Thursday, May 01, 2008

A Lily of a Day

Photo by Jane Blue

—Jane Blue, Sacramento

Astonishing, how it turns itself inside out
for love, I guess. One blossom
unfurls before my eyes. It's looking out the window
like Sherlock Holmes acting as though
he’s not expecting anybody, Holmes
in the disguise of a beautiful woman. How
does he pull it off? Certainly, there’s something
masculine about the hibiscus—that bright yellow
phallus that the crepey petals pull away from.
And it lasts little longer than a May fly.
Everything is relative. All creatures are about
procreation. I like the image of Sherlock Holmes:
a mystery within a mystery; smoke and mirrors.


May Day!

No, it isn't an emergency, it's the first day of May! Maypoles, and all that—I actually remember having to dance around one in grammar school. (Okay, I'm showing my age.) Anyway, rattlechapper Jane Blue was inspired by yesterday's LittleNip (Stephen Dobyns' line about the inside of the hibiscus), so she wrote the wonderful poem above and took the picture in her yard. Thanks, Jane, for the beautiful images. What a great gift for May Day! Pick up a copy of Jane's chapbook, Turf Daisies and Dandelions, at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or order it from

On a different note, Katy Brown says:

Hooray! Hooray! The first of May!
Outdoor sex begins today!

—Katy Brown, Davis

Well, yes, there's that, too.......... As Jane's poem says, "All creatures are about procreation." Pick up a copy of Katy Brown's new journal, Musings, at The Book Collector, too, or order it from It's full of photos and other prompts on blank pages, room to write many, many wonderful poems of your own. (And send them in to Medusa or Rattlesnake Review!) Speaking of which...

Three May 15 deadlines coming up:

•••Deadline is May 15 for the eighteenth issue of Rattlesnake Review, Medusa's pride and joy and the flagship publication of Rattlesnake Press. Send poems, art, photos, cogent quotes, queries for articles—you name it, we're probably up for it! to or Kathy Kieth, P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No bio or cover letter needed; no simul-subs or previously published work.

•••Deadline is also May 15 for Artists Embassy International’s Fifteenth Annual Dancing Poetry Contest. All DPF prize winners will receive a prize certificate suitable for framing, a ticket to the Dancing Poetry Festival ’08, and be invited to read their prize winning poem at the 2008 Dancing Poetry Festival, September 27, 2008, Noon-4 PM in the Florence Gould Theater in the California Palace of the Legion of Honor Art Museum in San Francisco. Three Grand Prizes will receive $100 each, plus their poems will be danced and videotaped for the winners. Each Grand Prize Winner will be invited onstage for photo ops with the dancers and a bow in the lime light. In addition, five First Prizes will receive $50 each; ten Second Prizes will receive $25 each, and 25 Third Prizes will receive $10 each (over $1000 in prizes!). For any additional info, including submission guidelines, please visit

•••The California Arts Council is accepting nominations for California Poet Laureate, the officially recognized poet for the state of California, as selected by the Governor. Nominations are due by May 15, so take a look at the application now! Self-nominations are accepted.

B.L.'s Drive-By: A Micro-Review by B.L. Kennedy, Reviewer-in-Residence

By Jack Micheline
245pp $20.00 Hardcover
FMSBW Publishers
Distributed by:
The Jack Micheline Foundation
For the Arts
P.O. Box 30153
Tucson, AZ 85751

Jack Micheline spoke the truth. His poems pulled no punches. He called things as they are. If one were to ask Micheline if he was a poet, he'd say no… he was a painter. But, poet or painter, here is a collection of works that needs to find a home on the bookshelves of any lover of poetry.

The collection, Sixty Seven Poems for Downtrodden Saints, is hands-down the finest gathering of the poet’s work. It is a collection that you will not find in either Borders Books or Barnes & Noble, yet it is a book that should be read by every lover of poetry. Here are the author’s classics like “Jenny Lee” and “Souls”, side-by-side with lesser-known works such as “My City” or “Beauty is Everywhere Baudelaire” which give a full scope of Micheline the poet. Also included are several examples of Micheline the painter.

