Thursday, July 27, 2017


Queen Anne's Lace and Thistle
—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


A deep-blue bus brakes at the Fairgrounds gate,
discharges passengers; blocks my view
of machinery that anchors Ferris wheel to earth.

It’s County Fair week, mid-June before
the crops are ripe. I have nothing of blue-ribbon
quality but my tallest weed, a thistle.

Has our Fair lost its grounding in almanac?
Across the road, I’m waiting for new tires on my
truck. Ferris wheel starts up again.

Does it rotate with or counter to the spin
of earth; and gosh, how about the cross-shuttling
of traffic? Enough philosophical physics.

When will my tires be mounted and balanced,
my truck road-ready? At Fairgrounds gate
a lady waits for the shuttle, checks her watch.

Here, I’m waiting too. But I don’t lack
for entertainment; back to my book, viewpoint:
the Deep Blue Lead, ancient river of gold

our town is built on. Surely it merits
a blue ribbon at History’s wildly spinning Fair.
But that was many fair summers ago.



A sign at the strip-mall says Funeral & Tax
Services as a caravan passes me, going the other
way—homemade house-shacks on wheels—
a repertory theater of days-gone-by? No,
I misread the sign. Financial & Tax Services.
Nothing’s certain but…. Shadows, a flight
of crows as the troupe heads toward the fair-
grounds. Maybe I’ll find them encamped
on a vacant lot beyond the gates. Rehearsing
ancient lines. Travelin’ music from else-where.
All sun-shimmer as the troupe rumbles on,
drivers humming mirage of eternal roads.
Travelers aren’t we all, hawkers of words. Less
certain than taxes—five acts, we’re gone.
The fair’s over, thunder-weather red-flag days,
and a sign says whatever you think it does.

 Shooting Stars

      —florette from a missing person flyer

And wondering, he traveled far
from campsite, family and car;
adventuring off path and trail
where buttercups all yellow hail a shooting-star.

For it was early spring all day
and every cloudlet seemed to say
come chase us up the rising hill,
you’ll never catch us standing still, no not today.

His mother prayed, his father told
the rangers how this boy is bold—
much too adventurous to sleep,
he’s making memories to keep when he gets old.

 Somerset Sunset


On an old trail through manzanita
up the ridge under Sirius—black sky glimpsed
through incense cedar—
          you knew the way without a flashlight.
Under Sirius, on black sky you drew a star-
map in your head, knowing the way without
              We hiked to the canyon overlook,
star-map in your head, meteor shower
predicted tonight. From the overlook we saw
a cabin light, faint silver.
                      Meteor shower predicted—
but what was that, a saxophone?
         One light, faint silver, and distance
making blues of jazz. A saxophone filled
the woods like thrush-song, distance making
                   blue jazz. The notes drifted cool-
then-warm filling the woods like thrush-
song in the dark, as forest segues notes
drifting cool to warm.
                        The Perseids? we never
saw them where forest-dark segues incense
cedar to showers of music on the night,
              on an old trail through manzanita.


     for Jasper

He greets us at the door, eyes bright
as tinkle of the invisible bell we trigger
as we step inside. He knows us by instinct,
by scent of dog or cat that clings
as if reminders of those lives we’ve left
at home. As the reading begins, he might
lean against a poet’s arm, absorbing
every word as a good dog does, as a poem
might convey more than is said;
as the love song that is a dog. Then
he finds a cool spot on tile floor, circles
three times, lays himself down
ever attentive to the poet’s voice—twitch
of Dobie ears. He stretches, readjusts
his long red length of dog; lays one fore-
paw over an ear—intense brown study
(or a gesture of when-will-this-end?).
He’s too well-bred to snore.


As if caught mid-arc, mid-air,
light shining through wing feathers,
the pulse of raptor fire—

hawk who haunts our land.
I stood amazed at her sudden rising
out of the blue

oak behind the house. She rose,
then settled. Flame-angel
of the place. Electric charge that kept

the voice of songbirds scarce.
At last her chick was fed and fledged.
She stayed furtive shadow

through trees, stealth hunter
too quick to be caught but in gray-
tones of art and

memory which is an animal
poised on the invisible stair between
sky and earth, flight and landing.

 Railroad Tracks

Today’s LittleNip:


The cranes are too great to step here
with their peculiar grace. My ear,
tuned so mid-level, cannot hear
their passing clear, their passing clear.

We lived much higher once, firm-set.
But cranes flew higher. We forget
the wild excitement, the regret,
the call
and yet, the call and yet….


—Medusa, with thanks to Taylor Graham for her flame-angel and other wonders in today’s poetry and pix!

For more about the florette poetry form, see
For more about the monotetra, go to

Celebrate Poetry!—And don’t forget about 
Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento 
tonight, 8pm, with featured readers and open mic.
Scroll down to the blue column (under the green 
column at the right) for info about this 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.