Sunday, June 16, 2024

Long-Distance

 —Poems by Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth,
and Joyce Odam
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain
 
 
WE DON’T KNOW HOW
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

We don’t know how to say
I’m sorry, I forgive you,
it’s all past, I love you still.
Instead, we talk of coverings for floors,
of paint brands, contractors,
electricians, the cost of wood.
We don’t know how to say
the pain’s too deep
to heal enough to see
each other face to face.
Instead, we call each other
once a week, we chat
about the weather
and the price of gas,
how awful travel
is these days.
We’re long-distance
family, we’re just
better off this way.
 
 
 
 

SWAN ABOUT
—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

I am no ornithologist—
but cygnets, muted, feather bed—
wedge like formation set in flight—
would lean me to a mother’s pride.
I’d bank on bevy, water glide,
a slide by water boatmen bugs,
as cob, pen, lake identical—
but is the male so put upon
to serve serene as paddle boat?

Paternity, both rights and rites
are better followed, creature-wide
than in the human family?
How many hoods define their rôle
deserting nest before kids fledge?
I celebrate more, parenthood,
whatever planned or left to chance,
but farther-hood a danger sign:
too soon to settle—swan about.

As mother bears so father waits,
diaper nightly, early hours,
but that, experience of one,
without a universal claim—
responsibility best shared
whatever custom, lore declared.
One big surprise, survival game?
Of six grandkids, just one same name.

Primeval hint, that I should care,
identity of labelled tribe.
Why should I dare, when health is theirs,
that surname should continue line?
I’m not a Smith, Jones, Taylor, Brown,
but Kingsnorth has a rarer spread;
‘the king’s land’ from year 125—
two millennia—keep the thread. 
 
 
 
 

DEARTH
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

Such a
huge space to fill:
my father—my stranger—
time’s distance between us, full of
hate/love.


(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 6/19/12)

_____________________

Today’s LittleNip:

I want to congratulate all the men out there who are working diligently to be good fathers. whether they are stepfathers, or biological fathers. or just spiritual fathers.

—T.D. Jakes

_____________________

—Medusa, with thanks to these three SnakePals for today’s fine poems about the ambivalence of father/child relationships~
 
 
 

 




 
 
 
 
 
 
 











For future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
(http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html)
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
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, June 15, 2024

Gardens For All Seasons

 Moonflower, Datura
—Poetry by Sarah Das Gupta, Cambridge, UK
—Photos Courtesy of Public Domain 


PORTRAITS OF A FATHER

A Man For All Seasons
 

He was unique, his old trousers tied up with
string.
One long thumbnail, grown to untie knots in
binder twine!    
Horse whisperer, sheepdog trainer, pig breeder,
cattleman.
Out in the fields, fence mending, reading the
cloud runes.
Watching leaden skies, prepared for the sullen
face of the winter solstice.
Dark threatening, ironically, Saint Lucy’s Day,
Night’s victory against Light.
Brooding over deep drifts, a mid-winter’s
wilderness.
Yet he was cutting logs for bright kitchen
fires.
Rich blazing flames of orange, red to
challenge the resolute, primeval darkness.
Soaked with rain; hair thatched with snow,
his soul lies beneath the frozen plough
awaiting another Spring.

* * *

The Unquiet Grave

Beneath the green there is no rest
the fields of whispering grass
       he hears no more
Seasons with drifting snow
          or burning sun
Springs of bursting buds or early blooms
               he sees no more
His garden neglected, gone to seed
            his wine undrunk
 
 
 
 Monkshood


ECHOES OF IMMORTALITY

They haunt cafés, parks and fields
Their souls hover in familiar rooms
None to the cold darkness yields
Awaiting lost, the day of doom
               
We see them in familiar faces
We walk behind them up the stairs
They return to much loved places
I know him by what he wears
                 
I see him in that ancient coat
Battered, warm, tied with twine
You know her by words she wrote
That quiet voice for which you pine
                
Immortality is to be reborn
In the hearts of those who mourn
 
 
 
Nightshade


THE WITCH’S GARDEN

The cottage is dark, in shadow,
the brooding forest bleeds into the garden.
Nightshade, the devil’s own flower,
sprawls green tentacles over weeds and
thorns.
The Moonflower, deadly to even a touch,
blooming at night bestows psychic vision.
Silently the witches’ bells toll at midnight.
The scream of the Mandrake is death.
 
