Monday, June 03, 2019

From Angels' Wings

—Anonymous Angelic Vintage Photos

—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA

County fair closed
The last weekend in May,
And on Monday morning
We were greeted
By a whole new cast
Of resident chickens:
Birds their owners
Couldn't keep, couldn't bear
To sell to Campbell's.
Flocks of them, wandering
Around the firehouse
(Where would You dump
Your chicken, afterall?)--
Lacewings, turbans,
Iridescent bantams,
Disoriented, confused,
But with attitude.
Like so many of us
In the Village
In those days.


—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

A big man, 300 lbs. on a good day,
sits atop his Harley, commandingly
adept at alternating roars and purrs;
everyone is aware when he nears
the church

once inside he strides right for the
double-manual pipe organ, carefully
negotiating his large frame onto the
bench, feeling the pedals with his
well-trained giant feet like a nimble,
soft-shoed ballet dancer

big, meaty fingers leave spontaneous
depressions in the keyboards, notes
rush out for safety in uniform groups
and heart-stopping sequence, no
haven of purrs between the roars

Even Spring chickens from its duty to
bring warmth to melt the snow and
decides instead to blanket select parts
of the Earth with icy reminders of who
is really in charge, using that big man
at the organ to convey calamitous
coldness to a congregation predisposed
to bask in the soothing, relaxing summer


(Inspired by the poetry of
Jon Bennett, Medusa’s Kitchen,
May 1, 2019)

When I started kindergarten, my family
lived in a triplex across the street from
where a new freeway was being built.

There were raw construction smells of
cement and concrete, but it was far too
soon for the music of its vibrating walls
and columns to have words and send
messages to my little ears.

Shortly thereafter we moved to a house
near a park where I walked the mile to
grammar school, day after day and year
after year, sharing classes and teachers
with many of the same classmates.

I really shocked one classmate decades
later because I remembered her name just
by her voice.

Never had that kind of connection with any
of the adults living across the street.



In the company of flying stewardesses
on the way to see flying buttresses
holding together some old cathedrals
whose names don’t easily roll off the tongue
unless you learn them when very, very young

They offered me a drink, non-alcoholic
I’d much prefer a menu not so bucolic
need a vacation from all the procedurals,
from the new normal hysteria
from café-bacteria

Need to part ways with the standards of yore,
there are so many goodies to buy at the store
welcome Neanderthals in underalls
the plane is now landing, my seatbelt secure
a new hat would be nice, if it’s not made from fur


Common sense! Common sense!
It’s all there! It’s all there!
Look it up! Look it up!

Definitions, meanings, rules, spellings
Anything you ever needed to know, and
infinite other things as well

1 How to, 2
3 FAQ, 4
5 It’s all 6
7 on you! 8

The “reasonable man test” now includes
looking it up on your Smart Phone
unless you are serving on a jury

of your wannabe peers
with their stupid questions
and stories that last years

in which case any and all questions
must be referred to the Court for reply,
and the Judge will pull out his or her

Smart Phone, look it up.
and wonder why:
How could anyone not just know that?



Right here under my nose is
every answer I’ve been seeking;
just need to focus closer to home
each time I put finger to keyboard
carefully assembling words in patterns
to delight an unknown audience
itching to hallow my very name,
opting to respond to my submissions:
“No, no, a thousand times no.”

Send it in again, please, a little different,
lose the op-ed tone, do_not_preach,
include whatever makes it salable,
put your heart into it.

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA
Hot Blonde in black cocktail dress!
Looking like an oasis,
Out to show her best—
Oh, my!
Could I touch her breast?
I know she wouldn’t let me.
She only wants the best.

I am not
Good enough.
Some things about me
Are a little rough.
I didn’t grow up rich
And some times were really tough
And she can sense
The troubles
I’ve been through.

She might have a heart
Her beauty fades away,
But by then,
Might no longer
Want to play,
Or to spend my day
Pleasing her.


—Joseph Nolan

I used to be young,
Not long ago,
I remember it well,
Or, at least,
I think so?

Was it thirty years
Befell me,
Without my
Taking note?
Oh, how I
Hate time!

I say this
On the precipice
Of what’s
Left me behind:
Oh, how I
Hate time!

—Joseph Nolan

We got screwed on the way to paradise.
It always ends up this way,
Since many competing alpha-males
Each must have his say,

About how he’s the only one
Who really knows the route,
The only one who can get us there,
So you “need to listen
To what he has to say!”

Well, it seems that we got stranded,
Way out far away,
In places like Dien Bien Phu
And New Year’s Day in Hue.

Things like this always happen
On our way to paradise:
Colonialists’ lust for land,
For gold and for command
Over other nations
Far across the seas
Eventually, in reality,
Grinds down in coarse sand.


—Joseph Nolan

We live in fragile houses
Made, in part,
Of glass.
How easily a rock may pass
Through glass!

Oh, how fragile we might be!
We have no security.
Unlike the castles of old
That made things most difficult
For the treacherous or bold.

Civil wars uncivil, are.
Most uncivil! so,
They built their towers
Much taller than a man
Can stand
Or easy-climb,
Protecting precious princesses
From passing troubadour’s rhyme
And hand!

—Joseph Nolan
Angels in our natures,
Angels, each one.
And each angel nurtured
By a different ray of the sun.

Angels of longing
Angels in pain
Angels in beauty
Angels who strain

To heal and to mend
To touch with silken grace,
Whose knees bend to nurture
Who revel to please,

Angels at ease;
Finally, they are at ease!
As every finer virtue
Possessed by angels

Lovers to come closer
And providers
To stay stronger
And work longer,
They ever thought they could
Or would
Without the inspiration
That comes from angels’ wings.


Today’s LittleNip:


Former US Attorney
Former entry level worker
Former caterpillar
Former ugly duckling
Former bumper bowler
Former alone at the dance
Former business failure
Former detention denizen
Former Edsel owner
Former late bloomer
Former excessive drinker
Former tadpole
Former runt of the litter
Former prize winner
Former bench warmer


Thanks to our contributors today for lots of fine poetry! Our readings-week in this area begins at Fremont Park in Sacramento, as Sac. Poetry Center presents Hot Poetry in the Park with Alé (Twosense) Hernandez and Justin (Just Is) Lang, plus open mic. Note that this is a different location as well as a different time (6:30-8pm).

SPC workshops this week include Tuesday Night Workshop for critiquing of poems at the Hart Center (27th and J Sts.) on Tuesday, 7:30-9pm (call Danyen Powell at 530-681-0026 for info); and MarieWriters Generative Writing Workshop at SPC for writing poems, 6-8pm on Wednesday.

Poetry Off-the-Shelves read-arounds will meet in El Dorado Hills on Tuesday and in Placerville on Wednesday, both 5-7pm. Also in Placerville this week, beginning on Thursday, June 6, will be the WakamatsuFest150 at Wakamatsu Farm, concluding on Sunday, June 9.

On Thursday at Poetry in Davis, Brad Buchanan and Stuart Canton will read at the John Natsoulas Gallery, 8pm, plus open mic. And on Friday, also in Davis, there will be a reading by the UCD English Dept. “second-year” graduate MA students, 7pm at the UCD Arboretum (Wyatt Deck).

Then Saturday from 5-8pm, the Sac. Poetry Center Gallery will hold a reception for this month’s art installation, History of Life by Dawn Blanchfield, including a free ekphrastic workshop presented by Bethanie Humphreys at 5:30pm, followed by a reading of these ekphrastic poems at 6:30pm. 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.

—Medusa, celebrating poetry, the voice of the angels

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