Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Those Danged Wooden Horses...

—Photo by Caschwa (Carl Bernard Schwartz), Sacramento

—Michael Cluff, Corona

The trail does not drip
nor hold any treasure
excepting the enduring
of a daily cockscrew
which penetrates a surface
of ersatz waistcoats
and polemics;
drilling downward into
the real pith and sauciness
I plan to carry
as far as need be
to reach Ithaca again
wherever it may really be
and whenever it will
let me back in


—Michael Cluff

Moving from town
to hamlet
to hovel,
the Holsteins
could never
settle for long
a need for solace
barely fulfilled
the strange ways
of the normal
dissuaded them from
forming words
for the others
until Halloween
when their kind and kith
recovered voices
and inflections
keeping the real
and undead
but the same
at the minimum
of another year's


—Michael Cluff

The need for money
overwhelms the desire
for producing a realistic role
Pirandello is trumped by low comics
throwing pies at peroxided blondes
paper lettuce is required to pay
for the eaten kind
since credit over a hundred dollars
is denied here in January 1925.

In a Biblical flick
in decadent Rome
he is hired
to play a crowd member;
allergic to cats,
he will endure
proximity to the lean lions
for that additional tenner.

Bad security allows
the hungry to be
a bit too close
to the easy prey of mankind.
Skip is just in reach
when the camera lingers
a spot too long
and sees him whisked
and the vegetables
are left too many days
in the prismatic mediterranean sun.

 —Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Biorhythms of a life mid-way—
the mind a field of grasses
by the 9-to-5 burned dry. Comes a time,
you have to let it carry you
away. So here am I, boat moored
in a cove without a name;
nestled in sleeping-bag by a drift-
wood fire. Ocean rising
on those naked shingles—the world
under moon-cast clouds telling stories
that keep changing
with the weather. Constellations
of ancient odysseys.
What's tomorrow, to the bare
bones of dawn?


—Taylor Graham

This eggshell lies on stubble-grass.
Hawk-size; pecked open;

the wound no thicker than a lead pencil.
The egg is dead. Who killed it?

What bird-wish grew inside?
From dry creekbed, a titter of sparrows.

Skinny tires on blacktop, pedaled fast.
Something skitters through dry

grass; watch for snakes. A red-tail
mounts the hot, thin sky.

One empty egg. Earth turns
its shell from spring to summer.


—Taylor Graham

Sweep your eye from side to side,
every crevice in granite. The lightest
step might wake the dragon
in its den—black pit under rocks—or so
you're taught.
Watch how the second girl in line
follows quick, as if sensing
a serpent stirring, uncoiling diamonds
on its spine. Or is that just pebbles
she sets skittering? Just nerves.
You've been told
what seethes in the dark under boulders—
evidence of ancient warfare
of the gods and nature, good against evil;
dragon-snakes who sleep
on heaps of gold and rubble, ready
to grab the next little girl in line.


           Honiton, 1864
—Taylor Graham

I detoured a dozen miles to see this one-
street town famous for making lace—
handiwork of women hungerful and gaunt.

I found them sitting on clay floors,
fingers worn not quite to bone from working
thread into filigree and flounces—

how fine the lace! How coarse the patched
garments these women wear. In damp
cottages they bend to their needles, their art.

This one fashions a wedding gown
for a princess. And its maker? an old woman
who never had a girlhood of her own.

Her life is the veil of lace she works, a fancy
of lions and unicorns which a queen
might wear with pride. I give her a schilling

for this hour of her time. What use to me
is lace? But I'll remember how craft
of peasant-drudgery can wreathe a crown.

Thanks to today's fancyworkers for their fine poetic filigree and flounces! Taylor Graham says she "had to take off on Katy Brown's broken eggs and snakes [see Monday's post]", and her "Lace Odyssey" is a Persona poem in the voice of Elihu Burritt. She and Mike Cluff are working the SOW: Odyssey and the current Form to Fiddle With. Take a look at the green board at the left for info about those.

Today we are welcoming the Summer Solstice [] with a new photo album on Facebook: Caschwa Welcomes the Solstice! which features Carl Bernard Schwartz's (Caschwa's) flower photos. Check it out at

Area poets have a busy weekend ahead! Go to the blue board below the green board for our calendar with all the details. Medusa is cleaning house, by the way, giving her right side a facelift; watch how it morphs in the next few days/weeks. Our Poet-to-Poet section had left out some dear friends, e.g., so those have been added. Our publishers sections are under re-construction, links all being checked, and so on. Soon the inner pages under Snake on a Rod will be undergoing surgery, too. Keep an eye on it all, and if you'd like something posted (blog? publishing? ongoing workshop/reading series?), let us know. We're only as complete as the people who keep us going!


Today's LittleNip:

Now shift your theme and sing that wooden horse Epeios built, inspired by Athena...

—Homer's Odyssey, Book 8, lines 526-7



  —Photo by Caschwa