Monday, January 01, 2024

A Sweet Tooth For All Seasons

 —Public Domain Sketch Courtesy
of Joe Nolan
—Poetry by Nolcha Fox,
Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo,
Stephen Kingsnorth, Sayani Mukherjee,
Caschwa, Joe Nolan, Michael H. Brownstein,
and Joyce Odam
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Joe Nolan
—Original Photos by 
Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo 

—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

He was the invisible kind, a book gathering dust on a library shelf. Dogs didn’t bark at him when he walked by. His mailbox was always empty. He was only a shadow on the park bench. Nobody cared when he was alone or hungry or thirsty.

But he didn’t mind. He lived what everybody around him missed as they rushed to buy last-minute presents, or hurried to families and parties.

He could taste the sun. He could smell the wind whipping confetti leaves across the sidewalk. He could hear the moon whispering to the lake. He was the fresh eyes, the open heart, that drank in this amazing, beautiful world that everybody forgot to enjoy.
—Photo by Dennis Aguinaldo

—Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo, Philippines

many wheels
the path

* * *

hang the new calendar
on the wall
in silence
 —Photo by Dennis Aguinaldo

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

The toddler oversaw the page,
the gallery of former months
and told me what he saw within—
oh, for the fresh eyes of a child.

The wig of duck was coloured hay,
with highlights of the sunlight’s rays,
he simplified, it’s yellow, white,
just like my hair and yours combined.

The bird house with its cage of wires
he saw as shower, the water’s fall.
and playground markings, broken lines,
he saw a roadhouse, coalesced.

I said the dancers, leaping high,
were treading water, or a road,
you could not tell for surface shine,
but he made clear, was sheeted ice.

Beyond the words that three can take,
that ancient photographic plate,
the tribal face, with optic pads,
she’s wearing glasses, simply said.

And then the montage, texture lay,
with puddles, bricks in many planes,
he saw a sky shine in the frame,
declared a roof with hole in it.

So when the image first confronts
before I set my mind to search,
I’ll seek the eyesight, one whose small,
and hear the first take of a child.
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan

—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar, 
W. Bengal, India

I remember the brightest star
Seeking a symphony of
Cacophonous smiles
A birdwatcher’s view
Melting into red blue
A sweet tooth for all seasons
I pine for the sweet magnolias
The cricket’s happening stance
Of welcoming smiles
Magnitude of oceans
Rising into my palms
The oak trees follow their path
A napping squeeze
Of rosemary and thyme
I remember that oceanic haze
A bright blue morning
Of heaven-seeking
Wrapped around my children's
Little fingers 
 —Public Domain Visual Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

New Year’s days
come and go
come and go

TV commercials
don’t come and go
they avalanche
into every corner
of our homes

so my New Year’s
Resolution is going
to be to set up an
system like the one
I had in the 1970s

and then when those
boulders of TV ads
start to rumble through
my private abode
I’ll put the TV on mute
and play some of my
favorite recordings

and the beautiful
sounds will go into
both of my eagerly
awaiting ears, and
every corner of my
home sweet home 
 Hissed-Off Cat
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan


coming soon to a
battlefield near you
war is Hell, like
dinner with no
dessert, date with
no kiss, job with no
future, joke with no
punchline, poem
with no compassion
equation with no

knock, knock, who’s
there? the Devil selling
used souls at a great
discount, along with all
your extended family,
over extended credit,
palm extended for
money you don’t have
by some stranger you
don’t know

now you’re sorry you
answered the door
a piece of wood that
begs an hour of your
time without having an
appointment, if anyone
saw you answering a
door they’d put you in
a mental institution
who the Hell talks to
inanimate objects?
you don’t have to
answer the door! 
 —Public Illustration Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan


A few decades ago in America
if a girl or a woman was raped by
a man and she tried step forward to
register a complaint, she was told:

         1) We don’t believe you
         2) It is the woman’s role to
             remain silent, while men in
             authority talk it over and decide
             what to do
         3) If you possess and wish to use
             self-defense skills, you must
             first get permission from the
             men in authority

Well this model of misbehavior
must have looked very, very
appealing to Hamas and the
Palestine Authority, so when
little bitty Israel tried to complain
that their people had been raped
and murdered, they were told:

          1) That is not what happened
          2) It is your role to remain
              silent while the Palestine
              Authority talks it over and
              decides what to do
          3) If you possess and wish to use
              self-defense skills, you must
              first get permission from the
              Palestine Authority

And so there we are 
 —Public Domain Visual Courtesy of Joe Nolan


Back in biblical times many different
parts of the Bible stated “Rejoice, the
lord is King” Psalm 10:16 elaborated
“The Lord is King for ever and ever,
the nations will perish from his land.”

Then the New World was discovered
and colonized, and a new government
based on consent of the people was
created, replacing the divine province
of kings with a government that forbid
titles of nobility.

