Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Old Forgotten Songs

Of the Art 
—Photos by Robin Gale Odam 
—Poetry by Joyce Odam and Robin Gale Odam,
Sacramento, CA
—Joyce Odam

Let me write
the true beginning
of an old forgotten song

filled with old romantic
teariness to set the drama
of the singing out loud—

me and my long-ago style
of sadness
for the song—

the beautiful, the
beautiful song of style
of songs, for the song—

the beautiful song
I would remember always—
would always remember.
—Joyce Odam

In my first knowing
of the art I was a novice
with all my thoughts and
heroics of mind—

I didn't know or claim the
arts of my inner soul because
of all the nervous swiftness
of all the time in time—

I sang, I danced, I colored
coloring books and watched
sad movies and dramas so
my heart would suffer

for the drama of my future
imagination, all through my life.
—Robin Gale Odam

Ok we will go to the gallery.

Something from the heart of an artist
will linger in his works, stare out at me
from the wall, choke at my heart
and steal my eyes away from you.

Then you will want me back.
Slow Moon
—Joyce Odam

Stones in the sunshine, stones
in the rain, or just walking along

and a certain stone will catch your
eye, so you pick up the stone to admire—

it's the way it settles in your hand, so
gentle—so that's how you learn to have

a worry stone you keep as a touch of good
fortune, taken in good esprit de corps—

always with a source of memorabilia of the
heart—as love would have it.
Just the Days
—Robin Gale Odam

If I could only balance
on a tightrope, or write this
on parchment and burn it to ash,
maybe then.

—Robin Gale Odam

The book of pages, mostly blank—
the salt, the ghost, the ashes

The picture in the frame, guarded by
promises—the talisman of religion, the
open sky inside the sphere, the tiny
music box in minors

Now the full pink moon, sprigs of
weed stalks, the long twittering song
of the finch—the new evening


just two diamonds now
now the rain will drown the day
just a thing to say

just the flicker of a ghost
now i try to write you here 
—Robin Gale Odam
Your Life Behind You

—Robin Gale Odam

And so you would guard the
secret that is posing as your life . . .

in the center of the stage
at the bias of performance,
the casting of the smokescreen—
the method of intent—bravado and
chaos, secrecy of untruth and the fetter
of fear, and the ambrosia—the wine cellar

of the lighthearted, of the connoisseur,
the zealot, the addict, the junkie—the child
in the costume of the savage, of the warrior,
counterfeit for strength and virtue, words
in the place of the shield, words in the
guise of love, so the song is written,
or maybe just a riff—

for love is something done,
burden of the heartbeat and the breath—
progeny in the meadows unfettered
at the play of wind and time.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Robin Gale Odam

Three generations of ghosts
dancing in the dust of the olde
wood floor

The window light, a waft of
breeze—and nothing more


Joyce Odam and Robin Gale Odam are talking to us about that which may or may not be etched in stone, our Seed of the Week. And, of course, stones—“Stones in the sunshine, stones in the rain…” Our thanks to them for valiantly carrying through this startling California weather with their outstanding poetry and photos.

Our new Seed of the Week is “Burning Your Candles at Both Ends”. Send your poems, photos & artwork about this (or any other) subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com. 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.

Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.

The new reading series, Twin Lotus Thai/Fourth Tuesday Poetry presents The Seven Poets of PCG tonight, 6pm, plus open mic. Click UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS at the top of this column for details about this and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up during the week.


—Public Domain Illustration

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, February 27, 2023

Saying What We Have to Say

Guarding an endangered rhino from being 
murdered by poachers for his horn 
—Poetry by Dee Allen, Nolcha Fox 
and Joe Nolan 
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy  
of Joe Nolan

—Dee Allen, Oakland, CA

Based on an example shown
By a wise man from Tallahassee
Who taught us to become
What we wanted to see,

We crossed the big bridge he pointed to
Like civil rights activists of the past
In 1965 Selma, Alabama,
Leading to troubled masses, we act as

Inheritors to what he began,
Avatars of light,
Speakers of truth,
Champions for right,

Voices shout,
Voices teach,
Voices soothe,
Voices reach,

Carriers of fire,
Call for an equal, level plane,
Vocal vessels for justice,
Poets For Change.

For Michael Rothenberg, 1951-2022



My father

always said my head
was full of rocks.
I etched his name
on each one so
he’d always be
on my mind.

