Saturday, July 31, 2021

Analect at Highgate

Keats House
—Poetry by Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain

            The Mail Coach
Rattling along to harbor goes the coach,
The mail coach, in its dusty diurnal course.
So humble the postilion, he will broach
No inroad into our notice; just the horse-
Clop jog, the clatter and shake, the primitive chassis
Lacking-our-modern-shock-absorber clamor.
No mail conveyance is famed for any glamor;
This one, though, like a gem engraved by Tassie,
Claims our attention; on top or inside it,
Keats, who’s journeying to the Isle of Wight.
Endymion’s four thousand lines: to write it,
Keats aims, his plan both clear and dim in sight;
As the half-sleepy coach clops at sunrise
Past Chawton town, will it greet Jane Austen’s eyes?

            Coleridge at Highgate

Thom Gunn penned a great sonnet* on John Keats
And Coleridge at Highgate: I give you mine.
Keats, later, writing to a friend, repeats
Some nineteen subject headings: packthread, twine
Around vast reams of philosophic talk
Coleridge delights in, Keats not in the least.
A decade hence, the Sage records their walk;
The friendly handshake, not how mental yeast
Caused STC’s doughy monologue to swell.
Strange, how the telescope of retrospect
Foreshortens his recall. Now their farewell
Engulfs whole layer cakes of analect.
The poets part; Keats in his genial mood;
His “damp” hand’s touch leaves Coleridge to brood.
*”Keats at Highgate,” easily obtainable online. 
            Brawne House
            Wentworth Place, Hampstead
The Keats House it is now, and I suppose
Will always be; museums are for the named,
Not for the principal renters, tenant-flows
On rolls of occupancies, who pass unfamed.
The Keats House it is now, seen in Bright Star
The film. Its whitewashed rooms, its porches, lawns
Impress. In some moods, I think deeper far
The steadfast and tenacious Fanny Brawne’s
Low-smoldering, but once ignited, fiercely
Incandescent flame for Mr. Keats,
Charles Brown’s cash-strapped lodger friend. It clears
The mind to discover: a love which leaves no sheets
Inked with imperishable bids for fame
To even higher regard may lay fair claim. 

            Keats at Naples, 1820
Not much is said about John Keats at Naples;
Perhaps biographers feel they must make haste,
Speed the long-agonized poet to the Papals’
Vicinity, then up Spanish Steps. The taste
Of death is sickly metallic on his tongue.
But just observe Keats watching the lazzaroni
Taking short rests from labor; so the young
Poet sees them loft thick strands of macaroni
Into their mouths. Extols the lack of “humbug,”
No knives, forks. Fingers! Invented (he says) for feeding
—As sailors’ mouths (he does not say) for the rum bug
Were funneled? A lovely respite, at least, from heeding
How very sick he is. Thin sense of fun
To paper the bitterness over, to the last pun.


Today’s LittleNip:

The only means of strengthening one's intellect is to make up one's mind about nothing, to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts.

—John Keats


Our thanks to Tom Goff for his inspired sonnet sequence today, about which he writes: “Am sending along these little items, inspired by just having purchased Amy Lowell's biography of [John] Keats. I would say to all poets, don't let anyone tell you this biography is antiquated or ‘less than’ the accounts by Walter Jackson Bate, Robert Gittings, Aileen Ward, or Andrew Motion. It's remarkable, with the insights into Keats' thought only a poet can supply, and a different sort of close analysis that never crosses the line from analysis into vivisection.

“And it was cheap to buy on eBay, this two-volume book from 1925. The details in the poems are largely details from her book, which makes the oddest small matters loom significant—I must have read them elsewhere, but it's Lowell who sharpens them.” Thanks again, Tom!

Today at 1pm online: MoST Summer Poetry Workshop with Karen Baker: “Time Travel Through Poetry”, exploring past and future through poetry. Zoom link: Meeting ID: 876 6504 8170. Info:

Also today, 2pm: Poetry in the Sierra Foothills will feature readers from
California Fire and Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology, with Taylor Graham, Lara Gularte, Moira Magneson, Tim Kahl, Katy Brown, Wren Tuatha (plus open mic) at Love Birds Coffee & Tea Co., 411 Hwy 49, Ste. 100, Diamond Springs (where Hwy 49 meets Pleasant Valley Rd.). Bring a poem, a short musing, or be audience. Host: Lara Gularte.




