Saturday, August 31, 2019

Between Two Seconds

—Poems and Photos by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA

Midnight again, moonlight and wind. I cannot put down the poems of Miyazawa Kenji and Ilya Kaminsky. I keep reading on into the night. Then my own scribbles in a notebook. A gust of wind rattles the old loose window and that which I call my soul shoots straight up into outer space. Spacemen gather to me, and I read them a poem.

Where are we? We exist in the space between two seconds, between darkness and light. The second before and the second yet to be are of no consequence. We are everything and everything is us. Breathe in, open yourself to the beautiful emptiness. Exhale. 

If your life is so hard with your career and your home (Oh how you are put upon!), let me send you a family from Guatemala that has neither, only hunger and fear.


Below the perfect yellow moon a street light is burning white White WHITE. Why is it even on? Once I have walked past, no one will be there to see it. From one of the valley oaks an owl lets out a soft vowel sound. Perhaps she, too, would prefer the moonlight on its own. I'll go and ask her.

The river is a fine book to read; it can’t help it, it is what it is, just as you are. The river races from high ground to low like a run-on sentence wrapped around a wonderful plot. Of course, you do have to read between the lines.

The fire I built had blue flames that were made from the memories of my regrets. I don’t need these regrets; I said that aloud, even though I was alone. The fire was warm and beautiful. I sat beside it and was silent. The blue flames flickered on into the night.


Today’s LittleNip:

Bloom in the place where you are planted.


Thanks to James Lee Jobe this morning for his fine prose poems and photos, helping us to Savor the Morning Air and close off the month of August.

Today from 1:30pm-3pm, drop off your broadsides celebrating Sac. Poetry Center’s 40th Anniversary at the Center on 25th & R Sts., Sac. Info:

And today at 2pm, Creative Minds spoken word gathering of artists meets at the GOS Art Gallery on Del Paso Blvd. in Sacramento. 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 the quiet spaces between words…

 —Anonymous Photo

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.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Like a Forest of Rain

—Poems by Michael H. Brownstein, Jefferson City, MO
—Anonymous Photos



The colors of the ocean
turquoise with bits of pickled sky blue,
and a blend of grape juice purple—
and then, its skin ruptures,
a sudden rash red and boiling,
a lesion bleeding rotten blood.

 A Forest in a Single Raindrop


of landscapes of leks and booming tantrums

of landscapes of leks and booming tantrums


Sometimes behind a curtain,
An antique closet with a hundred pieces of gold
Or a young man carving Jatoba wood into frames
Or monarch butterflies, milkweed, and healthy hair.   
And behind the door, a simplicity of sound.
And in this room, the sweet sweat of huckleberry juice.
I cannot choose enough of any of these.
I can choose you, like a forest of rain.

Never is it enough to seek a clean place
Freshly imprinted with the small of your foot,
Decorated with the easy touch of your fingerprints,
And all of the breath in my world
Has this need to be knotted with
All of the breath in yours.

Will crab grass grow stronger after the storm?
This part is not in me. I can
Build a porch, change a fitting,
Lay out a pallet of down. This is in me.
I can quilt a blanket,
Tune the strings of my kora,
Find a place to be with you forever.
And later, when you come upon me late,
It will not matter what came before.
I am in luck because of you.


In the room of misappropriation,
a brand new crib leans into a striped wall
blue and pink—we know not boy/girl—
Is sex so important?—
nor do we wish for dried out, dying, dead.
Only living will do, not parchment,
ice, a limp fall of the head.
Alive, nothing else—a blanket,
yes, a blanket not gray, mottled,
dull steel, bar grimed, prison blocks off-white,
tombstone slate. Blue.
Pink. We will even welcome stripes.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Michael H. Brownstein

Curious how, after a blast from the sky
tears walls from the world,
the morning sky a tranquil blue, the wind
a lover’s sigh, openings everywhere
full of mulberries and fresh cut grass.


