Thursday, October 31, 2019

Phantoms of Imagination

That Spooky Latches!
—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


She carries no tools to the hill, walking carefully
finding foothold as she goes. Stone-stump-leaf-
fall slick underfoot. It’s October, the woods’
thick mat of years no cushion but hazard. Wild-
fire cancels everything when it comes—or
before, its rumor-fear. Home insurance no longer
assured. No beating the system, but to try
with bare hands and hope. The system a maze
more tangled than her slash-pile, detritus
of a great oak fallen in storm. Each limb she pulls
from the pile, a handle. Sun plays through
canopy of oaks still standing, bursting brilliance
in her eye. Each morning she rises like dinosaur
in a changing world, its changing weather. 


Is that her ghost, standing
in the clinic parking lot surveying the sky?
Same cock-elbow stance, same lock-lip smile;
then she swings up into an old red pickup
as into the saddle, bound for the trail.
Same broad-seeing glance but somehow
secret, like she was stroking her sorrel’s ear,
a wordless language. Equations of touch,
animal witchcraft.

That friend is gone. Here’s a phantom
of imagination—conjuring a spirit
that even cancer can’t annihilate. 


Rasp of rake and click of clippers
saw-blade music cutting oak
louder than birdsong
thru autumn trees
Cooper’s hawk flies
soundless—winter coming. 


Machinery across the canyon, invisible
in trees—north-facing slope, ponderosa pine
and black oak. Someone’s thinning trees,
or cleaning up slash, working on defensible
space. Aren’t we all? with saws, trimmers,
loppers, bare hands. I envy the machinery,
sometimes. When the noise quits, a breeze
takes up the silence, makes it beautiful. 


How cute would your dog Scout look
in these costumes? the email ad asks me.
How do they know his name?
Cyber-spies they are, not knowing
Scout died four years ago, still a puppy.
He’ll be haunting Halloween
as he always does this time of year,
a swirl of falling leaves on wind,
dancing like the pup he was,
floating off in wander-song of breeze. 

Save the Graves at Placerville Union Cemetery

A crowd in the old graveyard, going on Halloween.
Men in black suits, white beards like Longfellow’s
among gravestones, finding their places. A ball-
capped guy with smartphone. Homestead lady,
ageless glint in her eye. Watch your step—
tripping hazards on old cemetery paths,
some headstones needing repair. “Dead Men Do
Tell Tales:” folding chairs for audience near certain
gravesites. Pioneer banker recounts his life
in this Gold Rush town. Long-dead blacksmith,
lumberman, suffragette. A young mother—
beaded braids and baby-stroller—converses
with an immigrant woman buttoned up
chin to boots: urgent talk across generations,
centuries. Behind them, gravestones slope away
down the hill. October sun lowers
behind tall-pine ridges of our town. Living history
in the making. The dead are about to speak. 

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

School garden’s decked out
for Halloween. Dragon toes
root trees from flying
off in October gusts. The
scarecrow? sunflower disguise. 


Clever scarecrow, hiding on this Halloween Thursday! (Maybe he’s afraid of the wee goblins in the school.) Our thanks to Taylor Graham for bringing us this cheeky scarecrow, and all her other harbingers of autumn today, including her great shots of the Cooper's hawk. About her “Living History” poem, she writes that she went to the reception/tour for our local Save the Graves last week, and that they have several websites, one of which is

And thank you to Katy Brown for her scary pumpkin photo, taken quite a few years ago in Michigan when her daughter, Miranda, lived there. Thanks, Katy Brown!

—Medusa, and may all your ghosts turn into poems for you ~

 Michigan Jack
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

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

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Giving Up The Ghosts

Medusa (1904)
—Painting by Józef Mehoffer (1869-1946)
—Poems by Bruce Hodder, Northampton, England
—Additional Paintings by Douglas Polk, Kearney, NE


