Friday, January 10, 2020

Keeper of Nightmares

—Poems by Linda Imbler, Wichita, Kansas
—Anonymous Photos Courtesy of Linda Imbler


A distracted, harried woman, on her way to work,
Collided with a truck,
Now an ersatz depiction of a sleeping woman,
Amid tubes and drips she lies.
She concentrates on the doctor’s light,
She knows it is important.
On the outside, appearance is insensate,
“Brain-dead,” the diagnosis.

An autistic Amerind of the Navajo,
He has never laughed, spoken nor cried,
Present at the tribe’s night dance,
“Poor kid doesn't even know his own name.”
He concentrates on the firelight,
He knows it is important.
On the outside, appearance is insensate,
His eyes lock with an image at the center of the flame.

An orchid in a greenhouse tucked amid blooms of gladiolas,
Full of color and fragrance, useful for formal events,
And gives pleasure when viewed,
But it won't interact, or are we just confused?
It concentrates on the sunlight,
It knows it is important.
It shows a smiling countenance, lifts, grows strong.
On the outside, appearance is insensate,
“You can't carry on a conversation with a flower.”

How little regard some have,
For that which they judge unfeeling,
How fragile the connection, the understanding,
For that which they feel is incognizant.
Judgement from unfeeling minds and hearts,
From my point of view, such disregard is insensate.


Who is the keeper of nightmares?
Who is the killer of souls?
Blaming that which lies without,
He to whom we say our morning prayers.

If all men at once lay down arms,
Lay down arms instead of bodies,
How would the world change
Instantly if all believe and wield charm.

Instead war is kept as a curse
One from which there is no escape
For to share that much heart
We are only willing to intersperse.

We'll stay the keeper of nightmares,
We'll stay the killer of souls,
Blaming that which lies without,
He to whom we glibly throw our cares.



A shabby town feigning glamour,
A vapor amid the clamor,
Distractions from sidewise contours
masking that unwholesome smell.

Lurking snake oil salesmen,
with unctuous undertaker bent,
switch dark lights to bursting flash, then
ensnare you within the carousel.

Lolita dolls posed on the street,
exteriors seem so sweet
but within, cold hearts that seldom beat,
features masked with colors.

Genial contempt disguised,
smiles that never touch their eyes,
hardset, merciless mouths plied
to take another dollar.

Blazing buildings so compact,
the wrapping maze that so attracts,
leads to where the minotaur’s kept,
purposeful deceit.

Beware the bright yellow brick road,
false idols dot it, we’ve been told,
hidden deep cracks suck your soul
and feed this town’s conceit.


The world no longer shines gently as the yellow season.
There are no cooling features to this day.
I can hardly bear the oppressive heat in clothes.
Ceramic birds fly,
and from my once elegant arms,
my wings beat,
growing from seeds of bruise and laceration.
Sitting upon this vehicle,
drawing upon my will,
I find I have gears I’ve never used.
I feel the burning strain in my lungs,
hear the clamor of oxygen for space.
My wheels find purchase as I climb
and finally respite.
I have arrived at the signaled end and beginning,
a place of silence and no regret,
my stele now planted at the apex.
And over the hill,
I see no poverty of rainbows.
The swirl of the stars grows,
even as the moon slips from behind thin clouds,
even in the sun’s silver flame.
The bicycle gains speed in my ceremonial descent,
dropping falsehoods in its wake.
I am no longer its captain
and all at once I am homesick
for a place I’ve never been.
Someone once asked me
how much does light weigh.
I think I know.



Chester ran across the road,
or tried to,
he didn't quite make it.
Here comes running,
one who neither believed
in licenses nor leashes.
A truth as hard as the concrete
across which Chester is now spilled
entering her eyes,
as tears, remorse
release the other way.
Then Chester stands,
once again whole,
without blood-soaked fur.
He gives himself a quick shake
and runs on,
runs like the wind.
Nothing’s gonna stop him now.


The sharpened edge of half-light moon,
the burn and dark of orbit’s turn,
upon the road, I’ve seen struggle and sorrow
in an ever-changing world.

It takes extraordinary men to offer song supernal,
to dismiss by ancient rule,
the dismal, weary vale of earth
and help illumine a dark land so cruel.

Bring moon-lit dreams into harmony,
give clarity to dreams,
use a single stream of warmth
with multi-colored coursing beams.