—Nolcha Fox


The dog whines

to go out. But open the door,
and she stares at the snowflakes
turning February white.
The dog is a cat, not wanting
to go out or stay in.
Silly dog, run, bark, chase
the wind, and bring home

—Nolcha Fox



—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

A different flavor of sauce
Comes from
Where you are from.
It’s pungent, spicy,
Drips and runs,
Unlike where I am from,
Where bland is much-in-demand—

Where mushy veggies
Are eaten with spoons,
Potatoes are mandatory
And peas come from cans.

You eat them with forks
If they don’t dance away
From your splines,
Rolling around on your plate
As they try to escape
Being devoured.   

You must eat every, little, last one
Of the round, rolling green-things
That taste like paste.
Be quick and have hast—
The sooner they’re down
The sooner you can leave
Your childhood dinner-table
After you’ve said, “Excuse me.”   


—Joe Nolan

Why does the lid
Not fit the cup?

What has brought
This trouble up?

Which reason has
Gone insane?

In the middle,
We argue and quibble,
Against the margins,
Lost against the edge.

We neither launch
Nor hedge,
For fear of
Vain chagrin.



(Vermont, 1950's)
—Joe Nolan

This guy
Is, like, frozen.
Only his lips move.
The rest of his face
Is caught-up
With words
He has chosen. 
He is intent upon his words,
Like he is writing.

He is a poet
Allowing an interview
And the reporter
Wants to know his soul
In the course of an afternoon.
He says what
He has to say,
But not too soon,
Not too fast,
Hoping his meanings will catch,
Be passed on and last,
From a reporter’s notes
For later publication. 

After he’s gone
Others will look on
Try to know and
Try to understand
The meaning of this man,
Recognized as a poet.



—Joe Nolan

Does not disappear,
But when you wake,
You’ll find it’s waned.

Not something
You can hold or take,
Nor conjure up
Or vain, forsake.

Beauty does not disappear.
It makes a smile
From ear to ear—
Something deeply glow.

When it’s gone,
You’ll know. 


Today’s LittleNip:

My rhythm rests

on roads so hard,
they break my bones
each time I fall.

—Nolcha Fox

Good Monday morning, and welcome to newcomer Dee Allen! Dee is an African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California, who has been active in creative writing & Spoken Word since the early 1990s. Author of 7 books:
Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater, Skeletal Black (all from POOR Press), Elohi Unitsi (Conviction 2 Change Publishing), Rusty Gallows: Passages Against Hate (Vagabond Books) and Plans (Nomadic Press)—as well as having 67 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far. He is currently seeking a new publisher to transform his finished manuscript into a finished-and-printed 8th book. Again, welcome to the Kitchen, Dee, and don’t be a stranger!

This week in poetry—weather willing—Sac. Poetry Center features readers from Hart Center Poetry Workshop Members tonight, 7:30pm; Tuesday’s Twin Lotus Thai/Fourth Tuesday Poetry presents The Seven Poets of PCG at 6pm in Sacramento (reservations requested); Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe, also in Sacramento, presents featured readers and open mic, 8pm on Thursday; and, on Saturday, Karla Brundage reads at Silver Tongue Saturdays in Auburn. Click UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS at the top of this column for details about these and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up (or be cancelled!) during the week. By the way, if you have a reading coming up, don’t forget to advertise it in a timely manner, especially if it needs registration…

Good news: Katy Brown, who underwent recent surgery, is now cancer-free. She will not even need follow-up radiation. See a poem by Katy on next Friday’s post.
















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
kathykieth@hotmail.com. 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!















Sunday, February 26, 2023

Sigils of Love

—Illustration by Petrouchka Alexieva
—Poetry by Petrouchka Alexieva, 
Los Angeles, CA
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain

My heart is a burning candle
Lighting the path to the stars.
The flame chase away the shadows
Of darkness that divides us apart.

My heart is a burning candle
With a name engraved. It’s yours.
The runes carved in sigils draw
The diving moon full of love.

My heart is anointed with petals
Of red roses and lavender scent;
My pulse’s rhythm echoes
The song of a midnight harp.


It is Wednesday
I’m in a hurry to be there
In the same intersection
Of “Heart Boulevard” and “Love Street”
At number 13.

The weather is beautiful,
The sunshine may vary,
But my love is always pristine.

