Wednesday, October 02, 2013

This Life Is Holy

—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Christine Easterly, Sacramento

Her eyes were not yet open
6 oz.
maybe seven days old

Exhausted by the constant suck, we
on the second day
eyedropped warm orphan kitten supplement
beating out our unknowing, room temperature

We learned only late
that mama cat stimulates urination
with her tongue.
Not wanting to lick,
we used a warm, wet paper towel
the better to soak the welling of success


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Last night in dream she de-composed
to scraps and scarves of color—blue-
cobalt, serpentine, flesh-tints rose’d
like details of the infinite
she longed for. No easy exit
from this life. Dark woke me at three
o’clock. Was it Time set her free

even as details of the real
keep knocking? Can she still hear wind,
reach out to smell and taste and feel
rivers tempered by September?
How beautiful she was, slender
as water falling till it’s gone.
She’d wake from fireflies to dawn—

now the mystery of her sunrise:
an angel in hawk-guise stoops down
to take her, blue sky of its eyes.
This life is holy. She’s held it
like a glass ball fished from the sea,
its bubbles caught then floating free
like secrets of the infinite.



everything is new—a stunt, a sleight
of hand or foot. Plain old pine-wood looks
gilded under the spotlight, and that dare-
devil crossing the high-wire—what does it
matter he’s got a run in his shiny black
tights, the audience holds its breath
so the air tingles in delicious fear.
And when she’s standing tall on the back
of that real-live galloping white horse,
who cares if her costume’s polyester, she’s
flying a mile high, an ode to the freedom
of make-believe. When you run off
to a new life, who’s to call it tawdry?

—Taylor Graham


—Taylor Graham

The park was a circus of soccer games and free-range chickens, 
kids swinging from jungle-gyms, and peacocks spreading iridescent 
crowns. A little girl wanted to be alone. She followed her dog into 
the woods where it was quiet, a maze of paths, she lost the count of 
left and right, if she’d scattered crumbs to mark her way, forest birds 
would have pecked them clean. Ahead of her, a man stepped out of 
the green. He looked so strange, unkempt and gimpy to the left, the 
sinister, the side her teachers taught against. Her dog startled, 
somersaulted over a log. The circus has come to the woods, she 
said, and set off running down the trail she lost all count of rights 
and lefts and heaps of junked appliances and dead-end tangled vines 
and sudden cliffs. A man in uniform heavy with steel  flashing badges 
ran past her disappeared in trees. But her dog seemed to know the way. 
She followed into speechless daylight on the other side. So much, she 
thought, for Saturday.


Tim Kahl reading at Sac Poetry Center
last Saturday, Sept. 28
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove

Tickets in hand
And early,
They check out
The food booths.
Neal gets cotton candy.
“Want a taste?” “No,”
Says Jack, “anything
Less pink?”
“You want something
Redder and stronger,
I’d go with a snow cone,”
Suggests Neal.

In their seats:
Jack, “What’s
Your favorite act?”
“The clowns. They
Got color, they’re
Fast, sometimes even
Funny. And they
Always keep moving.
Yours?” Neal asks.
“The trapeze. People
Out there, middle
Of the air. Nothing
Between them and
The ground. It’s like
Finishing a paragraph.”

“What would you
Know about
Finishing paragraphs?”
Wonders Neal.
“Screw you,” says Jack.

“What did you think
Of the animal acts?”
Jack asks. “Don’t
Like ‘em. Whips and
Cages? Too much
Like jail,” says Neal.
“Too much like
Fame,” says Jack.


—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

In low-rise San Francisco
at five PM
among Asians or Caucasians
the dish still repeats
with no one watching
behind withdrawn blinds
but everyone speaking
or chewing on gossip
pasta or pork
trying to sleep off
war or death
chilled out
by every Dear John or Jane
letter, not willing
to surrender
the happy hour
even the remote possibility
of going off-line
or losing control
of a poor reception
yet you still keep on
playing the blues
here in October
at the sidewalk cafe
no one sleeps
except on music sheets
in harmony on brass beds
with my newly haired bow
of my violin's rosin
I'm floating in a morning shine
gazing at the Bay.


—B.Z. Niditch

Getting lost
at the chill of daylight
of the Cascade Range
near Mount Shasta
asking the sky's consent
to wish for a map
of earthly latitude
as an adolescent
asks even the silence
to speak to you
from the high cliffs
moving in the full sun
with my rope around me
hungry for a bag lunch
wanting a good day
and not to be walking
in circles and ladders
amid Autumnal silk trees
when everything is hushed
by your bodiless shadow
effaced by buzzing birds
all stretched out
for optimism
at the beginning
of my climb
crickets sound
and you are detached
in the abandoned landscape
until a group of hikers
also speechless
from bluish lips
at last rescues me
and I'm piled into sleep
like any scout
recounting only stones,
wings, crags and butterflies.


—B.Z. Niditch

You speak of angels
here with an unrolled tongue
up the ladders and angles
of success
as I meditate
in the lotus position
from my transition
of bedtime stories
hoping my sailor-suited ways
and boyish ways
on the open stage doors
will embrace me
like everyone else
on Hollywood and Vine
but arriving here
as a kid with one rust suitcase
everything is not what
appears behind the ears
and courtesy is a card shark
and a publicity agent
wants only his own
and a panhandler is hungry
and there is always
Loves Anonymous
where ex-rose bowl queens
sell their crowns
in pawnshops
and a cool piano player
may be a musicologist
and motorcycle jackets
will not go out of style
and lightweights
will play the heavy
and a Beat Poet
the youngest of mornings.


Today's LittleNip:

Poetry connects our kindred feelings with imagination as eye and ear understand together. 

—B.Z. Niditch


—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors, including these photos from the Sacramento Voices release party at Sacramento Poetry Center this past weekend. For more of Katy Brown's photos of the event, see Medusa's Facebook page. Thanks, Katy! 

By the way, Blogspot is having problems allowing us users to make changes in the side menus, so the info on Medusa's green and blue boards may be incorrect until they get it fixed. Consequently, the calendar may not be up-to-date. I'm so sorry about this; hopefully the problem will be fixed soon. Meanwhile, get your information from,, and other area calendars.

Sacramento Watchers at SPC last Saturday
—Photo by Katy Brown