Monday, October 02, 2017

This Hushed October Morning

—Anonymous Photo

—Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

—Photo by Robert Lee Hancock, Antioch, CA

—Michael H. Brownstein, Chicago, IL

I watched the way
you blossomed
June into September,
Your beds rosy red,
leaves wide as flowing hair,
and I’m sorry
I cut you down this morning,
the coolness a mountain stream,
one blossom left.
I’m sorry.
It was time to refresh.


—Michael H, Brownstein

One by one the cliff erodes,
ice bores deeper,
words stop making sense:
abyss, crucify, alliteration—

passion comes in through fog.
Who claims we must remember?
Skin always knows pain.
fingertips happiness, feet satisfaction.


—Michael H. Brownstein

The word lounge

The retirement home for politician’s w/power

The hole in the conscious county

Are you a reptile?

Do you mean if I could be a reptile, which one would I be?

No.  I mean are you a reptile?

—Photo by Robert Lee Hancock

—Robert Lee Haycock



carousel and somersault of ferris wheel
candy shop

charms of glass

pinball machines gobbling quarters
lost dutchman's mine
el sito mysterio

juarez' death mask watches you leave

stage coach

weary donkeys chase the train
hot dogs


fathers drink beer and pitch horseshoes
suspension bridge

archery range

but I never tried my luck at the trout pond


—Robert Lee Haycock
August smelled of apricot brandy

And spaghetti sauce
But that wasn't Silicon Valley

While miles of sugar beets

Rolled all the way to Salinas

—Photo by Robert Lee Haycock 

—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA

Whatever He can film or dream, She edits;
right now the sadist loves unjaded, woos
resistant Tippi living through a bruise-
and-slash fright movie whose least closing credits
Wife overbroods, a white severe bird glues
and scissors fit the hand of. Who can choose
but suffer this wingbeat closet? All the birds dread it,
strapped to Tippi, tames, induced to peck at
eyes: this attic would stifle skylarks manic.
No air for quills in this crowspace. Greek Attic.
Bright Hedren acts out victim instinct. Vatic
Hitch is, yet self-unknowing. Aching, frantic:
he’s Clotho, dangling her on skeins of fears;
indulgent Alma’s Atropos, right here, with shears.


—Tom Goff
            for DLK

How to define what you mean to us all?
When “what you mean” links no bland signifier,
but you, most meaningful who, a daring flyer
by mode of avatar, in mid-free-fall
discovering landing feet and springing high
once more above virtual parks and palaces?
You’ve gazed ahead of all of us, with wry
and keyhole-spearing eye, an Alice’s,
at a splendiferous-dubious Wonderland,
where youngest minds go how we know not yet
and may not ever (every elder Moses
supposes erroneously)…Red-petalled roses,
mushroom-dense, you notice, stud this underland
where thunderheads trawl their pitch-black Technonet.


Your music, teaching, literate lore and grace:
some humans hinge and cross-brace entrances,
some plane doorframes through which the dancer dances;
few (you) become living gateways to a loved place…

 Berkeley Geometry Lesson
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Tom Goff

Life, seen unfiltered: even your death.
My cousin left, and now you go.
Young one, all vibrant lungful breath,
fled, absent, good as underneath.

My cousin left, and now you go,
“broad as a weft, upon the left,”
fled, absent, good as underneath,
my lantern loss, my sky bereft.

“Broad as a weft, upon the left,”
but mariners’ moons and suns die slow,
my lantern loss, my sky bereft
so swiftly gone, warm red-gold glow

—but mariners’ moons and suns die slow—
young one, all vibrant lungful breath,
so swiftly gone, warm red-gold glow,
life, seen unfiltered, even you, death.


      (Nature Poem for Orchestra, Arnold Bax, 1912)
—Tom Goff

           In his pagan fantasy, far removed from reality, 

           there are no biting insects or stinging, 
           scratching plants.
                                —Biographer Lewis Foreman

You’ll find no Tinkerbells in Arnold Bax.
The greenery in this June forest? Dark,
peopled by the Seductive Ones who spark
a verdant flame in each youngling who lacks
innate good sense to probe and escape the dark,
come back whole-skinned to light in midday June.
You’ll find no Tinkerbells in Arnold Bax:
those “elfin, soulless” Ones who haunt the park
may bite the heart as insects nip the skin,
may scratch the young soul with sweet-bitter sin
as leaf-blades lash the unwary in the dark.
Bax will compose for Peter Pan’s James Barrie;
yet mind the menace in this music’s faery
host: the hiss of tambourine for thorns,
bass clarinet to counterweight with scorns
the rose-gold electrolysis of dawn.
You thought this a mere suburban London lawn?
Listen again: the danger-languor in
each innocent inch too deep into the park.
If you return, lad, that ecstatic tune
will linger in you, driving out the lark,
the nightingale: all melancholy June,
a loss, an echo, hauntingly and stark
lodged in you, a forever earworm tune.
You’ll find no Tinkerbells in Arnold Bax…

