Saturday, May 15, 2021

Running Amok

 
—Poetry by Linda Klein, Los Angeles, CA
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain



MS. JANE’S JOB

Ms. Jane tugged at the hem of her knitted dress,
smoothing it over her torso from hip to breast.

She bent forward, pouting in the mirror at her image,
with a confident wink at her bold, smiling visage.

Attractive still, at fifty-four, if one were to compare.
With her fingers she teased her candy cotton hair.

Jane, supervisor of the typing pool at Equitable Life,
hoped to find a young actuary and become his wife.

Back at her desk, she applied a coat of nail lacquer
while chewing gum.  She was a popper and a cracker.

I sat in front of her, transcribing from disc to page,
much like a small animal in a clattering cage.

After Jane's nail extensions were painted and dried
came interminable tapping.  I wanted to hide.

She must have been bored as she watched round the clock.
Her job was to make sure no one ran amok.
 
 
 

 
 
NIGHT RAIN—THE BATTLE ENSUES

I hear the sounds of rain as a brigade
of stalwart soldier/drummers,
united in spirit and heavy in numbers,
marches rhythmically in parade.

Bullet droplets saturating grass and trees,
releasing a ricocheting barrage,
create a shimmering mirage
of reflecting pools though deserted streets.

The soldiers cross barriers and borders.
Though each hit seems random,
and spillage is with wild abandon;
surely they follow deliberate orders.

Eradicate every arid space.
Drench it mercilessly through the night.
Determined to win the desperate fight,
they splatter in quick time every single place.
 
 
 

 
 
A FLY AND A SCHIZOPHRENIC EPISODE

On a quiet Sunday afternoon, I sat in my rocker in the den reading an epic poem sent to me by a friend.  She referred to it as a series of poems, but I saw it as one, relating the stories of former occupations of ninety-nine retired seniors residing in and around Berks County, Pennsylvania Dutch country.  Many of the poem's principals are of Dutch heritage.

I became so engrossed in these memories that I began to read their words aloud.  I pictured myself as each person telling an audience, in turn, about his or her young working life.

I was Helga, sitting at a machine, sewing a pair of men's pants, when something black and wiry whizzed by my eyes—a floater.  No, it buzzed, and franticly circled my head, darting at me, aiming for my nose, a fly.  I waved my arms helplessly.  I had to finish these pants, but the fly was relentless.  My boss, Mr. Schwartzkopf, would be coming to the factory in thirty minutes, expecting me to have all five pairs of pants.  This was the last pair.

The fly taunted me until I stopped sewing.  What I actually did was put down the poetry book, imagining I was turning off a sewing machine.  I went to the broom closet in my kitchen, which in my mind was Schwartzkopf's utility room, and returned with a mesh fly swatter.

In my absence the fly was resting somewhere, perhaps on a wall or a table.  I sat down, placing the swatter close to the rocker, hoping to resume reading or sewing, waiting for the fly to sense my presence and continue pursuit.  As I reached for the book on the coffee table, I saw my nemesis, settled and still, sitting on the poetry book, the fabric.

I hesitated swatting it there, squashing it flat like an ugly scab, scarring and soiling the book with its juices.  I took a breath, sighed, and smashed the swatter down on it.  Mr. Schwartzkopf would have his five pairs of pants after all.  I could sponge the fabric clean.
                                                                             
_____________________

Today’s (Longer)Nip:                                                          

DESTRUCTIVE CRITICISM
—Linda Klein

My dear, your sonnets wax Shakespearean,
were Shakespeare a barbarian
spewing curses in the local Clarion.

Each phrase flows with lucidity,
a honey-smooth fluidity,
such soppingly sweet stupidity.

The rhythm, rhyme, and meter
could not be more concreter
if smashed against a wall like a skeeter.

Your motives are, at best, illusive,
your methods, not at all conducive
proof—poof.  They're inconclusive.

Everybody will ignore you.
Cease and desist, I implore you.

_______________________

—Medusa, with many thanks to Linda Klein today for her poetry!