Thank you, Michael Brownstein, for your poems today, both stormy and sweet! For sounds of rain and wind in the forest, go to

Today from 12:30pm-2pm, it’s drop-off day at Sac. Poetry Center for broadsides celebrating Broad Way: Sac. Poetry Center’s 40th Anniversary. Or drop them off tomorrow, 1:30-3pm. Info:

Tonight, 7-9pm, check out Renegade Literati multi-genre series in Sacramento, with musician Gerry Pineda, Poet Brynn Saito, Visual Artist Lin Fei, Fiction Writer Vanessa Hua. That’s at Sac. City Hall, 915 I St. (enter from H St.). 

And also tonight at 7pm, Speak Up: The Art of Storytelling and Poetry features stories and poetry on the subject, "Harvest" at The Avid Reader, 1945 Broadway, Sac. 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 the sharp storms and sweet juice of poetry!

 We will even welcome stripes…
—Anonymous Artwork

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
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in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Dewdrops and Sand Castles

Frog (Can you see it?)
—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


Every afternoon
I check my rag-mop hung out
to dry—frogs today?
August: our creek doesn’t flow.
Tiny frogs must be thirsty.


Don’t call him forgetful,
though the dandelions went from gold

to fluff-weed, puff of smoke
above the ridge soon lost to blue.

One squash-flower in the garden
clings to green tomato—

that got his attention, it was so odd.
Summer half-gone, a rancher

who sold half his herd and can’t bring
himself to part with the rest.

LEEK SPRINGS 2019/1849  

July, escape from heat of our golden foothills.
Easy drive upcountry, to green meadow in shade
of conifers. I’ve heard the Forty-niners came
this way to California gold. Did they pause
for pasture by this clear cold stream? Headwaters
of North Fork Cosumnes. Behind them, granite
walls where they needed rope, levers and crowbars
to lift wagons up to Carson Pass. We trust our
4x4 pickup to get us back to pavement and safely
down the long ridge, home. Just past cattleguard,
a quick look over the side: land’s sudden plunge
into Camp Creek. We’ll follow its ridge down-
mountain as it hurries to join the North Fork,
miles out of sight. Did those Forty-niners have
a map of all these waters’ weavings, wagon-
busting carvings of our country forever-gold?


Along dry creekbed, my weed-whacker
uncovers sand-works that weren’t
here last summer, obscured by spring grass
and thistle, nameless invasive
weeds dead and bone-brittle now.
Might panning reveal flakes of gold?
What used to be a low island between arms
of the creek at flood-stage
has merged with the west bank.
Fortifications of erosion. Like boundaries
on a map, shifting allegiances.
The east arm has gouged a deeper moat.
Sandcastle remains, baked
to hardpan. Come next winter’s rains,
who knows what earth withstands.
What new edifice of sand?


Once there was a camp for child-
survivors. A week of fun and healing
by the lake. A small boy
built a sand castle on a broken bottle
he found discarded on the beach.
He said his castle would cover the whole
mess. That was many years ago.
Today, how big a castle
would a child have to build
to cover a summer’s thrown-out trash?


shines spider-web silver
in early morning light rayed
behind the oak tree
and over the sunrise hill,
sun magnified as rainbow orb
reflecting on a week’s wash
wearing out its history.
One day we’ll replace
the umbrella clothesline
but not this moment, not today. 

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

    (a deibide baise fri toin)

We come here
for high mountain air—crisp, clear,
gathered in water ice-blue.

a quiver
in green aspen leaves, shiver
of August wind’s warning call:


Thursday thank-yous to Taylor Graham for her poems and photos today, with such whispers of Fall about them, as we stumble through the heat into Labor Day. For more about the Deibide Baise Fri Toin poetry form, see

—Medusa, celebrating poetry!

Dewdrops on Spider Web in the Sun 
—Anonymous Photo from British Columbia, Canada

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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Adrift on a Breeze

—Poems by Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA
—Anonymous Photos of Yellow Swallowtails


Morning gasoline-smells: the mowers,
each cutting wheeled machine, men mounted atop,
glide over walkways, past the day’s leaf-blowers,
onto sampler-squares they crop.

