—Poetry by Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth,
Caschwa, Sayani Mukherjee, Shiva Neupane,
and Joe Nolan
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Joe Nolan
—Original Photo by Shiva Neupane
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY
Once we were balloons afloat above a rain-shined
Now you hold an umbrella to shield us from
Once wooden fences beckoned us to lay in
Now it’s antihistamines and benches for our
Once we dined by candlelight with wine and
Now we dine with lights to see the menu, and we
watch our calories.
Once we thought we’d never part, not even in
We were right, we're still together, not just once,
HASTE AND LEISURE?
—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales
Though proudly ‘woke’, discipleship—
it tempers tongue and tethers talk,
for fear the ease with which offend,
while innocent of ill intent.
I did write ‘wife’, now ‘partner’ tick,
though ruby passed, for gold hold hope;
content that male should marry man,
as so female with woman, wife.
I come to terms with terms so used—
what was betrothed, promised, engaged,
fiancé and French variants,
or ‘understanding’, former days;
‘Barkis is willing’ as was said,
the Dickens’s of a job to treat?
I value vows, fidelity—
before wi-fi, hi-fi, on trend—
but for those cloistered, surround sound,
community, to witness bond.
The institution’s known few bounds,
with practices both good and bad,
the spirit of each age in charge,
just as we operate in ours.
My study, ornithology,
shows many models, breeding birds,
but still it brings an inward smile
to hear a species pairs for life.
I’ll not condemn, part, pear-shaped two,
where wedlock seemed a sentence passed;
though many suffer consequence,
as offspring, when both stay and shout,
just as their fates, unhappy mates,
who follow traits to bitter end.
Few units know their tree untouched
by branches, twigs that fell apart;
but though storms rage and winds assault,
I fortunate, our hearts yet one.
So matre, matri, words result,
with long established roots at work;
matriculation, Medic School,
till soon a graduate of cures,
with matrimony, matrix mix,
mark, this male nurse feared Matron most.
THE SOUND OF
It is of silence she complains,
while I hear much—
music, faint strains, low radio,
pendulum swing, slow turn of clock,
the humming, fish tank bubbles, pump,
some sipping drink, web-struggle fly,
her signal phone for memory,
and mine, alarm for tablet time.
For forty we have shared the air,
the passing ruby wisdom years,
those grants we’ve taken and received,
my sighs that she’s not satisfied,
and her frustrated silences.
If comment, conversation prompts
from something aired on late night news,
we’ll disagree how black and white,
and dare not voice another view,
a reason for the held back voice
and silence, as Catch 22.
My classical or ’60’s pop,
her decade later, I divorced
from popular and what kids did,
by quitting home and learning life,
then by degrees, the scholar’s prize.
But when the busy, family,
have gone and health demands no more,
except the cherished memories,
the trove recalled need maps before
we even met, when stars apart.
So my space sounds are other now.
NOW THIS IS A STORY I TELL
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA
from comatose to wiggle your toes, out
ten days they told me, don’t recall who
saw or did what while attending to my
prone body, other than 3rd party info that
they reattached my right thumb, and
rebuilt my left ankle. the head specialist
said if I did witness the motorcycle crash
that put me under their care, my brain likely
blocked out those memories for my protection
this was over half a century ago, when the
cost of living was much lower, especially
under the influence of parents who had been
stung by The Great Depression and were
very loathe to part with money
started community college with a full-length
cast and using crutches, was enrolled in the
marching band ‘cause that was my thing,
and they welcomed me to sit in the stands to
play trombone at games because they didn’t
have much other low brass. so I got credit for
marching band since they couldn’t call it a
over time they took off my cast and
let me walk as normal as I could.
wasn’t ready to hop right back on
motorcycles, but I did resume
bicycling, everywhere, to the beach,
or over the mountainside to the valley,
or alongside the international airport,
or to the university, stopping for break-
fast along the way.
then I got a full-time job, an apartment,
a relationship, and a car, and my bicycle
glory days just faded away. this is not
the end of the story, but I haven’t yet
reached that point, so I guess it is.
Chandannagar, W. Bengal, India
The everlasting brimming sun
Under the cherry blossoms
The single leaf learns to fly
Ashen puddles little trinkets
Of a fairy swim high
The pond blossoms are heavy
Wet with sun-gazed fever
The joy knows unparalleled beauty
Holding the lotus
Under its Sycamore high
The pond fringes wide open
The channeling of high-sewn
Raspings the motley of
The poetry of sun holding
One hundred views of nature's
The single leaf paper flown
It knows the Circle.
CHRISTMAS AND KIDS’ DESIRE
—Shiva Neupane, Melbourne, Australia
“Daddy, Daddy, I need a Christmas Tree.”
Upon hearing this,
I said to my daughter,
of course you will get one.
I've bought a Christmas Tree,
I have an unconditional love for her.
Therefore, I’ve honoured her emotions
to ensure our bonding remains robust.
The wall of faiths must not
divide us and undermine our multicultural
The ideological differences can be managed,
even by doing things that your kids ask for!
THE END OF AMERICA
—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA
There was a time
I can recall
Were bigger than buns,
When Coke was made
With real cane-sugar,
Instead of fructose-syrup
And buns still had some taste.
What have they done
With our burgers and buns?
They’ve made them toxic waste.
It must be the end of America.
They’ve got us at the edge of a cliff.
They clamor for us to jump.
They’re putting us in electric cars.
They’re gonna take away the pumps.
It must be the end of America.
Obama bought all our clunkers out
That were good for humping at drive-ins—
The ones with the big-ass, flat, back-seats.
I swear we’re losing our art.
It must be the end of America.
Some say America
Must be slain
Like a vampire
With a stake through its heart—
Something to do
That’s tearing our planet apart
And we must have an end of America.
DRUGS TO GET US THROUGH
If it weren’t for pharmaceuticals
We couldn’t get along.
We’ve been driven crazy
By social policies, wrong.
We don’t have time
To make a life,
Together or alone.
Should we take a wife,
A husband or a bone.
Things have gotten desperate.
We need to take a loan,
But credit cards
Such usury is legal.
Surely we’ve been sold-out,
And brought low.
It’s because of
Whom we voted for.
It started long ago.
WHO KILLED KIROV?
Who killed Kirov?
Stalin killed Kirov.
If only Kirov were not killed
We would not have had such terror.
Things would have been much better
If only Kirov lived.
It was as though
King Herod found his mark
And killed the baby, Jesus,
Depriving us of savior.
We saw him at his funeral
Crying lizard’s tears
As though he had not swallowed him,
Inch by inch,
To melt inside his belly.
Who likes Stalin?
No one likes Stalin.
Stalin killed Kirov out of envy
To keep the red-star-crown upon his head.
Too popular was Kirov.
Kirov, our dear Kirov!
Far too early dead.
Dredge the rivers.
Drain the seas.
Search for thrown-away mercy
In a world that’s on its knees,
Begging for humanity,
Begging for wars to cease.
Where will you find mercy
Delivers money and weapons
So wars go on and on?
I pledge allegiance
to our name
on the New York Stock Exchange
and to the investments
your money in my hands
let us celebrate our gains
—Medusa, with thanks to today’s fine contributors for poetry and photos, some of them riffs on the red-hot-poker subject of matrimony, our latest Seed of the Week. Be sure to check each Tuesday for the latest Seed of the Week.
of Joe Nolan
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