Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Along the Road

Photo by Jane Blue, Sacramento

—Raymond Carver

The mallard ducks are down
for the night. They chuckle
in their sleep and dream of Mexico
and Honduras. Watercress
nods in the irrigation ditch
and the tules slump forward, heavy
with blackbirds.

Rice fields float under the moon.
Even the wet maple leaves cling
to my windshield. I tell you Maryann,
I am happy.


—Raymond Carver

This much is clear to me now—even then
our days were numbered. After our first week
in the house that came furnished
with somebody else's things, a man appeared
one night with a baseball bat. And raised it.
I was not the man he thought I was.
Finally, I got him to believe it.
He wept from frustration after his anger
left him. None of this had anything to do
with Beatlemania. The next week these friends
of ours from the bar where we all drank
brought friends of theirs to our house—
and we played poker. I lost the grocery money
to a stranger. Who went on to quarrel
with his wife. In his frustration
he drove his fist through the kitchen wall.
Then he, too, disappeared from my life forever.
When we left that house where nothing worked
any longer, we left at midnight
with a U-Haul trailer and a lantern.
Who knows what passed through the neighbors' minds
when they saw a family leaving their house
in the middle of the night?
The lantern moving behind the curtainless
windows. The shadows going from room to room,
gathering their things into boxes.
I saw firsthand
what frustration can do to a man.
Make him weep, make him throw his fist
through a wall. Set him to dreaming
of the house that's his
at the end of the long road. A house
filled with music, ease, and generosity.
A house that hasn't been lived in yet.


Thanks to Sacramento's Jane Blue for the photo! She says she risked life and limb on the freeway to get it.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, August 15), is the next deadline for Rattlesnake Review! Send 3-5 poems, photos, artwork, whatever to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No cover letter, bio, prev-pubs or simul-subs. RR15 will be out in mid-to-late September.

Rattlechapper and ex-Sacramentan Steve Williams sent in his submission, along with the following: We are one of two poetry sites that will be included in an article in the upcoming Poet's Market 2008, due out this month. Constance [his lady friend and the mistress of the site] is quoted fairly extensively, and we are thrilled to be listed in the 'poet's bible.' That's www.wildpoetryforum.com/. Check it out! There's a direct link on the "Snake Faves" page of rattlesnakepress.com/.


—Raymond Carver

Her brain is an attic where things
were stored over the years.

From time to time her face appears
in the little windows near the top of the house.

The sad face of someone who has been locked up
and forgotten about.


(for Tess)
—Raymond Carver

Suppose I say summer,
write the word "hummingbird,"
put it in an envelope,
take it down the hill
to the box. When you open
my letter you will recall
those days and how much,
just how much, I love you.



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. If you want more than one, please send $2 for the first one and $1 for copies after that. 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/free 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).