Sunday, January 19, 2020

Looking the Other Way

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

—Denis Levertov (1923-1997)
Genial poets, pink-faced  
earnest wits—
you have given the world  
some choice morsels,
gobbets of language presented
as one presents T-bone steak
and Cherries Jubilee.  
Goodbye, goodbye,
                            I don’t care
if I never taste your fine food again,  
neutral fellows, seers of every side.  
Tolerance, what crimes
are committed in your name.

And you, good women, bakers of nicest bread,  
blood donors. Your crumbs
choke me, I would not want
a drop of your blood in me, it is pumped  
by weak hearts, perfect pulses that never  
falter: irresponsive
to nightmare reality.

It is my brothers, my sisters,
whose blood spurts out and stops
because you choose to believe it is not your business.

Goodbye, goodbye,
your poems
shut their little mouths,  
your loaves grow moldy,  
a gulf has split
                     the ground between us,
and you won’t wave, you’re looking
another way.
We shan’t meet again—
unless you leap it, leaving  
behind you the cherished  
worms of your dispassion,  
your pallid ironies,
your jovial, murderous,  
wry-humored balanced judgment,
leap over, un-
balanced? ... then
how our fanatic tears
would flow and mingle  
for joy ...


For more about Denise Levertov, go to The last paragraph of this biography reads, “Discussing Levertov’s social and political consciousness in his review of Light up the Cave, [American Book Review critic Daniel] Berrigan stated: “Our options [in a tremulous world], as they say, are no longer large. … [We] may choose to do nothing; which is to say, to go discreetly or wildly mad, letting fear possess us and frivolity rule our days. Or we may, along with admirable spirits like Denise Levertov, be driven sane; by community, by conscience, by treading the human crucible.” A contributor in Concise Dictionary of American Literary Biography commended Levertov for “the emphasis in her work on uniting cultures and races through an awareness of their common spiritual heritage and their common responsibility to a shared planet.”

A reminder that Poetry of the Sierra Foothills will have a special open mic today from 1-3pm, with poems inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr., or poems that would’ve inspired him if he were alive today. That’s at Caffe Santoro on Pleasant Valley Rd. in Diamond Springs. Also today: Sac. Poetry Center (25th & R Sts., Sacramento) hosts Prose in the Afternoon, 4-5:30m, with Nancy Schoellkopf and Katya Mills, plus Flash Fiction with Kathleen Lynch. 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.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Borrowing Starlight

—Poems by James Lee Jobe, Davis, CA
—Anonymous Photos Courtesy of James Lee Jobe

Holy is the earth, holy is life. Humanity, yes, but also the other creatures, also the forest, sky, sea, soil. The turning of the planet is holy. Our heartbeat and our breath are holy. Our compassion. Embrace the earth, embrace your life.


From behind these bars I can hear the sound of rain. Locked in this cage I can dream of blue flowers and tall trees.

Let me be a weed in the river, let me be one speck of dust in the desert. A thought that came and went. Let me be the dream that could not be remembered upon awakening. That's for me. Let me be small, the universe is so large. Inhale, exhale. Life is what is happening right now.

Three and sixty years for me on this planet. I walked some paths that were easy, and some of them were hard. Some I couldn't finish. Likewise, I had paths that were lush, and others that were barren. It’s all the same. Sometimes I walked alone, and sometimes with people to love. One day I will walk the final path, we all do, and I will walk alone. Oh, sweet and bless'd emptiness!

Even at night, roses. Roses in starlight, moonlight. Roses standing upright in the dark. We love them, and come morning, we will rise and love them again. Then we will love ourselves.

The years have piled up like autumn leaves. Light a match, time is up. We will rise up with the fragrant smoke.


Today’s LittleNip:

If I am to finish this journey, I will need to borrow some starlight. Have you any to spare?

—James Lee Jobe


—Medusa, with thanks to James Lee Jobe for fine poetry and intriguing visuals on this January Saturday morning!

