Monday, October 23, 2023

My Shadow Self

—Poetry by Claire J. Baker, Nolcha Fox,
Stephen Kingsnorth, Sayani Mukherjee,
Caschwa, Michael Ceraolo, and Joe Nolan
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Joe Nolan


Jagged molten silver
lavishly-branched trees
delta waterways @10,000 ft.
electrifying as silhouetted
against an indigo night sky.

Not even daVinci
could duplicate such lively
lines: charismatic as a smile
from the Goddess.
And frightening as a dagger
held to one’s throat.

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

I wonder if the trees might fear
the fall of falling leaves
as much as I fear falling
when wind blows fall
into white chill and ice
is on the sidewalk.

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

What write have I for unknown fear,
moan groaning, when no price has passed?
If earthed in news, slow dying world,
if overdrawn, allotted span,
escapee from my elders’ years,
so far removed from refugees,
how dare I air my little plaint,
compare my lot to terrified,
when nightmares even leave no scent?

Fear only, yet unrealised
that I, demented, lose myself,
and though I’ll know not who or what,
the when or why, the where I’m at,
a shadow maybe crossing path;
forbearance, others, too high cost,
as quality not quant be wont,
and I prefer the wight to shade,
a ghost than that, my shadow self. 

—Michael Ceraolo, S. Euclid, OH

Dramatic monologues spoken by President James Garfield and Charles Guiteau, the man who shot him; eighty days is the period from the day Garfield was shot until the day he died.

     September 3, 1881


My repeated requests to get away
are again denied, at least partially;
the doctors decided against a trip by sea
I will now push for a trip by land


I expect to remain here for awhile,
"probably not be tried for a year
Not until the excitement all dies out"

* * *

        September 4, 1881


"I think there is danger
that I [am] getting too spiritless"


                         I feel
"a terrible spiritual suction"
but I am sure it will pass quickly

* * *

       September 6, 1881


The doctors continued stalling,
but I said
                "No, no
I don't want any more delay"
and they grudgingly consented

We then took a seven-hour train trip
to Francklyn Cottage in Elberon, New Jersey,
for the much-needed,
(at least by me) change of scenery


"If I should decide to enter a plea
of assault with attempt to kill,
would the government meet me by giving me
two years—
the lowest time the law allows?
I hardly know whether I would do it,
as I expect to be acquitted,
whatever the charge"

—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India

May has it all
A little daisy on my cabin
I picked roses for her delicate rhythm
A river flows through.

My hand-pressed flowers
A little love
Lingers like my new perfume
A brocade of memories
That dances through all.

November is coming
The dim sparing thought
My faultlines are colourless
Dimly lit as my fairyscape.

I had it all
A fresh peony bouquet
Rememberings of things
Past present future
That Unfolds

My May still hold onto
My bouquet of roses
I pine for. 
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

they were just little
itsy bitsy kids and
all of a sudden they
had to face a giant,
swirling, seawall of
grammar, discipline,
and respect

some learned to dive
under the bigger waves
and come up unhurt;
others ended up in the
role of patients who must
visit a doctor to have a
malignant growth removed

—Joe Nolan

We woke up today
On the wrong side of genocide.

The hospital next door
Went up in a puff of smoke
After we heard a loud BANG!
The people who did it
Said someone else did.
Add lies to their
Murderous crimes.

We woke up today
On the wrong side of genocide.
The killing will continue
Until morale improves.

My neighbors and I
Have no running water,
No electricity and
No heat.
Our landlord
Doesn’t want us, here.
Soon, we’ll have
Nothing to eat.
It’s turned into
A nasty neighborhood.
Our landlord wants us to leave,
But no one has opened his door
To let us in--
To let us out.

They’re planning
Some sort of slaughter
They call ethnic-cleaning,
These days.
They hit us with white phosphorous
That burns us down to the bone.
We’re on the wrong side of genocide.
It feels like we’re all alone. 

—Joe Nolan

The universe
As just shrapnel
Exploded in
The Big Bang—
Little bits of singularity
Flying off,
Away from the BOOM!

Surely, male scientists
Must have come up
With this idea—
The universe’s creation
As a cosmic ejaculation.

What would women think?
The universe as a great incubator—
Eternally nurturing,
The presence of a Loving God,
Sending a Savior
To rescue the race
That had Fallen down—
Become lost in space?

Or maybe the Universe,
Is just emptiness,
A giant, eternal void,
Watching ephemera
Drifting by
In space-time?

Or maybe
The Universe
Is all of these?
If so,
Get down on your knees
And prepare for Kingdom-Come.

—Joe Nolan

The slow
Of a slow
Explosion of nukes
That lacked the oomph
To get off
All at once
And spewed out their radiation
When little, teleported bombs
Went off in their silos,
Creating little Chernobyls,
Little Fukushimas,
Instead of going “POOF!”
And blowing off the roof
After a drowning tsunami,
They just bubbled and bubbled
Like Alka-Seltzer,
Underneath the ground,
Until they were all used up.

—Joe Nolan
The light
Got brighter
Until it turned into
The sky.

The sky
Grew wider,
Wider and wider,
Grew wings
And learned to fly.

Happiness roosts
On a frail, shaky perch,
Won’t fall
Because it can fly.
Sometimes it must.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joe Nolan

A daily epiphany
From innate desire
Was why he arose.

He searched—
Checked outside
To see if it had arrived.

Went back inside.
Put on the coffee.
Turned on the TV.
Checked the news—
No towers impacted today.

It might just be an ordinary day
Without any daily epiphany,
But that doesn’t mean
He can’t turn on the light.


Thanks to today’s contributors as they fool around with, among other things, fear—our Seed of the Week. Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.

This week is, as always, rip-roaring in NorCal poetry, including the gala on Thursday for Sacramento Poetry Day. Sacramento Poet Laureate Andru Defeye writes that the celebration has been sold out, but even if you don’t have reservations, I suppose you can try (

Anyway, happy Poetry Day, Sacramento! Go to for Patrick Grizzell's explanation about the origins of Sacramento Poetry Day.




A reminder that
Charlotte Hill O’Neal and Coon the Poet
will read at Sacramento Poetry Center
tonight, 7:30pm.
For info about this and other
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LittleSnake’s Glimmer of Hope
(A cookie from the Kitchen for today):

shopping with
a toddler
(bright orange
halloween shirt)—
chaos on
two legs~