Friday, November 11, 2016

Hey, Steam Roller Mama!

—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock, Antioch, CA

—Robert Lee Haycock

at the far edge of night
on the verge of sleep
split rings
brake springs
the tv set behind my eyes
nothing but static and snow
do I know you
I’m a steam roller mama
the sea
below middle C
Loch Ness
quiet nights of quiet stars
a bitter tragic joke

—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock

—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento, CA

The month of November—not so surprising.
The air is still thick, candles bright as
Christmas bulbs … and the pudding on my
kitchen floor, slick and shiny.  A trail of ants
has taken charge of a marble tile just under
the old wooden chair which harbors teeth
marks from a recent invasion of red boars—
these pigs from a recited Philippe Soupault
poem … his words marching across my
dried lawn and into my den full of books
and empty wine glasses.


—Carol Louise Moon

My soul descends into a bed of coma—
a fish bowl of prescriptions, not enough.
My desire to climb the tree is thwarted
by wild hog’s breath and biting at my hind.
I’ve danced and pranced through hay of day
and mud of nighttime bogs in dreams so real.
Now, begging favor in a different time,
I wonder where these scattered teeth
and bones, beneath an ashened moon, may lead.


—Carol Louise Moon

One mustn’t hurry the days of November.
One mustn’t hurry the days of the dying,
of leaf sweeping and Christmas shopping.
One mustn’t hurry past the tea house,
the cinnamon and the baking of bread,
nor the beggar on the street…
Black lives matter. This beggar’s life matters
as he awaits the death of his brother,
the embrace of his mother.

 Philippe Soupault (1897-1990)

—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA

As summer dress is worn in the autumn time,
so now your paper, guided as if by warm
luscious air more than the calendar, more than the chime,
strayed far from my fingers, my pen. I should not harm;

you had your last-minute motive, your almost-theme
not rendered into that bromide thesis-form.
I could not trace the supports that rather swam
than argued or proved. Your essay would not norm,

for me or for an instructor. Yet withstood
my long interrogation of not-you: it;
the unflown falcon is falcon though held by hood
as much as when lifting on feral wings, on wit.

Do you, professors, want everything thundered clear?
Could violence ink over the implied though soft?
All low-voiced papers innuendo fear,
lack hands when the teacherly-harsh wants fending off.

Yet you, my dear almost-coherently-spoke:
keep right on murmuring wise just shy of your lips.
Please fear me not when through the squid-liquid cloak
I grasp yet touch nothing…feed me an ellipse,

a soft hint from a long blank. I’ll be careful of sin:
first, watery surface, then you. Who dares break that skin?


—Tom Goff

Dark strings, harp summon the oboe to their side.
Deliberate, threnodic tympani,
a few soft raps of snare, suggesting stride,
gait, cadence suited to full obsequy
for royal soldiers, yet right away the glide
of Irish keening, blended craftily
with Elgar ceremonial, as if to hide
Gaelic rebel defiance openly

dressed in the black that of late draped Edward’s death.
Reverse of the tapestry: the trio foremost:
grieving, not triumph, the music’s reason to be.
Apotheosis joins Pearse to a noble host:
Wolfe Tone, Emmett, and all who surrendered breath
transfigured one octave higher, free Eirreann’s key.


    (heroic piano sonata, later adapted as Bax’s First Symphony)
—Tom Goff

Rough, brusque as Hagen’s blasted steerhorn call
in Götterdämmerung. Perhaps trombones,
unstopped French horns could sound this utter fall.
This keyboard avalanche in blended groans
—more fierce yet, blending two types of drum tattoo—
yields stunningly abrupt to the odd peace
a lilting made-for-James-Galway-on-flute
pastoral gesture gives: relief, release
consoles the injured. Softly caressing lute…
then drums again, to climax. Now imbue
the stunned and wounded scene, in a remote
new key, with wetland Debussy-array
of pedal-gentle dissonance given to float,
then ravishment, worthy Ravel at his most Jeux d’Eau:
gold beaten eggshell-fine? Or fountain-play?
At last, peace roughly shattered, but this time glee,
all pipe-skirls, bootfalls trampling tragedy…


Today’s LittleNip:
—Robert Lee Haycock

That left hand holds the book open on a napping lap while that right arm guards my pillows daring me to come to bed those useless glasses on her face with a satisfied frown warning me to take a photo if I have a death wish and I won’t because I love her.  Sweet dreams my dear.


Our thanks to today’s cooks in the Kitchen—including some surrealism, which strikes me as being very appropriate, given the week we’ve had. For more about surrealist poet Philippe Soupault, see A couple of his poems are posted at, which is a wonderful site for such poets. (Scroll down to his name.) See also:

El Dorado Arts Council is looking for volunteers to help coach teenagers reciting poetry for the 2017 Poetry Out Loud competition in El Dorado County. See for more info. For more about the national Poetry Out Loud competition, see


 Stone Part One 
—Photo by Tommy Ingberg

Celebrate poetry every day—even those days when it feels 
like there’s a huge stone hovering over your head. 
(For more surrealistic photos, see 

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.