Monday, January 07, 2019

Pig Lipstick and Other Monday Morning Thoughts

—Winter Garden Photos by Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

—Jennifer Fenn, Fresno, CA

Some say the world will end in fire, some in ice.
            —Robert Frost

Snow blankets Seoul stadium,
burying news broadcasts
of fiery tensions
between North and South Korea.
It glows under red and blue rain
of fireworks spreading
long, embracing arms
across the night sky.

Dignitaries from both sides watch,
eyes widening, mouths falling open
at drones forming a glistening dove.
Four singers from both nations
take turns singing “Imagine”.

Runners, one at a time,
bear the flame closer to the cauldron.
Athletes, one from each nation,
both wearing white,
carry it up the icy slope together,
each with one hand on the torch.

The flame is lit.


—Jennifer Fenn

Toddlers and teenagers at Shriners’ Hospital
curl up into balls in metal hospital beds,
peering over their covers,
anxious about what their time will be like
away from friends, pets, and schools.
Will surgery hurt? Will stitches tear open?
Will leg braces be heavy?
How long will therapy take?
Will the scars on their skin go away?
Such mountains to conquer!

Groups of Rainbow Girls of all ages
sit around tables
to start their blanket project
for these children.
Each group takes two sheet-sized pieces
of bright colored flannel, one plain,
one with flowers or cartoons.
They carefully cut fringe on each one,
then tie the pieces together,
making the blankets twice as warm.
Chattering about future service projects,
their college and career goals,
and school soccer games,
they dream of the days
when children at the hospital
will be able to do those same things.
They imagine a blanket
draped over each child,
like an embracing rainbow
over their mountains.

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

The red-silk,
Chinese banner of Double-Happiness,
With four peacock-couples
One couple, each,
Posted at each corner of the banner,
All facing the center, the middle, the heart,
Where the world was centered between them,
Somehow came
To the groom’s grandmother
Twenty years before
Her grandson’s wedding-day
To his Chinese wife.

When their lives were joined
Under the banner,
They were reminded
That the happiness of one
May be doubled to two
When two are joined
As one,
And the peacocks danced
The dance of silken peacocks
On the wall
As they achieved their fate,
And a wonderful time
Was had by all!


—Joseph Nolan
My ghosts linger.
They come to measure
And comfort me
At any time of day.
Sometimes they
Want my body
As their own
And display
To take
My body
As their own.
So I,
Must disown
And send
Though I
Do not like to.
I wish I
Could keep them
By my side
The ghosts
I like
The most!
And maybe later
We might
Drink a toast
To older days
When they
Were still alive. 

—Joseph Nolan

There’s a meaning to our madness
And symbols in our rhyme:
Prolific poets
Work overtime,
When they awake
With a line or two
They dare not shake
And their burning,
Vain ambition
Pursues them in the dark
When they’d be better off
On a lark.

So they throw
Warm covers off
And get up in the night,
To let elusive
Thoughts and images
Into light—
For morning saved!

Since they
Oh! So easily
Do slip away,
Confounded and blurred
By dreams,
And stretching time
That does betray!


—Joseph Nolan

There’s no upside
Getting drunk
In front of the relatives.

It’s sort of like
Being a psychic-flasher.
Nobody likes a flasher
No matter what! 
No matter how perfect
The body
Or well-chiseled
The gut.

Something bad always comes out
Surprise! for all to see!
Any they’ll never
Ever forget it
And that’s pure misery.

Forever after
You’ll hear
The tales be told
Of the day,
The week,
The month,
The year
You thought you
Might be bold.
And it grows old! 

—Joseph Nolan

Lipstick on a pig
Lipstick on a pig
At the beauty counter
They said this was really big!

I went to buy a wig
I need to wear a wig
And have a drink of whisky
And take a real, big swig.

I voted in the election,
I voted for our new king
Who wore a bright, red MAGA hat
And promised heaven to bring.

The news is bought and paid for,
Paid for on TV,
By all the advertisers
Who can’t sell their stuff for free.

And so are the elections.
And so are all the votes.
Even if you won’t admit it,
It’s all an awesome hoax!

Follow all the money!
Find a money-tree,
Pluck the dollars before they fall
And buy a new TV!

