Monday, July 01, 2019

For Every Seat . . .

—Photo by Carol Louise Moon, Placerville

—Ann Privateer, Davis, CA

The streets 
The malls

The open spaces
Fly spineless faces
Past the landlord's
Grimace, his references
Built a presence
A holdings indifferent
to the sobs.


—Ann Privateer

battle a bottle full of lies
chairs become exercise
equipment, more to finance

less to kill time hardily.

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

A poet’s pencil
Runs to stubble
Slipping off the page,

Magic bullets
Just bounce off.

Maybe it’s kryptonite
And super isn’t
Super anymore?

What’s left in store
For Batman
And the Joker

If magic bullets
Are not magic


—Joseph Nolan

Someone captured
The essence
Of something
Entirely new,
Fabulous, inspiring,
A brilliant innovation,
In a jar,
Put a label on it,
Stored it on a shelf,
And kept it
From going

Professors from nearby
Were invited to
Come take a look.
Several of them
Wrote a book
About this genius-wonder.
The book was bound in leather,
And stored on a shelf
Just below the jar.

The authors received a prize.
A museum was constructed
In which to house the jar
And the book.
People came
From near and far
To shake the jar
To hear
What was in it,
But nothing ever came of it,
Except for that.
Nevertheless, it remained a matter
Of great academic interest. 

—Joseph Nolan

When you yield
The field
Your fate is sealed.

You will be cut off
From the
Newly forming line.

It puts you behind
Where you wanted to go
Because you were
A little too slow
Or a little too cautious.

So remember to butt
Your car into line
When changing lanes
If you have the time
To get ahead
Of the ones
Behind you,
Closing faster.

If they ram you,
It’s their disaster.


—Joseph Nolan
Get this shit off my lot!
You know I hired you
To sell this shit,
So get it off of my lot!

I don’t care what you gotta do.
I don’t care what you gotta say.
Just get this shit
Off of my lot,

‘Cause I don’t make no money
If there are no sales
And each customer
Is an ass for a seat;
For every seat
There’s an ass.

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Funny how that can happen
I guess the groom got my
ride to the tavern where I was
going to shoot pool with the
guys and have a few beers,

and I got his ride here to the
altar, deposited right on the
threshold to eternal bliss,
that magical kiss, tonight we
will consummate….

Don’t cry, he’ll be just fine,
likely to meet a darling at the
tavern who will fill his heart
with love and tenderness,

Oh wait, do you have a
couple bucks I can give to
the driver?



We see the sparkling photos of
West Point Black Women Graduates
proudly and neatly tucked into one frame
like small coins in a cash drawer
that never quite touch the large bills

What will our descendants see? 


Elementary school: at the time, very little
been there, done that.

Hebrew school: prep for Bar Mitzvah (today
you are a man, be very careful how you go
about proving it).

Junior high school: definitely founded on the
rules of royalty, steadfastly serving the agenda
of bullies.

Senior high school: backpacks loaded with
knowledge that can only be accessed with
passwords that have not yet been invented.

About 2 weeks after graduation: close family
members told me I was in a coma for 10 days
following a bad motorcycle crash, but I was still
too out of it to know who they were, or why I had
to keep a very thick bandage in place on my
thumb. (I later learned from a casual chat with a
first responder that my thumb had been reattached.)

College: a roomful of kids see an accomplished
professor struggle with the new technology.

Sometime later: I had an early morning paper
route and welcomed first light as the bearer of
the good news that I was almost done and soon
would be sitting at one of my favorite eateries
enjoying breakfast.

The future: just have faith the sun will rise again.
(Even White House staff couldn’t find the light


(an obvious aping of “The Charge of
the Light Brigade” by Alfred Lord

Half a house, half a house,
Half a house onward,
All in the valley of Debt
Strode the collector
“Forward the List Past Due!
Charge for the paper!” he said.
Into the valley of Debt
Strode the collector.

“Forward the List Past Due!”
Was there a debt unpaid?
Not though the collector knew
Someone had blundered.
His not to make reply
His not to reason why
His but to do and try
Into the valley of Debt
Strode the collector.

Refusal to right of him,
Refusal to left of him,
Refusal in front of him
Whiner and heckler;
Stormed at with curse and yell,
Boldly he strode and well,
Into the jaws of Debt,
Into the mouth of hell
Strode the collector.

Flashed all his numbers bare,
Flashed as they singed his hair
Debating with debtors there,
Charging a conspiracy, while
All the world lectured.
Plunged in the denial-smoke
Right through the truth they broke;
Foreign and domestic
Reeled while the numbers spoke
Shuttered by conjecture.
Then they retreated, but not
Not the collector.

Refusal to right of him,
Refusal to left of him,
Refusal behind him
Whiner and heckler;
Stormed at with curse and yell,
Unanswered chiming door bell
He that had tried so well
Came through the jaws of Debt
Back from the mouth of hell,
All that was left of him,
Left of the collector.

When can his glory fade?
O the wild charge he made!
All the world conjectured.
Honour the payments of a few!
Honour the List Past Due,
Noble collector!

Today’s LittleNip:


An accountant adds the numbers
top to bottom, bottom up
whilst the artist in him slumbers,
begging coffee for his cup

Just take your average sonnet
put the rhyming words aside
affix a title on it
hark, the core that hasn’t died

When all is copasetic
double underscore what counts
for a rhyme alone is not poetic:
don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that bounce


A sunny July 1 thank-you to our skillful contributors today, including photographs from Carol Louise Moon, who writes that “It is a series of public trash cans designed after old-fashioned canning labels from the Fidalgo Island Packing Co. We are seeing these all over Anacortes, WA, while on vacation.” Colorful!

Poetry events this week start with Sac. Poetry Center’s Hot Poetry in the Park! at an earlier time, 6:30-8pm, with Jenny Lynn and Jeanette Sem plus open mic. On Tuesday, Poetry Off-the-Shelves read-around in El Dorado Hills takes place from 5-7pm at the EDH Library.

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 this week by Laura Rosenthal.

On Friday (instead of the usual Thursday), Poetry in Davis presents Nebraska Poet Laureate Matt Mason at John Natsoulas Gallery in Davis, 8pm. 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!

 —Anonymous Road Sign

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.