Tuesday, May 30, 2023

That Perilous Looking Glass

Dawn’s Early Light
—Poetry by Joyce Odam and Robin Gale Odam,
Sacramento, CA
—Photos by Robin Gale Odam
—Joyce Odam

This day has yet to be. I watch the
clock to see how far away the world
will be. The clock has yet to know.

Oh let the fury stay until I find
the edges of the world taking sides,
changing times, taking me away from
me—always too slow, always too soon.

When I was safe in my same old
comforts—oh the mind that always
used to stay behind my sense of time.

Oh let me be a bit behind, learn
to catch up, learn to find the place
of me : I am always here where I want
to be, knowing myself before it loses me.

I am like an old new car,
that could always stop on a dime—
every time. 
 Broken Rhythm
—Robin Gale Odam

one generic poem,
whatever comes our way

it’s today again—that keeps


—Joyce Odam

The mirror is mine.
It knows just what to see.
It will obey and I will approve.

There is a ring of shadow on the
glass, that I touch when I go there
for beauty or design. How perfectly

I go again : my eyes and my eyes as
ever a bit further, a bit further from
my old promise to stay so young.

I look around for other eyes
to meet my mirrored and
searching eyes. 
Night is Shadowless

—Robin Gale Odam

I would ascribe a synonym
for this night and the mirror said

       look away the sky is gray
       wounded by the light of day

       what reason now for memory
       what promises not made

       no counterpoint no melody
       no compliment to fade away

       mid-day, nimble range of space
       night is shadowless

Perilous. The looking glass. I would
ascribe the synonym for the mirror.
 Held In Its Rest

—Joyce Odam

the blink of light this cruel day,
the sense of fright to push away

with hands that have no strength,
no say—this is a cruel, cruel day


—Robin Gale Odam

only in darkness,
the mirror and her secrets

beauty at the surface,
the background worrisome 
 Wandering Moon

—Joyce Odam

Unwhorling to stillness
that water
lies deep
in the terrible heart
of night.
of a wandering moon
mists over my shoulder.

I come to water
with mirror-need.
I am
a broken rhythm
to my eyes.

But the pool
without image of my face
lies held in its rest,
and below
the lost heart-pulse
a gathering sound
coils up to me.

I break surface
with my listening hand
I feel the swallowing.
     ripples upon black
         upon black
             upon shoreless black.

—From My Stranger Hands by Joyce Odam, 1967 
Further and Farther

—Robin Gale Odam

the mirror, there personified by her
questioning eyes—further and farther,
and thus and such, every morning the
wind would toss the branches

every morning the wind would toss the
branches for the little birds—and she
would try to weep but the tears were in
the wind and in the pages of her books,
and in the mane of the blue horse

and in the mane of the blue horse, now
stepping with measured steps in the gray
morning, its hooves pressing fine imprints
along the pathway to the waters, and in the
shades of the forest of promises

and in the shades of the forest of promises,
all reflecting back, the dreaming images
of her eyes moistened by the early dew
and the sifting of the evening rains

and the sifting of the evening rains
will be taken up and written into her
stanza of despair, and for the want of tears 
More Than Substance

—Joyce Odam

have I touched you then
in some passing
of you
          after the dying,
          almost past memory.
has some drift of you
found my sudden anguish
and clung
          for a moment.
I seem to find more than
in things I touch;
          hair blown to my cheek
          or the leaf my foot breaks
are not
          hair and leaf,
          but some mood of you
          like a voice
          from the other side of pain.

—From My Stranger Hands by Joyce Odam, 1967


Today’s LittleNip:

—Robin Gale Odam

aberration of fragile heart
troubled relationships
my father was in a war

(prev. pub. in Poems-For-All:
Scattered Like Seeds)


Our thanks to the Odam poets for today’s reflective poems! Our Seed of the Week was Mirrors, and I’m sure readers will like what they see.

