Friday, June 06, 2008

Squeak, Squeak, Squeak

Carol Louise Moon


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

Not today, Dr. Kildare
sqeak, freak, tweak
Is that alright with you,
Daddy? squeak, tweak
Cartoon blockbuster, Buster
squeak, squeak, squeak

Don't speak... glass
cleaner leaves no streaks
freak, tweak, squeak

I'll crawl through the vent
in the wall down the hall
freak, squeak, freak
just to get a peek
at the Simultaneous Bird

How absurd! TV, popcorn
and a bird on a perch!
Just don't leave me in the lurch
at the church.
How long do you think
We're gonna be on this island,
At least a week?! tweak, tweak


Thanks, Carol Louise! Carol Louise Moon has been published in Brevities, Rattlesnake Review, Poetry Now, Updrafts and Poets Forum Magazine. Watch for a new littlesnake broadside from her (Mindfully Moon), coming this Wednesday evening to The Book Collector.


This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Tonight (Friday, 6/6), 5:30 PM: Enjoy a night under the stars of Murphys with poetry from the West! Complete with a chuck wagon barbecue buffet, the night will be reminiscent of an evening on the old cattle drive trail. Presented by the Cowpoke, the night will feature the cowboy poetry of Pat Richardson, John Kitz and Jeralynn Strong. The Supper bell will ring around 5:30 PM for all to gather around the chuck wagon. For a full evening of entertainment, the event is a reasonable $40 per person. The event will be held in the great Ironstone Amphitheatre, 1894 Six Mile Rd., Murphys. Please call to make your reservations: 209-728-1251, Ext. 46, Paul E. Mundy Jr., Manager of Special Events, Ironstone Vineyards,

•••Sat. (6/7): Galleria Posada open mic in Spanish and English, 1024 22nd St., Sacramento. Contact for times: 916-456-5323 or or

•••Sat. (6/7): Rhythm N Rhymes open mic every first Saturday, webcast and filmed for public TV. Butch N Nellie's, near corner of 19th & I Sts., Sacramento. Contact for time:

•••Mon. (6/9), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents F. D. Reeve and Al Garcia at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Franklin Reeve is a poet, critic, and novelist who has had a varied career, for a while driving a combine in the Midwest wheat fields, later acting in summer theater and working as a longshoreman on the Hudson River docks. He learned Russian and spent a year in Moscow and Leningrad as an exchange professor between the ACLS and the Soviet Academy of Sciences. He also served as translator for Robert Frost during his historic visit to Russia to meet with Nikita Kruschev in 1962. His books of poetry include: The Toy Soldier, Bayeux Arts Press, 2006; The Return of the Blue Cat, New York: Other Press, 2005; "The Secret Orchard" published online by Verse Daily, 2003; The Urban Stampede and Other Poems, Michigan State University Press, 2002; A World You Haven’t Seen: Selected Early Poems (downloadable pdf) New York: Rattapallax Press, 2001; The Moon and Other Failures, Michigan State University Press, 1999; Concrete Music, Pyncheon House, 1992; Nightway, The Press at Colorado College, 1987; The Blue Cat, Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1972; In the Silent Stones, William Morrow, 1968. He has translated a dozen books from Russian, including Five Short Novels by Turgenev, the two-volume Anthology of Russian Plays, The Garden (poems by Bella Akhmadulina), The Trouble with Reason by Alexander Griboyedov, The King and the Fool by Alexander Borshchagovsky, and Lions and Acrobats: Selected Poems by Anatoly Naiman.

Al Garcia is the author of two poetry books: Rainshadow [Copper Beech Press, 1996] and Skunk Talk [Bear Star Press, 2005] He has had work published in North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, Laurel Review, Poetry East and Yankee Magazine. He is currently serving as the the Dean of the Languages and Literature Department at Sacramento City College. He lives with his wife, Terry, and three children in Wilton, where he chooses to consistently honor everyday moments.


Coming deadline:

Many local poets and Snakepals have had their work published in the beautiful Song of the San Joaquin, the journal published in Modesto by Poets of the San Joaquin, a chapter of the California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc. Deadline for the summer issue is June 15; the focus of the magazine is "poetry having to do with life in the San Joaquin Valley of California, defined as the region from Fresno to Stockton," and from the foothills on the west to those on the east. (If you think you don't have any poetry that fits this geography, though, think again.) Check them out at or submit or write to the editor at Submissions are three poems, 3-5 line bio, SASE, name/info on each poem. PO Box 1161, Modesto, CA 95353.

Speaking of Song of the San Joaquin, here are three poems from Editor Cleo Griffith, who manages to maintain a productive writing life even while she edits. Cleo came up to Sacramento for last month's rattle-read, and rumor has it that she'll be here again this month...

—Cleo Griffith, Modesto

Billboards, conspicuously rainbow,
flash past my eyes
purple, red, royal blue, plum,
yellow, orange.

While home for a visit
my son ate cut-up oranges
with his good right hand,
pickled beets deep cranberry-purple,
Red Delicious apples
steeped in deep red illusion
which turned out to be dry,
tasteless as cardboard,
with no crisp succulence
but we ate it,
and the orange,
hold each other
in our rainbow security
even now
in the car, the traffic, the way back.


—Cleo Griffith

His eyes, flat black,
see something of your fairness
although he does not soften,
this friend who smiles only for you.

The rest of us, over time, become porous,
take in moisture, become spongy,
absorbing and relinquishing.

He stands dry.
Through rain and drought
nothing changes him
yet he chooses to have you to touch
with his sleek cold hand.

Perhaps he is melting outward from his core.
Too slowly, oh too slowly to match his lifetime.
He will still weigh heavily as his coffin is lowered
to merge with cold hard ground
from which he never enjoyed
wild grasses of the field, bird feathers,
sips of mountain springs
and yet made one friend out of some need
he will never understand.
Life is too short
for his mystery.


Elizabeth and Bandit

The old movie still entrances:
gargantuan of an ape,
anger in his eyes abating
as the tiny frail woman
lies awestruck in a brute-hand
which could crush a bridge.

They face no arguments
in their contact,
no decline of affection, attention,
time-stopped in this
black-and-white dimension
of basic emotions.

No Kong now, no Beast for Beauty,
but the large black dog with requited love,
solid gargantuan head,
her small hand beside his massive paw,
edge of fear subdued by soft eyes
of longing.

—Cleo Griffith


Today's LittleNip:


verbs polish nouns into mirrors;
adverbs perfectly reflect or distort meaning;
adjectives modify fuzzy reality.

In this house of language
words dance between the mirrors;
float beneath the undefined ceiling;
gather momentum for release.

—Katy Brown, Davis




(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.