Monday, May 27, 2024

Revisioning

 Bowl of Soul
—Photo by Cynthia Linville

* * *

—Poetry by Cynthia Linville, Nolcha Fox,
Stephen Kingsnorth, Michael H. Brownstein,
Sayani Mukherjee, Caschwa, and Joe Nolan
—Original Photos by Caschwa & Cynthia Linville
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of
Joe Nolan and Medusa
 
 
REVISIONING
—Cynthia Linville, Rocklin, CA

She writes until her mind is empty
trying to outpace regret.
She remembers writing forty years ago
in a hard bound journal just like this,

remembers a pen shaped like a lollipop
scented turquoise ink
smelling of hopeful ambition—
a little salty, a little sweet.

She revisits that imagined future
that version of herself she’d forgotten:
she wasn’t that far off—
fame, no
success, yes
wealth, no
love, yes—several serial loves
(her young self would be fine with that)
beauty, briefly
health, mostly
respect, yes.

She salutes these memories, closes journal
number 279.
She senses her younger self’s forgiveness.
Both past and present are smudged with light. 
 
 
 
—Public Domain Art Courtesy of Medussa
 
 
FLIGHT
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

She’s a bird
that bounces hard
against a window.
She’s a dare that
is an arrow
through a grape.
She’s a memory
that turns to
wind between
your fingers.
She flies away
before you
hold her by
her wings.
 
 
 
 —Public Domain Illustration Courtesy of Medusa


EVERY PICNIC NEEDS A MARCH
—Nolcha Fox

No picnic can be called complete
without a little army
that strides in march-step
when the burgers
and fried chicken
are set out for munching.
Mom screams when she
sees little critters strutting
straight towards us.
But I’m ok, hip-hip-hooray,
there’s much less food
to put away when
ants come join our picnic.
 
 
 
Mermaid Skeleton
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


RETRIEVAL
—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

That overwritten register,
full index file of ancient scrawls
needs filter, limit, what’s on call,
priorities in journey’s steer.
Until dragged up in trawling nets
from buried deeps, in black art murk—
some craft log thought lost long ago—
we do not know what lies below.

Abandoned, scuttled, left to sink,
what treasure trove, or fool’s gold chest,
has settled, drifted, rib cage hulk,
or skull, flagged crossbones, pirated?
But what claims worth from settled berths,
those standout issues brought to fore,
red-ribbon files amongst the rest,
the cases judged as paramount?

Is it of pleasure, families,
those friends who shared in fellowship,
communities were counted part,
that land us on more stable shore?
 
 
 
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


THEORY AND PRACTICE
—Stephen Kingsnorth

To float off dross for further use
as not all dregs are scum, assume—
deoxidising slag for steel;
to winnow chaff from fruitful ears—
the year’s good crop in harvesting,
detritus offered, compost loam.
That is how metal purified,
or art of sifting grain from husk.

Like wheat and tares together sown,
that darnel’s as its neighbour’s grass
so difficult to ascertain
the one from other in the field.
Thus with that minefield of my own,
the good and bad together borne,
as pleasure known in nurtured plot
is neighbour to hard learning growth.

Retained, stored moments, grim back when,
were grist for teaching, lessons learned;
a treasure trove, experience,
reminder, dark days overcome.
So is there scrap to cast aside,
a death, without which risen hides—
as in that lore I count my guide,
or any law which wisdom rides?

Is not their recall, side by side
the very mettle in life’s stride?
But yet I stretch too far, I think
on father in depressive mood,
those finger points on forehead frown,
support lead head as staring lap;
my fear his sad could anger burn—
rebuke more pain than slap unknown.

Unable, forgive self, his sin—
this boy not knowing till a man.
Is that worth keeping, valued store,
those searing years, that wear he bore?
 
