—Photos Courtesy of Linda Imbler
Stop tearing your hair
you frightened child, young sad boy.
meal is the thing you smell,
pressure cooker family
you see and hear.
all things blowing up,
screams of parents bouncing off the kitchen’s walls
and you sob as you rock madly
back and forth within your invented universe,
the pressure cooker whistle is all around you.
Yours, they shriek, blaming each other.
Just admit it this time,
your fault, they howl.
Under this roof
beside the metal stove,
then all noise ceases at once.
You wake from this shrill dream.
Please, come sit,
the family is broken still, but hungry.
The land of Cowboys and cattlemen,
The land of bankers and Baptists,
The land of bless your heart and there you go:
They say it's the city where JFK was killed, a friend
once told me at NorthPark Mall that her father knew
Jack Ruby back then.
They say it's the land of mortgaged extravagance: Yes, there
you go, I have seen lavish hotels built upon
And they say to me Dallas town itself is quite small: My reply
is there you go, for there are suburbs both rich and poor
that surround it.
And there is both bitter hunger and keen gluttony;
poverty and great wealth, and I match their snide remarks
and say to them:
This is also the town of my youth, the place where the Crossroads
Club and the Dairy Queen gave me solace and refuge.
It's the town of my latter years where my father died, and later
still, those whom I had once been close to fell away from me,
sadly, so there you go.
When I am old,
And called across the sea,
And beauty, peace, and ecstasy unfold,
Make no sad laments for me.
A quiet shore awaits,
Those long passed, I’ll meet again,
Within majestic open gate,
The happiest I'll ever be.
I'll walk the pathway,
Shoreline blue and silver gray,
Days and nights now finite.
And when you come
And call and look for me
Follow the silence to my sanctum
On the shore along the sea.
I clutch tightly
your urned cremains.
If I put them down
you might disappear.
I put them in triple-layered plastic bags
while I shower.
Strap them into the car seat
ever so snugly,
carry them into the store,
in that very large beach bag
that now serves as my purse,
when I can make myself buy food to eat.
At night, with you beside me
I dream of our life together,
careful not to knock you off the bed
to be scattered.
That I could not bear.
I recall the reasons I’ve loved you;
the magnitude of your heart
for all things living,
your capacity to forgive
both my naive foolishness and my purposeful obstinacy,
your feverish defense of truth and justice.
There is much to cherish.
And while the way I am acting may seem strange,
there is a method to my madness.
If I hold this reliquary
close enough to me,
perhaps you will reappear.
How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
Thanks and welcome to Linda Imbler today, who joins us for the first time, all the way from Wichita! Linda’s poetry collections include three published works by Amazon: Big Questions, Little Sleep; Lost and Found; and Red Is The Sunrise. Soma Publishing has published her three e-book collections: The Sea’s Secret Song, Pairings (a hybrid of short fiction and poetry), and That Fifth Element. Examples of Linda’s poetry and a listing of publications can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com/. Again, welcome Linda, and don’t be a stranger!
Tonight from 6-8pm is the annual Sacramento Poetry Center Holiday Fundraiser at Mimi Miller’s home on 40th St. in Sacramento, with food, libations, music by the Soft-Offs, and plenty of good times to be had by all! Tickets are $40 ($30 for members); purchase them at the door. 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.
FORM FIDDLERS’ FRIDAY!
It’s time for more contributions from Form Fiddlers! Each Friday for awhile, there will be poems posted here from some of our readers using forms—either, ones which were mentioned on Medusa during the previous week, or whatever else floats through the Kitchen and the perpetually stoned mind of Medusa. If these instructions are vague, it's because they're meant to be. Just fiddle around with some forms and get them posted in the Kitchen.
Carol Louise Moon sends us two poems for FFF today, and she writes: "I have two forms to share. The first is a Pleiades. And we can remind our readers that Pleiades are also 49ers, so that a 7-line poem with seven syllables per line does not have to have any other considerations. The other poem is a Tanka. (Modern Tanka aren't necessarily the 5,7,5,7,7 pattern, but they shouldn't contain more than 31 syllables.)" Here are her two poems:
matted tangle of snakes. A
minute now, I wonder if
managing her headdress she
mangles her tangles even
more by raking through her "locks."
Mirrored by each other, these
monstrous snakes compete for space.
—Carol Louise Moon, Placerville, CA
* * *
insects fly out—
roller birds dive into smoke
feasting on mice, lizards
and bugs fleeing flames
—Modern Tanka by Carol Louise Moon
Some poets like to make up their own forms, following some inner ear that carries them along through rhythms and rhymes. Here is one such poem by Joseph Nolan, written in response to our current Seed of the Week: Tongue Twisters/Alliteration:
PERHAPS SHE IS A POET?
—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA
She is unwell,
So, to tell:
She glares and stares
If I were but
To play a tune,
Perhaps she might be
Her crazy stares.....
But it seems
That no-one cares,
She stares and bristles.
She is a poet
But we don’t
Likewise, Tom Goff sent this Octet for us, which uses an interesting 5/7/5/7/7/5/7/5 syllable rhythm that is not a traditional Octet form, but lovely music anyway:
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
Haze brightens autumn?
How is it, filtered by smoke,
reds, yellows in leaves,
pine branches, come to take on
glow, perhaps gleam, perhaps glint,
while air, cheesecloth-wise,
strains out lint, motes, gnats? What beam
sticks in my eye now?
Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) sent us a Kouta, which was introduced yesterday on Medusa by Taylor Graham, and also uses 5’s and 7’s:
THE END IS NEAR
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
Some put stock in lots of hope
cheery thoughts abound
many lives are being saved
happy days are here
But look at a calendar
the days are always numbered
all holidays included
darkness will prevail
And there are lots of ways to rebel against forms, too, or find other ways to make them our own! Caschwa writes: “I checked out the examples given for a Triversen [Medusa’s Kitchen, 11/26/19] and found several departures from the form of each line being an independent clause. One such line was only one word: ‘diminishing’. As a result, here is my popularly imperfect version of a Triversen”:
LIES, ALL LIES
Church confessions abound
sending the truth round and round, till
all the priest hears is flabbergasting speech
Confessions made to the police
are motivated much less by truth than by
the need of everyone to end dissent
Staunchly inquisitive, investigative news reporters work hard to
fill in the missing confessions of
those who only offer silence
Ah, Carl—what can I say? It’s an imperfect world. But of course the poet is the ultimate boss of what goes onto the page; we can have our ways with any form we want to, as long as we’re not entering some contest somewhere that might get picky. Here is Carl having fun with the whole concept of forms:
You really don’t need to know
what is in the Secret Sauce
to fully enjoy and savor its taste
nor do you really need to know
that some counterpoint is in fact
a fugue at the fourth to fully
enjoy and savor the music
nor do you really need to be
well schooled in anatomy or
related disciplines to have a
most satisfying sexual encounter
the point is just this:
do it, love it, repeat, that’s
all you need to know
You got it, Carl—the key is to love it. We don’t need no stinkin’ forms, anyway. Or do we…….?
—Medusa, always looking for the recipe for that Secret Sauce ~
Welcome to the Kitchen, Linda!
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