Monday, September 18, 2017

How Much Do Words Weigh?

—Photos from the annual Fair Oaks Chicken Festival
by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA

—Cynthia LInville, Sacramento, CA

My hand touches thick cotton
a beach sheet
striped pink and white
and my breath catches behind my heart.

Cautiously I unfurl it on the hardwood floor
and release a sprinkling of summer sand
and ghosts (or rather a ghost)
both decades old.

Iron swells in my mouth.
I feel her soft lips on my cheek
smell the bonfire reek in her hair
mixed with sage and roses.

I should have taken her keys.
I should have said no to that extra bottle.
I should have convinced her to sleep on the beach.
I should never have cleaned out the closet.

—Cynthia Linville

How much do words weigh?
Forty years of words
scribbled in hardback journals
weigh 200 pounds

Forty years of
I’m so angry about . . .
I’m so worried about . . .
I don’t know what to do about . . .

Forty years of projecting forward
and looking back
piecing together
what the truth is

Today those words were eaten
chomped to bits
by a huge truck with
an iron maw

Now those words weigh nothing at all

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

That is the starting point
God chose to not anoint
Some minds with the
Ability to recognize faces

It is polarized like a spelling test
Need a few key letters, plus all the rest
Pardon me if I forget
My hand was dealt no aces

Not everything is so black and white
Blue sky loses its hue at night
The facts of your face don’t shout your name
Even when I see you in familiar places

Calendar, colander, end with same sound
Though one is square and the other round
Opposing players assume the same stance
At each of the loaded bases

Scholarly articles have appeared
Mixing facts routine with weird
Now vast numbers believe themselves face blind
And we are off to the races


Used to be
Stores publish coupons
Customers bring their coupons
Buy something
And turn them in

Stores put them online
Customers bring their smart phones
To share information with the store
Like little ants touching antennas
A never ending process

Used to be
A never ending process
Customers bring their coupons
Stores put them online
And turn them in
Like little ants touching antennas

Buy something
To share information with the store

—Michael Ceraolo, S. Euclid, OH

A future movie director
will have one of his characters say
When the legend becomes fact,
print the legend
It's too late at this stage of the game
to contradict the printed legends
or the ones from the television show,
so I won't even try
I will speak of other things

I was not the expert on boxing
I was reputed to be,
I did champion the sport in word and deed
Too often I allowed my personal feelings
concerning the fighters involved
to cloud my professional judgement

While I had a reputation
as a successful gambler,
"I can't say that I have been prosperous,
I have not suffered much from adversity"

I once wrote
"Bigotry and intolerance
cannot be made to conform
with a democratic form of government"
yet some of my views
would be considered bigoted and intolerant
by twenty-first century standards

I was a flag-waver, even a jingoist,
for the idea of America,
I was born in Canada
and never became a citizen
Meaning I voted and held office
            was even what would today
be considered an illegal immigrant
subject to deportation

It was one of your (our?) poets
who asked and answered
whether he contradicted himself,
and said it was okay for him to do so
because he contained multitudes

I applaud that sentiment

Today’s LittleNip(s):

I don’t know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.

—E.B. White

* * *

Sins, like chickens, come home to roost.

—Charles W. Chesnutt

* * *

If you were plowing a field, which would you rather use? Two strong oxen or 1024 chickens?

—Seymour Cray


Our thanks to today’s fine chefs in the Kitchen, including Michelle Kunert, who made her annual trek to the Fair Oaks Chicken Festival and brought us back these photos, including ones of the Art Contest. For more about the Fest, go to (And no, those chickens aren’t in jail, they’re just looking through a fence.)

Lots of readings this week, beginning in Placerville with the Poetry on Main Street open mic at 5pm for poets and musicians; then the Sac. Poetry Center reading with Tim Kahl and David Watts in Sacramento at 7:30pm.

On Tuesday, Cal. Lawyers for the Arts and Axis Gallery present “Copyright Law for Artists” at 6:30pm at the Axis Gallery in Sacramento.

Thursday will be a busy day, with the return of Third Thursdays in the Central Library in Sacramento; then a reading by Sac. Poet Laureate Indigo Moor at Sacramento’s Arden Dimick Library at 6:30pm. At 8pm, Poetry Unplugged will feature Ivy Almond and Jacki Howard (plus open mic) at Luna’s Cafe in Sac.; and Poetry in Davis, also at 8pm, will present Denise Lichtig and Lisa Dominguez Abraham (plus open mic) at the John Natsoulas Gallery.

On Saturday, start the day off with TJ (Brother Hypnotic) and Writers on the Air at Sac. Poetry Center, 10am, including the making of a podcast by Host Todd Boyd. Then head up to Placerville for the Poetic License read-around at 2pm in the Placerville Sr. Center.

Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more will most likely be added at the last minute!


 (“Bonfire”, Fall 2017 convergence cover photo 
by Lynn Crounse of Virginia)
Celebrate poetry! And check out the new Fall issue 
of the online journal, convergence (of which Cynthia Linville 
is one of the editors), which is now viewable (look-see-able?) 

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.