Saturday, December 31, 2022

Saying Goodbye to December

Euclid Creek Reservation, Ohio
—Poetry by Michael Ceraolo, South Euclid, OH 
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain
Two Excerpts from Euclid Creek Book Four:


On a November day
the creek is high near its mouth,
the forecast high winds haven't started whipping yet
Most of the leaves have fallen
and are waiting to decay,
given one of the businesses
that was here before,
I take it the trees
are second-growth forest,
not the forest primeval

The remnants of that business
and all other past projects,
with one exception,
                             are located
only in the collective memory
and the pages of history books;
there are no historical markers
commemorating any of them

Had the shipyard still been here
it would have been prudent to wait
to launch any completed ships

Had the kiln that was here before the shipyard
still been in operation,
it could have provided some warmth
against the seasonable weather

Camp Gilbert was a resort
built here two years after
the end of the Civil War,
a few years after the shipyard closed,
when this was still a separate village;
had it survived it too could have provided
a respite from the weather

The Catholic diocese
bought the property from Gilbert
in the 1870s,
opened a girls' school,
St. Mary's Academy,
                               in 1878
The school was renamed, at a later date,
Villa Angela Academy,
it remained in use as a school
until 1990,
it merged with a nearby boys' school
There was also a boys' school on the property
that was open for over fifty years,
until it was destroyed by fire
in 1946

After the school merger
the school site was obtained
by the Cleveland Public Library
in 1991,
then reconfigured architecturally
for use as a branch of the library
it is still in use as such
as of this writing in 2022



An unusual sunny Sunday
(the watershed gets a low percentage
of the available sunshine
at this time of year),
not many are out here
taking advantage of it
                                  It's cold,
I think most are home watching the Browns game
I pull into the parking lot
to take my dog for a walk in the park

The street deadends,
a barrier with vertical bumblebee stripes
that has a reflector
with diagonal yellow and white stripes
prevents traffic from going any further

A large tree has been cut
into five- and six-foot sections

The fence on the third-base side of the baseball field
has a gate in it kept locked and chained

Chase and I stand on a footbridge
over a tributary of the creek
about a mile from where it joins the main branch;
the footbridge is concrete,
with chain-link fencing,
I think back to a scene here
a few months earlier:
a dirt island perpendicular to the creek
containing three trees,
                                  the largest
possibly a blue beech,
across the creek and breaking a wooden fence
on the property on the other side
(it took only a few days
for the fallen trees to be removed
and the fence repaired)

Through the still-standing trees I see
a man and his son kicking a ball
at one of the park's soccer goals
In the creek I see
the remnants of two pumpkins,
one on each side of the bridge

Signs in the park say
all dogs must be on a leash,
per city ordinance,
I respect that law

Another sign tells me
loitering is prohibited on the bridge,
and I ignore that one,
practicing civil disobedience
to gather the material for this poem

Today's LittleNip:
To have the kind of year you want to have, something has to happen that you can't explain why it happened. Something has to happen that you can't coach.
—Bobby Bowden

—Medusa, with thanks to Michael Ceraolo for his poetry today~and everybody be safe tonight!


For upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



Friday, December 30, 2022

Frozen Fields and the Nanny-Goat

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

The neighbor to the east across the swale
has hit the switch for his tenth-of-a-mile long
holiday colored lights extravaganza.

I walk out our back door
facing north for the solace of dark
and its natural lights.

There she is, a bit fuzzy
from rural-urban light pollution
but still one of the brightest—

Capella the Goat Star.
She glows yellow-warm,
homey as sheep cuddled in the shed.

I pause to greet her, my winter star
(three stars if I had a telescope—nanny
Goat with two goat-kids).

She only seems small
because of distance, outshining
my neighbor by so many miles. 

DEC 21, 5:45 A.M.

I didn’t hear the owl
in this dark between lights,
I didn’t hear a bell
from unnoted distance

we’re waiting for new dawn
my shepherd dog and I
the cat reveals nothing
about any morning 


fields at dawn—
I peel a disk
of ice off bucket,
my brief frisbee
skimming sparks
of light. 


jackets, caps
waiting for school
bell to call the kids back
to reclaim them,
to take them
back home. 


