesce, their natures crossing, interdoubling:
the shade the bird’s alter ego, the bird the shade’s.
Not one whit of all this is troubling,

save when bird-shadow so crosses the glass
as to implant shadow in the glass itself,
the effect of dolphins at flow, when they pass
just below surface-skin, visible only one slim water-shelf

absorbing, assuming, their rippling back-formations.
Thus might the spirit, the calmness, the logos
first float over the void, all essence prior to creation,
god skimming by the weight of a sublime scant smile
             over the new topos.

Here I am floating mid-office, Kellerian vibrascope
to the sweet land, parking lot and college park,
and the glass that I look out quite lookout in hope,
for the morning that street-sweepers away dark

revives me, consoles me. Despair was not far,
but that was the night, and this is the light.
I have with me Edward de Vere’s letters (true Shakespeare),
drinking down all powers of his fit for a frame so slight.

But his words are not mine to inherit, and so I retreat
into my slender stock, my glazed-over cave
with the scrabbling wasps, the glass bird-shadows, the seat
of lore and language and what brains my good genes gave.

The natives here distinguish no levels of air and cloud;
             they’re birds.
I drift shapeless and adrift as the air, wind, cloud, awaiting
             the spirit of words.


—Brigit Truex, Placerville

He thinks he knows it all, won't
wait for the ending, to sweep me up
with his sickle-moon scythe.

Wait! For the ending to sweep me up—
I am still writing it as I lift each leaf
and measure its shadow, its meaning, while

I am still writing it. As I lift each leaf
there is yet another line to be heard,
a green-veined vocabulary where

there is yet another line to be heard,
transposed into tongues that speak
to the heart, without cautious translation

transposed into tongues that speak
the language of the small, unfurling
bud I hold in my hand, each word a seed.

There is yet another line to be heard,
the language of the small. Unfurling,
I am still writing it as I lift each leaf,
wait for the ending to sweep me up,
transposed into tongues that speak.


—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

From West Virginia
she still intrudes
into his life
periodically and unwanted
via the cyber world
and at regular intervals
like a dentist appointment
that he cannot control
or cancel
if needed.

Still Steve is intrigued;
at this point in his life
he takes any attention
he gets willingly
no matter how
personal, bawdy
or foul
it makes him

Yet distance
makes the heart
with eternally unalterable
and then
the blocking device
the delete key
is gleeful
and passionately employed
on his eager part.


(last journal page)
—charles mariano, sacramento

with every ending,
each last page
duly noted,

i think of age
a mind-numbing total

not so long ago,
i considered a person
my age

as in all the years
that came before,
and how i managed
to squander it

corny cliches like,
time is precious,
life is short,
have a scary,
resounding tone

somewhere back there
in between all the
a slight miscalculation

as in appearance
that scraggily mess
staring in the mirror

no longer
coming to get me,
it's got me

so i crawl
to another last page
try not to get
or down

just a date
damn it

last pages
marking posts,
duly noted

"on this day
January 23rd, 2002,
some old bastard
scrawled this note"

signed, dated,


—Dillon Shaw, Davis

     it's true
     i'm always frightened and nervous
     afraid of everything from germs to heights to people
     too high above the ground and i feel gut-wrenching terror
     surrounded by strangers and i can't breathe
But no one can face fears like I can
I can climb trees and stand on a stage
I can do anything, no matter how frightening
     because i'm always frightened

     it's true
     i'm always sad and lonely
     i hate so much about myself
     perhaps for no reason at all
Yet I have learned to see through the fog
Not merely the fog of depression; the fog of existing
     without living
I can see the world in all of its forgotten splendor
Feel the coarse bark of a tree
(Which doesn't feel how you think it does, by the way)
I can run and yell and pick flowers
In my glorious insanity life is beautiful and free
     i wasn't lying about the loneliness though
     i am surrounded by beings too sane to join me in living

     it's true
     i'm in denial about the harshness of the world
     i refuse to accept that everyone lies
And I love more truly and freely than any other


If I ever had or have a "secret admirer"
he or she didn't leave me anything
but probably got something I've lost or been missing
perhaps being like a John Waters movie kind of creep
who just collects stuff to hold on to obsess
That includes once when I had a blue-striped cap
I swear I know the boyfriend at the time grabbed
Oh yes among unsigned notes I've ever gotten someplace like school
never poetic words of admiration or sketched work of art
(Oh didn't you wish for letters written with passion like Napoleon Dynamite
who declared, "there's a lot more where this came from...?")
but instead say something like "I like your boobs..."
and I felt these whacked-out guys were watching me unaware
even peeping and looking around perhaps while I'm at home
Maybe that's why for all these years since
I've been careful about not hanging my bras outside...

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


Thanks to all of today's contributors, including D.R. Wagner for the LittleNip (see Medusa's Facebook page for his Photo Album #1)! About her poem, Brigit Truex writes: I was kind of intrigued by the scary figure in the SOW and that idea of death being a secret admirer; of course I had to tie in with the form of the week (tartoum) too, you know! More challenging than one might think.

This is a very busy week in NorCal poetry; on some nights you're going to have to make tough choices. See the blue board for details.

Charles (Caschwa) Swartz writes: After setting my flag to half-mast and displaying it out in front of the house, I took a break from 9/11 TV coverage and looked in on Medusa. I was browsing in Calliope’s Closet and found the term, “fer cryminentlies” which I Googled, and that brought me right back to Calliope’s Closet. Maybe that was put there to inspire those who are moved to initiate a creative spark where none existed before, to advertise with neon lights on the backside of the Moon. Or maybe it’s one of those things, “If you have to ask, I can’t tell you.” Either way, I felt more alienated than inspired. Or is that just me?

My bad, Caschwa. I should've spelled it criminently, not cryminently; when I googled it with a "y", they suggested I try it with an "i", though, which led me to some links to help you and others who might be bumfuzzled (—now, that's REALLY a made-up word!). Interesting you should bring it up last week (Sunday), which was Interjection Week on our Word/Day link.

What's the group-think on this one? Is it fair to make up words, in our poetry or in our daily life? Or will it just unnecessarily bumfuzzle the reader? Anyway, here are the criminently links; the last one is for Criminently, the band:


Today's LittleNip: 

Words must surely be counted among the most powerful drugs man ever invented.

—Leo Rosten



—Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove