Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Lost Memories of Wildness

Shawn Pittard, Sacramento


—Shawn Pittard

I killed a great silver fish,
cut him open with a long

thin knife. The river carried
his heart away. I took his

dead eyes home. His red flesh sang
to me on the fire I built

in my backyard. His taste was
the lost memory of my

wildness. Behind amber clouds
of cedar smoke, Orion

drew his bow. A black moon rose
from the night’s dark waters,

a sliver of its bright face
reflecting back into the universe.

(first published in Runes)


Thanks, Shawn.
Next Monday (2/5), 7:30 PM: The Other Voice in Davis presents Tim Bellows and rattlechapper Shawn Pittard reading their poetry at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Road, Davis. There will be an open reading following the poets. This is a free event. James Lee Jobe will host. Call 530-750-3514 for details. Please check out for bios, sample poems, directions, and a map. Shawn is the author of Rattlechap #6 (was it that long ago??), These Rivers, as well as a littlesnake broadside. Here's another poem from Shawny:

—Shawn Pittard

Acrid haze scrolls
across the valley from the foothills:

incense of pine and bitter cedar
scorched by a wildfire’s fierce heat.

The coarse sky cloaks a scarlet moon,
sleeves its bright circumference.


In Sunday School,
I was taught that a blood-red moon

was a portent of the Apocalypse.
I watched each moonrise

with rapt attention—imagined the beast,
horsemen, and a great red dragon

unleash God’s wrath
on the four corners of the earth.

On a night like this, I asked my father:
Will we burn in judgment tonight?


White ash falls
like charred confetti, settles

on black lawn chairs in the garden.
A moonflower’s ivory petals

open from its heart-shaped leaves.

(first appeared in Manzanita)


Send in those baby snakes:

Tomorrow (2/1) is the deadline for Snakelets, the journal of poetry from kids 0-12. We have a nice fat issue this time, so don't drag your tails about getting those submissions in!

For grown-ups: Indiana Review Poetry Prize: $1000 and publication:

Postmark deadline: March 30, 2007. Send no more than three poems per entry. Reading Fee: $15, includes one-year subscription. Final Judge: Joy Harjo. For details, visit:

Call for submissions:

Universal Table call for submissions on the themes of “Illness and Grace” and “Terror and Transformation”. Stories, poems, personal essays for two anthologies; deadline is May 1. Stories/essays to 5,000 words; poems 1-5 pages. Payment in copies. Submit electronically as Word or RTF attachments to: Submissions also featured on website:


Here's a new poem from another local gal, Rhony Bhopla:

—Rhony Bhopla, Sacramento

Green as lush garden of milk
flowing over the black chalked shivling

Standards only find themselves on
a spinning wheel, swollen in answer circum

Keep above the line, says the reincarnate
—eyes dole knowledge randomly in a pattern
of red pepper seeds among smart black cloves

Voice of hesitance I heard, answering
the call of my woman and solace

Mark this day as a standard, and understand
later what we did and who we meant to save.


Thanks, Rhony! Rhony's littlesnake broadside, Tulip Stem, can be had for free by sending me an SASE, as can Shawn's. Shawn's rattlechap is at The Book Collector, or order it online from Or, heck, come to the reading! I suspect Shawn will have some available...


Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as 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.)