Monday, June 26, 2017

Beatin' the Heat

—Anonymous Photo

—veRONIca Jackson, Sacramento, CA

The club house
is empty, save one.
Skip-Bo cards sit idle
in the cool, air conditioned room.

The walk, considered short
in winter, spring or fall,
is dehydrating in the breathless
triple-digit heat this June—
with no relief in view.

No one is coming, I tell myself,
I should go home;
however, I think I’ll stay
awhile in the coolness
of the club house.

At last, faithful Katie
enters through the kitchen.
We play a game—I win.
Then joined by a third,
we play a second game—I win.

I return home with a thirsty throat
and shiny skin to find
the greatest win is in
not giving in to Ole Mr. Sun

 —Anonymous Photo

—Sue Crisp, Shingle Springs, CA

A zure skies loom bright, above the warm sandy
B each.  Toes wiggle down into the gritty grains
C olliding with seashells and other hosts from the sea.
D igging a little deeper, there is the cool wetness of beach
E arth, renewed with each motion of the surf.  It’s
F ragrant scent fills the senses.
G ulls wheel overhead.  Those ashore, raucous with clacking bills,
H ungry for tidbits often thrown by beach goers.  They are
I nstantly aware of even the slightest fallen crumbs.
J ackals of seashore, they feast on handouts and carrion.
K ildeer, on stilted legs, skitter to and fro with the surge of the surf,
L ooking for minute crustaceans washed ashore.
M ussels cling to outcroppings of weatherbeaten rocks, showing at
N eap tide, their shells glistening in the sunlight,
O nly to disappear with the change of tide.
P  elicans, keen of eye, fly low over the waters surface
Q uick to dive at the first sighting of prey.
R afts of coots float serenely in the midst of sea life activity.
S un rays sparkle atop tiny surface ripples, while
T erns, in noisy colonies, wheel above their ground nests.
U rchins, in colors of purple, reside in small tide pools with a
V ariety of other colorful sea life,
W aiting for the turn of the tide to return them to the sea.  While there are no
X erox copies in the sea and seashore driven life, they all
Y ield to the way nature has designed them, in a lifelong effort to reach their
Z enith.

 —Photo by Sue Crisp

—Sue Crisp

Weak light manages to
filter through grime streaked pane remains.
Lacy filagree hangs loosely from posts.
Creaking porch boards speak loudly of old ghosts.
Missing, is the rattling of chains,
the smell of witches brew.

Tread lightly in the wake of former hosts
and the history it sustains.
Memories of a few
shares the respect it’s due.
Listen to the echoed refrains
sighing through the rooms of the past it boasts.

 —Anonymous Photo

—Sue Crisp

I was ill a lot as little girl, and
I remember when my momma would
let me sleep in her bed until I felt better.

I had a very bad temper as a little girl, and
I remember when my momma would
take me aside and tell me my actions were unfair to my sister.

 I grew into a very shy teenage girl and
I remember when my momma would
reassure me I would out grow it, and to give it time.

At sixteen, I was allowed to marry, and
I remember when my momma would
remind me this was not a step taken lightly.

My early years of marriage were not always smooth, and
I remember when my momma would
tell me to pick my battles and be fair, not spiteful.

My chosen hobbies for relaxation were not always usual, and
I remember when my momma would
say, “give it your all, and make your hobbies a proud part of you.”

Too soon, our years of mother and daughter were drawing to a close, and
I remember when my momma would
always let me know what a joy I have been as a daughter.

The time was nearing when she would leave her earthly home, and
I remember when my momma would
hold my hand, smile, and say, “It’s going to be ok.” Yes, I
remember when.

 Baker Beach, San Francisco, CA
—Anonymous Photo

I wanna go to San Francisco
    the summer weather is much cooler there
    If you're going to San Francisco let me know
    I'd like to get out of triple digit temperatures in Sacramento for awhile
    I want to hang out by the ocean bay in San Francisco
    even if I might have to wear a sweater 
    In the streets of San Francisco
    there isn’t heat frying your brain and sweating out your pores
    People there enjoy summer afternoons outdoors—
    on a sunny day they can go picnic, play, and dance in a park
    Sacramento’s people get no relief from possible seething heat until it’s dark
    For those in San Francisco
    Will you please sponsor Sacramentans to go to your city?