For up-coming poetry events in our area, scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

 Rising Up With "the fragrant smoke"

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.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Calling the Cat

—Poems and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA

for Kitty-Souris

Coyotes weave the ridge with polyphonic
song. They call our cat. She loves the bones
of small night creatures skittering their hunger
dances in the dark. Coyotes sing that song.
They sing any-body’s hunger under an empty
moon. Kitty sharps the chitter of her jaws.
She has no sense of size. Owl talon, cougar claw.
Coyote calling. She’s sweet as salmon from
a tin, safe with humans inside walls. We snap
the latch and listen. Coyotes go on improvising
song that touches a raw hunger. How soft
it sings the moon the dark and just for her. 

(first pub. in The Roanoke Review, 1997)


The old black oak lifted its boughs
in tree-blessing, woodpeckers working its wounds.

Sentinel snag in manzanita thicket;
storm-fallen cedar, bark flaking off, humming
the length of its life

as your chainsaw bit in.
The living woods listening, holding fast.

I’d walk the ridgetop to The Stone.
Lichened granite rooted above canyon
where, years ago, we found bedrock-mortars—

Miwok grinding rocks.
I’d climb The Stone and listen into dark.

I never wondered if it might be catching
messages from boulders miles away,
passing them on down-mountain

where we live now. Those rocks and trees
coming to voice

if I could hear them, still among stone.

(first pub. in Windows of Time and Place 
by Taylor Graham, Cold River Press, 2019)


inspired by untitled drawing by Kananginak Pootoogook 
A child is drawing a dog—
a village dog? Its narrowly focused eyes
exactly mimic the skin of the boy’s hand as he
draws it. A dark dog lowering from its shoulder-
blades as if in play, tail half-flagged, paws
planted wide on a flat white featureless surface—
snow? The boy is filling in the near hind-leg,
making it dark to match the rest of the dog.
What does the dog think of all this?
We can only hear what a child translates
of dog with the point of his pen.
Is he listening to what he draws? 

for Latches

I’ve turned out
the lights. And it comes
just outside
the sliding
door. Owl calling, so close it
shivers my fingers

to write it
down. Hu Hooh Hu Hu
so close, I reach for black cat
in the dark—what Owl

wants. Its call
so intense, I slip
open the
door a crack
and the call magnifies deep
and hollow, echo

of itself,
so close I could fall
into its
abyss. It’s
the shiver
up my spine to
my fingers writing. 

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Sun-sparkle morning
cold January—blinded,
possessed by sunlight—
oops there’s a traffic signal
dull-red reminder of earth—

Put on the brakes, you
fool! You’re never going to learn
the high art of flight. 


Friday it is, and we’ve made the switch from Taylor-Thursday to Taylor-Friday in order to reap the benefits of Taylor Graham's knowledge and love of forms. Today she has sent us a plethora of them, talking about listening (our recent Seed of the Week) to the owl who visited her last week, and listening to the woods around us—to the stones and the trees and all the mysterious sounds that the countryside brings.

More about forms below, but first I need to remind you that tonight at 8pm, SacUnified Slam presents New Works Only Slam at Luna’s Cafe on 16th St. in Sacramento. And at 7:30pm in Davis, The Other Voice Poetry Series features Len Germinara and Linda Jackson Collins plus open mic at the Unitarian Universalist Church 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.



It’s time for more contributions from Form Fiddlers! Each Friday for awhile, there will be poems posted here from some of our readers using forms—either ones which were mentioned on Medusa during the previous week, or whatever else floats through the Kitchen and the perpetually stoned mind of Medusa. If these instructions are vague, it's because they're meant to be. Just fiddle around with some forms and get them posted in the Kitchen. 