I had been Northampton’s oldest student
for a few days when I saw you.
You were standing in the canteen queue,
looking like a hip Medusa
with your mane of dreadlocks loose,
and those tattoos darkening your arms.
The Shakespeare lecturer in front
was buying yellow Monster Munch.
‘That’s Jasmine. She’s the music teacher,’
a friend sat at my table said,
with relish that it could be so
in a place she had assumed
would be an old and fusty hive
of men in bow ties, like the films.
I had seen you once before, I thought,
but I kept it to myself.
It was at a care home years ago
when I took a young man in distress
to hospital while you were on the late.
We were with the same care company
in different homes in Shoe Town.
Were you working through your Masters?
I was drifting through my life
as I had always done, and still do.
You admitted later on
that the memory of me escaped you
somehow, from that brief encounter
fifteen years before the flood.
I still say that’s outrageous,
but I’ll let you off, my friend,
in the light of the electric lectures,
the dissertation you inspired me
to write, the love you showed Martyna,
your perfect summer wedding
in a field with bombers flying over.
Your becoming a fearsome Hecate
on the south lawn of our abbey,
the embodiment of woman pushing back
at centuries of patriarchal crap,
was as fine a thing as I have seen
in Shakespeare; and now, Jaz of the water,
you sit posting from the river daily,
reminding us to stay true to our hearts,
however hard it gets.
It’s a message we need desperately,
and you know more than most, don’t you,
that life takes some surviving.

 The Jogger
—Painting by Douglas Polk


I remember you, sweet Likkie,
dancing barefoot in a velvet dress
with buttercups and daisies
in a garland in your long brown hair.

I woke up one day to stories
of a missing woman, last seen
with her thumb out
on a Fenland Road. It was you,
a lovely phantom for so long
whenever I looked back.

The police presume you dead.
Our friend from Glastonbury says
you called her from a phone box
in the night and said, ‘Don’t worry.’

It was just the kind of stunt you’d pull.
The look of mischief in your eye
was what I fell in love with, after all.

 Scary Creatures
—Painting by Douglas Polk


I got bladdered drinking snakebites here
and smoked through many packs of cigarettes
as first love slowly crushed me.
Now, thirty-six years later, happy,
I’ve returned to seek those ghosts and drink.
Going in, I see a fake stone feature
in the middle where the bar once stood.
The new bar‘s all along the wall
on the right side, where they once had booths.
The fixtures gleam. It’s all too clean for me.
Young men, their short hair thick with grease,
& bleached teeth dazzling, serve the drinks
to customers wearing suits or dresses
that cost enough to feed a homeless man    
for weeks. I’m out of here, I tell Michelle,
and leave before we’re even fully in.
Filled with students like it was back then,
men nursing pints, and turning papers over
for an hour, this pub was glorious.
I’m not quite ready to give up those ghosts,
however much you try to gentrify them.

 The Beast Inside
—Painting by Douglas Polk


The fat man, Bob, in the hi-viz jacket
is pasting posters up for local gigs
on the main drag, where the sports shop was.
It’s dawn in an hour. A sharp frost has fallen,
but there are kids still drunk from last night
in a group outside McDonald’s, smoking.
A Greek lad walking like a gangster
sees Bob pasting, and he calls him whale.
A girl stumbling on her high heels laughs.
Bob’s kind. He’s pretty sure they’ll learn one day
not to throw pain around like pelted stones;
but their actions hurt him anyway.
Hot self-disgust still floods his body.
His hands still tremble as he hurries
to get the job done. It’s been like this since school,
when it got so bad he tried to end his life.
Only the faces in the mob have changed.
But for years now, Bob hasn’t looked at faces.
He no longer thinks he has a right to that.

—Painting by Douglas Polk


There are a thousand seagulls in the pre-dawn sky.
It’s cloudless, chilly, but not enough for gloves.
I’m waiting in the car park outside work
for my ride; the muscles in my arms and legs
are sore. I wonder where my life went wrong.
How did I get to be so old and grey,
still working on the night shift to pay the bills?
Suddenly the cry of many birds distracts me
and a thousand gulls are flying overhead.
I watch them, mesmerised. I don’t hurt now.
Passing through the lights makes them sickly yellow.
They’re so near the ground I can see their eyes.
There must be a thousand. It takes five minutes
for the gulls to pass above me, and a few behind.
Then my ride, heavy-footed, with red-rimmed eyes,
comes out through the turnstiles. His car doors click.
He says, ‘I ain’t got many more left in me, Bruce.
Let’s go, before they change their mind.’

 Bruce Hodder

Today’s LittleNip:

I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn't know who I was—I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I'd never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn't know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn't scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.