The Constitution’s First Amendment
specifies that “Congress shall make no
law respecting an establishment of
religion, or prohibiting the free exercise

After that there is no text referring to a
separation of Church and State, until
Thomas Jefferson’s 1802 interpretation
of the First Amendment: “I contemplate
with sovereign reverence that act of the
whole American people that their legisla-
ture should make no law respecting an
establishment of religion, or prohibiting
the free exercise thereof,’ thus building
a wall of separation between Church
and State.”

Now here we are a couple hundred years
later and there are people trying to use
those old biblical excerpts to rejuice the
interpretation of the Constitution to once
again allow for some divinely appointed,
omnipotent, king to be completely in charge
of everything. HOGWASH!
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan


we were living in our first house
barely as big as a small mobile
home, when we found and adopted
Bo, a Cockapoo-terrier; elsewise,
Bo would have been sent off to a
shelter to die

Bo loved us truly and became a
part of the family, a very exclusive
family, as Bo would bark loudly and
make such a fuss if some stranger
had the audacity to step up to our
front door

even though I had put up a durable
security screen, Bo took the liberty
of addressing the issue as if there
was only empty space between his
dear family and the stranger, who
usually took a few steps backwards
when Bo made his ravage approach

there was a mail slot in the wall
beside the front door, and any
delivery of any size was counted
as a major intrusion, cue the loud

after many years Bo developed
some incurable malady, and was
put to sleep; his ashes rest in an
urn in our newer, larger house, and
though the mail now comes via a
slot in our attached-garage door, it
is as if I can still hear Bo barking
loudly when it arrives…
 —Public Domain Visual Courtesy
of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

In the race to get ahead,
We’ve zoomed past
The left-behind.

Who are they, anyway?
We see them standing in line,
Down at the food-bank,
Come rain or shine.

They stand there because they need to.
It’s not what they would choose.
The food-bank line
Is where you stand
When you lose.

It’s not that they’re all losers.
Some were doing fine,
But there comes a time
When the music stops
And they pull away the chairs.
So, they’re left there, standing,
While everybody stares.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan

It only takes a heart to shine—
A star within a soul.
It only takes your love to smile.
Joy has made us whole.

If only for a moment,
Before we drift away,
Back into our separate orbits,
At least we had one day.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan

Many forms of virtue,
Many colors, sky.
Many ways of beauty—
Styles of ribbon, tie,
Like silk that is
So slippery
It makes your fingers slide.

Many colors, feathers.
Many hopes that fly,
Waiting for a new day
When it’s time to try
To make your life-dreams real
Instead of just getting by.
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy
of Joe Nolan
—Michael H. Brownstein, Jefferson City, MO
The cracks in the asphalt grow stronger—
Degradation is a powerful tool for injustice:
The breaks thread outwards as if they are 
spider webs—
Degradation is a powerful tool of the rich:
And then lines begin forging new bonds, 
steel strengths—
And degradation becomes a tool for us, 
unity and courage.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento, CA

The year—deciduous at last—its days
all counted down, its worries and its woe,
its seasons done, the testing of its ways—
     and one more January looms.
Our favorite holiday, we laugh, and go

toward it with the energy it brings—
our yearly resolutions strong again
until they end up with the other things
     that fit our mental storage rooms—
the ones we try to clean out now and then.

(prev. pub. in Medusa’s Kitchen, 1/1/12)


Happy New Year and many thanks to today’s contributors as they use our Seed of the Week, Fresh Eyes, to look at the new year ahead. Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.

Next Wednesday’s post will bring more from Kitchen Newcomer Dennis Aguinaldo, all the way from the Philippines—check it out! He joins a cavalcade of Medusa familiars, all of whom are regular contributors to our long-running daily poetry journal. You, too, could become a Medusa Familiar—see for details.

Been featured here before? Send another batch, fer cryminentlies! Just because you’ve visited us once upon a time, does’t mean you’re not welcome again. Once a SnakePal, always a SnakePal!

Sacramento Pal Carl Bernard Schwartz (Caschwa) has a poem in the new issue of
Sisyphus (“The Democracy Issue”) at And the Winter Solstice 2023-2024 issue of CANARY, edited by Sisyphus Editor Charles Entrekin’s wife, Gail Entrekin, is available at Two fine litmags by NorCalians who used to live in Nevada City, and now live in the Bay Area.

There will be no reading at the Sacramento Poetry Center tonight, due to the holiday, but the new year is revving up with lots of fine NorCal poetry events. For one thing, Poetry Unplugged returns to Sacramento this Thursday, to the Silver Lining Cocktail Bar (formerly Luna’s Cafe). Click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS ( for details about this 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.
Surf’s up! Surfers from around the world are flocking to Mavericks Beach near NorCal’s Half Moon Bay right now ( Plenty of poetry in those epic waves! Unfortunately, big waves at Mavericks mean flooding up and down the Coast. So keep the Coast-dwellers in your thoughts.

And here’s a dose of Kourage Kat to carry us into the new year:
 Kourage Kat


 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

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