Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Parsity of Days Afloat

Michael Estabrook at Emily's Grave

—Michael Estabrook, Acton, MA

I called her tonight
and she answered, that’s two times
talking to her this week
while I was away from home.
She doesn’t miss me much,
keeps busy, but a little missing
is better than nothing.
While in Copenhagen I experienced
Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra opera.
The orchestral music — beautiful,
moving, tender, and alive.
A few scenes really moved me,
such as when Boccanegra and Amelia
suddenly realized they
were father and daughter.
And another time
when Amelia’s lover, Adorno,
in a blind jealousy over her,
has nightmares of her with other men.
He loves her and she’s with them,
with some other men
and he’s powerless to make it stop,
the nightmares swirling ceaselessly
through his head. I’ve had
such nightmares so I know
how he feels. But thankfully
when I called her tonight she answered.


Thanks, Michael! Michael Estabrook writes: I'm a Marketing Communications Manager for a tiny division of a gigantic company, and man, going into an office every day can be excruciating. The stuffy air, the flourescent lights are killing me.
Thankfully I can retire in 10 or 15 years. But I still think that somehow I've got to get myself on some boat collecting phytoplankton, or into the rich brown hills of
Montana searching for T-Rex bones. Then again maybe I simply should've stayed on Northfield Avenue where I belong and learned to fix cars like my Daddy did.

Okay, so it's paucity, not parsity [see yesterday's post]. Too much sea air and 66° weather can addle the brain. Besides, making up new words is the province of the poet, yes?

CSUS Writers Conference in August:

Registration is now open for the CSU, Sacramento Writers Conference on Aug. 10-12, which will feature three days of lectures, workshops, critiques, panel discussions and reading events. Through July 21, the registration fee is $245; after that it's $285. Some of the evening readings will be free to the public. Register at 916-278-4433 or www.cce.csus.edu/conferences/writers/Conf07/index/htm/ Info: Amy Ruddell at aruddell@csus.edu.

Next Song of the San Joaquin issue:

Song of the San Joaquin, a quarterly publication of the Poets of the San Joaquin Chapter of California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc., accepts submissions of poetry having to do with life in the San Joaquin Valley of California. This area is defined geographically as the region from Fresno to Stockton, and from the foothills on the west to those on the east. Send typed manuscripts to: Editor, Song of the San Joaquin, PO Box 1161, Modesto, CA 95353-1161. Please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for return of unused poems and/or notification of acceptance. Be sure your return envelopes have the right amount of postage. Notification time may range from three weeks to three months. Send up to three poems per issue, name and contact information on each poem. E-mail submissions accepted but please put all identification on each separate poem including mailing address. Please send a three-to-five-line bio. For more information e-mail cleor36@yahoo.com/. (NOTE CHANGE OF E-MAIL). For samples of poetry from previous issues: www.ChaparralPoets.org/SSJarchives.html/. Writers retain all rights. Your submission of manuscripts is considered permission for one-time publication plus publication on our website and/or our calendar. If you do not wish to be considered for these please let us know in your cover letter. The editors reserve the right to correct punctuation and spelling. Every effort will be made to contact the poet in regard to such changes. Payment is one copy of the issue in which your work appears. A single issue is $5.00, the annual subscription $18. Send to address above. Make checks out to "Song of the San Joaquin". Deadlines: March 15 for Spring, June 15 for Summer, September 15 for Fall, December 15 for Winter.


—Michael Estabrook, Acton, MA

Copenhagen Airport, on line to check in
when a stocky, older gentleman
with a graying crew-cut and sandals suddenly
begins screaming in German,
“Freiheit! Freiheit!”
waving his passport around over his head.
It takes a minute or two
until he is surrounded by airport security guys
in their tall boots and yellow flak jackets.
They’re confused, talking to him calmly,
but he keeps on screaming,
“Freiheit! Freiheit!”
waving his passport around over his head.
Then a woman security agent
enters the scene, talking softly
(I can barely hear her
and she’s right next to me),
touching his arms gently.
He calms down then,
he’s sweating, his eyes bulging wide,
mouth so dry, but he calms down then.
And I think how there’s nothing
like a woman’s soothing voice
to calm a man down
and that if this were the States
that poor old fellow would’ve been down
on the ground a long time ago.


—Michael Estabrook

She danced with a young guy,
she told me, proud of herself,
danced with her 32-year-old Mexican guide
on the tour through Cancun
and the Chichén Itzá Mayan ruins,
she danced with him, with another guy!
He said she danced really well.
Of course she danced really well,
she’s beautiful, and he’s a guy.
Some of the other men there
liked her moves too! Surprise!
So smooth and rhythmic, flowing
like honey to the Mariachi Band beat.
I’m sure glad all those dancing lessons
we’ve been taking over the past
few years are finally paying off.


—Michael Estabrook

But to go back in time,
time the unstoppable monster,
to return to those earlier times,
would be wondrous, perhaps, maybe,
when we were young
and unfettered by all the cares and concerns
clutching at us, pulling us down
like an endless whirlpool sucking down
everything in its wake,
thrusting us down beneath the surface,
the waves lapping ceaselessly,
sometimes crashing furiously over us,
not permitting us the deserved respite
of a simple return,
a brief visit to those carefree times —
seemingly endless, soft sand, yellow sun, shimmering
warm water we could float upon listlessly
because at that time we had a big
yellow and red ball or an inflatable plastic sea monster
or a blue whale or a simple raft or maybe
just an old tire inner tube that we could use
to keep us afloat for a rest,
for the entire rest of our lives.



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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) 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.)

SnakeWatch: Up-to-the-minute Snake news:

Journals (free publications): Rattlesnake Review14 is now available at The Book Collector; contributors and subscribers should have received theirs by now. If you're none of those, and can't get down to The Book Collector, send two bux (for postage) to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 and I'll mail you a copy. Next deadline, for RR15, is August 15. VYPER6 (for youth 13-19) is in The Book Collector; next deadline is Nov. 1. Snakelets10 (for kids 0-12) is also at The Book Collector; next deadline is Oct. 1.

Books/broadsides: June's releases include Tom Miner's chapbook, North of Everything; David Humphreys' littlesnake broadside, Cominciare Adagio; and #3 in B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series, this one featuring Jane Blue.

ZZZZZZZ: Shh! The Snake is sleeping! There will be no Snake readings/releases in July or August. Then we return with a bang on September 12, presenting Susan Kelly-DeWitt's new chapbook, Cassiopeia Above the Banyan Tree. See the online journal, Mudlark, for a hefty sample of poems from her book; that’s http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. Also coming in the Fall: new issues of the Review, Snakelets and VYPER [see the above deadlines], plus more littlesnake broadsides from NorCal poets near and far, and a continuation of B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series—including an anthology of interviews to be released for Sacramento Poetry Month (October).