Sunday, January 23, 2022

Burning My Yearnings

—Poetry and Photos by Ann Privateer, Davis, CA


Who let me hang out
With them
While they fixed things

One worked at the zoo
Before retiring
One was a street cleaner

Though I learned these
Two facts long after
They were gone

One taught me to
Strike a match
One taught me to

Use tools while all
The girls worked
In the kitchen.



Grandmother's breasts
Spilled into her arms
They collided
With my tiny head

As she smoothed
My hair and caressed
My shoulders
All at once I felt

Protected and unafraid
Her hands gave me


Lives in churches
Hides in hills
Thanks the thankless
For beautiful days
Together or apart
When day is done
But not forgotten.



Get me up and running
Early and busy because
I did not know my home
Could disappear
Into the future
Where highways are


I’m burning my yearnings
for love and fame, stop
wondering if the stock market 
crashed and incendiary
cash went down the drain, life
is by chance, we die alone;
lately I’m beginning to depend
more on trees. 



in another place far from
my domicile, a patriarchy
with a different face
and nonstop work that
doubts their elders’ place.


Today’s LittleNip:

We do not remember days, we remember moments.

—Cesare Pavese


—Medusa, with thanks to Davis resident Ann Privateer for today’s fine poems and for her photos of the lovely little hamlet of Davis, California!
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of 
Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



Saturday, January 22, 2022

A Flint-Strewn Path

 —Poetry by Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain


(Iliad, Book 22)

[Hektor’s ghost:]

Brother Illusion, you stand alongside me
Outside the Skaean Gates, our Troy-town walls
With a plumb-line straight ashen spear to hand me,
For I have just cast my own stout spear
At glint-armored Akhilleus; it flew
Straight at the below-throat softness
His chest’s topmost bone-cup underscores—then veered:
Gusted aside, one puff, by a god or goddess? Then clattered,
Faithless lance, to the hard dirt lightly stone-studded.
I knew I could count on you, Dêíphobos,
To stanch the Fate-flow liquefying my knee-sinews,
To stanch my coward-run around our walls,
Shame even now ringing our city
Like a blood moat. Akhilleus treads hard on
My spear, forbids its retrieval. He flings
At me his Pelian ash-spear; the point gouges
The soft part of my throat with enraged metal.
I gather in one agonized flash my last
Dismay at your desertion, your vanishing,
Brother Illusion. Gather, this many-stranded
Moment, one question: had you, O Dêíphobos,
Alone stood facing the blood-handed Slaughterer,
Would I have stalked from the disgorging gates
To pass you my best bronze-tipped spear
In sibling love and trust? Or shrugged
Craven instinct around me and vanished in flesh,
As you now have misted away through the sky-portals?  





But we must not forget that the strange interest which
the man inspires has caused all his failures to be brought
into notice; a cruelty which no other poet has suffered
to a like extent.
                    —Amy Lowell

It might be a completely different writer
From him who wrote “La Belle Dame Sans Merci”
Who penned the uneven “Sleep and Poetry.”
In clichés or listless rhymes, the schoolboy fighter?
Hard to locate: once in a while, a line
Deserving to slip into Endymion.
Even at that stage, odd how Keats can print
His longest narrative, sacrificial pawn
Pressed forward, meant to “die away.” A hint
How different his thought-pattern from that of Pope?
Even without foreknowledge of his death,
Why hold back verses for seven years in hope
They’ll outlast life? He issues them hot with breath
—To keep their heat or cool? Process of mind
Matures like produce; consumed, leaves husks behind:
As Jacqueline Rose defined
(Like Keats’ discards along his flint-strewn path?)
Our need to know embryo poems by Sylvia Plath. 





Cortez? Balboa? Who cares that Keats got wrong
Who first found the Pacific? He mistook
No other detail that counts against the strong
Fine sonnet of his first volume. Keats could look
With absorbed prolonged fixation at the brink
On seawater rippling or motionless. “Eagle eyes”
Matters: the raptor’s gaze would never blink
Though aimed straight at the sun—not cicatrize
Blinded as would a human’s. Notice the glare
Where daylight pounds coastal ocean? This youth sees
What Balboa can’t while bent above the slab
Of his discovery. Keats is caught mid-stare,
Steeped in it, not praying, not spouting banalities.
Cortez becomes Keats by knowing when not to blab.


