Monday, May 07, 2018

What Pockets Can't Hold

Red Rose
—Photos by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA

—Kim Clyde, Sacramento, CA

A woman of a certain age
And temperament
I have taken down
The mirrors, yet
I see the passage of time
In these old hands of mine.
These hands
So deft at holding babies
And lovers
At digging
The earth
And washing up
At slicing and cooking
And generally turning pages
In this book of life.
They are everyday
More beautiful
Unlike this face
With a seventeen-year-old’s eyes.

—Sue Daly, Sacramento, CA

Facebook is my friend.
It’s good for reading articles
and seeing pictures of my
grandkids half a world away.

Perfect for collecting
gorgeous photos with
inspiring quotes that use
up all my storage capacity
or for following political pundits
I may agree or disagree with —
(Have to see what they’re
up to, don’t ya know?)

Facebook’s great for hearing
about all the interesting things
happening around Sactown,
Davis and Placerville too . . .
Fantastic for finding long lost
friends and family,
sharing good causes and
Go Fund Me pages.

But what about those
security nightmares
I keep hearing about?
I’ve had enough nightmares
to know there’s no real security
in this life, the next one
or even the one after that.
Immunizations from nightmares
are definitely in short supply.

I’d like to think
I’m smart enough
not to fall for foreign influences
(at least I hope so, LOL).
Not much money for
scammers to hack into,
but I have some time to
read poetry since I retired—
and when James Lee Jobe
updates his blog page,
or D. R.’s on Medusa’s,
I deem it’s worth the risk.

So I guess I’ll say thank you
thank you to Mark Z.
thanks from all the nanas
and grandpas,
the poets, and me. 

fill it up
—william yates, ft. bragg, ca

blank page
old age
cold feet
white meat

work hard
eat less

sleep hard
take a walk
come home
can't talk

ding dong
quick lunch
write a song

drink wine
lean back
two cats

clock spins
time wins
night time
closing in

easy chair
wild hair
rapid breath
wild stare

moving on
pour it out
empty cup
fill it up 

After Dad’s mom died
         Dad filled up some unpacked suitcases
         Stuff that reminded him the most of her
         including her diaries, scrapbooks and photo albums
         collected in cases labeled “Lydia Swandt-Kunert”
         things he wants to pass on to my brother and me when he is gone 

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA

Imagine having to figure out how to place your whole life into a suitcase—
        Not as a traveler
        But as a “refugee” of political and social times
        So I learned at the California History Museum
        Many of those of Japanese ancestry in WWII in this state were forced to do just that
        For the exhibit,
        there are these donated suitcases with these American-Japanese families' names marked on them
        though now standing empty—
        they were used when these otherwise tax-paying American citizens were sent to “relocation camps”
        —forced out of their homes and communities to board trains and buses,    
        sent to live in these camps from which they did not know if they would ever return
        They just hoped they would be eventually allowed to return to their homes and farms if they “complied"  
        At the camps they held dearly what they chose to pack along in their suitcases—
        anything that could give them comfort and hope of returning to a "normal life” once again in California
        even little home-made stuff such as hand-knit scarfs, mittens or slippers
        But alas many were also not recompensed with their lost security or property

—Michelle Kunert

 Holocaust Suitcases in Poland
—Anonymous Photo

—Michelle Kunert

During a 2005 Paris exhibition in remembrance of the Holocaust
          there stood a pile of suitcases on loan from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum
          A young French woman along with her father
          spotted a battered cardboard suitcase with the name of her grandfather who “disappeared” in 1943
          Many who were headed to the camps carried travel luggage, thinking they were being “relocated”
          The father and daughter immediately asked to have the suitcase
          because they had nothing else left of his
          and no other records revealing whatever happened to him
          Like so many whose likely fate was to be gassed and burned up in the ovens,
          his suitcase was now his only “tombstone”
          and they wanted to decide how to properly preserve it
          The father and daughter were regrettably informed by the curators
          there were no plans to return anything they obtained to present-day family survivors
          All suitcases and anything else “named" would go back to be on display at Auschwitz
          And so the suitcase will likely now continue to decay away with the rest—
          which will continue to allow people to forget the victims' names on the suitcases.    

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
Never been to Paris
or to France, or to Europe
OK, never set foot outside
of North America

But I have my bags packed
eager to go on a miracle
adventure vacation
at last.

Camera gear:  set and ready
Clothing:  enough for now
Itinerary:  not starting with one
Empty suitcase:  for what pockets
can’t hold.

Maybe include the Riviera, where
I can sunbathe uncovered in the
warm glow of the moment, or giggle
uncontrollably, forever fated to
remain a little boy.

Look at that!  Readers are already
taking mental pictures for me and
cramming them into my empty
suitcase…a nice slide show when
I return.


(Agreeing with James Lee Jobe’s
“The sun never sets on the American
Empire”, Medusa’s Kitchen, May 5, 2018)

In World War II, willing volunteers populated
our factories to build the machinery of war, while
unwilling “volunteers” filled internment camps. 
All together this created a foundation for future
business ventures based on the premise

if you set your goals high enough, America
will help you find people to do your bidding for

Enter real estate marketing, a core element of
building an empire, which thrives on amending
our original principles of democracy to include
Highest And Best Use, and Location, Location,

Until now, somewhere in metropolis, beneath
endless tons of asphalt and concrete and steel,
a whole political party left behind by astounding
changes in science, technology, and law, cries

Don’t take our jobs, don’t take our guns, don’t really
free the slaves, don’t help the poor, don’t believe
climate science, don’t vaccinate my kids, don’t, just


The view when a flasher
turns around

20/20 hindsight:
Now it all comes together

Nothing triggers a memory

Retrospective amnesia:
Everything triggers déjà vu

Perfect recall:
All the cars were fixed before
anyone got killed

Perfect attendance:
Top prize goes to ants at picnics

Limited warranty:
No coverage for the most
likely problems

Lifetime warranty:
limited time offer


True to the mission
to the very end, duty
bound, come what may

Spilled blood a certainty
some die trying, most
face unspeakable pain

Fully deserving of
voluminous merit orders
and decorations

But no place for that on a
receiving blanket, maybe
the PTA bowling league…

They do this over and
over, no ticker tape
parades, silent pride

Let us take a moment to
appreciate our mothers with
full pomp and circumstance.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA


And butterflies.




Our thanks to this wonderful collection of poets today, and to Michelle Kunert for her dazzling shots of spring flowers from the Sacramento Rose Society show at Shepard Garden and Arts Center on April 28. Our Seed of the Week is “An Empty Suitcase”; about her third “suitcase” poem, Michelle writes that it is “based on the story at“.

Lummux Editor RD Armstrong is calling for submissions for his Lummox 7 Poetry anthology and the new Angela C. Mankiewicz Poetry Contest; see Deadline is May 31. Note that there is a $15 reading fee.

Poetry events in our area begin tonight at Sac. Poetry Center with Phillip Larrea and Katy Brown, plus open mic, 7:30pm. Wednesday will bring the Poetry Off-the-Shelves poetry read-around in Placerville at the Sr. Center, 5-7pm, or the Poets and Writers’ Sacramento Library Roundtable Meeting at Sac. Poetry Center from 6-8pm. Then on Saturday, from 6-8:30pm, SPC’s Second Saturday ART Opening presents a showing that centers on Mental Health Month. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about this and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.


 —Anonymous Photo of Anonymous Camel
Celebrate poetry that’s so brilliant that 

you need shades to read it!

Photos in this column can be enlarged by clicking on them once,
then click on the X in the top right corner to come back
to Medusa.