Monday, February 11, 2019

The Alligator We Call Love

—Anonymous Photos

—JD DeHart, Chattanooga, TN

I could carry a torch for you,
but that would be arson.  I am
afraid such a blaze would only
create distance between us.

Love is made difficult by

Sick as a dog, I searched for your
muzzle, offered to let you outside,
thought of a treat and reward system,
but these efforts were in vain.

When you told me you were on
the fence, I looked for you next to
the blackbirds that visit every morning,
but you were missing in their song.

Instead, I found you clipping toenails
in the sink.  Next time you could at least
offer a bath there so that the metaphor
means more.

Finally, you said after while, crocodile,
and I checked myself for rows of teeth,
looked about, and understood when I
saw the swamp I was creating,

a neurotic miasma that surely
must have seemed as rough as a reptile’s
unwelcoming hide.

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

Remember, imagine, embrace!
All the lovers you’ve loved
Without trace,
Unless there are children
Left behind,
The way lovers'
Is blind!

Look and you will see
Thousands of lovers
Hand in hand,
Across the sand
Of beaches,
By the sea,

Each swearing
For each other,
Smitten by
Their beauty.

But day will fade,
As pledges made,
To love and to love
Well, always,
As everything
Slips away!

—Joseph Nolan

Friends are just friends.
No need to struggle
Or to argue!
Most of the time,
They have your back,
Support your feet,
Urge you to be stronger,
Laugh a little longer,
And to smile!
To walk, at least
Another mile,
On legs grown bolder,
To hold onto your lover
As you both grow older
And let a sunset
Set in pink, red, and gold!

—Ryan Quinn Flanagan, Lake Eliot, Ontario, Canada

She has taken a ratty green rag from under the sink
and a bottle of Pine Sol 
and wiped down the clock.

For the glass part where the numbers go,
she uses Windex and paper towel.

The fumes wreak havoc on my allergies.
My nose runs down my face into
a ball of waiting tissue.

This must be how leaky waterbeds feel,
I think.

She is humming to herself.
She seems happy, which is nice.

My eyes begin to burn and I rub them.

She wears overalls better than any farmer.
One strap over each shoulder like enjoying
a denim rollercoaster.

             SO WHICH SIDE?
—Ian Copestick, Stoke on Trent, England

My pockets as empty as my guts
As I walk the streets
The boredom of poverty can drive you nuts
As much as not having enough to eat
Nothing to do, nowhere to go
And no money to do it
I don't think I could get any more low
And so you just think "Screw it!"
Before I'd starve, I'd rather steal
I won't go down without a fight
If you're in jail you get a meal
As well as a bed for the night
I'm not saying that it's right, and I won't condone it
But you have to do what you have to do to eat
They won't give it to you, the ones that own it
They don't care if you die in the street
I really believe we're in a war
Against the massed forces of the right
Now is the time to decide who you're for
Pick a side and fight
Do you fight to keep people free?
And fight for the rights of the human race?
Or do you put a wall around your country
To keep out any foreign face?
There's only one race, the human race
We have to accept each other's rights
Do you love your brother, or do you hate?
Yes, now's the time to decide.

All in green went my love shopping
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
(adapted from “All in green went my love riding”
by e.e. cummings, posted on Medusa Sun. 2/10)

all in green went my love shopping

on a great charge card of gold

into the housewares section.

four lean salesmen crouched low and smiling

the merry advertising everywhere.

fleeter be they than empire dreams

the swift sweet ads

the red ink temptations.

four-story, red brick sears, roebuck, and company
the cruller bagel sang the morning song

snacks at hip went my love shopping

taking the stairway down

into the housewares section.

four lean salesmen crouched low and smiling

the level tables ran before.

softer be they than slippered sleep

the lean lithe ads

the fleet flown ads.

four express lanes at a gold valley

the famished barterers sang before.

bow at belt went my love shopping

taking the stairway down

into the housewares section.

four lean salesmen crouched low and smiling

the sheer profit peaks ran before.

paler be they than daunting death

the sleek slim ads

the tall tense ads.

four tall cashiers at a green mountain

the lucky hunter sang before.

all in green went my love shopping

on a great charge card of gold

into the housewares section.

four lean salesmen crouched low and smiling

my credit fell dead before.


Some fringe benefits of the necessity of eating
even a modest portion of food are the savory taste
on the tongue, and the royal pleasure of a contented
tummy.  We also entertain an appetite for the biblical
duty of procreation, usually fed by just what our bodies
give us, unembellished by fabled glass slippers or
photo-shopped renderings of the “perfect image”.  But
at the end of the day,

saying “I love you”
sounds nicer than to utter
“You satisfy me.”

—Michael H. Brownstein, Chicago, IL

Let us wake with happiness and treasure,
affection, grand thoughts of pleasure.
I look around, see you here—I am awed.
Within your wonder, nothing is flawed.
Today an arrow, a cupid's bow, a simple song,
beautiful as a palisade and just as strong.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Wm. S. Gainer, Grass Valley, CA

I hate
how I miss you.


Welcome to Love Week in the Kitchen! Today we have some Valentine poems from poets close and far—all fellas—who are celebrating love of people, friends, nature, food, country, credit cards... It’s not too late to send poems celebrating love in its many forms to The Snakes of Medusa are always hungry!

And welcome back to the Kitchen to Bill Gainer, who has been traveling around the country, reading his poetry, and otherwise kicking up the dust. This poem is from his book from Lummox Press, T
he Mysterious Book of Old Man Poems. Check it out at

Poetry events in our area begin tonight at Sac. Poetry Center with Charles Halsted and Wm. O’Daly, plus open mic, 7:30pm. On Wednesday, Poetry Off-the-Shelves meets in El Dorado Hills at the library on Silva Valley Pkwy., 5-7pm; MarieWriters meets at SPC from 6-8pm, facilitated this week by Laura Rosenthal; and Love Jones “Peak Level” presents poets and singers at Laughs Unlimited in Old Sacramento, 8-10pm.

Busy weekend coming up! Thursday is, as always, Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe in Sacramento, 8pm, this week with Love Isn’t What You Think But It’s Also Exactly What You Think: The David Loret De Mola Valentine’s Day Extravaganza; in the daytime (11:30am-1:30pm), Women’s Wellspring Writing Group meets at the Women's Wellspring Center on 4th Av., facilitated by Sue Daly. On Friday, The Other Voice in Davis features Charles Halsted and Robert Ramming, plus open mic, at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Patwin Rd., 7:30pm. Then on Sunday, Davis Arts Center Poetry Series will feature Ladies of the Knight plus open mic, 2pm. 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.

To read about “6 Strange Things Love Does to Your Brain and Body’, go to

—Medusa (Celebrate Love!)

Puppy Love
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.