Stephen Kingsnorth, Shiva Neupane, Gabriel Bates,
Sayani Mukherjee, Caschwa, and Joe Nolan
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Joe Nolan
—Michael H. Brownstein, Jefferson City, MO
One day you discover lust is not love,
love is not in love, in love is not IN LOVE.
You filled containers with empty spaces
and danced with women you thought the world
in large ballrooms with no friction,
holding on to an ideal slipping away—
and then one morning too early
you look out your apartment window
and though you know it's not real,
you see a bright marquee across the street
with her name first and then yours,
and above both: IN LOVE.
Yes, you finally discover what you didn't know,
take her out, walk down Michigan Ave.,
a cool breeze from the lake,
the night perfectly beautiful
and when you reach your favorite shop,
pause, look into its grand window display,
drop to one knee to ask the only question
you really ever needed answered.
A crowd gathers, you don't care,
you know this is right and you know she knows it
When she answers, Yes, the crowd bursts into
the women ooh and ahh, the men congratulate you,
but you ignore them, place the ring on her finger
and the two of you embrace in one long thick hug.
Thirty-five years and your soul still writes lines of
when you wake and see her wonderful in sleep,
your inner spirit rejoices; and after a long day of
your intellect says, Relax.
Sit on your old comfortable couch.
When you do, she sits beside you,
her hand in your hand,
her head resting on your left shoulder,
and you, still IN LOVE,
maybe watching television.
—Michael H. Brownstein
You do not know to ask
and you don't
so you never know
what you needed
and no one answers
you ask the wrong question
and they give you the right answer
to the question you didn't need answered
you ask the right question
and they give you the wrong answer
on and on
the baby alligator dead from cold water
the poison ivy reaction from not knowing
the way gold hides in ore that looks like a
on and on
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY
Spit and fists connected us,
we always stood our ground.
We couldn’t stand to stand too close,
but couldn’t stand alone.
Some twenty years went by
to find us bound by vows
and boxing rings.
So tired of the blood and love,
the bruises on our hearts,
I walked away, cut short your calls
with It’s a bad connection.
LINDISFARNE: BESIDE THE PRIORY
—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales
As mouldered soapstone corpses sleep shaped
a waxy moisture varnish glaze
—maybe the damp of cheeky river-bed sadness
or furrowed fearing globule sweat of crime
now long parched, now taut-drawn plucked-like
but hearty murmurs, or wandering-thought-
have seeped the sandy blushing stone, deep-
ingrained and hidden.
like glimpsy cobble edges barely scaping
plastered tar are known,
for dried-up channels course
to be moldavite refreshed, and sin remain.
And in this sacred space I dare
uncover what was left before
though the long watched of the night
saw sheltered view of shaded wight.
To kindle, one must first connect,
ensure a channel for the flame,
slow creeping stealth, hint of blue,
bring bare bone dry to growing glow,
join up so hungry with the fuel,
then stir some dancing follow on.
To match the head with ready fuse—
release masked latent energy—
set curling campfire, round smoke rise,
a circle, converse from the dark.
Some chuckles at marshmallow drop,
first singe, then rescue from ash grey—
note sing to strings, a major key—
slow embers holding heat at length,
paced chat, reflection onwards, night.
It’s link, a ready mouth with food,
to mix provision with the need,
to feed the hungry, know or not,
release the knots that hold us back.
It is a block or space unbridged,
that ends the burn, some hope of spread,
and isolates in island, lone.
—Shiva Neupane, Melbourne, Australia
The political pasquinade
among leaders is a never-ending game.
They do not attach importance to political ethics
but weaponize demagoguery to gain votes.
When the coastal cities are inundated,
their habit of making phrase,
an environmental hoax, is common.
The politicians generally criticize their predecessors
and forget what they got to do under their watch.
The politicians must relinquish their vested interests
and be focused on planetary wellbeing.
