Monday, September 30, 2019

The Persistence of Marmalade

Ballet Chicken
—Photos by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Cynthia Linville, Lincoln, CA

(Written for Dennis Schmitz, 1984)

Nervous tension prickles through the air
like static electricity.
Conversation buzzes in pairs
dotted here and there around the room.
A few suppressed giggles tickle ears,
but mostly only
tapping toes and
twitching thumbs and
sidelong glances.
The first day of class.

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA 
Knock, knock
Who’s there?
Autumnal who?

Autumn equal knocks 

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA
There is dried orange marmalade
Solidified like amber
Clinging to the outside
Of a cabinet door.

It’s been there a long, long time.
I know I’ve seen it there, before.
It knows its place in life.
It’s gone as far as it can go.
It will stay right there forever
Or until it is removed
When the present tenant moves out.


—Joseph Nolan

The festival is coming!
I’m getting ready to have fun.
I’m fun, I’m having, getting ready,
When the festival comes.

Festival days are fun!
We’re having festival,
Are we having fun?
Fun we’re festival,
Feeling, we’re in fun!

Buy me a hot-dog on a bun
For some fun in festival!
A hot dog is having fun
Being swallowed down!

At a festival
No one wears a frown!

—Joseph Nolan

If I had a chisel
And a hammer
In my hand,
I could carve
A lovely image
Out of
Frozen sand.

Sand, frozen
Into solid stone,
Sand with a soul
Cast all alone,
Sand that shines
Into beauty
When smoothed
As though to bone;
Beauty as an image
Of stone as living bone.


—Joseph Nolan

Why is it so hard
For us to simply say
How we really feel?

Are we so afraid
To be seen?

We feel so all alone
Since the geese
Have flown
South to warmer weather
For the Winter.

Come flight-time in the Fall
The sky was full of sound,
But now it has gone quiet.
We are so very quiet, now!


Wherever teachers
walk, swarms of pupils will try
to fill their footprints

one of my all time
favorite teachers was a
short fellow student

who stood up tall to
present a different set
of facts that was right



Everyone in Congress swears
they love the Constitution, but
when a wedding date is finally
set they congregate in small,
diametrically opposed groups
to debate the invitation list, the
seating chart, inside or outside,
vegan-friendly or taboo, whom
to choose to officiate, et cetera…

We save the ashes of pets we
loved with all our hearts, our
fond memories living on and on

Remember to use extra care in
how to juxtapose lefties and

Sometime, somewhere, someone
will come across that stash of red
pens and pencils we hid from our
favorite teacher, and yet be
deprived of the stunning moment
she pulled a spare one from her


(one o’ them dechnad cummaisc things)

Heavy eyelids fight to stay shut
sunlight prevails to unlock them
A.M. will sing

coffee is brewed, hot and steamy
just the right cream
cup rests on the breakfast table:
a fabled dream



beneath the House of Commons
extends a 5-level underground
car park

reaching one way to an arcade
and other ways to government

it gets quite a bit of use as one
may imagine, what with all the
shopping to do

and that little business of running
a nation of people dedicated to
following rules

there are tunnels this way and that
frequented by important people,
trying like

the palace guards to stifle their smiles
and convince you it is all most serious


(from the perspective of
a Baby Boomer)

We used to get enlightening
news reports on the radio that
we “heard” as black and white

then along came the television
which has been continually
reinventing itself until now, TV
news is a product that has been
so thoroughly

ill advised

it leaves the audience none
the wiser 

When my grandma died
     My family and I never got condolence letters from any of her doctors
     But the vets for my mom’s deceased cat sent a card with a handwritten note
     “Thanks for giving Hurley a great life..” the Arden Animal Hospital wrote  
     So many families of people who pass away are never given such similar tribute
     I do wish I had gotten something such as, “Thank you for helping your grandma live a great life,
     we will keep you and your family in our prayers…"

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA


Walking back to where I parked my car at the Fair Oaks Chicken Festival
       A lady pulled up to me in her car and said, “Hey, would you like a picture of Jesus?”
       I answered, smiling, “No thanks. He is already in my heart—I received Jesus when I was five—been ‘saved’ since then.”
       I then told her I don’t need any mere “picture” of Jesus because I’m already in Him, just as He is in me
       I kind of thought afterward and realized that I’ve sometimes wished that people could see in me a “picture of Jesus"
       but on this earth I can only give only a very dim reflection of the image of my heavenly Savior   

—Michelle Kunert


Today’s LittleNip:


If you try real hard
and have rich sponsors, you can
be a star athlete

not athletic? you
will still have what it takes to
be a drug dealer


Good Morning, America, on this last day of September, 2019, and a hearty thank-you to today’s contributors!
Thank you, Cynthia Linville, for your fine poem for our CSUS professor/co-poet laureate, Dennis Schmitz, who passed away in September. Michelle Kunert mentioned the Fair Oaks Chicken Festival, so I dug out some of Katy Brown’s chikkin-piks, plus a few of her waterfowl thrown in. Joseph Nolan writes about the persistence of marmalade, about which I did not know. Our Seed of the Week is "My Favorite Teachers", so Carl Schwartz riffed on that, and he also tackled the Welsh form that Taylor Graham showed in her post last Thursday (bravo for guts, Caschwa!). (His equinox poems reminds me of the old shaggy-dog story about how the piano tuner, Mr. Opporknockity, never tunes twice.)

Tonight at 7:30pm, Sac. Poetry Center will present a fundraiser: A Reading for the Sac. Homeless Organizing Committee, featuring Joey Garcia, Angelo Williams, and Renée Moffet Thompson. Then Thursday night from 8-10pm at Laughs Unlimited in Old Sac., the Big Battle spoken word team competition will take place between poets from Elk Grove, North Sac., and Rancho Cordova. This is also a fundraiser for the “From a Boy to a Man” program; admission is $10. 

On Saturday, another fundraiser takes place for the Sac. Fine Arts Center in Carmichael on Saturday from 5-7:30pm: six area poets who have written poetry to paintings on display in the gallery. That’s 5330B Gibbons Dr. in Carmichael; admission is $20. Later that night, from 8-10pm, the Love Jones “Late Night Version” features sensual poetry and smooth ballads at Celebration Arts, 2727 B St., Sacramento. Admission is $10. 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.

Interested in workshops? Check the green box at the right for a listing of local ones which will be held this week and/or later.

—Medusa, who is too chicken to tackle one o’ them dechnad cummaisc thingies ~

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