Monday, February 18, 2019

Choruses of Gerbils

Lizard Door Knocker
—Photos by Chris Moon

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

An exiler,
A banisher,
She likes the thought
Of outer darkness
And gnashing of teeth;

She likes the thought
That wicked ones
Are punished
In eternal darkness
And cold,
So she doesn’t return
Emails or
Text massages.

She likes to keep
An old break
Silence with the past
Suits her
Very well.
She’s very fond of Hell!


—Joseph Nolan

Not every day,
Week, month or year
Do I break
A drinking glass,
By momentary
Like an ass.
Sometimes, an
Entire year might pass
Without the breaking
Of a glass.

It is one of
My wishes
When I
Wash the dishes.

Fish Knocker

—Joseph Nolan

We understand
How gardens fail
In summer
Without water.

Daytime heat
Without relief,
How summer
Breezes swelter.

We pray for rain,
But no rain comes,
Corn rows
Growing drier.

Come Sunday,
Worship time
Has come;
Hear wailing
Town crier.


—Joseph Nolan

Every so often
I look out my window
To see if
The world’s still there.

The cars parked on my street,
The people I might meet
If I walked out my door.

I wonder why I wonder?
They’re all there
As they were, before,
But since I have retired,
I never cease to wonder,

 Seahorse Knocker

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
Multi-tasking includes a reasonable
expectation of success, so attempts in
this area may involve no more work
than punching a few buttons to start a
machine (like a dishwasher) which does
the real work and usually yields an
outcome of success.

I am a great multi-tasker.

With juggling, conversely, there is often
a lingering expectation that success is
improbable, so when that same individual
who excels at multi-tasking dares to make
attempts in this area, the results may not
be to anyone’s satisfaction. Examples here
include tending a baby with colic, or trying
to administer multiple medicines orally to a
feisty Chihuahua.

I am a terrible juggler.

 Lady Knocker


Was okay not caravanning all the way
out to South America to view a lunar
eclipse, confident that scientists and
journalists would have it covered

More greatly concerned about the
impending eclipse of our nation’s hopes
and values, along with the very flame
of Lady Liberty, due to you know who



“We will bury you.”
“Death to infidels.”
“Breaking news …”

“I have a dream.”
“I am the greatest.”
“I am not a crook.”
“I am 100% not guilty."
“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”
“I’ll paint any car any color for $19.95.”

“At the tone, the time will be …”
“The happiest place on Earth.”
“Sock it to me, baby.”
“Look for the helpers.”
“Slam dunk!”

 Not Gettin' In!


The good doctor had to provide
two recliner chairs, each as long as wide
to accommodate the couplet
seeking answers as yet unmet

alpha gerbils usually don’t have such
complicated social issues that much
when you take away the sexual
component, the rest is intellectual

however, a chorus of two alpha gerbils
tends to sound like competing doorbells;
which to answer, which to ignore,
is there ever an end, what else is in store? 

 Lion Head Knocker


The fearless Captain Eddy
a sturdy rowboat has he
set out upon the windy sea

a problem somehow left unspoken:
one of two paddles was badly broken
which left him just circlin’ and soakin’

he’s still out there to this day
one good paddle, his mainstay
far from home back at the bay


Today’s LittleNip(s):

—Joseph Nolan

Think twice.
Be nice.
Don’t roll
The dice.

* * *

—Joseph Nolan

A dream
Is just a dream
Until it’s
Said out loud,
Then it is
A story
For the crowd.


Our thanks to Carl and Joseph for today’s poetry, and to Chris Moon for photos from his Door Knocker collection!

This is a busy week in our area, poetry-wise, starting tonight with Steven Sanchez and Michelle Brittan Rosado at Sac. Poetry Center, 7:30pm. On Weds., SPC will host the MarieWriters Generative Writing Workshop from 6-8pm, led this week by Christin O’Cuddahy.

Thursday at noon, Third Thursday at the Central Library will feature a poetry read-around hosted by Mary Zeppa and Lawrence Dinkins, 828 I St., Sac. (Bring a poem by someone other than yourself.) Thursday night will present a difficult choice: Open Poetry Night at the Gallery at Crocker Art Museum, 7pm, featuring open mic, poet Donté Clark, and the art of Jacob Lawrence (be sure to reg., and open mic sign-ups begin at 6pm); or Lee Herrick at Poetry in Davis at the John Natsoulas Gallery, 8pm.