I keep my deep little secret
In a heart of a blossom
Where all my beautiful feelings
Are waiting for you.
Isn’t it awesome?


When I saw you
for the first time
On the bus stop.
Silly me, I know.

Breathless every time
You’ve walked towards me
On the street.
Breathless, losing my feet
Losing my mind.
Silly me, I know.

In all these nights
With desire and passion.
I tried to win your heart.
Poor me, I know.

When I cheated on you
Woke up in the morning
Not reckoning the night.
Stupid me, I know.

Now, I am breathless
Seeing you saying “I do”
To someone else,
Somebody new
in your life.
Too late, I know,
But what I can do?

THE MOON AND I (Nestinarka)

At midnight,
Like a huge abalone shell
Right above the lilac trees
The moon stopped up there
On the top of the blossoming hill.

Beneath the silent sapphire sky
She was watching me pouring softly
Her milky shimmering light,
Then she covered my naked body
With a cape of velvety stars.

She washed all my feminine sins
And my secretly shared desires
With a morning-innocent mist...
She was there, my sister in crime
Guiding my Nestinarian trance
Landing softly on my weaken palms.

Yes, we did. We, both at once,
Stopped… the time… chanting your name
On the blossoming hill above,
Crossing steps in an oracle dance—

Only us, the moon and I,
Dancing on the oracle fire of love.


Tango. The music of fire,
of love, lust and desire.

The music that weaves
two bodies in twists and turns;
two bodies step in step
in hot swirling tornado
—face to face,
lips to lips,
hips to hips.

Tango. The music creates
sparkling stars in the eyes;
two galaxies spinning and twirling,
blending in one.

Tango. Two hearts pulsing
in the same flaming beat;
two souls merging in one
in a rhythm of love.


Touch me only with a flower—
Slowly and gently with love.
When I am losing my feminine power;
Show me the path to your heart.

When the sun is glimpsed over my hair
I am still there crying from joy;
Collect my tears in magnolia petal
And drink them all.

Slowly and gently I’ll disappear
in the cool morning mist.
So, touch me only with a flower, My Dear
And… stop the time! Don’t miss!


The cosmos is silent,
The stars shimmer behind
The floating silver clouds.

The autumn stopped
Counting her fallen leaves.
The early winter is coming
Bringing chills in the dark.

The full Frost Moon is busy charging
Precious stones and ancient sigils
That are carved on the face of the earth.

I gather her celestial dust
In my palms and amass
All blessings of this mystical Universe.

I am chanting to all silent nebulae above.
Tonight, I’m a tiny part
Of this cosmic silence of LOVE.


Today’s LittleNip:

Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind; And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind. Nor hath love's mind of any judgment taste; Wings and no eyes figure unheedy haste: And therefore is love said to be a child, Because in choice he is so oft beguil'd.

―William Shakespeare,
A Midsummer Night's Dream


Signing in with us today as we wind up Love Month (February) is Love Poet Petroucha Alexieva, an American transplant in Los Angeles who was born in Bulgaria and whose poetry first appeared in the Kitchen on 10/12/22. Today she has sent us a collection of her poetry called “Sigils of Love”. A sigil is a seal, signet; sign, word, or device held to have occult power in astrology or magic (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sigil).
About Nestinarka, Petroucha writes, “In my Bulgarian traditional culture, Nestinarka is a woman who dances barefoot on fire (on live coals) at night, chanting and saying love spells and singing prayers and blessings under the full moon. In my view, LOVE is really a burning fire that we women walk on in life. I am attaching an image and a link to illustrate: https://bulgaria.theiatours.com/national-practices-festivals/nestinarstvo-fire-dancing/.”

Thanks for your poetry today, Petrouchka! Even when February is over, there can never be too much love in the world…

Today’s reading in Camino for Poetry of the Sierra Foothills has been cancelled due to inclement weather. Click UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS at the top of this column for details about this and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up (or be cancelled!) during the week.
And my apologies for the error in yesterday's posting about the online reading by Molly Fisk and Kim Shuck—I neglected to realize that the time I posted was Central Standard Time, not Pacific. I hope nobody missed the reading because of that.


 Petrouchka Alexieva

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
kathykieth@hotmail.com. 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!





