Saturday, July 11, 2020

A Glove Filled With Music

—Poetry by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of James Lee Jobe



Something rises out of the east, a new day, like an idea being formed, like a child being born. Light in the sky. Life on the earth. Breathe and it begins.

_________________

I have washed my hands for twenty seconds with soap and music. I have surgical gloves to wear. I have dreamed up a house with invisible walls that let me see the sun and the moon and the trees. Oh let me stay there for forty days and forty nights, like Jesus in the desert. Let me stay there, inside, for forty years. Death is a glove filled with music, and I have gloves to wear, I hear the music. Perhaps you can hear it, too. Listen.



 Anna Akhmatova



After the Nazis were finally driven back, Anna Akhmatova read her poems to the wounded and the dying. Although well into middle-age, they say Anna was more beautiful than ever, and that she had a glow that was ethereal and kindness was in the blue of her eyes. Can you imagine it? The wounded heroes of Mother Russia filled with the rich poignancy that leaps from the verse of the queen.






Rain against the window with a tapping sound. My wife laughing, alone in another room. A sadness for the mounting grief across the face of the world. Things that tell I am still alive.

_________________

Beneath this house are the roots of an old oak tree. Night. All is quiet. I can hear the oak roots moving in the manner of snakes. In this way the roots bless the soil, and so the house above is blessed also. Life is grand, isn’t it? Look around, even now as you read, the world is green and in bloom.






Today’s LittleNip:

The universe is grand, endless and timeless, yet all of it exists in one molecule of liquid, the tiniest part of a tear in the corner of your eye.

—James Lee Jobe

__________________

—Medusa, thanking James Lee Jobe for today’s post, and reminding you that James’ weekly video poetry readings continue this week, posted before 7:30 pm each Friday at
www.youtube.com/jamesleejobe & james-lee-jobe.blogspot.com/. 



 —Public Domain 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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to
kathykieth@hotmail.com.
The snakes of Medusa are always hungry!


 

Friday, July 10, 2020

Alive With Words

—Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA
—And scroll down for Form Fiddlers’ Friday!



POEMS IN THE PASTURE   

The wooden gate says
No Beach Access,
so far from ocean crowds.

Our open circle’s
cleansed by leaf-breeze
the great oak makes.

We sit each in private distance
webbed by eyes and voices
spacing silence.

The hawk alights on a wire
strung with sun.
A poem of Blue Lotus

opens earth under my chair,
I slip in between shade and light,
sky and the tilt-wing attendant

who passes over, speechless,
sailing elsewhere,
judging us alive with words. 






WAY PAST HIGH SCHOOL
    early morning workouts

He walks the shoulder of the track,
his stride grown short but he won’t slack,
keeps going

while runners circle oval rounds.
young and fit. He knows his bounds,
he’s slowing

but keeps this truth: once you stop
you’re done. A creek is drop by drop
free-flowing

as walkers pause to say “good morn”
and ask the year when he was born—
it’s showing.

He’s 91, truckin’ toward another year.
They say Oh wow!! He’s hero here.






STARTHISTLE

Sudden jade-green invasion,
south pasture’s grown knee-high in
scrubby sworls, the thistle our
sheep ate like ice-cream. Gone. But
sure as taxes it comes back
stouter than before. Weed-whack
slash it—it’s constant as stars.






PICTURE OF WAITING

Sheep sheltered in place
too long—till the gate opens
into free pasture.






NEVER SO HIGH   

I stood at the rim with my dog
between thunderhead and silent gorges,
summit dark as cloud. Wordless
deafening dialogue
of opponent Old Norse gods.
Storm in all directions.
Trail crew gone, fighting distant
lightning fires, armed not with guns
but chainsaws and shovels.
We had no red-card, my dog and I
alone on the mountain.
Fireworks to east, north, south.
The moment electric, free. A choice.
How to admit
we were way too high? I picked
a creek without a name,
down, toward a river off the map,
charged with electric sky.

 




 ZOOM   

Zero hour for birthday by
Zoom, your kids, grands & nephews—
zipless talk & laughter, a
zoo of chatter, bad wifi
zones out, voices turn to
zither without words or else
Zoom-Zoom, your dead cousin’s cat.
 





Today’s LittleNip:

FREE WAVES
—Taylor Graham

After long absence
we’re together but distant,
masked against a plague.
The pond summer-full with birds,
blue water lapping its shores.