A tiger swallowtail, in yellow flit,
adrift on a breeze
past liquidambar trees.

Over yonder, noises, building framework
for a new science lab, semesters away
from finishing. We have heard much the same work
done, much the same uproar,
here where we spend our day.

That same tiger swallowtail
I again saw, mid-flit in yellow,
adrift on a similar breeze
past those same liquidambar trees.

Doubtless the very same butterfly,
or a swallowtail body double,
will persist or rest while the evening wraiths,
cloud, shadow, weave their frail wreaths
under the night-field stubble.


Some say (good Will), which I, in sport, do sing,
Hadst thou not played some Kingly parts in sport,
Thou hadst been a companion for a King;
And been a King among the meaner sort.

—John Davies of Hereford, in “To our English Terence,
M[aste]r Will. Shake-speare” (1610)

 Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)


Good Will, most likely not our Stratford man,
far more suited to Spenser’s Shepherd Willie.
Like Marie Antoinette, but much less silly,
playing the flockster; really a dapper Dan
at Hampton Court. Where better, king-parts in sport?
Meaning, this was no elastic-straining stretch.
Insider, buffooning, no rustic “clown,” no wretch,
yet forfeiting altogether his good report.
Companion for a King? James, we suppose:
the words Great Oxford writ in a monarch’s hand.
King among the meaner sort? That would be scanned;
like unto Bolingbroke, subtle, not coming to blows,
yet rousing rabble…? Will’s words, deposing a Queen
(Richard II, hint, hint), in one stunning scene…?

“For Every Word Doth Almost Tell My Name…”

He writes of wanting a deeply buried name.
Buried, on what counts? Ancient family title,
disgraced by motley garb. Worse yet, more vital
a matter for keeping mum, some sensual shame.
More telltale still, confides that he is lame:
whether he means his “with a lame hand to write”
—referring to stroke? Or long-ago wound, by night,
dealt him in stealth?—the line flows much the same:

pity, self-pity, welling the way no eyes
would fill, more like a hemorrhage of the spirit.
Yet each and every sonnet, to endear it,
has frankness, makes unwisdom become the wise.
How does he impress the stamp of dark enigma
on so clear an inventory of social stigma?

(Composer Arnold Bax, 1913)

A score you never heard. Ironic: cheated
by your own Muses’ lavish-supernal gifts.
Every occasion to play this work, defeated.
Friends try; the aspiring mood takes hold, then rifts,
rifts open, orchestra dazed by orchestration;
young players, their very houses clichés, asked
to strum or stroke in Dionysian fashion,
turn into coy nymphs or musical satyrs. Tasked
far out of sync with Spring Fire’s rhythms; then War.
Small wonder you stowed ecstasy in a chest.
That chest went with you far, and yet how far?
Your Cello Sonata skimmed some of its best.
The rapture, recycled or fresh, stayed decades long.
Your own voice, stung to life on a Muse’s prong.


Chappell of Bond Street; 1964.
Musicologist Lewis Foreman holds
of Bax’s tone poem Spring Fire the one score.
On loan from Chappell’s emporium. What unfolds?
Red fire, raw thick black smoke. The store’s ablaze!
Foreman, punctually, just the day before,
returned the unique, the mighty music score.
Like Alexandrian books in olden days!
Quite gone, with lovely pianos, many works
by British composers…this loss worst of all
perhaps. It seems the gods have rained down gall,
have rained down molten lead. Yet they play quirks
and tricks for good as well as bad. Somewhere,
there’s one more score, a Spring Fire no fire will scorch.
Even the deities, once in a while, play fair.
For raging flame, Fate’s mighty counter-torch…


The delicate rain strikes leaf, turns emerald.
Droplets lift, quite atomized by sun.
Spring of the world’s beginning, all things rare
yet super-abundant. You awake, all Id.
Heart ripens, libido strengthens chlorophyll-green.
You stretch as told to by your own sinew-fire.

