Friday, November 22, 2013

Bitten By The Bug

Maggie Frost reading at the release party for
Rattlesnake Press's latest issue of WTF
last night, Thurs. Nov. 21,
Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


I am addicted to light and shadow—
to watching sunlight pass through leaves,
rest under trees,
surround children at play.

With camera in hand,
I block out sound, ignore movement,
can’t see the big picture.
My world compresses to two dimensions.

Behind the camera, it’s hard to tell
where the light is coming from—
above, around, or deep within
or somewhere from behind the lens.

I chase the source of radiance.
It’s a sickness I can’t control—
this need to reinterpret the living world.
Sure, I’ll tell you I could quit any time.

I don’t capture images all the time.
I’ll tell you that.  But it isn’t true.
Hi, my name is Katy
and I take pictures.

—Katy Brown, Davis


—Michael Cluff, Corona

He liked his intense desire:
Basil's need to be
correctly dressed
from dusk
long beyond
the dawn
was expensive
when the tie dimple
was perfect
the shine on his black loafers immaculate,
the cuff buttons the most pearlist white
the seams unfrayed
and breast pocket
unstained on the inside
hidden from non-understanders'
viewings just that one moment
out of a hundred, hundred thousand.


—Michael Cluff

Only by
Internet surfing
could Harriette catch up
on her latest fad-
watching earwax removal
videos basically from India
it made her feel so clean
living here
and the unplugging of the aural canal
equates to some sort of exalted release
in her front parlor single woman
of a certain age post-twentieth-century
morals and mentally unmoldable mind.


—Michael Cluff

Omar obsesses
over the depth
of the juice
in an olive,
or pickled okra
or beet jar
many minutes
on end.
The amount
must be just enough
to slightly cover
the top of the dark vegetables
for him
to even consider
swallowing them
which can be done
for eleven seconds
no more
nor less

—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Two stars on a dead leaf have come to rest on my deck.
Once I found a leaf with five dead stars; I put it aside,
forgot until it disappeared. I lack the name for this
excrescence. Is it an insect-gall in star-form? How shall
I google it? Must I walk with eyes on the ground looking
for stars among fallen leaves? or skyward, to catch the
next one as it falls?
—Taylor Graham

Window-shopping behind Main Street
stores still closed in early-morning light
shop-front glass like lakes of sky blue

reflective without wave or cloud
pressed sleek and shining as if to grant
free passage for sailing ship or bird—

here on the sidewalk
a chestnut-feathered dark-eyed junco
who flew for sky against the glass.

—Taylor Graham

Forget what I said about a cry for help.
A sunny day, the lake flat blue with only
the wakes of pleasure boats. Water forgets
what we say, swallowing without a trace.
Laughter of children playing on shore, couples
sharing wine at sidewalk cafés. The lake took
fragrance of garlic sizzling in a pan; rippled it
with red-tile reflections under stucco’d walls.
Forget what I might have heard—that cry
in a language I couldn’t grasp. As if someone
drifting in a boat had slipped away, dropped
to the bottom—surfaced once, twice, crying
for help. Maybe it was just wind on water,
its long memory of cries. Try to forget.


—Taylor Graham

How many life-altering choices
she’s passed by since coming here, as if
abandon inhabited trumpet and violin.
Mariachi and something older. She hardly
remembers leaving behind
a language binding her in its familiar
mimicry. What she understands is wordless,
addictive. Goosebumps. Pulse, rattle,
breath A burn like habanero in the heart.

I keep a garden plot at a Lutheran Church in Carmichael
The warm weather keeps it giving me vegetables
But when the winter frost comes
I figure that will be the end of the "summer" squash
One morning I will find the tomato and zucchini vines
twinkling like glass with ice
and I will have to uproot the dead plants 
then plant new seeds that will hopefully grow out in Spring

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


Today's LittleNip:

Birds come out to sing after a fall rain
They fly from trees down to leaf-coated lawns 
pecking out worms flooding has washed out
they tweet and cheep happily
as if to celebrate a feast 
—Michelle Kunert


—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors, and a note that the latest issue of Rattlesnake Press's quarterly journal, WTF!!, is now available from ($2) or The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sac. (free, while they last). 

Also—Medusa's Facebook page has photos of last night's release party at Luna's Cafe, taken by Michelle Kunert (look for the photo of Maggie Frost). We also have a new Facebook album of Katy Brown's recent trip to Michigan—check that out while you're on our Facebook page! Two new albums!

—Photo by Katy Brown