____________________

Many thanks to Taylor Graham for today’s post! She sends us a modified Triversen (“Poems in the Pasture”), a Linda Klein Sonnet Variation (“Way Past High School”), Pleiades (“Starthistle” & “Zoom”), Tanka and Haiku.

____________________

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.

Joyce Odam sent an intriguing poem: it’s a Paradigm Poem, made up of five verses, each a different form: Mondo, Katauta, Choka, Waka, Tanka. Thanks, Joyce!




OLD LOVERS’ PARRY
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

Does my mirror lie?
There is rain in the old glass.
Whose tears burn my face?           
The distant nightingale sings—
sings all night for its freedom.


All night I have wept.                   
My pillow is still grieving.
How can you feign sleep?
I dreamed you were a wood-thrush.  
The forest hid you.
I searched with my empty cage,
but you would not sing.
Is that not enough for you?


Look how my wet gown                 
makes tear-puddles on the floor;
I have brought the rain.
The song in my heart begins.
Thus have I returned to you.

Ah, but you are old . . .                    
old like last night’s vintage wine . . .
how you confound me!
I tease and you grow angry.
Don’t listen to your mirror.

 




Jennifer Fenn was inspired to send us lots of poems this week. She writes that “Taylor Graham’s Book Spine Poem, ‘Quick-Step’, inspired the one I am submitting below, ‘Plainsong’. I am also sending a double Pleiades (‘Change’), an Octo (‘Power Poles’), a Limerick (‘Oh to See Venice!’), and a Haiku (‘D-Day’)”. Thank you, Jennifer!


PLAINSONG
—Jennifer Fenn, Fresno, CA

David Copperfield,
the star thrower,
Beowulf,
the Paris orphan,
Sara Crew,
Little Saint Elizabeth,
friends for Life!
Living on air
Beyond the forest,
let evening come!

* * *

CHANGE
—Jennifer Fenn

Covid climbs in, corners us,
catches us, capture us, like
canaries in wire cages,
comfortless, away from friends.
Clock ticks to months, we scramble,
cram to crack this conundrum,
conjuring up a vaccine.

Confined from my grandmother,
can’t watch classic movies with her.
Cocoa together is out.
Cruel, cold-hearted tyrant,
crashing my birthday, leaving
crumbs instead of cake and cream,
cast off your hideous crown!

* * *

POWER POLES
—Jennifer Fenn

Some beetle-eaten pines still stand
above their long-time forest home.
Their arms and trunks become bare bones,
they’re looking like they’re power poles!

Will lightning catch and burn like coals?
Their arms and trunks become bare bones.
Above their long-time forest home,
some beetle-eaten pines still stand.

* * *

OH TO SEE VENICE!
—Jennifer Fenn

I hear canal water’s now clean,
With sun sparkling on it! Pristine!
But travel’s banned! I sigh.
No gondolas float by.
I must wait to view such a scene!

* * *

D-DAY
—Jennifer Fenn

White sky, black cannons.
Ocean on TV foams gray,
But we know it’s red.
 





Sacramento’s Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) checks in again, this week with an Acrostic (“Limo Lino Pop”), a Triolet (“Cracked Bell”), and a Sonnette (“Mayflies”):
 

LIMO LINO POP
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Life
In
Money
Only

Liberty
In
Name
Only

Pursuit
Of
Power

* * *

CRACKED BELL
—Caschwa

my potato chip had a crack in it
no honor or respect had leaked out
the nonjudgmental dip cared not a whit
my potato chip had a crack in it
in that virgin part I had not yet bit
well just a little, to leave no doubt
my potato chip had a crack in it
no honor or respect had leaked out

* * *

MAYFLIES 
—Caschwa

the pandemic has made us all mayflies
the whole life experience foreshortened
to one speck of existence apportioned
among creatures who will never be wise
business as usual thrown out the door
masks are the new normal, raw suburban
this is what life is, we can’t ask for more

_____________________

Wow! Look at all the forms that were represented here today! Thank you to these fine poets for fiddling along with us. Feel free to tackle any or all of these forms yourself—whatdaya got to lose???

Lots of Japanese forms float through the Kitchen; you might want to check out Billy Collins’ master class on them at www.masterclass.com/articles/a-guide-to-japanese-poetic-forms#quiz-0/.