This is the building of the human spire,
all instinctive, nothing measured or ruled
save layer by layer acquired, all quite lean,
all skin, all sex, quite adequate, all one.
Poised pounce-ready, all vibration, languid,
richly branching, amassing, while still spare.

You listen; a noise—of something to beware?
Woodland voices, familiar in their choir.
But this, all new. The twitching of an aphid?
No novelty…Fresh velvet! You, enthralled,
encounter—Her. Who is She, was She begun
the same First Day as you? Her bearing, serene.

Her eyes take your full measure. Leafblade sheen.
If you could speak to her…how to prepare?
One hard look either way turns shy to shun.
You knew a god once, played a golden lyre.
If you could conjure that song when most called
for. Listen; she speaks. The lifting of a lid.

Her speech, her timbre. Goat: a newborn kid,
so innocent of voice. Innards careen
in you, up, down, around. Somehow you’ve sprawled
next to her, on downy grass. Two skins, both bare,
every last brush of touch a live desire.
If either had cause to think, one—both?—might run.

What’s come over you? Legs and flanks turn dun.
You steady yourself: on four hooves. You may bid
two legs keep you erect, yet you’re no sire
of your own wishes. She too takes new sheen,
smooth hardwood, coiling aloft in fragrant air.
You’re separate again, like two who’ve brawled

and broken off their combat. Through the green
dash others sexually aroused and keen
to press their advantage. Is each life a snare?


We pass from new domain to new domain.
How long a life can springfire green sustain?


Today’s LittleNip:

I grew up in this town, my poetry was born between the hill and the river, it took its voice from the rain, and like the timber, it steeped itself in the forests.

—Pablo Neruda


—Medusa, with thanks to Tom Goff for his soft words about swallowtails and other delights today!

 Lion en des Feuilles
(Lion in the Leaves)
—Anonymous Foreshadowing of Fall

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Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Word in the Sand

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


I have been looking for the castle.
It was on this polished landscape.
It shone on the sky for days
while I traveled toward it.

Then I came to this forest that was
deeper than it started out to be,
made of lost directions, moans,
and tangles, but I came through it.

Then this blue desert—a night-scape
upon which pale figures mingled—
real as dreams, pointing
and fluttering their cold dresses.

And now I come to the
castle landmarks, and the signs,
though I can tell by now, up close,
that they are very old.

And some have fallen,
and here and there
a weeping person passes by
in the opposite direction.

But never mind—I think I see a turret
up ahead—and a tall white wall—
and a flag of some kind,
and a gate to enter.

(first pub. in Poetry Depth Quarterly, 2003)



Is she the doll, this far-off, dreaming,
indoor child whose face is porcelain-white
in the sickly light from the window—

her red hair crushed
against a yielding pillow.
Is she ill, a model for the glass doll

that sits looking out the window,
rigid with listening to the sea
that sounds and sounds just out of view.

Does the child, too, listen—there is such
a disconnected dreaminess about her,
eyes without joy, no air of mischief,

her white dress catches window light
that tries to warm her, but her wild hair
draws all the light from the room.

She could be caught
in an ancient year of belonging,
left without energy enough to return.

The doll ignores the child—as does the child
the doll. If they are one and the same, how does
death happen to one and not the other?


Natural History Museum, London,
Photo by Tony Ginger

Everywhere there are stairways
and halls, curved walls and windows,
ornate shadows and random
echoes that burrow through the
old places that seem to be
inhabited, though they are
empty now—all the olden
palaces and castles and
cathedrals—some in forests,
some on moors. Even the seas
remember them—nearby or
distant—all the old tourists
with their fables and tales. I’ve
read of them and lived a few.
I know how they feel, and smell,
and moan, ever-so-slightly
at every departure. Their
musty draperies still hold
together and their cellars
still guard the wine. Their stories
are buried in forgetting—
their stairways still climb, and their
walls still curve together in
searchings and followings. Damp
halls disappear into rooms
that watch the windows fill with
captured views that never change



(after Paul Klee’s Death and Fire)

Now in the fun-house of the dream,
white ghost
of symbolic death—
of scream—
silent grasp of light,
side-show of the mind,

and at the receding edge 
of sleep—
hands raised
against the looming bugaboos
which are real, which are always there,
and always will be—in the dream.

