Monday, February 10, 2020

The Richness of This World

Incredible Image Showing the Extraordinary Aftermath 
of One Star Engulfing Another
—Anonymous Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

—Joseph Nolan

We are not just
Clouds of emotion
Floating over the land.
We have two arms,
Two legs,
Two eyes,
Two hands.

We also have
Two halves
Of brain,
Two ways to go
Through the world,
In love or in pain.

Clouds cannot float together
Hand in hand,
Arm in arm
Or spoon together
In the night.
We’d have to say in some ways,
Compared to
Being a cloud,
Being human
Is all right.


—Joseph Nolan

After “Mistress of the Woods”
By Taylor Graham, Medusa’s Kitchen, 1/2/20

Her beak
Makes her complete:
“No nose-job for me!”
Says she.
“I use it for my family,
You see;
We would not eat,
Without it.”

“I use it to tear off
Fresh meat
Or pinch through
A mouse’s heart,
Before I drop it in
The nest
Of our family
And serve it bleeding—
Warm, in small pieces,
My little darlings, pleased
To no end!

“I use the wind,
Rising in the updrafts
On spread wings.
My song a shriek,
Sending little critters
Running to their holes.

“Most get away
But I have them
All marked, now,
In my hawkish vision
And I’ll fly by another day,
Without an early warning
To say,
I’m hungry
And so is my brood!”

 Crater of Ice on Mars
—Anonymous Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

I simply swirl stars
With my swizzle-stick,
Separate galaxies
Inside my glass.

I do this
For my pleasure:
Swirling stars together
Puts my heart at ease!

At pleasure and at ease,
I surf across the Universe,
Standing tall.
There is no gravity.
I do not bend my knees.

Putting down a drink,
I swizzle through
My memories
As though they were
A parable
Of my entire life.

I see many strangers
Who hardly
Got to know me well,
Including, among them,
At least one ex-wife.

Some friends were just acquaintances,
Some more closely acquainted,
Others, less,
But we were always separate,
Although close-mixed-together,
Like statues lined-up on
A windowsill.

As I swirl stars
To mix up separate galaxies,
While putting down a drink,
God, Himself, walks through
The swinging saloon doors,
Sits down next to me
And asks,
“Exactly what do you think?”

I say,
“The distance between stars
Is measured in light-years.
They are all
So very far apart.
That’s why
There’s so much space between us
And why we never
Really seem to capture
The essence
Of each other’s hearts!”


—Joseph Nolan

You cannot ask the dead for change
Or for anything else.
There is no chance of a do-over,
Apology, reformation,
Or any change of any kind.

They have left you behind,
Wherever they have gone.
Everyone leaves this world, one day.
To it, they never belonged.


—Joseph Nolan

There was a man
With a Grecian urn
Who shone it so brightly,
Its reflected brilliance
Burned the sun
Into a tiny lump of ash.

“It’s mine!” he said, “Mine!
And I shall have it
Bright as bright can be.
Damned be the sun
If it can’t compare.
It is mine in brilliance;
Though it burn the sun to ash,
What should I care?”

Of course, this sort of thing
Can only go on for so long. 


—Rhony Bhopla, Sacramento, CA

to touch one’s own art
is like self-touching;
self is the touched,
the going within, and
emerging of self.

If you are uncomfortable—don't stop,
just do the dishes, pick up dog poop,
scrub the floor—return to the page.

The process can be like
having your erection, and
looking at it for a while.


—Rhony Bhopla

How to record the richness of the world:
observe crust inside nostrils, splashes
of mud from trails on pant legs, footprints
along discovered bridges over creeks.

Count horse-hoof pocks from aerial heights,
inches entrenched into the red-brown-black
purplish-red emerging from blue, and—
bit of yellow. Feel: color.

See blue shapes of you, recording
a world full of riches, your lip-kiss, hands-kiss,
body-kiss, you saying many of your names,
recording colors heard through a prism,
color-sound, elucidated: cool calm.

Test lush, extrapolate, the inner working
of the senses onto mind, the pristine
reflection of self everywhere, contained
on creeks, pattern flicks of horse hooves,
voiceless calm, the view from a wing.