Our new Seed of the Week is “Sprouts”. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com. 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. And see every Form Fiddlers’ Friday for poetry form challenges, including those of the Ekphrastic type.

Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.


 Feeding those wee sprouts~
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

For upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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.












Monday, May 29, 2023

Of TImes Gone Past

—Painting by Doug Polk
—Poetry by Doug Polk, Stephen Kingsnorth, 
Shiva Neupane, Caschwa, Michael Ceraolo, 
Joe Nolan, Claire J. Baker, and Nolcha Fox
—Original Paintings by Doug Polk
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Joe Nolan and Stephen Kingsnorth
—Doug Polk, Central Nebraska
through the morning mist,
trees begin to appear,
the sight surreal,
invokes memories of times gone by,
and friends now lost,
but comforting and beautiful to the soul.
 —Painting by Doug Polk
—Doug Polk
towering landmarks,
lone pieces of stone,
stand their ground against time,
and weather,
missing brothers lost long ago.
 —Painting by Doug Polk

—Doug Polk
the land measured and fenced,
but yet untamed,
basically still doing its own thing,
growing the plants it wants to grow,
hiding its secrets even in this day and age,
except for a few families,
modern-day serfs,
the land owners living far far away,
in cities full of the grimiest things in life,
yet happily living a life,
measured and tamed.
—Public Domain Photo
—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Used prepositions place what’s seen—
which length deployed as focus set,
for word is either at or in,
the glass surveyed or myself scene.
So is it I or me, eyes see,
what is indeed objectivised?

The rate of light-shine in the night
is heightened bright, reflectors out,
the panes with silver nitrate coats
that throw back what is in their site.
But what the portrait, bevelled edge,
which merely outlines flesh as sized?

Unless, on course, my inner joints
count outward show as armature,
a clotheshorse exoskeleton,
sum dressage competition points?
Like Droste effect, so many me’s,
but which is ultimately prized? 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of
Stephen Kingsnorth

—Stephen Kingsnorth

Claustrophobia, coffin,
but couch tells me inside;
if to lift this from my life
then stare it in the eyes.
Timidly I raise my arms
to glare the captive sides;
when I face enclosure top,
my image just returns.

Fingers frozen, clench dying,
feet spread, unbalanced fear;
G-forces take me upwards,
my stomach left on earth.
Glass circles round my orbits,
I fear I may be flung;
this rocket launched by NASA,
I travel space in space.

If dare a glance, outside world
vast girders frame my rise;
hope my pain is bullet proof,
I’ve suffered quite enough.
The module dressed by strip bulbs
to border late spring flowers;
no, I’m taken for a ride
on mocking fairground swing.

This therapy is crazy,
should have remained at home;
here dressed in woolly jumpers,
airman leathers left, lone.
My life must have its rhythms,
that give stability;
whilst others like their freedoms,
dark box my sanctuary. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Shiva Neupane, Melbourne Australia

The slough of despond is concerning
because the tolerance is diminishing.
The people are losing their hope
And fail to cope.

I wondered at large
As to why people are hopeless
And loitering around
Sans finding their realistic ground.

They are imbued with a sense of seriousness
Because of their irrational mess.   
They are serendipitously
Mired into the ambush of illusion 
And showered with the suicidal tendencies.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan

—Sayani Mukherjee

Mornings a bemused lullaby
Today’s muse is God itself
Eden Los Angeles Calcutta Brooklyn
He showered his gifts plenty
Mavericks are born out of thorns
He knew he knitted his warm blankets
Precisely a coin folded butchered mastery
Slavery's independence Russia's
No I don’t write about Nations’
Politics too costly for God’s sake
Purity is noble
It’s simple
A retreat in God’s ambush
Learn Art if you reached God
A soothing palette
Beyond Borderlines
Learn Art in God’s precious hands
Earth In Eden’s palette. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

once an egg is fertilized
women are train tracks
obediently sitting still
accepting the enormous weight
of rail cars, having no voice
at all among the clanks,
groans, squeaks, and whistles,
fiery hot, icy cold, no complaints

men are making plans, not
anywhere as firm and steady as
the rails which they seek to gang rape
using more train cars, amusing themselves
with the bold vibrations and noise
as different cars bump together

later crews come out to clean and shine
the rails, then leave them as naked and exposed
as ancient Grecian athletes 
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan

—Michael Ceraolo, S. Euclid, OH

Cleveland Haiku #640

Morning in the park—
city workers
chalking the ball field

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #641

Morning in the park—
branches crackling
from an unseen creature

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #642

Morning in the park—
empty soccer goals
await today's gam

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #643

Morning in the park—
chain-link fence no barrier
to the squirrel

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #644

Deer gaze at the plants
on the other side of the
airport's barbed-wire fence

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #645

Morning in the park—
the rain garden a foot higher
than last week

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #646

Morning in the park—
trees and bushes growing through
and around the fence
… and in my quiet cavern, I made my own abide…
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan
—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

The coolness of
A shaded breeze,
Here, below, in the Valley,
Is a whisper from the snows
Atop the white Sierras.

Cool mornings in the Summer
Are a gift of
Cooled by Pacific currents
Coming from Alaska.

We bed down in sweat
To wake up in chill,
Pulling up a blanket
To let morning
Slowly emerge
Into a summer day
Here in the Valley.

We try not to hurry—
The coolest times
Of summer days
Are just around dawn. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan

Trees are always busy
Growing forests,
Growing wood,
Always busy for the good.

Synthesizing water,
Sunshine and air
Into trees,
And, communally,
Into forests.

Yes, they would,
If they could,
Cover all the mountainsides,
Hillsides and valleys
With green leaves
That wave in the breeze.

That’s just what they do.
They can’t help it.
It’s in their nature.
Isn’t it amazing?

They’re perfectly willing
To share the Earth,
The sky,
The sun,
Breezes blowing by
And all the rain.

Trees are very patient.
The don’t complain of pain.
 —Public Domain Photo 

—Joe Nolan

Our love-light,
Scattered and distracted,
Into many colors, passing
Through clear glass.

Harrumph, harrumph!
Humpty Dumpty counts his blessings,
Planning a vacation, overseas.

It’s easy to break
Into a thousand pieces—
It only takes a fall
From a wall
On which you were sitting.
Doesn’t that say it all?

Markets crash and markets fall.
Investors jump from window towers
When they’ve lost it all.
It’s easier than going home
To tell your wife you’ve lost—
That you are a loser,
When she counted on you
To see her clear from storms,
Her “tug-boat in the wind.”

The fact that you have lost
Means you have sinned
Against your compromise,
Where she agreed to marry
Despite her sneaking feeling
That you were unwise. 
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan

It’s like sunlight filtering through leaves,
Tracing in rays,
Reaching out through waves,
The way friendship extends
To touch and grace
A friend far away
In a too-distant place.

In one place,
Then in another,
A ray of light
Between brothers.
It’s not much,
Just such,
The ways life and light can shine—
Our fleeting time.


Today’s LittleNip(s):

—Joe Nolan
Who blew up
The Nord-stream pipeline?

“Not I!” said the fly.
“Not me,” said the flea.
“It must have been thee.”

* * *

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA

Must my mirror’s glass
enlarge my face so briny?
I bid my wrinkles pass
or, mirrored, show more tiny.

* * *

Mirror in the fun house

makes me busty,
makes me thin.
If only it would
make me rich,
I’d take that mirror home.

—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY


Our thanks to today’s poets and artists for their fine contributions this Memorial Day. Our Seed of the Week was “Mirrors”, so some of our poets took a peek in the mirror.

There will be no Women’s Wisdom Art workshop this afternoon, but Sacramento Poetry Center will present Candice Lamarche and Cameron McHenry at 7:30pm in Sacramento. Click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS (http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html) for details about these and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up during the week.


