Monday, June 10, 2024

My Va-Va-Voom Done Va-Va-Went~

 —Public Domain Illustration 
Courtesy of Joe Nolan

* * *

—Poetry by Nolcha Fox, Stephen Kingsnorth,
Caschwa, Ernest Federspiel, Sayani Mukherjee,
Shiva Neupane, and Joe Nolan
—Original Art by Ernest Federspiel
—Public Domain Photos Courtesy
of Joe Nolan
—Nolcha Fox, Buffalo, WY

Bogart had it in Casablanca.
Monroe had it in The Seven Year Itch.
That tilt of the head.
That look, that spark.
That turn of the lip.

Films almost catch it.
Magazines want it.
The French call it va-va-voom.
My va-va-voom took a wrong turn
and ended up in the Cleveland sewer.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Stephen Kingsnorth, Coedpoeth, Wrexham, Wales

Swoop beaks catch snatching from the air
mosquitoes dancing in their cloud,
alighting ladies, beetle bugs,
injected sting from wasp unseen;
they’re manifold in nature’s play
but yet surprise, shock or delight,
capricious as they cross our path,
a serendipity in life.

The chaos theory, not at all,
where first call, random, determined yet;
such flutter by of butterfly
base origin of distant storm.
Or maybe as the Northern Lights
which caught me napping, weeks ago,
though neighbours saw, Welsh hills surround,
green dancing sky from solar slares.

While I’m relaxing, garden chair,
those flakes appeared; so snow in June.
While I’ve been burning candle ends
the visitor; from my deep sleep.
As cyclist, Cambridge roundabout;
I’m fed up, cars though slow, don’t care;
the panicked driver, me prostrate,
my slight guilt trip at playing dead.

Is it the vocab, time-warp sense?
My mother hear, glass broke by phone,
would never dream, hand-held device—
for her, full flute, devil’s device.
Of Gaza, Ukraine, USA,
I’d not expected what obtains;
the worse if ripens in each case,
then I will pass, inheritance. 
 —Public Domain Poster Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Caschwa, Sacramento, CA

now doesn’t that sound positive?
as if one could pick their dreams
instead of the different varieties of
dreams making their own decisions
as to when and where to visit the
unsuspecting sleepyhead

more than once, I have believed I
was awakening from a dream, only
to find myself deeply immersed in
another dream…talk about confusion!

I still remember a dream I had when
I was about 4 years old, laying on my
back in the driveway when I felt the
vibrations of a delivery van pulling
over me, then opened my eyes to see
our kitty cat purring loudly on my
chest, while I lay safely in bed

guess I’m not paid-up on dream fees,
because that dream never visited me
again, and only now as I sit at my
desktop computer I hear the vicious
struggle of 2 or more howling felines
thrashing in the shrubs, thumping
against my window, and just as quickly,
they disappear
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy 
of Joe Nolan


tenuously learning to walk
was anxiously waiting for
the other tentacle to fall

wanted to make an online
purchase, but didn’t under-
stand contract terms

he knew about putting
things in ink, but then ink
was all you got

Herb was jealous of monopods
walking around all day with no
cares at all about tripping over
one’s own legs

he quietly amuses himself
watching fish use their flat
legs they call fins

eight legs are enough for me,
says Herb, I don’t need fins to
confuse matters even more
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


when I was in primary school I was
nearsighted, and neither I, nor my
parents, nor my teachers knew this
or thought to test for it

my reading comprehension may have
even been a little above average, but
I never got to the rapid pace where I
could quickly scan material and retain it

instead, I would be microscopically
peering at the pores in my skin, or
the fabric of the paper alongside the
words, which were very much in clear
focus, and quite a bit more suited for
my memory than the content of the
words on the page

I tested well in rote-repetition math,
reading, spelling, and vocabulary, but
in other subjects, like history, it was as
if my mental post office was missing
some cubby holes, so though I could
easily hear what was said when the
teacher presented lessons, such data
was not ever filed away in a place where
I could retain or retrieve it

then my whole world changed in short
order: matriculated from primary to
junior high school, with its multiple, big
text books, heavy not only in measurable
weight but requiring deep concentration
to comprehend the material

was taking piano lessons and Annabelle,
the elderly lady providing the instruction, had
me using “Teaching Little Fingers to Play” at
the same time my new hormones were making
their grand debut, and my temple was preparing
me for my Bar Mitzvah, that point where they
would say “Today you are a man” and with all
this going on, my parents finally took me to have
my eyes tested and I got my first pair of corrective

no more squinting at the big screen in the movie
theater, or getting distracted by looking at the pores
in my skin while reading; however, as to those
missing cubby holes, at this writing, it is more than
half a century later, and they are still missing 
A thin pencil outline of a full moon
—Artwork by Ernest Federspiel (with
Microsoft Designer and Canva)

—Ernest Federspiel, Litchfield, MI

I  pulled into Cherry Valley in my pea-green
I had to get some gas from the quick-mart
There was a cute little blond staring straight
at me
She said “I’ll show ya something mister that
you ain’t never seen”
Well I paid for the gas and we sped out of town
We headed up to the California mountains, no
other souls to be found

She told me to pull onto a path “There is a creek
up ahead
“We can go skinny dipping while listening to the
Grateful Dead”
She jumped out of the truck before I brought it
to a stop
She wiggled and giggled as she pulled off her top
I swear the water was freezing as we both
jumped in
This was the beginning of the Full Moon Sin