December sun slants low and I’m doing
kitchen stuff. I look up and there you are
looking up at me from grazing, surprised
to see me moving inside sliding glass.
More graceful than wrought-iron filigree
you are, almost fading into foggy-
gray of world around you. Slowly I aim
my camera as you compose my shot
without moving, gauging my intention. 
What can I catch of you, thru lens and glass? 


December sun
slants low thru the window
on my kitchen-stuff.
Look up, there you are
grazing—lifting head
surprised to see me
inside kitchen-glass watching you watch me.

December sun
can’t find anything
in my landscape
more graceful than you
slowly composing
my camera shot
for me—recording you for memory. 

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Small dough-balls rising,
goldening in December’s
frosty earth oven.


Good day to you as we tip over into 2023, and thanks to Taylor Graham for these poems as we close off 2022. About two of her poems today, she writes, “You'll see that ‘Shooting the Doe’ and ‘Photo Shoot’ are the same situation—I did it in Blank Verse, then got the Duodora Triple-F Challenge and decided to try that too…” Interesting it is, to try different forms using the same subject, yes?  Other forms TG has used this week include the Lyrette (“Backhand” and “Winter Break”); a Haiku (“Fungus-Bread”); Normative Syllabics (“Dec, 21, 5:45 A.M.”); some Blank Verse (“Shooting the Doe”); and a Duodora (“Photo Shoot”).

And now it’s time for . . .

Form Fiddlers' Friday! 
Don’t let these forms be Alien to you!)
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 challenges. Whaddaya got to lose… If you send ‘em, I’ll post ‘em! (See Medusa’s Form Finder at the end of this post for resources and for links to poetry terms used in today’s post.

There’s also a newly dusted-off page at the top of Medusa’s Kitchen called, “FORMS! OMG!!!” which expresses some of my (take ‘em or leave 'em) opinions about the use of forms in poetry writing, as well as listing some more resources to help you navigate through Form Quicksand. Got any more resources to add to our list? Send them to for the benefit of all man/woman/poetkind!
 Last Week’s Ekphrastic Challenge

Here are some poems written in response to last week’s Ekphrastic Challenge:

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

laptops strewn on tabletop
atomic watch on primate’s wrist
all agree as to bias
pull out a classic wrench and
torture it, force the inevitable gnarl
in this elusive warp of time

* * *

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Hear, it seems some common life,
web-spread image, worldwide use,
question marks or how to deal,
calculator, laptop keys.
Cookies telling of our tastes,
coffee jug or juice to drink,
desktop exercise on site,
finger pointing, compass, map.
TV seen by aerial,
save spies in the sky, take note.

With that observed, given pause,
it’s too true of image lent;
has that wrought been prompted pic,
vice versa, as you read?
No TV in working mode,
bar a sneaky catch-up peek.
Draughting outline from the map,
plotting what, by whom, and where;
survey here not aerial,
save spy in the sky, take note.

* * *

Nolcha Fox sent this reponse to the photo above; her inspiration was the idea of “shooting” a photo from above the subject, which Stephen also mentioned:

Creepy baby, crawl

up the window, hang from the ceiling,
with sinister smile and demon eyes.
They locked you up this Halloween.
But you will escape by late spring
to eat flies.

And tourists.

—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

(prev. pub. in
Five Fleas, 2022)

* * *

“Mea culpa, I chained Marianne.” By that, Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) means that he has composed a Marianne form in a chain:


we lost the game
so we studied the films
to learn how not to be so lame
and not repeat
the same

if only we
could use this practice skill
to strengthen rules for liberty
my country ‘tis
of thee

* * *

Carl has also sent a Baccresiezé, another one of our recent Triple-F Challenges:

stepped out to fetch morning paper
stood there holding morning paper
moist leaves on lawn were popping like
                                rain on tin roof
the walkways, dry with their own proof
leaves sautéed in the morning dew
stepped out to fetch morning paper
                                rain on tin roof
the paper forecast early fog
but I sure know what I did hear
a sound that mirrored a cloudburst
                                rain on tin roof