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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



Friday, July 30, 2021

Foothill Summer

—Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA
—And scroll down for Form Fiddlers’ Friday!!


Night’s a sweaty veil.
Day heats up the swale
too soon
while stick-weeds assail
the socks, same old tale
of June
into August. Wail
the tune

that will go on and
on. You cannot stand
No way to command
mercy from the land.
Take yourself in hand.
Our job’s to withstand.


Juicy red tomatoes
juicy-red, tomatoes…. 


This garden blossoms
with ground squirrels, hardpan, drought,
also with poems
composing tomatoes for
the bowl you offer outstretched.

How many colors
can you name for a salad?
persimmon, rose, gold. 


I drive the backroads—
August dusty & hot, these
outskirts, and in someone’s front
yard, a scraggly row of sun-
flowers surviving
summer, wrong side of the tracks
and oh, such pure gold.


The time between my dog coughing up blood
(me waiting masked in the vet’s parking lot)
and her loading in the car for home-again—
time for remembering her a puppy
scouting backyard grass as high as her head,
deep amber eyes intent on the unknown;
how on leash she’d drag me along behind
(don’t call it “heeling”) to search the planet
entire, her sable shadow coyote-
shifting always on the move, the never-
satisfied hunt—how she’d grab at joy with
wide open jaws as if to capture sky—
5 hours of parking lot, waiting out fears
with remembrance—hours are so many years. 


She’s back home—
home—she’s back! 

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

She waits
in scant shade—waits
dog-patient in triple
digit heat for me to open
the gate.


Thank you, Taylor Graham, for poetry and photos today, and forms, including a Lai (our Form Fiddlers’ Challenge: “Foothill Summer”); a  Cinquain (“92 Degrees”); a Boketto (“Garden of Verse”); a Smith Sonnet (“Years Between”); a Skinny (“Old Dog” & “My Garden Grew”); and an Oriental Octet (“Natural Gold”).

And now it’s time for . . .

It’s time for more contributions from Form Fiddlers, in addition to those sent to us by Taylor Graham! Each Friday for awhile, there will be poems posted here from some of our readers using forms—either ones which were mentioned on Medusa during the previous week, or whatever else floats through the Kitchen and the perpetually stoned mind of Medusa. If these instructions are vague, it's because they're meant to be. Just fiddle around with some forms and get them posted in the Kitchen, by golly! (See Medusa’s Form Finder at the end of this post for links to definitions of the forms used this week.)

Last week’s Fiddlers’ Challenge was the Lai ( Taylor Graham sent us one (see above), and here is one from Caschwa (Carl Schwartz):

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

no one knows the cause
dogs sleep with their paws
in pairs
some have long, sharp claws
one looks, finds no flaws
just hairs
what might say those jaws?
invisible gauze?

Carl also sent us a Limerick this week:


I once sat in a humble-tee-pee
alongside a bumble-bee-bee
it promised not to sting
if I promised not to sing
so we got along quite well, tee-hee 

Many thanks to our SnakePals for their brave fiddling! Would you like to be a SnakePal? All you have to do is send poetry—forms or not—and/or photos and artwork to We post work from all over the world, including that which was previously-published. Just remember: the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!



See what you can make of this week’s poetry form, and send it to! (No deadline.) This week's challenge:



MEDUSA’S FORM FINDER: Links to poetry forms mentioned today:

•••Boketto (“Listen to the Light”):
•••Cinquain: OR
•••Oriental Octet: OR
•••Smith Sonnet: 14 lines, 5 feet (pentameter), unrhymed except for final couplet


She is blind, and he takes her for a walk every day.
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of 
Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

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.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Crack in the Pot

Sushant Thapa
—Poetry by Sushant Thapa, Biratnagar, Nepal 
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

Have you ever noticed a setting moon?
White, as if washing all the
Colour of the starry night.
With the setting moon my morn begins.
It is like a secret fate
Waking up the afterlife in me.
Never is a setting moon written
Never it is romanticized
The setting moon is just a vision
Noticed for a time being.
The moon does not hide the wide sky
It gives light to the azure blue cosmos
Maybe it is just bidding goodbye
To the night sky.
Who knows what departure
The setting moon casts;
It only opens the curtain for the day. 