Tonight, 4-8:30pm, Sac. City College’s El Gigante presents Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders (plus open mic) online at cccconfer.zoom.us/j/9348057923/. Host: Danny Romero. Tonight is the publication reading for Issue 25. Info about the journal, including obtaining past issues, at sinfronterasjournal.com/. 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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. We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
 

 
 



















Friday, May 14, 2021

Bitter-sweet Secrets

 
—Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA
 
 
 
VOYAGER
        for Roxy

Where do we dream-travel, when dark
holds us fast in sleep? I’ve watched you
in long trajectory—not an arc,
but aimed past dark-thirty, a zone
far beyond anything I’ve known.
I called. You looked back. Then you flew
             as if each star became your leaping-stone,

the planet-orbits of our sun
outbursting telescope. A dream.
You traveled past the star-webs spun
of time; extending our short sight
that’s bound by mortal’s dawn and night;
past the heliopause, a seam
             among stars unraveling in your flight.

But this is dream. Tonight I’ll wake.
In the dark, might I sense a star
watching with distant eye? Mistake
or vision? Just pure fancy? Eye
of light gathering the on-high
in its design; a door ajar;
              a blink. I’ll look again—at endless sky.


(prev. pub. in Tulane Review, 2013)
 
 
 

 
 
MOTHER HEN IN BOOTS
           for LCM

You could hear gears ratcheting in her chuckle.
Maybe she didn’t birth search-and-rescue but
if you were good, she named you honorary
angel-of-the-high-lonesome. Ever in wings
of serape, she was taller than numbers ticked
on the wall. To save lives, wildland or urban,
mountain or highrise, she was there on the steps
climbing. And then she just kept right on climbing.
I heard she ascended clear out of earthly
sight. No honorary wings for her. They say
she died with her chin up and her search boots on—
a true mother-angel of the high lonesome. 
 
 
 

 
 
AFTER BUYING CUMIN AT WINCO

Earthy brown bitter-sweet aroma
permeates my kitchen. Plastic can't contain it,
the small bag I filled at the bulk dispenser.
It makes itself at home here, heady, warm,
as if just gathered from the burgeoning world
outside my door. I can smell it in the dark.
Dawn’s waiting behind the mountain.
Soon I'll be weed-eating green grasses and
forbs turning brown and flammable.
Earth the mother of herbs and spices, thistle
and ripgut brome. Bitter-sweet secrets. 
 
 
 

 
 
PROTEST

Lavender iris
lifts one wrinkled fist against
the death of this spring. 
 
 
 

 
 
SEISMIC CELLAR

Loki is our guardian, once a mother-dog moving her babes from whelping box to bedroom closet, a much safer den. Who knows what hideous forces in this world? For days she’d search house and garage for ghost-scent of puppies wandered or stolen away. Spayed years ago, now mother-dog attending you—home from hospital—guarding and comforting. The other day suddenly on alert, running room to room, checking every door. What hideous threat she couldn’t pinpoint? Next morning, earthquake on the news: under Tahoe up the mountain; but that was hours after Loki’s frantic scouting, warning—

intense mother-eyes—
and a dog’s keen 7th sense
for trouble coming. 
 
 
 

 
 
GOODBYE GALAHAD

The great white horse who
grazed and graced my pasture has
gone to greener fields.
He never was mine but still
gazes into memory. 
 
 
 

 
 
Today’s LittleNip:

LADY BEETLE
—Taylor Graham

Ladybug, you’re soon
to be a mother, laying
tiny yellow eggs
which hatch, metamorphose, and
then—aphids, look out!


_____________________

Thanks to Taylor Graham today for her poems and photos, including the scandalous one of ladybugs propagating. Taylor sends us forms to ponder, including, as she says, “various breeds of mothers here [our recent Seed of the Week]”. Her forms include a Canzonetta—last Friday’s Fiddlers’ Challenge—  (“Voyager”); Normative Syllabics (“Mother Hen in Boots”); a Haiku (“Protest”); a Haibun (“Seismic Cellar”); and a couple of Tankas (“Lady Beetle” and “Goodbye Galahad”—so sad...).

And now it’s time for…


FORM FIDDLERS’ FRIDAY! 
 
