Monday, January 22, 2018


—Photo by Ann Privateer, Davis, CA


plays music
hearts quicken
swirling pools
of turquoise,
horse back riding
through winter's
first snow,
desert blooms
declaring spring,
regal clouds
at sunset,
morning mist,
spirited photos
all that we
are made of.

—Ann Privateer

—Photo by Ann Privateer

—Ann Privateer

Sunday morning
sings newspaper,
drinks other people's
life and death
plays fast or slow
there's no place to go.

Hearts remember
we are made for this
portals shelter us
we become
more becoming
swirling sugar in coffee.

Toes and puppy noses
slow awakenings
gentle snowflakes
whisper, settle
on private planes
on hot air waves.

—Painting by Ann Privateer


dashes down
a steep ramp
to the beach
washed clean
by last night's rain.

The day searches
for my wrist
and for meaning.

There will be
no lamentations
at the beach, no losses

no excitement,
come and go
at leisure.

—Ann Privateer

 Vacant Lot
—Anonymous Photo

—Charles Mariano, Sacramento, CA
most of the houses
i grew up in
are empty lots now,
forty years and counting

everything’s different,
mostly gone

i drive
to different places,
different sides of
of Merced County

to 12th near J Street,
close to the Merced Fairgrounds,
to Olive Avenue, a shack,
an outhouse, no indoor plumbing

another house in Winton
in the country,
surrounded by
an almond orchard

a house on Cone Avenue,
where Daddy set-up hotbeds
in the backyard
before planting season

these houses
tore up, rundown buildings,
spread us everywhere,
and nowhere

familiar houses, streets,
filled with memories
of Mama, Daddy,
and oh so many loved ones,
now gone

most of the houses
i grew up in,
are empty lots

soft, gentle
ghostly echoes,
in my heart

 Bare Apricot
—Photo by Caschwa, Sacramento, CA


(Response to “Song of the Glass Border”
By Taylor Graham, Medusa’s Kitchen, 1/18/18)

We’ve seen this dance routine many times before
It is not the fixed gaze that precludes
Needing to go outside to follow our protocols
But an even more visceral agitation that demands
Instantaneous human action:  slide that door open now!

An intruder has come to violate our territory
Might be one or two squirrels
Or a neighborhood cat, or a possum
Acting like they own the place
Oh please!!  Time is of the essence

At the first opportunity our dog will rush out
Like a fully inflated party balloon released noisily
Into the air before the nipple can be knotted
Darting out to the middle of the lawn
Nose held high, surveilling the entire back yard

Then a quick segue to the same dance routine
Found in those classic Family Circus comics
Where a rambling dotted line traverses the
Perimeter of the back yard, not missing an inch
She’s not done until the whole place has been sniffed

Finally, intruders chased away
She’ll mark a few spots here and there
Then curl up on the lawn and take a nap
Until the sound and smell of kibble hitting her bowl
Brings her right back in again

 Apricot buds
—Photo by Caschwa


Oh, that lottery jackpot!
Looks so tempting
Pay off outstanding debts
Help out family members

Donate to charities
Sponsor worthwhile programs
Make “thoughtful” gestures in a way
Only wealthy persons can

Hire a team of
Well-reputed attorneys
To fend off all attacks
On our person or estate

Move from our cozy house
And nice neighbors
To an impenetrable castle
Fortified with armed guards

Trade in driving our small car
Wherever we choose
For an armored prison transport vehicle
Popularly known as a chauffeured limo

No more table service at our
All-time favorite eateries
Just have the help bring us meals
And hope they get it right

Wake up each morning
Ready to generate more plans
About what and how to avoid
Than about anything else

Married to a lottery ticket
For better or for worse
Success will be ours
We will keep trying

Oh, that lottery jackpot!
What a heavenly feeling
To be on top of the world
Alone.  A target.

 Paperwhites are in bloom!
—Anonymous Photo

—Michael H. Brownstein, Chicago, IL

Let me take a break from this,
close my eyes,
and wander in the dark. 

I sneak into the bedroom,
kiss her once on the forehead, softly,
twice on her bare shoulder so she will know. 

When I wake,
the sun has kept its promise. 

This is why I love.
Always the bridge is up over the river.
Always an apple’s pink afterglow reflects on the tall glass.
Always a stream of brightness greens the dark Chicago River.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Michael H. Brownstein

Outside the window
everything floats,
first snow thick and clean,
trees white with a trace of bark,
the brush-inked sketches,
everything so quiet,
hushed and silent.


Our thanks to today’s merry band of poets for their varied Monday contributions!

Poetry readings in our area begin tonight, 6pm, with Poetry in Motion read-around in Placerville at the Sr. Center on Spring St. Then at 7:30pm tonight, Sac. Poetry Center in Sacramento presents Lucille Lang Day and Angela James (plus open mic). On Friday, Speak Up: The Art of Storytelling and Poetry will feature poets and storytellers on the theme of Renewal at The Avid Reader on Broadway in Sacramento, 7pm. Then on Saturday, another read-around in Placerville at the Sr. Center, this one “Poetic License” from 2-4pm. 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 may be added at the last minute.


Here’s the cover of Charles Mariano’s new book,  
Heart & Soil
Celebrate poetry!

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.