Friday, January 16, 2015

Come In, Justin...

Rembrandt, San Juan Capistrano
—Photo by Stacie Sherman, Orangevale, CA

—Rhony Bhopla, Sacramento

Unfortunately, we
murder it:
the inevitable knife
through living flesh
making a cauterizing sizzle
when the stalk is
The green, flat edges
spurt with a slice
sloshing in its own wet
under the
rolling blanket
of dough, compressed
with all mother’s might.
Tel garam ho gayi?
Is the oil hot?
Ji ho gayi.
It is.
Burning to smoke
and like green paper edges
of money
singed inside layer after layer
is the purely kneaded
batter-soaked palak.
This while the smell of brackish bile,
uneaten, falls on tight lips
waiting for a bite of

(*palak = spinach)

 The Golden State, Pine Hill Preserve
—Photo by Stacie Sherman


it might say that too many hands twist its knobs
with such force that its gaskets loosen

it might say that it’s tired of all the goop
never cleaned from around the handles

it might say that it wants to view its reflection
in the chrome but can’t

it might say that it wants to be taller and more
forceful in its flow

it might say that the water is too hot or too cold
or perhaps the water’s just right

it might say that it’s not too old and the new model
is not as reliable, even if it saves water

it might remain silent, grateful that the old dishwasher
no longer needs to cover its mouth

—Trina L. Drotar, Sacramento


—Trina L. Drotar

Bottles were tucked in the back of the hall closet
because, she said, they needed to be kept in the dark.
I like pomegranates, the tiny seeds that squirt and
tickle the tongue with a bit of a bite, that tangy
tartness that arrives each fall.  I’d open the closet
every day, check the bottles.  They remained
tucked away for months until I was sure they’d
been abandoned.  I don’t know how many seeds
gave their lives to be crushed and liquefied and
left to ferment in the back of our hall closet where
coats we never used and suitcases and who knows
what else resided, but that was some sweet drink.

Sierra Newt, Buttermilk Bend
—Photo by Stacie Sherman

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

And here you’re the central child among young children
clutched for a laughing selfie: everybody mug.
Despite that tongue you just stuck out, you could fill men
with Mayan thought fit for a cinnabar burial jug.
Even the jug-eared boy, the littlest one
cuddling you for the lens, his English poor,
divines by waters within just where’s the fun;
looks outward unused to your quivery, spritely allure.
Oh hoyden! Yet you do good things for these kids,
you’re helping build a stout irreproachable house,
of gravity like the dark-braided dark-limbed sister
you’re teaching the classic “rabbit-ears” that lids
her brother’s head. May no one stifle or douse
this boisterous silent noise. Your hands will blister:

The lovingly mortared breezeblock abode will rise.
For them, you’re forever non-Spanish,
         fine dimples and joyous eyes…


—Tom Goff

From treetop level, all we see is leaf,
soft lobe or tough blade, tall stalks or trunks, plus long
suave waters: were they not constrained to reef
up against low mountain, distance would gong
out liquidly twisting echoes past the horizon.
What birds and animals there you’ve come to know,
I’ll never know: they’ve hid, they won’t bedizen
the selva Aztec-jeweled as Mexico.
These trees keep poisons and cures: do they have here
what tempts you to drizzle your flesh-of-the-plantain skin
with healing and danger, with untried medicine?
Once long ago, such blue-to-the-depths and clear
warm bays drew my feet in dizzy, as if from height
atop pyramid steps for lost ones short and slight.  

The Shoe, Santa Anita
—Photo by Stacie Sherman

—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

Moss green and two shades of pink
past which two white bunnies wandered

clutching silver purses, one on each
open arm, strolling hand-in-hand,

whistling two lovely tunes
on the second day of May.

On breezy spring days my twin and I
would crouch near the garden gate.

I loved Short Bunny with sequined purple vest;
she adored Tall One with periwinkle shawl.

Let us join them.  Falling in line behind
we dance into sparkling sunbeam.

(first pub. in Updrafts, 2007)



says Brian.
Only the Nose knows,
says Madelyn.

The Nose knows
what it knows, Madelyn.

Well, it goes to show
when it snows
the Nose knows best—

If the Nose knows best,
then put it to the test.
Does the Nose know
what the Shadow knows?

How do you know
what the Shadow knows, Brian?
I think you’re lyin’, Brian.

I think you’re just mad,
Madelyn, because
the Shadow knows more
than your stupid Nose knows.

—Carol Louise Moon


—Carol Louise Moon

Wasn’t it Grandma who told us
    about cookie cutter dreams—
where you go to bed with
cookie cutters near your pillow

(hopefully the plastic kind)

and you punch the air with them
so that when you fall asleep
it’s easier to dream about
Scottie dogs and daisies?


POOH BEAR ON SNOW SKIS...                   

...slides down my pajama leg,
his turquoise muffler wagging
from his little stout neck.
The light-blue flannel hillside
bespeckled with oversized
white snowflakes
is a delight to both our eyes
this January day.

I sit in my kitchen—
kettle of water boiling
warming the air of our delight.
Farther down my pant leg
I see that Pooh has turned around
facing uphill, one ski
overlapping his other.

What… tea? he shouts from below. 
With honey?

—Carol Louise Moon


—Carol Louise Moon
Beyond the zeal of Joan of Arc marching
through echoing halls of trial and defeat;
likened to Queen Victoria in hair and
precise pronouncements of edict,
And I’ll not clean my room;

the prophetess turns on blistering heels
and retreats to pink chiffon-windowed
chambers.  Barbie-statued walls and a
portrait of a big, green affectionate ogre do
little to console this loneliest of maidens.

Falling on unmake chenille and a goose-
down pillow, the tiny maiden weeps droplets
of irreconciliation.  Why this—the heaviest
burden of all three-year-olds! The heart
has not known, nor the eye seen, the misery
in store for those made to miss
Saturday morning cartoons.

Anonymous Photo

Today's LittleNip:


—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove

Nobody hurts,
Nobody dies,
And nobody
Wets the bed.


Our thanks to today's contributors! About her poem, Rhony Bhopla writes: Here is a poem called "Palak" which means spinach in Punjabi.  It is inspired by "Ode to Tomatoes" by Pablo Neruda.  It was read recently at Sac. Poetry Center for the International Poetry class with Frank Graham. And about his LittleNip, Kevin Jones writes: 

Was a hospital orderly once upon a time.  Would knock on patient’s doors:

“Hi, I’m here to take your blood pressure.”

“Oh, good morning, Doctor.”

“No a doctor.  Just an orderly.”

“Come in, Justin.”


—Medusa, noting that there is a new album on Medusa's Facebook page, thanks to Annie Menebroker: Poets at the Shine. Check it out!

Kevin Jones, who is NOT in his orderly uniform...