For years, poets have sought out a comprehensive edition of Jack Micheline, since most of his work was published in either broadsides and chapbooks, with one full collection, North of Manhattan, published in the early '80’s by Man-Root Press which is long out of print. So one should celebrate that there are still copies of Sixty Seven Poems for Downtrodden Saints out there for purchase. If you are indeed a lover of poetry, then you need this book. If you have no idea just who Jack Micheline was, well, then you really need this book!


—Czeslaw Milosz

O what daybreak in the windows! Cannons salute.
The basket boat of Moses floats down the green Nile.
Standing immobile in the air, we fly over flowers:
Lovely carnations and tulips placed on long low tables.
Heard too are hunting horns exclaiming hallali.
Innumerable and boundless substances of the Earth:
Scent of thyme, hue of fir, white frost, dances of cranes.
And everything simultaneous. And probably eternal.
Unseen, unheard, yet it was.
Unexpressed by strings or tongues, yet it will be.
Raspberry ice cream, we melt in the sky.


—Ben Jonson

It is not growing like a tree
In bulk, doth make man better be,
Or standing long an oak, three hundred year,
To fall a log at last, dry, bald, and sear:
A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May,
Although it fall and die that night;
It was the plant, and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be.


Today's LittleNip:

—A.R. Ammons

I'd give bushels of blooms
to bank my hardy cover
into your cushion mums


Photo by Stephani Schaefer, Los Molinos
Watch for a littlesnake broadside,
Before Naming,
coming from Steph on May 14!



Our condolences to fellow poet and Sacramentan Quinton Duval, whose mother passed away in Florida last weekend.



(Contributors are welcome to cook something up for any and all of these!)

Monday: Weekly NorCal poetry calendar

Seed of the Week: Tuesday is Medusa's day to post poetry triggers such as quotes, forms, photos, memories, jokes—whatever might tickle somebody's muse. Pick up the gauntlet and send in your poetic results; and don't be shy about sending in your own triggers, too! All poems will be posted and a few of them will go into Medusa's Corner of each Rattlesnake Review. Send your work to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline for SOW; respond today, tomorrow, or whenever the muse arrives. (Print 'em out, maybe, save 'em for a dry spell?) When you send us work, though, just let us know which "seed" it was that inspired you.

Wednesday: HandyStuff Quickies: Resources for the poet, including whatever helps ease the pain of writing and/or publishing. Favorite journals to read and/or submit to; books, etc., about writing; organizational tools—you know—HandyStuff! Tell us about your favorite tools.

Thursday: B.L.'s Drive-Bys: Micro-reviews by our irreverent Reviewer-in-Residence, B.L. Kennedy.
Send books, CDs, DVDs, etc. to him for possible review (either as a Drive-By or in Rattlesnake Review) at P.O. Box 160664, Sacramento, CA 95816.

Friday: NorCal weekend poetry calendar

Daily (except Sunday): LittleNips: SnakeFood for the Poetic Soul: Daily munchables for poetic thought, including short paragraphs, quotes, wonky words, silliness, little-known poetry/poet facts, and other inspiration—yet another way to feed our ever-hungry poetic souls.

And poetry! Every day, poetry from writers near and far! The Snakes of Medusa are always hungry.......!


SnakeWatch: News from Rattlesnake Press

Coming May 14: Join us on Wednesday, May 14 for the release of Among Summer Pines by Quinton Duval; a littlesnake broadside, Before Naming, by Stephani Schaefer; and Volume Three of Conversations, our third book of interviews by B.L. Kennedy, featuring Art Beck, Olivia Costellano, Quinton Duval, William S. Gainer, Mario Ellis Hill, Kathryn Hohlwein, James Jee Jobe, Andy Jones, Rebecca Morrison and Phillip T. Nails. That's at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM.

Also in May: Deadline for Issue #18 of Rattlesnake Review is May 15. Free copies of Issue #17 are available at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.

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.) 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 ( And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.