 Remember and Honor

—Public Domain Photo

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
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!




Sunday, May 28, 2023

Why I Love Poets

Arlo Paints
—Poetry by B. Lynne Zika, Burbank, CA
—Visuals Courtesy of B. Lynne Zika
Ah, but the poem of the air—
the one that lifts itself from the broken curb,
the one hoisted from the gutter,
plowed from exhausted dirt,
the one which caught the shirttail
of a moan
and lifted the shriek to a celebration,
the one that unbuttons your heart
and crawls into your chambers
to do its damage and repair,
and never touches a pen,
never proclaims itself in the trades
or is gilded in sweet academia
but tiptoes to your lips,
brushes them with its own
in a honey fire that burns you
until you’re weeping,
and once gone is silent
so that only air and memory remain—
that is the poem I will bring you,
and if the day is not too loud
and if your murmur tells you
well, then, yes, of course,
I’ll be listening.


Pound gave Zukofsky’s poetic career an important
boost by urging Poetry editor Harriet Monroe to
appoint the young New Yorker as guest editor of a
special issue devoted to new English and American
     —Poetry Foundation

The poet sat on my couch for hours, reading
poem after poem and not
saying a word.


Why aren’t you published yet?

He gave me a name.
He wrote her himself.

Telephone publishes my first three poems in print.

Lacey Thomson’s mother worries.
Her daughter prefers books to people.
I know this because her second cousin cleans my
now that I’m a geezer.
Ten poets I know
send Lacey a list of poets to read,
and Emily and Mary and Maureen
join to teach a solitary young girl in Alabama
the power of the written word.


Because my friend’s new book is out
and it’s one woven from
the same threads I wear,
and I don’t think I can afford it, and
I don’t want to tell him because
he might do something silly like
offer to send me a copy,
and then I’d feel bad about telling him.
Sigh. So we’re back to that.
And because, really,
I don’t want to be here anymore.
It’s not that the hummingbirds
glitter less brightly in morning sun
or that his morning words
are any less sweet
or that the white arms I see
stretched across oceans
are sunburned now.
It isn’t even so much
the loss of majesty
because even the microscopic
can hold splendor,
but I am tired of being small,
of folding my wings,
of not hearing giggling children or,
once grown, not having strength
to sit below their balconies
and listen to them singing
to their own wives.
I am tired of my father
being too long dead,
and I’m tired that still
there are hungry children
and men arguing for cameras.
And I cry because there is no one
to tell these things to, that
maybe they don’t even matter,
and even if they do, what then?
Will they stay a hand?
Will the backhills boy
or the city girl know I’m listening?
Do you think there’s any damned satisfaction
if my words are remembered when I’m gone?
I don’t want to ensure my memory.
I want water.
I want these fires to be quenched.
I want to be silent.
I want peace.

Today’s LittleNip:

—B. Lunne Zika
I called to him from my room,
“The crows are conversing!”
and settled back to listen to their chatter.
He wandered in and studied the window,
then, for ten minutes, translated
The Conversation of Crows.
I keep telling him he should write, but so far,
he leaves it to me. So, courtesy of
the occasional pleasure of marriage,
I do.


B. Lynne Zika is back with us today, bringing her Burbank sass and swagger and some fine poems and pix! B. Lynne first appeared in the Kitchen last May 17 (https://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/search?q=b.+lynne+zika/).

Today is the last meeting of the First Church of Poetry at McKinley Park in Sacramento; this week features Stockton Poet Laureate Tama L. Brisbane. Click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS (http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html) for details about this and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up during the week.


 Upside-Down Cake with Lizard
—Artwork by B. Lynne Zika

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
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!
 Ah, but the poem of the air…



Saturday, May 27, 2023

Soapsuds on a Spree

Roads that don’t reach anywhere…
—Poetry by Sanjeev Sethi, Mumbai, India
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of
Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA



There is a distinction between Fifty New Poets

and Fifty New Poets to us. It’s in the nuance.