On Friday, Sac. Poetry Center features a book release by NSAA (Lawrence Dinkins), 6pm; then Speak Up: The Art of Storytelling and Poetry meets at the Avid Reader in Sac., 7pm. Then on Saturday morning, also at SPC, Writers on the Air meets from 9:30am-1pm, this month featuring Jennifer O’Neill Pickering and two poets from
Sable & Quill (Bethanie Humphreys and Heather Judy), plus open mic. Also on Saturday, Poetic License meets in Placerville at the Sr. Center from 2-4pm. This month’s suggested topic is “mystify”, but other subjects are also welcome. 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.

—Medusa (Celebrate Poetry!)

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.


Sunday, February 17, 2019



—Ian Copestick, Stoke on Trent, England

Yesterday I was, as usual,
Wandering the streets. It was
A depressing Sunday, worse
Than that, a Sunday with no
Money. I was feeling as low as
It's possible to go, considering
My options. The only one left
Was suicide, but I'm just not
Made that way, thank God.
A sudden ray of sunlight came
Bouncing off the chrome of a
Parked car and it felt like, no, I
Don't really know, but it felt like
Some kind of spiritual high. It
Said "Hang on, son, don't just
Throw it all away. Things may
Be grim right now, but there's
Good times coming ‘round the
Bend. Keep on keeping on and
Keep your head held high."
I don't know where this, I can't
Say voice, it was more like an
Idea, telepathy or something, I
Don't know, came from. But
When you're feeling that low,
You have to take your omens
Wherever you find them.
Well, it gave me the kick up the
Arse that I needed. Yes it gave
Me something to help me
Carry on.


Our thanks and hands across the sea to Ian Copestick for his fine poem this morning! Don’t forget that James Lee Jobe will host the Davis Arts Center Poetry Series today, 2pm, featuring Ladies of the Knight (Poetry Overturned) with Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas, Jeanette Sem, and Angela James, plus open mic. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

—Medusa (Celebrate Poetry!)


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Listening Along

Your Poet's Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
—Poems and Photos by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA

Let the day turn under, and let the year turn, too.
Life has an order, but we don’t know it,
And it doesn’t matter anyway.
Let the day turn as it will,
Everything that goes right is a blessing
And everything that goes wrong is a larger blessing.
Just go with it.
Tomorrow and all of life
Can handle themselves.


We are driving through our town,
Davis, California, and my wife asks,
“Why are you taking this street?” And I reply,
“Oh, I just don’t want to go the same old way.”
But friend, it isn’t true. I so love my city
That I just don’t want to miss a single street.
Who knows what we’ll see; a perfect redwood tree,
Or a sweet child on a bike, followed by an old dog.
Looking up, the sun blesses us with golden light.

 Your poet cooks. Feta chicken pasta with tomato 
and green beans, tossed with a slightly spicy sesame oil.

Peeling your birthday
Like the skin of an orange.
Tearing away the sections
Of these years since your cancer
Ate you up,
A little at a time.
Eating the orange slowly
Section by section.
Tangy, yet sweet.
Piece after piece,
Section after section.
Time is one fruit, your death is another,
And this is your birthday. Brother,

              (for Bill, my stepbrother)

 Your Poet Cooks. Veggie Stir Fry.

Here in the valley,
We have a dry season and a wet season.
By mid-summer I miss the rain very much;
The way the earth absorbs the water to fuel
Its labor to push the trees up for another year.
Not just trees.
Crops. Grass. Weeds.
Everything that grows.
I like to slip across the street to the park
And stand under the massive pines there,
Watching a slow rain fade into the field.
The gravity of a spinning planet
Holds the atmosphere, the weather below that.
The planet circling a star for warmth.
It’s complex, yet simple at the same time.
The pattern of life, nature itself.
Rain. Feeding the very tree above me.

 Your Poet

The valley and the creek hold their charms
Like a child holds laughter, brimming over.
From above, looking down,
The trees are like green lakes
Scattered among the well tended fields.
Crops grow.
Often at sunrise, when I am most alone,
I am touched by all of the life around me.
The dew-damp earth.
The purple sky to the east.
I bow with no one watching.
It is a simple bow, but genuine.