Here are some of the forms from Taylor Graham that we’ve already posted today:

Boketto (“Listen to the Light”):
Shadorma (“Eerie”):

This is Taylor’s One-vowel Poem about that pesky owl; we talked about that form last week:

(a one-vowel poem)
—Taylor Graham

Owl hoots who-do voodoo
hoo-hoooh - hoo - hoo
oh follow cold woods-
woo, snows of long-go—
know for whom now?
for yoo

And here is an oh-so-smooth sonnet of hers. Check out which type of sonnet it is at

—Taylor Graham

That color-swatch you showed me, classic blue—
an empty bottle left too long to sun,
so vibrant it’s a permutating hue—
blue sea of air where breaker-wave-clouds run—
the i-dot of a landscape, lake’s live eye
blue as the berry of a bramble-thorn,
its globed sheen beckoning as I pass by—
a comfort-denim many ages worn—
the sky embodied between day and night,
a rippled pond that soothes from dream to deep
magnetic as wild geese skein out of sight—
the hover-shade that keeps me in my sleep—
this blue is blessing without need of word—
the neon flash on sun-struck wing of bird.


Thanks, TG! The Kitchen is always open to poems sent in forms (or NOT in forms!), but stretching your poetic muscles can never hurt. It’s all in the service of The Art of Listening to what you’re writing, yes?

Here’s a chart about poetry that was devised for kids, but I think it’s kind of helpful. Something to bring us back to basics. Click on it to enlarge it, print it out, cut it out, and stick it on your forehead: 

—Medusa, who can’t see because of the chart stuck to her forehead ~

 Stump Full of 'Shrooms
—Photo by Taylor Graham

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, January 16, 2020

Life's a Beach!

Neon Caffeine
—Poems and Visuals by Smith, Cleveland, OH


I tried to tell her
don't get up
stay in bed
it's a scam
another reality trick 
they get you every time
first you wake up
then you sit up
step out of bed
and whammo
they got you
they make you do stuff
be things
go places
I told her
tried to warn her
but no
she's up
doing yoga
making coffee
petting the cat
listening to Willie Nelson
caught again in the web of want
old debt new due
one more early worm demanding bird

 Mystic City


Life's a beach, and sand you die
sow reap rip sew sow reap rip sew so

Our car clock's running slow
pretty soon we'll be there before we leave
and won't even have to go

I've realized global warming
is caused by too many hot babes,
and not enough cool cats
to lower their temperature.

It's all telepathetic



Monkey man
take stick draw line in sand

as if we get to choose
our abuse

(though we do)

live poet on the line
dead poet in the ground

memory walking

 Gimme Five


Heading for Amarillo to buy an Amaryllis,
I pulled into the station,
told gas guy to fill us.

He laughed,
"You must be old school,
from back when we sold service
and cared about the customer
until we found them clueless,
you're now no more than number,
low down on the fool stool,
yet quite useless,
so wipe your window,
fill your tank,
and pay us as you leave
and please,
say thanks."

 Grey Sun


If there is light
dark is near, and equal

Seems to be you and me and entropy
sliding down the coffin lid
digging our own dirt

I watch the faded once famous
fumble toward the light
for a laugh

Best know life starts out crooked
then fast frays south
to food or feed

You're going to need eyes
in back of your eyes
foots to flee

Pain polishes bone
time and sea smooths stone

 Negative Space


This ain't poetry
but then we don't know each other.

We've nothing in common
except we're common.

My animal wants fed
my spirit needs growing.

If you can't eat sunlight
you must eat the once-alive to survive.

I wanna be an autotroph
when I grow up.

Until 6 kills 9
it's all relative, quantumtatively.

It's when one end's a fuse
you gotta worry.

Decisions decisions decisions...
a lollipop, or a lobotomy?

I got a new truthbrush
now no one likes me anymore.

 14th Street


Rituals rise from lattice need
to gird with grid our daily bleed.

Outside the box is danger of
dragons and our falling off.

But go, step, it's just a line
authority insists is in your mind.

A line not there in any case,
simply something for saving face.

Too many chickens, cowards, sheep,
zombie people walking sleep.

Afraid to live so live a lie,
afraid to cut and savor pie.

Scared to ask for piece of puzzle
so booze and TV food do guzzle.

Afraid of life, they look to Gods
to tell them when they cannot trod.

But Gods are gone to Corporate Land
so say the monied Upper Hand.