Monkshood, a protection against vampires,
you can vanish with the Black Hellebore’s
scent.
The Winter Rose is a cure for insanity,
St John’s Wort for a pain in the neck.
Henbane is the saviour of witches,
with it they fly off into the night.
 
 
 
Black Winter Rose (Hellebore)


THE GARDEN OF THE HESPERIDES
 
The Garden in the farthest West
Between the mountains and the sea
Nymphs of Evening, twilight beauty
Spirits of the red setting sun
You who tend that most sacred tree
            Golden apples
                immortality
 
At the entrance to the Garden
coiled around the sacred tree
Ladon dragon of many heads
Fearsome presence ever watchful
Hera’s wedding gift so rare
            Golden apples
                most fair 
 
These fruits offer life, not dark death
Hercules’ eleventh great task—
to conquer death, man’s enemy
take apples from the tree of life
Gaia’s gift then brought back to rest
             Golden apples
                 of the West

_________________

Today’s LittleNip:

Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them.

—George Eliot

_________________

Newcomer Sarah Das Gupta writes that she is “an 82-year-young writer from Cambridge, UK who also worked in India and Tanzania. I have been writing for a year after an accident limited my mobility. I have been fortunate to have had many poems published in over 15 countries, including US, UK, Ireland, India, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Croatia, among others.” Welcome to the Kitchen, Sarah, and don’t be a stranger!

__________________

—Medusa
 
 
 
 Sarah Das Gupta















 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A reminder that this afternoon is the 
MoSt Summer Poetry Workshop #1
in Modesto; and today is also the
deadline for Swan Scythe Press’s
2024 Chapbook Contest
.
For info about these and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
(http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html)
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
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, June 14, 2024

Unexpected

 —Poetry and Photos by Taylor Graham,
Placerville, CA
—And then scroll down to
Form Fiddlers’ Friday for poetry by
Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth,
Joyce Odam, Joshua C. Frank, 
Caschwa, and Claire J. Baker
 
 
NOT WHAT I EXPECTED

        “Shepherd-mix” Otis’s DNA

While waiting for the test results I fantasized
on forebears (not bears! but maybe wolf?). His feet
so big, chest narrow—unlike my former Shepherds.
He leaps straight up. Ears remind me of a bat. Long
legs of a gazelle—that’s too far-fetched. But he’s 
one far-fetching individual. Now Science gives
me an answer: no chimera, my Otis is
mostly German Shepherd mixed with
Siberian Husky nearly half—he’s a dog!
and hundred-percent Otis needs a tummy-rub.
 
 
 
 

AGAIN, ALWAYS UNEXPECTED

Sudden nudge at my elbow
at the computer.
Growl bark by my ear—
What’s my new dog, Otis, saying?
Maybe he needs to go out.
            Maybe he wants to play tug-o-war.
                Maybe he’s set to roll on his back
            for a good long tummy-rub.
Only Otis knows—
how to really get my attention. 
 
 
 
 

PRAYER FLAGS AT THE FESTIVAL

Wind takes the words from our mouth.
It blows south first, east, then north,
jumbles the fourth—labyrinth
of sounds. “Hyacinth” flits forth.

“Tamarind” took wing and fled.
Gusts shred syllables we pinned
on the tree, each flutter-word
is stirred, flowing free in wind. 
 
 
 



QUESTIONS ON THE TRAIL

Why does the wind blow?
This morning blue cornflowers
are flocking the dead-dry field.


Must the day be hot?
Even the planets chase their
tails around the summer sun.

What birds are singing?
The trees hold hands full of leaves
their roots know all the secrets. 
 
 
 


JUST JUNE

Brittle dead vines coiled around
brittle dead grasses—fuel for the horrors
of fire season upon us.
I spent the dawn weed-whacking
down our frontage hill, nature’s rocky road
from house to 2-lane pavement.
There’s no way to give this slope a good
long soaking until rainy season;
no safe flight home from summer.
There’s just this land. 
 
