Monday, October 28, 2019

Voices of Autumn

Snake & Jack
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis, CA

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Is that the sound of squirrels on the
roof, or some dry leaves shuffling?
ah, squirrels don’t crackle
when something touches them

a small, lonely rock wreaks havoc
in the metal rain gutter, its pings
manipulated by the wind like a
kite without a tail

now there is distinct pitter patter,
the banter of a pair of squirrels
along with that crackle and ping:
a test kitchen for the senses

encouraging and enabling different
sources of sounds to join together
more in conspiracy than in harmony;
will such a recipe get good reviews? 

 Smiling One-eyed Jack
—Photo by Katy Brown


…have a natural talent
for singing or dancing
I failed those tests badly
my temper turned madly
give them one gold star

…remember without trying
no rote repetition
memory photographic
clear road for mental traffic
give them two gold stars

…keep long lists in their heads
continually adjusting priorities
masterminds of law and order
aware of what’s across the border
give them three gold stars

…seem to know just what to say
when and how to say it
without upsetting tender hearts
or bruising egos of sassy old farts
give them four gold stars

…so want to believe
what a candidate says
expecting rewards for truth
like for a dear baby tooth
sorry, no more gold


 Alas, Poor Jack!


Some folks have the
quite irritating habit of
reminding everyone
far too often that
“We are a nation of laws.”

Big deal!!

Tell that to the victims of
motorists who routinely
ignore posted traffic safety

Tell that to the survivors
of victims killed by all kinds
of violent, illegal means

Tell that to all the convicts
who get a warmer welcome
from their prison family than
from any relations they have
on the outside

Tell that to the vast majority
of people who are not in line
to be enriched by the publishing
and sales of law books, the
building and management of
prisons and law libraries, or the
campaign funds of “law and
order” candidates

We have been a whole world
of laws since at least biblical
times, so being just one nation
of laws is really nothing to brag

Do something!

 Jack With Cats
—Photo by Katy Brown 

Years and years of
intensive practice had
finally paid off

the most deserving
rookie pitcher in the
league was given the
chance to take the
mound and show off
his tremendous skills

something did look a
little out of place, though

there was no rosin bag,
the catcher was wearing
a gas mask, and there
were a bunch of little
insects crawling among
the cleats…

—Photo by Katy Brown


They were just kids in
junior high school that
I taught some 40 years
ago in South Central
Los Angeles

lurking in urban alleyways
silenced by ricochets
terrorized in light of day
didn’t know another way

often wearing too much lotion
some had never seen the ocean
the hiss of asphalt muffles their screams
no country roads, just metal I-beams

and today those kids are old
enough to daily receive mail
asking them to prepare for their
final arrangements

quiz on Friday 

 —Photos of "Headstones" in Sac. Near 40th & J Streets
by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA

—Joseph Nolan

Autumn wears the sounds of leaves—
Autumn, hear we, rustling,
The sounds of colors, crunching!

On windy days, blown down the streets,
Leaves in piles, to children greet,
To fly into a pile!
And toss them to the sky!

From yellow, gold and red—
To brown—
Losing blush, their tones go down,
As they’re blown around
Our ancient town.

Tell me, where do colors go
When Winter wears the Earth in snow
And leaves cannot be seen?
Does Winter know it’s mean?

Tell me, what would colors say
If Winter would not have its way
To bury them in white?

Leave me where the colors flow
Upon the ground
That loves them so!
But lets them blow away.

 —Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Joseph Nolan

Evil twins are much in need:
Clones, just like us
To test out all alternatives.
Do your vitamins really work?
No way to know for sure
Without an evil twin
On whom to test the alternative circumstance.

But it’s not just vitamins,
It could be the second piece of cheesecake.
Wouldn’t you like to know how that might turn out?
Test it on your evil twin!

No need to worry.
E.T’s are very cooperative,
Just like little brothers.
They will eat, drink or otherwise
Consume any potential matter in question
Without objection.

So, if you are wondering
What your hangover would feel like
After that second bottle of wine,
Let your E.T. drink it.
You can ask him the next morning
And save yourself the headache.

 —Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Joseph Nolan

She whispers softly,
So softly that
Her whispers
Can’t be heard.
Not a single word.

She knows not
How to shout

Such sound
Is not given

Were it so,
There are some
Private things
You might
Come to know,

Rather not, though,
I think you’d
Rather not know
Of such sad things
That scream in rage,
That happened
Long ago. 

 —Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Joseph Nolan

We’re sending
Our ruined warriors
Off to Happy Camp

To retrieve their
So foul, gone sour,

From fighting
In a dirty war
With no justification,

Thus, burdened by guilt,
Shame and grief,

They’ve turned
To drugs and drink
To overcome their training,
As though they were still human,
And relearn how to think.

They’ll practice meditation
And watch the charging thoughts
Raging through their minds,
Like madmen turned
Against the world
And all those around them.

And after many years,
They might come back again. 

 —Photo by Michelle Kunert

—Joseph Nolan

Dangle your fine sleeves
Gently to the sides.
You need to catch the breeze
To clear the sand from eyes,

Eyes, too long gone,
Gone off, sleeping,
Recovering from weeping!
After your dear one died.

Take as long as you need!

Sorrow and grief
Demand a time to heed
Slowly, and slowly,
Slowly bleeding,
From a broken heart.

Life is a work of art.
Paint it with dark colors
To reflect shadows,
Slipped sideways
Over love,
Fallen apart. 

 Jack at Jenny's Giant Hamburger
—Photo by Katy Brown

Today’s LittleNip:


Just give me the cash,
don’t waste my time
messing around with
codes and passwords!


Lots of poems and lots of nifty pictures today, and our thanks to our intrepid contributors for those, as we struggle into last year's costumes for this spooky time of year.

Tonight at 6pm, Poetry in Motion read-around will meet in the lobby of the Placerville Sr. Center on Spring Street in Placerville. Then at 7:30pm, Sacramento Poetry Center features excerpts from the
Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California anthology, featuring readers Joshua McKinney, Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Tom Goff, Chris Olander, Stephen Meadows, Lucille Lang Day, E.K. Cooper plus open mic. And on Friday at 7pm, Writer’s and Poet’s Cafe features Jeanine Stevens, Ed Cole, and Donna Fado-Ivery plus open mic at St. Mark’s Methodist Church on St. Mark’s Way behind County Club Plaza in the north area of Sacramento. 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, celebrating the season of Paul Ter-gist and other spirits!

 —Anonymous Artwork

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.