Saturday, February 25, 2023

Never Never Land

—Poetry by Lynn White, 
Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales
—Illustrations Courtesy of Public Domain

My sister has gone to Never Never Land
It’s where all the lost children go,
those who don’t find their way home
and those who fade away and die
like the wild flowers I pick for the house.
My mother says
they stay children for ever
and can play all day long.
My sister was allowed to take her trike with her
even though it was all smashed up.
My mother says
the magic people there will fix it.
It sounds like fun there
but my mother says
she will never let me go,
not even if I find a magic carpet
to carry me up into the sky.
Perhaps she thinks I’m getting too old go there.
She says that the children there will grow wings
and become angels,
I think angels are a bit like fairies,
and when my sister gets her wings
she will fly back home
so we can be together again.
My mother says, no, never,
but I don’t know.

(prev. pub. in Ekphrastic Review, September 2019)



Even as a child she could play
a mean game of dominoes
sometimes it was just against her mother,
sometimes other members of the family as well,
or her friends and their mothers.
Games were always sedate,
well mannered, even tempered
dominoes carefully placed on the table
with a gentle click clack.

She usually won.

Later she discovered that the pub game
was quite different.
Every move was contested.
Dominoes were slammed down noisily
with a bounce
which disturbed
those already placed
and led to heated debate
about where they had been
and where they should be now.
And there was always an audience
which joined in as well
shouting advice
and abuse,
whichever was deemed appropriate.
Excitement mounted as the beer flowed.

And she won again.

(prev. pub. in
Scrittura, October 2020)


They put a fence by the waterfall
all along the high bank near the path.
It was ugly,
an eyesore
but it was supposed to make it safer
stop people climbing up the rocks at its side
and jumping in
though no one could remember an accident.
It didn’t work.
The children went under.
The adults went over.
It was more dangerous
as the approach was much narrower now
and slippery from the increased footfall
on the restricted area.
But at least
there was no accident
it was just ugly
an eyesore
someone took a saw to it
and threw the bits
into the water
to float away
down river.
They built it higher then
a bigger eyesore
and difficult for children
to climb over.
But they still do.
After all, they've been doing it for centuries.
It’s probably in their genes
and no one can remember an accident.

(prev. pub. in Praxis Magazine, December 2018)


Imagine a sitting room peopled with dolls
an attic space filled with toy trains and cars
adult places filled with children’s playthings
passive playthings
out of their time
and moved on
into a time
when even the box
with its wrappings
and writings
fails to excite us
no spark,
no glamour,
only needy memories
in passing
as time

(prev. pub. in
My Woven Poetry, Entrapped, June 2021)


I am a child of the revolution
created by the wake of
fascism and imperialism,
that sought to construct
a more just society.

I am a child numbed by poverty,
stultified by working class conformity,
of a mother who wanted better for me,
but also wanted to keep me the same.

I am a child of these contradictions
who became a rebel
in the cultural revolution
of the rock and roll generation.
Who was liberated by student life,
by control of fertility,
by other places,
by the music and art
all parents hated.

I am still that child.
This is what made me.
This is what shaped me and
became part of my present,
became part of my future.

Sometimes I have tried to escape it.
Sometimes I still do.

(prev. pub. by Ealain, My Heritage, May 2015)


Today’s LittleNip:

Childhood is a short season.

—Helen Hayes


Good day to poets everywhere, and a big thank-you to Lynn White in South Wales for sending us her fine poetry today!

Today from 4-6pm, there will be an Ekphrastic Poetry Reading with Bethanie Humphreys, Heather Judy, Lynn Belzer, Rick Rayburn, Susan Flynn, Kate Ashe and Connie Gutowsky. 1115 E Street, Sacramento, CA. HOWEVER—the weather may have caused either or both of these to be cancelled, so I would call first...

This evening, 6pm, Woolman Sierra Friends Center presents Rooja Mohassessy in Nevada City. Then at 7:30pm, Kim Shuck and Molly Fisk read online—stay cozy in your home and listen to their fine poetry! Click UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS at the top of this column for details about these and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up during the week.


 Peter Pan and Wendy

—Illus. by Robert Ingpen

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
kathykieth@hotmail.com. 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, February 24, 2023

Rampage of the Brown Stallion

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

It’s a raging brown stallion
bucking his way down the canyon
to join more of his kind on their race
from foothills to sea.
For most of the year placid
and parched, this rocky little gully
has come alive, ripping out
our fences with its charge. The fury
of hooves on hardpan! pawing
a path through our compacted
road. The earth opens to receive
such a steed, but he’ll
never stay. And the skies open
again. Coming fast
behind him, the rest of his
wild herd.