 
 
 

HOW IT DISAPPEARS

Stranger on a bike warns me: snake on trail ahead. Gather up loops of leash, keep my dog close. Fresh June morning, pavement barely tepid— feel it with my hand. Early for snakes. But there it is. King snake weaving white & umber rings on asphalt, stops mid-slither on the path. Not a muscle quivering long cursive spine. I can’t read it. Snake a low-slung statue. More bikes on the way. Snick a tiny pebble, fillip just a twig....

can you feel the wind
practicing its scales, flicking
its tongue, singing, gone? 
 
 
 
 

Today’s LittleNip:

KING SNAKE SONG
—Taylor Graham

No rattle ripples
morning, its silver rings no
bell. The sun so pale
the ripples pause mid-octave
the pathway only
half-way crossed, the music still
unfinished in song unsung.

____________________

Welcome back to Taylor Graham and Otis on this Flag Day, 2024, and thanks for their fine contributions! Our Seed of the Week was “The Unexpected”, and apparently TG and Otis have run into quite a bit of that lately, both in each other and in the larger world. (Oo!—king snake!)

Forms TG has sent include some Normative Syllabics (“Not What I Expected”); a Casbairdne (“Prayer Flags at the Festival”); a Prime 53 (“Again, Always Unexpected”); a Word-Can Poem (“Just June”); a Choka (“King Snake Song”); a Haibun (“How It Disappears”); and a Katauta (“Questions on the Trail”). The Casbairdne was one of the Triple-F Challenges last week.

In El Dorado County poetry this week, Poetry in Motion meets in Placerville on Monday, 10:30am; Tuesday@2 meets in Placerville on—you guessed it—Tuesday at 2pm; and Poets and Writers Workshop meets in Cameron Park on Thursday at 5:30pm.  For more news about this and other El Dorado County poetry—past (photos!) and future—see Taylor Graham’s Western Slope El Dorado Poetry on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ElDoradoCountyPoetry or see Lara Gularte’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/382234029968077/. (Poetry is Gold in El Dorado County!) And of course you can always click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS (http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html) for details about future poetry events in the NorCal area.

Also of interest to Form Fiddlers might be the free five-week workshop at Sacramento Poetry Center, starting Thursday, June 13 at 6pm, led by Daniel Kemper. It’s called “Meter & Flow”, and is focussed on these elements of poetry. Info: https://www.sacpoetrycenter.org/events/.

And now it’s time for…  


FORM FIDDLERS’ FRIDAY! 
 
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 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
 
 
This week, we received Ekphrastic responses from Nolcha Fox and Stephen Kingsnorth:


ON THE FARM
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

I learned more from summers
with my grandparents on the farm.
Milking cows and pitching hay,
collecting eggs, hanging sheets,
and picking tomatoes off the vine.
The best thing that I ever learned
was saying “Ah, shucks” when we
shucked the peas.

* * *

LAP RUNNERS
—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

There are so many beans about,
broad spectrum comes to mind and lip,
though blackfly too like sip of sap,
discovered when pinch out plant tip.
Grey seeds unpromising in cloak,
pale silver hairs in leather zip,
but my first choice—unless tinned can,
too bland for some in mushy whip.

Then runners, scarlet flower clime,
that father planted, compost trench;
for fingered bundles, cropping well,
set climbing frame, wet welcome drench.
Like stripping cane, sharp knife and aim,
I see him, colander, at bench,
for Sunday lunch, sweet green, seed pink,  
but never learned slice without blench.

For symbiotic nodule fix
legume roots left in soil, the key,
of flavonoids, nitrogen’s source.
Dad did not know the chemistry
but told the stories, garden growth,
as rows in Innes, dreaming free,
held lore degrees in veggie patch,
though butter, doubt cannellini.

Red kidney or our haricot,
he would not know the beans we stew,
hot chili sauce, brew con carne,
the vegan mix known then by few.
They’re worlds apart, that aproned lap,
his harvest, or greengrocer’s view,
and though approve my global hues,
I miss the broad, lap runners too.

* * *

Joyce Odam sent us a titillating Octo:
 
 

 
THE UNSOLVING
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

One cannot help but resonate.
The listening becomes the ear.
The mystery becomes the clue.
And something muffles to conceal

the what is false from what is real.
The mystery becomes the clue.
The listening becomes the ear.
One cannot help but resonate.