We bow and scrap and shake in fear
avoiding growth and seeing clear.

Why use their rules to live your life?
It's up to you what's good, what's strife.

You pay the price of what they say.
I say we choose, go our way.

Fish in sea, bird in air, clan on land,
each one has its own plan.

Play and smile and laugh and dance,
discover stuff by taking chance.

Their code concretes on money myth.
No need to follow sez Irreverend Smith.

 Bottom Line


That low train moan
usually distant
has always been there
from my Bitterroot Mountain days
through the Paradise Prairie fields of wheat
to this lip above the Cleveland Flats
overlooking the once many-steeled valley's
last working mill
spitting toxic smoke and cold fire
between its Devil's horns

that moan promising other
not outlier
a somewhat belonging
somewhere down the line
if only you had a ticket
or the guts to hop a freight
because there's gotta be better than here

but after 70-some years
of falling for this shit
my weary has finally worn through
to bone truth:

you there
or you here
is still you

so what you want to do there
you must first undo here


the mask you mock
may be your be


Today’s LittleNip:

Fleshless trees
stripped of leaf and bloom
wait for warmth



Our Thursday thanks to Irreverend Smith (Steven B. Smith) and his quantumtative truthbrush, as we rock our way through another week. We started out on Monday with pies, and he reminds us not to “be afraid to cut and savor pie”—sage advice, indeed!

Today at noon at the Sac. Public Library, Third Thursdays in the Sacramento Room on I St. in Sacramento will hold a poetry read-around on the theme of beginnings, endings, time. Bring poems by someone other than yourself that celebrate the spirit of Janus. Then tonight at Luna’s on 16th St. in Sacramento at 8pm, Theatre Mutiny will be featured at Poetry Unplugged, along with plenty of open mic. Also tonight, also at 8pm, Poetry in Davis presents Kathryn Hohlwein, who will be reading with daughter Laura Hohlwein, plus Bob Stanley, plus open mic. That’s at the John Natsoulas Gallery on First St. in Davis. (Be there by 7:40 to sign up for 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.

—Medusa, trying to remember to “… go, step, it's just a line…”

—Photo by Smith

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.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Spiral Galaxies Will Still Whorl

—Poems and Artwork by Norman J. Olson, Maplewood, MN

nature poem #27

Blackbirds flutter in branches
Which are black lines
Hung with tattered
Leaves. The west wind watches
Swollen clouds that hang
Like shrouds above the Mississippi
River valley. Aspen and pine
Hold hands and quiver.

The blackbirds don’t care.

Between the tank farms that line the
Buff-colored bluff like broken
And the river that sparkles like shattered
Old tires stretch, languid as dead bodies
In the sun.

new meat

it doesn’t seem to matter
much to me
if this
dipshit gets elected
instead of that one. spiral galaxies
will still
whirl through space
like pinwheels
on ice

toy balloons are full of truth

James Ensor gets on his
knees and licks
the mauve and green
flat screen. imaginary elephants
go extinct
before imaginary crowds
of starving children.

I am my meat…

e-mail from the San Fernando Valley

fine ribbons of sand
ripple in the parking
lot of insanity. plastic forks float
in rivers of corn sweetener
dying diners
and fast food joints.

the autopsy is over and
the eviscerated corpse
is fit now only for
a television cop show.

cars move along
Roscoe Blvd. and the bone-
white sun
slaps asphalt. the terrible
green of palmetto
blinks in the parking
of the Laurel Canyon Mall.
ribbons of sand glisten and
listen for the long-gone

 Skyline Oil

friends with Orion

walking down McKnight Road,
I wave to Orion…
who is really nothing more
than a handful
of stars
cartwheeling behind ragged pine

is the electric sky a video screen

monsters swim through
suburban shrubbery
rage and semi-automatic
weapons in their
hands… this early morning
quiet is just the
prelude… I arrive at the bus
stop… Orion

 Man Sketches

another evening in Maplewood

insane robots with porcelain eyes
blink at me
from the corners
and from cracks in the plaster…
they tear their plastic hair
with tiny titanium

images scream across the flat screen

discs the size and shape of the
settle behind the curtains
and just beyond the windows… my
roll across
the dusty


Today’s LittleNip:

We are making music for the human race, and even beings from other galaxies are welcome to vibe with us.