Courtesy is a kink carried in lieu of craftiness.

A clement exchange harms none except those

with the brief to boost animosity. A few pack

an aliquot of anger generated in their genes.

A beach has ho-dads; that is how it hums. Some

strains never air: it’s a series of missed shots.

Cast aside your diffidence of being different.

As a yardbird of the cosmic, even if you yearn

for the next confinement, wear the caftan or kurta

of kindness. It will even out your anticipations.

(prev. pub. in




On the lips of an argument
my tongue
seeks another alcove,
an alien one.

My hissy fit
deigns to impair you
with cuss words
from an argot far away from us.

But as my anger-pistol
births sweat bullets;
you refrigerate the atmosphere
by switching on the air-conditioning.

And I’m left with this poem.




My views don’t need a visa to permeate. I’m

an expat, even without applying. As my ideas

migrate, I begin to occupy your mental real

estate. We aren’t neighbors. I’m your live-in.

You say you desire newness: no-one does. We

wish for the same encased in another wrapper.

Neoteric unsettles the status quo. It’s rebarbative.

Familiarity with frequency erases fear.

(prev. pub. in
Transnational Literature)




In a closed space, the dilatory maneuvers can never
arrest an exhalation from delighting or disturbing
the olfactories. During the small hours of darkness,
memory unbuttons herself and beckons me to watch
the cabaret of winters no longer in our ledgers. A
turn of phrase or the origin of an idea springs out of
her curvaceousness. The eagre settles the back-
ground score, which dictates the mood of the
metier. Ungula marks hail the homage.

(prev. pub. in
Live Encounter)




No peddling of patriotism

at the box office 

mousetrapping our boys as martyrs
in the theatre of conflict
as policymakers blunder.

Catasterism is not writ

on everyone’s citation.

Roads that don’t reach anywhere

are like soapsuds on a spree.

Those who rag on the government

and its attending channels

must band together with legacy

and new age media to glean,
systems will be systems.

(prev. pub. in
Loft Books)


Today’s LittleNip:

Many a night I saw the Pleiads, rising through the mellow shade,

Glitter like a swarm of fire-flies tangled in a silver braid.

—Alfred, Lord Tennyson 


Sanjeev Sethi joins us for the first time today. He has authored seven books of poetry; his latest is Wrappings in Bespoke (The Hedgehog Poetry Press, UK, August 2022). He has been published in over thirty countries, and his poems have found a home in more than 400 journals, anthologies, and online literary venues. He edited Dreich Planet #1, for Hybriddreich, Scotland, in December 2022. He is the joint winner of the Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux, organized by The Hedgehog Poetry Press, UK. In 2023, he won the First Prize in a Poetry Competition by the prestigious National Defence Academy, Pune, during its 75th anniversary in the “family members category.” He lives in Mumbai, India, and can be reached at Twitter @sanjeevpoems3 and on Instagram at sanjeevsethipoems/. Welcome to the Kitchen, Sanjeev, and don’t be a stranger!

Tonight at 7pm, Brickhouse Gallery and Art Complex in Sacramento presents Word Play 2, as six All City Writers do 15-min. sets each, including spoken word. Click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS (http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html) for details about this and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up during the week.





Sanjeev Sethi















 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
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!



Friday, May 26, 2023

What It All Means

—Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham,
Placerville, CA

—And then scroll down for
 Form Fiddlers’ Friday  
with poetry by
 Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth,
 Claire J. Baker and Caschwa



This walk is required by my doctor
for my bones. It’s a bonus
on top of the morning’s training session
with my dog. Who can get enough
of walking on a path through the woods
of May? If my dog were with me now,
she’d take in spring’s whole airborne
in what I’ve learned to call
a vomeronasal gulp, for catching
undetectable odors, oils and esters rising
from the deeps. Such science is
beyond me but I trust my dog beyond
words. Here, deerbrush
is a burst of white blossoms
and a humming swarm of tiny bees.
It may also be a fey confection, a fairy
hangout, that magic drift of cloud. 