 Supernova Snowfall: Exploding Stars Scattering Traces of Iron
Over Arctic Snow

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
when you turn 21 years of age and
you have already sampled many
alcoholic beverages, and magazines
that tell and show everything

which adds up to you now having
all the information, age, and wisdom
your Baby Boomer bod needs to be
eligible to vote

and after just one more Constitutional
amendment, so will those kids turning 18



when you are introduced as a return
guest on a TV talk show, and the
moderator says “Wonderful to see you,
nice to have you on again” but you’re
not really sure if he is talking to you or
to his underwear

 Collision of Two Neutron Stars


when your dog, on a leash,
in the front yard, visits with
neighboring cats by fondly
touching noses

and then when loose in the
fenced in back yard, is quick
to impose the strictest, most
vicious No Trespassing



when one looks up the meaning of
OAB and MOAB and comes to the
general conclusion that it means:
Mother’s Over-Active Bowels



when you realize: the same government
that took away the Indians’ ancient
homeland to conform it to capitalism’s
highest and best-use protocols

that offered no compensation to the
legal property owners when the
Constitution was amended to free the
slaves (which started a fire that still
burns today)

that advertised the Electoral College
to be a failsafe system, but in fact
failed miserably on multiple occasions
to actually make it so

that thrives on the warmth of God
Bless America sentiments, while
turning a deaf ear to the cold truths
of living below the top 1% level

the same government that has taken
a few awkward steps backward, is now
quite due, very overdue, to start moving
forward once again

 Black Hole Swallowing Star

In the backyard of the Southern
California home where I spent
most of my formative years were
two quite sassy trees:

a grapefruit tree with tart fruit my
mother enjoyed, that always
extended its boughs over the metal
pole at one end of our clothes line

not my thing

plus a very mature peach tree with
fruit whose main purpose in life was
to remind us just what all those mouth-
watering peach confections really taste
like before the addition of generous
helpings of sugar

again, not my thing

several moves later, a few hundred
miles upstate, our son planted a
bare root apricot tree in our backyard,
which every season or two thrives with
enough sweet, savory fruit to satisfy
multiple households


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joseph Nolan

Time is taking me away.
There’s little more
I could really say
To make it any better
Or much worse.

Time is our enemy.
Aging, living’s curse.


Monday is here already, starting a week dedicated to St. Valentine, hopefully in all the good ways that love can be celebrated. Our thanks to today’s contributors of poetry on many subjects, all of which reflecting, as Rhony Bhopla says, “the richness of the world”.

Congratulations to The Sacramento Area Youth Speaks (SAYS) Youth Poet Laureate 2020 winners Cloudy, 17 (from Sacramento High School) and Alexandra, 17 (from Medusa’s alma mater, Mira Loma High School)! The Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission is currently in the process of selecting Sacramento County’s Poet Laureate for 2020-2022. Stay tuned! Meanwhile check out an article in Sunday’s
Sacramento Bee about one of the candidates, Andru Defeye, at For more about the SAYS Youth Poet Laureate program, as well as the adult program, go to Since its most recent Poet Laureate Indigo Moor left office Dec. 31, Sacramento is currently laureate-less… But thank you, Indigo, for your work as the PL and, of course, your fine poetry!

The richness of the poetry scene in our area begins tonight at Sac. Poetry Center, 7:30pm, with Matthew Chronister, Emiliann Ferguson, and open mic. Tomorrow night, Nevada County Poetry Out Loud Championships will take place from 6-8:30pm at the Eric Rood Center on Maidu Ave. in Nevada City.

Poetry Off-the-Shelves takes place Wed. from 5-7pm in Placerville at the El Dorado County Library on Fair Lane in Placerville. Then at 7:30pm, Laura Martin will read at The Word Thing (plus open mic), Shine, 1400 E St., Sacramento.

The San Francisco Writers Poetry Summit meets all day Thursday in San Francisco, so check that out at Back in Sac that day, Wellspring Women’s Writing Group meets at Wellspring Women’s Center on 4th Av., Sacramento. That night, from 8-10pm, Love Jones “The Swoon Effect” features love poetry and music inside Strikes on Laguna Blvd. in Elk Grove. And of course Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar meets at 8pm with open mic and featured readers, 16th St., Sacramento.

This weekend, Kelly Grace Thomas and Kathleen Lynch will read on Sunday (plus open mic) in Diamond Springs at Poetry of the Sierra Foothills, Caffè Santoro on Pleasant Valley Road, 1-3pm. 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, swirling and separating stars with her sizzling swizzle-stick ~


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clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.