* * *

And here is a Logolift, also from Carl:



people shape their world to suit them
perfect quorum
last laugh
the explanation for misfits
where logic quits:

rush to find a magic dancer
the quick answer
cat’s paw
this will normally ease our ache
burn them at stake
* * *

Here is a Monoku from Nolcha Fox. She writes, “My youngest dog had never seen me do yoga before, and she was so excited to have me sitting at floor level. She gives joy a more appetizing meaning, sort of, in this Monoku:”

My dog gnaws on my mudras during Kundalini yoga.

—Nolcha Fox

* * *

And here is an Ekphrastic poem from Stephen Kingsnorth, based on a photo that was posted in the Kitchen on Thursday, Dec. 22. As the year turns, we begin to think about green, about slowly emerging Spring, and about our old pal, the Greenman:

—Stephen Kingsnorth

I never saw The Greenman,
except when barred at pubs,
or labelled on the bus-stop
outside that local inn.
His face carved on some pew-ends
where misery, accord—
syncretism, pagan part—
insurance, both gods’ home?

But when search woodland pathways
where lichen grows on trees,
I wonder if his fingers
or toes are seen in roots.
They may be veins, varicose,
the old man’s legs blue-green;
even blood, arterial,
from sacrifice above?

May be a dried-up torrent,
white rush of water glued,
well, thickened by pollution,
green algae filaments?
Perhaps pine where Sycorax
imprisoned Ariel,
or barking up the wrong tree,
a prompt for witches’ hex?

A mystery to thoughtless,
telegrammatic wires,
that undergrowth connection,
where mycorrhiza webbed?
Do you not think The Greenman
has long made calls by trunk;
or, over pond, long distance—
an uncreative branch?

If folk fail with their message,
then leave it to the plants,
but do take language lessons,
so overhear complaints?
We should start bloomin’ talking,
the stigma take away,
and live as worthy tenants.
so jubilee proclaimed?

I’ll issue written stamen,
come, spread that pollen, bees,
so annual or biennial,
whole harvest cropped when seen.
But each cut splits the sap stem—
more effort for the plant,
determined reproduction,
so each gene leaves its mark?


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 forms, and send them to! (No deadline.) We’re still working through Violet Berg’s
Pathways for the Poet. How about a Minuette:


AND/OR in the same resource, scroll down to the Octain (we could all use a higher Octain/octane these days):


AND/OR the Octodil:


•••See also the bottom of this post for another challenge, this one an Ekphrastic Photo.

•••And don’t forget each Tuesday’s Seed of the Week! This week it’s “Joy”. 


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

•••Blank Verse: AND/OR
•••Duodora: from Viola Berg’s book,
Pathways for the Poet:
•••Ekphrastic Poem:   

•••Normative Syllabics: AND/OR

For more about meter, see:



 Today's Ekphrastic Challenge!
See what you can make of the above
photo, and send your poetic results to (No deadline.)


—Photo Courtesy of Public Domain

For upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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, December 29, 2022

Melting From Love

Joshua Baby Tree
—Photo by Petrouchka Alexieva
—Poetry by Petrouchka Alexieva, Los Angeles, CA
—Other Photos Courtesy of Public Domain

Driving to Victorville early this morning
After cold Californian night.
I was not in a hurry. I had nothing to worry.
The sky was clear, the sun just emerged
From the hills on the right.

Half the way there…what a happy surprise!
The Joshua trees were covered with layer
Of crispy white snow. The sweet creamy blossoms
Looked incredibly awesome
Like chandeliers shimmering in the air.

Right in front of me, on the left of the road
Little baby tree stood courageous and strong.
Showing off his pretty attire
And shiny crown of his own.


Kids are not sleeping tonight
Waiting for Santa Claus to pass by.
He is busy, but they wait for their turn
Keeping in windows sparkling lanterns.

They even hide under their beds,
Hoping they’ll see the Old Jolly Man
Right at midnight. Moms and dads
Already wrote their cheerful letters.
”Santa, this year we had the best kids
And they are growing better, indeed.”