Resources for today’s forms may be found at:

•••Acrostic: www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/acrostic.html
•••Book Spine Poem: law.marquette.edu/facultyblog/2020/04/national-poetry-month-create-book-spine-poetry; see medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/search?q=book+spine+poem for Taylor Graham’s “Quick-Step”
•••Choka: popularpoetryforms.blogspot.com/2013/11/choka.html
•••Katauta: www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/katauta-poetic-form 



 Frogs Sheltering in Place
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA



















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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to
kathykieth@hotmail.com.
The snakes of Medusa are always hungry!


 Saddle up. poets!



Thursday, July 09, 2020

Twenty-Three to Twenty-One

Chester A. Arthur, 1829-1886
U.S. President, 1881-1885
—Letter Poem by Michael Ceraolo, S. Euclid, Ohio



Here are two from [Michael’s collection], Twenty-Three to Twenty-One. Michael writes that it is so titled because “a woman named Julia Sand wrote 23 letters to Chester Arthur, the 21st President.” He says he has “done some condensing and re-arranging of Ms. Sand's letters (they total over 150 handwritten pages) as well as adding an occasional line or two, and I have imagined Arthur's responses; there is no known record of him responding.”


From Twenty-Three to Twenty-One:

            #16

                            “New York. Aug. 24th, 1882

My friend

How good you were to come & see me,
after all—
                & how badly
you were repaid for it!"
"I was afraid you had a
what shall I call it?—
a very stiff visit—
which was a pity,
for my family are not given to stiffness—
but you see, you took them quite by surprise"
And so they found fault with me
"for not entertaining you more agreeably!"
I thought you were coming to see me,
but it was clear from the time of your visit
you wished to see the rest of the family.

"But I did not like what you said,
just when you were leaving"
"it was frightfully mean"
"There is something more I want to say to you,
but will not now"
"I will give you time to rally from your malaria,
before I find fault"
"Hoping that your visit to Newport
will do you a great deal of good         Yours sincerely,
                                                   (Julia I. Sand)       J.I.S."

* * *

Arthur:

I appreciate your concern for my health,
and I appreciate the break from fault-finding
I would like you to know though,
that I found no fault with you or your family
on my visit



 Julia Sand



             #17

                        "New York.
                                Aug 28th 1882

Well,
are you sufficiently refreshed now,
to be found fault with?
Or have you, since we parted,
lived in such a whirlpool of adulation,
that you will not tolerate a lecture?"

On other matters
"The question is simply whether you intend
to do your duty to the whole country,
or to sacrifice the good of the country
for the benefit of a small clique
of your personal followers"
"What fraud does the Republican party
intend to perpetuate at the coming elections
that it needs so much money?"
“There are some things which the American people
will not stand even from a prime favorite"
"It is your so-called friends who drag you down"

"Are you angry with me for speaking to you so plainly?
Must I tell you again that I am your true friend in doing so?"
"I still have faith that your nobler nature will assert itself"
"Sometimes I ponder regretfully your last visit"
"I liked it best when you looked at me"
"I could have kept you for myself" but now
"I begin to believe you are too afraid of me
to write under any circumstance"
and I wonder "Will we ever meet again?"
                                                            Yours Sincerely,
                                                        (Julia I. Sand)     J.I.S."

* * *

Arthur:

I write a response to every one of your letters,
but do not send it to protect your privacy and mine
I am not angry with you, but I will say again
don't believe everything you read in the newspapers

__________________

Today’s LittleNip:


The health of the people is of supreme importance. All measures looking to their protection against the spread of contagious diseases and to the increase of our sanitary knowledge for such purposes deserve attention of Congress.

—Chester A. Arthur

__________________

—Medusa, with thanks to Michael Ceraolo for letting us peek at his new poetry series today, with its interesting letter format! For more about Julia I. Sand, go to sites such as blogs.loc.gov/loc/2020/05/julia-sand-the-letters-to-president-arthur-now-digital or www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/obituaries/julia-sand-chester-a-arthur-overlooked.html/.



 Was Chester Arthur a party animal?
Find out at potus-geeks.livejournal.com/698782.html/.



















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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to
kathykieth@hotmail.com.
The snakes of Medusa are always hungry!


Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Imperfect Yet Fabulous

—Poetry by Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA
—Public Domain "Angels of Color" Stock Illustrations



CALIFORNIA HOUR GLASS
(Before and After the Turning)

             (dedicated to Carol Frith,
              a magically-wise poet)


When
hourglass sand
sifts
totally
through, may
the cleared glass
show sunclouds
fringed in
molten silver
in an
electrifying
blue-angel sky

while
the
portion
filling
is the ocean
scintillating
beyond
a clean beach
succulents & poppies
California radiant
among dunes.






THE WHOLE FOODS NUN

We follow her down the aisle.
She pushes a full cart
toward two kids who finger apples
not seeming to care when
she fondles their hair.
Removing a bottle of Blue Nun
from the rack, she smiles
as if she modeled for the label,
but only sips wine at the sacrament.

We invite the friendly Nun
to our picnic by the lake.
At sunset we will all walk
on water: if we sink, we’ll swim.
The Nun accepts our invite & hurries
into a long check-out line where
all agree she should go FIRST.
We point      to our car out front,
charading        we’ll meet her there.






FAMILY CAMP
(California Coast, 2001)

Our tents are colorful mushrooms,
nylon geometry over duff down.
A camp log, weathered silver,
collects a rope of kelp, orange
peels, a No More War t-shirt . . .
Our fifteen tents border
a redwood clearing near water
willows by Butano Creek.

On a day-trip to the coast,
we explore tide pools and sand
dunes, sand specks in our sandwich . . .
After campfire, kids scramble
into tents, snuggle into sleeping
bags and army surplus blankets,
sprawl among parents.

A childlike matriarch, I linger
in a lawn chair to wish upon
the evening star for peace, sanity.
A young redwood sweeps the turf,
shadow-dances on my orange tent.
All campers now are nestled in nylon
cathedrals where a full moon escorts
us into wave-washed dreamscapes.






A YOUNG BOY’S FIRST HIKE

Arjun makes
immortal a long
blade of grass
by pulling the green wish
squeakingly free
and chomping!






IN AN ASPEN GROVE

After hiking in the Sierras,
I rest among aspen trees,
drawn to pale branches’
lively leaves. Safe in a
pristine place, I drift asleep,
dream . . .
fallen angels encircle me
like sunshine. Removing my boots
they wash my feet, refresh my life,
welcome me as a vital member
of the Tribe—
imperfect
yet
fabulous.






A BLACK CHILD
(from the ’70’s)

A black child on ghetto corner
holds a potted Easter Lily,
it reaches to her chin,
the sprung petals pale
as whites of her eyes,
her hope rising, African
dance still in her toes,

a black child waiting
for the blood-red light to
change, so she can place
in her Grandmother’s
worn hands the symbol for
a be-bop figure rising
from the sealed Tomb, pushing
away the weighted stone
in Hallelujah sunrise.

A black child
forgetting that He too
was white.






ONE JUNE AFTERNOON

Mother, using a clean
flour-sack cloth, I polish
for you in the sun
the fine crystal glass
from which each afternoon
you enjoy sipping
your whiskey sour,
then another, another, and . . .

But mother,
first see with me how
your drink absorbs spring
light, turning it golden.
And, mom, see the pastel prisms
moving along the shiny rim
before and after each
crystal sip?






ASSISTED LIVING LIBRARY

We elders cherish every breath,
try one day at a time;
we take it slow, save NRG
for flirting with the sublime.

We’ve survived the Holidays,
leaks and flooded rooms;
kin in trouble, each broken bubble,
family films, and Zooms.

We love our bookish library,
of ideal peace and size:
we borrow mostly “mysteries”—
MURDERS first, then otherwise.






WISTFUL, AT NEW SMART PHONE

Instead of tapping
the too-tiny keyboard,
maybe one day
I’ll breathe so warmly
over this imprisoned
alphabet,
whiz-bang letters will
instantaneously
arrange
themselves into words,
then phrases
for a felt poem’s
fledgling flight
into fabulous freedom!

___________________

Today’s LittleNip:
 
SOME DAYS WHEN

the poet closes all eyes
but the vision
in her spirit, she
hears a humming
from poems
yet to be written.


—Claire J. Baker

___________________

—Medusa, thanking Claire Baker for today’s angelic poetry!