(first pub. in Blind Man’s Rainbow, 1997)



I came upon a statue that had
two blank eyes, no pupils,
and no lids. It looked out upon me
and asked what I saw.

The statue had one wing
and one heavy shoulder.
I hugged my two arms together
and wondered how it felt to fly.

The statue was young and sexless
and wearing a long, white garment,
fastened at the neck, its very stillness
a mixture of envy and sympathy.

My garments were rain-heavy and torn
from the miles of living. My countenance
was scarred—we were communal now
in the singular blindness of our fate.


(a Pentaquad)

Tonight the silences converge and blend.
What is left of summer now? The days
are long and gold. The colors hum all night.
I want to tread the musics that I hear,
just like a weary dancer made of snow…

it’s funny that I just now think of snow;
the way it falls as nothing I can hear,
although I listened to it once all night
the way it folded down around the days…
but this is how things separate and blend—

how one thing is another—how I blend
the farthest with the nearest of my days—
all shifted and unsorted—how this night
disturbs me with the ghosts that gather here,
the ones of shadow and the ones of snow.

Inside the night there is a dream of snow
as perfect as the silence that I hear,
and in that dream another dreaming night
helps gather all the old and newest days
and melt them down together till they blend.

(first pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine, 1999)   

 The Whole Idea


My two ladies of difference
are in separate mirrors.

One is lost in a pool of water. One
is on a long path going into darkness.

I cannot follow them both
or save their future dying.

They are innocent of me.
I am unreal to them.

They do not even know
they are one
and that I am all three.

(first pub. in The Dividing Self mini-book
Oct. 1989, Piper’s Collections, Sand & Silk Pub.)



What can you know
of music and wind
and the vital sea.
I am all three.

Come to my places
and suffer where
the loneliest sound
you have ever heard
keeps filling the air.

When I am wild
you will be frightened
but will not go.
Then you will know.

(first pub. in Oregonian Verse, 1969; also inBlues 1991, Piper’s House/Sandcastle Collection)



gone up the beach
to read the word in the sand
left an arrow for you to follow
in the cloud formation in the sky

if you hurry and I go slow
we’ll come together
where the miracle awaits
it’s all a matter of timing

(first pub. in Small Pond, 1977)


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

This is the last arch.
We go under slow.

We have been away all night
listening to poets in the dream.

Is it sleep here
or is it sleep there?

Let us sleep.

(first pub. in
The Arms Around Winter mini-book, 1990)                                

Thank you, thank you to Joyce Odam today for her mysterious poems about sandcastles and dreams and ghosts and sickly children. Each line of her "The Moody History" is composed of seven syllables, and the form of her Pentaquad is: 20-line poem in iambic pentameter with same set of end words used throughout: 12345 / 54321 / 12345 / 54321 (can use rhyme words a b c a b).

Our new Seed of the Week is The Last Ghost of Summer. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.

—Medusa, celebrating the poetry of transition


 Death and Fire by Paul Klee, 1940

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Monday, August 26, 2019

Devil's Chocolate!

—Photos of Ancil Hoffman Park by Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA
Looked like Castle Black
Or Jabba The Hutt's place,
Never pretty, but
Till the

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

It seems a shame to waste the morning
When morning is the best part of the day.
It’s coolest then, just in the sixties,
Perfect for walking, running or bicycling.

Its actually refreshing!
Worth getting up for
Worth getting out for
Out of your
Early slumber’s door.

Earliest is best.
It’s coolest, just near dawn.
When streets are nearly empty,
When hardly a soul is stirring,
Or, if stirring, it’s only just their coffee.
They haven’t made their minds up yet
Just how they will make their way
Out into their day.

