Friday, December 31, 2021

Secrets of the Dark

—Poetry by Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA
—And scroll down for FORM FIDDLERS’ FRIDAY!!

Golden Shovel from Sylvia Plath’s “Candles”

In this blackout night, the upside
of flame bright-shadows our rafters. Down
comforters try to warm ribs and hearts.
What word might summon the return of
power, or dawn? What kind of light
do we need, waiting past solstice tipping
us toward spring? Flesh is so like wax
softening on the wick, my reaching fingers. 



I’m on a treasure hunt with camera
and plant-ID apps on my iPhone.
Loki ranges our woodland on her own.
Here are my treasures: Brownit; Speckled
Greenshield; Oak Mazegill; Yellow
Fieldcap; Red Pinwheel; Woods Blewit;
Hairy Curtain Crust; The Goblet
and, most mysterious, Artist’s Bracket
growing like rings of Saturn
around a buckeye nut.
And Loki? She needs no apps, no
smartphone. What her nose and brain
have captured is secret treasure
of her own. 


Our speculative plans for the New Year—
but look, just now cold winter sun makes clear
newly-dewed grass almost hiding, right here,
a small head pushing up, brownish and sere;
and there, flesh-colored, edges ruffed, an ear.
Click my shutter, hold still. What might I hear?
Secrets of the dark pressing up, so near—
so suddenly underfoot they appear.
Plain or extravagantly cavalier
and, as mysteries unsolved, they disappear. 

Very Peri, Pantone’s Color of the Year 2022

Color of distances between eye and high-desert mountain—vibrant haze, airborne dust rendering landscape immortal. Color of distances between the wish to be an artist—a painter—and finding one’s fingers will not perform what the mind conceives. Distance between vision—the image— and the word wishing to capture that image ethereal, ephemeral, potent. This color of blue tinged with red heart’s-blood. Can her mind do what her fingers can’t?

infusing colors
with purpose, reaching toward those
far-off mountains. Words. 



My old typewriter never was peach-
colored to match dainty porcelain
teacups and garden-party roses.
No, my old manual portable
very-well-traveled Royal’s clatter
likeliest would’ve cracked those teacups
and left them in speechless smithereens.
My typewriter knows lots of words un-
dainty and would not be invited
to parties with or without peaches. 


A bright midwinter aura—not from our
little artificial Xmas tree but
from TV broadcasting holiday cheer
with commercials. Are we marionettes
pulled by strings of the shopping season? But
look, the tree’s alive! No, that’s cat Latches
prowling among colored-paper rings until,
unexpected, Loki rushes the game.
Dog shepherds black cat leaping to kings-X
atop the rocking chair. Cat has knocked rings
of colors every which way. I pick up
half a dozen, each with a word inscribed
inside. Xmas word-tree! Words like puzzle-
pieces to inspire a poem. Oh joy!
Of presents under our little tree, this
may be the best, cheapest, and freest gift. 


Today’s LittleNip:

M.E., December 2021

Dancer of rooftops, she was light
of foot, was filament of light-
bulb in char-dark, so smoke lifts, light-
er than frigid winter day; light
as free-swept ash dancing in light. 

Happy New Year to you and to Taylor Graham, who has caught the local mushrooms (toadstools?) in the short time they’ve popped out of the ground. Flowers of their own, they are—fungus in bloom, celebrating the new year.

The forms TG has sent us today include a Golden Shovel (“Candle Questions”); a Haibun (“She Wanted To Be an Artist”); a Monorhyme (“Celebrating Fungi”); some Blank Verse (“Word-Tree”); Normative Syllabics/Ekphrastic on last Friday’s Ekphrastic Challenge (“But It's Still Peachy”) and an End-of-the-Line Poem/Elegy (“For a Chimneysweep”).

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, there will be poems posted here from our readers using forms—either ones which were sent to 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 resources and for links to poetry terms used today.)  Joyce Odam has sent us an Ottava Rima today, combining that form with Medusa’s Kitchen’s recent Seed of the Week (Joy/Light/Hope):

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

Sweet cups of brimming light, and should we drink
from all the goblet-flowers of this place,
would we, like Alice, grow in size—or shrink—
lose our senses—feel ourselves erase . . . ?
Oh, careful one, how pale you turn to think
I’d poison you by urging you to taste   
such heady light—intoxicate your soul—
risk some addiction you could not control.

