Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Man in the Moon

Ostin Moon
—Photo Courtesy of Carol Louise Moon

—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento, CA

The Man
The Moon
Keener of Jazz
New Orleans lover

Toe Tapper
Dapper Dan Man
Crooning tunes
with the Moons

A wellspring
Ameri  -  can
Facts of history
Ask him any

Bowl Full of Jelly
Spinner of black platter
You melody my mind
and keep me mellow

Bearded jolly man
Lover of my mother
I miss you
You are with me still


Carol Louise
—Photo Courtesy of Carol Louise Moon 

—Carol Louise Moon

He was always my father
this wonderful, muscular man
but he wasn’t always from New York.
He was only from New York since
the war, this traveler.  He was in
France during the war as a medic,
this medically knowledgeable person.

I knew him from the time I was born.
In his bed he would throw me into
the air and balance me on his knees
until I laughed.  He had a wonderful
sense of humor, this jovial guy.

He was a magician in my school days,
this tricky beer-bellied man.
Coins disappeared and reappeared;
days of mystery and wonder.

I knew him and loved him, and held
his unsteady hand on the day he died—
this peaceful man, this Wonderful.

 Ostin and Carol Louise
—Photo Courtesy of Carol Louise Moon

—Jeanine Stevens, Sacramento

Five older sisters moved away
to the city. One returned
with a cardboard box
of bittersweet chocolates,
“old fashioned drops”
they were called: pink, white
and yellow cream centers.
He saved that box
under his bed, sniffed the empty,
crinkled brown paper cups,
even sucked them
till all flavor disappeared
into splintered walls.
The youngest of ten,
there were many things
he didn’t understand,
so he dropped the family’s
toothbrushes down the toilet. 
He played with matches,
didn’t mean to burn the barn
with horse and cow inside.
Then, the Ohio River left
its banks once too often,
and tornadoes played
heavy games on the roof.
They moved to the city.
He became allergic to chocolate.

 —Anonymous Photo

—Loch Henson, Diamond Springs, CA

The interior life of the
introvert contains more
music in the silence than
expected.  Tomes of tunes,
and a library of esoteric reading
helps populate the outside spaces,
feeding the work within.

Who is this man, who gifts a distracted
teenage girl books about Joseph Campbell
and “The Goddesses In Every Woman”?
There is patience to plant
such seeds in an overgrown garden,
and trust in the nature of growth
to bring forth flowers
and fruit at the proper time.

Is he perhaps surprised
to see that his efforts over years and
years on many fronts have created
an unexpected vista of orchards 
within his community?

The stands of trees, which could
lack carefully planned and planted
rows, still bear an array of fruits
to refresh and sustain others on
their own journeys.

 —Anonymous Photo

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA

Wasn’t quite my father:
Though he was,
Long ago, in academia,
And in those
Impractical times,
Gave me so much.

I am talking about
Ray Lewis White,
Nobody’s father.
My grad school mentor.
The Great White,
The Great American
Literature scholar.
Was 400 pounds,
Wet or dry, didn’t
Much matter.
But when he moved,
Which was seldom,
It was as though waters parted.
When he spoke
About modern American
Literature, you heard Orson
Welles.  And you listened.

He was The Man.  I shared an
Office with him
For five years.  His was
The Word: Sherwood Anderson.
Hemingway.  Fitzgerald.  His
Kind rumblings defined.  It.  All.

What he thought of my poetry,
I’ll never know.  Probably not much—
A small smile, and “Let’s get
Back to Hemingway in Cuba
Now, dear boy.”

I could go now, and
Probably should.
I’m pretty sure
What I’d find there:
Papa.  Yes.  And Ray Lewis,
The Finca Viga tour is for you.

 —Anonymous Photo

—Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA

Ask Grandpa, the father says.
His little girl wants to know when the Pony
Express is coming through. History re-enacted
155 years after the fact. She’s horse-crazy,
it’s in her blood. It passed her father by,
while he was tinkering with an old Ford, or
programming a dinosaur computer.
But Grandpa has stories. Ten-day treks
over the backside of the Sierra
on a long-legged sorrel, granite and scree.
Will he volunteer for this ride
out of history? Never too old, he says,
to feel his creaky bones settle into the stride,
work the years away on the back
of a horse. Will Grandpa do it this year?
the girl wants to know. Her dad can monitor
progress—station to station, the slick
switch of riders, mochila and mounts—
at home on his computer. But how
could Grandpa’s memory be stored there?


—Taylor Graham

They didn’t come prepared—bare shins, sneakers.
The man’s got a puppy, a young son in tow.
It’s spring, morning’s a wind full of questions.

Past the ball-field, grass narrows then forks
into overgrown trails. Which to take,
when one ventures in shorts and sneakers?

The pup leads a way, sniffing pine duff,
brambles, a feather. Where are we going?
the boy asks. Morning’s a wind full of questions.

What can a father say? He’s only just heard
of a hidden pond, blackberries ripening—
and they’ve come here bare-shinned, in sneakers.

Brambles scratch. The boy finds cedar tepees.
Who made them, how long ago? The pup’s off
testing a morning-wind full of questions.

Indians summered here, but now they’re gone.
Where does anyone go? A father knows—
venturing with boy and dog, with bare sneakers
on this morning’s wind, full of questions.


Today’s LittleNip:

First autumn morning

the mirror I stare into

shows my father's face.

—Murakami Kijo (1865-1938)


—Medusa, with thanks to today’s fine chef’s for their cookin’ in the Kitchen, and a happy Father’s Day! 

Celebrate the poetry of Dad’s Day by taking 
somebody's dad to today’s open mic at Nello Olivo 
Tasting Room in Placerville, 2pm. Scroll down to 
the blue box (under the green box at the right) 
for info about this and other upcoming readings in our area.

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
to Medusa.