Monday, December 30, 2019

Bees, Bliss, Baseball & Brothers

New Year's Eve in Surabaya
—Anonymous Photos

Three Poems by Michael Ceraolo, S. Euclid, OH,
from his ongoing project,
Dugout Anthology:

Lee Richmond

While I was at Brown
I would play ball for them some days,
then play for professional teams other days;
after the season a rule was passed
prohibiting a player from doing that
Because I was grandfathered,
the sore losers from Yale walked out of the meeting
where the rule had been adopted
I pitched a perfect game (the first ever)
and graduated from Brown in the same week
I played pro ball for a few more seasons,
undertook medical training in the offseasons,
and in 1883 became a doctor
I think I may be the only player in baseball history
with any kind of medical training
who wasn't nicknamed Doc

* * *

John Montgomery Ward

Spalding must have suspected something:
he delayed our league for a season
by sending me and the others on a world tour
in late '88 and early '89
We should have delayed another year
in order to construct proper ballparks
We should have had people of color:
I played with Bill White
and against the Walker brothers and others,
all without incident;
the fans still would have come
because we had the best players
We should have affiliated with either
the AFL or the Knights of Labor
But mostly we should have sought backers
who believed in the producer ethos,
and were prepared to back that belief long-term
instead of bailing the first chance they got
It's possible there might not have been
any such animal even at that early date

* * *

Ed Delahanty

I was one of the best hitters ever,
but that isn't what you want to know about
About what happened on July 2, 1903:
due to my signing contracts and accepting advances
regardless of whether I had an existing contract,
I owed someone a large sum of money,
which I had been trying to get by playing the ponies;
losses there only made things worse
I had finally decided to go with McGraw
and was on my way to New York
But I had fallen off the wagon in a big way
and was put off the train only a few miles
from where I was to catch a connecting train
I tried to walk across a bridge not meant
to be walked across at any time,
especially not on a dark night
A zealous watchman tried to stop me,
but my alcohol-addled brain caused me
to try and get away from him after a scuffle
I know that I had spoken of wishing to be dead,
but I swear I did not deliberately jump:
I fell to my death in a tragic accident

 New Year's Eve in Bali

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Holy days, dreams and memes
add pagan rituals
commercial schemes

Hanukah lights and Christmas,
the giving
we celebrate lost souls, and also
the living

again the popular movie
again the popular song,
greeting cards that look like skirts:
some way too short, others
way too long

sitting at home in an
empty nest
we’ve done the group things, shown
up at the fest

now relaxed and comfortable
enjoying the day
our way, nothing else
just our way



long bicycle rides
Santa Monica Mountains
low gear up, coast down

see friends in valley
ride back same day, up and down
take a few photos

Marina del Rey
and its adjacent beaches
miles, miles of bike lanes

beachfront homes and yachts
so far above my station
free glitter for all

sea air in my nose
nature’s music all around
laughter of the waves

daily bus commute
Mar Vista—Miracle Mile
part I chose to walk

classical music
in the nice cassette player
I wore on my head

bus stop or sidewalk
Beethoven and Bach displayed
their artful genius

courtesy of the
rechargeable batteries
lasting one round trip

each lunch break I would
stroll to La Brea Tar Pits
and watch visitors

drop their jaws at the
site where dinosaurs died and
were frozen in time 

 New Year's Eve, Pullman Phuket Panwa Beach Resort


I listened to Bach with my friends. Almost everyone did.
Sometimes I had too many Bachs. Sometimes others
did. I liked Bach. I still like Bach, but I did not listen to
Bach to the point of blacking out and I never sexually
assaulted anyone.

Yes, we listened to Bach. My friends and I. Boys and
girls. Yes, we listened to Bach. I liked Bach, Still like
Bach. We listened to Bach.

We listened to Bach and still do. So whatever, yeah.

Anyone who’s known me like a lot of these people behind
me, have known me my whole life, know, you know, I got
a weak stomach, whether it’s with Bach or with spicy food
or anything.