The mockingbird was up past midnight

”This nest is mine, brother.
This nest is mine, sister.
See the moon, see the stars—
They bless this life,
They bless this night.
This nest is mine, and I
Will sleep here through
The rest of the night.”

Sleep when you’re weary, little friend.
I will listen along until then.

 Your Poet's Granddaughter Goes Down the Slide

Today’s LittleNip:

A gray day, rainy and cold—
Granddaughter, please, bring me your smile.

—James Lee Jobe


Thank you, James Lee Jobe, for cooking up such a fine poetic feast for us this morning! James Lee will host the Davis Arts Center Poetry Series this Sunday, 2pm, featuring Ladies of the Knight (Poetry Overturned) with Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas, Jeanette Sem, and Angela James, plus open mic. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

—Medusa (Celebrate Poetry!)

 Jizo in the Rain

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
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in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Be It What It Will

Midnight Express
—Poems and Photo Artwork by Smith, Cleveland, OH


Black cat in lap,
olive eyes watch me
through the purr.

Falling snow scatters light,
softens sounds, sweetens strife.


Leaf from tree
flies with birds

 Wins of War

Wounded frog suffers—
full fat heron watches

 Lion's Den

Spider, quiet, waits
for whine of web—


Winter cold kills plants
which rot in soil
flower spring warmth

 Old Comb By Lady


I dumb cracker
she smart cookie
I walking disaster
she good looky

 Lady K

Warming heater expands,
its metal cricket creak
music in the cold


Sometimes sleep slides us
one trouble to another
with but dream between

Be It What It Will

Today’s LittleNip:


I got my pluses
I got my minuses
I got my in-betweens

So do you


Good morning and thanks to Smith (Steven B. Smith) for today’s tasty brunch in the Kitchen! And don’t forget that Robert Ramming and Charles Halsted will read tonight at The Other Voice in Davis, at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Patwin Rd., Davis, 8pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

Poems-For-All Press has released a new book by Paul Fericano:
Things That Go Trump in the Night: Poems of Treason and Resistance, a lively collection of satiristic poems, comments, and prose about you-know-who, all put together by Robert Richard Hansen in his always classy style. And—Barack Obama has made a short comment on the back: “A searing and timely lampoon of the juvenile Trump dictum, and the courageous satirist who rescues truth from delusion.” Howzabout them apples!?! Check it out at



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.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Snow

—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


One snowflake, a heart’s
delight. More snowflakes, lovely
on grass and oak bough.
Too many to count, these flakes
whiting out our road, the world.


Last summer, walking the hill behind the Senior Center, I found yarrow in bloom, each flower a perfect snowflake, individual as the homeless people who—driven from farther west—set up camp on the slope overhanging parking lot. They lived out of sight in dark of scrubby oak. When rains came in November, a sleeping bag like a flag hung to dry in front of the Center. Next day it was gone. So were the homeless. This February morning, the Center’s closed for snow and ice, not a soul in sight.

the high hill silent
scrubby oaks lacy under
a veil of snowflakes


Great oak came down. Trunk
and limbs splayed across driveway,
imprisoning us
at home. We’ve cancelled all those
appointments. Peace and quiet.


After the big storm she walks—
she’s out there seeking
the woods’ dark news, a great oak
lying at repose

while her rainwater chair floats
twiglets and oak leaves
dead and green, bits of lichen
among moss fresh green.


Nine seasons ago you wrote—
wild geese on the pond

your resting bench is empty—
sun shivers water

you wrote details of your day—
geese landing, feeding

you’ve lifted off with wild geese—
to resume the sky.


She comes in dream without
my bidding. Dark-eyed with dainty paws,
masked as if she’d stuck her muzzle
into ebony paint.

I held her puppy-form in my hand,
placed stethoscope to her tiny chest, listened
to her heartbeat rocketing beyond
my counting. Nothing
could contain her. She walked earth
as if it were moonbeam.

Joy-wag pirouette, she came running
to my call. I couldn’t hold her
as she led off, away beyond my vision
except in dream.


Can you feel the fox calling in the night
across the western dark and down the hill;
and the great horned owl, soundless in its flight?