Don’t worry, dear girls and boys!
You might miss seeing his joyful sleigh,
But all presents are already yours.
I guarantee you, there is no other way!


I build him for fun, like a dream
From the yesterday’s innocent snow.
Because of the weather I gave Him
My favorite sweater,
Mittens and scarf
From such a premium yarn,
Shiny buttons and hat
That I found in the barn.

He was nearly done, almost intact
And I put happy smile, eyes and nose.
He stood in the cold in his fancy pose
With a broom and a bucket.
Then… I draw a huge happy heart,
And… I gave Him a hug
In my front snowy yard.  

The temperature outside was low
—Brrr!— to the extreme! So,
At midnight, icicles started to glow
On the roof and his sweater.
The stars were sparkling bright.
In fact, it was his favorite weather.

I took a cup of tea and went to bed.
I was ready to sleep calm and well
When somebody rang the bell!
It was him, my man, my Snowman, I mean!
He stood there frozen in the shimmering night
With ice on his nose and birds on his hat;
Somehow bigger and somehow bright.

“Can I come in?” he said and stepped
Into my cozy and warm living room room.
”I love you!” he whispered
Pointing to his red-blinking heart.
“I want you to walk with me to the moon!”

We were happy and funny,
And dancing and bouncing
Full of life and …IN LOVE. But soon…
What was left from Him
Were the nose and the hat,  
Few warm little clothes, the broom,
And a small little lake in the room. I assume,
What to blame was the heater above.
See you next winter, My Love!

(To Mom and Dad)

“Please, stay. Let’s make this life together!”
My father said to my mom in the morning.
This is what life is, a colorful quilt—
In a size that we can make it by choice.

Every piece has its story; every color is a season of love,
Happiness or some sorrows, and disappointments
When something doesn’t fit perfectly on the corners.
But it can be fixed with another colorful patch.

It takes work, patience and dedication,
Few sparkles in the eyes and keep going with a smile
When the weather is not very pleasant,
But the quilt will warm us up. It is our taste of life.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Petrouchka Alexieva

A present from the moon
Was sent to me—
Bright star fell from behind
Of a fluffy midnight cloud
And took a spot in my heart.
Now, I am glowing from inside
In a Christmas Holy night.


Welcome back to the Kitchen, Petrouchka, and many thanks for your fine poetry today! Petrouchka Alexieva was first featured in Medusa’s Kitchen on 10/12/22 (


 Petrouchka Alexieva

For upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!



Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Mirror's Gaze

 Tyler Zaremba and Pal 
—Poetry by Tyler Zaremba, Central Texas
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain

pacing by
a solar flare
gripping myself
I turn back

* * *

depression is better except
for the depression
nothing is better—except nothing

* * *

escape your mind
claw inside yourself
to freedom:
imprisoned with a crimson crown

gut-wrenching emptiness
with unattainable goals
—the mirror’s gaze

* * *

what I discovered today
about tomorrow
would’ve made me happier

* * *

aging cat’s eyes close
empty energy keeps me awake
who will go first?

mask after mask
dusk after dusk
another beautiful leaf

* * *

insomnia in a separate bed
with cold hands and somber eyes
distantly a dog barks

* * *

my tears fall
thinking why
I did not cry
when they found him

Coalesced futility.
Weep for the potential of what could have been
As the world dims from what I’ve become.

* * *

Their sanity questioned
By petrified psychosis
Nailed upright

* * *

Prison bars made from sunrise and sunset.
Neverendingly finite.
Is each moment a key to freedom or another unbearable cell?
I’ll never know.


Today’s LittleNip:

I ran out of coffee
and am too depressed
for suicide.

—Tyler Zaremba


Welcome to the Kitchen to newcomer Tyler Zaremba! Tyler lives in Central Texas as a human and works as an attorney. He enjoys micro poetry, metal music, and wildflowers. Again, welcome, Tyler, and don’t be a stranger!

