Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Cosmic Ship

—Anna Swir (Anna Swirszczynska)

My body, you are an animal
whose appropriate behavior
is concentration and discipline.
An effort
of an athlete, of a saint and of a yogi.

Well trained
you may become for me
a gate
through which I will leave myself
and a gate
through which I will enter myself.
A plumb line to the center of the earth
and a cosmic ship to Jupiter.

My body, you are an animal
for whom ambition
is right.
Splendid possibilities
are open to us.


—Anna Swir

Walking to your place for a love feast
I saw at a street corner
an old beggar woman.

I took her hand,
kissed her delicate cheek,
we talked, she was
the same inside as I am,
from the same kind,
I sensed this instantly
as a dog knows by scent
another dog.

I gave her money,
I could not part from her.
After all, one needs
someone who is close.

And then I no longer knew
why I was walking to your place.


Submit to California East

Have your poems published in the West Coast’s new literary Magazine/Collection! Now accepting all poetry—no censorship of any kind, but please watch the obscenities. No real theme, but if you have anything about East Coast vs. West Coast or LA vs. NYC, it is certainly welcome! No word limitations, but one poem to a page. Send to: Radomir Luza, CEO/Radman Productions, 6300 Lankershim Blvd., Apt. #321, North Hollywood, CA 91606-3540.


•••Weds. (9/5), 7:30-11 PM (doors open at 7): On the Road… Again: Luna’s Café presents A Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Publication of On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Readers include Matt Amott, Todd Cirillo, Josh Fernandez, Patrick Grizzell, Robert Grossklaus, B. L. Kennedy (reader and host), Megan, Jackie Schaffer, D.R. Wagner, Terryl Wheat. 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Free.


—Anna Swir

I'm curled into a ball
like a dog
that is cold.

Who will tell me
why I was born,
why this monstrosity
called life.

The telephone rings. I have to give
a poetry reading.

I enter.
A hundred people, a hundred pairs of eyes.
They look, they wait.
I know for what.

I am supposed to tell them
why they were born,
why there is
this monstrosity called life.


—Anna Swir

For the last time I wash the shirt
of my father who died.
The shirt smells of sweat. I remember
that sweat from my childhood,
so many years
I washed his shirts and underwear,
I dried them
at an iron stove in the workshop,
he would put them on unironed.

From among all bodies in the world,
animal, human,
only one exuded that sweat.
I breathe it in
for the last time.
Washing this shirt
I destroy it
only paintings survive him
which smell of oils.

(Today's poems were translated from the Polish by Czeslaw Milosz and Leonard Nathan.)



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 (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.) For more info about the Snake Empire, including guidelines for submitting to or obtaining our publications, click on the link to the right of this column: Rattlesnake Press (

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

Chapbooks/readings: The Snake returns with a bang on Wednesday, September 12, presenting Susan Kelly-DeWitt's new chapbook, Cassiopeia Above the Banyan Tree, at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. See the online journal, Mudlark, for a hefty sample of poems from her book; that’s And read more about Susan at her nifty new website, Click on "Chapbooks" for a sneak preview of Cassiopeia's cover.

Also coming September 12: The new issue of Rattlesnake Review (15), plus a littlesnake broadside from dawn dibartolo (Blush), and a continuation of B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series—including #4 (frank andrick). Next deadline for Rattlesnake Review (16) is November 15.