Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Handprints of Ghosts

Fountain of Light, “Chalk It Up” in Sacramento, 2017
—Poems and Photos by Cynthia Linville, Lincoln, CA


We sit at the edge of this fountain
mourning the death of poets

We gather up sadness by its edges
finger our joys and regrets—

handfuls of coins
rubbed until shiny

tossed into this water
that transforms our wishes

The fountain reflects the sky
purples, golds, and reds

Uncompromisingly glorious

Sunrise or sunset—
it is enough



No place is safe
for this skin,
these bones
out west,
out here on the line

No blue here
in this desert
so far from the Pacific
where dust is all
that rises

No hope
no rivers
even the trains are few—
the last came through
some time ago

I often think of Lawrence
in his desert,
remember his green green eyes
as I try to find
a way out

* * *

I need a way out
to the Pacific
I need the deep blues
the green greens

I need a train
to carry away
this skin
these bones
out west
out to the end of the line
out of this desert

I’m tired of playing Lawrence
I’m tired of the dust
the snakes

I should have sailed
on the last river
that crested
on the river
that carried away
the last of my hopes

* * *

No one left to tell me
my last hopes
No one left to remind me
of the prettiest train
I ever saw

Am I more than just
skin, bones
and dust?

Green is the color
of rivers rising
the color of
a fair man’s eyes
(your eyes)

Blue is the color
of the Pacific
the color of hope
the color of
the way home

(This poem uses the words from titles on the album, Blue Pacific, by Victor Krummenacher)

 Triple Foam Carwash


That sure is a big apple
he said
I nodded

It looks really firm and juicy
I took a big bite
I nodded again

He sat watching me
listening to me

That really makes me want an apple
he said
I smiled around a mouthful

What kind of apple is it?
he asked

I just kept sinking my teeth
into the apple’s firm flesh



I just kept crunching
kept chewing

Pink Lady?


As I swallowed the final mouthful
I whispered

 Sacramento Sidewalk


We crumbled apart in hard plastic pieces
scattered on the floor
so broken
we don’t even know
what once was

* * *

The glimpse of a strong jaw
the curve of an ear
The harsh flash of exposure
blurs the atmosphere
to white mist

* * *

My body doesn’t know
that we’ve been over
for eleven years
My hands still want to grab your hair
my teeth, to nip your ear

* * *

Love sinks strong teeth
into the back of your neck
and shakes you
and shakes you
and shakes you 

 Hailstorm in Sacramento


The rain welcomed us in electric blue waves
thick against the apocalyptic sky
I can’t see for the light in my eyes

Three hours till tomorrow
Everything means something different here
The handprints of ghosts stroke my hair

Somehow we have survived long enough
to bring these ashes to sanctuary—
stardust to stardust

A gift of wrong turns
until we are erased by shadows
Inside my head, it starts to snow

*   *   *

Snow falls thick against
the apocalyptic sky
I can’t see for the light in my eyes

Everything means something different
now that we have survived
all the wrong turns

Three hours till tomorrow
till we bring these ashes to sanctuary
till we return to stardust

Ghost-hands stroke my hair
into electric blue waves
until I am erased by shadows

*   *   *
Erased by shadows and light
we are stardust

We enter the apocalyptic sky
in electric blue waves

Out of ashes in sanctuary
we become ghosts

Every gift means something different here

We welcome the rain
We are the snow


Today’s LittleNip:

—Cynthia Linville

You are an old sweatshirt
and faded jeans
worn soft in the curves
fraying at the seams
resting in a box marked


—Medusa, thanking Cynthia Linville for bringing us her fine poems and photos today!

Victor Krummenacher and Cynthia Linville
For an archived poetry-and-music performance at Luna’s 
by Cynthia and Victor, go to 
Victor’s website is
—Photo by Jennifer Temple

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.