 “imperfect yet fabulous”
—Public Domain Illustration

















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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to
kathykieth@hotmail.com.
The snakes of Medusa are always hungry!





Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Tomorrow We Will Find The Moon

Beyond the Word
—Poetry and Original Art by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA



FOX, GOING EXTINCT
After The Fox’s Curiosity by Ellen Jewell

Looking for the words,
shy in the eyes of fox—
enclosed in a nettle of wire

in the elaboration of art.
Bronze now,
held firm for the eternity

of its look—
held sad and absolute.
Curious about

the poem it will be—Fox,
posed slender and tame
to exhibit the

illumination of its life—
out of time and condition.
One would swear its eyes

were blue, for its misery,
tamed now for the sweet
adulation of those

who love Fox—so entangled
in its fury of obedience
—the theft of its liberty.    



 Distancing



IMPORTANCE

the song of the keys
as he walks
swinging away from his body
clanking against him
many-toned
rhythmic to his
powerful unlockings

___________________

TITILLATION
After “Bondage” by Tamara de Lempicka)

Detective-Mags : Shackled woman
arching in exaggerated agony,
begging release.

Chains of love :
How dated.
Bondage as pseudo,Mnym.

How long can she stay beautiful,
chained to an old helpless pose—
how can she scratch her nose?



 The Truth And All



THE POWER
(After The Desire and the Satisfaction,
1893, Jan Theodore Toorop)


Their gold faces speak of desire
and satisfaction—
such has their love been taken.

Their eyes burn with after-
thoughts. Hers turn away
from his haunted stare.

Gold bells weep into dying sound
along the surrounding wall;
gold leaves fall from the sky—

for it is imperial here
with wealth and power—
except over love.



 The Fireworks



LOOKING FOR THE MOON

How the moon
in a worry of sky
is kept bound by the tree
that keeps hiding it in its branches . . .

         ~

How the moon, in spite of this
hides from the tree—
cold and far
in a freedom of sky . . .

        ~

And how the tree lets it go
when we pass it by, leaving
these thoughts to wander upward
toward that unreachable surface . . .

        ~

Tomorrow we will find the moon,
in one of its places in the sky—
fully round—the cold, chiseled moon,
phrased lightly with scar-like detail . . . .



 Oh Say Can You



THE SAD WINDOW

Turning to my small window, I see the view :
a boring wall for me—a scrap of sky for you.
From what bleak difference now do we stare—

I at shadow creeping over brick—
you at night that comes down thick.
What do we care, Love, what do we care?

Wall is for safety—sky is for roam;
you at your distance—I at home
with brick and shadow.  I don’t cry.

In this division, why compare :
you in your nowhere—everywhere—
only one of us now, tending this goodbye.



 Safe Journey



STALEMATE

we are not friends
we are not
lovers now

we are
a cage

we lock each other
we threaten
freedom

                  
(prev. pub. in Prophetic Voices, 1992)



 Of Wishing



MIND-POWER

You are that maze
I never get through.

How did you
make yourself so clever,
without an exit?

How did I
get in?


(prev. pub. in Parting Gifts, 1996)

_____________________

Today’s LittleNip:

THE WAY OF LOVE
After Rumi

The way of love
is not a subtle argument.

The door there is devastation.

Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.

How do they learn it?

They fall, and in falling,
are given wings.

_____________________

Thank you, Joyce Odam, for today’s poetry and artwork, with its talk of love and power and liberty (our Seed of the Week)! For more about Artist Tamara de Lempicka, see www.delempicka.org/bottom/home.html/.

Our new Seed of the Week is "Creekside". Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com. 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



 “sad and absolute”
—Public Domain 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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to
kathykieth@hotmail.com.
The snakes of Medusa are always hungry!




Monday, July 06, 2020

Balance is Key

—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA



QUICK FIXES                                                    
—Sue Crisp, Shingle Springs, CA

A little duct tape here,
a little duct tape there.
Is there anything duct
can’t repair?

Use it for whatever inspires,
handgrips on pliers, tape
together wires.

Use your imagination
for your next creation.
Enter a duct tape contest,
show them your best,
you may come home with
a Blue Ribbon on your chest.



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Sue Crisp



LIBERTY 
—Sue Crisp
                                                                    
A freedom from captivity or control.
It’s always been America’s goal.
There times those liberties abuse
take their tole on our heart, body,
and sole.