Tyler’s poems are a little dark, but, well, we’ve all been there…



Tyler Zaremba

For upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!
 The Many Moods of Littlesnake








Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Time's Bells

The Way Through Winter
—Poetry by Joyce Odam and Robin Gale Odam, 
Sacramento, CA
—Photos by Robin Gale Odam
—Joyce Odam

This day's gray, the air cold and
bleary, time slowing through dripping
air to find its way through, slowing—

slowing for the fog spreading over white
houses fading back and fog-walkers peering
for headlights and shadow-sounds                       

brushing back into time as wary as caution—
everything shifting forward, finding
the way through winter . . .


—Joyce Odam

tonight the stars turn into holy bells
the distance spreads beyond the glow of time
clouds can be touched through the eyes of wonder
and the horizon wears a rim of gold
Beyond The Glow Of Time

—Joyce Odam

In memory, sounding far, just as they
are—the time between that waits forever,
as forever is.

That far, that old, when time will listen
back again. There is a difference, something
I know again—how it fades.

The bells compare the difference, I want to know
whose memory we are—the tones entreat my
memory, claiming us as theirs. I brace to remember.

The bells, as time's bells, touch the cold air of winter,
there and here and I am sad to lose them though I still
can hear them—faint, now and again, when sound is
farther as it is and I am just as far.
The Bell Tolls
—Joyce Odam

One dreamy night
when I was a dreamer of my
dreams I strolled a cold night's

fantasy—a child of course,
a child of an unnumbered age.
The air was glistening with sound,

a slow night when I was only half
of being me but looking for my
inner self, younger or older.

I took my tears along for all the tiny
tear-birds I had saved—the night was
only half awake for me, halfway to the

middle where I could hear the tiny bells
of birth and dying calling me again,
this time a choir of notes I could not

remember but I hurried to them
with my wisdom—life time softened
around me and I held them in my mind,

my heart opened with love and time—
"I don't know" I whispered as always,
and they softened their fears and found

their little tears and I felt myself given
back to all my frightened life where
questions to my weeping lied.
When I Was A Dreamer Of My Dreams

—Joyce Odam

Generic and real? What complies . . .

To such appeal? The real and the almost,
conjurious . . .

If truth is right and still be broke? How mend
one to the other . . .

If 'perfection means' and 'metaphor means'
begets a quarrel? Then the absolute becomes
right and always right and wrongness is never
wrong begets a quarrel . . .


—Robin Gale Odam

No other gods before me
graven into stone . . . the heart of
stone, the deaf ear, the fabrication in
earnest, the zealous appetite of the artist
at the gallery—the palate of the starving
and the thirst of fishes sipping at mud—
no, none.


—Robin Gale Odam
After Pablo Picasso,
Self Portrait, 1971

I will paint my portrait in this hour
before I fully wake. I choose the line
of dark night for separation, the flick of
green for eulogy, and ochre for my mouth,

for the earthy kiss. The prominent nostril
is for the drawing of a breath, twilight blue
for pondering, and the crown of crimson
for the glaze of sun behind the horizon.

The trace of stubble is from the
night I leave behind. I do not recall
the color of my eyes. The dream is dark.


—Robin Gale Odam

Breathless, the poet scribbled
with sharpened pencils—breathless
in the turning of the hour, in the hour of
gleaning, in the placing of the flourish.

Fragile curls of pencil lead and broken
points lay scattered over pages of

(prev. pub. in
Brevities, 2018 and
Song of the San Joaquin, Fall 2018)
The Cold Winter 

—Robin Gale Odam

. . . fog over morning
the shortest day    mirror
reflection or mere reflection

or the one glimpse of the remnant
of a dream    the low whisper of the
one winter bell . . .

Today’s LittleNip:

—Robin Gale Odam

. . . after the night
out of the shortness of
days into the length of time . . .


Joyce and Robin Odam have joined us again today as Joyce’s fractured hip continues to heal. She and Robin are writing (mostly) new poems for us—what a joy!

And speaking of Joy, our new Seed of the Week is “Joy”. So much talk of depression and fear and hopelessness these days! Let’s turn it around and find some joy in the world around us. 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. And see every Form Fiddlers’ Friday for poetry form challenges, including those of the Ekphrastic type.