Too soon, Keats with that preternatural sense
Of Fate all around him, will subject that gaze
Of “eagle eyes” to unfocused drift. How tense
We turn, to find his “sick eagle” in a daze,
Helpless to tell apart sun from sky. Yet still,
The Muse is with him. This famed “Chapman” sonnet
Finds Keats reciting a vaunt or brag that will
Come stamped with the Odyssean seal upon it.
Spinning his yarn of ever-discovering travel,
Is Keats not Athena’s favorite, though he’s worn
And scarred by warfare and loss of ships? The gravel
Of vocal fry should leave a throat half-torn.
But the goddess rinsed him of salt, turned blond and bright
His gray hair. Voice rings young, still keen to fight.   


(on Keats’ Endymion)

There’s no such thing as bad publicity,
We chant at bad reviews. But haven’t reckoned
With Britain’s critics of the nineteenth century:
Leisured, half-learned Scottish twits once beckoned
Snootily from the Quarterly and Blackwood’s,
Chief prey—but not the lone man rendered victim—
John Keats. Much gleeful derision at the backwoods
Poet they termed an “apothecary.” Dictum
Or screed half-cocked for faults found that were his
Or weren’t. Their snark was sheer sardonic class,
Part tossing of darts to bullseye Leigh Hunt’s phiz:
Whatever their gripe, their scribblings taste of brass,
All crassest assassination. With their scatter-gun
Blasts, could they turn Keats a second Chatterton?




What did his life give Keats?
More than it took away?
He gave us his heartbeats

In thoughts the world repeats
But could not in his day.
What did his life give Keats?

Gifts fit for one who meets
Those folk who read for play?
He gave us his heartbeats

On birth-of-word-steeped sheets
We search when in dismay.
What did his life give Keats?

The tart repulse that greets
Verse with new things to say.
He gave us his heartbeats;

He died in fevered heats
No doctor could delay.
What did his life give Keats
Who gave us his heartbeats?


Today’s LittleBitLongerNip:

—Tom Goff

—O Mother Goose, pray, Mother Goose,
Where have you been?

—To stony-gated London Town,
To see, and not be seen.

—O Mother Goose, pray, Mother Goose,
How found you London Town?

—I ’scaped a hen, who watched my pen,
Flew light as the goose-down.

—O Mother Goose, pray, Mother Goose,
What saw you there and then?

—I peered and peeked, with up-tilt beak,
At ladies famed and men.

—O Mother Goose, pray, Mother Goose,
How tell you what you saw?

—Like silly goose, with large and loose
Embroidery of jaw.

—O Mother Goose, pray, Mother Goose,
How give you no offense?

—I gabble wild, like five-years’ child,
Plumed plump with innocence.


Classy SnakePal Tom Goff writes to us of Keats today, in sonnets and couplets and otherwise, and our thanks to him for his words and his rhythms and his references—definitely points and poems to ponder!

For more about the history of pens, go to AND/OR




Morphology of a Pigeon Feather








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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



Friday, January 21, 2022

Remember Stormy Nights?

—Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA
—And then scroll down for Form Fiddlers’ Friday!!


A symphony of storm, you say
while the wind flails rain and oak boughs
at the window. A distant pine taps the lines.
Staccato so the power does a dim percussion.
On and off, and then
again, the lights are on and
off. The theme recurs in stereo, surround-

You'll draw this likeness out
through a long December evening, as if you
could conduct the wind and rain, the tall pines
to your counterpoint. But the wind
is finding a resonance in shingles, a shiver
at the eaves. A new reverberation
welling in the chimney pipes.
A shutter's loose.

I nod and listen
for the grand finale
that brings down the house.

(prev. pub. in Rain City Review, 1993)


Remember stormy winter nights
of years ago? the blinding z’s
in the same blink as thunder-clap,

the old cat bursting from your lap
where she’d been sleeping curled at ease,
your dog on guard against such frights.

You loved to turn out all the lights
and sit in expectation while the trees
outside were dancing rap & snap.

Now, bundled up for bed, wool cap
to muffle ears, arthritic knees
protest tomorrow’s storm-struck sights—

the fallen oaks, the savaged creek.
It’s peace and comfort, now, you seek.