―Jack Kerouac,
On the Road 


 Bruce-on-the-Rocks (or, Bruce Rocks!)

Welcome to Bruce Hodder, who lives with his wife, Michelle, in Northampton, England. He has appeared in many publications over the years, most notably Bryn Fortey’s legendary underground print magazine, ‘Outlaw’, and the much-missed Norbert Blei’s poetry anthology, ‘Other Voices’. This year he was thrilled to publish his first collection,
The Journey Home with the US-based Whiskey City Press. Welcome to the Kitchen, Bruce, and don’t be a stranger!

And our thanks to Douglas Polk for  more of his fine paintings today. Doug is also a poet who was first featured in the Kitchen in August of this year.

For more about Józef Mehoffer, go to

—Medusa, who would swim clear across The Pond for fine poetry like this!

 Bruce Snogs Pal

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Passion of the Leaves

As Seasons Come and Go


Soon autumn will find us trembling with joy,
its cool relief—its heady promise,
and thus, believed.

Time is not wasting away,
it is only lingering the longer
for the sweet nostalgia of every autumn,

all the leaves are hurrying
and the sky retracing old patterns,

oh the softly urgent winds . . .
oh the sunsets . . . 



Autumn, take your aging children
through the passion of the leaves;
their sorrows are not ready;
let them excite to colors and to winds;

let them believe the world around them
is okay; let them belong to motions
that revive the energies . . .
Death is not wanted here . . .

though the finished leaves
are abandoning the trees . . .
though the anxious leaves
are making a nuisance of themselves.

Old as they are, the children
simply want to play in them and fling them
all about.  Oh, Autumn, let the children
believe in seasons yet to be.

(first pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine, 1996)

 Hush of Yellow


You are in the bell
making it sound.
You are filling your iron throat.
You toll with the religion of
the bell ringer who is deaf.

You drown upon the air
falling in gray tones among the faces of
shoppers, sleepers, day-dreamers.
You hide among the mutes of the city
but the bell ringer has left his tower
and is out there looking for you.
He is calling for you with his flawed voice.

The jade silences are disguised as birds.
They hide you in their wings
and take you away with them
back to the bell.

(first pub. in Attention Please, 1979)



Did I not hear the cricket—
did I not hear
its presence
in the
to the night
where the moon
and the
except for
the cricket
that was there… ?

 In The Dark


The air is darkening,
will it rain?

The air is heavy
and has a blue sensation.

And the trees are swaying
wetly pending, pending,

and the premonitions
are filling up with pain.



Tonight, an old loon—
lamenting itself, I think,
cries in my mind, though
I have never heard a loon . . .
but some such cry resonates
from somewhere deep—some
sound never heard before, but
known to my unease.

(first pub. in Poets’ Forum Magazine)



If I am echo, what is sound.
If sound is silent, what is love.

Finding is losing. Loss is found.
So go the facts, illusions that confound.

Dreams are hauntings, so we dream,
dare not slumber, lest we drown.

Praise the new day once again.
Then is now, and now is then.

Thus the circle we are in . . .
sleep and waken . . . spin and spin . . .


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam
Who made these echoes?
coming again and again
to the listening for whom
these cries have been made
—resounding and resounding . . . .


Thank you, Joyce Odam, for today’s sounds and sights, as we post yet another round of her gemstones! “Loon Sounds”, by the way, is an Oriental Octet, with eight unrhymed lines about nature: the first four are in syllables 5-7-5-7, then the next four are 7-5-7-5. (See

“Autumn Sounds” was our most recent Seed of the Week; our new one is “Haunted Houses I Have Lived In”. (In which I have lived?) Anyway, 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, leaping in the leaves and making poetry out of them!

 “Tonight, an old loon—“
—Anonymous Photo

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

Monday, October 28, 2019

Voices of Autumn

Snake & Jack
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Is that the sound of squirrels on the
roof, or some dry leaves shuffling?
ah, squirrels don’t crackle
when something touches them

a small, lonely rock wreaks havoc
in the metal rain gutter, its pings
manipulated by the wind like a
kite without a tail

now there is distinct pitter patter,
the banter of a pair of squirrels
along with that crackle and ping:
a test kitchen for the senses

encouraging and enabling different
sources of sounds to join together
more in conspiracy than in harmony;
will such a recipe get good reviews? 