 
 
 —Public Domain Art Courtesy of Medusa


THREE HORROR HAIKU
—Michal H. Brownstein, Jefferson City, MO

a murder of crows
dive bombs her birthday party—
the warmth of fresh blood

* * *

noon, a thick blue sky,
whispers of cloud shadows, then
rats fall to earth

* * *

a fog of locusts
ransack
the sun bathers
 
 
 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


HAZE
—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India


The autumn windfall of fallen leaves
A shadowy misty river water
Sat by the upfront, the river cried
A dozen zenith-full of wavering sadness
I churned the fall from the seasons
Of Tulip's most unkempt secret
A lonely hazardous blush-garden
All around a thorny buzzing
Fall came with its basket
By the river it was
As I carried the leaves with the moist touch
So all were symphony of a cacophonous haze. 
 
 
 
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


STOLEN CHOICES
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

this was supposed to be America
home of the free, land of the brave,
government by consent of the people
who could make their own choices

and yet here she was, lying in a
hospital bed of all places, escorted
from one procedure to another
treated like a statistic, like a number

being told by people she would never
choose to share company with
that she had no choice, her mammaries
were not worth keeping and had to go

no longer could she hold the dream of
bearing a child and nursing it lovingly;
she might as well be a cigar store Indian
beloved only by people with addictions

they made sure she was fully awake to
let her know that they were taking her
dream away, permanently, and it was
for her own good to act immediately

how could she ever sleep again? knowing
full well that she was incapable of ever
having any dreams…all was lost
they would only save the shell of the

body, like a classic car with no engine
stuck in a museum of car bodies for
visitors to stroll by and admire, just
another day like all the others 
 
 
 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


THE MISSING ELEMENT
—Caschwa

we have all kinds of metrics
to show the supposed health
of our economy, usually
set forth in dollar figures

this is aptly suited for describing
corporations, which live longer
than human beings, and have no
limit on structural rules and by-laws

so they present us Dow Jones and
Standard & Poor’s ratings, indexes,
and netadvantages to help us feel
good about the strength of the dollar

but they all but ignore the strength
of the workers, instead imposing
goals and targets to beat yesterday’s
admiral achievements on each new day

it is only management that gets a
Retreat, wherein they can separate
themselves from the stresses of the
job, relax, and renew their energy

yes, union contracts ensure workers
get paid holidays, but these sometimes
serve to replace one set of stresses
with another set of stresses

workers need a real Retreat, where
they can disappear from the work-
place, get all kinds of freebees and
perks, and come back feeling better

unless and until our economy is
measured by both the strength of
workers alongside dollars, it will
fail to tell us what is really going on
 
 
 
 —Public Domain Photo 
Courtesy of Joe Nolan


CAME UP EMPTY
—Caschwa

(Every so often I visit the “attic”
in my brain where I keep old
memories, some of which were
more pleasing than others)

Empty pizza boxes, I made sure
to get my fill

Empty wallet, the usual outcome
from shopping at the mall

Empty car seat on date night

Empty sidewalk outside a busy
convenience store where a friend
and I left our bicycles for only a
couple of minutes, and never
saw them again

Empty baseball mitt, when I failed
to catch a ball hit right to me

Empty fish hook, despite a great cast

Empty tire after blowout

Empty grandstand seats during
marching band practice sessions

Empty cavern of pure nothingness
when I try to roll the r’s to say
Spanish words

A once-empty gutter filled with my
bowling ball that went off course 
 
 
 
—Public Domain Photo 
Courtesy of Joe Nolan


JUST LIKE THE INTERNET
—Caschwa

        Day I
I lay naked on the beach
someone gave me a spray can
of sunburn block

they said it was a free trial, I’d
have to subscribe and commit
money to get more

        Day II
I lay naked on the beach
God brought on darkness

He said it was a free trial, I’d
have to subscribe and commit
greater faith to get more

        Day III
I lay naked on the beach
arrested for indecent exposure
a lawyer took my case pro bono

he said the next time I’d have to
fork over bundles of money

        Day IV
I lay naked in my jail cell
no one offered me any protection

I was hacked and violated all day long
sure miss that spray can
 
 
 
 Chica
—Photo by Carl Schwartz (Caschwa)


WE WOULD BOTH CHASE HER TAIL
—Caschwa

Chica, our Chihuahua, loved
to be the center of attention
she would dance in circles
chasing her tail, and then
gesture for me to join
her, trotting in circles
around the partition
that divided the
kitchen from
the living
room

each moment or so she would
pause and look back over
her shoulder to confirm
the tail was still there
and that I was also
still there, then
resume the
trotting
round
again
whir! 
 
