Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Beauty Still Matters

Days come and go
The iron oxide

—Photo and poem by Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax

—Dave Boles, Grass Valley

i received
your the message
your mother
was succinct
you had finally
the one reason
for taking your life

i knew the voices
had returned
took your calls
at all hours
tried to comfort you
best i could

in the end
the decision
as it always
had been
was entirely
up to you

i suggested years ago
or razors
were a waste
of time

your mother wrote
the .45
was your final choice
leaving mention
in your note
to tell me
i was right

my friend
glad i could help



We sail tomorrow with the dawn star
on a phosphor sea, under a baleful sign:
when the old moon carries the new moon,

the sea will rise to embrace the mast of a tall ship.
I wish that I could hold you in my arms once more,
but we leave from Bristol with the dawn star.

You are my love and my life, you and little Jenny.
Tell her that I didn't want to leave
with the new moon haunting the sliver of old.

The last two days, the sun rose in a garnet sky,
casting fear among the crew. Regardless,
the capt'n says we set the sails at dawn.

Sailors from the Betsy Ann told tales of the Dutchman
over mugs of ale at the Three Hanged Men last night.
The crescent moon carries its ghost across the sky.

Evil rides on the phosphor tide, spirits light the waves.
You and Jenny are in my heart
as we set sail with the morning star.
Pray God a full moon sees us safely home.

—Katy Brown, Davis


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

This mask of time and space—
a membrane thinning where dusk
and horse's mane dissolve in dream
and dog becomes a firebird—

each shape spell-caught inside
the sleeping mind—silk behind the eye
pulled taut as if awake. No things
are as they seem, but recalled—

just her kind of gesture still alive
so many years past death. Dry twigs
thrive without water. Dry bone,
spark without tinder

seen through November-flaming
leaves. No breath—she floats
through the shut door in greeting,
not goodbye—as if she'd always been

here, just over the edge
of understanding. Imagination goes
blind, drawing me tap-tapping
the dark beyond.


—Taylor Graham

Inside the house, on fresh-swept floor,
this leaf-lorn, splintered, dried-out twig.
Dragged in for a Deer-Mouse nest?

It keeps the scent of wild, shape of bird-
shadow when Westwind makes
of Oak its whirligig. And Imagination—

why must Mind invent a story
for every broken-off, enigmatic sprig
that finds a way inside our house?


—Taylor Graham

The morning after
in this dark of the year
tangled in chill of dry twigs,
leaf-fall sheets wrapping dreams
in shadow blacker than trees,
someone's lost in frost-bit stars
waiting to be found
as astronauts spin backwards into space
waiting to be found,
someone's lost in frost-bit stars,
in shadow blacker than trees'
leaf-fall sheets wrapping dreams
tangled in chill of dry twigs
in this dark of the year
the morning after.


—Nicole Schrager, Davis

Bare trees point their dark branches upwards like veins
threading into the burnt flesh of the sky.
Lights and glowing baubles spin round
and round, hovering, blinding, disorientating,
illuminating giant tents crouched
with open mouths sucking in
any inattentive wanderer lost in the mist,
set out on a grand adventure at first
but realizing later rather than sooner
the uncontrollable depths of this strange,
mystical world that only appears
at this hour on this day this very moment
appearing ahead and pulling you,
tearing at you, screaming at you, “come
let us attend you and turn you towards us
and slip inside your bones
and wear you like a puppet
on this night.”
Enter the tent, dazed and numb,
not yet afraid but only just,
you poor dumb beast,
raised from birth for nights like these.
Coo and laugh and marvel at our flashy parlor tricks
our golden eyes
our spells woven around you
until you are no longer.
Carne vale:
a farewell to the flesh.
Cover yourself with masks of bone
designed with blood.
Jump upon our stage and blend
into the slime dripping from the ceiling,
brushing the tips of your head—
vines perhaps, or entrails or your
old hanging bodies.
Plunge your hands into the uncertain goo
and wait there, immobilized.
Wait for us to call you out.


Thanks to today's contributors: always good to hear from Ron Lane and his camera; Dave Boles checks in (watch for next week's Poetry With Legs reading featuring Neeli Cherkovski and frank andrick); Katy Brown and Taylor Graham continue their dialogue; Mike Cluff sends an intriguing LittleNip (wonder what the rest of THAT story is...); and Nicole Schrager pulls up a chair to the Kitchen table for the first time. She writes: My name is Nicole Schrager and I am a student at UC Davis. Currently, I'm taking a poetry class taught by Professor [D.R.] Wagner, who is very fond of Medusa's Kitchen and encouraged our class to send in our Halloween poems to your site. Welcome, Nicole, and thanks for heeding The Professor about sending poems to us; he is, indeed, fond of the Kitchen, and we of him...

Be sure to have a look-see at the latest issue of Pirene's Fountain at; you may see some names you recognize in their substantial offering of poets, including Jane Blue, Holly Day (who has appeared in the Kitchen) and C.J. Sage, who will be reading with J.P. Dancing Bear this Thursday at the Davis Arboretum (see blue board for details).


Today's LittleNip: 

The smell of that
pink soap dispensed
in nearly first rate bathrooms
slightly covers the stench
left by him
on Kydia's rasped skin.

—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA



In this jungle
Survival of the fittest
Dog eat dog world
Beauty still matters

—Ronald Edwin Lane