Sometimes, when I write I am not the
Centre of description in my writings;
Although I describe something else
I am happier in the nature of art.
My eyes do not always blink for a poetic scene
Which I see.
Papers have always been closer to me
Than your photographs.
It may sound funny how the red wine
Tastes like blue ink tonight and
How I secretly scribble words for
Music in my ears.
A beat that blows in the dust,
Heat that sticks to the face of pathos
Burns the cover of the same un-shed skin.
A broken touch is breathing the feelings,
It is again music that wafts like air.
Again a black and blue sky night
Looks tipsy in the red bar.
It is a music which footsteps do not hear
Although they resound every beat of the walk
Which definitely reaches somewhere.
Gone with the footsteps are the music
Where footsteps stood un-knocking your


If poetry could be answered
I would imagine something real.
As real as my life
Whatever the cost of imagining
Against the grain
Or against the voices of coherence.
Imagination is so plain and smooth sometimes
It is a surface of pleasure
I am all set to search the depth in it.
If poetry could be answered
I would not be alone
Or should I say not feel alone?
There is no disparity in the form itself
The persona is still real.
There is a matter of fact evidence
Which cracks like a hatching egg.
Poetry is all that there isn't and
If it is to be responded to
It is all that there is.
What pain poets talk is never questioned
Is that pain part of life or larger than life?
What abstraction poets reach
And the lens of depth
Zooms and clarifies like every bit of reality again.
Poet is not an unreal swimmer
But he chooses not to count the fishes in the sea
And just be in the depth or the surface. 


The other moment you are gone
Seems okay.
But the moment of you
That I caged in my heart
Wants to be free forever.
Should I open my heart
And let the moment fly?
I cannot know what the moment
When you will be gone again
After I open the cage
Will feel like.
Should I be caging the moments


Chasing only meanings
Is like the way of old lullabies.
These high scrapers may stand still
But they do not sleep in meanings.
What works throughout the time
Is not a tiny tick of the clocks
But still a beast of burden.
Somewhere what fits as a harmony
Is a city beat
Rhyming with the suburb evening.
Somewhere civilization is at its best
And there are speed ghosts;
They don't fly but rotate with the earth.
The world is carried on formal tuxedo shoulders
Fitted in a cabin.
An earth man again dreams of the rain
Although his personal shower
Can be a form of a safe disguise.
The earth still needs its natural shower. 


There is no point recalling
The pain, the crack in the pot.
When a voice goes numb
It becomes a word.
Daring is the face
Of such words scripted later.
It takes courage to weave words,
A substitute for some pain
Is not the medicine.
How sure are we
To remain alone or to be free alone?
The sky is alone and
The moon attends no lectures
For shining in the dark
Yet, many classes miss their students
Who gaze at the real world like an outlaw.
The reality will chew you like a betel leaf
And unreal red blood will be spit somewhere.
Again, a real world is polluted
With every drop of unreal assumptions.
This morning, when the rain began to make music
A disc jockey began to shake loose
The moving muscles of his hip and others.
Something will change,
If movements can really resolve.


Today’s LittleNip:

There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.

—George Carlin


Welcome to the Kitchen, Sushant! Sushant Thapa (26 Feb, 1993) holds a Master’s degree in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. He is a Nepalese poet from Biratnagar, Nepal, and is the author of the poetry collection,
The Poetic Burden and Other Poems, published by Authorspress, New Delhi, India, in 2020. His English poems are featured in Trouvaille Review, Litehouse Exophonic Magazine (Portugal), International Times (United Kingdom), New York Parrot (New York, USA), My Republica (Kathmandu, Nepal), The Kathmandu Post (Kathmandu, Nepal), Sahitto Bilingual Literary Magazine (Bangladesh), Indian Periodical (India), Ponder Savant (California, USA), Grey Thoughts (New Jersey, USA), The Gorkha Times (Kathmandu, Nepal), The Piker Press (USA), Lothlorien Poetry Journal (France), Offline Thinker (Kathmandu, Nepal), Sahitya Post (Kathmandu, Nepal), Atunis Poetry (Belgium), EKL Review (India), Harbinger Asylum (USA), Dumpster Fire Press (USA), Impspired Magazine (UK), Sindh Courier (Pakistan), Aksharang (Lalitpur, Nepal), Kabita Minar (Odisha, India), Suryodaya Literary Foundation (India), Visible Magazine, WILLIWASH (Nigeria), The Beatnik Cowboy (South Dakota, USA), Synchronized Chaos Journal (San Lorenzo, California, USA) and Vscorpiozine’s Blog (USA). 
Four English poems written by Sushant have been translated into Uzbek (the language of Uzbekistan) and published in the online literary magazine, Nodirabegim of Uzbekistan. He has also been anthologized in two English poetry collections, entitled Pandemic Poetry 2020 and An Anthology of Poetry for Children. One of Sushant’s poems is also forthcoming in The Literary Parrot Anthology published by New York Parrot, New York, USA. Another one of his poems, entitled “Festivities”, has been included in school books used to teach English to Grade 6 students in Nepal. Sushant’s second poetry book, entitled Abstraction and Other Poems, will soon be released from Impspired in the United Kingdom.

