—Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch, CA
Mom flashes SOS with the Aldis lamp from the upstairs windows
Dad is pumping out the basement with the handy billy
I jettison everything but the food, the water, the family Bible
We haven't seen the shore for days now
BEFORE THE FALL
—Robert Lee Haycock
Arch of stone
Hands and knees
Rock face rises
The way continues
Other side of a gray pilaster
Fingers kiss polished granite
Left foot finds a purchase
Right leg swings over the void
Just then you remember
Playing catch with Dad
Mom calling you to dinner
Your dog’s tongue
Your wife’s wet hair
—Robert Lee Haycock
Crocodile goes tic-toc in the dark
Metallurgists throw domino and dart
Summa cum laude
Growing up and old
But doesn't have to like it
—Robert Lee Haycock
And then there was the matter of those two coins nailed to your letter and a clover leaf and overcrossings and underpasses but I am getting ahead of myself again and it is harder and harder to keep up appearances since the city began to sink beneath the noise of parades and the piss cold sleep of sidewalk dreamers between your towers of masturbatory binary code where I find myself lost another time that might have existed if I cared to notice but a forgotten side of this hill tells me that more meets the eye than is here.
I am so sorry.
LET THERE BE MORE OF YOU, MEDUSA!
—Sunil Sharma, Mumbai, India
First violated by a Hellenic god
Then punished by a goddess of that pantheon
That mirrors Ancient Greece and current world so well,
Medusa, a beautiful gal, gets transformed into
A woman with live snakes as her hair and a stare
That turns a gazer into stone!
What kind of godly justice for a traumatized woman, a plaything?
Then, a hero cuts her head and shows it as a trophy across the ages
Inspiring myths galore and terror in those seeking feminine charm.
When there are Poseidon and Perseus still roaming the social space
Talking of Ovid and Homer (not the Simpsons, idiot!) over cognac
And disrobing every female with their male gaze, and every woman a prey,
There is a need for a Medusa in every woman that refuses to be
Coy, sexy and a doll for the culture industry,
A Medusa as a misfit into such stereotypes and roles.
Let there be more of you, Medusa, for turning the suited predators
Into sheer granite by your look!
Better than desiring for the impossible standards of the fashion industry.
Medusa: Regain your rage, for this commodifying age, an
To re-script your authenticity, identity and destiny
And reverse the existing tropes!
—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento, CA
late afternoon sun warms
May’s peach roses
lavish beyond the iron gate
of Kwan Yin’s garden
above massed bushes
silver olive leaves shiver
slim gray trunks, branches
thread through the fluttering dance
hours before sunset
At Humboldt State University Campus
sweet, clean, sap-perfumed breeze
white-bellied faun stares
from bold, innocent eyes
I nestle within redwood boughs
that glow with evening’s gold
sway in my grown-up cradle
dream of your embrace
POWERLESS TO LEAVE
ribbons of rose light
melt into aqua sky
gentle clouds hide the sun
veils peach, blue, gray
softer than words can paint
than van Gogh
in all his genius
perhaps colors glow
in the spiritual realm
but the heart lingers,
sun slipping off the edge
of the world
Our thanks to today’s contributors—including Sunil Sharma, all the way from India—for their fine Friday display, helping this old gal re-script her authenticity!
Tonight and tomorrow is the 2nd Annual Int’l Flor Y Canto Poetry Festival in San Francisco: Four Corners - Five Directions, featuring Cherrie Moraga, Maceo Montoya, Achy Obejas, and Special Guests Fernando Alarriba and SF Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia. Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, 2868 Mission St., SF. Host: Leticia Hernandez. Info: www.calle24sf.org/en/event/international-flor-y-canto-literary-festival-ii/.
And don’t forget that the final issue of Rattlesnake Press’s WTF is available now after its release party at Luna’s last night. Contributors are entitled to free copies; just let me know at email@example.com and I’ll send you one. (Write and ask if you’re not sure whether you’re in this issue.) I didn’t put any in The Book Collector this time, but if you’d like one even though you weren’t a contributor, let me know and I’ll send you one—for free!
The true poem rests between the words.
box at the right) for info about this and other
Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back