Monday, March 12, 2012

Still Mooning Around Out in the Desert...

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

I have traveled the cool Swiss mountains,
the Bedouin deserts where proud men
zealously guard their women.

You are the lucent windswept skin
of the mountain, all that soft snow
and all that distance, yet Alpine, sun-warm;

Your mouth is fresh as a curveting smooth
summit, glaciercarven, the smile that arches
your lips rounding, dominating

your lovely facial vista. The blush
you might blush someday, were I to see it

or some glad devil, is the alpenglow
both living and dying in the oh too soon
ash-dwindling sundown,

dizzying as a spiral drive downhill, but
lingering soft and forever in your alas imagined

And your whole bodily loveliness
remote as the sand-white chastity, the untouched
honored loneliness of the Bedouin maiden.

Even the nomad animals she tends
touch her more nearly, tenderly, than I you.
These words I suppress the final oasis

in the forlorn desert of Neversaylove.
I pace this long last hegira under your eye

so like the moon far distant in black satin.
For me there remains only this one more
endless heavy pilgrimage, each footfall

treading my death deeper and deeper
into the desolate dark sands…


—Tom Goff

Pressure me roughly in embrace;
hard as you thrust you will be soft.
Thrust all your tensile power of face
through satin lips you rudely loft,
and shake me with collision sweet.
If cellists must feel lightning-struck
so audiences ken breeze and heat,
hark what storm charges that string you pluck.
Electrify me with your best love,
bruise me wherever you touch my skin,
and I will suppose you crush the glove
I escape barehand, unharmed though thinned.
O draw me close: I’m furred with hair:
an injured dog’s I’ve comforted.
Now to transpose from what I wear
to your soft garments those fine hairs
for emblems of my love’s caress,
which near your bosom would embed.
Embrace me softly, breast to breast:
I’m chartered but still dispossessed,
you’ve yet to meet me skin to skin.
Receive this fur, mislabeled lint;
it, like desire, clings at one hint.
And if you must those hairs remove,
gently divest yourself of them;
disrobe as well. Stand bare and smooth,
yet crowned by Venus’ diadem
unseen, earned by that tenderness
which spurns not even my lapdog’s hair,
his lively ambassage of love.
Our contact via the soft hairs shed
by my sweet broken-legged pet
is loving you at one remove:
brush off his hairs with brusque contempt,
more starkly you cannot break faith
with love—so lightly do you breathe
those tokens down and me to death.


—Dave E. Stringer

At dawn
sullen cloud bellies weep
chill rain

In drowsy head a-hum
of water clapping

Mt Hood
in grey distance

For God
an offering of burnt oil
served in a lung

Cold eternity
of highway & hunger


—Caschwa, Sacramento

A family of canaries
Was resting on a branch
Extending over the pond
Basking in moonlight

The littlest one complained
This moon is too, too big!
Make it smaller for me.
And her mama replied

Don’t look straight at it,
Look down in the pond
Because there it is broken
Into tiny pieces

The little bird crept out
To the tip of the limb
And fell right into the pond,
Into the broken moonlight

Again she complained
This pond is too, too big!
Make it smaller for me.
And her mama replied

Don’t look straight at it,
Look up in the sky
Because there it is broken
Into tiny pieces



This was his dream job
Three-piece suit, watch fob
High priced stylist did his hair
Researched suggestions
Ready for questions
On this day how would he fare?

Came to the job site
Looked eager and bright
Parked his car and went inside
Announced who he was
Let in with a buzz
Confident, no lack of pride

Mastered essentials
Packed with credentials
Now to demonstrate his skills
With cue on his hip
He then chalked the tip
Start easy, then show some frills

No hand yet to squeeze
A boss hard to please
There are a couple more tests:
Step out by the pool
Climb up on the stool
Give pool lessons to the guests


 Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

The news is thunder-gray clouds full of rain
under the metal gray of transmission
towers. I'm walking the power-line road

that climbs along the ridgetop. Down
in the valley, inversion layers of gray as if
a village burned. It's only tricks of weather.

Whatever the wires hum wordless
from around the world, the news from our
dark woods is a sudden, static explosion

of white—wild plum in oriental blossom
on old bare branches. Not static—
each petal moving like pulse on a wrist—

ecstatic with anticipation of storm. One
ladybug on a blade of grass. Mahler-
song of frogs by the pond. A tiny magenta

flower that begs to be placed in the map
of stars. Unshod hoof of yesterday.
The news is clouds and the first spat of rain.


Another busy week in NorCal poetry; almost every day brings some tough choices! Weds. and Thursdays will be biggies, then head over to Davis to hear Sibilla Hershey and Ann Privateer at The Other Voice. If you make it through the week otherwise, then Saturday you can pop up to Placerville and get Red Fox Underground Poet Brigit Truex to sign her new book for you starting at 11am at Placerville News. At 3pm you can attend the premiere reading (Julia Connor and Victoria Dalkey) of a new reading series, Crossroads Poetry Series, hosted by Trina Drotar and Sandy Thomas at the Center for Contemporary Art (Sacramento). Then you can finish off the day with a trip out to Carmichael for SPC’s Jazz and Poetry event. As usual, all the details are on Medusa's blue board at the right of this column.

Sac. Poetry Center has lots going on these days, in fact; check out their special section of the blue board (you’ll have to scroll down a ways) for info on the Annual Conference coming in April; the current SPC lecture series (another series is planned for the Fall); and the newly-announced International Poetry Tour—all this PLUS the regular Monday night readings and third Thursday Poetry at the Library open mics.

In fact, SPC can use YOUR help as a volunteer! Interested in participating in the activities of the Sacramento Poetry Center in a more active way than just attending events? Come to the open, monthly Friends of SPC meeting to discuss volunteer opportunities at the Poetry Center. Bring your own ideas for volunteering or helping with the many ongoing SPC activities such as writing articles, hosting poetry readings, designing flyers, taking photos at events, advertising, distribution, facility maintenance, entertaining out-of-town guests and much more. Friends of SPC meetings are tentatively scheduled for the fourth Thursday of every month (subject to change); the next one will be from 6-7pm on Thursday, March 22. Please feel free to drop in and share your ideas and talents! For more information, contact


Today's LittleNip(s): 

The control I usually have
is lost in your arms
and mouth
it just gets better
each passing second.
I am now a nerve ending
that wishes to be blistered
blissful in your eyes, your body
your laughter
even your ever missing presence.

—Michael Cluff, Corona, CA

—Michael Cluff

Neutered pinpoints
on blue silk tie
the white shirt
holds his lust in
until the zipper
on his brown dress pants breaks
and his fly
becomes open
to possibilities.


—Medusa (with hearty thanks to today's contributors!)

Ghost Flare
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis