Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Little Verbs that Bounce & Leap & Cut

—Taylor Graham, Somerset

Across the street a little train runs circles
as if forever. It’s almost Christmas, the store
stays open later than usual, a whistling red
engine under some child’s tree. But this garage
doesn’t celebrate Christmas, the mechanics
go home at five o’clock whether our car is fixed
or not. It isn’t. They’re shutting up shop

as shoppers shut shop-doors behind them
and get in their cars for five o’clock traffic
that celebrates Christmas with red lights.
Our own car’s engine sits like a child’s toy
abandoned sooner than late. You whistle against
the cold that reminds us, Christmas is coming
mechanically as a little train running circles.


Thanks, TG!

Sacramentan Jane Blue sends us these wise words:

This is prose and it was written in 1935 in a book titled City Editor by Stanley Walker, so he is talking about newspapermen. My mother was a "newspaperman" in that era, in which there were few women, and I am really enjoying this man's words. So I thought you might like them for Medusa.

"He must learn, if he doesn't already know it, to avoid adjectives and to swear by the little verbs that bounce and leap and cut." (p. 43)

"Another group
[substitute poets], always small, will be able to cover anything on the face of the earth. These rare and brilliant workmen, to whom the whole world is a pathetically defenseless oyster, are the hope of the papers. They have legs, wind, imagination, knowledge, a sleepless curiosity, and they can write the blunt Saxon tongue."

I love that—"the blunt Saxon tongue"

I really enjoy your blog and appreciate that you keep it going with something. Marianne Moore is very undervalued these days [see yesterday's post].


Thanks, Jane! See some of Jane's "blunt Saxon tongue" in her poems in Rattlesnake Review #8 (now available at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sac.), as well as some of her fine photography. Jane has been a powerful influence and great contributor to the Sacramento poetry scene for many years. One of her most recent duties was as Editor of Tule Review, which has been on hiatus for a year or so now, but has recently been taken over by Brad Buchanan, Keely Doran, and Robbie Grossklaus. Word is that a new issue of TR will be out very, very soon.

Meanwhile, Medusa will herself be on hiatus tomorrow, but will hopefully be back up on Monday. Content yourself with one more wonderful poem by JTG:

(World Wide News)
—Taylor Graham

I spent all day with cinnamon & cloves
in a sugar dough
ginger & nutmeg & there’s the phone
the doorbell/gifts unwrapping
themselves in the closets
among the clothes,
you can’t keep a secret
from the kids & there’s
the phone
who? God? no—

I wound the lights around
the tree
& plugged it in &
all aglow
I reached
to stick a star
on top

You don’t
have a clue (he said)
about Christmas.
And then he lit
that star.


—Medusa (aka Nanook. Wish me luck with the dogsleds...)

Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their poetry and announcements of Northern California poetry events to for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.)