Monday, July 29, 2019

Battling Onward

Carl's Chihuahua, Caught in a Snooze
—Photo by Caschwa, Sacramento, CA


It is long past bedtime
for school kids
an occasional train
passes by, filling the
viscera with mighty
vibrations as it shuffles
along the tracks

that is when my Chihuahua
and I steal outside for a
short walk across the
back lawn, me inspecting
fruit on the trees and
vines, and she pointing her
brushy nose toward a
palette of stars

the season itself provides
ample shelter from rain
and hail, with triples in the
forecast and lows that
don’t sink too low for

then we retreat inside
where she gets some
water and kibble, and I
brew a cup of decaf to
enjoy while reading
about the fabulous
exploits of other poets.



Achieved senior citizen status. Check.
Cataracts removed. Check.
New lenses implanted. Check.
No longer acrimoniously nearsighted. Check.
Cheap readers handy everywhere. Check.

But after a lifetime of getting used to using a
myopic approach to sizing up one’s world, the
rote act of shoveling coal in the engine room
affixes itself to one’s shoulder as a vociferous
metronome, even though one may later get to
stand at the helm and admire the vast ocean.

 —Photo by Caschwa, Sacramento, CA


There have been a few
occasions when I needed
to hire an attorney at law,
or an attorney at plumbing,
or an attorney at poetry,
or an attorney at astrology

but lacking the funds, I
became pretty proficient at
DIY projects, which thankfully
do not include a vanity mirror
to betray all those horrid
expressions when the ever-
present miscue arises

Let’s see now, where was I?
Why do so many loose parts
still abound when the project
is clearly finished? I can’t go
to court looking like this



In America it is a given that a man of color
will face a lifetime of discrimination, but
when he goes on to distinguish himself in
exemplary fashion as a student and a professor,
that becomes an honor he owns.

It is also a given that the POTUS will face all
kinds of challenges and naysaying, but when
the opposing party subjects him to eight years
of daily, impenitent obstruction and refuses to
allow him to lead the nation as the voters had
chosen, that becomes not his failure, rather a
sad dishonor the opposing party owns.

So far, a significant, outspoken segment of the
nation has not yet set out the welcome mat for
a black or woman president, and indeed, they’ll
bring out every trick in the book to foil such a plot.
Stay tuned, America…



In grade school and in college

Never could any
report just state, ho-hum, that
something was “unclear”

In today’s local newspapers

A reporter who
lacks information will claim
nobody knows that 

 Wall in Placerville
—Photo by Carol Louise Moon, Placerville, CA 

From The Sports Complex Within the Tattoo Garden of Capella: The Sports Complex in the Garden of Capella
—Michael H. Brownstein, Jefferson City, MO

icicle skating

avalanche skiing

thin ice sledding

leaf climbing

dead tree carry and throw

mud swamping


Almost five,
the sun still brightens the sky
Winter in the Tattoo Garden of Capella,
the ink less obtrusive,
its coloring calm and clean,
soft white cotton linen,
fine lined with the nibs of fine pens.
But it is never cold,
even with drifts and white ice,
icicle skating,
tobogganing down frozen falls,
cross country snow boating,
carving tunnels beneath richly deigned snow.
Almost five,
The sun still brightens the sky.

 Chung Mei Lion Dance Troupe
—Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

I had not see one this color before.
I was wondering if it was a cricket,
Instead of a roach,
But, since it was crawling
Toward my kitchen floor
I could not let it go,
Lest there be more,
And no-one is kind to roaches,
Since they are untoward,
And not to be mentioned,
So it was done quietly
As you might imagine
It would be,
And a paper towel
Was thrown away
Surrounding its smushed-up remains.


—Joseph Nolan

Waiting for my promotion,
I am standing in line.
I have to wear a tie
And act like
Everything’s fine.

Laugh at all
My boss’s jokes;
Seem like I really care,
Get a normal haircut
At least twelve times a year.

This is what it’s like
When you’re waiting in line—
Waiting for your promotion,
Pretending everything’s fine.

—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Joseph Nolan

There’s a man
Who rented
There before,
Many children
His wife
Had borne,
Now, all
Grown and gone.

I used to watch him
Living there,
His life
A swirling
Storm of care,
So much
Coming and going!
But now
All grown and gone.

I wonder where
His kids have gone
If they manage
To get along
They are living?
Do they give
To a father who
Came back from a war
Only to battle onward?


—Joseph Nolan

Never say a nasty word
You wouldn’t want to be heard
Over and over again,
Into eternity.

The echoes never stop.
They echo out in whirling rings
Throughout the universe
And never stop.

People in distant galaxies
Can hear your every word
On their Earth monitor radios,
But it doesn’t stop there.

It just goes on and on,
But thankfully,
They don’t really care.
It’s up to you
What you do
What you say
In any particular way,
But don’t say a word
You wouldn’t want heard
So very far away. 

 —Photo by Ann Privateer, Davis, CA

—Ann Privateer

My mind is a canvas

Spilling cities, pushing

Boundaries, shouting colors

A cornucopia transcending 

Motion, stealing stealthfully 

Through a megaphone

Of mind's eyes and ears

Touching, in service. 

 —Photo by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA


perched on the end of my spindly finger, lighter
than goosedown, a thousand rainbows swirling

on a paper-thin meniscus—blown by an angel,
maybe, or a pimply ogre with bad breath, or maybe

just some Puck of a kid trying to kill a rainy
Saturday afternoon. . .  Today it balances

on the tip of my finger, bounces colored light
into my shiny eyes like some eager seal's striped

circus ball: me, this lucky juggler pulling off
my latest trick while I hold my breath: quick-

silver planet poised, ready to pop or fly—burst
and spray me with millions of sticky dewdrops,

or float off into the wide sky, leaving me all alone
with my empty, grieving hands. . .

—Kathy Kieth, Diamond Springs, CA
(In response to Taylor Graham’s bubbles,
Medusa’s Kitchen, 7/25/19)


Today’s LittleNip:


One fellow had credit history
that was so bad he could not
get a loan of any kind from
anyone. He was absolutely

Just to cover all bases, he
tried again, and sure enough,
at the end of the day he was


Thanks to our contributors today for their eclectic array of fine words and photos as we wind up July this week.

A reminder that July 31 is the deadline for Sac. Poetry Center's 2020 issue of Sac. Poetry Center’s
Tule Review! See

Speaking of SPC, their Monday reading this week will be a fundraiser for River City Food Bank, featuring Patrick Grizzell, Cassandra Dallett and Aaron Bradford. Bring a non-perishable food item, or just write a check! That’s 7:30-9:30pm at SPC on 25th & R Sts. in Sacramento.

On Tuesday at noon, visit the American Haiku Archives in the Cal. History Room at 900 N St. (Suite 200) in Sacramento for a tour led by Dr. Judy Halebsky, Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Dominican University and specialist in Japanese forms.

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, facilitated by Bob Stanley.

And Saturday is Second Sat. Art Reception at SPC, 5-9pm, featuring artist Heather Judy. For more about Heather and her art, go to

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!

 —Anonymous Photo

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