Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What's Behind Us?

Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

And then I try to reconstruct the dreams I didn't have
or don't remember. I used to dream amazing things,
then lie awake to make them poems. An ark, pitched
above the brink of flood. Runes, keys. I'd lie there,
dark, remembering. Insomnia, they
called it. There's help, they said. Stay awake
till midnight. Then, just sleep till the
alarm goes off. And then I
wake up, woozy, tilted
wrong. By dawn, the bed
so full of sleep,
there's no room
for my


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

Does naming an object
somehow alter or change it?

Coming to this place, in this
slice of time, I dare not move.
I was not summoned.
It is I who seek to know it.

I dare not be this sacredness—
for I hint of myself as already known
too much.

And so, I stand as in reverence for stasis
as I peer through its light,
neither touching nor knowing,
but feeling only sadness,
for my tongue has moved yet again.


—Carol Louise Moon

This two-tone gray stone,
dead shadow of an egg
misleads me.

It sits tight and introspective
in its own omniscience

forcing my brain to bend
and squirm under the weight
of its own gray matter.
Or white matter. But, no matter…

This stone’s dull shimmer,
even before the great flood of tears,
draws me.
Yet I come no closer,
not wanting to intrude.


(based on a photo by Viola Weinberg
that appeared on Medusa's Kitchen Monday, 1/9/12)
—Tom Goff, Carmichael

The light somehow penetrates
this river of stone tunnel: a glacier,
all light on self-grinding glass, abrades
the cobblestone throughstreet flanked
either side by cobbled walkway. Follow me,
traveler, out this gateway arch, the light cries,
and I will guide you straight ahead smack
into a windowless stone wall (lovely dead end!),

or, if you turn right, into a temple-serene
false house, a second gateway
arch into another tunnel (how
often, cries this second tunnel, do you get to
reenact your birth-canal struggle out,
once forward, then retrograde
into another far-from-eager mother?)

(Do you feel yourself
shrink, my beloved, as I debirth you?
Whose is the labor now, I ask?)

Oh, and if you turn a hard left you’re
back outside and under my hottest light,
says the light. And headed—as you are,
whichever of these three true-false ways
you take—God knows not when or to what
or for why.


—Taylor Graham

Hair wild with all the words wind makes
as I wake up with last night's dreams
on my tongue, ears loud with voices
you might not hear—the sound of rain,

of each drop becoming current,
hair wild with all the words wind makes
and a rushing inside the mind.
There are three rivers in my eyes,

pieces of a portrait, mirror
to be shattered and rearranged—
hair wild with all the words wind makes,
a portrait to be thrown away.

Our footprints melt: what's behind us.
Find the compass-rose of azimuths,
then walk. Do you see my rivers?
Hair wild with all the words wind makes.


Good Morning, friends, and thanks to our cooks for today's Medusa fare. Some items of note:

•••Jennifer Pickering and Trina Drotar will be appearing on Capitol Public Radio TODAY at 10 am to talk about the upcoming Writer's Brush event at Sac. Poetry Center next Saturday. Go to to hear it online. Jennifer has also been very enterprising with her artwork. Go to to purchase ups, magnets, prints, tiles and T-shirts that feature her work, or go to for prints and cards. Her paintings are part of Writer's Brush and will be shown at SPC Jan. 7-29, and she will have a showing at the Red Dot Gallery in Sacramento ( in April. PLUS, her artwork will be on the cover and featured in Blue Moon Literary & Art Review ( in the coming weeks. Busy gal, and an inspiration to us all!

•••This Sunday, Jan. 15 is the next deadline for WTF from Rattlesnake Press. See for details.

•••The latest issue of Canary is out. See

for Kel Munger's review of Swan Scythe Press's latest chapbook winner, The Measured Breathing by Michael Hettich.

•••Sac. Poet Laureate Bob Stanley writes: I have a highly esteemed publisher who is considering having me edit an anthology of poems about wine, and the California wine world in particular. He's asked to see some poems as examples, and I wondered if you would be willing to contribute a poem that touches on any aspect of wine, and allowing me to include it in my proposal. If you want to write something new, please do, but older or previously published work is fine as well. The poetic traditions of wine go back a long way, and whether or not you believe that Li Po died in a drunken boating accident, I'm guessing that many of you will have a poetic angle of your own. Feel free to draw from your personal experience—joys, fears, politics, agriculture—whatever bubbles up to the surface. Please send me something by the end of the month (at if you're interested, and I'll keep you posted if this project has "legs."

•••916 Ink, a new Sacramento nonprofit, is helping local youth write and publish their original work, and the group needs volunteers to help young writers this spring. If you’re a writer who likes to work with kids, consider becoming a volunteer for 916 Ink. The commitment is 2 hours every week for an 8 week session, plus a three hour training on either Jan. 16 from 6-9 pm or Jan. 18 from 4-7 pm at the Salvation Army in Oak Park.

This spring, 916 INK is working on three projects:
1. High school students from mid-February to the end of April on Wednesdays from 4-5:30 pm.
2. Third, fourth, and fifth graders from mid-February to mid April on Wednesdays from 2-4 pm.
3. "Tweens" from mid-April to the end of May on Thursdays from 4-6 pm.

All the writing for 916 Ink culminates in a book publication for the youth who participated (printed on the Sacramento Public Library's new book machines) and a celebratory young authors’ reading in June at the downtown Galleria.

You can learn more about 916 Ink at  They were recently highlighted in the Sacramento Bee's Book of Dreams. You can also email Katie McCleary at if you have questions.


Today's LittleNip(s)

—Taylor Graham

High in the oak,
a nest

a feathered crest,
hooked beak,

—Taylor Graham

This row
of mailboxes
an empty road,

each box
for good news.



 Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento