Thursday, May 15, 2008

Persephone Joins Us

Theresa McCourt

Allegra Silberstein

—Allegra Jostad Silberstein, Davis

After the white and pink blossoms fall
golden mustard combs the orchard and spreads
across the fence like sunlight…

the roadside inhabited by faith.

In a vacant lot
between tall buildings this upcoming yellow
grows tall as a forest…

redwing blackbirds sing canticles there.

(first appeared in California Quarterly, Vol. 33 No. 4)


—Theresa McCourt, Sacramento

Unmooring behind the backs
of coal-darkened warehouses,
small window after small window
cracked or smashed,

we saw the spoilage,
the rusty pipes crisscrossed
over and under,
leaking corrosives.

Then the murky water seemed
to renew in a meadowy place,
with coots and moorhens calling.

The twilight returned starlings,
thousands swirling,
pouring themselves into the reeds.

That night, head against the stern,
I dreamt my first living creature,
a slate-eyed wolf, staring.

Thirty years later, I am parked
in a new, mostly empty lot:

And birds, just past dawn, rise and
fall on ground they cannot enter,
splinter the air into bits of black ash.


•••Tomorrow (Friday, 5/16), 7 PM: Poetry at Wild Mountain in Placerville features Allegra Jostad Silberstein and Theresa McCourt. An open mike follows. Wild Mountain Books and More is located at 352 Main St., Placerville. There is no charge.


(Persephone’s Song)
—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

vision glides delirious
through green, blossoming leaf buds
mineral-rich satisfaction of warm earth
new grass’s fresh sweetness

trees dance like maidens
in sunlight daily brighter
strong, clean breeze lifts branches,
sparkling strands of peridot

my housebound cat begs me
to throw open all windows
bats the screen with his head
dreams he weaves through long emerald blades

toast and coffee suffice this morning
my senses swim, intoxicated
renewed by Earth’s
un-self-conscious, selfless resurrection


—Ann Wehrman

eyes gleam between
narrowed lids
twist of lip
nostril’s flare
long, thin finger
in white kid glove
details clean path
through dust
notes corner web
un-made-up face
unwashed coffee cup
scrutiny races
in quickening, darkening circles
intoning its Symphonie Fantastique

until sky lightens
breathing eases
witches fly away


—Ann Wehrman

still cool, spring’s breeze
wafts clean, insistent
wet black loam smells
of turning up, opening, warming
sun soft, brighter daily, coaxes earth
pointillist leaf and flower buds,
fruit trees riot
blossoms flame open, fall, scatter
a giant behind pink-edged clouds
pours spring rains from his watering can
nurturing, soaking
regal purple violets
with sweet, translucent stems
daffodils that bend and dance
like fields of monks in prayer
sun’s new again warmth
brings drying, cleaning of lungs
a taller stance
I put away winter’s hats and gloves
breathing more deeply, I walk
through tree-lined corridors
feel my thoughts narrow
align with cosmic rays
spring’s renewing breeze pushes me to dance—
willing, alone, exultant—
in its new green vat of re-creation
Eve in the twenty-first century’s Garden,
I smile to the snake,
sunning himself, at rest

Photo by Stephani Schaefer, Los Molinos

Thanks, Ann! Speaking of snakes, don't forget that TODAY (May 15) is the deadline for Rattlesnake Review #18, due out in mid-June. Send 3-5 poems, photos, art, whatever-have-you that the Snake might like to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. Watch for more poetry by Ann Wehrman in the up-coming issue, and if you don't have a copy of her free littlesnake broadside, write and ask me and I'll send you one.


B.L.'s Drive-By of the Week: A micro-review by B.L. Kennedy

Heart-Shaped Box

By Joe Hill
Harper Collins

Heart-Shaped Box is the debut novel by Joe Hill that should not be ignored. Here is an unsettling ghost story that will not only scare but will delight you. With the author’s lyrical style, the book simply kicks ass! So, if you are looking for a thrill ride by a talented new writer, check out Joe Hill.


Today's LittleNip:

Societies that don't eat people are fascinated by those that do.

—Ronald Wright




(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.......!



New for May: Rattlesnake Press is proud to announce the release of Among Summer Pines by Quinton Duval and a littlesnake broadside, Before Naming, by Stephani Schaefer.

Coming June 11: Two Moons in June: Join us at The Book Collector for the premiere of Day Moon, a new chapbook by James DenBoer, and Mindfully Moon, a littlesnake broadside by Carol Louise Moon, as well as
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, Viola Weinberg and Phillip T. Nails. All this PLUS a brand-new edition of Rattlesnake Review! That's at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM.

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.