 
 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


WEAK-WINGED BIRD
—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Weak-winged bird
That cannot fly,
Lacks the strength
To beat the sky,

Hops the ground,
Runs and hides,
When humans
Come near,

Acting out
Of natural fear—
So large they are,
So strange,
So naked without feathers,
Cased in shiny skin.

God knows what
They have in mind
When they try
To hold me?
 
 
 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan
 

SPAWNING SALMON
—Joe Nolan
 
Every salmon swims
Upstream to spawn.
So what?

It worked before
It can work again.

Somewhere up
Around the bend
Is a waterfall.
We have to jump it.

Why can’t we choose
A different stream—
Something easy
Might work just as well?

We do not know.
Time will never tell.
We only go
The way we know
As all our ancestors
Preceded us—
Up and down
The same old stream.
This to us
Is what life means—
How momentum holds us. 
 
 
 
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan
 
 
Today’s LittleNip:

PRAYER FOR TRANSCENDENCE
—Joe Nolan

Tiny drops of
Trembling mercy—
Dew on a windowpane,
Appearing in a desert
Where there is no rain,
Healing drafts of liquid,
Disappearing pain,
I wish you this transcendence,
Like a shaman flies at night,
Like a rain-man prays for rain.
 
______________________

—Medusa, with thanks to today’s contributors for poetry and photos today, some of which are based on our Seed of the Week, Memories Worth Keeping. And, like Joe Nolan says, here’s wishing you a season of transcendence (and, with Cynthia Linville, revisioning)~
 
 
 
 —Public Domain Art Courtesy of Medusa
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 












A reminder that
Sacramento Poetry Center
will present
Michael Gallowglas
tonight, 7:30pm.
For info about this and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
(http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html)
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
send poetry and/or photos and artwork
to kathykieth@hotmail.com. We post
work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
 
And lots of memories 
worth keeping~
 

























Sunday, May 26, 2024

Yearning For Eternity

 —Poetry by Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY, and
Kathy Kieth, Diamond Springs, CA
—Visuals Courtesy of Nolcha Fox 
 


WE ALL KNOW WHAT IT MEANS
—Nolcha Fox

We love last May Monday.
That’s when summer starts.
Dad pulls out his uniform
to march in the parade.
Mom gets all the food prepared
to picnic at the beach.
No more class till summer school.
The kids get in their shorts.
The sun stays out late,
we can sleep in,
time for sunscreen,
we're so happy summer's here.

_______________________

THREE SPRING HAIKU
—Kathy Kieth

early spring bullfrogs
clearing rusty winter throats:
time for new music

* * *

Spring turkeys kick-box
but flatten only the weeds.
Nearby, a peach falls.

* * *

fourteen white callas
en pointe under silver clouds
hands cupped for night rain
 
 
 

 
PARADE ROUTE
—Nolcha Fox

The guys who walk
down Main Street
in their uniforms of old
each year are bent a little more
and walk a little slower.
The route is maybe shorter
than it was the year before,
and we carry umbrellas
just in case of heat or showers.
But they’re as proud
as they were on the day
they joined the service.
And they recall the men they lost
with every step they take.

_____________________

OLD GOLD
—Kathy Kieth
 
Bottom of the closet: spare room torn apart
in a fit of cleaning: wadded-up tissue
 
paper, worn-out shoes, broken VCR's sliding
around old photos, Christmas wraps. . . A small
 
battered box sleeps in the corner under a tangle
of coat hangers: inside, more boxes, one for each
 
life: father, mother, grandparents. Caches of gold
things: watches, class rings, small awards—crown
 
jewels of each now-ended life.  In the bottom,
my own box: school pins, familiar treasures, forgotten
 
honors cast in old gold: spotlights buried under
VCR's, tacky tissue, worn-out shoes. . .
 