It’s still cool!
The afternoon has not burned in yet.
It’s nice ‘til ten.
After that, you need the shade.
This is how a summer day is made
In this Central Valley. 

—Joseph Nolan

I like the smell of steam
Rising in my nostrils
Like an unreal dream
Of spinning, heavenly bodies
Falling through the dark
On fire!

I like the smell of steam
Reminding me that heat and fire
Are the essence of desire
That burn within
And tear without,
That make each other
Scream and shout
And then begin again,
When they get the whim—
And meanwhile
Float along together
On gentle clouds of steam.


—Joseph Nolan
We all
Wandered off
Into chambers
Of jade,
Happy with mirth,
Our mischief
Had made,

And made off
With all
We could take,
And acted like
We deserved,
Desperate break,
We got!

But desperate or not,
We deserved
To be shot,

But instead
We were leveraged,
Over our head,

So much later
It would all
Crash down.
Much later,
Much later,

—Joseph Nolan

If you are there,
The world may give
Comfort and some care.

If you are not,
The world might be
Harder than a knot.

Ask yourself
To carry all you’ve got:
How much would you want?

The lighter the load
The more your gentle laughter
Might explode
Into the wind,
Freeing you of karma
And the way you’ve sinned.


—Joseph Nolan

We’re almost here,
But not quite.

We’re almost together,
But not through the night.

We almost feel all right
But not quite.


The poet: I’m going to sit right down and write a poem
Poetry: Sorry, we’re closed today, family emergency

The poet: What could possibly be wrong?
Poetry: Arts and Humanities lie mortally wounded

The poet: Who could have done such a thing?
Poetry: One hint—the root of all evil

The poet: Devil’s chocolate! I get what you’re saying
Poetry: You’re not even close

The poet: What can I do to help?
Poetry: If you don’t already know, you’re part of the problem

The poet: No, really, I mean it
Poetry: You are Excalibur, I am the stone, so wait patiently
until the proper hand finds you 


Well now, doesn’t that
notion just wreak of wisdom
gained by much practice!

or it could be a
kaleidoscope of colors,
a constant, changing

hierarchy of
many biological

when you find flowers,
do you hunt for all their names
and derivations,

Or do you rather
soak up sights and fragrant smells,
hoping to repeat?

maybe snap a few
color photographs of your
floral bonanza

to awaken your
senses when doing housework
dusting those pictures



When the numbers on the Big Board
are trending up, all the public media
parrots sing the chorus that the
economy is healthy.


The Big Board only has eyes to see the
gainfully employed and doesn’t take any
notice at all of the painfully unemployed,
homeless, jobless, under employed, too
feeble to work, or working multiple jobs
to still not quite have one’s head above
water, buried by debt

If a big business is owed money, they
can ledger that in Accounts Receivables
to leverage someone else’s debt to get
a loan.  Just try that if you flip burgers and
your boss hasn’t paid you on time

The true measure of the health of our
economy will not be how well the passengers
in a luxury limo are doing, it will be in how
well people who are struggling just to stay
even are doing


1) Prior to speaking or taking action, consider what an opposing party might say about your words or actions
2) Notate anticipated terms or expressions (e.g. harmful, disgusting, offensive, outrageous)
3) Consult thesaurus for a more complete list of similar terms
4) Issue a preliminary argument against the opposing party using all those terms
5) Now speak or act
6) When the opposing party does respond to your words or actions, degrade and dismiss their response as being no more than an echo, and encourage everyone to just move on

A musician friend of mine
dead many years now, had
grown tired of all the pressure
and fuss of relationship baggage
and only wanted some gratification

I am getting to feel that way about
caring for my plants in the back yard
some needing more water
some needing less, some hopeless;
looks like a weed, dare I yank it out?