Winter dark
before dawn
horned owl calls and screech owl
and from the distance another calls
winter’s dark
and hunger
before dawn.



There was no stroke of sleepy-hour
by the clock, but just the most barely
audible yet piercing call
in manner of midnight summons.
It was owl on the other side
of glass door that slides between
dream and waking, between
death and safety, my cat’s black purr
against my hand.


my small car
when BANG! metal
Rearview revealed chainlink
panels on pavement at my
bumper. Driver of truck/trailer
lost his load on my car’s butt. What the ___?

Got out. Driver beside himself so
very sorry. We looked & looked
but where was the harm? Not one
scratch. Miracle? I wished
him better rest-of-
his-day. Smiles all
around on


I walk outside, leather shoes in fresh wet grass.
This is a game of hide and seek, a treasure hunt
in the wild north corner among our stunted oaks.
What unnamed discovery waits for me today?

This a game of hide and seek, a treasure hunt
for what pops out of underground, summoned
by wet & rot, to bloom, wither, then disappear.

In the wild north corner among our stunted oaks,
a wide dark mouth, hibiscus-like, it’s lovely—
what to call this fungus that emerged overnight?

What unnamed discovery waits for me today
to add to my list? Blewit, Hairy Curtain Crust…
Click a pic into my plant-app: here’s the Goblet!

Today’s LittleNip:

          (Splitgill Mushroom)

Here in
my woodpile
commune of oak and pine I’ve
got a schizo fungus that looks
like fluff,
meringue, or
angel wings.


Mushrooms living in short-term communes—plenty of those this season, popping out of the soil and shining like what Taylor Graham calls angel wings. All triggered by the “rap & snap” and bluster of our recent Seed of the Week, Angry Winter Nights. Many thanks to TG for capturing those little shrooms on paper.

The forms that Taylor has used today include a Word-Can Poem (“Owl and the Pussycat”); a Trilonnet (“You Loved a Rainy Night”); a Double Etheree (“What I Heard”); a Trimeric (“A Cup of Dew”); and a Trinet (“January 13” and “Schizophyllum Commune”).

And now it’s time for . . .

It’s time for more contributions from Form Fiddlers, in addition to those sent to us by Taylor Graham! Each Friday, there will be poems posted here from our readers using forms—either ones which were sent to 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, by golly! (See Medusa’s Form Finder at the end of this post for resources and for links to poetry terms used today.)

Joyce Odam has sent us a very smooth WEAVE today (Syllabic 9, 11, 13,  11,  9):

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

Why do all these sorrows stay with me?
I am so weary of them. Why don’t they go?
I do have pity for their loneliness—the way they
shadow me. Is that our bond : the way we cling?
Is it comfort that we share—or need?

Here are three snappy Pleiades that were sent to us this week by Carol Louise Moon:

—Carol Louise Moon, Placerville, CA

Phlox of purple field, Bill is
photographing a hidden
Phoebe bird, his favorite.
Phased by nothing else in view—
Pheasant flying straight up—he
photographs Phoebes. Next year,
Phalaropes, the wading birds.

* * *

—Carol Louise Moon

Nature vs. Nurture, this

Naturalist suggests. He’s
New to teaching school. He is
Navy-retired, so it is
Nautilus shells and the odd
Narwhals: single tusk. Hope he’s
Not just a substitute here.

* * *

—Carol Louise Moon

Quaint neighborhood sits near a
Quaker church which provides a
Quiet contemplation time.
Quotes from founders encourage
Quest to share peace message.  I’m
Quick to rise, singing hymns to
Quench my thirst for something true.

Last Friday’s Ekphrastic Challenge was the ooey-gooey pizza in the photo above. Three poets leapt to the opportunity; Caschwa’s poem is also a Roundelay, another one of last week’s challenges:

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Gluttony, debauchery,
Is melted, mozzarella cheese
That clings, strings,
Droops and drips
From Chicago pizza,
Thick and deep—
Something you might yearn for
In your sleep,
Like other things,
Rich and satisfying,
Once you’ve seen
This picture?

* * *

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales, UK

As children greet the box with joy,
my own mood flat, with strings attached,
as overhear ‘Grandpa will pay’—
for disliked splat, tomato paste,
chorizo fare, meal baked-in plate.