 
 
 

PLANTING
—Nolcha Fox

Here in town, Memorial Day
is when we plant our flowers.
Snow is just a memory,
although she might surprise us.
We thank the Boy Scouts
for the most important planting
of the day. They place a flag
on veterans’ graves on each
Memorial Day.

________________________

GHOST SHIPS
—Kathy Kieth
 
Sea-wives wait for their fishermen.
Small lamplights tat the shoreline like
lace made of flickering fireflies
darning the unraveling waves.
 
Small lamplights tat the shoreline like
silhouette ghost ships in fog.  Still
darning the unraveling waves,
glittery eyes watch for real sails, but see
 
silhouette ghost ships in fog.  Still
the women reach for their husbands, as
glittery eyes watch for real sails, but see
no sign of relief from this pain.
 
The women reach for their husbands,
each day embroidered with fear,
no sign of relief from this pain.
Dread is the seam of a sea life.
 
Sea-wives wait for their fishermen—
lace made of flickering fireflies.
Dread is the seam of a sea life,
each day embroidered with fear.
 
 
 
 —Illustration by Nolcha Fox (with
Microsoft Designer)

WAITING
—Nolcha Fox

I found a wooden bench
for I had heard it said
that good things come
to those who wait.
And so I sat there
patiently, through rain
and heat and hail,
and all I got was
bites and flu and
sunburn on my head.

____________________

Hard marble and plastic flowers
blanket this dry ground in the
land of graves

Mourners reaching out,
hoping, yearning, for
eternity. . .

—Kathy Kieth
 
 
 


FRIENDS
—Nolcha Fox

We’d been friends since we were kids.
We kept in touch as we grew up.
We lost each other, one by one
through suicide, senility,
cancer, heart attacks.
Fewer filled the seats at funerals.
I’m the last one left.
Who will mourn for me?

____________________

MURMURS IN THE KITCHEN
—Kathy Kieth               
                for Frannie-Alice

Yellowing windowshades muzzle
a hot summer day: muffle
brassy July sun that slants against
peeling linoleum.  Two grey heads
 
bend over knife nicks in a wooden
table: murmur the worn-out secrets
of old women as stiff fingers curve
around chipped cups: grasp at
 
the soft flesh of each other's words:
embrace the slim gossip of this
gathering twilight. . .  Yellowing
shades fold the room in liquid
 
amber: washing has faded tile bronze,
as the murmurs scatter across crowded
drainboards: bounce with a ping off
the cooling stove: roll along base-
 
boards and under dented pans: finally
come to rest: curl up in the china
cabinet alongside those few choice
pieces left behind by somebody's
 
grandmother, somebody's mother,
somebody's aunt. . .

______________________

Today’s LittleNip(s):
 
Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.

—Corrie Ten Boom

______________________

A little something different today in the Kitchen, as Nolcha Fox and I collaborate. My thanks to her for fine poetry and pix!

______________________

—Medusa
 
 
 
Sgt. Snuggles reporting 22nd Yarn Division, Sir!
—Public Domain Photo
















For future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
(http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html)
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
send poetry and/or photos and artwork
to kathykieth@hotmail.com. We post
work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
 

 
 
 

























Saturday, May 25, 2024

School Daze

 —Poetry by Lynn White, Blaenau Ffestiniog,
North Wales
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain
 
 
MISS PASS


My first best friend was Susan.
We were inseparable.
Soon we would be starting school.
Starting at the same school.
It shouldn’t be a problem.
But Susan was three months older
and this was a problem.
She must start earlier
and we would be parted.
Unthinkable!!
Such concern from our parents.
But all was well.
It wouldn’t be a problem.
And all thanks to Miss Pass,
the headmistress,
a wonderful woman
who understood the feelings
of small children.
We could start together
and in the same class.
She was a shining example
to teachers everywhere.
We knew it as we hung our coats
on pegs next to each other
in the cloakroom.

