Monday, May 13, 2024

Mother Medusa

—Sculpture in Fort Lauderdale, Florida 
by Daniel Popper; see 
(Image Courtesy of Marianna Smiley @ Unsplash, 
with thanks to Nolcha Fox)

* * *

—Poetry by Nolcha Fox, Claire J. Baker,
Stephen Kingsnorth, Joshua C. Frank,
Gregg Norman, Sayani Mukherjee,
Shiva Neupane, Caschwa, and Joe Nolan
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Nolcha Fox and Joe Nolan
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

My bruises and cuts,
they all look pretty nasty.
I’m swollen and I can
tear open my chest.
Nature may be be one
real bitch of a mother,
but where I am bleeding
new growth will emerge.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

Alameda Poet Laureate**
—Claire J. Baker, Pinole, CA

Young, I tried to walk in
your footsteps, Mary. But
my natural stride was shorter,
wider….And you had journeyed
to where I could not follow.

So now I make my own way
wherever I go—
through common terrain
or sand dunes, ice and snow.
I thought you’d like to know.

**For an invaluable mentor
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

It bothers me that mothering
seems no so far from smothering—
for is it other brother fear,
that I can see his subsumed self?
I see, with gay abandon, beasts
set loose to fend at early stage;
though some more shell-shocked, under wing,
the mollycoddled, spoilt, indulged.

It is as it they’re coddled eggs,
protected, less too early fledge,
while others, lore of jungle law,
for fittest only will survive.
It’s human instinct, intervene,
as rescue, weakling movements spreads,
unnatural selection breeds,
to care for runt, the underdog.

For many offspring, pension plan,
investing many, few survive,
the carers, old in agèd span,
a mother’s son’s or daughters’ care.
So who’ll be mother, drinking tea,
the liminal in ancient plea,
as countless mothers teetering,
reliant on those, borne before?

Do smothered bother or resent? 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

A BOY’S FIRST LOVE (a Rondeau)
—Joshua C. Frank

A boy’s first love, his mother fair,
The first to show a helpmate’s care.
In soft, caressing hands, he’ll see
Her adoring face from on her knee
And hide his head within her hair.

He breathes her love as he breathes air,
She guards him like a mother bear,
And God set her apart to be
A boy’s first love.

Once grown, he searches everywhere
To find a woman who’ll compare
With her, his first, for only she
Has shaped his heart for a woman’s key.
Her greatest joy has been to share
A boy’s first love.

(First published in The Society of Classical Poets)
 —Photo Courtesy of Public Domain

—Joshua C. Frank

It’s propped along the route I roll—
A squatting square against the sky,
Atop a sturdy metal pole,
To tell me what new thing to buy.

A squatting square against the sky,
It blocks the airy, fluffy clouds,
To tell me what new thing to buy
To follow the unthinking crowds.

It blocks the airy, fluffy clouds,
A big sign saying come and shop
To follow the unthinking crowds
To buy that brand of soda pop.

A big sign saying come and shop,
Atop a sturdy metal pole,
To buy that brand of soda pop—
It’s propped along the route I roll.

(First published in
The Society of Classical Poets)
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Gregg Norman, Manitoba, Canada

When I need to flee the horns of living
On a declining globe among raging people
I look skyward for meaningful clouds
On days of clear blue or grey overcast
I remain mired in earthly misery
But sundered clouds of any kind
Can take me up, can save me
Cirro, Alto, Strato, Nimbo, Cumulo
Like ancient gods to whom I look
For portents, for salvation
I can slide down the long face
Of a cloud like a boy on a sled
Clouds carry my thoughts away
Like train whistles on dark nights
Clouds sweep, race, roll, and tumble
Sun and Moon play peekaboo
When clouds move and I read
Through them like stanzas
Yardstick-straight Chinook arches
Thunderheads looming, threatening
Flat-bottomed gargoyles scudding
Across skies on high altitude winds
I see vast herds on African savannahs
Schools of sleek fish, pods of whales,
Soaring raptors, mythical beasts
Blue waves break on white sand beaches
Royal Palms sway in ocean breezes 
A yearling filly gallops across a green
Paddock wet with London fog
I embrace storms, forked lightning
Sky backlit by passage of the moon
Clouds show me all that I am
All that I could be, should be, must be 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan
—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