 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy

of Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

For upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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 26, 2022

Hope is the Elixir


—Poetry by Mary McGrath, Stephen Kingsnorth,
Nolcha Fox, Michael H. Brownstein,
J.I. Kleinberg, Sayani Mukherjee,
Caschwa, Joe Nolan and Shiva Neupane
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Mary McGrath, Sacramento, CA

It's not the brightest
  but the most mysterious
    that I hold in reverence.

Blue lights
  on the skirt of the spruce
    drop pools of blue
      onto the snow.

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Celebrate, in memoriam,
campanile striking high,
broadcast news now due to air.

Hammer metal for clapper beat,
timing clock to count the hour,
swinging weight, for waiting past.

But baubles do not hang around,
festive stars shape thin-cut space,
hidden pin in ball of tin.

So what the prompt that rings a bell,
moment, force, a moving part,
turns about the pump to chime? 

—Stephen Kingsnorth

I heard the flock was led by belle,
a stranger name, castrated ram,
the eunuch, leader of the pack,
which set the track to follow on;
what is the state of play we see,
a record set and to be kept,
not least as trough for media,
the feeding frenzy, herd again?

That’s why the bell, attractive chime,
a gong, as if a medal worn,
like shepherd calling on his own,
a primary, the source of more;
why do those decibels ring true,
minor vibrations through the air,
a tinny tinkle, canny sound,
that draws attention of the crowd?

From Middle English, centuries,
bucolic to newscasts today,
a choker hanging round the neck,
an anchor chain linked to the past;
trace skein that stretches, binds the years,
forget balls, wool pulled over eyes,
and whether pattern holds true yet.
bellwether holds place, lexicon. 

—Stephen Kingsnorth

They say I’m bloomin’ Cockney—

born within sound, Bow bells,

like all the London churches,

in orange, lemon, nursed.

I do drop all my H’s,

know all their rhyming slang—

perhaps my verse a cliché,

is what indeed they mean.

I’m not ashamed, my accent,

the voice from where I’m born,

or even measured verses,

the patterned stanza, norm.

Just write me off, old-fashioned,

but regular when breathe—

good reason to drop letter,

it saves a bleedin’ gasp.
My teachers didn't like it—
they took the cane to rump, 

but much enjoyed the flogging,
my English master said.

Bells brought her back

from the twists
toward twilight,
past planets
peering through
dusk, back to
cloistered candles,
into incense
and warmth.

—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY


Blessed be the mutt

escaping frazzled owner’s hands,
trailed by his leash and butterflies,
his tongue a juicy steak atwirl,
a doggie dog-gone smile at kite
aflight above his head. He leaps
through rainbows, sneezes,
seizes all the joy afloat, and shares
it with the flowers.

—Nolcha Fox

The Christmas Miracle on Meth Mountain
—Michael H. Brownstein, Jefferson City, MO

When Christmas day dawned, there were no Christmas trees, no gifts, no cookies, no glasses of milk—only small plastic bags with meth.

It's Christmas, she told her companion. Get up. Let's see what Santa sent us.

Wow, her friend said. Take a look at all of this meth.

Then he heard a scream. Turning quickly, he saw her staring into a mirror. A mirror? They never had a mirror. What's wrong?

My teeth. They're back. They're back.

And the meth degraded into water.
* * *
Four Found Poems by J.I. Kleinberg, Bellingham, WA:






—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India

Keeping a score is a nuanced way
One two three for every chore
Morning tea sugars milk
One liquid one pound one gallon
Prefixes and suffixes for everyday
Coming and going
Homeberries holiday retreats winters
For the bride of bridges
Worlds collide upon the lightness
In darkness there's an ocean fold clothes
Embers Ashes evening namesake
A beatitude of quietly elegant musk rose
Her twopence basket holds nutshell
Little animals of simplicity
Like water like wind takes up spaces around
A knife-edged barred silhouette
Mudslides of diamonds and rusty patches
Winters and evenings
Delights keeping the purse open for queue
Questions drop open
Little girl's snowflakes snowmanship
Crafty simple art
An orange peel melting pot cooking jar
National anthems parades paraded paths
The evening lights take shape
Oval-shaped nights northern ferry
Cards cares locations inroads insides
Out of suffixes out of prefixes
Keeps borders out
Beyond the white-washed agedead
Sprung open the bluebird wind
The white lake fire
Awakening of the evening light
My fingers into white shadows. 

