Monday, March 04, 2024

A Preference for Dewdrops

Daffodil season is here!
—Public Domain Photo
* * *

—Poetry by Claire J. Baker, Stephen Kingsnorth,
Caschwa, and Joe Nolan
—Original Photos by Caschwa
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy of Joe Nolan
A cinquain to condensation
—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA

I’ll bend,
hold a loose pearl
beside fresh-grass dewdrops—
a brief game to prove I prefer
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

These jewels pried out from the pit
by those abused and undermined,
in ruby red, blood diamonds,
like pearls emerging through that grit.

So many chained, hanged by the neck,
while empire thieves stole native wealth
to dress ivory towers of wives
with baubles hanging, chained at nape.

Not Crown and Chalice, public house,
those gems instead for king and church,
with minor stones around the wrist,
watch movements strapped below the blouse.

Hard pressed, those minerals in rock,
and dense, as measured by Mohs scale,
investment banked ’gainst ’flation’s rise,
until needs must put stock in hock.

See garniture that garnets bring,
or opalescent opal ice,
Sri Lankan sapphire saturate,
it’s cut and claw that holds the ring.

But if those riches passed you by
and you rely on common sights,
then watch the stars, spy rippling stream,
or walk the woods, light dappled sky.

Thus you’ll see wonders of our world,
eye lustre, facets, daily round,
their smiles that are a girl’s best friend,
the laughing face of child unfurled. 
 —Photo by Caschwa

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

Hey, wait!
This is America
we had an F-ing
revolt against that
terrible system
and we won!
Or did we?

Madison Avenue
hits us with daily
ads about the King
of this, that, and
the other, roll out
the red carpet, like
it has the same
meaning it had in

look on the shelves
at the grocery store
and see all the nice
product names using
Crown, or Royal, or

So the F-ing revolt
killed bodies of men
but we’re still very
stuck with the same
expressions they used
over and over again

one can dare to quote
Shakespeare without
wading in royal

but Royal Crown Jewels
puts us right back to being
subjects of a king, as if we
never really wanted it
different than that 
 —Photo by Caschwa


travel agent, travel agent
book me a flight
red eye, all night
I sense a winning Lotto ticket!

numbers pageant, numbers pageant
waiting to be chosen
like some embryos still frozen
this will surely be the one!

purely cogent, purely cogent
the world’s best melodrama
unfolding in Alabama
just can’t wait to cash it in!
—Public Domain Visual Courtesy 
of Joe Nolan

you want to know what it is like
being a Baby Boomer? well just
imagine you are in the pilot’s seat
of a single turboprop, powered by a
Pratt & Whitney PT6. And no sooner
do you fire up the engine to drive
the propeller, than you notice that
all the dash meters and monitors
have changed

there is now a strange reference
to jet fuel, and a sign prohibiting
non-military aircraft from flying
faster than sound, so as not to make
too much noise or cause property
damage to those below you

the headphones on your ears no
longer connect with any wires, and
something called micro circuits have
significantly shrunken many of the
larger, heavier implements you were
used to using

other than that, it is pretty much just
like any other day at the airport
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy 
of Joe Nolan


for sure, the keyboard rendering
of my ideas into words and phrases
is much, much easier to read than
my handwriting

that said, putting form over substance
doesn’t mean that I had anything
particularly relevant to say in the
first place

we readily accept Mark Twain’s
recurrent flaws in grammar and
spelling because he effectively
makes the point he is trying to make

so I may have valid findings to
report, but I cannot fit them into
all the regimens dictated by
scientific practice and procedure,
nor can I, all of the sudden, issue
poetry and prose as if I had for
years been a devoted understudy
to the Bard

maybe our nation has been looking
for Democracy in all the wrong
places, as if we could open up the
Constitution like a glasses case
and find Democracy sitting in there
just waiting for us to use it

so the hunt will continue, with mongrel
dogs and purebred know-it-alls, all with
a keen eye for the different shapes and
reflections of truth 
 —Public Domain Photo

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA
Angels know
How to deal
With demons.

Slap them with
Energy blasts
That come from

Divine light.
After that,
They take flight.
 —Public Domain Photo

—Joe Nolan

Such a busy place!

Whiskers help them
Find their way in the dark,
Home from a public park,
Where they fought
With other cats
For the right to mate.

Dogs are so good at smelling.
With tails wagging,
They sniff the ground,
Knowing, thus,
What’s been around.
They can trace a trail
All the way to its source,
So rabbits had
Better beware!
 —Public Domain Visual

—Joe Nolan

Who said
Rembrandt is dead?

His paintings seem
To burn an ochre flame
Deep into the night,
That gives flight
To hope and imagination,

Beyond the realm of pastels,
Into dirty treasures—
That glow
In their furtive details.
Selfie Cat
—Public Domain Photo 

—Joe Nolan

We’ve declared a reprieve
From the reams of aces
We have up our sleeves
With which we win all poker games,
Since five aces beats
A Royal Flush
And we never blush,
But insist we are correct
Even though
A deck of cards
Only has four aces.

It’s a matter of interest and usury–
We can make what doesn’t exist,
By virtue of fractional, reserve banking,
And a simple slip of the wrist.

You’re dealing with a card-mechanic
Who knows how to stack a deck.
We have every card marked well.
Playing with us
Is a pathway to Hell.

Today’s LittleNip:

—Joe Nolan

Grace is
Like a
Tuning fork
That rings
In harmony
With what it is
And should be,
Ringing out
Its pure sound
For all the world to hear,
A sound that none can hear
With human ear,
From a place of balance
We call “grace.”


Good morning from the bowels of the lower Sierra as we shake the rain off and give thanks for today’s contributors. Our Seed of the Week was “Jewels”, but don’t think you have to send poems that are only based on that subject. Every Monday, we have a mix of poets writing on Tuesday's SOW subject and many other subjects as well.

SnakePal Ken Tamaro has put together a project for YouTube, in which he had 14 people—some poets and some that Ken calls “everyday people”—read his poetry. Listen to it at Interesting project, Ken!

Saturday I posted that poets everywhere are encouraged to send information about new books [and other projects] they have in publication to Medusa's Kitchen (, and we'll give you free advertising. It's best to send a packet o' poems in the package, too, of course. The snakes of Medusa are always hungry!
The March issue of Sacramento Poetry Center's Poet News is now available at


 —Public Domain Visual Courtesy of Joe Nolan

A reminder that tonight is the
2nd Annual Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here
reading at Sacramento Poetry Center.
For info about this and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
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 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!