* * *

Here are some Rispetto stanzas from Josh Frank. Watch for more of Josh’s poetry in the Kitchen this coming Wednesday:
 
 
 
 
 
 CHELSEA
—Joshua C. Frank

A true story from
I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris

“Behold not everybody's beauty: and tarry not among women.” —Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 42:12

That long-skirt, apple-pie brunette from Kansas
Whose wholesomeness shone bright like Moses’ face…
I could go on with praise for forty stanzas
About her femininity and grace!
My recent romance crashed and hit its end;
I swore that Chelsea’d only be a friend.
When David saw Bathsheba on the roof,
Did he, too, think his plan was Satan-proof?

Soon camp was over, yet I couldn’t bear
To end the friendship, go home, and forget her.
I fell right into Satan’s subtle snare
Proposing that we correspond by letter.
(It’s just as well we didn’t all have email.)
“She’s just a friend who happens to be female!”
I swore to Mom, Dad, Jesus, Gran, and Gramps,
And yet, I spent a fortune buying stamps.

I guess I was a fool to be dismissive;
Though “Best Regards” would more than have sufficed,
We scattered throughout each poetic missive:
“I miss you so,” and, “I love you in Christ!”
My constant visions of her angel face
Were proof that in my heart she stole God’s place.
Like Icarus, I’d flown too near the sun;
I played with passion, and I thought I’d won.
I flew to Kansas, hoping to propose.
Alas, we didn’t have enough in common.
My room’s a mess; her things all stood in rows.
I aim for healthy meals; she lived on ramen!
She’d met a guy at school; they were “platonic.”
It broke my heart.  That love spell was demonic,
Yet somehow, I still think God’s Word contends:
Young men and women can remain just friends.


(First published in
The Society of Classical Poets)

* * *

Caschwa (Carl Schwartz) sent us a first-letter Acrostic poem (with thanks from the Snake Lady):
 
 
 

OUR HANGOUT
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Marvelous
Every
Day
Useful
Shaping
Artistic
Speech
Kathy
Is
The
Chief
High
Editor
Noodle

* * *

Carl also sent a Recipe poem:
 
 
 
 
 
THE BEST POEMS I’VE EVER TOSSED
—Caschwa

started with a medium to large empty
bowl loaded first with an unpretentious
bed of fresh red bell pepper, chopped
into small units, followed with thin
sliced zucchini cautiously cut from a
new purchase, (the old one limp and
drippy dumped into the compost bin)

then some carved carrots with nice
serrated patterns, a generous helping
of pitted black olives, (always somewhat
smaller than what the package says
they are), bring on the tropical fruit
mix (nuts and dried fruit) full of varied
textures

hearty Romaine lettuce is next, pulled
whole off the head and torn into small
segments, reach in with both hands and
toss (actually mix up) the ingredients,
and then (say goodbye to my diet) a
generous amount of bleu cheese dressing,
plus crackers pretending to be croutons

Add a fork, a favorite beverage (mine is
always iced tea) bring to the table by Papa’s
recliner chair, turn on the TV, look for news
or sports, and then dig in

* * *

Carl writes, "Remember the Dechnad Cummaisc”? How could we forget! Those Irish forms are unforgettable…
 
 
 


THEY PLAY US
—Caschwa

we pay to see actors perform
as if they know
just which lines we want to hear
in their big show

and see ourselves being portrayed
on center stage
in finery, past our penny
at any age

the props well guarded at Fort Knox
all locked up well
not in a Hollywood parade’s
unpaid show/tell

* * *

And here is a Katauta chain from Carl:
 
 
 
 

DON’T FOLLOW ME
—Caschwa

went against grain and
wore a 3-cornered hat to
the Four Corners, USA

thought I might just see
some explosive reactions
only my folks were upset

do you think that I
shamed my family’s image?
didn’t make the breaking news

only in my own
mind was it more dramatic
women gasping, men drew guns

birds of prey flew wild
horseback cowboys missed a step
the place was shut down

we’ll never go back
there again in my lifetime
or was I just dreaming this?

