Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Dance, Dreams & Delusions

 Powwow, Port Sanilac, Michigan
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

 —Taylor Graham, Placerville

What used to be third floor before earthquake:
skiff of concrete dust like morning snow. It's 

quiet except street-noise through shattered
window—hammers, hacksaws cutting rebar,

backhoe, sirens. Someone yells ¡Silencio! and 
everyone stops to listen. Sound of life? Inside
this room, my dog sniffs edges. Masticated
building tossed with chair-legs, a shoe, blue

floral print. My dog has had enough of death;
she crawls under a chunk of ceiling, or is it wall?
comes back with that look in her eye. Has she

found an inch of silence, space small as before

breath for a prayer to seep between gray slabs—
someone alive? From the parapet, a pigeon
extends its wings and flies.

—Taylor Graham

The sidewalk's empty in a one-street town.
My dog on leash leads out, she pulls me east
past bakery with its after-whiff of yeast.
The sidewalk's empty in a one-street town,

my dog on leash leads out. She pulls me east
past gallery and grill, an antique store,
a crack in pavement—one quick sniff before
my dog leads out again, and pulls me east.

Past gallery and grill, an antique store
whose musty scent of by-gone days slips through
the locked-tight door. She tugs; here's something new
past gallery and grill; the antique store

whose musty scent of by-gone days slips through
to sidewalk (empty). In a one-street town
a dog's nose reads the news that's coming down.
Whose musty scent of by-gone days slips through?
The sidewalk's empty in a one-street town.

My dog on leash leads out, she pulls me east
past bakery with its after-whiff of yeast.
The sidewalk's empty in a one-street town.

—Taylor Graham
The night was shattered by dreams.
Two long-dead men lost and buried in their flight.
Overhead, the great bird screams.
Pits under snow, earth packed tight.
We woke to horses burning, day's savage light.
For such dreams, what must we pay?
Pebbles, driftwood, rafts of skin, some shards of bone.

A quarter-moon per Monday;
four makes a ghostly moonstone,
a silver coin. This moon keeps it for its own.
We keep nothing. Not one name—
faces of loved ones—they will all rearrange
and recombine in the same
register of memory; strange
yet shining, the old hands and glances; small change. 


—Taylor Graham

A dance for two. My dog leads, and I follow.
I parked my car at the vista, and now
we move to the music of river far below,
past the rockwall meant to save tourists from
the view. Downslope of dance-floor
littered slick with deadfall leaves, my dog
picks our step. Out of sight, booming,
the great river. That lilt of head, the graceful 
turns—a dancer is my dog. To the edge
of gorge. Rock falls away, inches from my
boot. Above us, at the vista on a pleasant day,
people stand at the wall of the world,
gazing at blue heavens, grayrock castles
on every side, as wind joins the river's song,
an invitation to the dance. Without quite
choosing, someone took the river for partner.
That dance is done. I lead my dog back 
to the rockwall barricade, the vista, our car.

Little Grass Dancer
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Caschwa, Sacramento

(There is a sweepstakes offer
to win $3 million towards
your dream house. No thanks.)

When I dream I am in a house
the rooms change without notice
the door to the master bedroom
now opens to the pantry

Like following footprints in an eddy
that room that had a piano
I was going to play for a while
is no longer where I left it

Familiar rooms become hallways
that lead to strange rooms
filled with strange people
nothing is where I left it

Maybe I am dead in my dream
dead people don't need
kitchens or restrooms
and neither does my dream house

Which takes me down the hallway
of a frat house, activity everywhere
constant motion, one belongs
or is awkwardly out of place

I reach in my pocket for the invitation
it doesn't work that way
you have to know somebody
where's that piano now?

Three Poems by Josh McKinney's English 30C Class, CSUS, Fall 2012 (with Cynthia Linville): 


Red clay layered against
the bottom of our feet,
hand in hand we
walk farther and farther toward
the ever-narrowing horizon until
we shrink into a small pocket of sky,
a seasonal contortion.
Soon we will awake in the dark,
become a shooting star,
reach past city lights,
out of time.



Everything devoured
by my hellish mouth,
by the sun crawling the length
of hazy mornings,
by the scorching embrace
of sober nights.



I lost my summer to booze,
cat fights,
bare skin and sweat.
I lost my nerve.
I didn't need it to stick around.


Our thanks to today's contributors: Taylor Graham is fiddling with recent forms, including this week's Catena Rondo, and says she's putting together a book of dog poems. Caschwa (Carl Bernard Schwartz) eschews a dream house, while Josh McKinney and Cynthia Linville send us these poems that were put together by his CSUS class; both Josh and Cynthia have readings coming up, with Josh reading from his new book on Monday at SPC, and Cynthia reading tomorrow night at Poetry in Davis (details on our blue board at the right of this).

Tom Goff sends us a whiff of Scotch (via la France) in his LittleNip; we send it along to Richard Hansen of The Book Collector, who is now home from the hospital, with hopes for his continued recovery. 

And Katy Brown is sending us beautiful photos of the powwow she attended in Port Sanilac, Michigan last weekend, which we are putting into three photo albums for Medusa's Facebook page. One album is already up; the other two are coming later this week. Watch for them.


Today's LittleNip:

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Ah my Highland lassie! D'you see
Braveheart himself, William Wallace,
flinging a Highland fling by the Seine?
Topped jaunty with a beret, in a
French Impressionist kilt? Not
a single banger anywhere
to be eaten?



Feathered Fan
—Photo by Katy Brown