But a few days later
when we had settled in,
disaster struck.
We were to be in different classes.
Such tears and trauma
as we hugged and kissed
and said goodbye at our pegs
in the cloakroom
each morning and afternoon.
And all because of Miss Pass,
the headmistress,
a stupid woman
who had no idea about the feelings
of small children
and should never have been allowed
to be a teacher anywhere.
We knew it as we hung our coats
on pegs next to each other
in the cloakroom.

(prev. pub. by
Piker Press, 2016)
 
 
 


THE CHRISTMAS TREAT


It was my first Christmas in school
and we were getting a treat,
something special,
something nice.
Paper serviettes were handed out
and we placed them on our desks,
our mouths watering in anticipation.
And then came the cake,
a splendid fruit cake
coated with marzipan,
iced and cut
into slices,
one for each child.
What a treat!
I didn’t like marzipan,
so I ate the icing
and the cake
and left the marzipan to be thrown away
with the paper serviette.
But this was not allowed,
the teacher said.
All of the treat must be eaten.
I didn’t want to eat it.
Well, adults aren’t made to eat food
that they don’t like, do they,
so why should children?
It wasn’t fair.
It wasn’t just.
The teacher disagreed.
I must eat the treat,
she said.
So I threw it on the floor,
and to make sure,
stamped on it.
I was made to stand on a chair
in disgrace for not eating the treat.
At four years old,
it was my first encounter
with irony.

(prev. pub. in Free Lit Magazine, January 2018)
 
 
 
 

SUCH NONSENSE

We had a new teacher,
a student still in college.
He read us a long poem.
I listened carefully, trying
to make sense of it.
It was funny.
Was it meant to be funny?
or was the laughter of derision,
to what sounded like nonsense.
Laughter seemed allowed
and that was unusual.
School was not a place for fun.
Well, maybe it was nonsense
but I loved the imagery
and the colours of the words.
I asked if 'pea green' was
the colour of mushy peas
from the chip shop,
or was it those in pods
fresh from the garden.
Nothing was clear,
but it was fun.

(prev. pub. in Calameo)
 
 
 
 

MY BEST FRIEND


I remember. it well.
She was my best friend,
three years older and a prefect.
It was a cold day
and we wanted to stay inside and read,
not walk up and down aimlessly.
The rules didn't allow it.
I wrote us a note as if from a teacher.
She grassed me up.
I was in big trouble!
I remember it well.
I doubt she will.


(prev. pub. in The Graveyard Zine, Issue 4, The 13th Act of Madness, October 2022)
 
 
 

 
DR GREEN BOWS OUT

We called her Flo,
our formidable headmistress
who insisted on every girl achieving
her own personal best.

Competition was discouraged
and no class positions were given,
only individual achievement was celebrated
and pupils were randomly selected for the Houses
which were named after female achievers,
Cavell, Darling, Nightingale, Marvell and Fry.
Streaming was unheard of.

She was so far ahead of her time
we’re still waiting for our time
to catch up.

She believed that women should step out
and be true to themselves
always
so ‘narrow’ skirts were frowned on
as restricting our freedom.
Black stockings were also forbidden,
however fashionable.
She remembered the campaigns against them
back in her day when they were obligatory
and unfashionable.
I would have been leading,
she told me
so I should not wear them.

She ended her days in a Care Home
where she reclined in a hammock
and sipped her sherry
as she swung.
I would have expected nothing less,
from such a woman.
Always
strong enough
to be true to herself
she chose
a perfect way to leave the stage.



(prev. pub. in Mocking Owl Roost, Winter 2023/24)

_____________________

Today’s LittleNip:

I think it goes back to my high school days. In computer class, the first assignment was to write a program to print the first 100 Fibonacci numbers. Instead, I wrote a program that would steal passwords of students. My teacher gave me an A.

