Monday, April 29, 2019

Creaky Joints, Water Dreams, and Bigfoot

Nana with the Poet's Brother, Matt, 
and Smokey the Cat in 1963
—Additional Garden Photos by 
Caschwa, Sacramento, CA


—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento, CA

remembering summer visits
just Nana and I, in her St. Louis apartment

watching her sit and smoke in her chair
hair a delicate cirrus cloud
nylons rolled down around her ankles
housedress comfortable, bourbon at her side

I waited in a thirteen-year-old’s impatience
for her “programs” to finish
so that we could run another marathon of Bolivia
this time, I’d win!

in her seventies, heart disease haunting her
having survived her husband for decades
she stood firm, unassailable protector
alternating treating me like a sister
reminding me of my worth
with spoiling me, cooking my favorite foods
buying my school clothes for the coming year

in my sixties now, so many decades after
she died in the night at my parent’s home
I realize that I’ve followed her example
living decades alone
maintaining my voice, integrity, dreams
meeting sorrow and joy
with an Amazon’s passionate strength

when I catch myself sharing laughter
with younger musicians in orchestra
spending late nights writing detailed comments
on my English students’ writing
carefully managing my bills
cooking for myself and enjoying it
seeking vision, understanding, transcendence
I recognize my grandmotherly nature in bloom
each day’s new creaks in joints, slower gait
overshadowed by ever-deepening love, devotion, desire

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

“Come in!” said Pain,
“Come in!
It’s time for us to meet.”

“I hope you didn’t expect
To miss me all your life?”

“Have a seat
Next to my friend,
She wants to touch you
But be careful with her:
She doesn’t like to let go.
She’ll spread herself
All over your body
Before long!

“What can we tell you?
This waiting room
Is where we wait
For everyone lucky enough
To live long enough to
Meet us.

Consider yourself lucky!”

—Joseph Nolan

Bigfoot wanders through our forests
On this, our Planet of the Apes.
We wish our ethics and morals
To remain formless,
Innocuous, amorphous,
Powerless to obstruct a primal drive,
Entirely relative
To our closest living relatives.

What care we
If apes mate in trees
Or give each other fleas
When they do?
To each his own, we say,
Or to each, some other,

What care we
What preferences Bigfoot displays
In Simian parades,
On Zoo-Liberation Day?
No doubt some will clap and cheer
Just like last year
And the year before
Our Father-Ape conquered
By crossing across in his underwear.

—Joseph Nolan

Does water have sweet dreams
Of running down tall mountains
In small streams?
In running brooks,
Gurgling and babbling
Around trout fishers’ hooks?

Noodling and swishing
Over rocks,
Sweeping past smooth boulders
All washed clean
By years of cresting waters
Summer rain
And storms of Fall!

Does water dream in white?
Frozen things, like snow
And sleet and ice?
Frozen twice:
Once in the sky,
Again on land.
For warm Spring
To lay its hand
On icy back
And send it running
Swiftly to the sea. 

—Joseph Nolan

Slow, silent,
Invisible steam
As water wafts away
When gently mixed
With heat
Over time
The puddle disappears
Into sky.
How easily, peacefully,
Into thin air!


This morning I         from my bed to go outside

                          raised bed
and tend to the                    where we had

            several veggies and irrigation lines.


No, it is not God’s plan
nor was it to become president
it is not about improving health care
or about immigration or the border

It is the polar opposite of unity
and inclusiveness
and kindness
or anything humane

The one trick in his hat,
his sole inspiration, is to find
people who are tormented by
their circumstances

and make it worse for them.
That brings a smile to his face,
no red ink for his business deals,
and above all, no collusion. 


(after Joyce Odam’s “Random” from
Medusa’s Kitchen, April 2, 2019) 

She lived in the suburbs in a track home,
3 bedroom, 2 bath, kitchen, dining, den,
3 boys, 2 cats, bitching, whining, men.

Then something went wrong with the
medicine…oh, where is that team of top
lawyers and experts when you need them?

The source of the problem might have been
bad raw stock, the manufacturing process,
flawed packaging, delayed shipping, improper
storage, faulty labelling, the busy doctor,
another pharmacy snafu, climate change,
tampering, the ever-present confusion…no
one stands up to raise their hand and confess.

Now she walks around all day with her gold
hat somewhere on the outskirts of town, with
not even a cardboard box to call home, unable
to distinguish her own ragged, bare feet from
the cement sidewalk.


Today’s LittleNip(s):


Aalenian aside, now
aardvarks have some ants for chow
Aasvogel scans over each
aapamoor mound within reach
Aalesund, port of Norway
Aabenraa, so the Danes say
Aalsmeer, North Holland, good day.

* * *


A mosque in Basque or a
bright marque in Albuquerque

enough mystique in the physique
to pique interest in unique antiques
from boutiques in Mozambique


Good morning, good morning, and thanks to our contributors today! Monday brings a ratatouille of fine poems and pix on many subjects—a colorful beginning to any week. And those roses, irises…. Thanks for the spring photos, Carl!

Davis Past-Poet Laureate Eve West Bessier has posted on Facebook that she has just become the new Poet Laureate of Silver City, New Mexico. Congratulations to her; girlfriend is racking up the PL credits!

Our week of poetry activities begins at Sac. Poetry Center tonight with a fundraiser for Sacramento’s Stop Stigma, featuring poets Kevin Dobbs and Lee Rossi, plus open mic, 7:30pm. On Tuesday, the last day of April, Sac. Poetry Center will host the Poets & Writers' Sacramento Literary Roundtable w/Indigo Moor. 6-8pm. Check out this opportunity for conversation at

On Wednesday morning, May Day, join Frank Graham and some Davis writers for more opportunity for literary conversation at Coffee with Writers, Poets and Literature & Language Instructors. That's at Philz Coffee on 2nd St., 9:45-11:15am, Davis.

SPC workshops this week include Tuesday Night Workshop for critiquing of poems at the Hart Center (27th and J Sts.) on Tuesday, 7:30-9pm (call Danyen Powell at 530-681-0026 for info); and MarieWriters Generative Writing Workshop at SPC for writing poems, 6-8pm on Wednesday.

Thursday presents a wide variety of activities, starting with Big Day of Giving, a 24-hour marathon of donating to the Sac. non-profit of your choice at, followed by a thank-you party at Sac. Poetry Center from 5:30-8:30pm, with food, drink, poetry, live music, raffle.

Also on Thursday, Poetry Night in Davis will feature a book release of
Kubaba by Jackie Carroll, 8pm, plus open mic. Also at 8pm, in Sacramento, go down to Old Sac. to Laughs Unlimited for The Love Jones “Best Love Poem” Competition. And of course Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar also meets at 8pm in Sacramento, with featured readers and lots of open mic.

Friday will bring another of Sac. Poetry Center’s Random Fridays, this one featuring readers from Aaron Bradford’s American River College poetry workshop, 6-8pm. Then on Saturday, there will be a release party and reading from
Levee Magazine’s second issue, 7:30pm at Sac. Poetry 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 may be added at the last minute.

—Medusa, celebrating poetry as National Poetry Month comes to a close—but NorCal poetry keeps going strong!

Selfie of Bigfoot, chillin’ in the redwoods…

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.