Friday, June 16, 2017

Midnight Blue Dreams

California Kelp Forest
—Anonymous Photos
—Poems by JD DeHart, Chattanooga, TN


I've been living
a fishy life at the bottom
of an ocean of midnight
blue dreams

The surface is a fading
memory of displaced
light and taunting hooks

I won't take the bait

I'll just find my current
among relics in the places
others won't go
swimming cool and free.



I remember the sway
of kids in the hallways,
unsure and agitated

Needing a point to find
anchor, a figure to connect,
left with only media
idols to shape them

A word spoken lightly
on the churning room,
could they hear me?
Did my voice establish contact
or just blend in?


I have become unstuck
on this back road
of nostalgia.

Time keeps slipping
in the words of the
song, the turns keep

I'm more adept at navigation
than I used to be.  I speak
a little more clearly.

Finding today that phrases
like "if I had it to do over"
actually do little good.

Rolling on ahead
the next mile.



You diet
on dirty words, spitting
them out in haphazard
I used to speak without
dignity, but listening
to this conversation
makes me want to
consider the work
of my tongue carefully.
A word can be a cornerstone
or a chopping block,
avoiding those who seem
to misuse each word they
are given, transmogrifying
beautiful gifts into
malignant tools.



There may be freedom
in nothing.  Not the kind
of nothing applied
in hate.  Positional
nothing.  I'm talking
about the simple recognition
of equality.
There is nothing supernatural
about other people.
So why beat my wings in
a dance of flight
simply to attract or impress?
Just be, the inner self says,
Just be.



By noon we were in
new places, just stopping
to fill the tank.
Freewheeling, we took
a familiar road to a less
familiar one.  The only hitch
was a badly planned intersection
but we made it through.
The long way around is
sometimes the best way
in the company of someone
intelligent and beautiful.
Now look at this lovely
pastoral scene we had no idea
we would find wherever we are.


In the old days, folks said
Awful.  As in full of awe,
and it was a compliment.
As in: What an awful church
service, what an awful dress.
But we changed the word
gradually by circumstance.
Ambulance rides, arguments,
and surgeries became awful.
Rotten spoiled kids became
awful.  So now we only retain
some of that awe, which has
been greatly overused to the
point of sarcasm.  How are you?
Awesome.  Do you mean it?
I cannot tell anymore.



The horse bore
down on my small figure
threatening to trample
but stopped.  Swishing
his tail, he expressed his
disgust for my unwillingness
to move when he turned
to the side, showing me his
muscular flanks.
I get the same response
in conversation.
Another creature barrels down,
nostrils opening and closing
like part of a plane, only
to discover my stance.
Disgust, a shaking of the mane.
A swish of the tail.


Don't let me down,
string bean of a man.
Of course I am
putting too much pressure
on you.  No one
is exactly who they say
they are.  Or.  Do they say
who they are and we miss
it?  Probably splitting hairs.
When I was young, I
wanted to match my voice
to the actor on stage. 
Unsure of reality, I drew on
the plots I found in popular
film and books.  Now a little
older, I'm striving for honesty,
a desire to fill out the sketch,
to round out the person.


Today’s LittleNip:

—JD DeHart

I used to throw drafts
away when they displeased me.
Only writing in pencil,
never ink.  Too shy to share,
unwilling to keep
the imperfections I found in
my attempts.
The trash was lined up with
my thoughts, marching like
armies of ants to the landfill.
I hit ‘save’ more often now
but that old temptation
is still there.  If it's not perfect...
now I say share it anyway,
embracing the ruffled edges
of my rough draft humanity.


—Medusa, with thanks to JD DeHart for today’s fine poetry! These anonymous photos today are of California’s unique kelp forests. For more info about them, go to For a virtual dive, go to

 Celebrate poetry! And tonight you have a choice of going to 
Placerville’s EDC Library to hear Calif. Poet Laureate 
Dana Gioia read with El Dorado County PL Taylor Graham 
and EDC Poetry Out Loud Champion Zoey Eddy, 5:30pm, 
or to Davis to hear Mo Stoycoff and Rhony Bhopla read at the 
Universalist Unitarian Church of Davis, 7:30pm. Scroll down 
to the blue column (under the green column at the right) 
for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our 
area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

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.