—J. Balvin


—Medusa, with thanks to Norman Olson from Minnesota for his tantalizing poems and artwork this morning! Hey—wave to Orion!


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, January 14, 2020

The Hour Known As Love

Stream of Thought
—Poems and Original Art by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA



Not about—not about—just of.  Just essence, slant,
suggestion.  I want the eloquent waves of thought
to wash over me and leave their dissolving words . . .

no, that won’t do : I want a flat white screen of
sky and a white floor made of air, I want to
drift there as unspoken thought, I want to
fall as white rain among the sorrows
and the solitudes—touch
every face as
tears . . .

that’s not it. 
I want a cave to hold me . . . 
I will sit at its dark table and
write whatever dark words come
to me.  I am sad, and that is enough
to be.  I will say that to you, if you are listening.



I play Chopin, over and over, all morning and into the
afternoon, and fall into some old time that was his, and
feel how sad such distances become and how wonder-
ful to still connect.  And I am glad that I have made the
reach, and wonder about him: Handsome.  So young. 
Tubercular.  A genius.  On his way to early death—
that stealer.  I feel the gray day as tenacious as that,
this day-long fog that sifts into mind and mood and
sorts out the music of my bones.  I am in love with
music that can use such gray to enhance the misery
of winter.  He must have felt the same cold about his
shoulders, in his composing hands, and so created
what I listen to today—hour after hour—how I de-
feated for awhile that Sacramento Tule fog that stays
and stays and stays.

 Dog Howl


The dog barks back and forth
along the fence
and agitates the darkness
with his frenzy . . .

underneath the open window
on the narrow path along the house,
where the shape passes . . .
where the sound listens . . .

all along the white fence in the
darkness, where something moves
and pauses . . .  moves and pauses . . .
while the dog barks.



There is an hour
known as love.

It flutters about in the heart
like a little lost bird.

You bring it home in your hands
and you buy it a cage.

You buy it seed
and a cuttlebone.

You give it a mirror
and a little swing.

And you hover
around it

and coax it to sing.
And you listen awhile,

and for a sweet while
love is not your prisoner.

(first pub. in Oregonian Verse, 1971)



He takes the red night apart, bird by
bird and branch by branch of the black tree.

I have seen him do it.
He aims his eyes to what he wants

and goes ‘click’ with his mind
and spares the world another tragedy.

Another day will come, safe as a song.
She asks him, “How many sorrows
does it take to make a love?”

“None,” he smiles . . . “there is

no sorrow deep enough.” 
He turns
his camera toward the mirror of her eyes.

“Smile,” he says.  She smiles;
and that is love enough for one of them.

(first pub. in The Listening Eye, 2000)



Who am I to say love is not possible. I count
all the blessings and offer loneliness. I listen
to the story and ask for a different ending.
This one is familiar and always necessary.

The author of all my sorrows is hesitant to go
on, but I say: Hurry, we must get to the place
of tears, shining with expectation—we must not
waste them. But he demurs, saying:

How can I love you? You are a river, you are
always drowning, and I am tired of saving you.
You offer me a bridge but I do not know which
end leads where.

But who am I to say love is not possible. I own
all the pretensions. I have never been more
sincere. I stand for a long time looking at the
moon drowning in the river.


“Listen to the sounds of waves within you.”
A bell.
A feather.
A string of white nerve.
Your mind in a frame of thought—
deeper than deep, where you are now,

in curve of blue, in shine of light. 
Don’t go too far—
stay in the real,
know where each is,
eyes closed for inner balance—

letting life go into un-life,
mystery of who and where,
the push and pull
of real and unreal—
you between.