 Smiling One-eyed Jack
—Photo by Katy Brown


…have a natural talent
for singing or dancing
I failed those tests badly
my temper turned madly
give them one gold star

…remember without trying
no rote repetition
memory photographic
clear road for mental traffic
give them two gold stars

…keep long lists in their heads
continually adjusting priorities
masterminds of law and order
aware of what’s across the border
give them three gold stars

…seem to know just what to say
when and how to say it
without upsetting tender hearts
or bruising egos of sassy old farts
give them four gold stars

…so want to believe
what a candidate says
expecting rewards for truth
like for a dear baby tooth
sorry, no more gold


 Alas, Poor Jack!


Some folks have the
quite irritating habit of
reminding everyone
far too often that
“We are a nation of laws.”

Big deal!!

Tell that to the victims of
motorists who routinely
ignore posted traffic safety

Tell that to the survivors
of victims killed by all kinds
of violent, illegal means

Tell that to all the convicts
who get a warmer welcome
from their prison family than
from any relations they have
on the outside

Tell that to the vast majority
of people who are not in line
to be enriched by the publishing
and sales of law books, the
building and management of
prisons and law libraries, or the
campaign funds of “law and
order” candidates

We have been a whole world
of laws since at least biblical
times, so being just one nation
of laws is really nothing to brag

Do something!

 Jack With Cats
—Photo by Katy Brown 

Years and years of
intensive practice had
finally paid off

the most deserving
rookie pitcher in the
league was given the
chance to take the
mound and show off
his tremendous skills

something did look a
little out of place, though

there was no rosin bag,
the catcher was wearing
a gas mask, and there
were a bunch of little
insects crawling among
the cleats…

—Photo by Katy Brown


They were just kids in
junior high school that
I taught some 40 years
ago in South Central
Los Angeles

lurking in urban alleyways
silenced by ricochets
terrorized in light of day
didn’t know another way

often wearing too much lotion
some had never seen the ocean
the hiss of asphalt muffles their screams
no country roads, just metal I-beams

and today those kids are old
enough to daily receive mail
asking them to prepare for their
final arrangements

quiz on Friday 

 —Photos of "Headstones" in Sac. Near 40th & J Streets
by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA

—Joseph Nolan

Autumn wears the sounds of leaves—
Autumn, hear we, rustling,
The sounds of colors, crunching!

On windy days, blown down the streets,
Leaves in piles, to children greet,
To fly into a pile!
And toss them to the sky!

From yellow, gold and red—
To brown—
Losing blush, their tones go down,
As they’re blown around
Our ancient town.

Tell me, where do colors go
When Winter wears the Earth in snow
And leaves cannot be seen?
Does Winter know it’s mean?

Tell me, what would colors say
If Winter would not have its way
To bury them in white?

Leave me where the colors flow
Upon the ground
That loves them so!
But lets them blow away.

 —Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Joseph Nolan

Evil twins are much in need:
Clones, just like us
To test out all alternatives.
Do your vitamins really work?
No way to know for sure
Without an evil twin
On whom to test the alternative circumstance.

But it’s not just vitamins,
It could be the second piece of cheesecake.
Wouldn’t you like to know how that might turn out?
Test it on your evil twin!

No need to worry.
E.T’s are very cooperative,
Just like little brothers.
They will eat, drink or otherwise
Consume any potential matter in question
Without objection.

So, if you are wondering
What your hangover would feel like
After that second bottle of wine,
Let your E.T. drink it.
You can ask him the next morning
And save yourself the headache.

 —Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Joseph Nolan

She whispers softly,
So softly that
Her whispers
Can’t be heard.
Not a single word.

She knows not
How to shout

Such sound
Is not given

Were it so,
There are some
Private things
You might
Come to know,

Rather not, though,
I think you’d
Rather not know
Of such sad things
That scream in rage,
That happened
Long ago. 

 —Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Joseph Nolan

We’re sending
Our ruined warriors
Off to Happy Camp

To retrieve their
So foul, gone sour,

From fighting
In a dirty war
With no justification,

Thus, burdened by guilt,
Shame and grief,

They’ve turned
To drugs and drink
To overcome their training,
As though they were still human,
And relearn how to think.

They’ll practice meditation
And watch the charging thoughts
Raging through their minds,
Like madmen turned
Against the world
And all those around them.

