Thursday, June 05, 2008

Demeter & Other Golden Girls

Temple of Demeter, Naxos, Greece

jolena holt, Fair Oaks


I will disperse in all directions
(a flowering acacia tree)

bright yellow and full of pollen

I will be a single daffodil
or the mustard plants
in the alfalfa field


my flowering puffs
will blow in the east wind
as I cajole with the west wind
and land in your garden

I will plant myself in a million ways
brush up against your buttered dandelions
lay down on your soaked black earth


when I arrive (late)

I will build a house
of adobe bricks
and yellowed straw

and a hearth of sand stone

I will light a fire
for warmth

and cook


Thanks, Jo! jolena holt writes: After being accused of plagiarism in the fourth grade, I did not write again until the seventh grade, where I met an English teacher who encouraged me to write. Many English teachers later, I took the pen name, jolena holt. Lena is Hebrew for shelter or lean-to. Holt is German for burrow. I would like to burrow back into my lean-to, now.


Sacramento's Michelle Kunert has a different take on summer:

What horrid fashion comes out of the closet
(with the summer sun)
Bra straps publicly uncovered
with athletic tanks and spaghetti-stringed tubes
The look of street hooker and trailer trash
one can recall was banned in school
Perhaps for this school rules were right
along with banning these "shorts"
that only once looked good on Daisy Duke
but on so many others just show off cellulite
At a Crocker Art museum display of art "nudes"
I saw a Muslim lady wearing a Hawaiian-print hijiab
thinking these Arabs probably have the right idea
Not just religious modesty but for protection
for it's really not "cooler" to expose all this skin
just a modern Western sexual obsession
and skin cancer associations would agree

—Michelle Kunert


Thanks, Michelle!

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

by dave pishnery
10 pages, $10 + $2 (S&H)
Alan Horvath
Kirpan Press
P.O. Box 2943
Vancouver, WA 98668

I have generally found that it’s a very cool day whenever I get a package from Kirpan Press. Alan Horvath has been doing some wonderful things with d.a.levy and various other Cleveland poets. So, when I received a package a few weeks ago with a nicely bound edition of Random Sightings 1967 by d.a. levy, it was very cool. Also in that package was a copy of Night by dave pishnery and another book by that same poet. I wish that I could give dave pishnery a good review in this Drive-By, but I can’t, for the poetry in Night is, for the most part, a wasted effort. There is no lyric, no playful sense of language, only a few badly written poems by someone who should have stopped writing years ago.


—jolena holt, Fair Oaks


You are the monster
inside of me
who will not yield,

I see you smile
your teeth they are divine
and yet grotesque,

they are as sharp
as rage.


I smell your fear.

I see your head,
your torso,
and your tail.

You run and hide
(your tail curls and bristles).


You climb the ladder,
leaning on my yellow painted house.

You come to the front door and knock.

Behind my curtained window,
I see you.

Later, you are waiting by the white picket fence
sampling wild purple berries
the juice drips down your mouth, your breasts
(the inside of your legs)

After, you curl- up
sleeping just
inside the white picket fence
and garden gate,

wrapped in thick dark green ivy
(covered in sticky black and red beetles).

My Monster is inside my garden,
where I am a little girl

When She awakens,
I am alone like her
and we are waiting,


Three poet birthdays this week: Thomas Hardy last Monday, Allen Ginsberg last Tuesday, and Federico García Lorca today:

—Federico García Lorca

The golden girl
bathed in the water
and the water turned golden.

The algae and the branches
in shadow shadowed her,
and the nightingale sang
for the white girl.

The clear night came
muddied with evil silver
with bare mountains
under the tawny breeze.

The wet girl
was white in the water,
and the water ablaze.

The unblemished dawn came
with its thousand cow faces,
stiff and shrouded
with frozen garlands.

The girl of tears
bathed among flames,
and the nightingale wept
with charred wings.

The golden girl
was a white heron
and the water gilded her.


—Federico García Lorca

Through the branches of the laurel
I saw two dark doves.
The one was the sun,
the other the moon.
Little neighbors, I said to them,
where is my tomb?
In my tail, said the sun.
In my throat, said the moon.
And I who was walking
with the earth at my belt
saw two eagles of marble
and a naked girl.
The one was the other
and the girl was no one.
Little eagles, I said to them,
where is my tomb?
In my tail, said the sun,
in my throat, said the moon.
Through the branches of the laurel
I saw two naked doves.
The one was the other
and both were no one.

(Today's Lorca poems were translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin.)


Today's LittleNip:

Writing is so difficult that I often feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter.

—Jessamyn West




(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.......!



Coming next Wednesday, 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 (#18) of Rattlesnake Review! That's at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM, June 11. See you there!

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.