Joyce has also sent us a Haibun, also filled with light and hope:

—Joyce Odam

It was a creature made of light, tame and beautiful.
It came to her hand but backed away when she tried
to touch it. She could almost name it, though it made
no sound and had no definite shape. Still she recog-
nized it as something that she loved and used to own,
though only in a book that she cherished and had to
return. It appeared to her now on the edge of its exist-
ence. She wanted to save it as she always had. It
followed her for this.
                 something is watching
                 you weep uncontrollably—
                 only with regret
Ekphrastic Challenge from last Friday 

Taylor Graham wrote a response to last week’s Ekphrastic Challenge (see above, “But It’s Still Peachy”), and here are two more responses from Stephen Kingsnorth:

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales, UK

In fifties, black and white, aged six,
I saw my sister, first in tears,
so moved by death of Beth, she cried.
Has this creator read the tome,
to set it in such pink surround?

Embarrassment, that rose in vase,
petite typewriter, Wedgewood brooch,
the China tea cup, goldleaf rim—
though not the brew, mash, black and strong,
or women in that little book.

What is the message of the tint,
what hint in choice of hue—a cry
that feminine is blushed or slushed,
type salmon-pink or rosé glossed?

With faded covers, ribbon band—
those titles not yet bound red tape—
the colour, clue to discipline?

Old letters written, blue ink hand,
small perfume bottle, scissor pair—
why is this paring instrument named two—
have we romantic retrospect,
when blade met one but didn’t last,
some memories now left on shelf,
or pretty, felt that it should be?

For does it self-identify
those who choose it for their FB?
Who claims this image, storybook,
a niche, or nook for fantasy?

Along with dolls and war machines,
with macho, muscles, Faerie Queen,
when does a lady claim the man,
the Virgin, stomach, heart of king?

Why does this picture so offend?
Is it the monotype I see
when stereo is sound I hear?

Or does my raised voice prove a point:
testosterone control thyself?
It seems confusion rules debate;
‘pretty in pink’ not the last word. 

—Stephen Kingsnorth

What might the other volumes be?
A Study, Letter, Pimpernel;
the scarlet titles blow where will.
There’s much capacity for pink.

Brighton Rock, unlikely theme—
written Greene, but Pinkie starred.
Repeated panthers on the prowl—
Sellers’ market for the films.

By royal appointment taking place,
those bindings show fast-fading past;
is that so, rehearsed arguments,
when colour codes lent poor excuse
to label, pigeon hole, enclose.

Dare publisher be Everyman—
all tied up as words evolve:
should we blame old as meanings change,
yet wicked ways hold to account?

Is it that body can be trap,
in gender or in spirit terms?
Why are flesh tones assumed pale pink,
art lovers of the renaissance?

Another berth, relaunch today,
would surely see a global earth,
and we would note the mastery,
mystery, cultures, not our own.

This not a setting for my tale.
I have no drama for this scene.
I would interrogate the props. 
I need question director’s cut,
and muse on ‘what is meant by that?’.
I should ask what the prompting is.
Will one stand and right-justify?
As was once said to Lazarus:
‘Unbind him now, and let him go’.

Finally, winding up 2021, here is Caschwa’s (Carl Schwartz’s) response to both last week’s Ekphrastic Challenge and to its Fiddlers’ Challenge, the Seadna:

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

there’s one thing she really hated
overrated, gifts of pink
any other color okay
loved to smoke, ignored the stink

ruled office with fist of iron
Byron’s satire, bottom up
mapping trails to scale the mountain
strong brew filled her coffee cup


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:

•••Arkquain: (scroll down)

and/or the Arkquain String (same reference)

and/or the Arkquain Swirl (same reference)

And see the bottom of this post for another challenge, this one an Ekphrastic one!


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

•••Blank Verse: OR
•••Ekphrastic Poem:
•••End-of-the-Line Poem: A poem of any length in which the same word is used at the end of each line
•••Golden Shovel:
•••Normative Syllabics: OR
•••Ottava Rima:


 Today's Ekphrastic Challenge!


See what you can make of the above 
photo, and 
send your poetic results to 
(No deadline.)


—Public Domain Photo

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.
Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Embrace Your Shadows

—Poetry by Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain


Shielded from a misty rain
awaiting a friend’s return,
I watch the windshield’s
willy-nillyness with water,
how droplets gather
yet won’t slide
until more rain swells
& loosens their grip on glass

& the center cannot hold.
A rain-tear slips down
charismatically, swerving
in a random path,
dipsy-doodle dodging
the most determined drops.

