Thursday, January 02, 2014

Back to Work

John Allen Kant reading at Sac Poetry Center
Monday, Dec. 30
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

Whether working
with cedar wood repairing
a shaky staircase
or for the deck
by this closed door
here in a sealed
soundproof attic,
or preparing for a jazz solo
for the new year's gig
with my alto sax
out of its leather case, 
or briefly under a anchor
seeing my kayak is safe
before the January storms
hit the Coast,
here in my new life jacket
weighing down my body
in the willowy home harbor,
or just going to the coffee house
in the snowy path
for an early latte
in the dampness of dawn
sitting by hazy window
with a few tourists
left on the Cape
not expecting in this season
to get a glimpse
of Leda my balanced swan
do a fearless ballet turn
near a barge of ice
in the cold hardened air
where children in scarves
are at ease skating
near the sea winds' lone gull,
suddenly a flowing poem
catches fire on a napkin
by my scratchy penmanship,
as if only language
is surreal and life-affirming
in shadows of my world
by open pages of my notebook
filled with lesson plans
for the internationals
who are ready to return
and work with me
on their English.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

On holiday we happened down the back-
side, out of bounds—a hillside cratered and
gouged, heaped and heaved as if by an army
of two-fisted dwarves making a motocross
course for gnomes. In time-lapse we watched
the sun make its own run across till we
lapsed into shadows without getting a single
selfie worth posting; went on our way,
back to our human work, and can’t be sure
if we dreamed or how the earth works.


—Taylor Graham
“Get back to work!” he told her. “Don’t be
lollygagging head in the air, sniffing
like spring-fever; it’s winter;
we’ve got somebody to find. Get back to
business! Nose to the ground, track!”

She turned around, stared at him; barked
in his face; grabbed his hand without actually
biting down. “Track” is the wrong
she said in Dog. I know what
my nose tells me.
She whipped

off the trail, head-high lilting across
the winter field—straight to her quarry. Her
handler would have been wandering
in the woods all day, following his human
rules. That’s why the dog’s in charge.

 Connie Gatowsky reading at SPC Dec. 30
—Photo by Michelle Kunert

—James Lee Jobe, Davis

Sunrise, Christmas morning,
and my finch, Lord Aragorn,
offers me his best song.
His chest puffed out,
Lord Aragorn trills and sings,
turning and bouncing.
I say his song is for me,
for in all the house
only we two are awake.


—James Lee Jobe
Toward morning,
The dew forms
Like an orchestra assembling,
Bead by bead, musician by musician,
On every thirsty leaf,
On every solitary blade of grass,
A pleasant morning drink from a god
Who loves growing things.
Plants drink and bathe
Until the sun finally wakes up
To warm and dry them;
A nurturing mother,
A loving father.
The plants return the favor,
Pulling in that which isn't air,
And breathing out that which is.
So it goes all summer,
Gift after gift,
Richness after richness.


—James Lee Jobe
A morning
in May.

All of the sky
for greatness.

The wide green earth
for tilth.


Children on the green of the world
run under a sun of gold.

Their laughter trails behind them
as they run and run.

This world unfolds like a blanket,
like a favorite shirt.

This life is a blessing,
a gift.

—for Gene Bloom, beloved friend—


Today's LittleNip:

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove

Thought it was a profession.
Turned out
To be
Just another job.



—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock
[We have a new album on Medusa's Facebook page—
check out the "Metal" series by Robert Lee Haycock!]