It’s time for more contributions from Form Fiddlers in addition to those sent to us by Taylor Graham! 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, by golly! (See Medusa’s Form Finder at the end of this post for links to definitions of the forms used this week.)
  First we have a Canzone (not Calzone), our recent Fiddlers’ Challenge, from Caschwa (Carl Schwartz):


TUNA SURPRISE  
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

what’s the first canned food you think of
that you had to open with a manual device
usually tucked away beneath everything else above
in that busy kitchen drawer full of all but good advice?
it was a camping trip right at home
building biceps using dull-edged blades
caught in the roughage where the buffalo roam
hang that tall chef’s hat with the shovels and spades

no lip on the can, it’s wrong side up
that’s OK, nothing pierced, just flip it over
careful, sharp lid! that’s blood, not catsup
you can’t rely on your four-leaf clover
good job, you got it open at last
improve your technique to get better grades
some don’t get this far and decide to just fast
hang that tall chef’s hat with the shovels and spades 
 
 
 

 
 
Next, Carl sent us an Amanda’s Pinch:
 

EDITOR’S DESK
—Caschwa

no one, nobody knows the typos I have seen
social media, including the newspaper
a discipline of proofing failed to reach
I’ve had third graders do better
I’ve had third graders do better
simple words are just not that hard to teach
unlike the blueprints to building a sky scraper
maybe look at your words like your hands, are they clean? 
 
 
 

 
 
Carl says this last one is “a List poem that started smaller and kind of got away from me”:


THE STORY OF 89
—Caschwa

89       piano with a spare key  

189     The atomic number of an element temporarily called Unoctennium

289     Popular small V-8 engine in early Ford Mustangs

389     Idaho Governor signs every bill left on his desk except HB-389, the controversial Moyle property tax bill

489 420+69=489      Smoking a bowl and then doing 69 is 489

789     The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle records the first appearance of Vikings in England

889     Section of the Prohibition on Certain Telecommunications and Video Surveillance Services or Equipment, of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act which prohibits the Federal Government from obtaining or extending a contract to obtain “any equipment, system, or service that uses covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system.

989     the highest-numbered area code in use in the North American Numbering Plan

1089   the first reverse-divisible number

1189   number of chapters in the Bible

1289   California Penal Code section allowing the Court to increase or reduce the amount of bail, on good cause shown

1389   Battle of Kosovo between Serbian armies led by prince Lazar and Turkish forces of the Ottoman sultan Murad I, which left both leaders killed

1489   Treaty of Frankfurt signed between Maximilian of Austria and King Charles VIII of France

I-589   Application for asylum and for Withholding of Removal

1689    Bill of Rights—An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown

1789    French Revolution

1889    World’s Fair held in Paris

1989    Tiananmen Square protests

2089    Western U.S. fallen victim to desertification

3089    ancient aliens return to Earth and decide it is no longer worth the bother

__________________

Many thanks to our SnakePals for their brave fiddling! Would you like to be a SnakePal? All you have to do is send poetry—forms or not—and/or photos and artwork to kathykieth@hotmail.com. We post work from all over the world, including that which was previously-published. Just remember: the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!

__________________

FIDDLERS’ CHALLENGE!   
 
See what you can make of this week’s poetry form, and send it to kathykieth@hotmail.com! (No deadline.) This week's challenge:

Epulaeryu: www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/epulaeryu.html

__________________

MEDUSA’S FORM FINDER: Links to poetry forms mentioned today:

•••Amanda’s Pinch: poetscollective.org/poetryforms/amandas-pinch
•••Canzonet, Canzonetta, Canzonetta Prime: poetscollective.org/poetryforms/canzonetta
•••Epulaeryu: www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/epulaeryu.html
•••Haibun: www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/haibun-poems-poetic-form
•••Haiku: www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/haiku/haiku.html
•••List Poem: clpe.org.uk/poetryline/poeticforms/list-poem
•••Normative Syllabics: hellopoetry.com/collection/108/normative-syllabic-free-verse OR lewisturco.typepad.com/poetics/normative-syllabic-verse
•••Tanka: poets.org/glossary/tanka  

__________________

—Medusa
 
 
 
—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.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Never Alone

 
—Poetry and Artwork by Douglas Polk, Kearney, NE
 


THE COMMUNITY OF LIGHT
 
the darkness battled,
but never alone,
light always exists,
even if diminished,
souls who have gone before,
and the innocent light our way,
the path dark,
terrifying to the goodness in each and every soul,
the battled waged,
endlessly,
but never alone.
 
