Monday, May 18, 2020


—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Sue Crisp

—Sue Crisp, Shingle Springs, CA

It’s May, that tween-time of late spring
and early summer.  Today, perhaps our
last mini-rain of the season.  Air fresh,
clean of nature’s pollen.

Jewels from the sky, now diamonds in
the grass, clinging to the thirsty blades.
The shower brings other diamonds in
the grass to the surface.

Keen-eyed robins, ever watchful for
its priceless jewels of surfacing worms.
A grassland treasure for the robin’s
pleasure.  These wet diamonds in the
grass, more precious than gold.

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Sue Crisp

—Sue Crisp

I see them, the diamonds in the grass,
winking up at me, like faceted bits of precious glass.
Tiny drops of dew, sparkling in a rainbow hue,
they cling to grass blades and tiny springtime flowers.
All a gift from nature’s showers.

Oh, to view such a treasure chest,
when tear-like droplets show me their best.
A happening upon the diamonds in the grass,
a heartbeat, that to soon will pass.

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

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

here’s a bowl of tortillas and hot dipping sauce
you could have about all you could eat in one day
try the buffalo wings just to show that you’re boss
there is no ticking timer, you set your own pace
the cloth napkins are heirlooms, for stains you will pay
you cannot leave the table with those smears on your face

we are known to have earthquakes that topple the chairs
so be sure to grip hard on the edge of your seat
a big smile will so help you to mask all your errors
if the bowl is now empty you’ll need to get more
all the guests are assured they’ll have plenty to eat
there’s no shortage of wine, we have many to pour

here’s a bowl of tortillas and hot dipping sauce
we are known to have earthquakes that topple the chairs 

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan


in the sea, in the sea, in the deepest blue sea
live some turtles more ancient than any we know
on a seawall near Cornwall where no humans be
found, supposedly smarter than whales that can blow

oh if only these turtles could form words and speak
they could tell us the secrets of Cornish of yore
academic discussions of reaching one’s peak
in a kingdom united by grace and rapport

we can jump on the Internet day after day
and not get any facts that will tell us the truth
we should turn our attention to those in the bay
get the best information from long in the tooth 

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan


Abundant clumps of dust and
Bountiful gifts from shoe soles
Clutter the floors everywhere
Drawn even under the bed, home to
Every stray piece of whatever is
Foraging for a new address
Ground, in all its dirty states
Holding family reunions daily
If it is unwanted, it is right here,
Judgment suspended indefinitely
Killing time till the next sweep
Lifts it up off the floor and swiftly
Metes it out into the air we breathe,
Netherland to polluting substances
Openly clogging the filters with
Particulates way too large to
Quarantine in a vacuum bag
Raunchy, odorous, uninvited guests
Seep into every corner of the house
Too comfy here to ever sever their
Umbilical connections with dirt’s
Venue, king of the mountain of
Wisps and chips and snippets
Xenophobes, all, snugly enclosed
Yammering for more dirt
Zealous with discontent

 I don’t clean house enough these days…
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan


the very best way to create a storm
of popular beliefs is to bury them
in hard to decipher Cuneiform
ahem! that is not true, ahem!

standing alone now as the prime
source of myths cloaked as truth,
pictographs from an earlier time
could put a cow in the kissing booth

the precursor to handwriting
might reflect findings of experts,
or confused cavemen nail-biting
because discovery sometimes hurts 

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Michael Ceraolo, S. Euclid, OH


I'm the only non-human here,
starting with the Naps as a mascot
when I was just a pup
When Jack Graney was recovering from an injury
he taught me some tricks and we bonded
I also learned some baseball-related tricks:
barking at the umpire when the team did so,
and going out to the coacher's box
if the coacher had been ejected
And the team and I developed
a pregame routine that delighted the fans:
the players would space out and bend over
and I would jump from one back to another
Just like the humans I wasn't perfect:
I was once suspended by the league
for refusing to give the ball back
(I was re-instated when I learned
not to chase the ball unless told to do so),
and I became upset and bit a fan in Washington,
and was banned from that park by Mr. Griffith
I was still welcome in all the other ballparks
until I died of distemper at six,
meriting and obituary in the paper
and later being the hero of a narrative poem

