Monday, March 16, 2020

A Pandemic of Poetry!

—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

—Joseph Nolan

There are dreams afoot,
And worries, too.
The air
Is thick with fear!

For the first time,
Store-shelves are empty
And everyone
Too near.

Too near
For the feeling of comfort,
Too near for the
Risk of plague!

No more touching and hugging,
The California Dream has been played.

From now on
We’ll be more careful
Whom we choose to embrace.
More so, we’ll be more distant,
More kept alone in our space. 

 —Photo by Ann Privateer, Davis, CA

—Ann Privateer

Not Rowing
breaks the cycle
together in unison
embracing the pain
staying in the race
gains glory
to dance together

 —Artwork by Ann Privateer

—Ann Privateer

From a lover
Or a journal
Is not the same
Or is it, move on
The world is big
So many choices
Books, films
To break
Move the bar
It's time
To rock
The boat.

 —Photo by Jeanine Stevens, Sacramento, CA

—Sue Crisp, Shingle Springs, CA

We grew up together in a small neighborhood,
our houses side by side.  Each day we walked
down the country road to school.  You, skipping
ahead, me, hollering, “wait for me,” my shoe
had come untied.

We sent most of our growing-up years together,
school and kids’ adventures, not really thinking
ahead.  Days of going to the swimming hole,
climbing the old oak tree.  You were always on
to the next thing, me hollering, “wait for me.”  

The years went past.  We did the high school
prom.  Then, time to get the degree.  Making
the college choice was hard, me hollering,
“wait for me.”  We were making it through
those college years, when the world knocked
on my door, and I went to sea.

I remember holding you close, whispering,
“wait for me.”  Coming home was hard.  So
many unpleasant memories to forget at sea,
praying I would see you again.  Would you
have waited for me?

When I saw you on the dock, my heart flew free.
I knew we would be making our own history.
Marriage, children, how quickly the time did
fly.  They, too soon, had lives of their own, and
it was only you and me.

Then came the time when you were called home
by someone on high.  Once again, I said, “Don’t
go, wait for me,” even though I knew it was
goodbye.  The time without you seemed endless.
I held you deep in my memory.

Soon my time had come, and there you were.  You
had waited for me.

 —Public Domain Art Courtesy of Sue Crisp

—Joseph Nolan

When weeds won’t grow,
It will be a dismal winter,
With everything frozen in snow.

Generals speak, now,
Of flexible, nuclear options.

How this would go,
We all know,
First we would take out Moscow,
Then we would take out Beijing.

Then we would find
What madness would bring,
The covering blind—
The fallout
Of nuclear-winter,
Where even weeds
Won’t grow.

 —Photo by Jeanine Stevens

—Joseph Nolan

What have you undone for me, lately?
Are you ready to undo all the undoing
That finally did you in?

Omissions can be
Just as vile
As commissions!

Damp and dirty,
Drifting down
Through the fog
Of forgetfulness,
Just before you nod
To sleep,
Seeping into
Where things
Do not make sense,
No matter what you do,
You’ve always been undone
Way down here,
Along the River Styx.

You’ll find your Hades.
Keep staring at your wall-clock,
Since you get off at six.

Ambition was the key
To your success.
Now, though, wrapped
In outside comfort,
You feel your worst distress:

I don’t deserve to be here!
Surely someone will discover
That something is amiss.
I’ll be ejected, rejected,
Cast out into the darkness
To wander homeless,
Like the other poor,
Unfortunate wretches
God has given birth to
For reasons, all unknown,
Unimportant and
Fates of the misbegotten.

 Canadian Plumbing Issue: The Place Froze and
The Potty Tank Exploded Under the Pressure
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

Just before
The crossing-arms come down,
Those with fleeing-feet
Up and leave.

Behind them,
Without looking back,
No pillars of salt
Will mark their paths of exit,

As far and as fast
As their feet will carry them,
To any distant place
Where border-guards won’t stop them,
Carrying with them,
Everywhere they go,
Their hidden cargo.

 —Photo by Jeanine Stevens

—Joseph Nolan

Throw yourself
Into the karmic wind.
Let the karmic windmills
Spin and spin and spin.
Feel the heat of fire
Burn against your skin,
As you re-enter from orbit!

Such is the way
Of reincarnation:
Re-entering a world
Of pain and loss.
Pray for a good birth
Among enlightened parents
Since ignorance
Comes with such a cost!

 —Photo by Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

We provided a space,
A place, a base,
For you to spring from,
And spring from it,
You did,
Like a spunky slinky
Slipping down stairways
At will!

Oooh my!
I would like to follow,
But afraid to give a try,
Since I
No longer feel elastic
And the spring
Has left my step!

 —Photo by Caschwa, Sacramento, CA


by chance you have chosen to skip the warning
and jumped full force into hopeless addiction
all you can think of on each waking morning:
that urge to obey your new predilection
alcohol, tobacco, firearms, candy bars
sex, drugs, rock and roll, autographs from the stars
for warnings, they could use a marriage contract
but those get erased as a positive act 

 —Photo by Caschwa


come quickly to face a shining mask
to learn the art of fixing flaws
a hurt will grow if taken to task
there are no breaks to rest or pause
unlike the movies, no chance to leave
to stretch your legs or grab a snack
nor is it a card game with an ace up the sleeve
there’s only one move, and that is attack;

which puts a whole new meaning to “I’ve got your back” 

 —Photo by Caschwa


when the whole world is
holding its breath, watching
that animated man in the
White House talk like he’s
wearing a superhero

and wondering when and if
he will actually attempt to
fly out the window 

 —Photo by Caschwa


we made talk about ripe, old Hibernia
a subject that confounded us thoroughly
couldn’t break the ice, felt hypothermia
the end was near, and all those things so holy
we thought it was a typo for hernia
and promised not to mention this orally
will someone quickly pass me the smelling salts?
recess is over, time to join the adults


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joseph Nolan

Fake flowers last forever,
While real ones wither and die.
Woe unto the real ones,
Living side-by-side,
With the false.

How might they abide
Once time has taken its toll?
Or might the real ones
Completely overgrow
And cover all the false?


Thank you to today’s industrious contributors, as we launch into another week of unknowns. And look at all the wonderful photographs, courtesy of a potpourri of SnakePals!

So far this week, the following events have been cancelled:

•••Mondays: Sac. Poetry Center’s Monday Night readings for tonight, (3/16); also next Monday (3/23) and the one after that (3/30);

•••Friday (3/20): The Other Voice in Davis with Bob Stanley, Izzy Lala.

•••Sun. (3/22): Poetry of the Sierra Foothills with JoAnn Anglin and Arturo Mantecon in Diamond Springs.
Still on the schedule, as far as I know, are Tuesday’s Poetry Hour in Nevada City with Chris Olander at Nevada City Winery, 6-7pm, and Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe and Juice Bar with Diana Medina on Thursday at 8pm. There are more cancelled for later in the month; you can see those by scrolling down to the blue box (under the green one) in the column at the right.

Be sure to watch Medusa and/or the Facebook link for each event to make sure it’s still happening as we go through the week, and the same goes for workshops. I can’t guarantee that I’ll catch ‘em all, but I’ll try.

And yes, I know that in the U.S., “canceled” with one “L” is preferred, but personally, I like the look of two-L’s. So I will continue to tap-tap on the L until this cursed plague has left us. (The L you say!)


—Medusa, hoping you’ll have more writing time to unleash a Pandemic of Poetry ~

 “The world is big, so many choices…” —Ann Privateer
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

Photos in this column can be enlarged by
clicking on them once, then clicking on the x
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