ALL HALLOW’S EVE
—Taylor Graham, Somerset
Nothing is what it seems.
This child in Liberty’s skirts
and the boy in the bunting top hat,
who are they, really, by day-
light of a falling year?
That figure invisible except
for the slit of eyes — is she
in burkha or a bio-warfare suit?
And what of the witch, and
what of the cowboy?
Under every costume is a skull,
to every treat a trick.
A candle is a glowing thread
inside the waxy flesh that melts.
I walk beside you in disguise.
And who are you, this late
October night? and who
(Previously published in West Branch)
Thanks, TG! And who is anybody? See below for more poems of hidden identity, things that go bump, and All Hallow's Eve. Meanwhile, a couple of contest deadline reminders (no rest for the wicked!):
Contests coming up:
•••The Towe Auto Museum is pleased to announce its Fourth Annual Automotive Poetry Contest for poems related in some way to the automobile or some form of personal land transportation. Deadline is November 10. First Prize winner receives $200, Second is $100 and Third is $50. Winners will be posted on the Towe website at www.toweautomuseum.org and will receive a Museum membership for one year. Info about how/where to send: 916-442-6802. The Towe Auto Museum is located at 2200 Front St. in Sacramento.
•••Bay Area Poets Coalition presents the Maggi H. Meyer Memorial Poeetry Contest, 2007. Prizes in each of three categories: $50 (First); $35 (Second) and $20 (Third), plus 3 Honorable Mention certificates. Open to all, except officers of BAPC and judges of this contest. Entries accepted between Oct. 1 and Nov. 15. Winners’ celebration to be held in Berkeley in Feb., 2008. Info, including fees, categories, and where to send: www.bayareapoetscoalition.org/.
—A.D. Winans, San Francisco
The night is alive
With street sounds
Strange love songs serenade
Outside the window
Invisible vampires wait
For the first sign of dawn
When dreams turn to ham
—Lord Brooke Fulke Greville (1633)
In night when colors all to black are cast,
Distinction lost, or gone down with the light;
The eye a watch to inward senses placed,
Not seeing, yet still having powers of sight,
Gives vain alarums to the inward sense,
Where fear stirred up with witty tyranny,
Confounds all powers, and thorough self-offense,
Doth forge and raise impossibility:
Such as in thick depriving darknesses,
Proper reflections of the error be,
And images of self-confusednesses,
Which hurt imaginations only see;
And from this nothing seen, tells news of devils,
Which but expressions be of inward evils.
—Walter de la Mare
Up on their brooms the Witches stream,
Crooked and black in the crescent's gleam;
One foot high, and one foot low,
Bearded, cloaked, and cowled, they go,
'Neath Charlie's Wain they twitter and tweet,
And away they swarm 'neath the Dragon's feet,
With a whoop and a flutter they swing and sway,
And surge pell-mell down the Milky Way.
Betwixt the legs of the glittering Chair
They hover and squeak in the empty air.
Then round they swoop past the glimmering Lion
To where Sirius barks behind huge Orion;
Up, then, and over to wheel amain,
Under the silver, and home again.
ALL HALLOW'S EVE
In the great silence of my favorite month,
October (the red of maples, the bronze of oaks,
A clear-yellow leaf here and there on birches),
I celebrated the standstill of time.
The vast country of the dead had its beginning everywhere:
At the turn of a tree-lined alley, across park lawns.
But I did not have to enter, I was not called yet.
Motorboats pulled up on the river bank, paths in pine needles.
It was getting dark early, no lights on the other side.
I was going to attend the ball of ghosts and witches.
A delegation would appear there in masks and wigs,
And dance, unrecognized, in the chorus of the living.
And another, this from Marie Riepenhoff-Talty, who moved away from us to Florida. She sent us the pic to go with her poem, a double-duty Halloween/Secret of Life poem:
—Marie Riepenhoff-Talty, Longboat Key, FL
Serious cyclists pass by
catch just a glimpse—
seniors in a silver Towne car;
the driver of the Budweiser truck;
orange-vested county workers;
mom, her blue Niki’s flying behind
her son’s jogging stroller;
two bored bus passengers
and me in my dusty red Acura—
look at the mooning scarecrow:
smile; do a double take
laugh out loud.
Scientists know the muscles;
the enervation; area of the cortex
responsible, but the secret (of life)
still lies in why such incongruity is
followed by these peculiar bodily actions
and why it feels so good.
Laughing at the Moon
Photo by Marie Riepenhoff-Talty
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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.) Medusa cannot vouch for the moral fiber of other publications, contests, etc. that she lists, however, so submit to them at your own risk. 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 (rattlesnakepress.com).
SnakeWatch: Up-to-the-minute Snake news:
Journals: The latest issue of Rattlesnake Review (#15) is available for free at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or send $2 to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. Next deadline is November 15. The two journals for youngsters, Snakelets and Vyper, are on hiatus; no deadlines this Fall.
New in October: Rattlesnake Press celebrated Sacramento Poetry Month on Wednesday, October 10 with the release of Spiral, a rattlechap by Kate Wells; Autumn on My Mind, a free littlesnake broadside by Mary Field; and #5 in the free Rattlesnake Interview Series by B.L. Kennedy, this one featuring Sacramento Poet Laureate Julia Connor. Also released that night was Conversations, Volume One of the Rattlesnake Interview Anthology Series (a collection of B.L.'s conversations with eleven Sacramento poets), as well as a free broadside tribute to poet/publisher Ben L. Hiatt, commissioned by Rattlesnake Press and designed by Richard Hansen from poetry by B.L. Kennedy and artwork by Patrick Grizzell. All of these are available at The Book Collector, 100 24th St., Sacramento, or from rattlesnakepress.com, or write to email@example.com/.
Coming in November: The Snake is proud to announce the release of Among Neighbors, a rattlechap from Taylor Graham; Home is Where You Hang Your Wings, a littlesnake broadside from frank andrick; and A Poet's Book of Days, a perpetual calendar featuring the poetry and photography of Katy Brown. Come celebrate the release of all of these on Wednesday, November 14, 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.