This world is full of wonders—
Wonders for us to see!
It makes you stop to wonder
If anyone’s really free? 


…man has really destroyed the very
possibility for life on Earth to continue? 

Let’s say that once the polar ice caps have
fully melted away, sea levels will rise, land
masses will shrink, and our continental
shelves will suffer damaging changes beyond

All major metropolitan areas will become
Atlantis.  Those who manage to survive will
face endless struggles to control what little is
left of dry land.

Our whole package of daily concerns, from
screaming, banner headlines to everything of
lesser degrees will become virtually irrelevant. 
From collusion, to war, to major crimes, to rare
and monumental political events, to product
recalls due to undeclared allergens, all will be
overridden by tides and waves.

In addition to the fact that most dead bodies will
simply be flushed away, the entire end-of-life
industry will die from lack of material resources.


…each and every post in the news is just a distraction,
while those individuals who already own enormous
parcels of land make every effort to ensure their own
safety and prosperity.  Period.



I still have that pair of bowling shoes
I bought brand new ages ago, when
my new bride and I were in a league

seeking to overcome all the walls,
plateaus, blocks, and infinite other
barriers to raising our modest scores

the perfect game just kept glaring
down at us like some stony, medieval
gargoyle fiercely guarding a very
exclusive private entrance

daring unwary on-comers to “make it
look easy” while colluding with too
many left feet to swallow the balance
of anyone gazing upward to read the

…my senior feet no longer remember
those nice shoes that used to fit well,
but now don’t fit at all, like the prices
from decades ago, like some of our
elected officials, like I am going to need
a new pair of “Go Shoe Me” accounts. 


I like my little sedan
it fits in my small
garage, my wife and
I can both easily enter
or exit, and it has a
comfy ride

But now the very
same carmaker that
happily sold me the
sedan posts TV ads
to announce that one
of their new pickup
trucks or SUVs would
better suit my needs
and be the vehicle
really worth having

all of this shaming me
and my comfy sedan
makes me reconsider
doing business with
this same carmaker
ever again


Today’s LittleNip(s) by Caschwa:

The OPTION Law Office


* * *


Flowers often receive mail from
our rugged men flying over rural
Memphis, ferreting out rude
meanings for opening rose mallow.

(fire six hidden forms in this poem)

* * *


The penis, mightier than the sword.


Thanks to today’s varied contributors, including rarely-heard-from Jennifer Fenn from Fresno, who was featured on Medusa 1/11/17 and hasn’t appeared much since. Welcome back, Jennifer!

Want to get away from it all for ten days and focus on your writing? Alexa Mergen writes that the Ely Pink House in Pulga, Nevada, has a ten-day residency program for poets, writers, photographers, and other artists. Write to her at or see Deadline is Feb. 28, but there will be another residency offered later this year.

Alas, convergence Managing Editor Cynthia Linville writes that their final issue is online at and that she appreciates the support of all of the contributors and readers over the fifteen years of publication. All issues, from 2003-2018, are archived at
 This snappy local online publication will be sorely missed!

As for poetry readings in our area, things are heating up again, now that the holidays are over. Sac Poetry Center readings are back tonight, 7:30pm, with Khaya “Khalypso” Osborne plus open mic. Poetry Off-the-Shelves poetry read-around in El Dorado Hills meets on Tuesday from 5-7pm at the El Dorado Hills Library on Silva Valley Parkway. On Wednesday, SPC’s new writing workshop with various facilitators, MarieWriters, meets at SPC at 6pm, tonight’s group facilitated by Laura Rosenthal. [This workshop is primarily to generate writing in a small group, as opposed to SPC's long-running Tuesday Night Workshop which meets at the Hart Sr. Center as a critique group.]

Thursday night at 8pm, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe presents Traci Gourdine plus open mic. Then on Saturday, Sac. Poetry Center Gallery features its Second Sat. Reception for Paradise Relief: An Invitational Art Show to Benefit the Camp Fire Survivors. From 5-6:30pm, come look at the art which was selected; then at 6:30pm, some poets (including Susan Kelly-DeWitt and others) will read poems based on the theme, followed by open mic.

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.


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