It passed like twinges of a nerve pinched tight
and then released, reverberating still—
can you feel the fox calling in the night?

Now coyote howls in full moon-delight,
in stirring of a late September chill,
and the great horned owl, soundless in its flight.

Where is our cat, alive with second-sight
and seeking prey? Another cry, soft, shrill. 
Can you feel the fox calling in the night

here at edge of wildwood? a line so slight
we cross it in our sleep as black bear will,
and the great horned owl, soundless in its flight,

who hovers then drops from an unseen height
like angels out of dreams—a shiver-thrill.
Can you feel the fox calling in the night,
and the great horned-owl soundless in its flight?


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joseph Nolan

Women know
The way love grows
And ebbs
And flows
By simple small
That go on

A sailor’s dreams
Are not of seas
Or ships
Or sailed away;
A sailor dreams
He left behind
His lover,
His home
His placid bay.


Many thanks to Taylor Graham for today’s tales of our recent snow in the foothills, and the dark unknown with its creatures (can you hear the fox calling in the night, and the great horned-owl, soundless in its flight?). And Joseph Nolan took my advice and sent another love poem for this Valentine’s Day, so thank you, Joseph, for serving up today’s LittleNip.

Wellspring Women’s Writing Group meets today at the Wellspring Women’s Center on 4th Av., Sacramento, 11:30am. And Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar will present Love Isn’t What You Think But It’s Also Exactly What You Think: The David Loret De Mola Valentine’s Day Extravaganza, 8pm. 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.


 The Grahams' Loki in her Victorian Collar
—Photo by Taylor Graham

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Fire Beavers In This Hanky Panky Land

—Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Lake Eliot, Ontario, Canada
—Anonymous Photos


I dance around wicker cobras
rewire the brain for
monkey science

peek at colour-coordinated cue cards
of someone else’s remembering

what a year a year makes

games of darts with sponsorship
and cash prizes

mass extinction
on the comeback trail,
stopping to smell the lilac
with greedy wood chipper

and the candle is burnt out
and I am almost there

adding those little touches to everything

free wifi
in the badlands

it’s sex for money
and money for everything

it’s new weather stripper
and mangy wolf pack

free haircuts
for the first one hundred

and clearing my throat
and Lindbergh in Paris
and skate blades
on ice

in this hanky panky


There I am, on a lean like Pisa,
against a painted counter top that doesn’t
match the cupboards above,
my back thrown out like a folding hand of poker,
standing in the kitchen thinking
of someone else’s bathroom,
a single potted plant on the back of the toilet
to combat the smell
and that shower curtain with consecutive
conch shells on it
so that you can be at the beach
without any of the trouble of getting there
and a few extra rolls of toilet paper
under the sink that leaks a little
so that you can hear it from the bedroom
when you should be sleeping.


Let me clear that up for you.
I want you to know exactly where I stand.

People get real honest fast when they’re
made to suffer.

This is not running your toes through shag carpets.

Fifty pounds of bling
around your neck
like a rapper’s noose.

Scream queen tonsillitis
never a problem.

This is sleeping homeless outside
in the freezing Canadian winter.
Digging latrines in the permafrost
with your hands.

The Paris Review
will never understand

Such things never leave you.
They colour everything you do.

Which is why I want to be clear.
The hurt is always there.


Some asshole
with an obvious limp
robbed the toy

just before Christmas

and there were still two days
to donate
so all the poor kiddies
woke up happy

but I have to ask:
who does that?

No one knows
because he wore a mask.

The new toys were delivered
under police escort.

There was a picture
on the front page
of the paper.


etches himself
into the floor tile

the patterned slate
that sticks right on

fire beaver
facing out from the door
breathing a single

of red hot flame

I think we are friends
though I could
be wrong

fire beaver
likes to do his own thing
which is breathing

in a solitary way

so as not to burn

his fire beaver teeth
keep growing
so that he has to file
them down incessantly

chewing at the edges
of the tile
with his orange fire


She is getting ready for work
in the bathroom.

The Tragically Hip blaring from her phone
long after the singer is gone.

The wonders of technology.
To hear a dead man act so defiant again.
She worked with his mother back in Kingston.

At this charity house for wayward mothers
and their children.

