Monday, February 04, 2019

It Could Have Been Verse

—Alpaca Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

(following the trend of James Lee Jobe,
Medusa’s Kitchen, February 2, 2019)

If the greatest percentage of attorneys were poets, we would more  easily see the meaning of things, the point, the relevance.  As is, we have huge libraries of countless laws, often worded so that only a select few persons immersed in a certain specialized field, and proven successful in an excruciatingly painful process that is actually designed to exclude most people, will have any idea how to decode these unruly rules that are supposed to guide us through the maze of life.

Wherein, hereafter
a license to practice law
must have poetry



Taking a nice, freshening hike at the river trail.  Beautiful
trees, animals, flowing river, abundant life and motion. 
About anywhere one points the camera awaits a captivating
scene of color and life. 

There are exceptions, of course.  Manmade implements
like power lines and phone lines quickly transform Mother
Nature to something much less photogenic.  Add to that
little bits of debris littering the trail.  Cigarette butts, candy
wrappers, paper scraps, used bandages, broken plastic
pieces from who knows what.

Maybe a good, natural chaparral fire would get things back
to normal, but it is certainly not within the purview of casual
hikers to play God with such forces.

My chewing gum has now lost its flavor, so I spit it into the
little wrapper I kept in my pocket for that very purpose.  Hate
to say it, but I did briefly experience a tiny bit of temptation
to just drop it on the trail.

Despite the evil,
joining trends makes one act seem


A tiny flashlight battery
dead at both ends but
sufficiently active to
contaminate a landfill

Two matched people meet
one gives the other a ring
now they are fighters in the
ring where only one can prevail

The old elementary school
where I was taught that Pluto
was a planet was demolished,
replaced by new misinformation

All in favor of having an
argument, say Dictator
All opposed, forfeit your vote
Dictator wins the argument

Higher education is the key
more so than a degree
you will understand why
when I charge you a fee



Tuxedo buttoned and ready, I took my
seat among the orchestra long before
the concert hall filled with downbeats,
harmonies, or grateful applause.

There was cold cream, valve oil, rosin,
and other concoctions for the instruments,
plus unlimited, undying cologne and
perfume aromas for the players.

We dutifully tuned up to concert A, which
enabled most of the brass players to
publically give it their middle finger.

Being inside, there was no apparent
need for clothespins to hold the sheets
of music in place, but then there was
always that one, even-numbered page
unwilling to be flipped.

The proscenium, now artfully bare of
instrument cases, gleamed a smile that
welcomed bright notes to join its sheen,
while the outer edge of the balcony was
trimmed with luxury cruise ship railings
waiting in place to deflect all those loose-
flung ledger lines that occupy the hall when
woodwind players engage the octave key.

Enough jabber, the director has taken the
stand to testify that all those rehearsals
were really worth it.  Deep breath…

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

In the damp night air
A pot of tea
Will be my only

My windy friend,
Whistling wild,
Will let me know
She’s ready
And will serve me
The only thing she offers:
Scalding-hot water
With which to brew my tea.


—Joseph Nolan

Usually, there will be
At least half-a-dozen
Amply dotting the roadsides.
Often, in a single strip-mall,
You will find two,
Along with a
Fried chicken-wing shop.

The chicken wing shops
Are the new-boys on the block,
Trying to elbow into
The food chain
That stretches along
Each American highway
In any major town.

Which kind of hamburgers do you like?
There are many kinds,
All so well-known to us,
We could name them in our sleep,
McD’s, BK’s, Wendy’s,
Carl’s, J-in-B’s,
And, at any of those
Mechanistic purveyors of burgers,
You are able to stuff,
Within five minutes of ordering,
A burger on a fluffy, white bun
Into your salivating mouth
With an entirely replicable
Dining experience,

Combined with fries
That grow cold
As you drive away,
And cold fries aren’t worth
The damage they do,
In combination with
Burgers on white buns. 

—Joseph Nolan

In the name of anaesthesia
In the name of effervescence
We’re encouraged to participate
In national elections.

We all know the game is fixed!
All the votes are bought,
Or else switched,
By black-box vote machines
That leave no paper trail
And the number
Of registered
Exceeds all deliveries
By the U.S. Mail.
Nominees don’t like to fail!


—Joseph Nolan

It tastes more like food
When you cook it.
It reads more like poetry
When you book it.
But feeling inches in
Through everything you do
And demands
Just a little
Of your time,
Free-verse or rhyme.

Why borrow sorrow
And wear a face
That’s long
When you can visit
Majestic brooks
Under forest trees
Get down on your knees,
Bless the sky
And catch a trout
With your bare hands
Eat it raw,
Then go on, about? 

Today’s LittleNip(s):


No skill required
just shout as loudly as you can
then if others yield to your voice
strut around like a winner

* * *

—Michael H. Brownstein, Chicago, IL

The snow pack
to rotting
and weak beer


Thank-you to today’s contributors, including Katy Brown for the wonderful alpaca photos she took a few years ago, when we visited a local alpaca ranch! Caschwa has summed up our recent Seeds of the Week as “Sometimes writing poetry can make one feel like an Alley Cat at Twilight Marooned on a Dead End,” and he even tackled the current one, the haibun. And Michael Brownstein, huddled back there in Chicago, knows whereof he speaks when it comes to snow pack.

Speaking of haibun, I came across
Contemporary Haibun Online (, a busy journal that might be interesting to haibun fans. They encourage submissions, including ones for an upcoming anthology, The Red River Book of Haibun 2019. Deadline is Feb. 28; see

Also now open for submissions throughout February: chapbook submissions to The Poetry Box. Info:

Tonight, Sac. Poetry Center will feature Sean King, Ooh Bay Kool, plus open mic, 7:30pm. On Tuesday, Poetry Off-the-Shelves will meet at the El Dorado Hills Library on Silva Valley Pkwy. in El Dorado Hills, 5-7pm.

SPC workshops this week include Tuesday Night Workshop for critiquing of poems at the Hart Center (27th and J Sts.) on Tuesday, 7:30pm (call Danyen Powell at 530-681-0026 for info); and MarieWriters Generative Writing Workshop for writing poems, facilitated this week at SPC by Mary McGrath, 6pm.

Another workshop this week, Licensing in the Digital Age, on copyrights for artists, will meet on Thursday night, 6-8:30pm at Crocker Art Museum, sponsored by Crocker and by Cal. Lawyers for the Arts. Be sure to register. Also on Thursday night: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sac. with featured readers and open mic, 8pm; and Poetry in Davis will present Tim Hunt, Leonore Wilson plus open mic at John Natsoulas Gallery. And Second Saturday at Sac. Poetry Center will feature work from Women’s Wisdom Art. (More about that later!)

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.

—Medusa (Celebrate Poetry)

 Talk To The Animals
Medusa with Friend
—Photo by Katy Brown

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.