Monday, June 26, 2023


Harbinger of a Crooked Domain
—Poetry by Donald R. Anderson, Claire J. Baker,
Stephen Kingsnorth, Lauren McBride, Caschwa,
Joe Nolan and Nolcha Fox
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy 
of Joe Nolan
—Donald R. Anderson, Stockton, CA

like a brick vintage historical landmark
weighty and cumbersome
I dwell on the inner peace
a bubble of air free of the world
the ocean in my mind
the trees sea sighing in my mind
the far-away cry of electric guitar from
musicians yearning angst driven to the ends of the
world it crashes in
it crashes, toxic,
and you are my perfect sphere,
a Holy place of peace
where your golden arms embrace my eccentricities
and the smooth soft night glides over moon clouds
I wander into i into infinity into humility
and rest near your arms
our bodies too burdened to carry each other too far
but rest is the inertia
we have found the zen paradise of two in love
me and you
husband and wife
in a safe bubble of heaven
together the strength of the form
keeps physical and spiritual
connected closer than air

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA

Relievedly the harsh word toxic
in half pig Latin reads tick-toks.
A candle clips its noxious wick.
How easily the harsh word toxic
sours the air, deflates a brick,
so I would rather write of clocks.
Gratefully the harsh word toxic
in half pig Latin reads tick-toks. 

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Yew bow for bull, each arrow tipped,
more than the pierce, brief quiver, death,
a poison bleeding where the shaft
had sliced through flesh, split muscle spit,
like venom sucked from open wound.

But do you bow, kowtow affect,
when faced, effect, slow seeping show,
first signs of would-be toxic creep,
the mongers, gossip, rumour flow,
insinuating, I’ve been told?

Less obvious, unlabelled waste,
no skull or crossbones on the can,
but who is able to foresee
that green light should be showing red,
plumes belch fumes, razed floe flumes raise seas? 

—Lauren McBride, Texas

no cure known

muscle turns to bone

children freeze to stone

(prev. pub. in 15 Words or Less, 2010)

—Lauren McBride
Please take a minute
to not breathe.
One minute of your day—
sixty seconds.
Now three deep breaths—
inhale, exhale, again and hold . . .
lungs full, diaphragm strong, heartbeat steady.
1, 2, 3 starting off easy
            croup, asthma, cystic fibrosis
4, 5, 6 seconds speeding by
                 COVID-19, pertussis, pneumonia

10, 15 seconds ticking slower
                      tuberculosis, pulmonary edema,

20, 25 straining now
                              COPD, lung cancer,
                              idiopathic pulmonary 

30, 35 heart racing
                  coughing, choking, short of breath,
                  respiratory arrest

40, 50 lungs burning, diaphragm twitching
            inhaler, bottled oxygen, ventilator
60 seconds
Now breathe!
Inhale. Exhale.
Again. Breathe deeply
in and out,    in    and    out
and be grateful
that you can.

(prev. pub. version in
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review, 2018)

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

The medium is the message. The very energy
expended is expected to win the argument.

            —The Medium is the Massage:
                An Inventory of Effects, 1967, by
                Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore

    1) Too Big to Fail, go ahead, pour in the
    2) Stand Your Ground, otherwise known as 
            pull the trigger first, explain later (just like
            big auto does with rolling out new cars and
            then recalling millions that don’t work right)
    3) The South Will Rise Again, many still salute 
        the Confederate flag and will go to any
            extremes to achieve their goals
    4) LGBTQ+, one could simply choose to ignore
            these individuals, like sitting in a coffee
            shop next to someone that flavors their 
            coffee differently than you, but a simple 
            Target display of Pride apparel seems to 
            trigger heated, physical responses
    5) Playground bullies, rules are tossed aside 
        and it is all about do as I say, or else!
    6) Abortion Ban, don’t ever forget that women
        are the tools of men, period.
    7) “A woman’s place is”, with this beginning,
            there is no winning argument
    8) Temper Tantrums, all force, no substance
    9) Military might, leverage at the highest level
    10) Railway crossings, right and wrong are

—Shiva Neupane, Melbourne, Australia
What a cute creature,
skipping with the big strides.
In the majestic biological tunnel
The joey is slouching.
This astounding design
Baffled me artistically.
As I walked past the roads,
Kangaroos were minced by vehicles.
Everyone is rushing for home
But no one is slowing their vehicles.
Save the animals
By slowing your vehicles. 
No, you can’t roller-skate….

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA
Bad for you.
Makes you vomit.
Body rejects assimilation,
Has some phobia
About what it’s ingested.
Won’t be digested.
Must be rejected.
Up and out
The down-tube-spout.
Won’t be allowed
To pass the gate
Into the nether regions.
Ejectus dilectus immediatum!

Can’t we just all get along?
Maybe not.
Some things just don’t mix—
Oil and water.

Some things just make things worse
For one another—
Pouring gasoline on a fire
Or stealing candy
From a baby.

—Joe Nolan

Unforeseen contingencies—
Godzilla is in town.
He’s knocked down
Half of Tokyo
By whipping
His tail around.

It’s an actuarial’s nightmare!
Who could have foreseen
The comeback of Godzilla
And man, he’s really mean!

This time will be
Wore than before—
Worse than you
Can imagine!

He got no limit
To his endless rage
And now he wants to explain it
All over downtown Tokyo.

—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar, W. Bengal, India

The morning June
Everything is White
I smell of fresh Roses.
Jasmine white lotus
That bloom in jannah
Everything pours in
Angelic substances
White sepulchral lights
Divine madness
Angelic frequency
June is my very existence
Green then white
Blue then oblivion
The morning is pure
A white lotus
I smell of fresh Roses.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

Her breath heavy
with gin and the wrong
side of the bed,
she blows cigarette
smoke in my face,
grinds smoldering stub
in my palm.
Want some more?
she whispers,
wilting my ear.

She is not the s’more
of my campfire.


Toxic! Warning: It’s Toxic in the Kitchen today—our Seed of the Week. Some of our contributors have taken shovels to the occasion and provided us with poems on the subject, and we are grateful for that. Them. Those. Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.

Shiva Neupane reminds us that autos can be toxic to kangaroos, so be sure to avoid them if you see one in, oh, say, Carmichael. That includes other creatures, of course. A car is such a lethal (toxic!) weapon.

Caschwa’s poem is based on Marshall McLuhan’s book. And no, the book title is not supposed to be “Message”—a trap I fell into. See

About her work today, newcomer Lauren McBride writes “… the following two poems [were] inspired by the post of Stephen Kingsnorth, 6/7/23 o MK, about Parkinson’s … hoping to add my voice to the awareness/mindfulness of diseases through poetry.” About her first poem, Lauren writes, “Sadly, this is a real disease:” Lauren’s chapbook,
Aliens, Magic, and Monsters, is forthcoming from Hiraeth Publishing (2023). Welcome to the Kitchen, Lauren, and don’t be a stranger!

And, after all that toxicity (including Godzilla!), it’s refreshing to hear Sayani Mukherjee bring in some cool, cleansing white…

Michael Czarnecki reads at Sac. Poetry Center tonight, 7:30pm; Twin Lotus Thai’s Fourth Tuesday Poetry is action-packed on Tuesday at 6pm (reservations advised); and Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe has it goin’ on this Thursday at 8pm, working its way toward its closing in August. (See for info about Luna’s closing). Click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS ( 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.




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