And now he is gone.
Replaced by the hairdryer.
The present needs dry hair
more than the past.

Her work has a dress code
and standards.
She will be ready.


I look down at my feet.
Nobody’s rope in the gutter.
Frayed at one end from
an imprecise cut.

Water funnelling under
in a misguided channel back
to sewer.

To the underground.

Where many writers I know
claim to come from.

Which seems odd to me.
The sewer would be a tight fit
for anyone.

And nobody’s rope sits there alone.
Coiled in a twine semi-circle.
I nod as I pass in the street.

Before strolling on to
other things.


Don’t just lay there,
face of dirt
having not moved your arms
in over three centuries

imagine the women you have missed,
the men like party streamers
with steady work

modern archeology
caking away at your orbital bones
and making many proclamations

bog boy
with his picture taken,
posed in all the papers
like a man on
the take

they still have your hair
so that is something

a little muddy,
but who isn’t these


Today’s LittleNip:

—Ryan Quinn Flanagan

please be seated

he shouldn’t be long

Big Electric Andy
all the way from Pittsburgh

shall I sing for you
shall I sing sing wretched tears
back into gooey eyes 

I told him you were coming

he is most excited

Big Electric Andy
loves to entertain.


Our thanks to Ryan Quinn Flanagan this morning for his fine poems and the rare opportunity to post shower curtains and the melodious conch (say “conk”) shells!

Sac. Poetry Center will present the MarieWriters Generative Writing Workshop tonight, 6pm, this week facilitated by Laura Rosenthal. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this 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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Only Love Knows Love

—Poems and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


in the guise love always takes, so good to look upon
with eyes that can’t refuse. And the mouth—the mouth
with its lies, so beautiful to hear, like completions of
the self. And the hands—the hands with their tremble.
How you loved those hands. And remember how you
danced together, body to body, perfectly. The music
loved you. Oh, it was wonderful, this beginning, the
competition, the surrender—which to which. Where
draw the line that is an answer. True, love had its mo-
ments—love, the survivor of itself—and even when
it’s finished—all those memories…



Darling, I love the lie upon your silken
mouth, your abstract kiss,
the practiced way you mold your syllables.

And I love the way you dwindle into pout
that I must coax with my own kiss
when you must pout me to your way.

And, Darling, I do believe the things you say,
though I watch your eyes, the way you
somehow twist in slight response

and fix your charm
upon me once again with one more lie
of love,   love,   love.

 I Wuv You


You are my love poem
you funny ballet-dancer
and sad-eyed star
of tragedies.

How late you are
to my role
of audience.
I confuse myself with art
and applaud your performance,
write you a fan letter,
this poem.

(first pub. in Red Cedar Review
of Colorado, 1993)



You were my Valentine—
you held me to your broken heart
and said, don’t leave me.

How we beat there—safe together
for a moment—right words hiding
all around us in silent phrases.

 I Love Me, Too


How much of love is desperation? Answers are free
and mean nothing. Ask me another question, I will lie
to you since truth is moot. Or I will ignore you and go
on writing . . .

Once I was a slate of words. You scraped a fingernail
across me and sound was born. We cannot stand each
other . . .

What is the first difficulty—never mind, there is no
answer to that, either—all is perception, faulty or vain.
Whose mirror can we trust, yours or mine—they look
at each other . . .

I imagine two mirrors placed across from each other
in an empty room : a mirror filled with another mirror :
enough   to   reflect,   reflect,   reflect . . .

I promise no more questions—but what are promises
worth—to ask or give—see how quickly I lie to my
own truth . . .

Sample this love : It is a complication. You change
even as I speak,   become less,   become more . . . .

 I Love My Cat


The day smells like roses, but it is February,
and no time for love—winding its pain
around my shoulder like an arm
gone lax in carelessness. 

Now I am heavy with the weight of mutual
resignation. A scarf I wear slips down
to the floor. I push it aside with my foot.
I do not want it any more.

All the days are the same—long as arrows
that dwindle when I quit watching them.
They never arrive—they will never trust
my aim or yours.



Year after year I anthologize you, loose pages
full of smears where conversations failed,

whole pages of complicated silences,
paragraphs of lyric tears—ah—

such a book as you have become . . .

compiled of your own complexities,
your dark symbolism, your comic surprises.

