Monday, December 16, 2019

Bing Crosby & The Perfect Gift

—(Mostly) Anonymous Chihuahua Photos
Displaying the Many Moods of the Chee-hoo-a-hoo-a

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

because we have a little Chihuahua
in the house most of the time
tiny armies of ants are blocked

and detoured by essential oils
rather than facing solutions that
would kill them dead on the spot

sometimes we get those traps
that have them carry poison back
to the colony, which takes weeks

sometimes Mr. Fixit gets out the
caulking gun and plugs an entrance
here or there, grinning smugly

usually we can’t see exactly where
they enter the house, so we suspect
they collect in the crawl space below

we made an agreement with the ants
that they could have the outside as
long as they left us alone inside

but for some reason they haven’t been
very good honoring that contract and
we have simply exhausted our remedies

Caschwa's Chihuahua, Asleep in the Sun
—Photo by Caschwa


I had a strong hankering for some
of those delicious shitake mushrooms,
so I sent my shopper to get some very

large ones which I denoted as bull shitake
mushrooms. My bad. What the shopper
returned with was a large bag of fertilizer

and a shiny, new Farmer’s Almanac
calendar showing the best time and place
to plant mushrooms…good luck.



nations in the Middle East are at war:
continual battle, constant killing of all
humans more like an extermination

than any part of a well-mapped out
military strategy for engagement with
enemy soldiers

young, feeble, disabled, are shot in
the back, or blown to pieces by a
roadside bomb, anything and everything

in steps the huge, powerful, highly
regarded U.S.A. to serve as a beacon
of hope, we solve problems well

except for instances of road rage
except for instances of gang wars
except for instances of racial bias

ultimately, we have a long history
of appearing to put out flagrant fires
while keeping them on simmer, ready

to ignite full force for any reason
whatsoever; that is the power of hate
and we are champions in that ring


when public figures dread full-size,
mounted mirrors because they fear
each one may have a camera mounted
behind it to record every confidential

so they resort to hand-held vanity
mirrors and break them after each use
like a mob erases witnesses to faithfully
dispose of the pose

we find these folks washing and waxing
nothing but the hood of their car, because
that is all they care to see



Special offers everywhere
some a blessing, some a curse
leaving my debt to income ratio
leaning more heavily toward the worse

so many worthy charities
crying out to be supported
moral high ground in suspense as
people worth keeping are deported

our front doors still remain closed
for native American tribes
yet we’ll take money from anyone
open 24-7 for bribes

we won a revolt for freedom, but
flames of hate burn through our lives
one step forward, two steps back
shoot to kill forever thrives

so turn off the news, let’s wrap some gifts
dress up the kids and have some fun
share the spirit of giving to others
’tis time of cheer for everyone!


Report to practice, big, big
game coming up, stay firm,
block, hit, protect the quarter-
back, run, reach, catch,
advance the marker

You, the woman in labor
much sooner than expected,
are now the quarterback
being sacked, so it is up to
your teammates to be ready
for whatever you throw at
them, just like in practice,
and be ready, too, for it to
go quite differently than that

The game is won, cause
enough for celebration, you
and your teammates watch
the films, laugh and cry, obey
your thirst, and openly discuss
what would maybe help it all
go more smoothly next time….

When hearing Bing Crosby croon “White Christmas” and “I’ll be Home for Christmas" again and again on the radio at work
      Oh yeah, I can imagine soldiers in WWII fighting overseas while listening to Bing's songs
      Probably they’re wondering, how was Bing getting a deferment from also being enlisted
      On the other hand, consider the sacrifice of big-band leader Glenn Miller, who was about the same age as Bing—
      Miller gave up a huge civilian salary to volunteer, and he ended up giving his life
      O yes, while Glenn Miller died for the cause of freedom, his music never gets played on major commercial radio today 
      Of course Bing went on after the war to make pretty stupid comedy movies
      including those with Bob Hope, who also somehow got deferred from fighting, for his “entertaining shows with the USO" 
      Unlike other celebrities who dealt with controversial subjects, Bing never got blacklisted
      In 1977, when Bing died while Glenn Miller was long-forgotten, it was Bing who was considered a musical “American hero"

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA

Oh what’s a Jewish Christmas without eating Chinese food?—
      Chinese restaurants are where Jewish people are supposed go when everybody else is closed on Christmas Day 
      That's the dilemma of a friend in my bookclub
      Unlike other Jewish people she knows in New York or San Francisco,
      she claims she can't find a “healthy” Chinese restaurant to eat at in Sacramento
      Everything she found serves grease or pork or anything else that is  definitely not keeping kosher
      While she knows people who just get to enjoy eating and relaxing, thanks to their Chinese friends,
      she ends up having to cook for her family and friends on a day her Christian employer gives her off from work

—Michelle Kunert

—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

I’m drinking now for
My gone-girl,
My girl who’s gone away.

I let go.
I let her leave.
I didn’t try to hold her,
But I held onto her song,
Her song
She shared while drinking.

That way,
When I’m drinking
I don’t feel so alone.

I guess you could say
That I loved her,
But not in a way that’s told.

It’s something
Where you just want to hold
Whatever you let go
And wish were still around.


—Joseph Nolan

I dreamed this morning
Of filling an oven
And waiting
For something to bake.

I looked at many ovens,
Some with handled-doors,
Some with white-ceramic coatings
Upon enameled floors,

And the variety of ovens
Only made me want the more
To open up an oven
And slide something
Through its door.

And in the dream I smiled and smiled
About how,
When it was done,
How happy I would be.

And how much it would take
To keep it alive
To keep it well
To let it survive

And how much we would ache
For our little loaf from the oven.

—Joseph Nolan
There is always
This thing,
This issue
About wanting something
The other doesn’t want,
Or in reverse, in the same way,
Rejecting what the other wants.

So you roll off
On square wheels
In separate directions
Scaring up
Huge clouds of dust.

In freedom we trust—
The right to say “No”
And go.


—Joseph Nolan
An unborn swan
Swims an unseen river
Into as yet
Unimagined mists
That drift across the waters,
Completing a daydream,
Withdrawing from your vision,
As you awaken
From a dream.

When you arise
You ask,
“What did it mean?”
And plan a
Christmas in Las Vegas.

Today’s LittleNip:
—Joseph Nolan

I don’t want
So much
Of this or that;
I want more of
The other thing:

The other thing
You hide upon the shelf,
Somewhere in the kitchen,
Somewhere beside yourself.


Christmas is coming and Medusa’s getting fat… Only whatever-it-is more shopping days, but of course that doesn’t interfere with the writing of poetry! Our thanks to today’s cheeky scribes for helping us get through this crazy season.

Tonight at 7:30pm, Sac. Poetry Center features Kristin George Bagdanov and Michael Mlekoday, plus open mic, at 25th & R Sts., Sac. Then at noon on Thursday, SPC presents Third Thursdays in the Sacramento Room of the Central Library on I St. in Sacramento; bring poems by someone other than yourself which explore/celebrate the welcome phenomenon of light out of darkness, including all of December’s festivals.

On Thursday night it’s Poetry Live at The Ooley Theater on 28th St. in Sacramento, with poetry, hip-hop, actors and more, hosted by The Keynotes and Michael Ellis, 7-10pm.

And Friday in Davis, The Other Voice at the Unitarian Universalist Church on Patwin Rd. has an all-open mic night, 7:30pm. Bring new socks, any size, for the Interfaith Rotating Winter Shelter. 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, reminding poets everywhere to keep up the good work!

 —Anonymous Wag

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