No errand-rush, friend,
these slip-slides fascinate. 


How resonant
to activate
the five chimes
in my hearing aids—

nearly the same
first five notes
of Franz Lizst’s
Un Sospiro, a sigh…


Where does sorrow go when
it finally lifts away—
to Sara’s Dark Side of The Moon?

Does sorrow cling unseen
to under-leaves of a maple tree
a place we don’t explore or see?

Once grief is spent, will it fill
an empty nest, fledglings flown,
repairing it for next winter’s home?

Does sadness from shame and guilt,
that one is speechless to explain,
find a chamber in a cave

halfway up a mountainside
where it can hide, honing its talent for:
going through pain and growing from it?

(prev. pub. in Benicia-Herald, 9-17-21)

CONTEMPLATION CAVE                  

Arriving at a crossroad
in yet another rite of passage,
she enters a mystical cave.
Cobwebs drape her body
with a filmy haze;
debris bruises her feet.        

Suddenly she wonders why
she came to earth in human flesh,
not in fur. Am I a tiger or tame cat?
she asks. What does change require?
Does a Sisyphean-like boulder
await my personal mythology?   

Bats hang like huge black figs
on dank walls; sleeping bears stir.
She hopes to one day answer
Mary Oliver’s probing question:
What do you plan to do with your
one wild and precious life?


Just as
I was
trying to
my shadows
how they began
would they
ever mellow,  
a host


We sip
a rare
warm cups
in a cozy café
lacy curtains
small maple tables
aglow… Relaxing
we grow more at ease
with cares, decisions
unique sudden fantasies
&, wonderfully, with each other.


The hairs at nose-tip quiver.
And I know by the gnawing
in my craw,
the shift in my hips,
the flip-flop of my eyelids,
the slice of pie
awaiting as reward.

And I know by the wing-tilt
of my incoming angel,
all pale and papery,
that I need to propel
a peppy poem
from my pen.
Right? Okay, write!


Today’s LittleNip:

after Farmers’ Market

Returned home
eager to see
the wonder
we cut
the middle
and there it is
in crisp fruit fiber—
a star.


—Medusa, with thanks to Claire Baker for her fine poetry and for her photo of herself with giraffes, noting what lovely creatures they are. 


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, December 29, 2021


—Poetry by Linda Klein, Playa Vista, CA
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain


Faint sporadic voices coming from the street,
the words are indiscernible, but it doesn't matter.
They belong to that other world.
All that matters is that I am home.
It is the end of another day.
Ahead are the hours that belong to me alone.

I run water in the bathtub, hot, but not prohibitively so.
I can freshen it by adding more hot water later.
Moving slowly as the tub fills, I undress,
placing each item on the granite tub vanity.
Then I swing my left foot over the side of the tub
to test the water temperature with my toes.
Finding it satisfactory, I slide in, holding on to the grab bar.

This is the way it should be, settled, immersed in hot liquid,
warm, vaporous air kissing my face and arms.
I sing my mantra out loud, sweetly asking the water
to take away my cares as I melt into it.
A perfume smell from the smooth, oval soap bar
covers my body as I lather the soap on.

I study the art prints on the opposite wall,
mothers attending their children.
I remember my own mother.
She looked so much like one of them.
She used to bathe me when I was a child.
My tears mingle with the vapors in the room,
soothing tears.


Before Moishe and Shifra Rochel immigrated to America, they lived in Warsaw, Poland.  Only the first three of their seven children had been born—two little girls and a baby boy.  The year the family left, Zelda was four years old.  One day she would be my Aunt Sylvia.  Sylvia was the name she chose for herself, and was madly in love with.  Sura, three became Sally.  She would be my mother.  The baby Menashe would be my Uncle Maxie.

Zelda and Sura were as different from each other as the winter wind from a spring breeze.  Zelda was self-centered and bragged incessantly, while Sura tended to be timid, but had a strong concern for the welfare of others.

Their father, Moishe, baked bread and rolls.  He was allowed to take the day-old bread home, where his wife, Shifra Rochel, a skilled, resourceful cook repurposed the dried bits of challah, rye, pumpernickel, and kaiser rolls to create many steamed, fried, braised, and baked delights.  Bread, "manna from heaven", was the staple that kept them from hunger.