How ancient you are.
How new.
One is the same,
except for the difference,
except for the fleeting loss of self,

except for the knowing
which will forget.
The bell
makes a sound.
The white string twists.

The white feather loses connection,
floats down as you float,
your mind
continuing its curious journey.



Wings don’t melt, no one can carry wings through desire
to fly. Not even the willing sky will accommodate such
an ambition. Wings do not adorn well the costume of
impositional desire—just as fire will not burn though
ice. Wings are for birds, and airplanes—not even
butterflies would acknowledge the audacity of
human beings who try to fly—sky heights are
dangerous to such ambition. Rather flap
your arms from a rooftop—consider
the law of gravity—against what?
Your strongest fancy? So, go
ahead—lift,    lift,    lift,
from   the   edge—
then fly.


Today’s LittleNip:
—Joyce Odam

Nothing leads me to words
        though you speak
        though I listen
        though I travel what you say
        and arrow nowhere . . .

How can this lead the dumb
        into eloquence, there is
        only the long line of silence
        thinning like a road
        into a receding horizon . . .

How can the shining silence
        reach the urgency of thought
        that struggles to transcend
        the locked mind that cannot form
        the words that poetry demands . . .


Our thanks to Joyce Odam for this morning’s fine poetry and original artwork! Today she’s talking about sound and silence, our Seed of the Week. Our new Seed of the Week is Worry. 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.

For up-coming poetry events in our area, scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


—Medusa, celebrating the sounds of the waves ~

 —Anonymous Photo
“How ancient you are. How new.”

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, January 13, 2020

Playing President With a Tri-Sliced Pie

—Anonymous Pie Photos

Early years filled with now.
Control reigns supreme.
No thoughts of tomorrow.
Life is my oyster.
Living the dream.

Children grown.
Few decisions now.
Tomorrow is here.
Can’t chew oysters anymore.
Remembering the dream.

Too busy to notice the years fly by.
Too oblivious to note declining abilities.
Too few tomorrows now.
Two oysters minced in broth.
Dreams fading.

A song repeats in my mind.
“Those were the days, my friend—
I thought would never end.”
Tomorrow is yesterday now.
Scattered memories float untethered.


—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Consuelo and Libby,
each with widely different
views and opinions, were
looking for a new home

after a really long search
they finally settled on one
pick that appeared to please
everyone involved

but early on Libby thought
she smelled a small gas
leak and conveyed her
concerns to all who would

Libby was roundly ignored
while Consuelo concentrated
on enlarging the fences and
installing state of the ancient
arts security features

until one day the gas leak
was more pronounced,
caused a bit of an uproar
inside the home, and even
began to trigger Consuelo’s
elaborate alarm system

Libby would not consent to
being torn asunder by a gas
explosion, and threatened to
bring charges against Consuelo
if he didn’t fix things right

Consuelo responded by launching
a multi-media attack on Libby
accusing her of bad faith,
bad breath, and everything else

Libby hired lawyers and brought
the charges, while Consuelo hired
clowns who made fun of Libby and
her “sham” charges

This may never end…

 Apollo 11 Moon Landing Pie


when one walks into
a bar and expects too much
it’s set up that way

drown misery with
cheap wine poured by cheap women
dressed in no more than

colorful tattoos
accompanied by groups of
heavyset bikers

watching you, waiting
for the least excuse to brawl
and leave you broken

down on the floor, with
your deflated self-esteem
and much-bruised ego

looking up at those
same women now pouring wine
for some other chap

who’d stolen your smile
to shine all over the place!
that’s enough, check please 

 Eye Pie: Here’s Pie in Yer Eye!


when you punch a time clock,
work less than full time so they
don’t have to provide benefits
and you know any mistake of any
size could result in your immediate

while top management gets big
salaries, all benefits, perks,
bonuses, and are actually part of a
regular program that recognizes the
long-term outcome of making mistakes
as being progress for the company,
which they kindly reward with an even
larger compensation package



when one realizes that the whole
“trickle down economy” concept
was derived from the age-old mire
of tradition which held that divine
royalty would grace loyal subjects
with special favors

and wasn’t that part of what we
had hoped to put behind us when
we won the revolution and drafted
our own Constitution? 


