—Ian Copestick, Stoke on Trent, England
Living apart from you is like
Being in prison, there is a
Constant pain inside of my
Head. Telling me that a part
Of me is missing, an important
Part, like an arm, or a lung.
I suppose that I could learn
To live without it, but it would
Be painful and I simply don't
Want to. Without you, that's
What I am, half a man. The
Best part of me disappears
THE WOMAN THAT ISN’T THERE
They lobotomised the woman next door.
I don't know why, but they did.
One day she was a normal woman
Same as anyone else. The next
She was just a vegetable. They
Say she was found wandering the streets
Not knowing who, or where, she was
All I know is that I didn't see her
For a week or two, then the next time
I saw her, she had forgotten how to speak
Then she was in a wheelchair
When before she had no problems
Walking at all. I just saw her
In the street, with her husband
Pushing her, I bent down to
Say Hello. There was nothing
There, nothing at all. Her poor
Husband said to me, "I'm sorry
Ian, but she won't recognise
How the hell did this happen?
I didn't think they'd be allowed
To do this kind of shit anymore
People have rights, surely?
All I know is that she was a
Normal, if slightly opinionated
Woman, and they reduced her
To nothing, less than nothing.
How do the doctors sleep
They've gotten away with murder.
No, it's something worse than
On these wintry days with
storm systems lining up like
masked executioners ready
to deliver volumes of volleys
my long-ago crushed and
broken ankle, now healed and
toned, only knows one song
to sing, knock and ping, loudly
appetite unmet by pantry bare,
confining me to my favorite
chair, easy to tell which one:
it has the warmest armrest
and an electric motor to power
the footrest, as long as we don’t,
in fact, lose power as has happened
countless times before and more
provoking comments so sour they
make all 7 of the deadly cinquains
so red-faced ashamed they hop
and sputter back into the gutter
Ages before a thermometer was
ever invented, people were aware
of temperature and its changes.
So by the time a device was made
to measure temperature, we didn’t
feel the need to express those
feelings or sensations as a by-product
of the device (e.g. “thermometric
Same history for air pressure, but once
barometers were invented some 400
years ago to measure it, we have been
inundated with “barometric air pressure”
readings, as if no one had ever recognized
this experience before barometers were
invented. Where will this take us?
Future generations may have to deal
with terms like “rain gauge flood waters”,
“radar gun speed violations”, “egg timer
undercooked breakfast”, or “calendar
I admit to being a regular viewer of this
television show where the moderator, like
a hungry alley cat, lies in wait to pounce on
anything that moves, whether valid foodstuff
or not, because that makes for good TV.
Say, for example, the discussion topic is
how to bake potatoes. As befits our messed-
up world today, one of those potatoes is
actually a live hand grenade.
Just dare to bring out that point and the alley
cat dons his debate police uniform to force
the discussion to cover only citations that can
be duly attributed to a reputable cook book.
Good luck finding that book!
A BIGGER AND HAIRIER BUT
Like the taste of Welch’s Grape Juice
but don’t want to support the John Welch Society
Love the wonderful sound of the Empire Brass
but don’t support the overthrow of free democracies by
Enjoy the catchy phrase “it’s the economy, stupid”
but not on board with an economic system that only
works well for the top 1%
Appreciate the convenience of smart phones
but some cited sources are sorely lax on fact-checking
Happy with the performance of our new freezer
but the standard warranty didn’t cover certain parts
most likely to fail, and they did
GROWING MORE ALONE AS THOUGH
WE WERE STILL TOGETHER
—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA
Things I notice
As we lumber
Through our sixties
Is how you never call
To tell me of your day,
When you are away.
Like to be
When you’re out
In the world
On your own
And how you
Hate to tell me
Will be going
You might be home—
How you like to be
TOGETHER, ALL ALONE
What if nobody’s home?
What if we’re all empty
To the bone,
What if all the ghosts
Vacated all their homes,
And everyone, together—
All were all alone?
THE LEAST, THE BEST
All the dust will settle
Obeying gravity’s call
Little by little
All of it falls,
All her particles
Briefly held aloft
By electrical charges
And flutter of breezes
To dance the dance
Of separation, independence,
Making a way alone,
Away from the nest.
Rain, too, gives
The prodigal rest
At Mother’s breast,
Back to where
She holds them all,
The least, the best.
QUEENS AND SERVANTS
There are many forms of madness
Encompassing the seas.
Her majesty’s a mystery,
Her servants, there to please.
She’s got them all bamboozled
With her beauty and her brains.
They all seem pleased to serve her.
None of them complains.
Thanks to today’s fine contributors from near and far on this Martin Luther King, Jr. Day! Poetry events in our area begin tonight at Sac. Poetry Center with Chris Olander and AndYes (David Loret de Mola), plus open mic, 7:30pm. SPC workshops this week include Tuesday Night Workshop for critiquing of poems at the Hart Center (27th and J Sts.) on Tuesday, 7:30pm (call Danyen Powell at 530-681-0026 for info); and MarieWriters Generative Writing Workshop for writing poems, facilitated this week by Laura Martin, SPC, 6pm.
Saturday will be busy, including the fourth annual Sierra Writers’ Conference at Sierra College in Grass Valley from 9:15am-4:15pm; Writers on the Air at SPC, featuring five poets and open mic, 9:30am-1pm; and Poetic License poetry read-around at the Placerville Sr. Center, 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.
Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.