Shifra Rochel treated her children lovingly, but was harshly critical of her husband.  The girls observed this interaction between their parents.  It shaped their personalities.  Each day Moishe returned home almost stealthily, he knew he would face his wife's derision as soon as she heard the lock in the door click.

On one evening when he entered and put the loaves and rolls in the bread box, the sisters wanted to greet him, but hesitated because they hated to hear their mother's tirade.  They held back, remained in their room, watching and listening.  "Why are you sneaking around?" Shifra Rochel said, frowning at him, from where she stood at the stove.  "Can't you get home earlier?"  "Yes, Mama,” he answered meekly, "I'll try."

In the Spring of 1912, they received a letter from Moishe's brother Abe, written in Yiddish.  Neither Moishe nor Shifra Rochel could read in any language.  Moishe took the letter to their neighbor, Izzy Tischler, who had attended a cheder school, where he learned to read and write in both Yiddish and Hebrew.

In the letter, Abe urged Moishe to join him in Pittston, Pennsylvania.  Abe had established his own bakery/restaurant.  He wanted to pay for the family's passage, so that Moishe and his wife could come to work for him.  Izzy gave Moishe a pat on the back.  "Gy gehzunt.  I will miss you, my friend, but it is the right thing to do."

At home, Moishe told Shifra Rochel what was in the letter.  "So what do you think, Shifra?"  "I think if you had any sense, it would be you in America with a business instead of your brother."  Moishe understood she wanted to go.  Zelda and Sura were listening in their room.  Zelda ran out, shouting, "Mama, Papa, I'm going to be an American."  Sura wasn't so sure she was ready for America.

Moishe asked Izzy Tischler to write to Abe accepting his offer.  As soon as Abe's check arrived in the mail, he made the arrangements, booking passage on a ship that would take them to New York.  Abe would meet the family in New York and they all would travel to Pittston on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Izzy picked them up in a horse-drawn wagon on a sunny day to bring the family to the pier and say his goodbyes.  He filled the wagon with bales of hay for them to sit on.  Moishe lifted Sura first and placed her on one of the haystacks.  As he did, something fell from her pocket into the wagon.  Shifra Rochel, holding baby Menashe, snatched it up and held it so they could all see.  It was a kaiser roll with an abundance of poppy seeds on top.  Surale, why did you bring a roll?"  "Mama," she said softly, I want to make sure we have something to eat in America."


Teeter tottering on a tightrope
in the circus that is life,
I remember an agile walker
whose every step was quick and sure,
gliding across the distance
with unerring confidence.

Leaning left, straightening, swaying right,
never going to extremes,
certain to avoid a slip and fall.
How I admired his journey.
I learned the secret he possessed.
All life is based on balance.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Linda Klein
The sky is an ocean on its own
with clouds that sail like ships.
One day we will book passage home.
The moon guides heavenly trips.


—Medusa, thanking Linda Klein for today’s fine poetry!


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!


Tuesday, December 28, 2021

The Moon is a Clock

Only Your Perfection
—Poetry and Photos by Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA


Reams of light unfolding over the landscape—the
long way to anywhere, the time it takes to get there,

the silence in the car, the way time seems unreal when
you are obliviously lost—the billboards whizzing by—

unimportant in the dusk.  Why silence now?  There is
so much to say, the way direction holds true, no matter

which way you enter it—the belief in destination—
in safe travel—in never having to stop for relief or

to refuel.  The moon is a clock.  It moves across the
ever-shifting night.  It hides and reappears.  It grows

until it fills the new horizon and bursts open, spilling
its last illumination . . . oh, that can’t be real . . . this

is only a slow trip home in an old car—the way
familiar—the whole world changed—the night air

coming in the window—only a few last headlights
coming by from the other direction.

(prev. pub. in Curbside Review, 2003)
Days Pulled Into Night

Something moving at an edge,
something without a shape
or sound,

something known and unknown—
a vague insinuation—as an old song
or older memory.

You hesitate,
lest it remember you.
The moment shifts.

Light alters, thins, extends,
shape reaffirms as substance,
offers its touch.

You hesitate—
what you remember
is not love,

is more
like loss—
neither wanted.

Light finds the mirror—

and lets itself be known.
What else can you do
but welcome it.

(after “Impressionist” by Taylor Graham,
but not following the syllabic structure)
Shadow's Edge


Here is the last light
saved from day—
saved past a shadow edge.

And here is the emptiness
from a space
so full it seems forever lent.

But slow is slow, and forever
meant : clarity forever,
if the day does not end.

