Monday, September 16, 2019

Quilted Skies, For The Sake Of Beauty

Marina Cloud
—Sky Photos by Carol Louise Moon, Placerville, CA

—Kathy Kieth, Diamond Springs, CA

Today the straight road can’t take us
anywhere we want to be, so we stay off

the freeway, follow the curving asphalt seams
that mark off quilt squares of chartreuse,

camel, saffron. . .  But today the stuffing
is in the sky, not the quilt:  piles and

piles of grey and white clouds blow around in
the blue like feathers after a pillow fight. . .

Back on earth, potholes and bright yellow
signs slow us down:  Caution, Yield,

Rough Road:
  then a stubborn pheasant
stands his ground mid-road—we see his point,

go around him, slow down even more. . .  Finally,
far back into countryside, where the seams

have pulled us into some very center of this quilt     ,
a pure white llama stands, regal among scattered

sheep—more white fluff:  maybe from another
country, or maybe from the sky—from some-

place, anyway, where straight roads can’t always
take us where we want to be. . .

 Sky Full of Cloud

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

My father, a former CB in WWII,
had a pretty strong respect for
engineering and an equally strong
disregard for superstitions.

So at 80 years old, after a several
year bout with leukemia, when he
suddenly fell dead in the hallway
at home right on Friday the 13th,
he knew in his heart that he had
actually beaten the odds to have
lasted that long.



ten pound bag
that should cover it
even if there are a few
that need to be discarded

come to think of it, some
white cowboy with a ten
gallon hat might find a
few folks that don’t mix

and the next thing you
know, it is people getting
discarded just like potatoes,
and we accept that as normal

 Clouds and Boats


who don’t get captured
who bring me money
who don’t waste my time
who praise and honor me

if your job is to maintain
our education, public health,
environmental protection, or
policing our communities

and you lack the funds to do
the job right, I will get rid of you
like the irresponsible, vagrant,
lowly scum you are



The law and order party wants to
throw all those outlaws in jail…

…brown, Haiku, colored,
you can tell what they look like
by reading the news…

…because we just have no room
for those awful folks in polite society

however we did make room for public
officials, paid handsomely by private
interests, to pass volumes of laws to
make almost everything illegal,

while opening the door wide to for-profit
businesses who are in the right place
at the right time to provide us with
plenty of weapons and plenty of prisons,
while they smile all the way to the bank 

 Rigged Cloud


House boat, always in
motion, immensely solid,
planet foundation

all the comforts of
a baby in the womb, so
very delicate

sea and mist around
the house, under the house, and
above the main deck

here, you won’t need a
meteorologist to
forecast the weather

inviting, have a cold one,
tell us some stories

the pantry is full
of all kinds of tasty fish
catch, clean, cook, and eat

don’t drop your glasses
they will be gone forever
experience tells



The plaque at the entrance to Mar a Pago Pago reads:
“Give me your success, your economic health, your jet
set status, yearning to play golf, the illicit profits of your
dynamic stealth. Send these, with $450,000/each gate
fee to me, I welcome your wealth.”

(We’ll leave the lamp on for you.)

As governments do, they then set up a pilot program to
try out this plaque at our southern border.

You know the rest…

 Double-Layered Clouds

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

I am in search
Of artistic beauty.

I will know it
When I see it.

It will grab me.
It will not
Let me go.

I won’t want
To get away.

It will be mine
I will be its.

Like someone diving headlong,
Knowingly and voluntarily,
Into a black hole,

Knowing that his neck
Will turn into a long
String of spaghetti,
Long before his toes arrive,
If ever they do.

It’s well-known
You must suffer
For the sake of beauty.


—Joseph Nolan

I’m O.K.
You’re O.K.
This is all
We have to say,
Shut in
On a Winter’s Day,
Stuck together.

Let the kids
Got out to play
In the yard
To snowman, make;
In the house we’ll bake
Chocolate chip cookies.

We’ll serve them hot
With cold, cold milk
So greedy, gobbling tongues
Won’t burn themselves
On liquid chocolate.

The is how we like them,
The danger and the peril
Of loving something
Just a little too much. 

 Bridge Clouds

—Joseph Nolan


When can an anarchist be
Completely free to see,

Sunlight on an ocean
As a sign of divinity,

With dolphins diving
In the surf, near sand,
While you and I
Hold each other’s hands
And burst out laughing,
Obeying no command,

To go and kill
Comrades across the seas.

Well, of course,
We’d rather be at ease,
In our measured moments
On this Earth,
Treasuring each one,
For all it’s worth—
The two of us, together!


—Joseph Nolan

The CIA made cigars for Castro,
Cigars that would explode.
Sounds funny, I know.

But they never got
Any of those cigars
Into Castro’s mouth
Or set alight,
Or to explode
Under Castro’s nose.

Castro knew they were coming
Contained in some hokey, gringo,
Spy-made cigar-box.
He had been smoking the real thing
For many years,
Rolled up by Afro-Cubanas,
Who also smoked such big, fat
Cubano cigars, themselves.

Gringo cigars don’t smell right.
The cigar box they come in
Doesn’t look right.
They’re the ones
You don’t light up
Unless you want your nose
To blow

 Peeking Cloud

—Joseph Nolan

If I
Shall lay awake
At night
And pray

For Divine forgiveness
For my actions in the day,
I won’t be alone.

I’ve heard the prayers
Even of the stones
That line the road

And every hopping toad
And every chirping cricket.

Prayers for forgiveness,
Makes quite a racket
I’m sure the angels hear.


Today’s LittleNip:

(following “21st Century Schizoid
Man” by Smith, Medusa’s Kitchen, 8/16/19)

Cavities galore
spacing awful
missing altogether
not quite a mouthful

cannot afford
another office visit
maybe I can try
the latest dental widget


Thanks to today’s contributors! We’ve been talking about country roads and luck—plus, Carol Louise Moon captured some fine photos of the sky for us, and thanks for those, too!

Tonight, Odilia Galván Rodríguez and Cathy Arellano will read at Sac. Poetry Center, plus open mic, 7:30pm. On Thursday at noon, SPC’s Third Thursdays in the Sacramento Room of the Central Library will take place, a poetry read-around (bring poems by someone other than yourself).
Then at 6pm that night in Placerville, Taylor Graham will read at Arts and Culture El Dorado’s Confidence Lab on Main Street. Also on Thursday, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar in Sacramento takes place at 8pm, with featured readers and open mic.

On Friday, 7:30pm, The Other Voice in Davis presents Rhony Bhopla and Tamer Sa’id Mostafa (plus open mic) in the Unitarian Universalist library on Patwin Road. 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.

Interested in workshops? Check the green box at the right for a listing of local ones which will be held this week and/or later.

—Medusa, celebrating poetry!

 Four Llamas, With Clouds

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.