And after many years,
They might come back again. 

 —Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Joseph Nolan

Dangle your fine sleeves
Gently to the sides.
You need to catch the breeze
To clear the sand from eyes,

Eyes, too long gone,
Gone off, sleeping,
Recovering from weeping!
After your dear one died.

Take as long as you need!

Sorrow and grief
Demand a time to heed
Slowly, and slowly,
Slowly bleeding,
From a broken heart.

Life is a work of art.
Paint it with dark colors
To reflect shadows,
Slipped sideways
Over love,
Fallen apart. 

 Jack at Jenny's Giant Hamburger
—Photo by Katy Brown

Today’s LittleNip:


Just give me the cash,
don’t waste my time
messing around with
codes and passwords!


Lots of poems and lots of nifty pictures today, and our thanks to our intrepid contributors for those, as we struggle into last year's costumes for this spooky time of year.

Tonight at 6pm, Poetry in Motion read-around will meet in the lobby of the Placerville Sr. Center on Spring Street in Placerville. Then at 7:30pm, Sacramento Poetry Center features excerpts from the
Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California anthology, featuring readers Joshua McKinney, Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Tom Goff, Chris Olander, Stephen Meadows, Lucille Lang Day, E.K. Cooper plus open mic. And on Friday at 7pm, Writer’s and Poet’s Cafe features Jeanine Stevens, Ed Cole, and Donna Fado-Ivery plus open mic at St. Mark’s Methodist Church on St. Mark’s Way behind County Club Plaza in the north area of 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.

Interested in workshops? Check the green box at the right for a listing of local ones which will be held this week and/or later.

—Medusa, celebrating the season of Paul Ter-gist and other spirits!

 —Anonymous Artwork

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

Sunday, October 27, 2019



—Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

He does not think that I haunt here nightly:
How shall I let him know
That whither his fancy sets him wandering
I, too, alertly go?—
Hover and hover a few feet from him
Just as I used to do,
But cannot answer the words he lifts me—
Only listen thereto!

When I could answer he did not say them:
When I could let him know
How I would like to join in his journeys
Seldom he wished to go.
Now that he goes and wants me with him
More than he used to do,
Never he sees my faithful phantom
Though he speaks thereto.

Yes, I companion him to places
Only dreamers know,
Where the shy hares print long paces,
Where the night rooks go;
Into old aisles where the past is all to him,
Close as his shade can do,
Always lacking the power to call to him,
Near as I reach thereto!

What a good haunter I am, O tell him,
Quickly make him know
If he but sigh since my loss befell him
Straight to his side I go.
Tell him a faithful one is doing
All that love can do
Still that his path may be worth pursuing,
And to bring peace thereto.


Such a sad poem: the loved one still by his side, but he doesn’t know it. Our thanks to Thomas Hardy for an interesting twist on the seasonal theme of ghostliness.

Today from 10am-12pm is the Fall Wakamatsu Poetry Workshop at Wakamatsu Farm in Placerville, facilitated by Taylor Graham and Katy Brown, and sponsored by American River Conservancy. Info is at, and I’m told you can just show up, too! 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.

For more about Thomas Hardy, go to To hear it read, see

—Medusa, celebrating poets of the past ~ and ghosts of the present!

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Dreams With Milk & Honey

—Poems by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA
—Photos Courtesy of James Lee Jobe

Dreams and trees, dreams with milk and honey. The scythe slicing through silk, through wheat, and through all unreasonable expectations. Silver and gold, filtered with rubies and the wetness of love, filtered with diamonds. The smells and flavors of sex. The smells and flavors of a life together. These are the ways that the humans find themselves, the ways that they find each other. Night is here, night and silence, and now they might hold one another until day returns, and in that embrace is courage.

Down here, it's very deep and thick, and covered with rock and stone. The digging takes years, perhaps a lifetime, and parts of a person are often lost along the way. It's dangerous this far below, but somewhere down here is a measure of truth, just a bit of real honesty, and if it takes some work and a wound or two to reach that truth, that's not too high of a price to pay. Stone to the left and stone to the right. Darkness and rock. And only the strength of one human heart to rely upon. 