Liberty, our nations most precious
gift of all-together we conquer,
divided, we fall.

As long as we can get along,
together, we can keep our
country, Liberty Strong.



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Sue Crisp



BROKEN
—Sue Crisp

Remember the heat of our passion, desire,
two hearts beating as one?  Hearts on fire
The blazing romantic year too soon passed
us by, and we watched our flames of passion
flicker, then die.

Now only cold ashes, broken remains of our
once burning hearts, scattered to the wind, in
useless broken parts.



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Sue Crisp



TREE OF LIFE  
—Sue Crisp                                       

The Tree of Life, our heart’s desire,
to give us a living history,
as we push toward the future, we see
the tree sends out branches, two, three.

Our lives move forward, as the tree grows,
sometimes the roots are injured
by discontented blows.

Soon it begins to divide, to save its life,
it’s once solid branches, diseased by strife.
No longer one, each half clings to its own,
neither half wanting to be alone.

The Tree of Life broken, each
branch reaps what it has sown.



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Sue Crisp



IN LOVE
—Douglas Polk, Kearney, NE

eyes so beautiful and naive
profess a love,
only imagined,
too young to know, or experience a love,
so complex,
and layered,
the heroic adored,
even though
the love was never heroic,
only fulfilling needs,
both physical,
and emotional,
but the young eyes,
beautiful and naive enough to believe
the truth, otherwise.



—Original Artwork by Douglas Polk



SKINNY DIPPING
—Douglas Polk
 
in the waters pure as creation,
naked and vulnerable,
I held you,
and felt your body melt into mine,
we were one,
the warm waters caressing our bodies,
in love,
listening to the soothing song of the flowing river,
expressing the joy to the universe.



 —Original Artwork by Douglas Polk
 


HOME
—Douglas Polk

the place, nowhere,
in the middle of sand and sky,
I found God,
there were no trumpet blasts,
or angelic voices,
only a soft whisper
in the soul,
saying, "I am home",
and among kin,
residing through the eons.
He is here.



 —Original Artwork by Douglas Polk
 


KITCHEN DAYS
—Joseph Nolan
 
There was crazy
In the kitchen.
There was madness
All day long.

Hardly a quiet moment,
A parade of jesters
In patched-up jeans
Or trousers,
With a woman at the sink,

With a better education
And ability to think
Circles around
The randomly-gathered,
With a pot of coffee to drink
And a floating haze
As thick as clouds at dusk.

With so many
Coming and going,
Across domestic stage,
We’d get an education
From two rocking-chairs,
Set in either corner,
Watching actors,
Over-turning pages,
Incidentally,
With only marginal interest. 



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan



ZEN AND NOTHINGNESS
—Joseph Nolan

I was growing unattached to nothingness.
They say non-attachment is a virtue.
When nothingness interpenetrates nothingness,
Nothing is left.
You are left with nothing.

There is nothing
To eschew
About nothingness.
You could ask
For more
Or less
Of nothingness,
But what good
Would that do?

You’d still be left
With nothing
But nothingness,
Throwing mind and reason,
All askew.

No need to renew
If all, indeed, is nothingness.
Nothing to curse or bless
In the middle of infinite nothingness-
No need to stress
It’s always been like this,
I guess?



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan



THE VACUUM SAID
—Joseph Nolan

The vacuum said,
“I was here before there was air.
I’ll be here when air is gone.
As you reach out for new friendship,
I inform that friendship is rare,
As is care
That lasts very long,
That grows very strong,
Since bodies fall into weakness
And opinions tend to be wrong.”



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan



YOUR OLD, FORGOTTEN FRIEND
—Joseph Nolan
 
In this little box over here,
In the back of your closet floor
Underneath your
Last week’s laundry
Hidden behind a heavy door,
I overflow
In silence.

I’ll be here
When you need me.

You only need
To open the heavy door,
Find out where I’m hidden,
In the back of your
Undone laundry,
Pull me out,
Dust me off,
Greet me with
A laugh and scoff
And ask me how I’ve been—
Your old, forgotten friend.