Thanks for visiting the Kitchen, Sushant, and don’t be a stranger!


 For more about the beauty of Nepal, go to 

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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Braver Than You Think

 —Poetry by Linda Klein, Playa Vista, CA
—Illustrations by W.W. Wenslow


This is the way it must have been,
when Dorothy met the lion,
the scarecrow, and the man of tin.

I'm over the rainbow,
tossed in a tornado,
a whirlwind of words and ideas,
propelled by aspiration, hindered by fears.

The lion is braver than he thinks.
A squirt of oil will eliminate tin man's clinks,
and the scarecrow only needs confidence.
I know that makes a lot of sense.

We've everything in common,
though your eyes may belie this fact.
The four of us together make one amazing act.

Advised by some little people, who
seem to know their way around,
we're skipping down a yellow, brick road
to Oz, where wisdom can be found.

Arm in arm, in arm, in arm, together we will squelch
any wicked witch who dares to pitch
an obstacle in our path.  She'll know the lion's wrath.
The tin man's sure to crush her
with his strong metallic arms,
and the scarecrow will give her a fright.
That's one of his charms.

Together we're unstoppable,
and we will always be.
We've joined forces now.
The lion, the tin man, and the scarecrow
are all a part of me.




                              slowly around
                                        in a pan,

a blend of golden yolks
and fluid whites in
       melted butter
lightly sizzle on the stove on a low flame
slip smoothly through the tines of a fork as they
are whipped
into soft, puffy, pale yellow
a rich, delicate goodness.
Take care to keep them moist
with constant movement of the pan.
             Breathe in the savory scent
       released by heat.
Slide them onto your
plate and
                                                sprinkle a bit of salt over them.
Break off just enough
               to place in your mouth.
                           The texture varies
           from almost li
                                                              soft to firmly spongy
throughout the luscious mixture, as it touches your tongue,
and the roof and sides of your eager




Emitting smoky essence, sultry, and intoxicating,
looking innocent in golden yellow shades,
blue veiny lines, crags, or holes,
the scent, the feel, of that Provolone wheel,
entices me, and the Swiss is a kiss I can never resist.
Give me Cheddar or Colby, Gouda or Gruyere.
I acclaim each one boldly.  An Edam so fine,
or tasty Muenster with its rough orange rind.

I can melt, mix or blend them, watch them coat, seep, or
incredibly wend their way into pasta, potatoes or eggs, and
the one made of cream, makes a wonderfully smooth spread.
A sprinkle of Parmesan, grated, is exactly what pizza has awaited.

Oh cheese, its taste is exquisitely nice
to eat all by itself, served by the slice. 





She still sits quietly in my car's back seat.
I see her watching from my rear view mirror.
She checks my speed and any little error.
Every stop or turn I make she will complete.

In life, my mother never drove a car.
It took a year before she'd ride with me.
I'd say, "Come on."  Her answer was, "We'll see."
When, at last, she did, she wouldn't go far.

Once in the left lane, on a busy road,
a bad driver cut in front of me, ahead.
Mother slammed down on her "back brake".  We slowed.
If not for my mother's ghost, I might be dead.


Today’s LittleNip:

Being a good writing is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.



—Medusa, thanking Linda Klein for today’s colorful poetry. There are times when we all need a back seat driver ~




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.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
All you have to do is send poetry and/or
photos and artwork to We post
work from all over the world, including
that which was previously-published.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!

