Monday, May 11, 2020

Shining At Horizons

—Cut-Out Poem by Duane Toops, Melbourne, FL
(Based on Sue Crisp’s Poem, “Ages and Stages”, 
Medusa’s Kitchen, 5/4/20)

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

When it came time replace
my old, dull gray car
the new arrival was a
shiny blue

people I knew and others, too
offered compliments on
that nice, new car
shiny blue

and then there is this
turkey in the neighborhood
who boldly stands in
the middle of the street

claiming that territory
as his private, sole
mating grounds
outsiders not welcome

as if anything too flamboyant
was competition for him
especially if it happens to be
shiny blue

well, defend it must, and
so that turkey would
strut right up against my
shiny blue

not let me advance into its
area of mating, not let the hen
he was dating ever see my
shiny blue 

 —Photo by Caschwa


maybe now’s the wrong time to bring this up
our United States of America
victim of incompetent planning, yup
coronavirus pandemic coma

while winning the war and freeing the slaves
we forgot to attend to some people
who gave their last breath and went to their graves
knowing how much tempers can be lethal

we need a new flag-salute tradition
instead of that old pledge of allegiance
use Preamble to the Constitution
to honor our several states’ convergence

let us truly act indivisible
to show the whole world that we are able 

 —Photo by Caschwa


I am not now
at liberty to say
whatever is on my
mind, onCe sheltered
in place with Romping family
all paying close Attention to each
 word and thought esCaping from my lips
I could easily err, mistaKing false for fact

 —Photo by Caschwa


am the solution
take solace in my
uncanny knack
to figure things out
and set up a plan
that everyone will
just admire

fill my plate with
abundant food
and compliments
then I’ll tackle
another tricky
problem, that
is how it works


I am a magic
my forelegs
take direct orders
(“special orders
don’t upset us”)
and the rest just
fall in line


I’m sooo late
returning a book
to the library
the whole Dewey
Decimal System
had to be
while waiting

 —Cut-out Poem by Duane Toops

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA
We all gloved-up
Before we went out
To sup.

It was almost just-like before
After they sanitized
The handle of the door,
We gloved,
As we all
Walked in.

But it gave us q      uite a start,
When we saw
How far a            part
The tables
Were from each              other.

And the waiters all wore
So that they could cover the miles,
Running down the aisles,
From table to table,
As fear they eschewed!

And we all tried very hard
To swallow delicious food.

“Who was that masked man,
The waiter
Or maitre-

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

I am
Coming up to you,
Like a fish
To a hook.

I am
Coming up to you,
Like a fish
In a brook.

I’m coming
With my
Mouth open,

As though
I were
In prayer,

Hoping for


As I am
Coming up to you,
I see your image there,
But it’s broken
Along its middle,
As it crosses the water-line,
And I am scared
By things of the air
And so I am awoken.

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

Why now?
Why not wait?
A little dust
Will do us
No harm.

Why now?
A thin layer of dirt
Is seldom fatal.

Why now?
Dirt is what we are made from.
Certainly, we can tolerate around us
Much of our own substance.

Why now?
It is not time for cleaning.
Even an avalanche of dirt
Has seldom been known
To take out
A passing man
Recovering from a hangover.

 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

As we find our faces
Being translated into art,
Brows, hair, ears and chin,

And our lives,
Into stretching ribbons,
Shining at horizons,
Beneath a setting sun,

We wonder:
Were we

In all the things
We worked for
Fought for,
Hoped for,

Whether we have lost
Or won?
When our days
Are nearly done. 

Let the Fun Begin!
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Joseph Nolan

Once you have oozed,
Slipped, dropped or dripped
Out of your container,
Through its cracks,
Into the outside,
You will notice
You have been separated
From whatever it was
You felt
You needed to hide.

All your secrets
Get stripped away,
You feel a little naked
And would really like to know,
“Where did all my secrets go?”

But that’s when
The fun begins!

 Not every day can one be asked to help 
save the galaxy with a raccoon ~
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

Today’s LittleNip:

—Joseph Nolan

To be punished for virtue
Is more painful
Than vice,

But the latter’s preceded by pleasure,
So at least
You don’t suffer twice!


Our thanks to Duane Toops, Carl Schwartz (Caschwa) and Joseph Nolan for cheering up our Mondays, and a reminder that, although most of our area poetry readings and workshops have been put on hold while we shelter-in-place, some of them (notably those of the Sacramento Poetry Center) have been transferred to the online Zoom. For 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.

May 7’s Big Day of Giving was apparently a huge success, with close to 64,000 donations bringing in a record $11.6 million for 615 local nonprofit organizations! For more info, go to And thanks to our community for honoring our nonprofits so well during this time of need!

Poets will be saddened to learn that Sacramento’s award-winning poet, Carol Frith, passed away last weekend. She and her husband, Laverne, were active in Sacramento’s poetry community for many years, continuing to edit their long-running journal,
Ekphrasis, and Carol was extensively published, including several books of poetry. She was a good friend and mentor to me, bringing me into the poetry and publishing communities and always supporting me in every way possible. Please keep Laverne in your thoughts, along with Carol and their family and friends.



Sleep Well, Frannie-Alice ~ 
—Public Domain Visual Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

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.