Monday, July 16, 2018

This Piss-Ant Planet

—Photo by Cynthia Linville, Sacramento, CA

—Ian Lewis Copestick, Stoke On Trent, England
Thousands must die, and
Thousands must be born
Every single second
All around the world
It's mind blowing
As just an abstract thought
But when it's a friend
That has gone
And you see first hand
The grief
The destruction
The fractured families
And think of the millions
All over this little
Piss-ant planet
Going through such pain
All at the same time
It's surprising that
The whole world doesn't
Implode with grief
And the clouds
Fall from the sky
Heavy with tears

 —Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Cynthia Linville

You are driving a 1971 Dodge Dart, deep blue. I am beside you when we stall. I say, “I’ll get out and push.” You say, “Okay, what do I do?” “Put it in neutral,” I say; “once you get rolling, pop the clutch.” After a try or two, the engine catches, and I slide back in beside you. We make it past the roadblock, through the water hazard. Then I notice some animals in the backseat. As you roll into the parking lot, the ostrich climbs out; the pig flies off. You ask, “Now what do we do?” I answer, “Now it’s just me and you.”


—Cynthia Linville

The top of my head hinges open and
all of my marbles fly out:
oilies, steelies, swirlies,
I collect them in a crystal dish
which I cradle solemnly.
The clouds part; angels sing.
Jehovah reaches down
scoops up a handful
crunches them like candy.
He spits out the devil's eye.
He prefers puries.

 —Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Cynthia Linville

              King Ferdinand VII of Spain reportedly once told 

              Goya, "You deserve to be garroted, but you are a 
              great artist so we forgive you."

Some nights are harder than others
Sometimes I can’t hear myself think in the dark
where my thoughts cast no shadows

I knew a poet once
I have an oil painting of him
hidden away in my closet

I can drag him out anytime I want to
but sometimes
he drags me out instead

We are ruled by our hungers
Sometimes I’m hungry
for this piece of his soul

(It’s mine
I deserve it; I earned it
I commissioned this painting)

But now I can’t get rid of it
Who would want it?
I’m the only one—for the most part anyway

Some nights I feel as if I’m really seeing it for the first time
really seeing him for the first time
now that he’s gone

Some nights I dream of his ghost
Too much moon ruined our plans
(too much moon and not enough dark)

Now I’m just waiting 
for the shadows to empty
so that I can sleep


(or, I was nearly bitten by my Uber driver)
—Cynthia Linville

His Camry Solara
smelled of old smoke, wet fur
stale moonlight
and sweat

His long yellow nails on the wheel
were my first real hint—
they curved evilly
into claws

You can drop me here, I said
But we’re not nearly at your destination,
he growled,
you’ve already paid for the full ride

That’s okay,
I asserted
in my huskiest voice
I’m ready to get out
I’ll bet you’re going to give me a bad review
he snarled
oh no
it’s just that I’ve remembered something I forgot

I opened my door at the next stop sign
and as I leapt out
I barely avoided
the nip of his jaws

 —Photo by Cynthia Linville

—Cynthia Linville

I am writing a book to myself
a book where I already know the ending

a book of toast and tears
morning coffee and ghosts—

unable to see through the rain
unable to see for the light in their eyes

memory—soaked with stars
not erased by darkness

a taste, a texture, a crunch
a part of myself burned to dust

* * *

A part of myself has burned to dust
yet not been erased

I am a book
where I already know the ending:

morning coffee and ghosts
tears in the textures

I have been wounded
by the light in my eyes

I have been soaked with stars
unable to see through the rain

 Del Oro Theater
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

It was hard, but you
finally found parking at
the mall, now closing.

Adhering to ruts
leaves one in the same place as

A man with many
chins swam several laps, which
made him feel lightweight.

She said they go low,
you go high, knowing you have
wings of an angel.

A Florida man
left his car in the Keys and
could not get back home.

 Wall Detail
—Photo by Katy Brown


Just because school and
alcohol share six letters
means they are pen pals

I know you are but
what am I writing about
and who really cares?

I just bought a new
multiple month payment plan
that will outlive me

Repeat “number nine”
in an echo chamber for
nine times while sleeping

The old, cranky clock
by my bed dared me to look
it straight in the face



[knock on the front door,
our dog barks excitedly]

Honey, could you see
who that is?


[man standing on porch
starts a spiel about home
security features]

Before you say another
word, I charge $75.00 an
hour to listen to strangers,
with a $50.00 minimum
paid up front in cash. Show
me the money and we’ll get
started right away!

[man turns and leaves]

 —Photo by Katy Brown


(Poached from “That I Can Write
of Birds” by Joyce Odam,
Medusa’s Kitchen, July 10, 2018)

Emus maybe
as colossal servants of
distraction not fleet

forever grounded
by the blacksmith
on huge anvil feet

they are the tree
disturbing the air
with their nervousness
of being

though as careful
as a delicate
porcelain figurine

they totally own
my watchful eye

gazes exchanged
until we both die

beset are we
by the patience
of illness

our bodies in ruin
our minds full
of willingness

alas, our cares
do not amount
to a cure

only the promise
of paradise can
yet make us pure


Today’s LittleNip:

I recall in grade school one craft was to make a travel poster advertisement 
     While others picked someplace on the map or globe, I made up my own
    “Zapzoo” where I was the benevolent leader
     Everybody was happy and made jokes everyday,
     especially because everybody could ski for free in the wintertime
     and likewise freely play on the beach in the summer
     —it didn’t matter who you were in “Zapzoo”,
     all were treated with equal dignity and respect... 

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA


Our thanks to today’s variety of contributors, and a big welcome to Ian Lewis Copestick from Stoke on Trent (also called Stoke, or Stoke-on-Trent). Watch for more from Ian in the Kitchen soon. For more about Stoke, the pottery center of England, see

Thank you also to Cynthia Linville, who will be reading at The Other Voice in Davis this coming Friday with Davis poet/photographer Katy Brown. That’s at 7:30pm, Unitarian Universalist Church, 27074 Patwin Rd., Davis, hosted by James Lee Jobe.

James’s cousin, Poet Robert Lee Hancock, sends us a link to the fine site, “A Mighty Girl” on Facebook, which talks about a toddler’s book called,
Brush Your Hair, Medusa! by Joan Holub and Leslie Patricelli. Check it out at

This week, poetry in our area begins tonight at Sac. Poetry Center at 7:30pm, with Jodi Hottel and Gregory W. Randall plus open mic. On Thursday, Third Thursdays at the Central Library meets at noon at 828 I St., Sacramento, and that night, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento presents featured readers and open mic, 8pm. On Friday, The Other Voice meets in Davis, featuring Katy Brown and Cynthia Linville plus open mic, 7:30pm. Scroll down to the blue column (under the green column at the right) for info about these and other upcoming poetry events in our area—and note that more may be added at the last minute.

A couple of notes: Sad to say, Placerville’s Poetry on Main Street reading is no more. And for news of this and other El Dorado County poetry happenings, the name of Taylor Graham’s El Dorado Poetry page on Facebook has been changed to “Western Slope El Dorado”. It still uses the same URL, however ( The name was changed so that the new El Dorado County Poet Laureate, Suzanne Roberts, can still use "El Dorado Poetry" if she chooses.


—Photo by Katy Brown
Celebrate poety!

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