* * *
 
In yesterday's Kitchen, Nolcha Fox wrote a Quadrille about being tired of people writing poems with constant complaints—she suggested we all write about bubblegum instead! I quipped that readers would get "extra credit" for such poems, and "double extra credit" for making them Quadrilles, as well. (Who knows what extra credit in the Kitchen means, anyway??) But, bless their hearts, Claire J. Baker and Stephen Kingsnorth both responded with bubblegum poems, and Stephen even tackled a Quadrille, besides! Here is Claire's poem, a Triolet:
 
 

 
BUBBLE GUMMISH
        (100 Years Ago)
—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA

Our blown bubble gum covered our noses,
and smelled like lemon crumble cake.
Again, the way the story goes is:
the bubble we blew had hidden our noses
for sure.  And narry a nip of supposes
was ever left in our wary wake.
The bubbles we blew draped over our noses,
scented like lemon-crumble cake. 

* * *

And here is Stephen's Quadrille, with a sly reference to dear Alice and the lobster quadrille:
 
 


MOCK TURTLE BISQUE
—Stephen Kingsnorth

From country dance to noble France,
those steps swept to olde England, then,
New England, where was called, a square.
With picnic gingham, fiddle, hail,
I saw it, graphic, blue grass mall,
when hoedown man in central place,
his heel toe stuck in bubblegum.
 
* * *
 
This last poem is from Stephen Kingsnorth about his discovery of poetry at a young age—an Ars Poetica of sorts:
 
 
 
 
 
ADDICTION
After “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Coleridge
—Stephen Kingsnorth


For what prey was the Porlock call,
as Stevie Smith, a con recalled,
this Warlock Porson, knock at door?
Was this the muse departed, spin,
or drowsed laudanum, mystified?
Had I magnificence in mind
would I call block, door knock in fact?

That’s how it started, sweet sixteen,
vain coursing through those troubled times,
until I heard, and read, and said.
Pandemic body tinnitus,
the world of visions created,
painted by pen and lexicon,
addiction to the sound of words.

My legend, hinterland was screened
and I was drawn in, scenic route,
familial roots on Exmoor sunk
until I caverned, climbed to light,
a measureless that spanned my life,
this Xanadu beyond my class,
beyond all grasp, vox populi.

___________________

Many thanks to today’s writers for their lively contributions! Wouldn’t you like to join them? 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!

___________________

TRIPLE-F CHALLENGES!

See what you can make of these challenges, and send your results to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. (No deadline.) Let’s go back and do another Irish form. As always with Irish forms, this one’s a doozy:

•••Droigneach Poem: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/droigneach-poetic-forms
 
•••AND/OR: Join Joyce Odam in constructing an Octo (see above):
 
•••AND/OR: Along with Caschwa (see above), let’s revisit the Recipe Poem:

•••Recipe Poem: medium.com/@apm_poetry/poems-of-the-week-014-write-your-poem-in-the-form-of-a-recipe-6083fdef1289 AND/OR poetryteatime.com/blog/poetry-prompt-recipe-poem

•••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 “Fathering”.

____________________

MEDUSA’S FORM FINDER: Links to poetry terms mentioned today:

•••Acrostic Poem types: https://studybay.com/blog/how-to-write-an-acrostic-poem
•••Ars Poetica: www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/glossary-terms/ars-poetica
•••Casbairdne: https://www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/casbairdne-poetic-forms
•••Choka: poetscollective.org/poetryforms/choka
•••Ekphrastic Poem: notesofoak.com/discover-literature/ekphrastic-poetry 
•••Haibun: www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/haibun-poems-poetic-form
•••Katauta: www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/katauta-poetic-form
•••Normative Syllabics: hellopoetry.com/collection/108/normative-syllabic-free-verse AND/OR lewisturco.typepad.com/poetics/normative-syllabic-verse
•••Octo: poetscollective.org/poetryforms/octo
•••Prime 53: https://www.press53.com/prime-53-poem-summer-challenge
•••Recipe Poem: medium.com/@apm_poetry/poems-of-the-week-014-write-your-poem-in-the-form-of-a-recipe-6083fdef1289 AND/OR poetryteatime.com/blog/poetry-prompt-recipe-poem
•••Rispetto: www.writersdigest.com/write-better-poetry/poetic-forms-rispetto
•••Word-Can Poem: putting random words on slips of paper into a can, then drawing out a few and making a poem out of them

___________________

—Medusa
 
 
 
 Today's Ekphrastic Challenge!
 