Beautiful and perfect; those flowers on my cactus that live for just one day. They bloom with color and glory, as magnificent as life, if only for a short while. And I stand there marveling at the sight, wondering why it is that the cactus flowers move me like no other, more than roses, more than lilies, when it dawns on me that they are all the more lovely because they will die so soon. How human of them.


The sun has once again slipped away into the west, somewhere toward the ocean. The house is empty and still. I light the incense and say the words. Within moments I settle down into my own emptiness. Evening zazen.

So it has come to this; the last bee alive on earth. Watch as I turn my hand in the air and the bee follows it. A flowing motion for both of us. Watch as I lean in close, as if to speak to the bee, but say nothing as my mind is a blank. What does one say to the final bee? Summer. The day is very hot, over 100 degrees. I turn to go back into my house, and the last bee follows me like a happy dog. Perhaps I’ll call him Lewis.

Your grandparents went first. Then your father. Maybe one grandparent outlived your father just a little, and so felt that extra bit of suffering. And your mom. Your favorite uncle, the one you could talk to. Then before your knew it, that entire generation was gone. All of their friends. The older neighbors. Dead. Every last one of them. Death, spreading like black mold in an old mildewed house. And so you became the older generation. Who is that in the mirror? Is that really you? You move slower, you think slower. It doesn't matter anymore which way you walk, the mold is spreading there already. And then one day that son of a bitch comes for you, too. What? You were expecting a fairy tale? Friend, I am not always here with good news.


Today’s LittleNip:

May compassion be part of our deepest nature. Let it rise from our interconnection with all things. And as our compassion rises, so let life begin anew, redeemed.

—James Lee Jobe


Our thanks to James Lee Jobe for today’s poems and pix with his usual mix of good news and bad news on this, the annual Sacramento Poetry Day! This official proclamation was made by then-Mayor Anne Rudin in 1986. To see Patrick Grizzell’s wonderful description of how it all came to be, go to

Black Women Tell Tales today at Writers on the Air, beginning at 9:30am, and featuring Stephanie Bray, Brenda Davis, Gladys Wilburn, and Geraldine Walker plus open mic at Sac. Poetry Center, hosted by Todd Boyd. Also in Sacramento today, starting at 2pm: Creative Minds spoken word gathering of artists of all kinds at GOS Art Gallery on Del Paso Blvd., is hosted by Gerry "Gos" Simpson and Straight Out Scribes. In Placerville from 2-4pm, it’s the Poetic License read-around at the Placerville Sr. Center lobby on Spring Street. The suggested topic for this month is "forgetfulness", but other subjects are also welcome.

Or head over to Stockton for the Flor y Canto Celebration of Poetry, Song and Dance at Haggin Museum on N. Pershing Avenue, hosted by Eleazar Caballero from 1:30-4pm. 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 Flor y Canto of poetry!

 Evening Zazen

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

Friday, October 25, 2019


Autumn Trees
—EIEIO Poetry From the Missouri Group, The Merry Bombadils,
Courtesy of Carol Louise Moon, Placerville, CA
—Photos by Christopher Moon

—Teresa Klepac 
Ember of a sun amid faded summer trees—
I watch leaves in dervish swirl to the ground.
Every golden leaf tossed up by the breeze
igniting red and orange, dried up brown—
offerings rustle at my feet before a walk
to town. 

 Three Doors

—Harold Asner

Each winter I start to go shopping.
I want to see what’s new at the mall. 
Early January, temperature’s dropping,
icy streets, and traffic’s a crawl.
Oh, I guess I’ll just shop next fall. 

2018 Eclipse of the Moon

—Carol Louise Moon

Evidently, she didn’t wait . . .
inquires before the one-night stand,
encounters with men alone, the date
in Paris, the foreign cruise ship and
oh! the untraceable form in the sand.


—Pat Laster

Ebbing fireworks on the Fourth
indicates the stash is spent.
Enigmatic: What’s the worth
in money wasted. Every cent!
Our pets are not at all content. 

 Hazel's Cafe

—Marie Asner

Each season invites a peaceful bliss
into hearts that hope one finally says,
“Enter and find a special kiss
inside this place with moonlit rays.
Oh, stay no more in hours, but days.”


Today's LittleNip:

The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it.

