Friday, May 29, 2015

All the Words for Wonder

—Poems and Photos by Katy Brown, Davis


Remember the world of water?
Emerald ponds,
aqua seas,
turquoise bays,
opal falls—

remember the meadows,
alive with garter snakes
and salamanders—

and the rain?
    gentle showers
    steely downpours
    virga that never reaches ground—

remember the world
alive with the sounds of
water in motion —

we will tell our grandchildren
about this world
on desert nights
under an arid moon.

(after Arnaldo Roche’s painting by the same name)

Thin women think they have power:
they use their bodies to manipulate.
They expose their skinny legs,
lift weights with their skinny arms,
show off their skinny butts.

I am a woman of a certain age
and well past worrying about
what others think or notice.

I feel the dark earth
between my stubby toes;
the wind cools my body;
I hear the green rising in new corn.

I don’t want to float, cloud-light—
I desire to become a storm:
heavy with fat raindrops;
shocking as lightning;
and round with thunder.

Berkeley Poets’ Dinner First Place
(Poet's Choice), 2006


I count the moments, curling away
like wood shavings or peeled apple skins:
the days turning-in on themselves.

Mondays twist into February,
Noontime swelters into August.
And before I collect the memories,

Wednesday has melted into September
and my work is still undone—
notebooks and poems, still unfinished.

Somewhere on the far side of the globe
the sun is setting.  Even now, that line of dusk
races toward me across the Atlantic.

I take up my pen and try to capture
dawn as it whispers
in shades of violet just beyond the Sierra.

But the moment slips by.
I try to describe seven white cranes
rising from the bypass like incense or prayers.

The day advances on me,
surely as I hear October breathing—
all the dead waiting for me at midnight.


The moon burns a cold hole
in the sky tonight,
igniting the shredding clouds

in shades of rust and sulfur.
Sleep won’t come
under such a sky as this,

thick with portent:
somewhere a night bird cries.
The ghostly owl sways

in the top of the slender cypress.
A distant train whistle calls. Twice.
No, sleep won’t come,

no matter how many times
you count sheep, or blessings,
or all the words for wonder.

Today's LittleNip:


Each of us follows a path,
treacherous as fractured ice,
into unseen futures—
away from untraveled pasts.

Make no mistake, nothing is new.
This ground has been trod before;
this air, stirred in the lungs
of those long dead.

In spite of the long cold wind,
a howling across the steppe,
we are not alone in this journey.
Look for footprints.  Listen for prayer.

(first pub. in
Brevities, April 2015)

—Medusa, with thanks to Katy Brown for today's wonderful poems and pix, and a note that Katy and Allegra Silberstein will be reading at Sacramento Poetry Center this coming Monday night, 7:30pm. Be there!