Why cut with wheel as glazier might,
by sectors, when segments my style;
to top it all, a choice required;
try find a partner with your taste
to share, with other parties, food.

Margherita, a daisy chain,
pepperoni for you, grandad,
with anchovies as added bait,
what fate for buds in dotage state,
as bottle proffered, swig supposed?

So take from me this corrugate,
the huts, express, Italianate,
but treat me, steak and kidney pie,
a Cornish pasty, clotted cream,
some Stilton cheese or Cheddar gorge.

Protected geographical,
the status worn, map-rooted food—
not foie gras for French language used—
but Shetland lamb or Orkney beef,
Yorkshire forced rhubarb—nostra pain?

Four nations held by union flag,
which once knew common palate, tongue,
share menu, cosmopolitan.
Snug ploughman’s lunch in village pub
for bright strip lights or knock on door?

* * *

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

he picked a bowl just large enough
for fresh grown greens, and roots, and fruits
the dressing choice would now be tough
the one named French in certain schools
has been hit with a change of rules
the label tries to be correct
but may not say what he’d expect

Italian, he could make himself
a cruet and a flavored oil
it’s all right there up on the shelf
emboldened by “been there, done that”
he might just botch a perfect mix
that wouldn’t look like in the pics
alas, he never ranked tall hat

at least there’s dressing in the fridge
that has survived long term storage
across the pond, and past the bridge
without a name that can be read
it might be toxic, leastwise crude
don’t make this part of daily bread
it’s time to toss this unsafe food 


Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) also sent us a poem which he calls an “Envelope Sonnet, except without a tail (the last two lines). I suggested it was a “Bobtail Sonnet”. (“Nimby” stands for “Not in my back yard”):


sweat shops in China are eager to vend
high tech, the new secret ingredient
that dictates doing whatever’s expedient
as long as it brings them money no end

they follow best practices, which include
finding land that is vacant, except for some losers
and making it the tool of high platform users
no need to say sorry if this is perceived rude

the land underneath your poor excuse for a home
with dust on the top of your cardboard box
and odors that reek of uneaten lox
has become the “property” of a billionaire gnome

who placed the high bid at an auction sale
his dozer and cat will remove all those boxes
(homeless encampments: the worst of all poxes)
good site for a warehouse, the new holy grail 


And here is an Acrostic from Carl, which he says “swells from 1 to eleven syllables, hangs on 11 for 3 lines, then shrinks back to 1.” Them Acrostics is slippery little devils, they is…


Nowhere fast
On an endless
Road to conniving,
And pathetically dumb
Nonsense utterances that
Confuse even the most ardent
Experts of high repute, world renowned
Spokespersons for useless gibberish with
Exhaustive parchment diplomas nourishing
Lavish pillars embroidered with pulp fiction
Little or nothing amounting to real facts
Surely evil error and happenstance
Lingers in all of the long vowels
Itching for a quick implosion
Killing all the deep meaning
Embodied in the clouds,
Carefully hidden


Many thanks to our SnakePals for their brave fiddling! Would you like to be a SnakePal? All you have to do is send poetry—forms or not—and/or photos and artwork to We post work from all over the world, including that which was previously-published. Just remember: the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!



See what you can do with this week’s poetry form, and send it to! (No deadline.) This week's challenges:

•••Weave (see Joyce Odam’s example above): Syllabic 9/11/13/11/9

Nobody sent in a Saraband last week, so let’s repeat it:


Today, Taylor Graham used two other forms which we haven’t done before—
•••Trimeric:, and the

Why’n’cha give’em a shot?

And see the bottom of this post for yet another challenge, this one an Ekphrastic one!


MEDUSA’S FORM FINDER: Links to poetry terms mentioned today:

•••Acrostic Poem:
•••"Bobtail" Sonnet: Envelope Sonnet without the last two lines
•••Ekphrastic Poem:
•••Envelope Sonnet:
•••Weave: Syllabic 9, 11, 13,  11,  9
•••Word-Can Poem: putting random words on slips of paper into a can, then drawing out a few and making a poem out of them.


 Today's Ekphrastic Challenge!
See what you can make of the above
and send your poetic results to
 (No deadline.)


—Public Domain Photo 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.






Thursday, January 20, 2022

Where Does the Red Brick Go?

