Thursday, September 02, 2010

Pressures, Barometric & Otherwise

—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Upon awakening, I discovered that the
groceries had conspired to escape the pantry.
Cans positioned themselves to roll, boxes
maneuvered to edges where jars just flew
off the shelves, and pouches led the parade
to the exit.

I tried to arrest the fugitives, citing the
authority I have as homeowner and chef, but
the exodus continued. In desperation, I
spent the day
braising, and

When the day and the feast ended, I went
shopping to burn calories. Reasoning that
weight equals resistance equals exercise, I
filled the cart. Tomorrow? I just can’t
describe it.


The pressure's on for those Sacramento poets who choose to rassle and cuss with our Seed of the Week: Writing Without Adjectives. Hence Carl's "Scribe Who Can't Describe"—he feels hamstrung and all tied up without the sweet release of an adjective or two, I'm sure. That monarch butterfly, for example—how can we possibly talk about it without at least slipping in a glimpse of color?

Meanwhile, September is bursting at the seams with poetry readings! Be sure to scroll down the skinny blue box at the right side that is Medusa's Bulletin Board for what's cookin', and go to the SNAKE ON A ROD for various other readings, workshops and publications.

Syndic No.1 Publication Announcement

A new online literary journal, Syndic No. 1, a San-Francisco-based revival of the original Syndic published by LeRoy Chatfield, is now LIVE. You are invited/encouraged to review the journal and send the link ( to friends/colleagues who may be interested: (1) in reading it; OR (2) in submitting literary content for the next issue. Syndic No. 2 will be published in November 2010; the submission deadline is October 15, 2010. All are welcome and encouraged to submit literary content. For more information and/or to make a submission, contact:


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

catfish darling,
I’m in love with you
I want to eat you up
here’s how I’d do it:
soak you in juicy egg yolk
roll you in hard-as-rock bread crumbs
toss you into a pan sizzling with oil and butter
soften you up
bounce you over
squirt of lemon, dash of pepper
hot catfish
fleshy and tender
how sweet you are!

I’ve heard you ate a child in Southeast Asia
finally strangled on the poor kid
and died—
was he bothering you?

I know you can grow to 800 pounds,
live to 100 years…
I heard your potent barbels can sting us to death
and since your numbers are now growing worldwide
(not for you the whimper of an endangered
run-for-your-life species)
should we take cover?

from now on
I promise to catch only small catfish
just enough for my lunch, politely fry it up
consume it in courteous bite-sized portions


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Yes it was March, I think, and there
could have been a screeching of gulls
in what I thought was a sun-warmed air.

I’m sure I saw waves softly rippling on the
shore of a dark blue lake surrounded by
seemingly snow-capped mountains.

What must have been stick-like trees with
leafless branches, I’m certain, formed a
pattern that framed my lakeside view.

Overhead—floating in the sky, odd-shaped
clouds possibly looked like woolly sheep
if you happened to be a daydreamer.


—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

from childhood days
and innocence,
buried in the attic,
dormant until rescued.
Youngsters with imagination
will mend the torn fraying edges—
pipe dream


—Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

Sometimes we are just under more pressure
than other times.

The barometer was invented almost
400 years ago, and before then there
was no such thing as air pressure.

At least that is what is seems like in the
U.S. where meteorologists always refer
to barometric air pressure. They don’t
ever say thermometric temperature, or
anemometric wind speed, or micrometric
millimeters, but they staunchly insist on
phrasing it: barometric air pressure.

One wonders how Columbus and his
crew ever got those ships to float on
water, and enough wind in their sails
to make it over here about two centuries
before someone had actually contrived
to make a barometer!


Today's LittleNip:

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole

High school students, of mixed
ethnicity, swab inside their cheeks,

offer DNA samples, for comparison;
they eye each other confidently,

expect "matches" with same skin
color and similar ancestral roots.

Over & over—with surprise, then jolly
acceptance, most are proven wrong!



Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento