Monday, January 22, 2024

Peaceful (and Not-So-Peaceful) Places

 —Poetry by Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth,
Caschwa, Shiva Neupane, Sayanı Mukherjee,
and Joe Nolan
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Joe Nolan 

—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

The cat is curled up on my lap.
This sense of peace is a mirage.
She digs her nails into my leg
and leaps. If cats could smile
this one would grin.
You’d think I’d learn
by now, a happy cat is
up to no damn good.

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

What content brings contentment near,
which site or sight berths happiness?
In unity of time and place,
that space lasts through eternity,
for it affects our inner pace
to effect racing rats find calm.

Quite quiet is the atmosphere,
thought silent till you hear yourself—
that beating heart and rhythmic breath,
bird distant songs or waving wings.
Alone and sole, your soul can hear,
or sharing, loved trustworthy friend.

Or here, in threnody of voice,
ring jingling jangling of the hoarse,
we hear in chaos decibels,
down trodden treatment undeserved,
and know in serving those in need
in deed, you satisfy ignored.

So grace can settle, loud or soft,
allow a tranquil piece of span
to see folk be of common wealth,
that comfort zone for all concerned;
this is the case for those who choose
to face, taste phase when peace holds sway. 

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

your car is at the dealer service shop
needing several serious adjustments
the coffee was bad even when fresh
and now they tell you that your car
won’t be ready until 2 more days

so you get a ride home, and back again
ready to pay the bill, decline any more
coffee, and drive your car home
if, after this, it still needs more repairs
the dealer agrees to fix it no charge

now let’s change the scenario to one where
you were a black slave in service to your
white master, and then there was this great
Civil War and the Constitution was amended
to free the slaves, but not everyone all at once

generations later your great, great, great, great
descendants are still struggling to be recognized
as valid citizens of this great nation with a right
to live here and contribute, and vote along with
everyone else. That promise was bad, even when
fresh, and now, more than a century and a half
later, they tell you to stay in your lane while the
great white folk pretend to figure things out

One more scenario: Women, even white women,
were property of their fathers or husbands and
had no right to vote, until the Constitution was
amended and then no one was paying attention.
So that promise was also bad, even when fresh,
and now, more than a century later, they tell you
to stay in your lane while the great, white, men
pretend to figure things out

meanwhile, the rest of the world sees exactly what
is going on here, and bit by bit, as the coffee is now
older than dirt, they are losing any respect they
used to have for our great nation. 


    · Mid 1950’s, living in triplex, I was all of
      5 years old
      Dad used an incinerator out back
      Mom used a hand-crank wringer washer
      Brand-new Interstate 405 under construction
      across the street
      Had a neighbor called Sisty, she HATED!!
      that name
      Folks bought a house, and while waiting for
      escrow to close, Landlord raised rent unduly

    · So folks quit the triplex and rented an
      I was attending Kindergarten; school bus
      stopped at my apartment daily, if I wasn’t
      outside waiting, driver sent someone to
      check on me

    · Escrow closed, we got the house, more rooms 
      than before; living room had a fireplace that
      came with a poker, shovel, and flue rod which
      my tiny hands eagerly touched, but never
      learned to use as intended
      Mom got an electric washing machine and    
      drew the line there (pun intended) declining
      an electric dryer in favor of a clothesline in
      the back yard, near the grapefruit tree;
      Dad set up a Ham shack in the garage and
      shot his air pistols in the fenced backyard
      I made some friends from the neighborhood
      and, nearly 7 decades later, I still
      communicate with some of them on
      telephone or social media

    · Dueling hormones phase: my elderly piano
      teacher, Annabelle G., had me study from
      “Teaching Little Fingers to Play” curiously
      overlapping in time with the Bar Mitzvah
      preparation at my temple, which was getting
      me ready for that special moment: “Today
      you are a man.”

    · The economy for kids like me was built
      around pocket change; a local phone call was
      a dime, one could get a penny candy, 5 cents
      for a regular candy bar, 25 cents for the large,
      comic books were 10 to 15 cents; Admission
      to the movies was pocket change. One could
      bicycle around the neighborhood and pick up
      stray soda bottles, etc. and turn them in for
      cash. Back then the manual typewriter key-
      boards simply had the cent sign already on
      one of the standard keys, no internet search
      required to locate and apply it.

    · My 5th-grade teacher volunteered me to
      assume the role of AVA, Audio Visual Aid
      monitor, which put me alongside the old reel-
      to-reel film projector, to keep it on track
      while showing a presentation.

    · In order to form a more perfect: pledge, a few
      words were added or changed here and there;
      flag, a couple of stars were added; bomb
, duck under your desk on Fridays at
      10:00 a.m. when you hear the air raid sirens;
      educational system, my Southern California
      town was a sundown town, which basically
      didn’t sell or rent housing to blacks; when my
      (future) wife attended high school in Dallas,
      TX, they struggled with implementing
      Integration, and had to deploy National Guard
      Troops to keep a lid on the hostilities.

    · Four decades ago worked as a teller at a
      Savings & Loan which kept on the floor a
      shoulder-high Rolodex to retrieve signature
      cards. The routine was to check and confirm
      a customer’s signature on each transaction.
      Computers were very new at this time and
      had to be “booted” as often as one breathes.
      ATM’s were brand new, also, as was the
      learning curve of adding the right currency
      in the right place. I believe I had 1/3 of the
      combination to access the machine when it
      needed servicing.

    · About three decades ago, worked at a small
      law firm when they got their very first Fax
      machine. I think we charged a dollar a page
      for sending or receiving faxes.

    · To this day, it is not yet my habit to take my
      cell phone with me everywhere I go, being
      that for at least the first quarter-century of
      my life, cell phones did not even exist.

—Shiva Neupane, Melbourne, Australia
To tolerate the intolerant
Is very difficult
But this is the corporate cult
You have to accept their fault.
At the end, the company cares about money
The feelings do not have value
In this notorious corporate world
Unfortunately, money influences everything.
You’re a great person today
But you never know
What will be your status tomorrow?
If you attach importance to morality
But not money.
Because you are living in
This ruthless corporate world.

—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India

The changing weather of
Winter is masked.
Sometimes a little grey all along
That bruised my palm
All alone as if hanging
The dewdrops in a muddy bowl
The flowers are sordid
A little pansy, shiver stricken
I took my notepads out in the
Blueish grey
The parchment of winter hang around
Drinking, seemed a little noble
As it stitched my past
Into grey sweaters
The touch and go all ripened
And new at the same time
The falcon flew over all along
Waiting for the winter
A little long with grey walls
Of fortresses. 

—Sayani Mukherjee

Sunday, an epiphany found
Breeze toiling outside the church
A Shepherdess in warm moonshine
A prosaic piece of some bliss
Writing with changing weather
An ever-brimming motion
With each cessation a new sun rises
And Swirls in outside venture
The autumn aurora came
A little too late
Bringing forth history
Nation's bringing clamour
Epiphanies shoved into
My cosmic zeal of a suspense high
Then I found bright torpor of choir
Singing an ever-brimming motion
Writing delivering with churches
The sun shone a flagship high
For autumn that came a little too late. 

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA
There were deep-dark secrets,
Concerning our band’s formation,
Before we signed with a label,
Had any money
Or way to get-on.

Now, we never talk of that.
We just get on
The best we can
As the header-of-the-show. 
 Dolphin in the Womb

—Joe Nolan

Thank-you, Mom,
Thank-you, Mom,

Your bulletin
Brought distress,
To everyone who had loved you
And pulled upon your dress,
That draped across your ankles
As your spirit cried, “Relent!”

We, of the lost penumbra,
Pull on your dress,
Hoping to catch
A blessing of love from your eyes.

Yes, indeed,
We are much in need
Of a smile from your
Infinite head.

Dear Mother,
Dear Mother,
It is not
Our death that we dread,
But only to be without you. 

—Joe Nolan

Old age is just
An afterthought
That lingers on
For years,
Contemplating mysteries
Of how we disappear,

From the Earth,
From the Earth.......
And measure our own worth
By what we’ve done,
Instead of just the miracle
Of life beneath the sun.


Today’s LittleNip:

—Joe Nolan

The cast of characters
In attendance at this play,
The members of our audience,
Changes from scene to scene,
From play to play,
From day to day,
Throughout our
Extended season,
Roving from stage to stage.
Nothing here can stay.


Our thanks to today’s poets, and to Joe Nolan for today’s public domain photos. Our Seed of the Week was A Peaceful Place. Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week, and keep looking for those peaceful places.

And be sure to check our UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS link ( for poetry events in our area this week and beyond.




A reminder that Dorothy Rice
will be featured at  
Sacramento Poetry Center
tonight, 7:30pm.
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