Lucite Love
—Poetry and Visuals by Smith (Steven B. Smith), Cleveland, OH

Greylight morning
wife asleep in chair
cat asleep on mantel
dog asleep on floor
fire dance
slow rain on roof
caffeine in hand
cannabis in pipe
rain soothe
Autumn Evening

Moved into first single-family house
since I left parents 58 years ago

The years between saw
bootcamp barracks, Memphis airbase,
military prep school,
Bancroft Hall in Annapolis,
cannibalized row houses in Baltimore,
rat-and-cockroach enclaves in Baltimore,
soulless apartment complexes in Baltimore,
a Michigan woods shack
with my not-yet self-killed brother,
a low-trash highrise outside Cleveland,
a 4th-floor warehouse overlooking Lake Erie,
a 5-condo long ago pharmacy,
a few park benches and sleeping in bushes,
31 months of backpacks tents
and ancient rooms in foreign lands,
a friend's love shack,
and 12 years top-floor old Victorian house
before moving here
our 141-year-old house
on the lip of an 80-foot bank
overlooking the Cleveland zoo

My first house ever
thanks to wife who got tired
of paying rent
and found her own
me along for ride

Enjoying backyard deer
(not really, two sprayed dog)
groundhogs, squirrels
feral cats, coyotes
cardinals, blue jays
in our 1-block red-brick dead-end
last house on left
multi-racialled neighbored existence

Appreciate lack of other people
of worrying were my footsteps too loud
my frequent "Fuck!"s unwelcome
my Bohenianism bothersome
my weed too heavy

Here makes 16-yeared-wife happy
with her too-large dog,
her garden, her art, her office,
her happier husband,
her pride

Home's where the rent isn't
and the dog is
It’s Complicated

Just to be clear—
when you cheat, it's business
when we cheat, it's a crime
Solar System

Working entropy mines
walking empty line
to last station
Fallen Moon

What a wonderful, grateful country this is
you were living here before whites arrived
you were brought bound black in ship bottoms
your yellow skin greased the railroads

Talkin' n laughin' n watchin'
folk flee misery
welcome to the newest
longest fastest slowest endless
binged mini-series
called LIFE
where ya gotta grab yr laughs
as you can
pearls snatched from pus
(for the way is dark)
(the way is painful)
(the way is crass)
to hide from them
and keep for us
yesterday's bone today
for tomorrow's prone to praying
one more chance
to mile groan foot feet
of meat marching
butcher bound
to ground
Ghost Hole

It's all perception—
look how the stars sparkle
on the pus tonight

The yellow brick road
at the murder site in Oz
begins in a red-yellow spiral

We know the yellow goes
to brainless men
heartless cowards
opium poppies
and flying monkey poo

We know yellow brings
lying rulers
flim flammed young maams
and death by hydration
in a goth wet t-shirt competition

All this
for a pair of tacky shoes
worn on ugly feet
in hopes of returning home
to what bored you into leaving
in the first place

I wonder where the red brick goes?
On the Third Day


Today’s LittleNip:

I love the dog
and he loves me
I see him gnawing bone
knowing if I died
fell to the floor
a couple days not being fed
that'd be me



Smith is here today, telling us about his Lady and the dog and the cat and the house they have in Cleveland. He tells it in true Smith fashion—little snatches of what he calls LIFE (the good and the bad and the mostly in-between). Thanks for your visit today, Steven—always a pleasure!

•••Tonight (Thursday, 1/20) at 7pm, Poetry Night Reading Series in Davis presents Julie Jose and Gabrielle Myers (author of the new book,
Too Many Seeds), via Zoom: Open mic after the reader (one chosen text or three minutes). Host: Dr. Andy Jones. Info:{"source"%3A"29"%2C"ref_notif_type"%3A"plan_user_invited"%2C"action_history"%3A"null"}&notif_id=1641058547529962&notif_t=plan_user_invited&ref=notif/.


Bonehead by Lady

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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
 LittleSnake with Cat Pal


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Crimes of Passion

—Poetry by Linda Klein, Playa Vista, CA
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain


A descending sun sparks shades of purple and blue
in the trees and bushes alongside the canal, a floral festival.
In its final fiery glory, the sun casts blood red on the water.

Is it merely the brilliance embodied in that powerful orb,
or has a heinous crime occurred, a mystery to be solved?

