Living with Myth

The serpent of myth…winds through the pages of Graham's book. In the opening poem, "Slow Dancing," the poet leans against an oak tree, "actually two oaks that have wound/ their trunks together..." She remembers her mother's admonition against "Slow Dancing" and wonders if "...she'd once heard music/sweet as Orpheus when she was young." Orpheus, of course, hopelessly pursues Eurydice into the underworld after she is mortally struck by a serpent….

Graham’s music is intricately connected to the human voice….

In "Calligraphy of Snake," Graham's serpent becomes "too thin to cast such shadow:/the dark behind the eye,/the quiver/when light retracts." Graham never looks away from this "dark behind the eye." In "Living with Wild," she writes, "Toward noon, a whipsnake, black-and-yellow ribbon in a half-tied bow/untying slick as foxtails," mortality itself somehow unwinding. Face to face with the wild, Graham unflinchingly recommends, "Lock nothing, open every door/and window, leave yourself/free dreaming," Graham as Orpheus--- gamely, singing to the melic serpent of the dark.

I highly recommend this chapbook. You can purchase Living with Myth  at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, CA, or from the author, Taylor Graham, P.O. Box 39, Somerset, CA 95684.

~  Carol Frith -- from a review  in Poetry Now

 

click on selected poems to view

Slow Dancing

Diamondback

The Tooth Fairy

"America is Running Out of Men!"

Living with Wild

 

SLOW DANCING

I stand with my back against an oak —

actually two oaks that have wound

their trunks together as if they’d been

slow-dancing, her head on his shoulder,

her golden leaves disheveled in light.

 

That’s what comes of slow-dancing,

my mother might have said, as if she

knew. As if she’d once heard music

sweet as Orpheus when she was young.

As if she’d ever been as young as these

 

two oaks that grew into one tree rooted

like any other oak in the woods, but

their good grain so curved and spiraled,

they’re useless for lumber, the way

they just stand here, dancing.

 

 

click on selected poems to view

Slow Dancing

Diamondback

The Tooth Fairy

"America is Running Out of Men!"

Living with Wild

 

DIAMONDBACK

 

No daydreams

where you wind your cold

machinery.

I once set a foot

too close, and still

my knees

feel the abyss.

 

The canyon shimmers

your colors, your brawny

compaction.

You’re the muscle-end

of the universe

 

where nothing but grace

counts.

 

Tight by the roadside

in my circle of sand,

I’ll go no farther.

That’s your land.

 

 

click on selected poems to view

Slow Dancing

Diamondback

The Tooth Fairy

"America is Running Out of Men!"

Living with Wild

 

THE TOOTH FAIRY

 

The tooth fairy in her necklace

of teeth, and tooth earrings

and a gown as shimmery as spit,

takes them from underneath

your pillow, they say,

and gives them to newborns.

And only when the children shedding teeth

outnumber the infants needing

might she keep one for her own,

hung by a ribbon as pink as gums

at her breast, the so-called

milk-tooth. And when the toothless babes

outnumber children growing

to new teeth, then she

visits the pillows of dogs and cats,

hoofed creatures of all kinds.

And these are the infants whose smile

you cannot endure.

 

 

click on selected poems to view

Slow Dancing

Diamondback

The Tooth Fairy

"America is Running Out of Men!"

Living with Wild

 

AMERICA IS RUNNING OUT OF MEN!

                            - from the tabloids

 

Every day a few more disappear

into the black hole of the morning coffee,

or get drawn into the magic flickers

of a Giants game, sucked right through

the TV screen, never seen again. A neighbor’s

husband failed to return from Safe&Save;

his last cellular transmission from the sea-

food counter, such a great price

on live lobster! And such claws! But

the real he-men dissolve into wilderness

with nothing but the latest poly-something

substitute for wool and an Explorer full

of chips and beer. Their women know better

than to keep dinner on the stove.

 

 

click on selected poems to view

Slow Dancing

Diamondback

The Tooth Fairy

"America is Running Out of Men!"

Living with Wild

 

LIVING WITH WILD

 

The day begins with a speckled fawn

in the swale;

          and then, five swallows —

one of them fledged from your hand.

 

Toward noon, a whipsnake,

black-&-yellow ribbon in a half-tied bow

           untying slick as foxtails.

 

At evening through an open window,

myotis maps this undiscovered

continent – our house – sailing

the aether and the nether regions.

 

Lock nothing, open every door

and window, leave yourself

          free dreaming.