Jerome Gagnon, December Mushrooms

Jerome Gagnon lives in Northern California where he’s worked as a teacher, tutor, and freelance journalist. He studied with writers Robert Creeley and Kay Boyle at San Francisco State University, receiving an MA in English/Creative Writing.

Jerome’s work has appeared recently in Spiritus, Archaeopteryx, Crab Creek Review, Roaring Muse, and several anthologies. A chapbook, Spell of the Ordinary, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

These poems reflect a lifelong interest in the sense of “suchness” that permeates early Japanese and Chinese poetry.

Scene from an Untended Garden

Nothing in the overgrown yard shouts,
“Look at me” —
not the broken branches of the lemon tree
tossed on the ground,
or the white cat asleep under the melon vine,
or the stack of green, plastic flower pots,
or the yellow daisies that hug the wall.

Some of the empty buckets scattered around
to catch the rain have been overturned —
by the cats, probably,
and the broken tiles by the doorstep
are a kind of porch, a stepping-off place
into the haphazard.

The order of disorder, an enviable state.
Hard to realize for a poet who goes around
chanting: “This is how I feel!”

Some weeds are better left unpulled.

Christmas in the Yard

Steam rising from rooftops in the morning sun,
dancing on the headers of wet fences.

Brown birds squalk-squalking in pistache branches,
plucking red and gray berries, sending down
strands of yellow leaves in the air.

Red camellia flowers scattered in mud.

December Mushrooms

Shouldn’t they be called Sunset Moon,
or maybe Harvest Moon for their orangey caps?

I only know they’re new here
in what was once the main square, clustered
in the fractured light beneath an elm,
carried in with truckloads of shredded bark, probably,
nurtured by a deluge of rain.

I’m careful to step around them,
yet can’t help but touch and gently lift a bendable cap,
exposing the spaghetti-like stem —
pretty package.

Who knows, though, what secret it holds?

Crow and Squirrel leave it alone,
even insects resist its lunar spell.

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