Call it a thousand-year fury of water
gouging out earth, plugging culverts hidden
from sight under new lake covering
our driveway eroding under still-raging
seasonal creek—it would take a superhero
battle to drain landlocked water before
that multiplying menace, mosquitos
bearing who knows what—West Nile,
Zika, dengue, malaria; even
altering cells of the immune system.
But here’s our superhero—handyman
with pole, pump, and shovel to clear
our culverts, create escape routes
for trapped water, releasing
our little creek to run free again.


No sound or fury, unobtrusively pushing up through late winter-soft earth, round and white as a flower, a skull. My naturalist app IDs it: Western Destroying Angel (Amanita ocreata). In this landscape of life reviving vivid green, don’t touch that pallid form, but snap a photo and move on. And here, even whiter than mushroom and just as silent, a skull of bone; I suspect ground squirrel, my source of fury—garden disappearing, de-created by rodent teeth, dragged back underground.

white flowers of death—
lush green under leafless oaks—
I wander, naming


My new weed-eater waits
for grass to mow
but it’s a month till spring
when green grows lush
under sun whose fury
is fire’s glow
turning weeds flammable
in northwind’s rush!


inspired by Andrea Lowch’s painting, “Crow’s Song”

She wears a storm cloud in her hair.
And that singing wind, and crows’ wings—
wind rearranging all that’s there

between earth and brain, wind that stings
of pondering what to do—cloud
heavy with rain, with hail that flings

bullets—she stands under that crowd
of crows black as a coming night.
She doesn’t speak her thoughts out loud.

Does she breathe worry or delight?
Or petrichor, a scent of change.
Eyes half-closed, focused on what sight?

Can wind and crows’ wings rearrange
this landscape with their fury-play?
No bump, no hillock on this range.

As background, house and barn that stay
on flat horizon, far away.


Dead branch gnarled and bent for old man
to lean on, greeting hill and fields—
a grassy-green bounty, tiding
in breeze almost spring-high.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Taylor Graham

Parking lot blackbird
casually balanced on
one leg—impressive!


Many thanks to Taylor Graham for her poetry today, painting pictures as she does of life in the foothills. Forms she has used include a Haibun (“Design: Green & White”); a Verso-rhyme (“Fury of Wait”); an Ekphrastic Chanso (“Under Wing & Cloud”); a Ryūka (“Walking for Spring”); and a Senryu (“Avian Yoga”).

El Dorado County poetry doin’s this weekend include the 2023 Poetry Out Loud El Dorado County Finals in Placerville tonight at 7pm. Due to weather concerns, however, it will only take place in a virtual format, not in-person. And on Sunday, the Poetry of the Sierra Foothills’ reading in Camino has been cancelled, also due to “unpredictable weather”. Click UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS at the top of this column for details about these and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up during the week.

For more info about El Dorado County poetry events, go to Western Slope El Dorado poetry on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ElDoradoCountyPoetry/ or see El Dorado County Poet Laureate Lara Gularte’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/382234029968077/. Poetry is Gold in El Dorado County!

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 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 kathykieth@hotmail.com for the benefit of all man/woman/poetkind!
Last Week’s Ekphrastic Photo

Here are responses to last week’s photo from Joe Nolan and Stephen Kingsnorth:

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

I have come to rest
And bark no
Further sermon.

“How did I get here?”
You might ask.

From lack of fear
And also lack of wisdom.

Don’t forget to count
Random rounds of bourbon
On friendly evenings
Spent ashore
Pursuing joyous daydreams.

What have we now?
But stranded boards
On the sand,
Nevermore to sail the waves
From which to wave,

* * *

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Humiliations daily skirt,
lap dancing prance around her girth,
but she is bound, ground force holds down
as waves assault, but she unmoved.
Entrenched, bar stranded, sucking down,
her tidal lifting slow, but fast,
why is she propped there, scene as ghost,
through hulk, such grotesque man o’ war?

Her drink rust red, per oxide air,
just as her hair, bleached, set in flow,
with curlers, wrapping round her prow
but wind in neither sales nor glass.
Her bearing scuttled, limpets, mined
where underneath ramshackle signs
worn, unrequited plimsol line,
her timber, tone. past shivering.

