Monday, January 02, 2006

Until It Puts Itself Right

—R.S. Thomas

The fox drags its wounded belly
Over the snow, the crimson seeds
Of blood burst with a mild explosion.
Soft as excrement, bold as roses.

Over the snow that feels no pity,
Whose white hands can give no healing,
The fox drags its wounded belly.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

I’ve never known the snow as perfect snow.
It looms too high up, a summit shock of ice
blurred driveby in the windshield of our car,

or purls downhill unseen too far below,
dissolved of identity, endangered witness
run off to shiver somewhere new-named and far.

But every so often we stop. A fresh snow-oasis!
Diamantine, near-iceless dust, translucent.
Only the bluest shadows taint the ascendant
sun-mote white that forms the drift’s deep basis

and sinuous skin. Then we dismount and play,
no, horse around scuffing up embankment skirts
and roadside rime. Our snowstick fingers hurt,
stung crushing out harsh edges, fisting blades.


Ambivalence about this weather, snow or not, which I share. Thanks, Tom; you've put it nicely.

Snakebytes, the monthly e-mail about all those nefarious slitherings of The Snake, went into cyberspace today. Let me know if you didn't get one, or if you got one twice (which is even more annoying). Or let me know if you'd like to sign up; heck, it's free! Write to me at

•••No reading tonight
at The Poetry Center. On Wednesday (1/4), catch Alan Satow's new First Weds. reading series at Java Aroma at the Empire Theater, 1825 Pacific Ave., Stockton, 7-9 pm, free. Info: 209-463-6058. Also on Weds.: Mahogany Urban Poetry Series meets at 9, Sweet Fingers Jamaican Restaurant, 1704 Broadway, Sac., $5 cover. Info:

•••Poetry Unplugged meets at Luna's Cafe on Thursday (1/5) at 8 pm. Also at 8 on Thursday is Poetic Light Open Mic at the Personal Style Salon, 2540 Cottage Way, Sac. Info: 916-470-2317. Or Head over to Gwen's Caribbean Cuisine, 2355 Arden Way, Sac. at 7 pm. that night for an Evening of Poetry. Info: 916-284-7831.

•••Friday (1/6) is the Open Mic at Barnes & Noble in Citrus Heights (6111 Sunrise), 7 pm.

•••Saturday (1/7), join Escritores del Nuevo Sol's monthly writing workshop and potluck at 11 a.m., second floor of La Raza Galeria Posada, 1421 R St., Sac. Info:

•••And Sunday (1/8), please plan to attend the memorial service for Anatole Lubovich, which will be held at HQ (25th & R Sts., Sac.) at 2 pm. Info: 442-9295. Then later that evening, Poemspirits features Brad Buchanan at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento, 2425 Sierra Blvd., Sac., 6 pm. (classrooms in the back). Refreshments, open mic, and Nora Staklis will do a brief presentation on Basho. Info: 916-481-3312. Or head over to Stockton: Poet's Corner Presents Eileen Malone, Barnes & Noble in Weberstown Mall, 7 pm. Info: 209-951-7014.


—May Swenson

Cat takes a look at the weather:
puts a paw on the sill;
his perch is piled, is a pillow.

Shape of his pad appears;
will it dig? No,
not like sand,
like his fur almost.

But licked, not liked:
too cold.
Insects are flying, fainting down.
He'll try

to bat one against the pane.
They have no body and no buzz,
and now his feet are wet;
it's a puzzle.

Shakes each leg,
then shakes his skin
to get the white flies off;
looks for his tail,

tells it to come on in
by the radiator.
World's turned queer
somehow: all white,

no smell. Well, here
inside it's still familiar.
He'll go to sleep until
it puts itself right.



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their poetry and announcements of Northern California poetry events to for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.)