Soon the water becomes as dark as its overhead cover.
I am left imagining a shriveled, lifeless corpse floating,
the remains of an unfortunate, discarded lover.

I see nothing but fluid movements of tiny, black fish
that inhabit this area of the canal, drinking up
a possible victim's blood, soused on scarlet serum.

Day's end is a crime of passion.


Mona and Harry Fu's apartment was directly below mine.  Harry used to own a Chinese restaurant.  He is retired now, but still cooks at home.  The pungent, spicy smell from his cooking travels up.

When I open my kitchen cabinets to get pots and pans, I am overwhelmed by fumes.  I imagine he uses a lot of pork, fish, garlic, and soy sauce.  To me, whatever he cooks seems to smell the same.  I get a strong whiff as though he had used my pots to prepare his food and put them back unwashed.

I find the smoky, sinus-clogging odor unpleasant, and since I am my own version of kosher, I am violating my own rules by breathing it in and letting it mingle with the essences in my kitchen.  My solution is to avoid cooking or even being in my kitchen when Harry is cooking downstairs.

When I was new to the building, one afternoon I heard a hesitant, gentle knock at my door.  "Who is it?" I inquired.  "Is you neighbor, Mr. Fu."  I opened the door and saw Harry standing in the hall, clutching a plate with both hands.  I knew immediately why he was there.  I would have to refuse his offering in a gracious manner.  Would he understand?

"I thought you like to try my roast pork with snow pea," he said, pushing the plate toward me.  "How sweet of you," I replied, backing away from the familiar smell.  "I'm afraid I cannot take this, Mr Fu.  You see, I do not eat pork.  I'm sure it is delicious and that you are the best Chinese chef in Los Angeles, but it is against my religion to eat your food."

Harry looked confused.  He said, "Marian, she Jewish.  I bring her all the time."  Marian was another neighbor.  "Yes, I know.  Not all Jews are kosher."  I told him.  "Oh,"  Harry sighed, taking a few steps back.  Is okay.  I bring Marian.  She like."

As he took the elevator downstairs, I exhaled, relieved.  It didn't seem to ruin our relationship.  I think he probably mentioned my refusal to Marian and she said something to soothe him.



Be they fears or premonitions,
secret desires or admonitions,

these picture-story movie reels,
whatever they reveal or conceal

as they automatically unwind
in my overactive mind,

be they somber and darkly foreboding,
or pleasantly engaging as puzzle decoding.

When my body wants its rest,
I welcome dreams.  With them I feel blessed.


In a long, dark tunnel, I see light,
though it is difficult to gauge the distance.
Nevertheless, I must find a way to it.
That persistent beam is my only hope.

I hold my arms out in front of me,
but I cannot see them, nor
the solid form of my body.
Attempts to move make me dizzy.

I have no sense of space, cannot judge depth.
I am a struggling spirit in the darkness,
but I am unable to float, and
quite capable of stumbling and falling.

I know this because I have already done so
several times; I stubbed my toes and staggered
to a hard floor I felt, but could not see.
In places it is honed smooth, in others still rough.

My steps become slow, the sideways slide of a crab.
There is a wall.  If I reach and grab onto it,
it will guide me toward the light.
Unsure, I move

to my left, left arm extended.
That must be best because I am left-handed.
Yes, the wall.  I've found the wall.
Took a chance.  Didn't really have a choice.

I touch it with both hands.  It's cold,
but I don't mind.  I trust its presence, firmness.
I know I can get out of this tunnel tomb.
The light shines luminous ahead.


Waiting for us to discover,
surrounded by varied degrees of light
is the miracle we uncover
when we use our gift of sight.

Shapes and depth appear before us.
Colors sing and make us swoon,
softly blending as a chorus
of a sweet, romantic tune.

You may walk away, ignore it,
show disinterest in your eyes,
or come closer and explore it,
showing wonder and surprise.

The choice is yours alone to make,
while many others pray the might
have that chance in life to take.

So revel in your glorious gift of sight.


Today’s LittleNip:
—Linda Klein

The tree extended a branch
offering me the world
encapsulated in a drop of rain
and I knew at once
trees actually do this.