 
 

 
 
DREAM LAND
 
the land proved with better blood than mine,
lives dedicated to dreams of freedom,
and security,
squandered by restless and bored descendants,
never understanding what it was to dream,
shovel after shovel,
day after day,
building a foundation on which the dream to rest,
generation after generation,
until finally there was no dream to dream,
it was a reality,
boring and secure.
 
 
 

 
 
TRAILS WEST
 
eyes to the west,
and open skies,
never to the east,
with swarms of people,
bees in their concrete hives,
living lives ordered,
and preordained,
eyes to the west,
where open spaces,
call to the restless soul,
come,
let me make you,
renew you,
free and wild,
under open skies.

___________________

Today’s LittleNip:

EVOLUTION
—Douglas Polk
 
restless feet,
in search of a life,
walk this way, and that,
paths blocked,
dreams crumble,
arms and legs evolve into limbs,
I am a tree, rooted in place.

___________________

Tonight, 7:30pm, Sac. Poetry Alliance presents To Remain in Perhaps: A Deeper Look at the Lyric Poem, an online Literary Lecture by Jennifer Sweeney. Host: Frank Dixon Graham. Zoom:  us02web.zoom.us/. Facebook info: www.facebook.com/events/244410620805317/.

___________________

—Medusa, with thanks and welcome back to Douglas Polk for today’s fine poems and artwork!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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. We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



 























 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Nothing to Prove

 
—Poetry by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal, West Covina, CA
—Artwork/Photos Courtesy of Public Domain
 


GOOD MORNING
 
You greet me good morning
and that greeting
it stays with me for a while.
 
I got nothing to do
but sit around
waiting for the muse to come.
 
I think of your eyes
and see the rise
of the sun, just beautiful.
 
I evaporate
in those eyes, and
the sun, it is blinding.
 
The crows on the wire
are holding my place
without smiles but with song,
no gold record will come of it.
 
The leaves fall from
the trees, and I drown out
the crow song singing
my own little song.
 
 
 

 
 
GOOD CONSCIENCE
 
I give you air and
all the things you want.
I give you air and
then I leave you alone.
 
I come bearing a
heart in good conscience.
I seem content to
watch the setting sun.
 
A cloud brings me hope.
The sky’s gray colors
and great big raindrops
flowing with my tears.
 
The sky’s high window
catching my eyes, the
best thing I have seen.
 
 
 

 
 
I WAS LISTENING TO THE SMITHS
WHEN I WROTE THIS

Inspired by the dead,
reading their wise
and not-so-wise words,
long after they penned
their last poem.
I wonder who if anyone
will read my words
long after my bones
and flesh have been
boxed up or turned
to ash? I can go at
anytime. I have little
control of that in
these trying times.
Waiting for a bus
in the dark this really
could be the last time.
 
 
 

 
 
LOOK BACK
 
I look back
long and hard
to my first seven years.
 
Those were the
best years of my life.
 
I long to
return there.
 
I do not
know what day
I will go back.
It might just be a lark.
 
 
 

 
 
I AM THE VOICE

Who can relate
with this sorrow
as night drops its
veil over my
eyes? Weeping, I
walk and walk for
miles. Burdened, I
talk with the voice
in my head. The
voice is sadness
and I am the
voice that cries out.
 
 
 

 
 
CONVERSATION WITH SORROW
 
Take a seat, sorrow,
you always come to
town when I feel down.
I worry about you.
 
Do you feel pleasure
when I carry a
heavy heart? Sorrow,
you serve no useful
 
purpose. Come here as
day begins dying.
Look at the heavens
where the dark sky is
 
being born. The light
is not from the sun,
but the stars of night.
Sleep sorrow, sleep tight.

_______________________

Today’s LittleNip:

NOTHING
—Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
 
I labor at doing nothing.
It is harder than doing anything.
I don’t want to be something
or anything more than me.
I have nothing to prove
to the world, nothing at all.

________________________

—Medusa, with a welcome back and thanks to Luis Beriozabal for today’s poetry and art piece!
 
