TO A MAIDEN DREAMT OF, AS IN A SCENE FROM POE
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
When I think of these brief years I have loved you
slipped from my hands but never from your face
bereft one lineless ounce of your silken grace,
I marvel at the dream-state that has gloved you,
masked you in a sheen of pure mortality.
A chrysalis of timelessness in time
wards off who knows how long the fatality
which seals off in a quarantine of quicklime
my every last ancestor. Tombstone carvers,
my Irish grandfather among their number,
would stand back aghast if someday your tomb’s door
burst to disclose—a girl’s form swathed in slumber,
skin blushful, lustrous & spellbound. The Bone-starver
Himself, an ensorcelled Shadow, must deplore
and raven it out in silent drift, eternally
alongside your crypt, pinned to the vault’s chill floor!
PROMISE AND ROMANCE
—Patricia Pashby, Vacaville
Down in the dank, poorly-lit basement—
racks of old furs and garment bags
filled with dresses from the '40's and '50's.
She fondly caresses each one,
memories of youthful days,
weddings, dances, second honeymoon,
all filled with promise and romance.
Her glasses fog as the years go by—
a whiff of mold drifts in as she holds
each one up to her aging body,
wondering how long they will fit.
She carefully straightens the hangers
so each shoulder is secure—
returning them to their bags, zippers locked,
her memories intact, drifting back
to a jitterbug contest and first prize.
—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento
This skull we share—
this me-myself-and-I inside
a boney bone, a calcium crate—
our thinking jar,
our Jack O-lantern home.
—Carol Louise Moon
I don’t ask much of Nature, or her proof.
This rook has prey he carries with his feet.
For better grip he drops it to the street
then brings it up atop my neighbor’s roof.
This is why I try to stay aloof.
I hope that what he caught is just a rat—
and not a baby bird just like a cat
would snatch, bite in half, and carry off.
The sky, a silver screen with shadowed rook
now magnifies the scene. I take a look
up to the gable, then quickly back away.
This horror is consider Nature’s Way,
but I cannot approve the prey he took.
—Carol Louise Moon
What can she do, it’s 12am?—
a dripping faucet, ticking clocks,
mockingbirds mimicking crickets.
An elephant never forgets
these things and all that she regrets:
mockingbirds mimicking crickets,
a dripping faucet, ticking clocks—
What can she do? It’s 12am.
The first Halloween party I remember going to
I was about four or five in L.A
and taken along with my brother in a Daniel Boone costume to Van Nuys Baptist Church
Mom had me dress in a costume that was my brother’s the previous year
It was the “Jerry” mouse of the cartoon “Tom and Jerry”—
a grey pair of p.j.’s with a plastic mouse mask
I think I complained that I wanted a “girl” costume such as a princess
Even when I was older,
Mom still never took me shopping for a Halloween costume
Alas I had to wear his old costumes as the rest of my older brother’s hand-me-downs
I recall nobody knew who I was dressed as
and, not surprising, even mistaken for being a boy with my short hair
—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento
I went contra dancing in a “crazy cat lady” costume for Halloween
It's an ugly cat print dress which I pinned stuffed toy cats to
with a messy hair wig
My character is supposed to be bad—
One of those crazy cat ladies that don’t spay and neuter
and live in junked houses
While many got the joke others were confused
“Can I swing your bears,” said one guy who couldn’t see I was wearing cats
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
A trash-bin full of treasure—
keyboards that don’t plug in to any computer
we’ve got anymore; a cord-less mouse,
two dead speakers; surge-protectors, misc
cables and who knows what else—all
spread out; could we sell this stuff on craigslist?
And here comes a flock of consumers
disguised as sheep, sniffing for a tasty treat.
Mere trickery, virtual everything.
They wander off in search of the tiniest bit
TRICKS OF HALLOWS’ EVE
Sunrise callout. Our dogs were dancing,
and not for nothing: their best treat, searching.
We drove miles of overhanging roads
then ruts and switchbacks down to river.
Charred fire-pit, ripped mummy bag.
Raven briefed us in his croaky baritone.
It happened long ago, he said.
A month, perhaps, by human timeline.
The aliens packed up and drove themselves
Was anybody missing? Our dogs
went sniffing particles of scent still lingering
on trashed stuff. Deer-bone bloomed lily-white
in a clearing. My dog nosed spent cartridges
half-buried in dirt. Nothing more.
Good dog. I threw a stick, she brandished it
OCTOBER’S DARK IN CORNWALL
for Elihu Burritt
This haunted land of cliffs and smuggler-coasts,
of muscled granite, giant-fists of torso—
it’s home, they say, to bogies, furies, ghosts.
A long-drowned sailor grapples for his oars,
a phantom stagecoach bears dead-letter posts;
girls of mist float through walls instead of doors.
Who dares to walk here unafraid at dusk?
Who walks in flesh is but the spirit’s husk.
BLACK CAT FABLE
Ink-Black sneaks from fireside to back-
door, slips from his sanctuary of home,
its humans drifting toward the patience
of sleep. Ink is off in search of mythic
lands called Deva Royale or Eldorado.
Who misses a cat the color of night
when anything might happen? Wind
spanks the shutters. Cougar and owl
set off on hunt. The storyteller weaves
witches’ frights, tangles of webs inter-
twining so you couldn’t trace them
to spider or roots of the forest dark.
Oh call your small cat home.
TRICKS, TREATS, AND ELECTRIC CANDY CORN
—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove
Happens every time.
I’m on the ladder, changing
Lightbulbs from the strand
Along the garage eaves. And
The neighbor asks: “What
Holiday this time?”
Yellow, white. Like candy
Corn. Get it?” He doesn’t;
He never does. But he
Indulgently, as he goes
Back into his house.
—Medusa, wishing you a minimum of tricks and a maximum of treats!