It is not fair that you still argue the old points—
refuse to surrender the grievances between us….



Song becomes song, which becomes
whisper, which becomes lament.

All has been told, and told again in silences.
There is a rage that has been tamed.

Something in the eyes commands light.
Darkness cowers.

Only love knows love,
which becomes honest. This is true.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

Whose tears are these
that leave my pillow cold and wet?
Whose tears are these;
what ghost would take such liberties;
what sad old love could plague me yet?
They are not mine. I have not wept.
Whose tears are these?


Thank you, Joyce Odam, for today’s poems and photos about love—love won, love lost, love denied…! This week we’re calling Love Week, partly because of Valentine’s Day, and partly because it just seems like our USA, our whole world, in fact, could use more love these days. Accordingly, our new Seed of the Week is Brotherhood. Think globally: brotherhood with your neighbors, with children, with the homeless, with your government, with other countries, with your fellow creatures (both human and otherwise, including endangered species), with all the rest of the planet. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.

Last week, technological errors caused the last two lines of Joyce’s haibun to be cut off. (I thought it was kind of cool, actually, to end with "something is watching", but it wasn't a haibun.) Here is her fine poem in its entirety, with my apologies:

—Joyce Odam

It was a creature made of light, tame and beautiful. It
came to her hand but backed away when she tried to
touch it. She could almost name it, though it made no
sound and had no definite shape. Still she recognized
it as something that she loved and used to own, though
only in a book that she cherished and had to return. It
appeared to her now on the edge of its existence. She
wanted to save it as she always had. It followed her
for this.

               something is watching
               you weep uncontrollably—
               only with regret


—Medusa (Celebrate Brotherhood!)


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.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Alligator We Call Love

—Anonymous Photos

—JD DeHart, Chattanooga, TN

I could carry a torch for you,
but that would be arson.  I am
afraid such a blaze would only
create distance between us.

Love is made difficult by

Sick as a dog, I searched for your
muzzle, offered to let you outside,
thought of a treat and reward system,
but these efforts were in vain.

When you told me you were on
the fence, I looked for you next to
the blackbirds that visit every morning,
but you were missing in their song.

Instead, I found you clipping toenails
in the sink.  Next time you could at least
offer a bath there so that the metaphor
means more.

Finally, you said after while, crocodile,
and I checked myself for rows of teeth,
looked about, and understood when I
saw the swamp I was creating,

a neurotic miasma that surely
must have seemed as rough as a reptile’s
unwelcoming hide.

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

Remember, imagine, embrace!
All the lovers you’ve loved
Without trace,
Unless there are children
Left behind,
The way lovers'
Is blind!

Look and you will see
Thousands of lovers
Hand in hand,
Across the sand
Of beaches,
By the sea,

Each swearing
For each other,
Smitten by
Their beauty.

But day will fade,
As pledges made,
To love and to love
Well, always,
As everything
Slips away!

—Joseph Nolan

Friends are just friends.
No need to struggle
Or to argue!
Most of the time,
They have your back,
Support your feet,
Urge you to be stronger,
Laugh a little longer,
And to smile!
To walk, at least
Another mile,
On legs grown bolder,
To hold onto your lover
As you both grow older
And let a sunset
Set in pink, red, and gold!

—Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Lake Eliot, Ontario, Canada

She has taken a ratty green rag from under the sink
and a bottle of Pine Sol 
and wiped down the clock.

For the glass part where the numbers go,
she uses Windex and paper towel.

The fumes wreak havoc on my allergies.
My nose runs down my face into
a ball of waiting tissue.

This must be how leaky waterbeds feel,
I think.

She is humming to herself.
She seems happy, which is nice.

My eyes begin to burn and I rub them.

She wears overalls better than any farmer.
One strap over each shoulder like enjoying
a denim rollercoaster.

