Monday, February 10, 2014



—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

Timidly, she ventures forth
white sun blares into her face—
stricken, she races back inside.

Biting her lip, she
leans against her burrow’s edge,
prophecy drumming in her ears—
her fault, hers alone.

If she had only
prayed harder, tried harder
perhaps a soft gray sky, a light rain
might have greeted her

and spring would have come sooner—
ice melting,
plants, animals, trees
relaxing, reviving.

But her magic
wasn’t strong enough,
and now winter’s icy hand
will continue to strangle the earth,
in slow, dark death.


consciousness grows in spirals
—Ann Wehrman

just a myth
like Alice’s frantic mad hatter
the nearsighted groundhog
scurries forth from his hole
click, click—photos conjecture

It’s a sign!
we know better, though
modern scientific humans
eschew portents
technology fixes everything
crystal clear, mathematical

until the Internet goes down
grid darkens
water becomes undrinkable—
we seek for a sign


—Michael Cluff, Corona

Agnes is disappointed with
Pennsylvania groundhogs
the weather has altered
only twice
for nearly six months
out here in Mound Valley
where the dull grey
of failing skies and walls
and willpower
stays stagnant
a millstone
around which
no waters
ever flow.


—Olga Blu Browne, Sacramento

Deeds of honor, Sun dance,
warriors choice.

With painted bodies, the holy
man sliced into our chests,

rawhide then pieced the skin,
tethered to a sacred tree.

Then we danced and danced
till our skin tore.

We danced and danced this
Sun Dance.


—Photo by Taylor Graham

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

His painting of the old tower—what had been
a church; brick ruins nothing but gaps
above gravestones; mankind crouched in a ditch
under dark sky. Bat-flight as the only
sign of life to give his brushstrokes wings.

Dark clouds over battle grounds, the graved
church; nothing illuminating as a peace-
dove’s wings. How did he come to this idea?
a live bat with its arms outstretched
toward nothing but sky. Not dark. Imagine

grasping wings almost transparent, glassy;
amber-golden light before sundown.
The tower a void; a silent “no!” could never
see through dark to life. This bat kept
the stained-glass glow of life in its wings.


—Taylor Graham

My dog flattened her ears and dashed
ahead as if to outrun the rain,
or to find where it came from; scattering
silverdrops from star-thistleheads
as she ran. I ducked under
my ellipse of hat—small shelter.
How we want this water!Its feel on face
and silver-numb fingers.
I’ve come farther into wishing
than I expected, into oak woods silver-
lace-curtained, rain blown colder
than if I’d left windows
open to the first storm. Lichen
brought to life, waving at the wind,
reaching with countless
fingers silvergreen to capture every
drop. Invader-rain, our shelter.
My dog shook silver
in all directions as she ran, recalling
how winter is supposed to be—
landscape giving itself up to the joy
of rain.

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA
As an astonished student
just rising up
before school begins
one cold February tenth
sitting on the foot
of Nana's daybed
over her own knitted pillows
she sold at seaside yard sales
and indoor bazaars,
listening to her read
from Dr. Zhivago
in a bright sparkling voice
with absolute musical pitch
being on stage in her youth,
to hear in her joyous voice
a twentieth-century poet
Boris Pasternak
this luminous Russian soul
who left all comforts
in our time
and risked all
for the radiance of words,
denied his Nobel Prize
and even publication
by the state authorities
yet sharing with us
his labyrinth
of infinite characters
in novel form
and at the ending
of good Dr. Zhivago
who came to heal
and bring peace,
those fantastic verses
on Jesus' life,
a boy in slippers
goes to the piano
to play from
Scriabin's "Prometheus"
as he was Pasternak's teacher
knowing then how music
and poetry are one
in the spirit
of my early life's transfiguration.


Today's LittleNip:

—Olga Blu Browne

Shades of grief and fear haunt
my heart.

In the silken rhythm of this night,
in restless dreams,

tears fall.


—Medusa, with thanks to today's contributors and with my apologies for a Medusa error about the Stephen Dunn reading! I've been posting that it was happening this coming Weds., Feb. 12, when actually it will be on Sunday, Feb. 23! Our thanks to Jeanine Stevens for capturing this error and putting it to death.

Carol Louise Moon & Carol Eve Ford, 
reading from their book, Pleiades: Syllabic Poetry
at last Monday's Sac. Poetry Center reading.
Karen Levy is tonight's poet: check the blue blox
(below the green box) at the right of this column
for details about this and other upcoming poetry events
in our area!