Thursday, October 18, 2012

Three Ways of Looking At—Was That Clouds, or Blackbirds?

—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

She said the sky was full of cloud-fish
yesterday, which was an ordinary afternoon
made fairytale by a poet's eyes.

He spoke of sky as a page of ancient
script, secret elemental texts
for a mind deciphering beyond its words.

Today, the sky is fire in all its faces—
spark, then flame above ember
igniting everything so even the trees sing.



you're a voyager down passages
of dream without a map, blind tunnels
branching only to reconnect—
you've come this way before, last night
or forty-seven years ago, these same
midnight caverns, perpetual eclipse
without a headlamp. You never meant
to go underground. Voice of winter,
ceiling hung with stalactites
sharp as questions. From somewhere
deeper, sweeping flight of fire-cats.
Here's a nether locker room
of thunder-wolves, toad-tongues,
where they keep the nightmare
changes: outlandish, ugly, or just
plain strange. Shift of planes
and spaces in and out of time. Will
light never penetrate your brain
down here? How is it, then, that night
at last disbands,
and every dawn you come awake
again, out of the unconscious

—Taylor Graham


    for Piper
—Taylor Graham

I stroke her chest. She smiles, and veils her eyes
to amber slits in pupils dark as dream.
Fingers on fur—sparks, static. Old dogs rise
to memory, living still, or so they seem.

Gone; never coming back. Some say,
only Man lives in God's immortal scheme,
while dogs must die at end of Dog's brief day.

She smiles. See how her muzzle's turning gray.
I stroke her chest. Her heart in mortal guise
still opens doors. She'll find a passage-way.


—Taylor Graham

The old car sat there rusty waiting on the drive.
Waiting, like old men just survive.

The old man sat there on his front porch humming.
Used to be a drummer, banjo, maybe vibes.

Nowdays barely still alive. Like the old car
sitting there, just a thing he used to drive.

But how the wind would fiddle with the stick
and croon. Something big was coming soon,

was gunna blow, and who to light the fuse?
Fireworks for wedding, or last day of school,

fireworks for wrecks that no more run the road.
Lovers passed in whispers, the bride just glowed.

On the day, the old car groaned. Old man didn't
come outside. A day of fireworks denied—

no bomb, no bloody chase. Just a grand subside,
the old man humming before he died:

You gotta live and love the song
before you try to improvise.

Pepper Tree
—Photo by Taylor Graham

—B.Z. Niditch
Echoing birds
in a black and blue sky
head South,
our sleeves rolled up
in first frost
on a sleepless road
elm trees turn barren
from green and song,
a solitude
from the telephone pole
except for grackles
and a dozen sparrows
taking in an east wind
with sunshine
briefly engaged
reflecting mirrors
by my ankles
near the pond.


(Boston 2012)
—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Our eyes turn crystal
in slanted sunshine,
submerged swan boats
move us
under friendly elms
murdering a croissant
and Orange Julius
in October's sleepy hollow
of parking acorns
by a loveless bench
I'm reading index cards
for an English exam
to an always late student
who passes
with a gentleman "C."


—B.Z. Niditch

My neighbor
by the window waves
to a poet
correcting an adverb
before dinner
on a Fall evening
in New England
my lamb dish
starts to shake
and droplets
from my wine glass
land on the tablecloth
by the knives and forks,
the phone rings
my neighbor tells me
an earthquake
has been confirmed
there is a slight weight
quivering on my chest cavity
which trembles 
at the after shock,
asking for silence
and the St. Francis poem.


Thanks to TG and BZ for today's seasonal poems and photos (including BZ's earthquake, to which I told him we Californians are no strangers!). In addition, they both have blues/jazz poems, which are appropriate to the upcoming Davis Jazz Festival which begins tomorrow night—scroll down to the blue board for details. 

Blue board, green board—Bob Stanley's name is all over the place as he finishes up his PL term and releases the Late Peaches anthology this week and next. I've also posted a link to him reading his "City of Slow Rivers" poem in our "Sounds For Sore Ears" Fuchsia Link at the top of Medusa—check it out, along with all the other wonderful poets who can be heard on those links.

Tonight and this weekend will be busy in our area. Traci Gourdine will even be reading twice! Again, all the details are on the blue board (below the green board); don't miss a thing!

But don't neglect your own fame and fortune, with all these readings going on! Our Submissions section of the green board has just been spiffed up with lots of new opportunities to get your work out into the big wide world. Don't be shy—get it out there!


Today's LittleNip:

—B.Z. Niditch

That nervous blind
conundrum of a sax
on side streets
voicing the blues
here at midnight
in packed clubs
living in the torque
and tongues of Bird
a stranger sweeps
by open doors
with a fugitive face
of a runaway
ashen with pale voice
among the chaos,
she asks me to dance
"the pocket"
near the fire escape
her trodden steps
in unfamiliar corners
absorbed by whispers
in vigilante beats
against the graffiti wall
of a lost sax
taken up by flashlights
of mercenary love.



 Cover, Late Peaches Anthology
[See the green board for details]