Monday, January 17, 2022

Angry Winter Nights—Still!

—Original Artwork by Norman J. Olson, Maplewood, MN
—Poetry by Steven Kingsnorth, Caschwa (Carl Schwartz), 
Michelle Kunert, Joseph Nolan

—Steven Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales, UK

Pathetic fallacy at work—
precipitate, short tempered squeal,
a fall-out from the murk above,
all hail the temper of the steel,
ice shards thrown, anvil-beaten cloud,
cumulonimbus building climb,
no pity those who lie below,
berserk attack, fury unleashed.

But if our blame, beneath assigned,
the stain, false witness borne in lieu,
excuse for how our tempers flew,
then high and higher, pressure brewed,
until they flailed, akimbo style,
occluded front, way forward barred,
teeth gnashing, grinding, rage exposed,
an arctic wind, flow roundabout.

That’s why the weathervane is used,
even in Mary Poppins rôle,
to shift the focus from ourselves
and blame the heavens’ undertow.
The blues not named for summer skies,
depression for low’s isobars;
our stress must be where love revealed—
it’s fallacy, no choices ours. 

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

putting out berms to pause the tides
shuttering windows from the storm
replacing old weatherproofing, worn both sides
fresh batteries for the radio, to stay informed

angry winter nights

blessed to have more than just a tent
the bills are paid, though not paid off
what dreadful fate have we been sent:
is that disease, or a minor cough?

angry winter nights

the ants got wet and moved inside
along pipes and crevices and such
we have no choice but to abide
ants never heard of going Dutch

angry winter nights

exponential statistics grow
to quantify the damage done
more rain, more wind, more feet of snow
while our main concern is number one

angry winter nights 


lessons of history have taught the builders
of bridges and tall buildings to leave little
gaps that allow for release of

F#%&^ing PRESSURE!!

so that the hard parts that can’t bend won’t
break, either, just flex in a manner that keeps
everything together

hopefully our Constitution was fashioned in
this manner, because our melting pot of
different cultures also carries with it the need
to allow for release of

F#%&^ing PRESSURE!!

regrettably the news-for-sale-to-highest-bidder
media keeps the focus on just those parts that
don’t bend, like politicians who refuse to
negotiate, or extremists whom we can’t modify,
and leaves us to wonder how we ever got this far


(after watching the
Late Show with
Stephen Colbert, Jan. 10, 2022,
where comedian Tig Notaro would
repeatedly get beeped just for saying
the word “hole” following the word “ass”)

I could empathize, being a hopeless
A-hole myself some of the time, so
just to enlarge on the situation:

I started with the wrong B-hole while fastening my shirt,
munching on a tasty, little D-hole,
sidestepping that treacherous M-hole,
watching Alice disappear down the R-hole,
before inserting a woodscrew, I drilled a P-hole,
got lost in the B-hole of space,
watched soldiers in F-holes taking fire,
hope the street crew will fix that P-hole,
wrapped it all up by visiting my favorite W-hole. 

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento, CA

     In this serge of Covid infections of the Omicron variant
     I guess, yes, I’ve become a "Covid-phobe" at the place where I work
     I’ve said that, if anyone comes to the warehouse work floor without wearing a mask,
     one better not be sick and not be going around coughing on other people
     Frankly, at work I never thought I’d get in a fighting argument with an anti-war peace activist
     but he declared himself an “anti-masker"
     and openly and loudly hacked on other people, unmasked and without apology
     I nicely asked for him to please stop his behavior
     but he gave me no respect for my request
     and so I became called a “dumb-ass” and felt the hate
     I also hated to destroy any friendships I had before Covid  
     because of this guy's germ-warfare terrorism coming out from his cigarette-smoke-affected lungs
     Alas, I have to report those in such Covid denial to the administration
     But I do wish that Covid rules enforcement would have a voluntary component  
     because I don’t want where I work to have to be placed on another shut-down  
     I wish to have what the security at the Woodstock concert declared—  
     they had a  “please force” (a  p- l- e- a- s- e  force) rather than a police force      
     where people take care to respect one another
     and are willing to do their share to help stop the spread of Covid at work
     But here in America, there are still those who want to commit outright sabotage
     rather than see how they can cooperate and unite during a time of struggle


—Joseph Nolan, Stockton, CA

No drama, please!
We need to stay
At ease.

Crying daydreams,
Mask your sneeze.
Pray for mercy
On your knees.

We’re in for
A long haul.
A virtue,
We’ll all need. 

—Joseph Nolan

I bought shares
In the Old Stockade,
Hoping to fill it
With prisoners.

Per diem,
Per capita,
Per prisoner,
From the State
Could make me a
Wealthy peasant.

Like chickens
In a chicken-coop,
Out eggs,
Easy for a farmer to grasp
And turn into
His breakfast.

I don’t care why
They were
Sentenced to jail
Or for their

I only care
To profit, therefrom,
Since wealth
Is my ambition.

—Joseph Nolan

Some muddled thing
I can’t understand,
Disrupted our meeting,
And thus, I was banned
From polite society
And all it imbues—
Condemned to wander
Alone in the blues.

It’s beyond my means
To make sense of it all,
I lack some software
Scissors or awl,
Can’t put it together
Or take it apart,
Must be some problem
With the shape of my heart.


Today’s LittleNip:

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.

―Jack Kerouac,
The Dharma Bums


Much as I lean toward spring, winter is by no means over yet. So we have poetry about our Seed of the Week: “Angry Winter Nights”, and thanks to our poets from Wales to Sacramento for their responses. About his poem, “Bent But Not Broken”, Caschwa writes, “Some four decades ago I worked at the headquarters branch of a savings & loan on Miracle Mile in Los Angeles. They had a 27-story office tower, with a heliport on top, that had rollers at the base so that forces of nature could cause the structure to sway, not break and fall. Hence, my poem.”

Thanks also to Norman Olson for dropping by the Kitchen with some of his original artwork. He writes, “The interview of me that was done by Melissa Blundell of the Wilzig Erotic Art Museum is still available at This interview includes a discussion of my art in general, and addresses the issue of my use of the nude figure and whether that makes my work "Erotic Art" or not. It also is a chance to see some of my larger works at scale.  So, if you haven't seen it yet, you can check it out at the above link.”

As for Joseph Nolan, our poet who finds such interesting photos to hang up in the Kitchen, he has a new book out from Cold River Press: Water Dreams. Check it out at

Sisyphus, Charles Entrekin’s magazine that “focuses on contemporary issues surrounding art, culture, and language”, has a new issue of poetry and prose and prose poetry (“The Place Issue”) online at Very elegant, as always. 

•••Tonight (Mon. 1/17), 7:30pm: Sac. Poetry Center’s Socially Distant Verse features Marly Youmans and Jorge Quintana on Zoom at (Meeting ID: 763 873 3462 / pass: r3trnofsdv/.) Info:

•••This coming Thursday at 7pm, Poetry Night Reading Series in Davis presents Julie Jose and Gabrielle Myers and her new book, Too Many Seeds, via Zoom: Open mic after the reader (one chosen text or three minutes). Host: Dr. Andy Jones. Info:{"source"%3A"29"%2C"ref_notif_type"%3A"plan_user_invited"%2C"action_history"%3A"null"}&notif_id=1641058547529962&notif_t=plan_user_invited&ref=notif/.

•••Sat. (1/22), 7pm, Sacramento Poetry Alliance presents Jon Davis and Greg Glazner, 1169 Perkins Way, Sacramento, CA.

•••For more about El Dorado County poetry events, check Western Slope El Dorado poetry on Facebook:


—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joseph Nolan


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Waiting for Spring