The Russians could be watching us:

through those devices that track
our steps and calories

through toothbrushes that send
digital reports to computers

through camera systems at financial

through cell towers and broadband

through our comments on social media

through our consumption habits for
food, medicine, recreational drugs,
weapons, and just about anything else


The Russians are not afraid that we will
write letters condemning them; they are
more like zookeepers encouraging the
big cats to growl. 

 New Year's Eve in Costa Rica


Being that there are
countless varieties of
all forms of matter

we may sometimes reach
a point where we cannot cite
a particular

fish, flower, tree, rock
star, insect, cloud formation
or celebrity

that is when failure
becomes a tool for progress
here is how that works

use the voice of God:
he has a very fine name
one of the finest

and it comes with a
title that commands all to
respect and serve him

when memory fails
who would dare to fact check God?
you’re next up to speak…



Millions upon millions of people have
stopped reading
stopped listening
stopped learning
stopped caring

because so much of what they encounter
from all sources, turns out to be

the general consensus is:
I bought the ticket
I took the ride
I caught just a glimpse
of what you’re trying to hide

no longer are journalists
people we trust
being married to a business
that is sell ads or bust

even the fountains of fables
our parents did recite
are wells that run dry
when exposed to the light

fantasy stories, though
are great entertainment
where lies can thrive freely
with no threat of containment 

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

What is it about bees?
They buzz and buzz
With furry bodies                
And always
Serve the Queen

And when they’ve
Buzzed their last,
They leave behind
Some honey.

In this way,
They better men:
Some leave behind
No money!


—Joseph Nolan

A shibboleth,
A glazing dream,
Nothing’s nearly
What it seems.

We while
The world

Tell me,
What do dragons say
About the state of
The world today,
When each is against
The other?

It seems no man
Is another’s brother,
But seeks to drag him down,
Into the fetid underground
Of brother against brother
In hatred against their mother!

Oh! But some mothers’ brothers
Declare themselves above others,
And seek to drag them down
And make them walk
The pilloried walk,
Under whip,
To hear them squawk,
As though this were fine day.

Thus, we give our voices
To what the shibboleths say.


—Joseph Nolan

Maybe you are all-stretched-out,
Stretched thinner than the
Thinnest wire,
All shaved-down
To your inner core,

Stretched and shaved,
Until there is no more,
That could be
Taken away
Without breaking?

Welcome to the Harbor-Shore!
Where the vain and upwardly
Have discovered
Their inner weaknesses;
They despise,
Whoever might bear them! 

—Joseph Nolan

Why not admit you are exhausted?

That you need the rest
Of a thousand deep-restings
All woven tightly together
Into a quilt
To cover your fatigue,
To penetrate it and
Illuminate it

As though, like a shadow, it would disappear
And you, just as you were before,
Would be back here with us,

Like we had somewhere to go
Where we wanted to be
More than where we are
Right now,
Riding on this bus,
And worth the wear
To get there.


—Joseph Nolan

There is an armchair
Called divine nature.
Recline into it
From time to time
And surrender to bliss.
This armchair
Is made for this.

Relax and let things
Drift away from your mind.
Leave who you were behind.
A second train is coming
On a separate track.
This one knows no season
And never goes back.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joseph Nolan

Coffee is so splendid
When it is perfectly blended.
The roast I like the most
Is the one I drink with toast
Covered with jam and butter.
Ooh la-la!

Scones are even better,
But best not eaten alone;
They taste so much better with butter,
Smiles, and good-friends’ banter!


Thanks to our contributors today, helping us move into the new year with skill and panache! There are no readings in our area this week, including at Sac. Poetry Center tonight, but take advantage of the final week of the Journey of Hope exhibit at Crocker Art Museum (, pairing up Sacramento County artists and writers to share their stories of mental health challenges.

—Medusa, reminding you of our Seed of the Week: Unexpected Joys, and Form Fiddlers Friday—ways to get yourself writing for the new year!

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