Her spirit guide, head in the stars,
though studied charts, read current blows,
but gutted her, bruised blistered skin,
a wail beached after harpoon bull.
Her bow is low, though deepest, stern
the attitude, outlined drawn ketch;
old refugee, gang master’s dredge
drags her through mud and slime to bed.

* * *

Caschwa’s (Carl Schwartz’s) response is not only Ekphrastic, but, well, it’s some kind of form, too—five syllables/line, all lines end-rhyme with each other:

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

ancient ship aground
no one left around
surf the only sound

not from lost and found
big questions abound
stories that astound

once royalty, crowned
till fighting force downed
and left in a mound

no longer renowned
old clockwork unwound
hopeless howls from hound

* * *

Nolcha Fox came up with two responses:

You didn’t ask

a soul for help to find me.
You thought that you could
get there on your own.
Lost in fog, you ran aground,
forgot me and abandoned
all your dreams to wander
through the world alone.

—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY


—Nolcha Fox

You say that I’m just rusty,
too old to care, neglected,
my clothes all worn and faded.
You say I’m out of practice,
my mind decayed, too sleepy.

Just don’t forget that rust is used
to polish gold and silver.
It takes away your itching.
I’ll take it as a compliment,
Rust is not too shabby.

(“Rusty” is from her new book,
Cow Candy, due out any day from Amazon.)

* * *

Nolcha has been experimenting with repeated lines. This week, she came up with this whatever-it-is form:

—Nolcha Fox  (who-knows-what-form using repeated lines)

They played bridge and smoked cigarettes.
Dead butts kissed beanbag ashtrays.
Peanuts shells rose next to cards.

They smoked cigarettes, piled dead butts in ashtrays.
Peanut shells littered the table
while I was sleepwalking through the hall.

Peanut shells piled higher than cigarette butts
while I was sleepwalking through the house,
dreaming of smoking and flashing lights.

While I was sleepwalking and smoking,
flashing lights and sirens surrounded the house,
as curtains and shells burned from cigarettes.

* * *

And about another Ekphrastic photo of a fat cat, Nolcha says, “This picture on Twitter this [Saturday] morning made me laugh. So, I dubbed it a Caturday Ekphrastic Challenge”:

—Nolcha Fox

A cataclysmic catastrophe
is a cat too fat
to roll off her back.

* * *

And last today, an Ars Poetica poem from Stephen Kingsnorth, this one about poetry styles that come and go:

—Stephen Kingsnorth

Too much spice, or not enough,
cream too rich for your palette,
the pastry rested or gone to sleep,
slumped Victoria or rise,
prefer layered cake or flattened bread,
what ingredients in mix,
which receipt to bake the choice?
How am I to find the lines
knowing this dish cannot be
as your mother used to make—
she would not like this cookbook page.

Crafted, as the watchmaker’s art,
vivid image exciting fresh lines of sight,
terms talked sounding in inner ear,
ambiguities for reader’s search,
economic words, cordial concentrate;
intellect meeting the heart,
avenues of feeling thought,
questions for the wrestling mind
rhythmic with the pulsing vein,
mean levels storied if we dare,
that chosen plate that I prefer.

But time beyond the dial’s care,
eyes hanker for familiar,
as if attendant witch can tell,
lobes open for the placid known,
and I need simple clarity,
described sufficient, cause no strain;
too tired for interrogatives,
or digging through the complex leaves,
bear nothing but insistent pump,
reluctant mind that will not lie,
nouveau cuisine not to my style.


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 kathykieth@hotmail.com. 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 kathykieth@hotmail.com! (No deadline.) Let’s tackle some of the Irish poetry forms that are listed by Robert Lee Brewer in
Writer’s Digest (https://www.writersdigest.com/poetic-asides/irish-poetic-forms):

•••Deibide Baise Fri Toin: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/deibide-baise-fri-toin-poetic-forms


•••Violette: www.poetrymagnumopus.com/topic/1882-syllabic-forms-found-in-pathways-for-the-poet/#veltanelle

•••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 “Etched in Stone”. 

 Today's Ekphrastic Challenge!

What goes on here? Heinous crimes
and blood-curdling murders?
Unspeakable acts against society?
Or just alley cats and passed-out drunks?

 See what you can make of the above
photo, and send your poetic results to

kathykieth@hotmail.com/. (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.