             SO WHICH SIDE?
—Ian Copestick, Stoke on Trent, England

My pockets as empty as my guts
As I walk the streets
The boredom of poverty can drive you nuts
As much as not having enough to eat
Nothing to do, nowhere to go
And no money to do it
I don't think I could get any more low
And so you just think "Screw it!"
Before I'd starve, I'd rather steal
I won't go down without a fight
If you're in jail you get a meal
As well as a bed for the night
I'm not saying that it's right, and I won't condone it
But you have to do what you have to do to eat
They won't give it to you, the ones that own it
They don't care if you die in the street
I really believe we're in a war
Against the massed forces of the right
Now is the time to decide who you're for
Pick a side and fight
Do you fight to keep people free?
And fight for the rights of the human race?
Or do you put a wall around your country
To keep out any foreign face?
There's only one race, the human race
We have to accept each other's rights
Do you love your brother, or do you hate?
Yes, now's the time to decide.

All in green went my love shopping
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
(adapted from “All in green went my love riding”
by e.e. cummings, posted on Medusa Sun. 2/10)

all in green went my love shopping

on a great charge card of gold

into the housewares section.

four lean salesmen crouched low and smiling

the merry advertising everywhere.

fleeter be they than empire dreams

the swift sweet ads

the red ink temptations.

four-story, red brick sears, roebuck, and company
the cruller bagel sang the morning song

snacks at hip went my love shopping

taking the stairway down

into the housewares section.

four lean salesmen crouched low and smiling

the level tables ran before.

softer be they than slippered sleep

the lean lithe ads

the fleet flown ads.

four express lanes at a gold valley

the famished barterers sang before.

bow at belt went my love shopping

taking the stairway down

into the housewares section.

four lean salesmen crouched low and smiling

the sheer profit peaks ran before.

paler be they than daunting death

the sleek slim ads

the tall tense ads.

four tall cashiers at a green mountain

the lucky hunter sang before.

all in green went my love shopping

on a great charge card of gold

into the housewares section.

four lean salesmen crouched low and smiling

my credit fell dead before.


Some fringe benefits of the necessity of eating
even a modest portion of food are the savory taste
on the tongue, and the royal pleasure of a contented
tummy.  We also entertain an appetite for the biblical
duty of procreation, usually fed by just what our bodies
give us, unembellished by fabled glass slippers or
photo-shopped renderings of the “perfect image”.  But
at the end of the day,

saying “I love you”
sounds nicer than to utter
“You satisfy me.”

—Michael H. Brownstein, Chicago, IL

Let us wake with happiness and treasure,
affection, grand thoughts of pleasure.
I look around, see you here—I am awed.
Within your wonder, nothing is flawed.
Today an arrow, a cupid's bow, a simple song,
beautiful as a palisade and just as strong.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Wm. S. Gainer, Grass Valley, CA

I hate
how I miss you.


Welcome to Love Week in the Kitchen! Today we have some Valentine poems from poets close and far—all fellas—who are celebrating love of people, friends, nature, food, country, credit cards... It’s not too late to send poems celebrating love in its many forms to The Snakes of Medusa are always hungry!

And welcome back to the Kitchen to Bill Gainer, who has been traveling around the country, reading his poetry, and otherwise kicking up the dust. This poem is from his book from Lummox Press, T
he Mysterious Book of Old Man Poems. Check it out at

Poetry events in our area begin tonight at Sac. Poetry Center with Charles Halsted and Wm. O’Daly, plus open mic, 7:30pm. On Wednesday, Poetry Off-the-Shelves meets in El Dorado Hills at the library on Silva Valley Pkwy., 5-7pm; MarieWriters meets at SPC from 6-8pm, facilitated this week by Laura Rosenthal; and Love Jones “Peak Level” presents poets and singers at Laughs Unlimited in Old Sacramento, 8-10pm.

Busy weekend coming up! Thursday is, as always, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento, 8pm, this week with Love Isn’t What You Think But It’s Also Exactly What You Think: The David Loret De Mola Valentine’s Day Extravaganza; in the daytime (11:30am-1:30pm), Women’s Wellspring Writing Group meets at the Women's Wellspring Center on 4th Av., facilitated by Sue Daly. On Friday, The Other Voice in Davis features Charles Halsted and Robert Ramming, plus open mic, at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Patwin Rd., 7:30pm. Then on Sunday, Davis Arts Center Poetry Series will feature Ladies of the Knight plus open mic, 2pm. 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.

To read about “6 Strange Things Love Does to Your Brain and Body’, go to

—Medusa (Celebrate Love!)

Puppy Love
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.