 Guac in a Box
—Photo by Katy Brown

(Hotel and Entertainment Center)
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Come visit the Wall
For the finest accommodations
And Tex-Mex cuisine

Enjoy the rush
Of a brisk, groping walk
Through peek-a-boo panties

To reach your penthouse
High atop the border, with
stunning, priceless views

Gazing down at a busy landscape
Of tourists, drug dealers, border agents
And desperate immigrants

Fleeing certain death on one side
For a life of guilt on the other
Like Liberty Island without the welcome sign

Please book well in advance
As the vetting process
May take months

 Old Rose
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Linda M. Crate. Meadville, PA

i was restless
these crumbs of lust
you called love
were not filling to my soul,

and standing in that field
of flowers i watched
butterflies dance in all their
freedom and felt a song

a part of me knew
this could be hard but i loved you
so i sacrificed everything so
that you could be untrue

i hope that she was worth it
because one of these days the coffee of
my eyes is going to scald your lap,
and the sunset of my hair

will burn you into
the wings of oblivion
without mercy
or care.

 Darling House Breakfast Corner, Santa Cruz, CA
—Photo by Katy Brown

—Michael Ceraolo, Willoughby Hills, OH

Having escaped straitened circumstances,
I emigrated to America,
where I had a career on the stage that
would last almost a quarter-century
The first female theater manager here,
once described as "severe and exacting"
"tyrannical" "imperious", it was
acknowledged that my management style
"created actors and actresses such as
you are not likely to see on the stage today"
But in the absence of recording devices
preserving my work for future generations,
I am best-known today, if I am known at all,
for a role I devoutly wish I hadn't had to play

Good Friday, April 14, 1865:
The newspapers had announced that the President
would be attending our play this evening, so
we delayed the start of the show for as
long as we could, about fifteen minutes,
then began the play
                               Eleven minutes in
I saw the President and his party enter,
and directed the audience's attention
to that fact by altering a line from the play
while at the same time turning and
facing the audience and gesturing

Having shown that I could successfully
depart from the script when necessary,
I would have an even greater improvisation:
later in the play, after he'd been shot,
amid the general pandemonium
I took the back stairs up to his box,
where I cradled his head in my lap
while waiting for help to get there,
getting his blood on my dress and face,
then assisting the shocked Mrs. Lincoln
down the stairs as he was being carried out

His blood would wash off my face,
but it stayed forever on the dress
and in my consciousness
In the years remaining to me
people pawed at whatever dress I was wearing
in the hopes they were getting a souvenir
of morbid historical value;
at least one of those souvenir hunters
added blood to it and forged my name
attesting to its “authenticity”
As if I would ever again
wear that holy relic onstage or off


Today’s LittleNip:

—Robert Lee Haycock

Trying to find a culprit
We photograph the eyes of the dead
To a soundtrack of bologna and butch wax


Oo-ee-dogies!—looks like Calliope has been busily visiting our poet friends this week, and we’re grateful for it! Our thanks to all these contributors to our fine Monday Mélange, including Bob Frost, who stopped by for a quickie to help usher in October 2017. And this wily Gorgon, Medusa, has opted for a bit of tongue in cheek by placing Robert Lee Hancock's "Rooked" above Tom Goff's poem about Mr. and Mrs. Hitchcock. Get it? Birds?

Photog/poet Katy Brown has sent us a wonderful selection of photos she took of last Saturday's readers at the Sacramento Voices anthology release; I'll get that posted into an album on Medusa's Facebook page later today. Many thanks, Katy-B!

Poetry events in our area begin tonight at 7:30pm at Sac. Poetry Center with the Border Crossings Reading featuring Lara Gularte and Nancy Aidé González plus open mic. On Tuesday in El Dorado Hills, Poetry Off-the-Shelves takes place in the library on Silva Valley Pkwy, 5-7pm.

Thursday in Old Sacramento, Terry Moore hosts The Big Showstopper Spoken Word Competition at Laughs Unlimited from 8-10pm, while Poetry Unplugged meets at Luna’s Cafe in Sac. at 8pm.

Friday morning, beginning at 9:30pm, Cal. Lawyers for the Arts presents “Year-End Giving: Creating Your ‘Ask’ Package” at CLARA studios on N St. in Sac. That evening, beginning at 6:30pm, The Good Earth Movement in Placerville will feature Grace Loescher plus open mic; then at 7:30pm, Barbara West will read at The Avid Reader in Davis. On Saturday, 2pm, Valley Hi-North Laguna Library in Sacramento presents Thursday Night Workshop Poets.

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.


 Celebrate Poetry with legos!
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, who writes:
"Artist Bryan Kilfoil does murals with lego bricks. 
This is one of his examples from LEGO Brickfest at the
Convention Center in downtown Sacramento Sept 23." 

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.