* * *

Victory Faust

To fulfill the fortune teller's prophecy,
I presented myself to Mr. McGraw and informed him
that I would pitch the Giants to that season's
pennant and World Series championships,
and possibly several seasons beyond that
We did win that season's pennant even though
I didn't get to pitch until the end of the season,
but I didn't get to pitch in the Series
and we lost to the A’s because of that
I was there for half of the next season,
and even though I didn't get to pitch
we got off to one of the best starts ever
I went home to Kansas to await the call
to finally fulfill the prophecy,
but the call didn't come the rest of that season
as well as the next season, and I had to
write Mr. McGraw often to remind him of our destiny
Later I made my way to the West Coast
to see some family, and in 1914
when it looked like the Braves would catch the Giants,
I started walking to them from Seattle
but only made it as far as Portland,
then was institutionalized in Salem
with a diagnosis of dementia, whatever that means
I died the next year of TB
and was forgotten for half a century

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

Clouds and thunder
Rumble over land
Flashing lightning,
Lighting nighttime sky
With spokes of wonder!

The earth is thrilled
By its bride
Sweeping by its side
With so much
Energy, filled,
She can’t contain it,

Setting fire to a tree,
Leaving a reminder
Earth and sky are lovers
For eternity.

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan
No longer remembers
The last time
Venus drew near.

He drifts through space
In his own private orbit
Trying to
Let his mind clear.

It is not for Mars
To draw Venus in,
Away from Mercury’s grasp.

Each planet
Has its own orbit.
Must let each one pass. 

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

(Questions to Classmates in Preparation of Yearbook Notes)

How would you describe yourself
If you were a chimpanzee
And wanted to get
A banana from me
For free?

Assuming you were Sisyphus,
What tools would you employ
To keep a positive attitude
In spite of your frustrations?

If you had all the strength
Of an elephant
And a hide as tough as a rhino,
How would you react
To pink flamingos
On your neighbor’s lawn?

Fill in the blanks.




 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

With each layer of germs
You’ve destroyed,

With each cleanser
You’ve employed,

While others,
You’ve enjoyed,

In sourdough,
Yogurt and beer,

Did you like the taste
Of some, but not others?

Which ones?
Their sisters?
Or brothers?

To the germs we love
Let’s raise a toast,

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

Must we grow gray
Before we go,
Nails grow thin
And strumming, slow,
So in a thousand
Ways we know
Our end is
Growing nearer?

The days grow dearer.
And morning’s light
More precious.

Each rising, now, we see
Ever clearer,
Despite the dimming
Of our minds, our eyes
And blurry morning-mirror. 

 Arctic Fox Shedding For Summer
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

Today’s LittleNip:

—Joseph Nolan

The magic of
A shaking whisk,
In eggs
To make
An omelette
Delights the mind
And sends a mouth
To watering.

A cook
Her tricks!


Many thanks to today’s team of poets and photographers for starting our week in the Kitchen off right, including Caschwa (Carl Schwartz), who has been fiddling with forms (can you tell which ones he’s done?). Carl, by the way, discovered a site that debunks the Medusa myth of snakes, seeing the whole thing as a misogynistic construct; check out for more about this.

Joseph Nolan reminds us that there are many online poetry readings these days from all over the country and all over the world. Start with Eventbrite (—which has a “free virtual readings” section— but keep prowling for more and more all over the Net.

Here in our area, Sac. Poetry Center uses Zoom for weekly readings and workshops. For more info, go to

•••Mon., 10am: Writers on the Air hosted by Todd Boyd: RSVP in advance via email to Zoom link:    
(Meeting ID: 358 106 078/Password: 025674)

•••Mon. 7:15pm: SPC Monday Night Socially Distant Verse, this week hosted by Lynn Belzer:
(Meeting ID: 763 873 3462 ("P O E T R E E I N C")/ Password: spcsdv2020)

•••SPC Tuesday night workshop hosted by Danyen Powell: Bring a poem for critique: (Meeting ID: 346 316 163)

•••Wed., 6pm: MarieWriters workshop (prompts) hosted by Nick LeForce:

•••Thurs. 6:30pm: Reading by Laurel Rayburn, Rick Rayburn, Marty Rayburn, hosted by Bob Stanley:

•••Fri., 4pm: Writing from the Inside Out workshop led by Nick LeForce. Reg. in advance at:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. (If you have registered before, use the same link.)

Also this week:
•••Fri., 7:30pm: Video poetry reading on Facebook by Davis Poet Laureate James Lee Jobe at OR

For other upcoming poetry readings and workshops available online while we stay at home, 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.



 —Public Domain Cartoon

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