—Dylan Thomas


Our thanks to Carol Louise Moon for rounding up some poems from The Merry Bombadils, a group of poets who writes EIEIO’s and sends them to each other for critiquing. There are five members, and they are from several states, but all belong to the Missouri State Poetry Society. Carol Louise “invented” the EIEIO, a five-line poetry form with rhyme scheme A,B,A,B,B. The first letters of lines 1 through 5 are E,I,E,I,O.

And thank you to Carol Louise’s brother, Chris Moon, for his fine photos! “Three Doors” is clever because the third door is implied. 

Today, it might not be too late to attend the Poetry Appreciation Class down at Hart Sr. Center on 27th & J Sts. in Sacramento at 1pm this afternoon, focusing on Edgar Allan Poe with Marie Taylor. Cost is $5; call 916-808-5462 to reg. Then tonight at 6:30pm, Bob Stanley hosts readers Eileen Malone, Kathleen McClung and Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas at the Sac. Poetry Center in Sacramento. And at 7pm, also in Sacramento, at the Avid Reader on Broadway, Mary McGrath and Todd Boyd host Speak Up: The Art of Storytelling and Poetry, presenting poems and stories on the theme of “Ghosted”. 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 poetry between friends ~

Refugee from Old MacDonald’s Farm
(But don't let me give you a bum steer . . . )
—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.


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Rooted in Dreams

—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA

Sunday by the schoolyard

Whoever put it here? Skeleton
in a safety vest (fluorescent green)
on patrol inside yellow caution tape—
construction zone
with a pit (I’d guess) six feet deep—

beyond sunshine on schoolyard play-
field. Imagine children running,
calling to each other at their games.
No school today. A girl
and her dog dance across the green. 


Just a dream: you received a cyber-notice
of responsibility for a gigantic snarl of roots.
It covered acres, on earth deeded to your father
so many years ago. Your father—dead
three decades now—never said a thing about it.
You know nothing. How can you be responsible
for roots entwining soil somewhere you’ve
never even been?
Waking, you remember—at grade school,
bare as bones, the great roots of a tree exposed
like dragon toes dug into soil, holding up
a living tree—just a small tree—
so much of it growing underground.
The dream stays with you.
How can you respond? Pull the roots
out, destroy them? 


Traffic on two-lane
but quiet on our hillside,
trees going nowhere,
rooted while reaching for sun.
Breeze writes its history of leaves. 


Loki smells the vet’s office
long before I open the door; she wants
to stay in our little Honda, on wheels that spin us
far away. Feet on the ground, she turns-on
double-speed, circling, panting. Let’s get out
of here! She tucks her tail, shivers at leftover scent
of animal-fear—though she always calms
under the vet’s hand. She’s been left here before;
led by some stranger through the back exam-
room door, into the room of stainless cages.
Dogs and cats awaiting their fate.
Loki, whose heart’s desire is to know
the world entire, unleashed as wind in her lungs,
ever running. 


In our troubled times—
shootings and building collapse,
war, allies betrayed—
our cat gives what cats can give:
hovering presence, his purr. 


In the woodstove, embers roast the evening.
Beyond, a dark hallway where dog and cat patrol—
cat maybe imagining rats underground
in a cage of ductwork and other secret organs
of the house; dog on guard with every sense,
listening for siren or coyote, sniffing for smoke
of fire gone wild. The Hunter’s Moon,
my favorite, comes fierce through the north
window, startling, aslant over petrified mountain.
Tonight, Moon’s reflected light will drain
into my dreams as dog and cat prowl the dark,
superheroes of a story I’ll never know. 

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

All you little leaves
of grass, just keep on growing.
Before we know it
you’ll be tall and full and strong
and oh yes, I’ll be mowing.


Taylor Graham brings us her usual fine poems and photos from life in the foothills, and we thank her for those! This coming Sunday from 10am-12pm, Taylor Graham and Katy Brown will lead the Fall Poetry Workshop at Wakamatsu Farm in Placerville, sponsored by American River Conservancy. Go to for info and to register.

As for tonight, in addition to Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar at 8pm in Sacramento, Crocker Art Museum will present Open Poetry Night: In Tribute to painter/poet Frank LaPena at 7pm, including open mic. (Sign-ups at 6pm.) That’s at 216 O St. 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 poetry of the moon ~

 —Anonymous Photo of a Hunter's Moon
For more about the Hunter’s Moon, go to 

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.