Thursday, June 13, 2019

Facing Homeland

 Bamboo “wishing” or “haiku” tree at WakamatsuFest150,
Placerville, June 6-9
—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


           from the Yelp reviews
The perfect Father’s Day present.
A rustic candy store with bare bones décor.
All kinds of candy from your childhood,
that small town life, a time that was so long ago.
How underrated.
A little history and a story behind the chocolates.
I didn’t know so much candy existed.
Like home made except you aren’t afraid
of salmonella.
Quaint little shop, dated & worn down
but appeals to the old town charm.
As though I’m stepping back in time,
the type of candy store I always dreamed of.
Decisions, decisions.
Almost too pretty to eat.
I’m glad we don’t live nearby.
A lot of things missing, rearranging,
the store is closed, boarded up.
Windows papered up. Making some changes.
Sad to see it close.

 Poets Under the Oak


An oak tree for shade,
a few small books of verses—
on the winding road,
this and a brown bird singing
cheer us along as we go.


lavender and pink—
girl’s face concealed by hat brim
she becomes design

 El Dorado County Poet Laureate Suzanne Roberts 
works with youngsters on haiku


Delta breeze whispers
to kids counting syllables
into lines to hang
on the bamboo wishing tree—
sea-wind gives their haiku wings.

 Haiku with Wings


wind through high oak boughs
carrying news from east, west—
oak has known it all

her shade shifts with sun
but always canopies one
grassy spot for us


It must be synonymous with duty and patience,
with loneliness and longing for a far-off
homeland. This festival is anniversary
of her coming here, where she forever stays.

Visitors from the homeland will honor her
solitary grave. Four days of ceremony, overflow
parking in a pastoral setting; tickets, shuttles,
and booths with vendors. What would she call it?

I’ve read the name on her stone: English
facing the rising sun, Japanese facing home.
But I know her name as solitude, evening walks
to a point of land where she could

send her dreams west, wind-blown ocean foam.
Here, her bones have taken root under oak.
Can living voices of her homeland,
in her native tongue, now call Okei home?

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Weed-eating in cut-
off jeans—grass-chaff sticks to my
shins, I’m bleeding green.

 Three Wakateers: Taylor Graham, Sue Crisp, Katy Brown
(Three Volunteers Who Helped Make It All Happen!)


Our thanks to Taylor Graham for her poetry and photos today, giving us a taste of WakamatsuFest150 which took place in Placerville last weekend. For more about that, go to

American River Conservancy will host another poetry workshop, Capturing Wakamatsu, on Sunday, Aug. 25 from 10am-12pm, facilitated by Taylor Graham and Katy Brown. More about that later.

Taylor Graham will read at Sac. Poetry Center this coming Monday, June 17, with Red Fox Underground Poets, a power-packed passel of poets from the foothills, plus open mic, 7:30pm.

Today at 11:30am, Wellspring Women’s Writing Group meets at the Wellspring Women’s Center on 4th Av. in Sacramento. Then tonight at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar in Sacramento, Poetry Unplugged presents Brad Buchanan plus open mic. 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.

—Medusa, celebrating our busy poetry season!

 Katy Brown, the Magnetic Haiku Gremlin
—Photo by Taylor Graham

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.