—Kevin Mitnick

_____________________

—Medusa, with thanks to WalesPal Lynn White for today’s fine poetry about the joys (?) of childhood…
 
 
 
 —Public Domain Illustration















 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A reminder that
Sacramento Poetry Center hosts
a presentation by Stan Padilla
tonight, 7:30pm.
For info about this and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
(http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html)
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
send poetry and/or photos and artwork
to kathykieth@hotmail.com. We post
work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
 

 



















 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A Poem Knows

 —Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham,
Placerville, CA
—And then scroll down for
Form Fiddlers’ Friday, with poetry by
Joe Nolan, Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth,
Caschwa, and Joshua C. Frank
 
 
A POEM KNOWS

Swirly swarms
of insects
ride the rails

between woods
and bramble
all dense green.

Why right here?
What purpose?
What insects?

Swirly swarms
move too quick
to name them.

Call it dance,
art of grace,
a poem.
 
 
 
 

ONE EGG

I’m mowing clover and wild oats,
pasture gone half-wild without sheep
to graze and fertilize. Chaff coats
my trimmer head. The green’s waist-deep.

Here on bare earth, a single egg—
no nest, no cover—dead-cold dreg.
The wild birds go about their lives,
guarding each hatchling that survives.
 
 
 

 
WHERE HAVE THE FLOWERS GONE?

Where are the wildflowers?
Paved over when we weren’t looking.
Are they gone for good?

Just wait. Maybe for years
when this new asphalt starts cracking
and spring rains seep thru.

Then look for dandelions
standing pert and yellow, storks-bill
with its tiny pink stars

like flags for the fall
of asphalt warping and wrinkling
under golden-hot sun

and the brittling
of freeze, how winters’ cold drives
the green urge for spring.
 
 
 

 
OTIS IN ROSES & THORNS

He rests in bower-shade of pink
roses, then rises to flourish
an old dead rose-branch in his jaws,
one-dog parade of thorns.
 
 
 
 

DOG TREATS

I carry a pocketful of indulgences
to tempt him, distract his focus.
He’s got the leash stretched tight.
Will it break, will I lose my grip
in chase of a jackrabbit?
My dog has no use for indulgences
but just the hunt. A bag
of treats won’t tempt the wild
born into him.
 
 
 

 
HYDROPHONE SHALLOWS

What might we hear if the man let his device
drop in deep places of the pond? At what depth
can it detect photosynthesis in grooves and veins
of living green underwater?
        Overhead, an out-of-service phone line’s
stretched, silent—and on it perch two phoebes
singing the love of earth-spring.
                The man proposes sounds
that might be water plants or animals,
and recommends we focus on noises from
the speakers connected to his device.
        But I keep drifting with the wear of sun
and breeze on water. I can’t help looking
for the egret—sentinel of this place—standing
unearthly still, until surface tension’s broken
suddenly—the stiletto of his bill.

____________________

Today’s LittleNip:

IN A VINEYARD    
—Taylor Graham
After
Immigrant II by Eric Hays, oil, 2021

Oh the possibilities
in this new green world
so far from her homeland.

She balances her basket
of fresh-picked grapes,
holding herself erect,

with only her sunhat
for shade.

_____________________

Taylor Graham (and Otis) continue to fruitfully muse about spring today, with many thanks, as always, from us in the foothills and beyond. Forms she has used this week include a Ryūka (“Otis in Roses and Thorns”); an Ekphrastic response (“In a Vineyard”); a Word-Can Poem (“Hydrophone Shallows”); a Prime 53 (“Dog Treats”); a TriCube which is also an Ars Poetica (“A Poem Knows”); and a Rispetto (“One Egg”). The Tri-Cube and the Rispetto were two of last week’s Triple-F Challenges.