I Heard a Rumor Recently
It was about this poet
plagiarizing the work
of some other poet.
What's the point
of doing that,
we all have to deal with
screaming the same crap
into an uncaring void.
—Gabriel Bates, Tiffin, OH
—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India
The auric field
Of my own nemesis
Own your tribe
Nurture the sockets of your heart
As if a newly polished
High school ground
That transports your
Little brittle garden
Into a big pool of
My other half as if it
Gently spoke my rawness
My wet treasured hydrangeas
Into a wooden coffin of
Tumultuous laughing stock
The soft peached rainbow
Bulking around the lawn
The little trinklet of a choir
My sudden bemused allegory
It's fair enough
With my own nemesis.
IS MONEY THE ONLY ANSWER?
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
Way too many innocent people
become the victims of serious crime
and the sum total of their outrage
is yet not enough to be an effective
agent of change
We have an enormous number of
laws on the books intended to defray
the frequency and intensity of criminal
attacks, but whatever the law
enforcement community is doing still
leaves us hurting, bleeding, and losing
our precious lives
Even when attackers are finally
caught and brought to justice, the
trail of injury and destruction tips
he scales of justice in favor of the
criminals, whose rights under our
laws are carefully protected while
they are in custody
Does law enforcement need more
funding, different priorities, new
leadership, enhanced training, or
all of the above, before we can
start to change the outcome?
Maybe big business can help us
set things right, as they are actively
reaping handsome profits by
promoting all kinds of products and
services to provide us at least the
feeling that we are getting a greater
measure of protection and security
—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA
Go to sleep.
Drift into coma
After a millennia or two,
Their written remains
Are hard to decipher.
All the sweet words
Lovers wrote each other
In an ancient tongue
Cannot be found
Amid the grooves, gouges,
Scratches and loopy-loops,
Only the frustrations
UNDERNEATH THE WAVES
I must be
A decent fellow
And keep myself
Beneath bright waves
Of roles and pleasures,
Not let them
Find a knave.
Rising to the surface,
To let them know
A humble man
Who knows his place
Underneath the waves.
THE NEXT STEP
What’s the next step
In a quantum-
Sense of the term?
Will we ever get back
Here from there
Or is elevation
Do we really
Have a choice
About where we
BOOK OF DREAMS
Read me from
A book of dreams
You carry in your pocket.
Reveal to me
The way it seems
When you come here, often.
Suggest to me some
With which to
Paint a pitcher
That we fill with lemonade,
To which we add some honey.
Good morning, and here’s hoping for good connections for you this week! “Connections” is our current Seed of the Week, and some of our contributors jumped in with both feet, hoping to make, well, a connection… Thanks to them, and to others who went in a different direction, too. Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.
The latest issue of Ginosko Literary Journal is available at https://ginoskoliteraryjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/ginosko30.pdf/.
Click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS (http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html) for details about 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. Second Mondays in the NorCal area start with a Poetic License read-around in Placerville on Monday morning, then Sacramento Poetry Center’s monthly Youth Open Mic on Monday night. Women’s Wisdom Art and Crocker Art Museum are collaborating on a free Writing and Watercolor Workshop Tuesday morning, registration required. Kathryn Hohlwein will be offering an online workshop on Tuesday afternoons in October, November and December; registration also required. And Tuesday night is Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center’s Second Tuesday Reading with Brynn Saito and Cristina Sandoval.
Friday night brings Lit Fest 1: Storytelling and Poetry in Winters, then Saturday will be busy with Poetry in Locke, Sac. Poetry Alliance (Gail Entrekin and Stewart Florsheim), and Vibe with the Tribe, a vendor fair in Sacramento with a reading by Debbie Dollas. Then on Sunday, The Poetry Club of Lincoln presents its reading by winners of its 2023 poetry contest. Wow. Nice line-up this week! Be sure to take advantage of all that you can. We’re lucky to have all these offering right in front of our noses.
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