Someone has scattered puzzle pieces—pieces
of pink orange yellow purple blue, blue
as the spring sky spotless overhead. Head
down the trail, around the bend, you’ll see. Sea
of wildflowers, all these colors! Colors
a-bloom—not to pick or gather. Together
we solve the puzzle: lupine, buttercup, cup-
of-wine—spring paints a beautiful mess, yes? 




A jungle of green
waist-high for mowing
by hand—a challenge,
adventure never ending,
gaging the body’s gumption.

I need weed-eating
like a physic, like a whole
head, a whole spirit. 




I’m under the red wing’s song
of a painter’s pointillistic colors dotting
prisms on this green weedy field—
lupine blue and storks-bill pink, clover rose
and purple vetch, and a single sun-gold
poppy. The crimson dot of the blackbird’s
wing keeps moving as it’s singing
under sky over the variegated greens
of a tree that gives me shade
as the red wing’s sweetest song
weaves rainbows between earth and sky. 


Arts HQ exhibit outside the Veterans
 Memorial Building in Placerville, CA.
 Saturday, May 20, 2023



inspired by a Handlebart drawing by
Richard Gilmore, Arts HQ exhibit:
Mobilizing Veterans in the Arts

What is this smoothly convoluted coiling
branching form? It might be an octopus
or the gnarly tangles of a great oak’s limbs
set for storm, the unseen groping of roots,
or the bowels of the universe.

And this manmade metal thing
perched on top? A machine.
Receptors and storage for what we
would know, what we dare dream.

And, above all that, the all-seeing eye.




After the waterline sprang a leak
and I turned off the flow at the meter
way down the hill, I began the experiment
of dry camping at home—the house-
hold not designed for leisure loitering
without water from the tap, the shower.
Camping should be more scenic.
My office was to just make do.
The day was hot. No iced tea. Was I
seeing red? No, that’s the sun sinking,
the first day finally coming to an end.
And how shall I describe sunset?
Gorgeous? Radiant? Yes,
but rainclouds might be better.



Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Deep dark
canyon lit by
fairy lanterns

held fast
by lavish
poison oak.


Our thanks to Taylor Graham for today’s poems and pix celebrating all the especially-vibrant colors of this year's spring.
Forms TG has sent us today include a Septolet (“Gorgeous But…”); a Word-Can Poem (“For Lack of Water”; “Whiffs of What It Means”); a Boketto (“Between Fence & Creek”); some Echo Verse that is also a response to Medusa's Ekphrastic photo (“En Plein Air”); and another Ekphrastic poem (“Untitled”). Echo Verse was one of our Triple-F Challenges last week.

For info about what’s going on in poetry in El Dorado County, go to Western Slope El Dorado poetry on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ElDoradoCountyPoetry/. Also click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS (http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html) for details about this and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up during the week.

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 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

In addition to Taylor Graham's Ekphrastics above, we had responses to last week’s photo from Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth and Claire Baker:

—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

You want to mix it up, to box, to brawl.
I want to carve you into puzzle pieces,
fracture facial cream and gym-grown tone.
You want to milk me dry, cut through
the meat of what I mean. Nobody wins.
My words pour through you, puddle into buckets
to be left out for the cat. Your words congeal
into cudgel best served as a steak.
We can’t live together on this plate of milk
and meat.

* * *

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Now here’s a puzzle.
See the world—
beyond framed picture,
noted gloss,
that’s laid as sample on the box,
triumphant whole till broken up—
as if the mending, not the end
is the sole purpose of our rôle.
in finding soul between the poles,
the core of what it’s all about.

Of diverse, rainbow
colours, hues,
of shapes that fit
when fixed aright,
of lumps, sharp corners,
straight and not
and such that nearly fit,
not quite,
however forced, enthusiasts—
and is en theos root of that,
excite, incite,
claimed prompt of God?