Note: “Hydrophone Shallows” is based on one of the RIPE AREA events leading up to June 2nd's RIPE AREA ARTS + NATURE FESTIVAL at Wakamatsu Farm, a free community event honoring the watershed and co-presented by American River Conservancy & Myrtle Tree Arts. For more news about this and other El Dorado County poetry—past (photos!) and future—see Taylor Graham’s Western Slope El Dorado Poetry on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ElDoradoCountyPoetry or see Lara Gularte’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/382234029968077/. (Poetry is Gold in El Dorado County!) And of course you can always click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS (http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html) for details about future poetry events in the NorCal area.


And now it’s time for… 
 

FORM FIDDLERS’ FRIDAY!
  
 
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 challenges—  Whaddaya got to lose… ? If you send ‘em, I’ll post ‘em! (See Medusa’s Form Finder at the end of this post for resources and for links to poetry terms used in today’s post.)
There’s also a page at the top of Medusa’s Kitchen called, “FORMS! OMG!!!” which expresses some of my (take ‘em or leave 'em) opinions about the use of forms in poetry writing, as well as listing some more resources to help you navigate through Form Quicksand. Got any more resources to add to our list? Send them to kathykieth@hotmail.com for the benefit of all man/woman/poetkind!


* * *


Last Week’s Ekphrastic Photo


This week, we received Ekphrastic poems from Joe Nolan, Nolcha Fox, and Stephen Kingsnorth:



TOO MANY COLORS
—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Does anyone else
Feel oppressed
By too many
Bright colors
As I do?

Even there
Atop my head
Are colors
Seen on
Weed-borne flowers.

People gaze for hours
Eyes darting from one
Color to another.

It seems to be exhausting me
Making me feel raggedy
In my comfy club chair
Remote-control in hand,
Further acts beyond my command.

* * *

GLUED
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

Sister, sister, glued to TV,
can’t get up to get a life.
Even hair is technicolor,
she’s unstrung
and disconnected.

* * *

RULE OF THUMB
—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Why would we see the spectacle—
those black-ringed eyes, rimmed roundel lens—
when want of sleep would seek their rest,
removal to a safer place,
away from pinch or bridge collapse?
Suspense, scan handset, spanning air—
this more with view, awake to stay,
postpone what nature has decreed,
enforce the lifting of the lid,
revealing what is waited for?

A turnup here, patella, groove
of rainbow hair, skin-deep knee patch,
a slump save for that surfing thumb,
though cushion plumped behind one ear,
half-deaf, less deft in stereo.
When early hours turn, passing slow,
insomnia makes claim clock space,
invading voices speak too loud;
I pick my clips, you tubing stored—
though signs of hope, well streaming tears.

But wonder, if this mare is that,
a dreaming by insomniac,
for ‘didn’t sleep a wink’ rare true;
beneath armchair, what litter strewn—
that morning after night before?
A bad-hair day, this rule of thumb,
set measure of our guiding light,
that one is governed, output screened;
an x-ray of priorities—
an advert, how to reach the prone.

* * *

Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) sent this poem, saying that “These are quatrains, each with 4-syllable lines, unrhymed. A foreign car TV ad mispronounced “limited IN-ventory”, as in-VEN-tory (accent on the 2nd syllable). So I set forth a list of other words that we pronounce like Inventory [accents on the first syllable] and threw them together to form the poem”:
 
 
 
—Illustration\ Courtesy of Public Domain
 
 
UNIFORMLY
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

horror movie
absent-minded
target practice
double trouble

candid pictures
bathroom mirror
forest treasures
Mother Nature

undone housework
dinner dishes
bedroom curtains
inventory

homework lesson
proper sentence
punctuation
grammar, syntax

happy birthday
able-bodied
invitation
railroad station

* * *

Josh Frank has sent us a Triolet:
 
 
 
—Photo Courtesy of Public Domain
 

THEY HAVE OUR GENES
—Joshua C. Frank

They have our genes; they’re human beings,
Our fifteen frozen embryos.
Regardless of your disagreeings,
They have our genes; they’re human beings.
They must be born, by God’s decreeings,
Be hugged, and play where water flows.
They have our genes; they’re human beings,
Our fifteen frozen embryos.


