Friday, December 30, 2011

Air Gorgons for the Gnu You in the Gnu Year

Kids' robot sculpture made from litter
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

The man in the muted cardigan sweaters
always bought new shoes for
his two sons
Rick and Danny
two days after Christmas
unless that was a Sunday.

He seemed the prefect
suburbanite model
dress shirts
not too tight white slacks—
at least he was to me.

Later Mr. Turnbull
was arrested for
something Mom would not
elaborate upon
and Rick and Danny
began to wear tennis shoes
with more stains and
displaying more veer than before.


—Michael Cluff

Edwina eulogies
her ballet slippers
now fit her sister Sylvia

But she recalls
those days
with Madame Helene
and the nutcrackers

Edie will put on
the velcro foot cast
and figure out
how she tripped
off the pergola
so nimbly.


—Michael Cluff

Bought for graduation
in June 1973
thirty dollars
have lasted well
up to this day
past the demise
of Two Guys Department Store
four marriages
three college degrees
the deaths of both parents
and famous dreams.

These heavy
brown brogues
would carry on
without me
but I am glad
they do not.


ROME, GEORGIA: December 26, 1:03 p.m.
—Michael Cluff

Up to Mt. Berry
to see my son-in-law's kin
today is very merry
according to his wife Jen,
they were engladdened to see me
from the West Coast,
a special treat was to be
of which they would boast.

In the front yard near the porch
they had constructed an heirloom snowman
from bushes of the Mojave which had been scorched
by 1962 desert blasts and sliding sand.

The tumbleweed Frosty had moved
from Parcelete to Floyd County
it had been quite costly
but added to the Gamble's Christmas Bounty.

I was taken aback to 1972
Uncle Rudy's house in Piru
today was yesterday and maybe tomorrow
from this nice gesture my memory will now borrow.


ATLANTA AEROPORT: December 28, 7:52 a.m.
—Michael Cluff

On the tarmac
I stare at the flatness
the tawdry stale nature
of terminals
and sardine cabins
too many minutes
to come on a plane
headed West
with no real food
or room to let
my elbows rest free
and akimboed.

But by the time
the Mississippi passes
down there below,
I will meander
freely within
air pockets
of artesian


PHOENIX: December 29, 10:16 a.m.
—Michael Cluff

Hauled into the Hummer
to visit the second daughter
in Phoenix
she was not remade
invented there
and that is good.

As for the grandchildren
it is a wash
they have about 491 years
before the verdict
comes back
one way or
the other.


—Caschwa, Sacramento

Being around people who have ADH
Get to the point!D
Takes some patience

Each a virtual perpetual motion machine (PMM)
They are ready to go to the next step
Sooner than others

Thus the California rolling stop:
I checked, it is safe,
Why not just go?

Thus the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster:
We’ve been over that before,
We must meet deadline

Thus marriages for life and eternity
That crumble to nothing
Much sooner

PMMs feed upon others who sleep
And consume their ideas
Good night.


(After gazing at the “Rejoice” photo by Joyce Odam*)

I learned from my father
A WWII Seabee
That battleships were painted

My mother, a reader
Of James Joyce, et al.
Was adamant it was spelled

The truth at the center
Of this rather odd
Fórmidable dilemma,

There was no real centre
Around which to prove by
Formídable logic

We live in two werlds
That use different roolz
With defiant codes of onner

[*see last Tuesday's Medusa post]



It can be hard to get gnus
To wear shoes
But since they are Gorgons
They’ll at least try them on

Air Gorgon XI—
White patent leather
Fine for sprinting past

Air Gorgon XIII—
Panthers paws
For when stealth is

Air Gorgon XIX—
Black Mamba snake
Rivals the other king
Of the jungle

Gorgon 2011—
Four colorways
One for each

Pricey all,
But image is
For the gnu you


Today's LongerNip: 


Read this poem like you are
Cramming for a big test
Quiet room, lots of light
Focus, focus, focus

Start at the bottom
Then scan sideways
Take note of just the verbs
Make a mental list of them

Forget about adjectives
They are just a distraction
And so is the title and the form
You are not tested on distractions

Verbs are a poem’s punches
Roll with the punches
Throw some yourself
Batter that poem!

Don’t let the poem
Do all the talking
Pound that keyboard
With your priorities

Remember, in poetry
It is just as easy to commit
Global genocide as it is
To kill one mockingbird

Okay, you’ve done your work
Good job.
Lights out.
Get some sleep.



 Clarksburg Truck
—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento
(Be sure to check out our latest photo album, 
"Historic Locke by Cynthia Linville"
on Medusa's Facebook Page)