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan



LET ME CHANGE FOR DINNER
—Caschwa 
 
when I ask this, it
means quite the opposite of
what you are thinking

had quite enough of
allowing food stains to mar
my best finery

no, I’m going to change
into some attire that will
not see public eye

before I cook, serve,
or eat those baby back ribs
I’ll be as ready

as a grease monkey
in grungy pants and smeared shirt,
wearing a big smile



I’ll be ready in a minute ~ !
—Public Domain Photo



HAYDN STRING QUARTET, Op. 76, No 3, 'Emperor'
—Caschwa

The Lindsays

These are among the finest Haydn quartet recordings to be heard in years, performances which will quickly establish themselves as classics of the genre. They are consistently a degree more refined in texture and control of dynamic, while the ensemble is more polished.
 


I brought my kazoo
and auditioned for a part
they had no trouble

promptly reaching a
unanimous decision
to not include me

and I worked so hard
to produce the very best
nasal kazoo sounds

sometimes, no matter
what you do, naysayers slap
you where it hurts most 



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan
 


TRICKLE DOWN
—Caschwa

he had not always been a full time
Republican, but when Ronald Reagan
said people should pull themselves up
by their bootstraps, he boarded that
train for the long haul

then one day at the train station, his
black face grinning, he reached down
to pull up his bootstrap and someone
cried out “gun!” and then several
security officers shot him in the back

they left him to bleed out on the floor
cursing him for causing such a mess
calling him every foul name in the book
and several too raunchy to be printed
they didn’t bother so see if he had family

and so the trickle down theory had
double-underline zero to do with daily
economic matters, and everything to do
with instilling fear in the hearts and minds
of “Black Lives Matter” protesters 



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan



QUICK CRUCI-FIXES
—Caschwa 
 
Greater love has no man,
than that he lay down his
futures trading funds to
buy quick crucifixes

using a standardized
legal agreement to
buy or sell something at
a predetermined price

at a specified time
in the future, between
parties not known to each
other, all for our sins

no one can resist such
golden commodities
well infused with meaning
they will sell like pancakes 



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan



LEFT WITH DUST
—Caschwa

convenience tools
can lighten your load with those
heavy, daily chores

excess writing can
be edited down to read
like a good novel

exquisite cuisine
must still be apportioned to
a proper serving

unfeeling stone can
be whittled away until
fine art emerges

but do not chisel
investment portfolios
where balance is key

_____________________

Today’s LittleNip(s):

SNACK TIME
—Caschwa

googelly, goggelly
Salmon are wonderful
friends you can talk to, but
I have a hunch

don’t sit too closely, ‘cause
danger is lurking near
big pterodactyls will
eat you for lunch

* * *

NOT IN AMERICA
—Caschwa

higgety jiggety
not in America
this isn’t happening
please make it stop

different due process
standards are coloring
unconstitutional
murder by cop

* * *

MAYBE NOT
—Caschwa

can we ever stop
cruel and unusual crimes
with punishments that
fall short of qualifying
as cruel and unusual?

________________________

Thanks to today’s poets for weaving their words so deftly, and for photos and artwork to keep us all on track! Mondays have such variety in the Kitchen that it makes my head spin (in a good way, of course). These colorful poems come from a variety of sources: recent Seeds of the Week, current events, politics, pandemics and the personal. One wonders if “Kitchen Days” is how Joseph Nolan sees life in Medusa’s Kitchen. Well, he’s not far wrong, except for the part about the cook's “… ability to think/Circles around/The randomly-gathered…” I’m spinning in circles, alright, but not that kind ~

Sacramento poet Jennifer O’Neill Pickering writes that her new book of poetry,
Fruit Box Castles: Poems From a Peach Rancher’s Daughter is available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press at www.finishinglinepress.com/product/fruit-box-castles-poems-from-a-peach-ranchers-daughter-by-jennifer-oneill-pickering/. Congratulations, Jennifer!
 

 Sac. Poetry Center uses Zoom for weekly readings and workshops. For more info, go to www.sacramentopoetrycenter.com/. Also this week, on Friday at 7:30pm, there will be a video poetry reading on Facebook by Davis Poet Laureate James Lee Jobe at james-lee-jobe.blogspot.com and/or www.youtube.com/jamesleejobe/.

For more about El Dorado County poetry events, check Western Slope El Dorado Poetry on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ElDoradoCountyPoetry/.

____________________

—Medusa, still trying to tame them snarky snakes ~



 —Public Domain Photo

 












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