(First published in
The Society of Classical Poets)

* * *

Here is a Villanelle, also from Josh:
 
 
 
—Photo Courtesy of Public Domain


TRUTH IS NOT BEAUTY
—Joshua C. Frank

“What is the worst mistake you ever made in bed?”
Reply: “My son.”  (Actual dialogue on social media)


I learn the truth; I’m more and more aggrieved.
There’s nothing left, no gleam or glint of hope
When parents wish their children weren’t conceived.

What bitter spoils of knowledge I’ve achieved
To “stay informed;” how can I even cope?
I learn the truth; I’m more and more aggrieved.

I can’t unsee: the whole world’s been deceived.
Their thinking’s worse when sober than on dope
When parents wish their children weren’t conceived.

I wish my innocence could be retrieved.
Oh, someone wash my memory out with soap!
I learn the truth; I’m more and more aggrieved.

It’s worse than I would ever have believed
And harder not to be a misanthrope
When parents wish their children weren’t conceived.

When children die, are parents still bereaved?
What can I do besides just sit and mope?
I learn the truth; I’m more and more aggrieved
When parents wish their children weren’t conceived.


(First published in
The Society of Classical Poets)

* * *

And Nolcha Fox devised this illustration with Microsoft Designer, then wrote this Ekphrastic Response to it:
 
 
 


BEWARE
—Nolcha Fox

You may think I’m just a kitten
curled up in a sunny spot,
claws retracted, stretching,
arching, purring, such delight.

Don’t get on my wild side.
When I open my mouth
my fangs sparkle.
I’m a dragon. You’ll find
your hide sliced and fried.

____________________

Sliced and fried! Been there~

Many thanks to today’s writers for their lively contributions! Wouldn’t you like to join them? All you have to do is send poetry—forms or not—and/or photos and artwork to kathykieth@hotmail.com. We post work from all over the world, including that which was previously-published. Just remember: the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!

___________________

TRIPLE-F CHALLENGES!

See what you can make of these challenges, and send your results to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. (No deadline.) Today, let’s try to achieve some Balance:

•••Balance: https://poetscollective.org/poetryforms/the-balance

•••AND/OR, in these troubled times, we need a Beacon of Hope, yes?

•••Beacon of Hope: https://poetscollective.org/poetryforms/beacon-of-hope

•••See also the bottom of this post for another challenge, this one an Ekphrastic photo.

•••And don’t forget each Tuesday’s Seed of the Week! This week it’s “Memories Worth Keeping”.

____________________

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

•••Ars Poetica: www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/ars-poetica
•••Balance: https://poetscollective.org/poetryforms/the-balance
•••Beacon of Hope: https://poetscollective.org/poetryforms/beacon-of-hope
•••Ekphrastic Poem: notesofoak.com/discover-literature/ekphrastic-poetry 
•••Prime 53: https://www.press53.com/prime-53-poem-summer-challenge
•••Rispetto: www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/poetic-forms-rispetto
•••Ryūka: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryūka
•••TriCube by Phillip Larrea: Each stanza is three lines, three syllables per line, any subject
•••Triolet: www.writersdigest.com/personal-updates/triolet-an-easy-way-to-write-8-lines-of-poetry
•••Villanelle (rhymed or unrhymed): www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/poetic-forms-villanelle
•••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

___________________

—Medusa
 
 
 
 Today's Ekphrastic Challenge!
 
 Make what you can of today's
picture, and send your poetic results to
kathykieth@hotmail.com/. (No deadline.)

* * *

—Public Domain Photo




















 

A reminder that today is the deadline
in Davis for nominations for
the next Poet Laureate; and
today is also the 13th SAYS Summit
at UCD: “School is My Hustle”.
For info about these and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
(http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html)
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
send poetry and/or photos and artwork
to kathykieth@hotmail.com. We post
work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!