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

looked up what poems my
computer had listed for
Monday’s publication

“This folder is empty”

I knew just what the device
was feeling, there are broader
and broader moments in time
that just seem lacking in any


we selected or elected our
best choices to lead us through
the challenges of our day, and
rewarded them with top salary,
benefits, perks, golden parachutes
only to learn too late they were


politicians, police, fiduciaries, men
of the cloth, you name it, as soon as
they have earned our trust, they
violate our most beloved principles,
shielding themselves in the innocent
colloquy of serving higher goals


to be exactly what we want them to
be, but then following the same path
as the drunken limo driver who killed
a carful of teenage drivers, whose
parents had thought they had made
the right choice to get them home


—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Pat me on the head.
Tell me I’m a good boy.
I need social approval
To validate my being.
Throw sacrificial offerings
Into yawning chasm’s Void.

Tell me virtue
Defends me from
Though the castle’s burning, free.

Help me to descend,
Then rise again.
Tell me the Phoenix
Is reborn
Like every other
Sacrificial offering
Ever cast into
The chasm of the Void. 

—Joe Nolan

There is love
Beneath varnish and paint.

There is love
Between sinner and saint.

There is love
Across our shining universe.

It rings true
And gives us peace,
Even though
Our wars
Will never cease.

We find it in
The loyalty of dogs.
We find it in the brightness
Of a child’s eyes.

Though we sometimes worry
And think low,
Love is early
And touches you
In ways you’d never know.

Today’s LittleNip:

Hope is the elixir of Life:
We’re dreaming and dreaming
Because of our hope.
Everything is going to be tickety-boo
Because hope is a placebo.
The world is filled with sea of people
But there is a drought of hope.
The river of hope irrigates the soul
And nurtures our dreams. 

—Shiva Neupane, Melbourne, Australia


Merry Day-After-Christmas, or as citizens of the UK designate it, Boxing Day. Sorry to be late today; plumbing emergency on this, our 40th wedding anniversary...
Lots of poetic talk of Bells today, our Seed of the Week. (Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.) Stephen Kingsnorth has written about lots of types of bells. To most people living outside London, the term Cockney simply means a Londoner, but traditionally, to be known as a “true” Cockney, you have to be born within earshot of the Bow Bells from the Church of St Mary Le Bow in Cheapside, the East End of London. Stephen writes, “It has just dawned on me, thinking of London churches, Cockneys being defined as born within the sound of...etc., this pic ought to be titled 'The Sound Of Bow Bells’…!” Oh, Stephen—are we to end the year with such harsh puns? Is that the bellwether of things to come?

J.I. (Judy) Kleinberg re-joins us today with bells, also—welcome back, Judy! She has sent “Found” poetry, which is her specialty. See AND/OR for more about the Found poem.

Want to be considered for Cabrillo College’s
Journal X’s 3rd edition? Send your poems, stories, memoirs, essays, photos, and art to by Dec. 30.

Sacramento Poetry Center remains closed for the rest of the year, so no reading tonight; in-person readings will return on Jan. 9, with Anthony Xavier Jackson and Max West plus open mic, music, and refreshments. And Luna’s Cafe will have no Poetry Unplugged Open Mic this Thursday, either. In other words, no NorCal readings or workshops this week, at least that I know of. As always, please let me know if you hear of any.

And in the meantime, catch up on a little reading (and writing!) of your own…


—Medusa, wishing you a wonderful Kwanzaa  ( Habari gani? 
 “Hope is the elixir of Life…”

For upcoming poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
in the links at the top of this page.

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in the top right corner to come back to Medusa.

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that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
Just remember:
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!