 
 
—Artwork by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




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. We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
 

 
 


















 

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Big Mama and Her Sweet Jazz

 
Love For Ever And For Always
—Poetry and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA



SWEET JAZZ

I’m driving along
to sweet jazz.

Sweet Mama!

Driving along.
Sweet jazz on my radio.

Sweet Mama . . .

How you loved to drive
your little car . . .

all those years and miles ago.
You had no radio.
 
 
 
A Little Light in the Room
 
 
 
BIG MAMA LAUGHS

Big Mama laughs
and points her hand.

Her pretty laughter
shoves the air between.

Her flirting eyes
grab everyone.

Her dangling ear rings
dance and shine.

Her dark-blue-satin coat
shudders and clings.

She laughs
and laughs.

She is a happy woman
all the time.

                            
(prev. pub. in Urban Voices That Matter, 1994
and
Profiles, Mini-Chap, 1998)
 
 
 
In the Memories
 


MY MOTHER WITH HENNAED HAIR

My
mother
with hennaed hair—
her brown eyes shining
because she was young and flirty—
                                      and
                                      how
                                I
                   became
          her
when staring into her eyes
in her young photograph and I
wanted henna in my hair too . . .
 
 
 
Mother Dreaming
 
 
 
MY MOTHERS

my mothers prey in the shadows
which is the dream . . .

of which remembrance . . .
I cannot love them both

my mirror has two sides
one empty

one mother hides there, waiting
for me to enter

the glass holds
no deception

my real mother
holds her steady look

one mother
pulls me through the glass

I do not know
which one . . .

__________________

MOTHER EXPERIENCE

sitting over there
smiling indulgently

her Mona Lisa mouth
not saying a word

letting us talk about
our embarrassments
and our mistakes

old Mother Experience
with her held advice

and smug—so smug
with her experience

             
(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen)
 
 
 
In the Lack of Tears
 

 
TRAVELING WITH MAMA

The grief is hunch-hearted in my dark.

My eyes are stones.
How they hurt in the lack of tears.
How my silence weeps
reaching for its peak.
No midnight or dawn can
make me speak its word.
I am mute.
I am lost upon myself like a folded map.
I cannot travel here.
The road is finished
and the little inn is closed.

My patient car is waiting to unlock.
How bright its wheels will be
when we embark
because we must, again
because we will, again.
The travel signs have lied.
They all end here.
The nighttime noises creak
and scrape and rustle
while the windshield stars deflect
and burn my cold.
 

 
The Blue Curtain


 
SHADOW CONNECTION
After The Exile of Sophia, Daughter of
the Father of Light by Daniel Koubel


She is becoming
who we dream her to be,
one who is turning into glowing blue light.

The darkness
comforts her, holds her
in a stillness that allows no breathing.

We call her Mother
so she will recognize us—
comfort us—tell us an old sky-story.

She is only there for
as long as our imagination holds
her there. Why she allows this is not clear.

She is powerless to move until
we undo the shadows and release her.
We’ve not yet learned why we still need her.
 
 
 
The Way of Things
 
 
 
MOTHER’S EDGE

I take the edge along with me
wherever I go...
 
Like a ruler;
like a lifeline in a world made of snow;

I take it for caution and what I almost know
of boundary.

I take it to remind me of where I left off
and where I began.

I take it as something not to step over,
or off of.  

I need this edge to prevent me from the fall
that flaunts its vertigo.

I know my dimension.
Mother named it so.

She said, “Take this edge through life,
as a peripheral.”

She took it from her tiny balcony of warning
and stood there—edgeless, waving.

And I still have it with me:
Mother’s edge—still holding, guarding.
 
 
 
For the Blues
 
 
 
ALL THE NEWS IS GOOD

Mama, all the news is good.
You were right to be
an optimist.

I have filled the little cup
with life
and I am here
with all my blues
sewn to a morning dress.

I sit at the window
and watch the birds
who know me now.
Their shifting songs
wash over me in happiness.

I say to you,
I love those birds.
My dress of blues
fits me like words.

I think I know your secret now.
God bless.

                       
(prev. pub. in One Dog Press, 1997)

____________________

Today’s LittleNip:

MAMA, I HAVE A CAT
—Joyce Odam

We could be sisters now, my Mama;
we are the same age now.

