Monday, August 29, 2016

Chicken Pox and VD

Venus in the Fall
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Katy Brown

Mountain sun brands memories
of sunlit streams and sapphire dragonflies
darning summer hours onto

a hatless child, chasing joy
beside a high mountain stream,
dazzling the lazy August.

Those sunburns cumulate to scorch
the very DNA and sow seeds
of cancer through the years.

Dazzling streams give way to
the bright glare of doctors’ offices
arrayed with steel and needles.

They cut away my summer face
one patch of damage at a time
leaving divots on a wrinkled memory.


—Katy Brown

A hidden owl, a gibbous moon,
a black cat moving between the stones.
The abandoned monastery shifts from
light to shadow as clouds obscure the moon.

You might think this is a fantasy—
but no – observe the patch of rhubarb
gone wild beside the western wall.

The clouds grow thick, blot
the light. Sprinkles dot the
old gravestones. A rumble
of thunder, then fat drops
bounce off weathered granite—

fractured words emerge:


—Katy Brown

Maza resented the move to Paris.
Her human didn’t ask her if she’d
mind flying in the cargo hold
of the big airliner.  She minded moving.

The closed doors were the worst part.
She couldn’t come and go as she
had done in Sacramento.  She missed
sprawling on the grass.

Her human didn’t ask her how she
felt about being an inside cat.
From the street, the snooty French felines
made fun of her when she sat

on the little frilly balcony.  They
sneered up at her, Américain chat!
They paraded their half-dead mice.
—Maza had her pride, after all.

She sat for hours, her back
to the apartment interior, listening
to language on the street,
absorbing insults and retorts.

She found she knew more French than
she thought.  When the ginger cat taunted
her from the curb, she bristled and growled,
Stupide Français bigot!  Sucer fromage!

 Venus 2
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA

Was the summer of love,
Or thereabouts.  Folks
Who felt certain symptoms
Would meet Old Doc
Terry out at the garage
Behind the house
After office hours.  There
Was a shot, instructions,
A rueful shake
Of the head, along
With a tube of blue
Shampoo to treat things
That often went along
With the shot.  “Nice
Friends you have,”
Old Doc Terry
Would intone:
“Good pals.”


—Kevin Jones

Once a month,
First of the month,
For the ten years
My father owned
The liquor store,
County Judge Julian
P. Willamoski would
Order two cases
Of Heileman’s Old
Style Lager, cans,
To be delivered to
A little house where
The Burlington tracks
And the strip mine
Road came together.
Nothing was beyond
That.  No questions. 
And I never asked.
Once a month, pulled
Into the dusty drive.
Delivered the cases
To a little man who
Always seemed surprised,
Delighted: “Aw. Isn’t
He a Pal?”
Yes, I guess he was.

 Wood Duck
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

I dropped a little pebble
Into the water
And observed
The ripples

Larger at first
Then fading quickly
Like a very short
Love affair

Then I took a larger pebble
Added some wrist action
And plunked it
Into the water

It just sank
Disrobed itself of dirt
And lay idle

A rock was next
Hurled from the balcony
Direct hit!
Sorry about your water glass



Retirement is my
To make some changes
Around this place

Out with the ionic columns
Bring on the gossip columns
Curtain call for the venetian blinds
Segue to hands-free solar lighting

Get a full 8 hours of sleep
Especially when others are
Talking about portion control
Read the label, drink from the bottle

Carefully review DIY projects
Talk about them
Over and over
Until someone helps

For years I thought VD stood for
Venereal Disease, bad stuff,
Now it’s Viewer Discretion (is advised)
Can’t get enough

The “we shall overcome” sheep
Have stolen my energy
Eyelids as heavy as schoolbooks
PJs appear on me like chicken pox



Our thanks to today’s fine Master Chefs in the Kitchen! Tonight’s Sac. Poetry Center reading will be held at 3414 4th Avenue, Sac., as SPC presents a benefit reading for Wellspring Women’s Center, featuring Jeff Knorr, Sean King, and Straight Out Scribes, 7pm. Note the different location—and time.

Thursday will bring three choices to our area: Terry Moore’s Showstopper Spoken Word Competition will be held in Old Sac., at Laughs Unlimited, 8pm; Nina Lindsay and Rosa Lane will read in Davis at John Natsoulas Gallery, 8pm; and there’s always Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sac., also 8pm. Then on Friday, Kate Asche will host poet Sarah A. Chavez in midtown Sac., 7pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming readings in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

I managed to make it to the memorial reading for Annie Menebroker last night; a swell event it was, with many thanks to Mary Zeppa and Patrick Grizzell for putting it together. Annie’s daughter, Sue McElligott, sent me a link to a recording that was made of the Tough Old Broads reading that Annie was part of two years ago, as part of the Crossroads Reading Series. Sue’s husband uploaded it to youtube (see, and many thanks to him for his work!

B.Z. Niditch has sent us a link to this article about the recent death of Argentinian Poet Activist Juan Gelman: Thanks, BZ!


Today’s LittleNip:

Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over.

—Octavia Butler



 Celebrate poetry!
Griffin Tofler and Wendy Williams, reading a poem 
they co-composed, Sacramento Voices, Aug. 20.

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.