Thursday, June 19, 2008

Adventures at the Pigeon Buffet

Daniel Williams


—Daniel Williams, Wawona

To this pair of mating birds
The highest tower of Atlantis Casino
Is just a place to call home
With its view of snow peaks to the west
Overlooking the green oval of Virginia Lake
It might as well be a 22 story sandstone cliff—
Water to attract prey
About a thousand miles of open sky
Plenty of lighting for nesting near warmth

Happy peregrines—
From the atrium pool I watch as they
Swoop and dive the two of them
Wheeling and climbing
A flight of raptor joy over their domain
Where they flash in apricot beams of sunset
To look down from their apex upon
22 stories of pigeon buffet


Thanks, Dan! Daniel Williams, poet of the Yosemite region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of Northern California, has a master’s degree in English Literature from San Jose State University and has taught at Foothill College, Columbia College, and Metro. State in Denver. He has been a frequent reader for PoetsWest at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, and has also read at Epilogue Books and Cody’s Books in Berkeley. Recent work has appeared in Into the Teeth of the Wind, Tree Magic, Sierra Songs & Descants, A Fine Frenzy: Poets Respond to Shakespeare, Grrrrr: Poems about Bears, Rockhurst Review, and Artlife. [And, of course, Rattlesnake Review.]


—Daniel Williams

On April 25, '08
A 4.7 Richter hit Reno
Giving the casinos a good shakedown—
Windows waffled
Water in the pools and fountains riffled
Stacks of colored chips tumbled
Dice rattled in their slots

There is no gambler like nature
She’ll place everything on one hell
Of an impossible long shot bet
Coolly sipping her drink
Green eyes on the croupier
If everything goes south
No big deal
She’s got plenty of resources
And her credit’s always good

It is said that on this day in the Atlantis
13 pair of dice tumbled to the
carpeted floor
After the initial confusion
Someone read them and their numbers
Were called
Every pair was a seven
Except for the 13th
Which happened to be an eleven


B.L.'s Drive-by: A Micro-Review by B.L. Kennedy

By Sarah Langan
400 pp
Harper Collins

Not since Peter Straub wrote Ghost Story have I been so on edge with the writing of one single author. Sarah Langan’s book, The Missing (
winner of the 2008 Bram Stoker Award for best novel), is just the book for that rainy night when you want to fly out of your skin with a good scare. Look—all that I can tell you is buy the book. Trust me when I say that it will creep up on you.


—Daniel Williams

Room enough only for the grill
And six customers
The kid with his cap on backwards
Slaps red pancakes onto the fire
Then carefully dresses his buns
Jeannie a heavy girl with pretty face
Is our french fry maiden
Milkshake queen
The air around her abuzz
With frying fat

Lost people from some big city
Wander in and ask if they might have
A vegan burger
‘Only real burgers sold here’
Jeannie’s quick reply
‘I can sell you the complete burger
Without the meat
But it’ll cost you just the same’

The kid with the cap
Looks puzzled at a ticket
Calling for burgers with no meat
You can almost hear stunned cattle
Mooing in the back room—
It’s almost like souls in hell
Requesting fresh daisies

Somewhere pale ascetics with mystical
Eyes dine on the gorgeous perfumes
Of the mythical blooms of paradise

But not here under a sierra sky—
You won’t find them
At the Giant Burger 88


Today's LittleNip

I've been in love three hundred times in my life, and all but five were with books.
—Lee Glickstein

Books are a load of crap.
—Philip Larkin



SnakeWatch: What's Up With Rattlesnake Press

New in June:
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 (#18) of Rattlesnake Review! Now available at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or (soon) from (Snake contributors and subscribers will be receiving their copies in the mail next week. If you're not among either of these, and can't get down to The Book Collector to get your free copy, send me two bux and I'll mail you one: P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.)

The Snake will be snoozing through July and August, leaving Medusa to carry on alone. Then on September 10, we shall burst back onto the scene with Ten Poems, a new chapbook from Patrick Grizzell, plus Issue #19 of Rattlesnake Review. (Deadline is August 15.) Meanwhile, look in on Medusa every day, and, for heaven's sake, keep sending stuff! The snakes of Medusa are always hungry...

Medusa's Weekly Menu:

(Contributors are welcome to cook up something 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 future issues of 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 ravenous poetic souls.

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


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.