Monday, October 30, 2023

Goosebumps and The Greenman

—Poetry by Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth,
Rus Khomutoff, Shiva Neupane, Sayani Muhkerjee,
Caschwa, and Joe Nolan
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joe Nolan
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

Death gathers darkness as a robe.
He tiptoes out of shadows.
With a sigh, he sits himself
at my red breakfast table.
You’re late again. I shake my head.
He nods most sheepishly.
I pour some dark roast in his cup.
He grins and drinks it up.

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

I saw that can and thought the worst—
corrupt uncovered, muck revealed,
but then, next day, as gloom descends,
‘out of the darkness’ looms—as Seed,
less of the Week as the whole year.

For now, as Fall, the leaves descend—
untidy mat, for brooms assumed,
smoke, bonfires leaving warmer globe,
a heady potion brewing there—
but worms in clay, leafmould so mold.

As English spells tell witch the word,
those nutrients promote rebirth,
so out of darkness spring is spawned—
the Greenman works his wonder-world,
and all from nature’s waste resolved.

Our harvest is not grain alone,
but later gifts of stubble blades,
that auxin, cutting petioles,
leech nitrate nodules out from roots,
in symbiotic party time.

A host recycled from the old,
just as our host, that Greenman told,
the feast passed over, death to life;
post-prandial, soiled starter served
in snowdrop, jasmine, crocus corm. 
 —Rus Khomutoff, New York

—Shiva Neupane, Melbourne, Australia

When we call someone
A madman
Are we not failing to understand?
Our perceptive erosion of mind
Is what causing the derailment of
Our epistemic alignment to truth. 

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Once singled out to speak on a
subject, I composed my thoughts
and began speaking. So far, so
good. Then, out of the darkness,
some restless figure in the audience
stood up to interpose their own
thoughts, as if they were the one
singled out to speak.

I wanted so much to strangle them
by the neck like a police officer using
excessive force, and issue this
response via bullhorn:

“I am not your keyboard, where you
can casually at any time make edits
that would, in your opinion, improve
the presentation. So sit your ass
down and keep your big mouth shut!”

But the audience didn’t come to hear
that kind of talk, so I watered it down
a bit to the point where I merely said:

“Thank you. I’ll proceed when the
rude interruptions cease.” 


barefoot and pregnant
had worked pretty well
so they devised a plan
to expand that to include

frightened and wounded,
aimed to refine their skills
of keeping control over all
the people, no matter what
the Constitution specifies

just let those guns run amok
and leave people seriously
or mortally wounded, and
control is in our pocket!

—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India

A little forever is nothing
Munching my own little
My infinity knows no
Wealth is receptive
If you keep looking for
You get hit with a new venture
Of polished newly molten
The city I wear
With my confident casino
My new era is nothing new
My own sorrows
Of newly built castles
I breathe thee.

—Sayani Mukherjee

Silence is growing
Still landscapes
I'm still sharpening
My red knife of grimace
My bird flight
Across southern most
I'm learning how
When what is
My silence is growing
Amidst moisture and pain
With my marked
Still landscapes
Evaporating its promised gleam
The Sun finally shows
Its name today
Is Silence. 

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

In the new world order
Everyone deserves a
Decent little condo
Of at least a hundred square-feet,
Replete with all the amenities
And a door mat to wipe your feet
Before you go in
And put on your slippers
So you won’t track dirt around
And a broom instead of a vacuum
Since it makes a horrible sound
And uses too much electricity
For which we burn fossil fuels,
For, Oh!, what a mess we’ve made—
We humans, we people, we fools. 

—Joe Nolan

Polarized speech
Runs cold and deep,
While covetous hearts
Desire what others keep.
Thus, there is no peace.

Demonize and other-ize
The others.
Keep unto your own,
But try to keep control
Of everyone around you,
Since you never know
Who your enemies are,
Until a cobra strikes,
Quickly, without remorse—
Just what you’d expect
From a cobra,
Of course,
Or even from a scorpion,
If you roll over on top of one
When you are fast asleep.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Nolcha Fox

We catch her on camera. Two days before first
snow, she runs down Main Street, shaking trees.
She steals the red and yellow, leaves a trail of gold.
Frost follows in her footsteps. Goosebumps ruffle
icy feathers, honk at last full moon of fall.


Thanks to today’s contributors, who have written on a variety of subjects—many of which have to do with our recent Seeds of the Week, such as Fear and Out of the Darkness. And Stephen Kingsnorth was “haunted” by last week’s photo of the Can of Worms, so he wrote an Ekphrastic poem about it that turned out to be, well, darned positive (watch for a feature by Stephen this coming Thursday, and check out yesterday's halloweenie feature by Nolcha Fox). All of these hauntings are seasonal, of course, for autumn and Halloween and politics and other types of gathering gloom. Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week; hope will soon return!

Newcomer Rus Khomutoff writes that he is an experimental poet from New York who has published four chapbooks since 2015. His writing has appeared in
Triplov, Bold Monkey, Ink Pantry & Egophobia. His personal blog is Welcome to the Kitchen, Rus, and don’t be a stranger!

NorCal poetry for this week begins with Sacramento Poetry Center’s Julia Vinograd tribute tonight, featuring Filmmaker Ken Paul Rosenthal with excerpts from his in-progress feature documentary film about Berkeley’s legendary street poet. For info about this and other upcoming poetry happenings in Northern California and otherwheres, click on UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS ( in the links at the top of this page.
And be careful—it's a jungle out there!




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