—Michael H. Brownstein, Chicago, IL
The house on the third quadrant of Mars
Parallel to the polarities of Earth
Perpendicular to the central strategies of Venus
Where are we? Who are we? How are we?
Rock flats, salt crevices, copper linings,
Asteroid one, asteroid two, asteroid three
What are we? Why are we? Where are we?
Travel through cloud storms and ether
Paths of light and dark and solar flares
You can wake to sleep and sleep to wake
In the dreamscape of landscaped spacescape
Look outside the feeding tube, breathing tube,
Breasting tube, beating tube and you still
Won’t know the question from the answers.
A POND OF TIRES AND DEBRIS, A HAND BLOCKING A HAND
—Michael H. Brownstein
The dirty gods never need a bath or haircut.
The dirty gods never learn to shave.
The dirty gods have perfect pearls for teeth,
clean underwear and clean fingernails
The dirty gods breath smells of fresh baked bread,
perfume, the fragrance of a woman in love.
Spine of brick
Flow of water
This is what crushed the water,
this is how the trees died
and do you see in the distance?—
This is how the mud grew up
slipping from limestone and slate.
Water comes between us.
WHAT THINGS MAY COME
—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA
What things may come
Before the dawn
To eyelids closed,
Inside the mind,
To mind’s eye
On its screen?
The touch of
Upon a floor,
These things and
Of loved ones
Or worried frowns—
Of a life lived
There’s always something wrong, eventually.
Cabbage that turns into kim-chee
Grape juice into wine
Or worse yet, vinegar.
Milk into yogurt
Curds into cheese
Smiles into complaints
Feelings to unease.
Unease into avoidance
Avoidance into distance
Distance into departure
For a different existence.
Some people eat these things
On a daily basis.
They say it’s good for your digestion.
If you eat enough of that sort of thing,
You can swallow rusty nails
Without it bothering you much
Or get a job
Off the bottoms of ships.
It toughens you up, they say.
For those who can endure,
There are rewards.
LIGHTNESS INTO DARKNESS
How many ways
May light come in,
Into a darkened room,
Into a darkened soul?
How many ways
Be made whole,
Against the wind,
Against cruel time,
Against a juggler’s
And how might
We let the light
To quell a frown,
Let barriers down,
When hopeful minds
To occupy our time.
A fierce and
A simple giggle
At the window
Through the shades
HERO TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
As long as he is Casey at bat, the
whole game is in the balance, he could
hit the next pitch clear over the tallest
wall for the roaring cheers and the win.
It has been done a few times before,
like people really winning the lottery,
so a cluster of gamblers in the crowd
holds onto that one thread of hope.
With all of that tension in the air, he
swings, and misses, STRIKE THREE!
This one little statistic changes everything.
No longer President, his loyal followers
are drawn to the more pleasing scent of
another trail, of another player who can
also offer heroic tales of winning games,
winning elections, a treasure of fan candy.
WAITING FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO DROP
We have seen the movement
across many cities to remove
their statues of Confederate
figureheads, as they no longer
represent the will of the majority
of local voters.
Yet there remains one relic from
that same point in history which
still functions to reinforce the
absolute power of privilege that
certain men held over everyone
else: the Stock Market.
Just try to envision the daily
closing bell ceremony without
also catching a glimpse of entire
families of black slaves on the
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Number 2 pencil
big, giant eraser
Yes, I am now ready
to draw a conclusion…
No one knows borders
better than a humble
seamstress. Seek her
counsel before starting
your damn wall.
For Thanksgiving and
Christmas we are supposed
to go to the marketplace for
little reminders that once upon
a time an all-powerful God
made us less so.
Every day we read the
horoscope for each family
member and our President;
one of these invariably defines
a person who is not wired to
understand these thoughts.
Pets are almost poets
Fate made me a father
The sum of our dreams becomes summer
Too much law is a flaw
But there is no pig in a poke.
Verb’s pretty wife
was too busy to
give him a conjugal
visit in prison
because she just
couldn’t decline a
Many thanks to today’s poets, and a reminder that there will be no reading at Sac. Poetry Center tonight. On this coming Saturday from 12-2pm, you are cordially invited to enter 3-5 artworks to the SPC fundraiser art show at the Sacramento Poetry Center Art Gallery, entitled Paradise Relief: An Invitational Art Show to Benefit the Camp Fire Victims, curated by Bethanie Humphreys and Heather Judy. Info: www.facebook.com/events/202445027323910/?active_tab=about/. 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 clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.