(following the expression “too
unbelievable” by James Lee
Jobe, Medusa’s Kitchen,
January 11, 2020)

Hark, the sound of a fanfare!
derived from medieval military roots
but now replacing bold knights on
horseback with an even bolder,
enhanced, graphics presentation of

a teasing, excessively sugary exterior
proceeds to smother us with too much
this and too much that, building a nice
cookie sandwich between “too
unbelievable” and “too undeniable”

and we just can’t resist taking giant
bites of that sweet cookie to swallow
whole, whipped topping and all, leaving
our unappeased appetites howling for

 Tri-Sliced Potato Pie
Let's See—Which slice is too big?

—Joseph Nolan

I came upon a pie,
And wondered
If the slice
Was too
Big for me,

But since it sat
So lovingly
Upon a windowsill,
Neglected, and free,

And I,
Being so desperately
Indebted to my hunger,

I took the tri-sliced
Pie asunder
And tasted its
Tasty wonder!


—Joseph Nolan

I shall build a grand-old castle
One brick at a time
And when I’ve built my castle,
My life will be so fine!

To protect my stately castle,
I shall dig a moat,
Fill it up with crocodiles,
Which I shall feed with goats.

I’ll toss them off of parapets
As I sit and drink my wine
And summon up some minstrels
To play old songs, divine.

Oh! what a happy time
It’ll be,
When I’ve built my castle,
And I’m a royal majesty!

 A square pie?  Impossible!

—Joseph Nolan

On the church
There was a steeple.
Inside, were lots
Of people.

And a preacher
Gave a sermon
As if
They were
Still learnin’.

On Saturdays,
Came the bride
With a groom
Along her side.

And they went
Forth to multiply
As well as they
Were able,
Like horses
In their stables.

And the factory,
In town, supplied
Jobs and goods,

To all who wished
To labor, there,
And spend their lives
With paychecks, spare,
Just enough
To survive. 

 Mummy Pie

—Joseph Nolan

The pear tree
Blushes in yellow,
The green glade
In gold,
When March
Brings to life
Early Spring.

The peach tree
Blushes in orange
And also in red,
As does the apple tree.

The pomegranate blushes

Each in its own way
Give light to our day
When each is
In its own season!

Today’s LittleNip:

—Joseph Nolan

Random rules of disorder
Are being established
By a guy with
Really bad hair.

Why should we care?
If Johnny
Shoots Billy
At school one day,
He might simply say,
“I was just playing President!”


Good Monday morning and our thanks to today’s contributors! Poetry events in our area begins tonight at the Sac. Poetry Center, 25th & R Sts., with Paco Marquez and Stacy Gee, plus open mic. That begins at 7:30pm.

On Thursday, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar on 16th St. in Sacramento features Theatre Mutiny plus open mic, beginning at 8pm. Also on Thursday at 8pm, Poetry in Davis presents Kathryn Hohlwein reading with Laura Hohlwein and Bob Stanley, plus open mic. That’s at the John Natsoulas Gallery on 1st St. in Davis.

This Friday (1/17) at 8pm, SacUnified Slam presents New Works Only Slam at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento. In Davis the same night, 7:30pm, The Other Voice Poetry Series features Len Germinara, Linda Jackson Collins and open mic at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Patwin Road.

Sun. from 1-3pm, Poetry in the Sierra Foothills features a special open mic: Bring poems inspired by Martin Luther King, or poems that would inspire King if he were alive today. That’s at Caffe Santoro, 493 Pleasant Valley Rd., Diamond Springs. Later that afternoon, from 4-5:30pm, Sac. Poetry Center will present Prose in the Afternoon, this month with Nancy Schnellkopf and Katya Mills, plus Flash Fiction with Kathleen Lynch. Then share 100 words of your own prose at open mic.

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.

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, still trying to figure out which piece of pie is too big. A girl does have to watch her figure ~

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