“… together we will squelch
any wicked witch who dares to pitch
an obstacle in our path.”
—Linda Klein


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Sorrows in the Stone

By Mood and Twilight
—Poetry and Original Artwork by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


That was an apple-throwing day. Impulsive episode.
We left our usual selves in the role and leapt into one
another. Daylight uncivilized us—orchard defilers—

our laughter broke about the trees and rung the old,
hard branches lyrical. The air hung thin and clear
within those scented trees. The rock-hard apples

smacked against our target selves, bruising us, and
them, as we cavorted—children caught in a game
made real by living it.  It was an apple-world that

giddied our senses, until, un-warred by happy weari-
ness, we did our looting then of sagging limbs and
brought those apples home.

Sorrowful in boxed containment, quickly browned
and soft, garage-interred, forgotten, and only the
ravenous worms partook of them.
Made Real By Living


getting excited

this new line
and that
old poem
these images
these typewritten pages
these published books
these manuscripts
until the table is
covered with coffee cups and
soft gray ashes—

no place for food,
no need—
Listening And Feeling

of pre-dawn
just after night’s blue rain.

Winds of no color
break through the night,
sending the dark green trees
and leaves into a flurry.

Even so,
small chirping sounds
of softest yellow
burst here and there.

A squirrel scampers
along a frail board fence
outside the listening window.

I hear all this through
a slow, reluctant waking,
gray threads of
dream-fragments tearing away.

Then comes
the soft gray blue
of morning : 6:00 a.m.
Just like the clock dial said.

(prev. pub. in Song of the San Joaquin, Fall 2017)
Peace For A Weary Day


In your small back yard and tiny garden
I find peace for a heavy day.
Such perfect designing—
your talent everywhere.

Let me grow into your landscape—
it is your shell-pocked stones I love.
How can I leave it now,

I am a statue here,
spellbound by mood and twilight.
I have shrunk to fit.
I have altered my tonal qualities
and substance.

Go back into your house and continue
your conversations.

I am listening, and feeling, everything
that is gathered here for my tired discovery
that is cool and green, and small enough
for prayer. It has touched me with reverence
and I want to stay.



In your garden, I am lost soil.
I am unplanted flower.
I am pressed stone.

               .     .     .

I am in the side shadow of light
waiting for you to turn and say, “Oh”.
But you are bending and looking
into the discovery that is everywhere.

               .     .     .

The grapes that you hold are beautiful.
The tiny tomatoes are sweet.
The lemons are full of sunlight.

               .     .     .

I move through the spaces after you
but they close around me even as I speak.

               .     .     .

You move toward the dogs,
laughing and calling their names.
Each of them in turn runs up to you
for the rough touch of your affection.

(prev. pub. in
Chaminade Literary Review, 1990
CFCP, Inc., 1988)
Summer Heat
After Beware of Red by Paul Klee)

It might be blood.
It might be madness in the eye.
It might be the buttons on the door.

The windows hide among themselves.
The walls disguise.
The red intensifies.

It might be shades of love.
It might be sorrow in the stone.
It might be claw marks on the floor.

The walls misplace themselves.
The black lines slide.
The red intensifies.
The Portioned Air

We are half hungry
all the time,
not for the food, but for
the unknown taste.

The peach is in
the orchard of the mind.
We cannot find that
dark, unreachable tree;
but if we could,

the fruit
that gathered ripeness
for our taste
would never
taste the way
we thought it should.

(prev. pub. in The Third Leaf Has Fallen,
Mini Chapbook, 1968)
Out of Blue Shadow


Mygod, you talk of Christmas
and the sun upon the land
shrivels the harvest we are tired of.

Buckets of pithy squash and soft tomatoes
stand useless for our energy.
The beans swell in themselves
and dry upon the pole.

This day we must consider what we lose
for we are sick with lethargy
and turn instead to talk of winter.

But rain-threat from the mountains
will not come
though thunder almost sounds
where we are looking.

The air is dusty.
Birds are shrill and restless as
the rumors that we feel.

We should be gleaning,
saving more of our investment
than we do.

(prev. pub. in One Dog, 1996)


it was then that we
grew long and terrible arms
for the tight holding, the long let-go

now we know we were wrong
we couldn’t be
endless lovers

when you smiled that way I knew
you would look out the window
for a word I would remember

it was then that we went on little picnics
of lies to fill up the summer
lying under the trees after sandwiches
and beer, reciting ourselves to each other

it was then     it was then
that you disassembled
under the light
in all those directions with a golden scream

I waited till all was silent again
then gathered up all the maps and arrows
and walked over all those endings
little sounds of sunlight drifting all around me . . .