for the longest time, worldwide
a baby in the works was not yet
considered a living, human
being until it was out in the air
taking its own breaths

but now some states are passing
laws saying that termination of
a baby in the works is an awful,
evil, act, triable in a court of law
as murder; now we are waiting
for the other shoe to fall:

will an unborn baby qualify as a
valid dependent for tax purposes?
can a woman driver carrying an
unborn baby legally use the high
occupancy vehicle lane? must we
set another place at the table for
the unborn baby? what share of
time is the unborn baby allotted
on the TV remote control? for
those who list all their children
on the rear windshield of their
van, what symbol would denote
an unborn child? how soon can
parents register an unborn baby
for pre-school?
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


I believe you just dropped
a dollar onto the street
and it looked for other dollars
with whom to meet

so together they could grow
some interest earnings
and not be so alone to deal
with their yearnings

instead it could only repeat
the lowly status of what
commonly happens to a
cigarette butt 
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Sayani Mukherjee,
Chandannagar, W. Bengal, India

A ravenous morning full of braided sparkles
The dream-daisy going on
I fell upon a two-pence question
The Starlight hazardous as the
Morning song speaks on
The rainbow misty dewy dapplings
The saplings of ever-fallen clamour
Till I tasted the floras of beaded darkness
The night queen grows on
A lady on a blanched white fence
For full of musked roses the Garland was
As they danced upon the nectar of the
Dreaming peonies. 
—Photo Courtesy of Public Domain

—Sayani Mukherjee

The dripping drizzle of first summer dawn
The leftover pansies bloomed to their core
I sang my morning symphonies
Under the Greenberg oak
The saddle of lost promised land
The beaded sanctuary
Waiting to be engulfed
A waning stormy moon
To questions and narrated agonies
A sea storm rained over
Purging silhouettes under its dark cavern
It bemoaned a devilish streak
As if hanging under the churches of revelation
The green-oaked smile
Spoke to me
Its hands are gripping wet a cement of laugh
A lull under the southern choir. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy 
of Joe Nolan

—Shiva Neupane, Melbourne, Australia

My eyes perched on her
Facial geography.
As when she appeared
On my dreamy landscape.
The language of love
is immensely sophisticated;
It churns out positive energies
and feelings.  
The purity of love is enthralling. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Everything leads to everything
In an avalanche of time.
Choose a little chunk of lava
To be your own sweet ride.

You cannot help
But be swept up,
Carried or brought down
The slope of
Your own private mountain
To the outskirts of town,

Where you will
Be loosed upon
The world
And its chains of fate.

Though you think
It’s your own private party,
You’ll have to hurry
To not be late. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan

Moonlight is
Silk that shines
At midnight,

Lighting paths
That wander
Through the woods.

Few are those
Who care to go
Down into
Midnight’s shadows—

They fear
Something there
That is too good.


Today’s LittleNip:


we’re all amateurs
at assigning pronouns that
won’t offend people


—Mother Medusa, thanking you, my children, for all these fine poems—both today and every day of the year—and for not being afraid of “lighting paths that wander through the woods…”

And welcome to newcomer Gregg Norman, who says he "lives and writes full-time in Manitoba, Canada, where he has had a few poems published here and there and has also published five novels.” Thanks for the poem, Gregg, and don’t be a stranger!
—Public Domain Illustration


A reminder that
Poetic License read-around
takes place this morning
in Placerville, 10:30am; and
Youth Open Mic meets
at Sacramento Poetry Center
tonight, 7:30pm.
For info about these 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.

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...paths that wander
through the woods...