Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Timeless Grace of Words

Dry Field in Rain
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

In that dream, we all gathered—
the carpenter, the poet, the chimney-sweep—
to climb up into the hole in the sky,

far away from that hole in earth
that's red as molten slag
outside the factory-town; whereas

the ascent into that heavenly hole requires
the tools of butcher, cobbler, weaver
be made of song.

There are gaps in the ladder,
rung to rung. I barely remember brittle
pages in German script, lettered

ink shaped like harps and lyres.
And that gate-hole into the heavens
the song that woke me, dream so

sketchy, gone by the time
I'm awake to scent of waste
on air, dead meadow flowers;

only a husk left,
an image, what I can


—Taylor Graham

Was it a charcoal tom named Benny,
or Cricket, my pinto pony for a year—
which was my very first broken heart?

A fleeting string of backyard cats
skulked the alleys of my childhood.
Was it a charcoal tom named Benny

that I lost somewhere? A box tortoise
picked up off the road in Oklahoma?
Cricket, my pinto pony for a year?

Prissy, Firebird, Taco, Roxy, Cody—
the dogs who led me through the dark—
which was my very first broken heart?


—Taylor Graham

I'm traveling a book published long ago,
full of British history and Scotch sheep
roaming the Highlands oblivious to wars,
lambs leaping boundaries of Borderland.

Outside, our sheep are grazing. One ewe
keeps searching for a way through fences
to always-greener grass on the other side.
I'm traveling a book published long ago

where time and space become landscape
in a word-argosy of warriors and farmers.
In my armchair, I travel all these places
full of British history and Scotch sheep—

no chasing strays of my own, or mending
fences or alliances; no mourning for lost
lambs. I keep on reading of a wanderer
roaming the Highlands oblivious to wars—

no, contemplating mankind's bloody saga.
And it's almost dark. I switch on a lamp
as Time falls into timeless grace of words,
lambs leaping boundaries of borderland.


—Sandy Thomas, Sacramento

seventh day, second month
western calendar year

the eye of the tides
wakes the rhythm
of the rivers
in my soul


—Sandy Thomas

slithers silently
through infinite space

images of interest
to the book of faces

elliptical pupils
turn poems
into virtual stone


—Trina Drotar, Sacramento

She carries a lantern
walks toward water
below a sky peppered
paprika and cinnamon.

She carries a lantern
sings of mountains
above meadows
purpled with lupine.

She carries a lantern
dreams of dances
by the edge of a pond
where cattails grow.

She carries a lantern
listens to voices
of waterfowl and toads
and scurrying unknowns.


—William S. Gainer, Sacramento

The x-rays

were negative,

nothing broke,

but you could still

put your fingers

in the bullet hole—

both sides.


—William S. Gainer

The solitary beasts

are the most vicious.

My advice,

leave them

the fuck alone.


—William S. Gainer

It was mostly sculptures
of female torsos,
Very nice...
No nipples though.
That might explain
why the joint
was empty.


—Michael Cluff, Corona, CA

Valentine's is a special day
when love comes out to play
petty dealings and the daily fray
disappear under its heady sway.
Please therefore, do not delay
get your love a dainty nosegay
if you do not, start to pray
that your amore does not go away
into another garden's aromatic sway
and possibly, just possibly be led into clay
encrusting the heart against you who then will stray.


a special poem for Medusa's readers:

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Three Valentines
not forgotten
untouched by time
first love
like ungrowing roses
in the maze
of adolescence,
those wandering days
by forbidden fruit trees
in the Adamic garden
on a beautiful Eve,
puppy love
shared equally
in the present absence
like petals in a corsage
given in hand
before the prom
with lyrical words
colorfully arranged
on the page
and even initialed
on the card,
falling in love
in real time
when the past
buries itself
in silence
but lives
a season on its own
in memory's
hearts, muse and stone.


Today's LittleNip: 

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole

Let this poem take
a few moments when
nothing happens

If anything happens
let it go. After all
it is nothing.

           If you must
see a prayer wheel
turning, turning

stopping at a prayer
you are meant to hear
lightly, lightly.


—Medusa, with thanks to today's chefs, some of whom have tackled forms, rhymes, humor, Seeds of the Week, Valentine's Day, photos, Forms to Fiddle With (did you catch Taylor Graham's cascade?)—you're a glorious bunch! Among the intrepid is the mighty Bill Gainer; you can catch a glimpse of him in Grass Valley tonight at the reading by D.R. Wagner and Pat Grizzell—see the blue board for details. And thanks to SnakePal B.Z. Niditch, who sends us a special Valentine all the way from Massachusetts!

Sunset on a Rainy Day
—Photo by Taylor Graham