So quick and easy to just backspace,
correct, or redact on the computer
until the image is suitable

Maybe I am due to replace those
plants with a rock and sculpture
garden, add a Buddha or two to guide
my quiet meditation, to take my mind
off the constant need to upgrade the
(expletive!!!) irrigation system

I could can my bad jokes that were
plucked from the earth when fully ripe
and show them off to my friends on the
Internet as a higher and better use for
Mason jars


Today’s LittleNip(s):


Five o’clock shadows
appear on neck and chin
only silhouettes remain
where workers once had been

* * *

—Joseph Nolan

Is cleavage the gateway to Heaven?
God is everywhere,
So you might find him there,
But don’t stare!

* * *

—Joseph Nolan

In complete repose,
A sage beholds
His toes.

That’s how
It goes,
When you knows!


Our thanks to today’s contributors for their comments on the world around us this morning! Poetry in our area begins tonight at 6pm with Poetry in Motion poetry read-around at the Placerville Sr. Center on Spring St. in Placerville, then continues at 7:30pm at Sac. Poetry Center in Sacramento with Chad Sweeney, Judy Halebsky plus open mic.

On Thursday, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar begins at 8pm with Jenny Lynn and Sho Nuf, plus open mic, on 16th St. in Sacramento. At 8:30pm in Old Sac, “The Best of Me” features Terry Moore and guests at Laughs Unlimited, $10 general seating, VIPs $25.

Saturday at 7:30pm, 916 Ink presents Hot Literary Nights, a fundraiser featuring young authors, at 3301 37tth Av., Sac. Tickets $75-$125. 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.

Next Monday, Sept. 2, Sac. Poetry Center will feature the first issue of
Transcend: A Literary Magazine. The magazine is still accepting submissions (through this Friday, 8/31) for this first issue (Transcend.Horizons) at

Interested in workshops? Find the green box at the right for a listing of local ones which will be held this week and/or later. Or check out Tuesdays (Sept. 3-Oct. 8, 6-8pm) for “Kick-Start Your Creativity”, a generative 6-week writing workshop which will take place at Sac. Poetry Center this Fall, facilitated by Bethanie Humphreys. Reg: $120. Info:

—Medusa, celebrating poetry—and the Devil’s Chocolate!

 Saying Good-bye to Summer

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Sunday, August 25, 2019



—Joe Harjo, US Poet Laureate

Remember the sky that you were born under,

know each of the star's stories.

Remember the moon, know who she is.

Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the

strongest point of time. Remember sundown

and the giving away to night.

Remember your birth, how your mother struggled

to give you form and breath. You are evidence of

her life, and her mother's, and hers.

Remember your father. He is your life, also.

Remember the earth whose skin you are:

red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth

brown earth, we are earth.

Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,

listen to them. They are alive poems.

Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the

origin of this universe.

Remember you are all people and all people

are you.

Remember you are this universe and this

universe is you.

Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.

Remember language comes from this.

Remember the dance language is, that life is.




Saturday, August 24, 2019

Welcome to Morning!

Poems by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA
—Photos of Anza Borrego State Park courtesy of James Lee Jobe


Welcome to morning, blessed by light, blessed by the songs of birds, blessed by the love of families waking up to eat breakfast together, blessed by the possibilities offered by a new day. Gratitude for the sunlight, gratitude for the birdsongs, gratitude for my own family, my own day. Thank you for my life.


A morning in summer and the windows are all open to invite the world inside, and the world answers ‘yes’ with a breeze that smells of jasmine and rosemary as my yard blooms under a perfectly blue sky.

This time we’ll wear dark glasses to mask our blindness. This time we’ll wear cloaks that cover and mask our wounds; that way the world cannot see our many weaknesses. We will enter the ballroom upright, walking slowly, gracefully, and the world will go silent to see us there, proud as we are, undefeated. And then we will begin to dance.


The violent, the cruel, and the ignorant call out for war with Iran. They are caught up in their Samsara like a fallen leaf spinning in a whirlpool. As I write this, it is a gray and cold morning in May, more like winter than spring, and I am sipping coffee, thinking of peace, and saying a prayer for those who seek war. May they know peace. May the leaf escape the whirlpool.