Today’s LittleNip:

After “Poem” by Teresa Torres (Argentina)*

Here is a table full of words. Flesh and wine.
Gorge yourself. Never be hungry. Even the
crumbs are precious. Ask for more.

Fill your mouth and eyes.
Push your chair back. Fall asleep.
It’s all useless language. Do not speak.

(prev. pub. in


Merry Tuesday, and many thanks to Joyce Odam for astonishing poetry and astounding artwork as she circles skillfully around our previous Seed of the Week, “Big red, juicy tomatoes”. She has broadened her poetry choices from food to gardens and, as always, the taste of love.

Our new Seed of the Week is “Those Good Old Days”. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to No deadline on SOWs, though, and for a peek at our past ones, click on “Calliope’s Closet”, the link at the top of this column, for plenty of others to choose from.

*Here is the poem that Joyce’s LittleNip, “Nourishment”, is modeled after:
—Teresa Torres (Argentina)

What is hidden in the fruit of summer?
Everything is dying in the flames
of early morning.

A moment of shadows
has settled in the serving dish on the table.
and even the bread is bitter.

Translated from the Spanish by James Tipton
The Other Voice (20th Century
Women’s Poetry in Translation,
p. 111)


Beware of Red
—Painting by Paul Klee, 1940


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.



Monday, July 26, 2021

What Do We Have Here?

—Poetry by Rhony Bhopla, Caschwa (Carl Schwartz), 
and Joseph Nolan
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joseph Nolan

—Rhony Bhopla, Sacramento, CA

It seems that my son is at my door again,
this time it’s a young man named Aiden

who is the surprise worker here to dismantle
a door that is adjacent to the window

the burglar broke through to ransack
my house. He says his mother is a teacher

after I apologize about the old 1st grade VCR
tapes withering in a box, which will likely

end up as an assemblage in the webby museum
I’m creating in my garage. He does not balk

at the black widow on the wall. He yells, it’s dead!
Yet, I stomp its shiny bulb against the stucco.

I understand mothers who will do anything
for their sons. I was willing to kill to save us. 




—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

you may have seen tempers flare
over whether to call tomatoes fruits
or vegetables, but it doesn’t stop there
all kinds of mayhem are in cahoots

- beware that alkaloid, solanine
builds up calcium, causes inflammation
+ known for its anti-inflammatory properties

- potassium may not fit guidelines of a renal diet
+ good source of potassium

- malic and citric acid cause acid reflux
+ includes the anti-oxidant lycopene, to help reduce gastric acid

+ one of the best things you can do for your body

+ lowers elevated blood pressure

home grown tastes great and
the only side effect is
wanting another



Purple Tomatoes




could I do it? sure!
and live through it? not at all
but I could do it


walking over to
the other end of the pier
a pigeon gets lost


do we really have
two thousand five hundred troops
in Afghanistan?

what is in one troop?
up to two-hundred soldiers,
three or four platoons

so that is half a
million soldiers, all in all
counting every troop


Smoky the whale says
help prevent kelp forest fires
let us all pitch in


look in the mirror
do you see an idiot,
or glass and silver? 





· Big Pharma (sales over health)
· Big insurance (sales over life)
· Big End-of Life industry (sales over prevention)
· Big advocates of The South Will Rise Again (macho over weakness)
· Big Real Estate developers (sales over green)
· Big Oil (sales over air quality)
· Big Tobacco (sales over agonizing death)
· Big Alcohol (sales over safety)
· Big Fashion (sales over budget)
· Big Fat Lie (and everyone knows it) 



Amazon Clearing



Muhammad Ali said it best:
“You gotta whoop the champion.”