 Make what you can of today's
picture, and send your poetic results to
kathykieth@hotmail.com/. (No deadline.)

* * *

—Public Domain Photo




















 


For info about
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
(http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html)
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
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!
 

 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Finding My Way Home

 —Poetry by Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Nolcha Fox
 
 
FINDING MY WAY HOME

When the City tears down
my parents’ home
to build a parking lot
for the library,
even though nobody
lived in the house
the last ten years,
I don’t know how
to find my way
back home.

When everybody
in town knows where
I live, and they call
it the Marley house,
even though the Marleys
moved to Denver eight
years ago, how long
do I have to walk
through this door before
I find my way home?
 
 
 

 
FIRE

From here to there,
brick by brick,
word by word,
I’ve built a life
to call my own.
I don’t need
this anymore.
This structure
blocks the view.
I need the birds,
the clouds, the wind.
I need to breathe.
I need to burn it down.
 
 
 
 

I WONDER

The clouds and the sky play peek-a-boo,
the wind uncertain whether to bring
storm or flower-light,
as I am uncertain whether to stay
or follow the tug on my suspenders.
I don’t know how to know.
What will I miss in the here
or the there, the birds refuse
to reveal the truth
of my flight line.
The clouds refuse to stay.
I wonder. Should I follow.
 
 
 
 

(One day recently, all the poems coming into my inbox were whining about something, so I wrote this Quadrille.)


NO MORE WHINING, PLEASE

Please, no more poems about racism, terrorism, bombings, shootings, discrimination, homelessness, euthanasia, political incorrectness, moral degradation, global warming, poverty, malnutrition, obesity, crime, the unfairness of life in general, why we hate our in-laws/exes/children/therapists/jobs… Let’s write a poem about bubble gum.
 
 
 

 
INTERNATIONAL DELIGHTS

Be careful when you touch that jar.
It’s my grandma’s borscht.
The recipe’s been lost to time.
It’s the last jar of its kind.

Over there are cans of kippers
stacked in rows upon the shelf.
Some friends wrinkle noses,
think that kipper’s icky,
but in this house it’s dessert.

I’m dismayed when lox is absent.
Delis don’t exist in our town,
Without bagels, lox is now
a finger food.

You might find some summer sausage
hiding in the pantry or the fridge.
Our Basque friends sometimes pop over,
I know we must be prepared.

Ours is not a house of hot dogs,
Cheese is not American.
You might find some real surprises
in our pantry or our fridge.
 
 
 

 
SPAM IN A CAN

I saw Spam at the market. Spam in a can. I hear it’s tasty. I hear it’s in Hawaii. A vacay to Hawaii for Spam in a can? Sounds like an expensive can. I can find Spam in a can at home. It’s an email folder on my computer. My computer is a can. I find your email there. I won’t know if it’s tasty until I open it. Spam in a can. Yum.
 
 
 
 

MY DOG

is a deaf bag of brittle loose bones. She collapses when the wind blows. Her bark shakes the ceiling, scolding me because I am not in bed to cradle her between my legs. She is so loud, my brain turns to jelly. She could die any day now, and I know I will miss her when she is gone.
 
 
 
 

LISTEN

Music is the swaying
of the topmost branches
of the aspen as the budding
leaves learn how to
glisten, quake, and shimmer
in another springtime in Wyoming.
 
 
 
 

MIDNIGHT

whispers in my ears
time to rise, to take off
nightgown, feel the wet
against bare skin,
don’t worry, neighbors
are asleep, they won’t
know you like to dance
a rain dance in the nude.
They’re prudes.
 
 
 


SEASONS AND ME

I was a child of the springtime once.
Crayons in my chubby hands,
I tried to color roses
I saw dancing in the wind.

I was a summer woman once.
I recall the orange-laden orchards.
I remember moonlit walks,
life’s promises within my reach.

I am in the autumn of my life.
Some might say I am
a crone in training,
leaning on my laughing stick.

Winter stares me in the face.
Time when strength
will leave me, death
will dance me out the door.

_______________________

Today's LittleNip:

NATURE’S EMBRACE
—Nolcha Fox

Nature embraces my face.
Now I’m sniffling
and sneezing
and wheezing.
It’s springtime.
Or maybe
it’s flu.