And here is where the story
does not change :
there is a mountain that holds

everything from view,
and trees that shrink from distance
as though distance can’t be crossed.

And we live here,—
in this valley,
where the last light settles

in a little pool,
and the moon lives there,
giving us hope,

for there—
a few stars shine
as deep and brightly as they can
Something Like A Cry

now the world
    Ice Splitting, Baikal Lake

is split
it is tearing in half at the long seam of the ocean

and beneath the waterfall of the mountain.
I hear it crack in the silence of


something like a soft cry

or a low

somewhere between
hell and heaven

a width children could
still jump across

I see the shadow

and how deep
it goes

deeper by the years
and decades

sunsets echo it—
strange clue—

formations cross the sky
sky song asking why


The window used to hold her there,
standing and watching the day change,
her eyes holding the vague eye of distance.

However far it was, she was patient.
The room darkened behind her, the window
glinted, caught the last of the sunlight.

She grew timeless then. The waiting
never ended. The patience understood
There was never any end to the story.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 5/19/15)
 Against the Dark


What’s never is now, what’s the use
of hiding—it will out, as in will in.

Heavy with doubt, we re-assess.
Excuses—ever what we use.

Why confuse this
with fact.

Fact is an act.
Act 1.  Done.

Pure nonsense?
How pure?

Mix this with that
and drink slowly.

In a hurry, she asks?
Here is only here.

Elsewhere is nowhere.
Here is still here—period.

Spinning. A gold child in the center of
her spin. Look. She is happy. She can spin.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

in our old
hide-&-seek game,
taking years
to play,
efforts to make,
then, obedient to her,
trying to catch all
those words she flashes through the mind


Our thanks to Joyce Odam today (and her daughter, Robin Gale Odam), for today’s musings on Light, Joy, and Hope—our Seed of the Week with which we head for 2022, The Year of the Tiger.

Our new Seed of the Week is “The New Normal”. 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.


 Crossing Distance
—Photo by Joyce Odam

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, December 27, 2021

When You're Having Fun . . .

—Original Artwork by Norman J. Olson, Maplewood, MN
—Poetry by Joseph Nolan, Stephen Kingsnorth, 
Caschwa (Carl Schwartz), and Michael Ceraolo
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of 
Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

—Joseph Nolan

Red color is noisy.
It screams in vain
With nowhere to go.

It isn’t just thinking
That makes it so.

It’s also
Inside scones
Served at brunch
Upon a deck
Under umbrella awnings
To shelter
From encroaching sun
That makes it melt,
Before ten.

Reads the awnings’ fringe,
As underneath
We espresso, binge
And wave off
Burning sun,
That will not, yet,
Drive us off
Until we’re ready
To beach,
To go,
All together,
In one moving
Artwork by Norman J. Olson
—Joseph Nolan

Dark like night,
Floating among
All the stars.

Whispers in a vacuum,
Infinity of space—
Silky blackness
Smooth as velvet,
Slick as silk!

Distant, in this vacuum,
I, you, await,
Longing to behold you
After your suffered fate.

Is full of brilliant colors,
But many of our comrades
Lurk about the dark sides of
Many far-flung moons
That circle planets
Who couldn’t care less
What fleas might
Inhabit their satellites,
Or in which dimension
They are floating around.
It seems it’s been too long
Since our Revolution.
Artwork by Norman J. Olson
—Joseph Nolan

How can you
Get to
Shtoop a star?
Become a big wazoo!

Small potatoes,
Close to earth
Won’t get
Cosmic mating
That goes to
Biggest fish—
The top of the

But Heaven’s full
Of strange surprises—
Stormy nights,
mucho, macho Jack Daniels
And pay-offs down the road.

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales, UK

Does cone mark reserved waiting place,
held high by pads and fibrous roots,
like accusation, dunce’s cap,
Giverny corner, masterclass?
Or is it warning, obstacle
that danger lurks, entanglement,
as stronger lilies claim their space,
as we keep eye for ticket man?

And would we rest, wrest water paint,
with unseen gnats from float egg rafts,
like kingfishers of halcyon,
which flash by farther passing banks?
The stagnant, humid midges stream
within speck hover threaten cloud;
perhaps that’s why the brushstrokes short,
where beast and beauty share the air?

That sinking feeling, trolly dash,
bright orange brand of quality
with wobble wheels and toddler mesh,
a drag net, lazy customers.
Near clogged, enclosed with bridging, lone
invasion force of human craft,
where fluency is still, unknown—
despite the influence, Japan.