And while new brooms sweep clean
let the old song remain that prior choirs sing,
do not believe it’s ever too late to mend,
to give oneself over so utterly to grief.

The echo of what once so joyfully
lay in my mind,
even after the ear had been stilled,
for me, a now forgotten man whose tale’s ill-timed.

This must be some macabre jest,
a tragic chessboard play,
the rich, sweet sound of a happy life
now forever held at bay.

What a lovely fantasy,
to imagine I can thumb through
the pages of my life’s book,
grand great memories in my head imbued

And not find myself bereft
of all that made life bearable,
and full of much wondrous meaning,
my finest moments commendable.

I continue to be dismayed
that the final die is now cast,
and the strings have been well set,
the last notes winding, achieved within my dance.


She makes him yell,
he feels he must hit.
She had no one to tell,
but was tired of it.

Decided one day,
she could no longer stay.
Knew without delay,
she had to get away.

Total renovation,
in a new town.
New name, new look, new car,
lays new roots down.

She makes new friends,
her history altered.
Still remembers the old ones,
before he isolated her.

She took no letters, pictures, notes,
she's hiding in plain sight.
People notice rude types,
so she keeps herself polite.

She gave up her old life,
she's learning how to thrive.
For now, this will have to do,
small price to pay to stay alive.

She now has control of self,
what saved her most, in part,
she didn't have a change of mind,
she had a change of heart.


Today’s LittleNip:

Nature is ever at work building and pulling down, creating and destroying, keeping everything whirling and flowing, allowing no rest but in rhythmical motion, chasing everything in endless song out of one beautiful form into another.

—John Muir


Welcome back and our thanks to Linda Imbler for her contributions to the Kitchen this morning, all the way from Wichita! For more about Linda, go to

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.



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’s an article you might check out, from Annie Finch: "Listening to Poetry", at

Carol Louise Moon has sent us a form, about which she writes: "I have a poem here that uses only words with the vowel, "O." Called a One-Vowel-Only poem, the poet can choose any one vowel to use when creating their poem (including the title)." For more about this form, also called the Univocalic, go to

—Carol Louis Moon, Placerville, CA

Glow from orb-most moon
on Common Woods shows
pond frond’s growth crowds
grotto-form rocks. Fronds
on stocks bow low, droop so
to pond. Coots-of-soot troll
rock/moss pond.

Cork-color frogs cross brown
hollow logs from sod to pond—
from pond to log. Brown storks
who stood on rocks do footwork
on long, strong logs. “Who-hoot”
hoots, swoops odd old owl.

Blood-color fox prowls solo
(to or fro)—looks long for toys
of corn-glow moths; looks to
know who owns good woods.

Who? frogs or coots? solo fox?
wood stork? Or, orb-most moon?

gold moon glows
wood storks groom
dogwoods bloom


People often use rhyming lines in their poems, as for example, some of Linda Imbler’s poetry today. Here are two poems which came in this week which demonstrate that usage—not “official” forms, but poets using rhymes to shape their message:

—Sue Crisp, Shingle Springs, CA

It’s winter, what kind of weather
can you expect?
With a little rain now and then,
you’ll find yourself bedecked.
Whether you’re large or small,
you seek some sort of ombrifuge,
from the tiniest sprinkle
to the forceful deluge.
For some of the smaller creatures,
large leaves will do.
But I suspect only an umbrella
will do for you.

* * *

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

He pretends to listen,
And she pretends he hears.
They love each other dearly!
On, through all the years,
But they live on different planets,
And drink from separate troughs.
He is very fond of stews,
And she drinks only broths.

For them, it’s not a bother
To translate every word
Into the other’s language,
So each, in turn, is heard.
They hear, but seldom listen.
Each goes his own way;
That is how they like it,
Despite what the neighbors say!


And last week I commented that, since Carl Schwartz had invented a new form, he should name it. Carl says: "I hijacked the Haiku and held it hostage under the hot lights of interjections, thus: Haijackulantern. Or not… " Here's another Haijackulantern:

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
he was invited
to participate in the
military surge

but he had nothing to war

a grizzly rested
at the entrance to a tent,
the camper returned

and couldn’t pass the bar

he had a severe
phobia to extreme heights
but short jumps were fine

being minus the far


—Medusa, hijacking good poetry from wherever it appears ~


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