Monday, January 29, 2024

Brutal Weather

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

We watch a thousand jagged twigs
linked and branching,
electrified against a midnight sky.

White-hot fire keeps secrets well.
Aluminum paper crinkling tightly
mimics white-hot embers that trigger

a sky-wide map of rivers,
their myriad tributaries—the moon
in thrall of such intricate flashes of fire.

Forked lightning crackles over
our mountain cabin amid poppies
enlivened into molten gold.

We campers under such a wild
and stunning panorama,
bask in terror linked with awe. 

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Pathetic fallacy at bay,
for landfall is path prophesied,
and not the turmoil in our minds.
The alley, once a backstreet path,
is now scene for tornado’s craft,
a flattened valley, matchstick ground.

As ring of fire on which still built,
Canute against time, tidal waves,
our groaning earth sends smoke signals
and pile by sink, those clashing plates.
But we’re poor readers of the earth,
as so we are at scanning skies.

It is not weather reading us,
nor yet the science, noted guide.
But rise and shine or never seen,
that beat of waves as shore, above,
has x-ray reach through to our core,
invasion, brutal, of our skin.

But how should we so allocate
such character, emotive feel
as savage, cruel, bestial,
unfeeling of the human heart?
So dull and stupid was the charge,
but whether guilty, not so fast. 

—Michael Ceeraolo, S. Euclid, OH
Cleveland Haiku #664

August ball field—
kids' season ended,
infield reclaimed by weeds

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #665

Morning in the park—
trees split in half
from last night's storm

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #666

Afternoon in the park—
tire tracks from vehicles
hauling away downed trees

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #667

Kids back in school—
bird songs the only sounds
in the park

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #668

Afternoon sky—
an abandoned balloon
floating by

* * *

Cleveland Haiku #669

Late August—
last year's fallen leaves
crackle underfoot

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

I fell into a dark abyss
everything swirling around
me, hot, very hot, reached
back to bring my hand
forward, it was bound and
oddly, starting to decompose

there was a captivating aroma
reminiscent of breakfast in
bed, and suddenly I was wide
awake, shaking, and crumbling
into little pieces

the swirling slowed down just
a bit and I started to evaluate
my surroundings, feeling like
a goldfish in a globe, see all,
get nowhere

afraid to open my eyes, but
risked a peekaboo here and
there, and espied one of my
darling grandchildren stepping
near, asking

Wanna play sugar cube again?


Irritable towel syndrome is a "disorder of gut-brain
interaction" characterized by a group of symptoms
that commonly include
“it hurts when I rub the towel over my belly”
“feels like a bowling ball in there”
creasing and changes in the consistency of towel
movements. These symptoms may occur over a
long time, sometimes for years.


we may not know it, but every time
we look at a timepiece to tell us the
hour, it is quietly taking our time away
from us

we stop to admire the gems on
beautiful bejeweled watches, the
pendants of grandfather clocks
freeze us in place while we stare

we wait and wait for grandma’s
cuckoo clock to finally utter that
bird call

those who don’t take handily to
Roman Numerals are drawn into
a black hole of space while
wondering what time it is

Enter the kitchen with your cell
phone and wrist watch and note
the various time readings on the
oven range, microwave, and coffee
machines; then manually reset
them to have the same readings,

in regions that observe a Daylight
Savings Time, there is that ritual
twice a year of resetting all your
time pieces, house, car, office,

some of our more advanced electronic
devices may not require manual
adjustment to display the correct time,
but we double check just in case, and
that takes time 


had already reached the
age of 21 before Congress
finally lowered the voting
age from 21 to 18

the powers-that-be waited
until everyone was absolutely
and totally confused before
implementing changes to the
serial comma rule

spent oh, so much precious
time learning to read Roman
Numerals, and now one hardly
ever sees them, except on
copyright dates

those erasers pre-attached to
ink pens can create humungous
smears that are far worse than
the mistakes they are intended
to correct

sad to see newspapers print
corrections to prior articles,
always adding in their legal
disclaimer, WTF

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA
We just sailin’
Way up top—
Underneath a moonbeam.

Beggin’ for the heaven
We gave up,
For satisfaction
In stuff we
Shouldn’t’a touched,
Too often and too much,

So now we got
Nowhere to go,
So we stay home. 

—Joe Nolan

We’re only being murdered.
There’s no need to say a word.
It wouldn’t be the first time
A people was swept from the Earth.

There must have been some provocation
To justify this annihilation.
Otherwise, how could it happen,
In a just and benevolent world?

Go on about your business.
This is not your problem.
There’s nothing for you to do, here.
Look elsewhere and move on. 

—Joe Nolan

They said the test didn’t show anything—
Little things, maybe, but nothing significant,
Nothing to say what’s going on.

There’s another test they might do later,
If the problems don’t go away,
But they can’t do that one for another two years
Since I had that one three years ago.

Meanwhile, my mystery problem
Will be allowed to persist
Since it’s not too severe,
And doesn’t warrant exploratory surgery.

So I have
My name
In line
For the queue,
So I won’t lose my place,
For the test they say
Can tell for sure,
If I am blessed by grace,
In a time of limited assets.

—Joe Nolan

How long has my skin been brown?
Has it been since I floated around
Before entering my Mother’s womb?
How long ‘til I get to my tomb?
Will it be
With many
Sad memories
That disappear
When I die,
Or will they all
Surround me,
As I drift back
Toward the sky—
The sky
From which I came?

—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India

Mahogany beaches
A skirmish tall high
My spirits a little lofty
I ached over the beached sunsets
The footprints all lying
All surmising a vast hooded Deepness
An ongoing rivalry
With sun at my back
The beach swam a decade-high
Nebulae too old to decipher
I saw the northern lights in wintry summer
My lyrical beautiful sea
All praying for a zenith revival
Sculptures and philosophies all along
My noted gaze a little lofty
The pine trees arose a decade-high. 

—Sayani Mukherjee

I surpassed a gloomy vessel
Half-emptied with brimming madness
It poured down over my triumphant choir
I summoned the angels from heaven
Of uttering divine prophecy
In the utmost time
Fall before illusion
Time's coveted monument
It surpassed a breathed life
All enchanting under the divine choir
The spasmodic rhythm
Of Earth-awakened madness
It passed a heavy fall
Before I lie awakened with omniscient rhythm
I knew the divine speaks to all.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

It didn’t matter where he moved.
The weather always followed.
The door would always lock on him
to leave him in the cold.
A dark cloud hung above his head
and rained on his parade.
He couldn’t get on top of it
to be on his cloud nine.
He never had a moment’s rest.
He always felt snowed under.
With all the stress that he endured
he lived under the weather.


Our thanks to today’s contributors, some of them musing about brutal weather—both inside the soul and out. Brutal Weather was our Seed of the Week; be sure to check each Tuesday for our new Seeds of the Week.




A reminder that
Sacramento Poetry Center features
Traci Gourdine and Aaron Bradford
tonight, 7:30pm.
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