Thursday, July 06, 2017

Sierra Dome Dance

—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA

Otherworldly, this water awakening
to daylight below the bridge, finding free-
flow from its perspective between
bike trail and city hall, where the last
of the nightly homeless lug their earthly
loads. Litter along the edges, a slightly
toxic-silver sheen of galvanized
metal on the bank. Sun filters through
canopies of bright and shadow—
big-leaf maple with its many lifted arms,
feet rooted in the flow. This city
creek’s afraid of nothing, its healing
water moving over broken stone.

    a trimeric
Shall the old Gold-Rush era ditch be paved,
our public water now piped underground?
This hand-built ditch has carried snowmelt down
to the mines, to separate rock from gold.

Our public water now piped underground—
what good is that to deer and cougar, fox
and bear who come here thirsty for the flow?

This hand-built ditch has carried snowmelt down
as cold as mountain midnight, full of lore
almost forgotten in our lowland towns

to the mines, to separate rock from gold.
The water runs free-flowing, whispering
of trees, the heart of home, the forest soul.



At a Shepherd’s flying run, Pattycake huzzah’d
through manzanita fenceless to the next ridge
over, or paused ever so briefly, mid-splash lake.
Then one day she keeled over sideways; jerked
back, shocked, embarrassed. A stroke? Vet,
x-ray, ultrasound, state-of-the-art flashdoodle.
I understood nothing except our old dog was
dying. Fluid on the heart? With no abracadabra
the vet drained her abdomen. Two days later—
another vet trip on the docket—I let Patty out
to splendiferous morning. She ran, woo-hoo!
free, challenging the ridgetop and especially
that young bitch down the hill. At full speed
ishkabibble her heart knocked her dead. I can
hear her running when the wind’s just right.


In dream I found a ribbon
tied to each worn shoe, and pulled, till
the buried people were dragged back to their
daylight lives.
           Relics of rescue from what smothers
us. But the saved didn’t thank me. Instead,
they rooted back into their hoards, while
                 somewhere high above
my dream, invisible in night sky, silver-skinned
humans looked down amazed at our universe.
Humans without gravity—
           not held earthbound by old invoices
and cancelled checkbooks—circling above us
free of clutter.
                    In a metallic cocoon
a star-shuttler weaves his life into space
light and lighter. Before I wake—butterfly
or moth, a breath of wings.


I climbed the once-familiar hill, still
searching. What to do with such a splendid
vista from the top? But a space
before the top was missing—leveled
with survey stakes and cryptic markers where
brush used to grow its natural shade
of green without wishing to be beautiful
for crowds of people. It was
beautiful nevertheless on the edges beyond
barricades and keep-out signs. So I did—
I kept out of the leveling, kept moving
toward the mountain; found
a deer-trail skirting the steeper side
of hill where trees still grew in a fringe
below the top, leafed and needled
green in spite of covenants and strictures,
where all creatures in their free place
are beautiful.


Coyote ran in his blood—or was that howling
of canyon before the gray silvering of dawn?
Scrawl of smoke writing poems across the dark
that might catch him if he ever slept.
Was he just talking to himself in time
to the clock? Life a slow whittling, like shaving
sticks to tinder before lighting the match. Some
times words just seemed too much, too given.
Then it was, Coyote ran silent in his blood,
always running.


Today’s LittleNip:

     a huitain

Against the kitchen ceiling, lit
by dawn, a spinning spider dance.
A hanging web; encircling it
two spider-lives; a circumstance
and pomp, and yes, an elegance
of oh-so-slowly weaving limbs
uncountable; the hanging chance
in nature’s woven, silken whims.

 Sierra Dome Dance


Many thanks to Taylor Graham for a little spider-dancing and other poetic wonders this morning! TG and Katy Brown will be co-leading a writing workshop this coming Sunday, 10am-12pm, at the historic Wakamatsu Farm in Placerville. 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.

For more info about the trimeric, go to For more about the huitain, see


—Anonymous Photo
 Celebrate Poetry!
Celebrate Poetry! Jane Beal will read at 
John Natsoulas Gallery, 521 1st St. in Davis tonight
8pm. And don’t forget that Poetry Unplugged at 
Luna’s Cafe will host featured readers and open mic 
tonight, 8pm, 1414 16th St., Sac.


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.