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA

 —Anonymous Photo

T.S Eliot wrote “The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
   It isn’t one of your holiday games…"
   Considering this, the ASPCA apparently held a “cat naming” contest:
  “Help Us Find the Best Kitten Name in the Whole World,” they announced
   (among Eliot’s suggested names were Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter)
   Not one of the four names, narrowed down from 1,370 submissions, were of Eliot's invention either
   ASPCA names to vote on were Covfefe, Gizmo, Henry, and Whiskers
   The first one, “Covfefe” has an entry in the online Urban Dictionary:
   “the once secret name of an ancient tentacle monster that white supremacists fornicate with”
   Why in the world would something that President Trump tweeted about be considered for any beloved pet's name?
    Eliot said a cat’s name must be dignified and give the cat a sense of pride
    So how also does referring to your cat after a creature in the movie Gremlins (“Gizmo”) do that?
   “Henry” is a human name, among those that belonged to kings
    (including one who beheaded his wives)
    “Whiskers” is undoubtably a common name for cats
    But T.S Eliot would argue it lacks imagination and doesn’t invoke intellectual contemplation
    Whiskers is surely a name that does not create conversation with the cat’s guardian, so  why such a name
   —and the cat him or herself may not want it—
   When author and animal rights activist Cleveland Amory named his cat Polar Bear
    He claimed he asked the white cat that he rescued one Christmas what to be called in human language
    T.S Eliot and Amory would have agreed a cat’s name is one that he or she agrees to give an answer to
    or come to when called
    and the ASPCA should follow suit and even allow a cat’s name to be possibly changed from the one they give it…

—Michelle Kunert

 —Anonymous Photo

A Sacramento Bee’s "Pet Connection" said "Three useful behaviors to teach your any-age cat”
     It claimed you can teach cats commands as “Sit”, “Come”, and “Touch a target”
     Dumb a**es at the Bee, one doesn’t “train” a cat, a cat trains his or her human guardian!
     No, a cat is not a dog who lives to please
     A human is to be the willing “servant” to the cat he or she wishes to cohabit with
     Oh yes, cats will share affection with humans—but on their own terms—
     whatever a human does, it has to be with the cat’s approval first
     For instance, one cannot just simply grab a cat to hug and expect the cat to like that
     The best thing one can hope for in a cat is he or she just doesn’t suddenly bite or scratch
     and that he or she will always use the given litterbox when going indoors
     as well as use a scratch post instead of clawing the furniture
     Every cat is different, depending on their personality
     Many learn their own “tricks” rather than be trained to do stunts to “amuse"
     My family for instance had cats who’ve turned on faucets to drink from
     Cats merely learn to do things that they see they are going to benefit from

—Michelle Kunert

—Anonymous Photo

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Unwelcoming neighbors say we are a pox
And try to evict us from our only box
This is our hole and we are the fox
No address, no doors, or windows, or locks

The cellar is a darkened storm drain
Sticky bottles of wine cry out in vain
Find me fast before the big rain
A hard metal cover shields some of the pain

The attic, of course, tends to be very small
Its once shiny treasures now quite beyond recall
Piles of dust and countless creatures that crawl
The perfect trap for every lost ball

No central air, just sudden heat
From helicopter search lights high above the street
Plenty of warnings, but nothing to eat
We with arthritis, they, much too fleet

 —Anonymous Photo


I couldn’t do everything I tried to do,
But at least I had finally learned how to count
Still I was not yet old enough to gamble
Or even to go to school. 

Of course at that age
Everything I said or did
Was a gamble

One day Dad told me, the second child of 2,
That Mom had suffered a miscarriage.
Slowly and carefully, Dad explained that
Mom would be very upset

So I told Dad to just tell Mom the same calming words
That he had told me when I was very upset,
“2 out of 3 is OK.”

 —Anonymous Photo

Today’s LittleNip:


Our thanks to today’s contributors as their varied voices begin our week! This weekend I heard from Donal Mahoney, who has been regularly posted in the Kitchen; he just got out of the hospital after 54 days due to a torn esophagus! Get well soon, Donal!

Tonight you have two choices of reading venues in Placerville: Poetry on Main Street begins at 5pm, and Poetry in Motion begins at 6pm. Then at 7:30pm in Sacramento, Sac. Poetry Center presents Tamer Mostafa and Rhony Bhopla plus open mic, 7:30pm (

Thursday is Open Poetry Night at the Gallery (Crocker Art Museum) in Sacramento, with an all-open mic at 7pm to celebrate their new showing: “Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose”. (Sign-ups at 6pm.) Info/registration at Also Thursday, Speak Up presents “Extreme”, with storytellers and poets at Avid Reader in Sac., 7pm. And Thursday is also, of course, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento, with featured readers and open mic, 8pm.

By the way, you can read more about the Hi-Fructose exhibit at the Crocker at Check it out!

Beat the Heat with the word game posted at the top of the green column at the right.

And Editor Cynthia Linville writes that the Summer 2017 issue of
convergence is online at Lots of Snakepals in there this issue, I see!


 Celebrate poetry!

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