_______________________

—Medusa, with thanks to Nolcha Fox for today’s fine poetry and pix! Readers get extra credit for writing about bubblegum, and double extra credit for making it a Quadrille (44 words. not counting the title; includes one word the host provides to you—in this case, "bubblegum"). Send results to kathykieth@hotmail.com/. No deadline.
 
 
 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Medusa
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 














A reminder that
Sacramento Poetry Center’s
five-session workshop,
 “Meter & Flow”,
starts tonight at 6pm.
For info about this and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
(http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html)
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
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!
 
Another Spirngtime in Wyoming
















 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

There Is Hope

 
 —Poetry by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal,
West Covina, CA
—Photos and Original Artwork
by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
 
 
DAY OFF

I sit in the quiet room
rejoicing earnestly.
The sun remains outside.
It dares me to come out.
My nose remains in a book.
I live in make-believe.
I listen to the silence.
I hush the bird that sings
that prefers the blue skies.
Outside the sun glistens.
I worry about the rent
and living in the wild.
I go back to work tomorrow.
Today I feed the soul.
The freshness of rest works.
I drink in moderation.
The body needs a day off.
The future is uncertain.
 
 
 
 

STANDING OUTSIDE

Standing outside,
the only thing
I wished for was
you at my side.

The two of us
together, a
perfect pairing,
or so I thought.

I smiled knowing
I was alone.
Thoughts are just thoughts.
Dreams are just dreams.

Standing outside,
the clouds gathered.
Soon rain would fall.
I would get wet.
 
 
 
 

SPIDERS AND FLOWERS

I have killed spiders
and stepped on flowers
in moments where I was
not thinking but reacting.
I apologize to them
for not thinking of
alternatives to violence
and aggression.
I feared the spiders
each time I took their lives.
I could have taken them
out to the yard in a cup
or a piece of paper.
The flowers I stepped on
where in my way when
I climbed a wall or climbed
in through a window or
climbed outside a window
because I had to find an
alternate way out of a place.
Spiders and flowers, I offer
my sincere apologies. I will
do my best not to kill you
or trample you again.
 
 
 
 

WHEN THE DAY IS DONE

Look at those grapes

by the side of
the road under
the coolness of
air. What do they
know of the grape
picker? Powerless,
the day worker
can take no more.
He is through,
does not come back.
When the day is
done, away he
goes. What can I
say?  Do not go?
The grape picker
leaves the field
and goes back home.
His callused hand
clutching his heart.
 
 
 
 

GROCERY BAG
 
Do not throw that grocery bag away.
You never know when you will need it.
Keep it in your car for that time you
might get sick and need to vomit.
Keep it in your house in case you are
out of trash bags. They are useful
until you go out and buy more trash
bags. They are useful when your fridge
breaks down and for moving items to
the mini-fridge that will spoil for sure.
Buy scotch, that will not go bad.
Get snacks that do not need freezing.
You can carry the scotch and snacks
in a grocery bag. It is useful,
but may destroy the planet eventually.
 
 
 
 

THERE IS HOPE

There is hope
in the world.
I have seen
it with tired
eyes. I see
it all the
time I get
out of bed
to go to
work. I could
have stayed in
bed with no
hope at all.
But I am
here, cancer
free, with a
second chance
at life. Is not
that hope now?

____________________

Today’s LittleNip:


LAST NIGHT
—Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

Last night
through onion clouds
a half-moon

staring back at me
then disappearing.

_____________________

—Medusa, with thanks to Luis Berriozábal for today’s fine poetry and visuals!
 
 
 
—Photo by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
 




















For future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS
(http://medusaskitchen.blogspot.com/p/wtf.html)
in the links at the top of this page—
and keep an eye on this link and on
the daily Kitchen for happenings
that might pop up
—or get changed!—
 during the week.

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.

Find previous four-or-so posts by scrolling down
under today; or there's an "Older Posts" button
at the bottom of this column; or find previous poets
by typing the name of the poet or poem
 into the little beige box at the top
left-hand side of today’s post; or go to
Medusa’s Rapsheet at the bottom of
the blue column at the right
 to find the date you want.

Would you like to be a SnakePal?
Guidelines are at the top of this page
at the Placating the Gorgon link;
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!
 
Ninja Wizard Snake