A cold night. I shiver as I write down the names of the gods I deny, and then erase them all. The page is again blank. Each time I erase a god, I say, "There are no gods."

Ghosts watch me, or so it seems. I rise from the hard, straight chair, and wrap a blanket around myself, return, sit, and pick up the pencil to begin again. This could take a long time. From behind, a ghost holds me in her whispery arms, and I tell her, "There are no ghosts."

An old friend, now so full of anger and judgement that is hard to be friends anymore. Trying to learn to set some limits to protect my soul from this. My life and his life will always be different. Walking the park to clear my head, to be present, now. Meditation on the park bench. A cool delta breeze blows across the park, south to north, up the Sacramento River from  San Francisco Bay, from the Pacific, from the Gulf of Alaska really, coming around in an unbelievably huge circle. One hundred miles inland, to me. It is a perfect thing. Cool. Fresh. It brings a smile to my lips.


Today’s LittleNip:

Half of the sky for you, half for me. Half of the river. Half of this lifetime. Walk with me, dear, time belongs to us. Let’s whisper so that no one else hears.

—James Lee Jobe


Thanks to James Lee Jobe for today’s fine poems and the photos of Anza Borrego State Park in SoCal, which he calls “one of the loveliest deserts anywhere”!

Start out your poetry weekend today at 9:30am with Writers on the Air at Sac. Poetry Center, featuring Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas, Jennifer O’Neill Pickering, Taylor Graham and Sue Crisp, plus open mic. At 2pm, in Placerville at the Placerville Sr. Center, Poetic License poetry read-around meets in the lobby. 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 the poetry of the desert


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Friday, August 23, 2019

Mariners & Panda-Cousins

—Poems and Photos by Carol Louise Moon, Placerville, CA 


He was kneeling over,
back bones protruding through
his T-shirt, his feet folded
at the ankles, his arms
intently tinkering on a
mechanical device
at the transom of his
27-foot boat. Sunset amber
lit up his gray hair.

He worked like this
out on the water in the
elements, in a harbor—
home of seals and gulls.
A gull perched on the stern rail
was watching him, bobbing,
scrutinizing the work
of the old man.

He had circumnavigated
the big island up North
Pacific, and now time to
make ship-shape his new vessel
which would carry him
with his new wife
farther through fog and sunsets—
motoring through cold waters
up, around and back home
again to the harbor he loved—
gulls squawking, egging him on.


The color gray
flattens itself
on the surface of a road.

The color gray:
a do-nothing color
in the face of
an impending color storm.


She wore a gray sweater
she wore a gray hat,
her eyes were steely gray
as she kicked a gray cat.

And what of her gray mood,
her words gray and hollow?
The clouds that hung over
that gray rain would follow.

I'd seen her so often
and heard of her fame;
her gray disposition
and even her last name

which was Gray, Ima Gray.
I'm a Gray, she would say.


The young raccoon leans erect
with his face and forepaw against
the cabin nestled among ivy and
beach rock.  He gazes with guarded
curiosity into the sunshine of a
breezy day on this verdant island.

His smaller brother appears
from behind him, equally curious,
but more timid.  Their dark shaded
eyes and white powdered cheeks
accentuate the seeming long nose
running down their foreheads.

Not bandits of ill repute, but more
a panda-cousin, they seem ready
to approach and beg for a treat.
Fruit, anyone?

Today’s LittleNip:

(a Pleiades)
—Carol Louise Moon

Deserted, you and me,
down on our luck, but free.
Don't mind company of
desert fox and fennec.
Dark evening finds us down,
difficult to see on
dry, dusty desert floors.


—Medusa, with our thanks to Carol Louise of the Moon for her poems today (some of which are part of her “The Color Gray” series), and her photos (part of her “All Things Metal” series). 

 Frank Ney, Former Mayor of Nanaimo, BC, Canada
—Photo by Carol Louise Moon

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