—Jane Blue, Sacramento
Astronomy encompasses everything:
in the middle of the Pacific
a baleen whale sings to the night sky.
eternally on a blue and white plate,
wedding present from Osaka. Even though
that marriage is over and the stars
are dead and lost
to cities, they continue to speak
their fervent language.
A gelding stands out on a high plain.
From that lashed island, Iona, comes
the Book of Kells, painstakingly illuminated
through the lacunae of the Middle Ages.
The minutiae of insects rasp their short song:
the nomenclature of oratorio. Under the stars
the pedestrian quill of a crow.
In the kitchen, radicchio. This is our life.
Not the sadness the world has become.
Not torture; from Uranus
you can’t even fathom the venom.
In prison, Michael Bookwyrm served hard time
for crimes too horrible to specify.
He served his time—that fundamental slime—
Even though Mike helped make license plates,
washed a trillion pairs of underwear,
fended off the fondness of his cell mate,
this hard work had not made him a new man.
He was incorrigible. He was bad.
But he had served his time and was released.
He thumbed his nose, that horrid, dreadful cad,
as he left the prison bus and walked away.
He was a louse: he went to a book store
and bought a dozen books, used and new,
and scribbling with his vicious pencils four
he repeated his crime: he wrote in the books.
He underlined words and he wrote comments
about the meaning of the world and life.
The authorities had not made in him a dent:
he could not read without writing in books.
It was a long, empty summer,
the days blank with an ache
that sometimes diminished,
but never went away
never went away
never left the confines of her
Those were the days of disbelief,
the timeless nights hollow and flat
with regret and sorrow
that sometimes abated,
in midnight’s solitary hours:
toxic and taut.
But, to her surprise, time moved on,
inclined light foreshadowed autumn,
red leaves, brown ones, crunching
underfoot; and soon came
cold, windy nights,
the days becoming more compact,
austere yet rich.
Those were the depthless winter nights,
awash with memory and grief
that sometimes subsided,
but never died away. . . .
Then in her heart
retrospection turned to springtide,
The sun moves behind
undone, rays hidden
under gray. Storm coming
sooner than I thought.
Remembering not holding
you close, letting you go
as daylight shattered
the southern windows,
sunlight that day
you lay dying,
diminished behind me
our son weary
in this bleak world
weather and human
with your departure
and even now,
your eyes withdrawn
from this world.
—Patricia L. Nichol
When is it that words cannot breach the gap,
that sounds and syllables fall short of scope,
when we lose our voice and become silent?
Silence becomes a formidable thing
in the dark avenues of solitude
when words can narrow and not breach the gap.
Solitude when used against oneself,
and not for creative expansion,
can weaken one’s voice and promote silence.
There are truths we each must learn the hard way,
through discovery and thought and time,
and we must find the words to bridge the gap
between us and the hard things of the world:
like love and grief, ecstasy and anguish
else we lose our voice and become silent.
It may be that words will not breach the gap
if we do not share the of marrow of our life,
if we remain islands unto ourselves
and lose our voice in the depths of silence.
Poetry season is upon us, and Medusa receives announcements every day about upcoming events and other news. Be sure to keep an eye on this, our daily diary, as well as the green and blue boards at the right. Unfortunately, not every announcement comes to us with much notice—sometimes the notes arrive almost the day of the reading—so watch for them.
—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento
Sit beside her in your alpine cabin,
snow stacked to windows.
Sip cider together, and tell her
September truths—that her breast
surgery in autumn moves a
single mountain, keeps her near in
spring, you sighing on her one breast.