it had absolutely nothing to do with art,
poetry, or any of the humanities, but
was more like the last step in blending
the elements to make epoxy, quite resilient
to compassion, Haiku, or patriotism

so we had a big, f***ing Civil War to bring
an end to slavery, which left the winners
appeased with a few administrative remedies
on paper, while the losers didn’t ever admit
defeat, and that is the foundation of our
government today, same way

so on January 6 this year we had a big,
f***ing Insurrection to try to alter the voting
results of the last election, which left the
prevailing side with videos of the violence,
plans for a thorough investigation, and again
the losers would neither admit defeat nor
back off on their fiery passion to vanquish
anyone who stands in their way

or as seen through another lens, January
6 was an attempt to have a big, f***ing
Resurrection to rise up from the ashes of
past failures, which explains why there is
no way to convince these people that what
they did was wrong, why they remain so
steadfast in burying that dead horse named
Restoration once and for all

screw our nation of laws, and points of order,
the whole notion of co-equals has been off
the table for two centuries, leaving us stuck
in the epoxy of the culture of slave plantations,
until we can finally figure out a new, different
approach that can actually work…..dream on 




—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

Which were the mega-hits
That never made the charts?

On walking-sticks,
Doomed to fall apart?

Because of ancient injuries,
Never overcome,
Just left to wishes,
Internally undone.

You could have seen it coming
From a long way up the track,
The daily, steaming roller,
With its whistle for the dark.




—Joseph Nolan

Could not connect
With anything
Below his neck,
Since he
With his mind
And thought bodies
Were just machines.

“I think,
Therefore I am!”
Or, rather,
“I doubt,
Therefore a doubter
There must be!”
Thus, concluded he,
In his sophistry.

That there might be
An evil-deceiver,
Forcing falsehoods
Into his mind,
Was a matter of
Great contemplation.
His salvation,
To prove he even existed,
Was considering
How doubt persisted,
Despite the negations of “I,”
With nothing left behind,
Save doubt and indecision.

Yet we,
Who live inside our bodies,
Demand freedom
For desire and pleasure,
That we might not fizzle out,
Like Alka-Seltzer,
After lugubrious parties,
Where laughter and delight,
Encompass all
They might,
Meet, forever-after,
With brains,
By depression and doubt,

As if any
Knew what about
Recitation of poems
Was for,
Save Kant. 




—Joseph Nolan

Come dancing,
Come dancing!
The music’s
Playing fast.

Our pleasured love
Is fleeting.
Nothing sweet
Can last!

Our evening,
But a moment,
Sparking in the dark,
Over which
Dawn’s light will pass,
Depriving us of privacy,
Exposing us in light.

Also painful,
Since daylight is too bright
To slumber love
So lovely,
That lies throughout the night. 




—Joseph Nolan                                               

Can you learn
To write
Poems in code?

So no-one
Understands them,
Whether they’re
Sonnet or ode?

Twist things
To their opposites,
Let shadow
Stand for light,

Let daydreams
And deepest sorrow,

No-one writes
Like Shakespeare,
These days,
And no-one
Even tries.

They’d rather
Nip at
The edges
Of fine writing
Than scale the cliffs
And die!

Today’s LittleNip:

—Joseph Nolan

I know you want
Me out there,
Like Pluto,
Which is so cold!

Off in space,
So far away,
Out in
The outer-darkness,
Along an
Orbital trace.


Welcome to the last week of July, as we finish up the hottest month of the year in this area—and thanks to our contributors for bringing us their poetry, and for the photos that Joseph Nolan found for us.

Today (7/26), 7:30pm: Sac. Poetry Center presents Ryk McIntyre, Dennis Hock online at Zoom: Password: r3trnofsdv; Meeting ID: 763 873 3462. Host James Fox. Info:{"event_action_history"%3A[{"mechanism"%3A"search_results"%2C"surface"%3A"search"}]%2C"ref_notif_type"%3Anull}/.

Next Sat. (7/31), 1pm: Online MoST Summer Poetry Workshop with Karen Baker: “Time Travel Through Poetry”, exploring past and future through poetry. Zoom link: Meeting ID: 876 6504 8170. Info:

Also next Sat. (7/31), 2pm: Poetry in the Sierra Foothills will feature readers from the anthology,
California Fire and Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology, with Taylor Graham, Lara Gularte, Moira Magneson, Tim Kahl, Katy Brown, Wren Tuatha (plus open mic) at Love Birds Coffee & Tea Co., 411 Hwy 49, Ste. 100, Diamond Springs, CA (where Hwy 49 meets Pleasant Valley Rd.). Bring a poem, a short musing, or be audience. Host: Lara Gularte.





Happy as a pig in a puddle!






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