In jumbled, juggled,
potent mix,
a pile of challenge to assort—
though fear peace missing from the start;
how did at first design emerge,
and was it planned so,
as result,
yet wielded jig
to saw apart?

A vision broken, then rebuilt,
using its origin as guide;
stand back awhile then break again
so others yet may try their art
and craft their part to save the world?

* * *

Claire Baker’s response to the photo is a Double Cinquain, as well:

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA

We stare,
undone by a
photo of piled puzzle
pieces, blank—colorful portrait
of life.

Our eyes
link three blank shapes,
then finish the puzzle;
pausing we see our own vivid

* * *

Here is a Zip Ode from Claire, which is, of course, based on her zip code (9,4,5,6,4):



 ZIP 94564
—Claire J. Baker

Oh, gee, how best to apologize—
cell, email, card?
And, Lordy, say what
re: my dumb contretemps?
Try honesty?

* * *

And a form she invented, called the Cinquain’s Cousin:



—Claire J. Baker

Has your ring
glazed into a lively
strobe light you friskily
flash all around the porch
just to prove without words
I’m still here?

*Claire’s invented form, called
Cinquain’s Cousin, is 3,6,6,6,6,3.

* * *

Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) sends us an Abecedarian which he says is “a metaphor re the book-banning position taken by Escambia County, Florida”:




(in Escambia County, Florida)
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Abandon healthy
Bury common sense
Close the book on new ideas
Destroy opposing views
Expunge the rule of law
Forbid inquiries
Gather only Halloween candies
Hail this as a good policy
Insult naysayers
Jettison expert input

* * *

And an Ars Poetica from Stephen Kingsnorth about the therapeutic value of writing poetry:


—Stephen Kingsnorth 

The poem’s less to read than write,
a verse not to be heard, but sight.
A therapeutic diary, 
some commonplace with added touch,
formed smithy, where the lines are shaped
from out of site to on the page.
I know fool’s gold, and so do they
but some who pan find nugget grain,
or seeking vein may find bold blue, 
red blood within, not royal hue.
But more to me, it’s off my chest,
for who wants wires, heart monitor,
when all can be offloaded, safe?


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 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!



See what you can make of these challenge, and send it/them to kathykieth@hotmail.com! (No deadline.) Since nobody took the bait last week, let’s repeat the Flamenca:

•••Flamenca: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/flamenca-poetic-forms

•••AND/OR try Claire Baker’s “Cinquain’s Cousin”:

•••Cinquain’s Cousin (Claire J. Baker): Syllable count 3, 6, 6, 6, 6, 3

•••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 “Mirrors”.


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

•••Abecedarian: poets.org/glossary/abecedarian
•••Ars Poetica: www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/ars-poetica
•••Boketto (“Listen to the Light”):
•••Cinquain: poets.org/glossary/cinquain AND/OR www.poewar.com/poetry-in-forms-series-cinquain/. See www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/adelaide-crapsey for info about its inventor, Adelaide Crapsey.
•••Cinquain’s Cousin (Claire J. Baker): Syllable count is 3,6,6,6,6,3
•••Echo Verse: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/echo-verse-poetic-forms
•••Ekphrastic Poem: notesofoak.com/discover-literature/ekphrastic-poetry   
•••Flamenca: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/flamenca-poetic-forms
•••Septolet: www.shadowpoetry.com/resources/wip/septolet.html
•••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
•••Zip Ode: https://milkcartonpress.com/?p=347#:~:text=What%20follows%20is%20a%20brief%20overview%20of%20the,of%20words%20in%20each%20line%20of%20the%20poem AND/OR https://www.wlrn.org/write-an-ode-to-your-zip-code

For more about meter, see:



  Today's Ekphrastic Challenge!

 Make what you can of today's
photo, and send your poetic results to

kathykieth@hotmail.com/. (No deadline.)

* * *

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







 For upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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.