We swam for awhile then danced under that
full moon
Come daylight I asked her if she wanted to jump
the broom
She then dipped down, spun around and smiled
at me
She said “I can’t marry you, babe, I’m the queen
of the valley”
We jumped into the back of my truck, drinking
her Cherry Valley gin
And enjoyed the morning after the Full Moon Sin

I took her back to the valley, and as she left my
She said “I swear to ya, Ernie, I could ask for
no more
“You’re the best lover that has ever been
“And I really enjoyed The Full Moon Sin”
This is the true story of the Cherry Valley Queen
She was the finest little blond these eyes have
ever seen 
Earth from Space
—Artwork by Ernest Federspiel (with
Microsoft Designer and Canva)

—Ernest Federspiel

What happened to our future that we can’t
Why is destruction so commonplace for the
animal called man
Back through time, we record our mistakes and
it’s very plain to see
That the survival of this planet comes down to
you and me
There is no simple cure to relieve Mother
Earth’s strife and pain
It will be a long journey to get this turned
around again
Must the whole planet watch as we slowly
destroy this precious rock
Can’t we all come together and make it just
Power resides in mighty high places where
bad decisions are made
To save this planet maybe we should shake it up
and make a trade
Let the not-so-wealthy take their turn at the plate
Maybe without the greed we can provide a
different fate
Seems like the people without money care more
about the land
So once again let’s put the care of earth back
into their hands
I’m sure if they could talk the creatures of the
ocean would all agree
The trash we dump there is providing them
with pure misery
But the common man doesn’t take time to think
about such things
We poison our planet without thinking about
future dreams
You can see the destruction we’ve done and
know the cures to use
To turn this apocalypse into divine bliss means
quitting all of the abuse
We need to do it now before we finish laying the
planet to waste

I mean, come on people, the animal called man
is sending his trash to space
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Sayani Mukherjee, Chandannagar,
W. Bengal, India

Dewdrops around my clock table
A newly refurbished watch
The steel clean peel, the orangy desk
The rumination around
A heavy buzzkeep silence
The opulence of tall heavy strain
Straight out of the hillsides
The air mists a blue hour
My peonies are hung around
The bonnets are wet-dried
My nestled dropped homeskill
To myriad ways the honey-touch smile
Kills the open-ended questions
Before they end, before the red postbox
It stays around
Whatever we try to ponder on
As the river slithers around
My new desked moss. 
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Sayani Mukherjee

A mahogany of lost leaden high
The namesake kept its promise
The turbulence of sea horse runner
The silver disk is a little low tonight
For Baroque's touch of midas res
The high strung of novelty
The joyous currents of sea beds
Leaves me open-stranded
In an Island of Mediterranean blue
I sing and hum the national green
The olive touch of Texas to Britain
Ghettos land in the islands of poverty
I skimmed a holistic touch. 
Sloth moves slowly to avoid stress
—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Shiva Neupane, Melbourne, Australia

I tried to be all-ears
But couldn’t hear the
Sound of ignorance
Despite its being so loud.
I cried so much to myself
The rolls of tears zeroed in 
On my cheeks.
Carving the creeks of deep agony,
The language of ignorance
Butchered my heart into pieces
But, the glue of my dreams has defragmented
those pieces of my heart
and ushered me in the path of my life.
The dreams came to my aid as lifeboats
And repealed the invitation to my watery grave.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy 
of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan, Stockton, CA

Fear-dogs of foreign power
Are devouring the weak
With bombs that come
From you and me.

Let us not prevaricate:
Murder is murder and
Death is death.

You can debate
The label of “genocide,”
But it all
Comes out of hate.

Why do we participate?
Someone is pulling our strings.
If you walk alongside murderers,
Beware what your future brings.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan

Known, this spirit
From its birth
And the shape
That it would form,

Which beauty
It would fulfill,
Which weakness
Shown in scars.

Its destiny
Was clear-foretold—
Its virtue and its sin.
None of this would alter
By the flesh it was within.
 —Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan

—Joe Nolan
Stand still silent
Still silent stand
Silently stand-still.

We pray for peace.
We hope we shall.
Shall we
Hope for peace?

Stand still, silent
Silently stand still
Listen to the silence
When the war has stopped.

Still, we hear the crying.
The crying never stops.
Moan and moan,
So all alone.

Stand still silent
Still silent, stand
Silently stand still.

Today’s LittleNip:

Grandchildren are the dots that connect the lines from generation to generation.

—Lois Wyse


Thanks to today’s contributors from all over the world, including the U.S. (Wyoming, Michigan, California), India, Wales, and Australia.

Two workshops on the calendar this week: Sac. Poetry Center’s new “Meter & Flow” on five upcoming Thursdays with Daniel Kemper, and a MoSt workshop next Saturday in Modesto with Gary Thomas. Also a deadline this week: Swan Scythe Press’s 2024 chapbook contest deadline is Saturday. Click on Medusa's UPCOMING NORCAL EVENTS ( for details about these and other future poetry events in the NorCal area—and keep an eye on this link and on the Kitchen for happenings that might pop up during the week.


—Public Domain Photo Courtesy of Joe Nolan


A reminder that
Poetic License meets in Placerville
this morning, 10:30am; and
Sacramento Poetry Center
features Youth Open Mic
tonight in Sacramento, 7:30pm.
For info about these and other
future poetry happenings in
Northern California and otherwheres,
click on
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and keep an eye on this link and on
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