—Medusa, with thanks to Linda Klein today for her fine poetry! "Day's end is a crime of passion."
Volcano Meets Falling Star at Nightfall
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Alone And Not Alone

 Tuesday's Rose
—Poetry and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


we thought it was the storm, the angry winds,
the slowness of realization, the stunned
wonderment, how long it took in our
description of loss, how it returned
and expanded, even harder
this time to sacrifice
even more trees,
and ways in,
and ways out,
and it became
one loud poem
of anguish and pain,
and the fires resisted,
daringly, and furiously
as we watched—as we stayed—
and we, like the
forests, cannot breathe
death's lure as we stand, and wait
and burn, and the poem will not let us
go—let us go, and all the forests go—and
we cannot breathe, we are so unbelieving, and
it was always the trees by which we could breathe.
Haunt of Light


caught in the white-rage of fear, the being
hustles—then dark strangeness, cold and
angry eyes paralyzed in a stare—such
a fearsome glare to grope through
the indifferent caring of some
vague enemy—imagined or
known—the slowness it
takes, the blind flurry,
through and toward,
but never fully sent
by mind or hurry
interest impedes
and becomes
a narrowing
toward a
of dark-
A Sound


of dying . . .

heart around
throat—that wounding—
that dying

oh, mercy—such praying—
so slow and useless,
this dying

only the helpless
observing—only the
anger to appreciate such dying 
The Ruse


we took a house to be our own
but it was old and made of ruin
it would not fix it would not mend

although we'd patch
and spend and spend
and tell ourselves

'one effort more'
and fix another
broken door

and summer came and summer went
and still our house wore discontent
the same as we—as if it wanted more
Old Love

After Couple on the Shore, 1906/07
                —Edvard Munch

Always goodbye—wherever
they love—no way to return.
The melancholy beaches
are lost to winter now.

They remember what was true :
the dark gulls overhead—
kept afloat
by slow, untiring wings.

The gray world moves
in endless white waves
that try to cover what is lost.
There is no other—

no other anything they want and
cannot keep. So they embrace—
with every tender, vanished place
reclaimed, in resurrected love.

(prev. pub. by
Medusa's Kitchen, 2013)
The White Pallor of the Sky


What of the white pallor of the sky
this day—this day without mercy, this
dimensionless day, this white-fog morning.

I test the skies with my gray look. How thin.
They could not hold me. I shall not fly
nor lift a dreary wing in agitation.

I may just sift against this day until I fit—
somewhere near or far—it does not matter.
I am in a drift.

Some wet bird lets a cry cut through.
I feel it reach
and offer back my silence.

Nowhere does sensation end; I am
all of it, the pale gray light, monotonous,
the few shapes wavering through.

The same bird calls. I open myself.
I let it through.

(prev. pub. in
Medusa’s Kitchen, 11/22/16)
A Touch of Blues


Why melt when sorrow loves you like that,
like blithering rain, or withering pain, like
that—trying to abstain—make sense, go
splat—all over again—life is like that,
a wheel, and a stain, on a wall, or a
floor—stutter no more, it doesn’t
become... you are no more than,
what a shame, glorious sorrow
fit for singing, something like
that... something like wrong...
finger-nail-scraping down a
wet window full of life’s
pitiless rain—oh you—
oh you—I know how
you feel, I—like you,
a commiserate stain,
the bearer of pain...


*   but   *   oh   *   but   *   oh   *

I have a vision of
such silence and calm
a lifting of everything
like a huge fluttering cloth
before it is dropped
over a table or a bed
that these last few matches
I sacrifice to incense
that I use for solitude
when every dark of me unfolds
to patient celebration

(prev. pub. in Poet News, 2/90
Medusa’s Kitchen, 1/12/10)


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

We are at once alone and not alone,
oblique with sorrow,
caught in a seam.

You dance toward the center
I catch your falling.
What does it mean?

(prev. pub. in
Poems for All, #907
#15, 2004)


Joyce Odam, our Tuesday's Rose, has swept through this morning with tales of “Angry Winter Nights”, our Seed of the Week, telling us about fierce storms both inside ourselves and outside with those stormy skies. And the seagulls! Always the seagulls and the beach with Joyce, “kept afloat/by slow untiring wings.”

Our new Seed of the Week is “Always Chasing Buses”. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.
In yesterday's post, we apparently gave you a nonworking link to the Wilzig Erotic Art Museum interview of Norman Olson. A link that works is


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


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.