Monday, July 25, 2016

Poems in the Attic

"Blue Eyes" by Elyse Marinos
Honorable Mention, Cal. State Fair, 2016
—Photos today are by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

—Cynthia Linville

Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won't forget to put roses on your grave
      —The Rolling Stones, “Dead Flowers”

This is what happens
when all our exes start dying:

we lose track of the truth
we slip out of the consequences

Shall we open the door for these ghosts
let them speak?

Leave it to me

Turn out the lights

Hold my hands

We won’t give in to any unreasonable demands


—Cynthia Linville
the only thing he ever learned
from his father

He doesn’t want to pray that prayer

He thinks maybe he can just be a hermit

He thinks maybe he can hold still enough
to listen to the rain
to the chant of tires on the freeway

Still enough to stop nibbling on these bitter seeds

He wants to give away nothing—
not one glimpse
not one peep

 "Wizard of Oz" by Johanna Borrelli
Third Place, Cal. State Fair, 2016

—Cynthia Linville
There is a tire swing tied to an old Eucalyptus in the backyard

I swing on that swing till my feet are higher than the sand dunes, higher than the branches

Then I let go

I sail into the sky like a human airplane

I fly over the dunes, over the beach

My feet softy touch water

I glide

I walk on the waves out far, far, far to a distant rock in the sea

I knock on a small door in that rock

A witch with long white hair answers the door,
invites me inside for fragrant tea

*   *   *

Today I’m out driving around, looking for that house

I think maybe I can find it

 "Happypotomus" by Kathy Naughton
First Place, Cal. State Fair, 2016

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA

It was an old house,
And probably haunted.
There had been
A murder/suicide
In the cellar,
So no one was anxious
To really look in the attic.
Just before we moved
I decided to check.
Only a water tank
And one tiger eye button.
Didn’t think to look
In the water tank.
Discretion is often best.

Guitar by Brittany Brazil
2nd Place, Cal. State Fair, 2016

Regarding the Eagle 96.9 station they play where I workwith no apologies to Bob Seager:
“I wanna hear some new rock and roll—
not to put down “old” rock music of you baby boomers—
but I’m sick of hearing those same songs you play repeatedly over and over
Today there are those who know how to play the good old-school style blues or funky soul
but I won’t hear them on your radio station
oh yeah, that's because you only play what you're paid to
but a lot of these musicians for your commercial promotion likely don’t have the bankroll
I wanna hear some new rock and roll
because I’m a Generation X’er whose not a relic, old-fashioned, nor over the hill
I prefer to live in the present instead of reminisce on the past
I constantly wanna find some new artists to listen to
much like I always want experience new tastes with my tongue
only, like food, to feed my ears and stimulate my brain 
I want songs I can possibly store on the memory of my MP3 player or my phone
I wanna hear some new rock and roll in this 21st century
For that I wish I knew better some cool places in town to go
I’d like to be a regular at such venues
I also really have no sentiments when listening to scratched-up vinyl
I’ll listen to the sounds of the oldies digitally remastered 

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

 "Eve" by Geoffrey Nelson
Best of Show, Cal. State Fair, 2016

—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA

Should I have wanted you pragmatic, nay, glum
as students tend to think their chances are?
Then have warned you anti-idealistic, numb
to all those poems, that music, the distant stars,
those brilliant numbers, crowding your mind with spins?
I wish you not to lose one lunar orb.
I hope your impetuous head won’t swim with sins,
gigantic bold fantasies you can’t reabsorb.

Right here I’m supposed to clinch my prior thought,
remind you, ambassador: when you proclaim intent
to lead your generation, help all Earth,
you’re courting grandiosity, you ought
to dream far less. My horizon, my event,
you’re starshine in skin. I witness your human birth.

 "Puttin' On the Ritz" by Judy Sheets
First Place, Cal. State Fair, 2016

—Tom Goff

What is it about the dad of the lovely daughter
who lit the bright flame he insists is ugly mud?
Can father slime defile clear filial waters?

What makes the daughter of this not unique father
bruise under hand-me-down word-fists from dad?
What is it about the dad of the lovely daughter?

The vulnerable ones, all emery men sand softer.
His blunt speech connects with her lip: it tastes of dread.
Can father slime defile clear filial waters?

He spurns his own amazon package—has he bought her?
Rejection venom inflicted, who’s infected?
What is it about the dad of the lovely daughter?

Didn’t the father slime who shames her beget her?
What spring runs unmixed with dirt, salt, sulfur, lead?
How do vile rivers father the clearest water?

Will she break free the honey vein lost in the boulder?
The dad she loved dove into a pit for dead.
No father slime poisons, forever, her pure water.
How is it a cruel dad fathers a lovely daughter?


—Tom Goff
What if my fear of mounting to the attic
means chain-mail denial, subconscious enigmatic?
What is it I dread? The ladder to the Attic,
to trauma, deed by deed to eyes pierced tragic?
Or does my life stack up as non-Socratic
snapshots, my epic these mildewed Geographics?


Today’s LittleNip:

—Phil Weidman

One of the brightest lights
of our community of poets
just went out, leaving the
rest of us to grope for
stability in the darkness.

I'll be joining you before
too long where the light
remains bright forever
and forever, dear friend.


Our thanks to today’s Monday Morning Chefs in the Kitchen; it’s good to hear from Phil Weidman, who has been ill of late. Check out Cynthia Linville’s “Calif. State Fair at Night” photo album on Medusa’s Kitchen’s Facebook page, and note that she will be reading at Luna’s Cafe this coming Thursday, July 28, and at Avid Reader at Tower on Sunday, Aug. 7.

Got a reading coming up? Send poems to and we’ll use them to advertise your event in Medusa’s Kitchen! Or send poems for posting just for the heck of it—the Kitchen door is always open. Someone mentioned that they didn’t know where to send poems; in case you didn’t see it in the blue box at the very top of this column (and elsewhere), Medusa’s secretary is

This week’s festivities begin with Molly Fisk and Randy White at Sac. Poetry Center tonight, 7:30pm, or the Poetry in Motion read-around in Placerville from 6-7pm. On Thursday, Cynthia Linville will read (on Taylor Graham’s birthday) at Luna’s Cafe, 8pm, and Saturday will feature Sandy Thomas and Katy Brown (on Katy’s birthday) in Pacifica by the sea at Florey’s Book Co., 7:30pm. Scroll down to the blue box (under the green box at the right) for info about this and other upcoming readings in our area—and note that other events may be added at the last minute.

About our Seed of the Week, Secrets in the Attic, Kevin Jones comments about Robinson Jeffers’ Tor House, writing: "Jeffers & family, by the way, slept in what could be considered Tor House’s attic. Hmm. Could be a poem there..."

Yes, Kevin—there is a poem EVERYwhere. All we have to do is find it...



 Celebrate poetry by checking out “50 Best Poetry Books for Kids”  
See also “Serious Play: Reading Poetry with Children” at 

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