I sit here and talk to you in your picture—
the same age now—grinning at each other.

____________________

Thank you to Joyce Odam for her songs about mothers today, our recent "Mothers" Seed of the Week—sorrowful, joyful, and in-between! Our new Seed of the Week is Wobbly Legs. 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
 
 
 

—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.
 
I thought she said Wobbly EGGS...
 
 












 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Shadows Chasing Shadows

 
Welcome to Monday!
—Poetry by Joseph Nolan, Michael Ceraolo, Caschwa (Carl Schwartz)
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA



PLAYING HOUSE
—Joseph Nolan

Let’s pretend that we got married,
So no good sex, anymore.
Sleeping side by side
Or in adjoining rooms,
So as not to wake each other,
Getting up to pee
In the night.

Burying our arguments
When we turn out the lights,
Rather than work them out
Horizontally,
On a long-suffering mattress,
That long-ago stopped its squeaking.

Would you call it happiness
Or apathy,
With everything else
Going on?

Surely, perspectives
Are subject to revision,
As thirst
In a desert
Causes
Mirages
To appear
Ever more real,
The more severe it gets.

Even regrets
May disappear,
Over time,
As memory
Forgets. 
 
 
 

 
 
BEAUTIFUL EYES
—Joseph Nolan

Starlight twinkles
Down a shaded hallway,
Through softness,
In the darkness,
In a woman’s eyes.

How beautiful!
How brilliant!
How dear
And so sweet!
Nothing in this
World, compares.

A hunger
Your soul,
To eat!
 
 
 

 
 
THE WHISKY ON YOUR BREATH
—Joseph Nolan

There a place for everything
When everything is in place.

There’s a trace of everything,
Lingering in space,

Since time does not disappear.
It just goes backwards
And forwards
And time is ever-so near!

As near as your birth, your death,
The whisky I smell on your breath.
Your fate,
Too-soon-to-evaporate,
I fear,
But pray it’s not too late.
 
 
 

 
 
DIMINISHING HOPES
—Joseph Nolan
 
Diminishing hopes
Are slippery slopes
Leading downward
To despair.
 
Each disappointment,
Another step down,
Into a darkened cellar
Where cool echoes
Fill the air:
“Is anyone there?”
 
 
 

 
 
TWO POEMS FROM DUGOUT ANTHOLOGY,
A Poetry Collection by Michael Ceraolo, S. Euclid, OH

           Richard "Dicky" Kerr

Because of my small size,
it took several years of minor-league excellence
for me to finally make the majors,
but when I did I had success,
including those two World Series wins
you've read about or seen on-screen
(though I was actually left-handed, not right-)
Having leverage with the Black Sox suspended,
I held out before the 1921 season,
and Comiskey and Grabiner had little choice
but to pay me the higher salary,
though they grumbled about being taken advantage of
When before the next season I asked for a multi-year contract,
Grabiner refused to even negotiate with me
(you always dealt with Grabiner,
never sure if he was following Comiskey's orders
or taking the hardline on his own),
so I played for a Chicago semi-pro team
and was banned by Landis for almost four years;
when I was reinstated I didn't last long
Years later I made a big contribution to baseball:
while managing in the minors
I helped a struggling young pitcher greatly improve,
though I didn't think he would ever reach major-league caliber
I thought his hitting was major-league caliber,
so I played him in the outfield between starts
When he hurt his shoulder diving for a fly ball,
that effectively ended his career as a pitcher,
but Stan Musial proved my judgment about his hitting correct

* * *

         Hub Pruett

Shucks, baseball is a great game
And one of the best things about it
is the mystery of when form doesn't hold;
I'll use myself as an example
In my first season, plus his first appearance
against me in my second season,
I struck out Babe Ruth ten times in thirteen at-bats;
he had only two hits in those at-bats, one a home run,
and in addition had three walks
If that wasn't in Ripley's Believe It or Not,
it should have been; I think that stat alone
probably kept me in the big leagues longer
than my pitching against all others warranted,
and that allowed me to put myself through medical school
The Babe did better against me after that beginning,
but I am eternally grateful to him
for my moment in the sun
 
 
 
