—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joe Nolan
THE FIRST BURST OF SPRING
—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA
The first burst
Of fragile colors,
In gentle light
Of very early Spring,
Whisper and pray
While we stand by and see.
Branches will fill
With every bounty
Fruit might yield—
Full of beauty
As farmers might
Be made to smile,
When they see
Life can be,
Who have some mastery
To let life bubble over,
Roll over and over—
In damp, wet, staining clover,
Laughing to the sun!
What is this shit
That slowly dies,
And draws flies
It’s been there
From days to weeks
And we find
It strongly reeks
What are we saving it for?
Have you forgotten
Who put it there,
For what reason,
So you just stare,
Whenever you open
TRAINED IN FEAR
A son who won’t draw near
Pulled his ear,
To inflict pain,
Without leaving marks.
That was how
A son was
Trained in fear.
A HERMIT’S INSIGHT
There is “the real guy out there”
And the one I think I know.
My relationship is with
The guy I think I know.
It is merely an article of faith
To believe the guy who’s really out there
Is the guy I think I know.
Can create mirages.
We mostly interact
With mirages of our own construction.
We have no choice but assume
We think we know
There is some correspondence
Between our impressions and reality,
But we do not really know.
How rude it is
To remove a mask!
—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales, UK
Butter knife and serviettes,
observations mother made,
not as a snob, but standard marks,
with table cloth, and grace before.
She thought the meal, family meat,
a newscast of the past, report,
whatever menu, knife, fork, spoon,
two courses with slight pause between.
But nothing left, world hungry place,
all mouthfuls chewed, then chewed again,
and no one spoke, mouth so engaged,
but conversation, water glass.
To leave the table by request,
though not until all emptied plates,
the veg more frequent than the beef,
except the joint for Sunday lunch.
At Christmas it was chicken breast,
a rarity, astonishing
to those who feed, battery nest,
when free-range only known, but best.
The china, willow pattern blue,
dish washer safe—that’s Dad of course,
while never alcohol at home,
the pipe, less smoke than lighting rite.
The T.V. dinner never served,
how could, no television owned,
our entertainment, table laid,
then cleared and stacked, his washing up.
Amongst our busy waking days,
it was the one hour when we met,
set piece, shared compli-condiments,
when pepper, salt flavoured our lives.
I know folk mock the style we ate,
they laugh at manners, class we learnt,
but mealtime, source, relation’s growth,
where beer cans, paper plates unknown.
BEER CANS AND PAPER PLATES
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
neither is suitable for stovetop or microwave
but both have been elevated to the Supreme Court
embracing this competition as casual sport
further, higher taxes on the rich off which to stave
beer cans can be awful cheap, but they do their job well
and can even be recycled, to save our landfills
for impecunious paper plates, made without frills
that last less than once, then are surely destined for Hell
oh tra la la and la di dah, we will celebrate
that we are stocked up with plenty of beer to consume,
load paper plates to the edge, not leaving any room
all the cleanup, manual labor, we delegate
WONDER WHAT’S COOKING
first fortune cookie:
“Be smart, but never show it”
so far, so good, huh?
second fortune cookie:
“A truly creative person rids
him or herself of all self-
time out, let’s take a moment
“never show it” imposes a
limitation, but ridding oneself
of that wouldn’t be very smart,
either, would it?
prime candidates for the
preeminent circular file,
pretty busy in there
(following “The Strange and
Beautiful Cows” by Joyce Odam,
Medusa’s Kitchen (2/22/22)
two chess masters take their seats
with stone faces, the clock is started…
one errant move could bring utter
disaster to the entire kingdom
a bishop angles across part of the
board, putting at risk a key member
of royalty, answered by the icy
ramifications of a pawn romping
straight across one square
slipping out of my chair, “I want
to feel what they feel: their complete
indifferent laziness, no haste or
dread,” while the moment of tapping
the clock is near
I, the king of kings, safeguarded by a
host of ceramic figurines, each too
heavy to levitate, requiring the aid of
a human being to attempt some tricky
navigation routes across the board
the magnetic appeal of glamor seems
to overcome the forecast of naysayers:
you’ll win when the cows come home
athletes who medal vs. autocrats who meddle
Columbian Period vs. Oxford Comma
Joseph Gordon: went to the ER complaining about
an old, rusty, hyphen stuck in his rear end
PUT-TIN’ MY ARMY IN YOU KRAINE?
Put-tin’ my army
In you kraine!
Joe Nolan, Stephen Kingsworth and Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) have inaugurated this first week in March with their usual eclectic poems—some of which are irreverent, some are about our Seed of the Week (Beer Cans and Paper Plates), and some are both. About his “Beer Can” poem, Carl writes, “No formal form. It has a rhyme scheme (abba) and each line is 13 syllables, but no Caesuras, or special emphasis syllables such as would be found in a trzynastozgloskowiec.” Lest you think Carl is joshing, look it up: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_alexandrine/. Join us each week on Form Fiddler’s Friday for fun and frolic with poetry forms! So far we haven’t tackled the trzynastozgloskowiec, but ya never know what Gorgons will get up to after a few beers and a pizza. Or a few pizzas and a beer...
—Medusa, celebrating good news about Hank the Tank, the 500-lb. black bear in South Lake Tahoe who has been wrongly accused of mayhem, but who, it turns out, shared those ill garbage deeds with other “boys”—other big guys who were also rooting through Tahoe beer cans and paper plates . . .
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
email@example.com. We post
work from all over the world—including
that which was previously published—
and collaborations are welcome.
the snakes of Medusa are always hungry—
for poetry, of course!