Like vandal’s dagger, tearing frame,
it strikes the eyes as blasphemy,
except old canvas still intact,
impressionism fresh defined.
And as all art, a question mark,
an observation, target reached;
itinerary not Giverny,
ubiquitous, cones, shopping aisles. 
Artwork by Norman J. Olson

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

(after reading “Time Again” by
Stephen Kingsnorth, Medusa’s
Kitchen, December 23, 2021)

always asking questions, I Googled
“Tardis” to learn it was some kind of
time machine utilized by Dr. Who, or
Dr. Whom? to employ the accusative case,
which would bring along with it the new
term, “Tardism”

as different as mitigate and aggravate,
one who already has all the answers would
take a Tardis to quantify and confirm such
knowledge, whereas one who is wary of
premature conclusory statements might say

you’d better frame your question well
or the answer could be your living Hell

so here I stepped into the shoes of Dr. Whom
and chose to take a Tardism to better learn
how to frame the question, so the answer
doesn’t cause serious injury 
Artwork by Norman J. Olson


Russian KGB researched America
and found its true heartbeat right there
in Hollywood, depicting the Roman “due
process” of throwing losers to the lions,

and that teasingly realistic Gong Show,
where vociferous voices of dissatisfaction
rang out to decide the fate of contenders,
and it was goodbye, merit system

who better to destroy our democratic
principles, rule of law, and fair practices
history than a virtual reality star who invites
criticism and boos, all to better the game?

the more time, effort, and money we throw
into berating any of an assortment of
incompetent fools parading as our leaders,
the more the KGB can just sit back and
say “The game is on, and we are winning”

meanwhile, we predictably persist in
burning witches, throwing losers to the
lions, and putting all our might and muscle
into ringing that confounded gong



My local, Sacramento, professional basketball
team has players who have served leading roles
on other, winning teams. Good for them. But
when they hit the court together, they are strong
for half the game, then fall completely apart

Ever see the Indy 500? Every single entrant
is ready to go all 500. Imagine the disappointment
for fans if half the contestants had nothing more to
offer once about half the laps were completed

We need to carefully examine and monitor these
performers: 1) give them each a blood test at tipoff,
and check them again after halftime, when they peter out;
2) open the books on their personal financial
transactions and see if they are getting paid to
bring about a different outcome to the game than
their typical sparkling command would suggest

Open notice to the organization and all its sponsors:
I will boycott watching this team perform unless and
until whatever that is that smells so bad is gone 


viewing me in person, my
sagging shoulders betray
an absence of wings, as if
they had been clipped by
an angel who needed them
more than I did

I will never know for sure,
kind of like that moment one
awakens from a coma and
relies heavily on the hearsay
of whomever is handy to know
what had transpired

what I do know is this, I always
get motion sickness from those
danged playground spinning
devices, and harbor a sincere
respect if not fear of great

so maybe I’m just not a good
fit for having wings, and I am
more than content to grant the
wish of “more power to you” to
the angel who took them from

MODERN OLYMPIAN ODE #56 (1900): Ignore It If It Doesn't Fit the Narrative
—Michael Ceraolo, S. Euclid, OH

In his book on the history of the Olympics,
written from his leftist perspective,
Goldblattherer rightly rebukes Olympic officials
for the glacial pace of the inclusion of women;
he also writes encouragingly
of the deaf-separatist sports movement
Yet he makes no mention of Charlotte Cooper,
the first woman to win Olympic gold:
she won singles and mixed doubles
in Paris this year, and she did so
after having become deaf a few years earlier
(she had won Wimbledon
both before and after she became deaf,
overcoming the disadvantage
of not hearing the sound of the ball
coming off her opponent's racquet)
She deserves to be remembered,
even commemorated,
you'll have to ask Goldblattherer
the reason for his sin of omission


Today’s LittleNip:

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.

—Michael Altshuler


Here we go, wrapping up 2021 and hopefully headed for a fruitful, more peaceful 2022! And our thanks to all our SnakePals who visited us today. For more information about Banksy, go to

Sac. Poetry Center ( workshops will be on a break until the first week of January , but tonight at 7:30pm on Zoom, Mario Ellis Hill will wish the year good-bye at (Meeting ID: 763 873 3462; Passcode: r3trnofsdv).


Charlotte Cooper, US Olympic Tennis Champion, 1900

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