Al Capone's Cell, East Penitentiary
 
 
 
THEY CLING TO YOU
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

certifiably senior now, arthritis,
discounts, eh? and there are
traits from my earlier years still
hanging on like re-runs of black-
and-white TV shows

back when just a high school grad,
barely survived a motorcycle crash
that crushed my leg and ankle,
whole ball joint had to be rebuilt,
crutches for a year, still rely on my
“off” hand for muscle tasks, to
leave my dominant hand free for
fine motor activities

More recently had cataract surgery
in both eyes, and they put in plastic
lenses so there was no need to wear
corrective lenses to pass the DMV
eye test, but can’t stop myself from
correcting for it anyway because
60+ years of daily nearsightedness
leaves its mark

yesterday when out shopping, saw
a one-legged man enjoying the
outing with his 2 lively boys; he had
a prosthetic leg ending in a few metal
rods sufficing as an ankle. I counted
my blessings 
 
 
 
Japanese Flying Squirrels
 


THE MEANING OF NOTHING
—Caschwa

my words alone
have zero meaning
like all the zeroes
in a seven-figure income

playing slide trombone
skipping over “arco”
passages like they
are smoke rings

drawing a great moan
each time one is told
to keep one’s affairs
in alphabetical order

poesy turning to stone
failed to fear the mirror
who’s the most beautiful
in all the land? 
 
 
 

 
 
MAY POLE DANCERS 
—Caschwa
 
they gather to consummate
the Month of May by
dancing around celibate
until someone whips out
their pole, and then…

they try all ways to stimulate
old hormones, revive them
from their coma, resuscitate
gray matter from dementia
keep that pole up there, gramps

feel that skin reverberate
just like in the good old days
too far back to calculate
virginity abandoned in a
cheap motel, DIY room service

flowers some can’t tolerate
allergies from just breathing
health care matters dominate
universal coverage stymied by
congressional May Pole dancers 
 
 
 

 

IT MUST BE A FULL MOON
—Caschwa

(no connection to Franz Liszt, the philanthropist)


total strangers are asking me for money
they want me to trade in
items I have paid off
so they can buff up
their own revenue
streams on
new loans
HMM

Can I even afford to do that?
let me add up my assets:
prime income properties
exotic islands
luxury cars
yachts
gems
ZERO

Sure, I play Vegas-style solitaire on the computer
most game results put me in arrears
the few times I come out ahead
I get to view a hypothetical
black-ink winning total
that never actually
materializes as
spending
money
ZIP

but I would be most happy to support your worthy cause
once I am in that exclusive top bracket of billionaires,
just reach out to my team of lawyers, and
accountants, and gatekeepers, and
take careful notes of all the
terms and conditions,
and disclaimers,
and blah, blah
blah, blah
BLAH
 
 
 

 
 
Today’s LittleNip:

SHADOWS CHASING SHADOWS
—Joseph Nolan
 
Shadows
Chasing shadows,
Who disappear
In the light.

Bending
In the darkness,
To give you
Pleasure, bright,

Shadows
Chasing shadows,
Who scream
Into the night.

________________________

Here is another Monday, and our thanks to today’s contributors for starting off another week for us! Joseph Nolan sends us fine poetry and fine photos; Michael Ceraolo heralds the beginning of baseball season; and Carl Schwartz has done triple duty for us this weekend, starting with his poems on Form Fiddlers’ Friday, then his Mother’s Day poem yesterday, and now some other dandy ditties to kick off our week. Thanks to all of them!

•••Tonight at 7:30pm, the Sacramento Poetry Center presents Donna Spruijt-Metz and Luis Clerici at Socially Distant Verse online: us04web.zoom.us/j/7638733462. Facebook info: www.facebook.com/events/460343145198136/?ref=newsfeed/.

•••Thurs. 5/13, 7:30pm: Sac. Poetry Alliance presents To Remain in Perhaps: A Deeper Look at the Lyric Poem, an online Literary Lecture by Jennifer Sweeney. Host: Frank Dixon Graham. Zoom:  us02web.zoom.us/. Facebook info: www.facebook.com/events/244410620805317/.

_____________________

—Medusa
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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for poetry, of course!
 
 It must be a full moon…