Thursday, July 03, 2008

Kalamazoo & Sleeping Beauty

Anthony Buccino


—Anthony Buccino, Nutley, NJ

I always wanted to
drive one of those
special trucks that
also ride on
railroad tracks.

I’ve even thought of
operating one of those
see-saw cars that
you pump the handle
and it goes on
the railroad tracks.
You used to see them
a lot in old movies
mostly Westerns
the see-saw carts, I mean.
I guess they come in handy
in mines and Indiana Jones
movies, not to mention
Blazing Saddles when
you’re building a railroad.

Who knew before this poem
there are societies for the
preservation of the handcar,
pump car, jigger, Kalamazoo?
We can all thank the mighty
Internet for bringing
a piece of history
into my daydream.


Thanks, Anthony! Anthony Buccino has been writing poetry since the mid-1970s. His early work was courtesy of a manual-portable Smith Corona, and, later, an electric Smith Corona which is safely ensconced in his attic, just in case. He published a poetry chapbook (Days You Knew Me) in 1976 when no one knew him. He attended Montclair State College as an English major, journalism minor. In the meantime, he published three books of essays about life and growing up in northern New Jersey: A Father’s Place—An Eclectic Collection is a mix of essays, reviews and fiction; Sister Dressed Me Funny consists of a dozen essays about Catholic school nuns, a Cub Scout newspaper collection contest, Grandma's house in the country, junior high school bus antics and more; Rambling Round, Inside and Outside at the Same Time, an essay collection, represents the best of Buccino's humor and homage to living life every day with tongue firmly in cheek while hoping for something funny to happen. Buccino, a business news editor in Jersey City, rekindled his poetry bug about eight years ago with walks along the Hudson River at lunch.

Buccino is a prolific blogger and maintains about a dozen web sites, including his own and three local nonprofit groups. Some of his earlier essays and verse are published on his sites. His poems appear in The Paterson Literary Review; Celebrating William Carlos Williams and The Poetry of Place: North Jersey in Poetry; Rattlesnake Review; Raving Dove; CHEST, The Journal of the American College of Chest Physicians; The Poem Factory; The Idiom; MEWS and Edison Literary Review.
For more information, go to

Anthony's poetry has appeared in the last several issues of Rattlesnake Review. In the most recent, however (#18, p. 40), I typed his name as DAVID Buccino, probably because of my current typo disease, and also, I suppose, because of his poem being about David. He wrote to ask me if David was his evil twin... Anyway, thanks, Anthony/David, for sending poetry and for putting up with us. Watch for more of his work in Rattlesnake Review #19, due out in mid-September (deadline is August 15).


LA POSE (Artist/Paul Delvaux)
—Anthony Buccino

Sleeping beauty dreams
Young women in hats, older boys in jackets
all dreaming different dreams

Single light, dark shadow
the model bathed in white
on the street a lamp glows

The art of the misdrawn ceiling
is unnoticed as the short-haired nude model dreams
the long-haired young ladies in their flowered hats draw



—Anthony Buccino

Essentially are
Talking to myself
And you
On the thoughts
Inside my head.
Welcome to my brain.


Calendar addition for this weekend if you're headed for the Bay:

•••Saturday (7/5), 10:30 AM: Come one! Come all! After the fireworks are over, come to hear the poetry fireworks at the Alameda County Fair, Fine Art & Photography area. Poets Laureate from Alameda County (Mary Rudge, Connie Post, and Martha Meltzer) will read poems and just talk about what it means to be a Poet Laureate in their town (coordinated by debee loyd). Come on by! Get a soda, an ice cream bar, a corn dog, a funnel cake (you get the idea) and join us for Saturday morning poems at the fair!! Info: Connie Post, Livermore Poet Laureate,


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

Visions and Views, Volume 2
By Joe and Susan Finkleman
Poetry CD

I have known Joe Finkleman since the mid ‘80’s when he was an active reader on the Sacramento poetry scene: deep and at times dark lyric poems that seemed to go through the reader. Now, with the aid of a second voice supplied by his wife, Susan, comes Visions and Voices, Volume 2, a beautiful collection of 17 poems for dual voices. I can’t speak for most lovers of spoken word, but this CD collection is a must-have. I have always felt that there is an “alive-ness” when one has the experience of poetry off the page and performed the way it was written by the poet (or in this case, poets) of profound talent. So, if you have the chance to catch Joe and Susan Finkleman at any number of poetry venues in town, purchase this CD. Trust me, you will enjoy the experience.

[Editor’s note: Joe and Susan have a SpiralChap from Rattlesnake Press that includes some of their dual-voice poems in print. Click on at the right of this column and go to “SnakeRing SpiralChaps”; click on their names on the SpiralChaps page. You can also go directly to their website, from there or from the SnakeFaves page.]


Medusa's still in the middle of a give-away [see Tuesday’s post]. Send me a poem about the sense of smell—good smells, bad smells, familiar, nostalgic, anything that emphasizes the sense of smell. Get them to me any time between now and midnight next Monday, July 7, and I'll send you ANY Rattlesnake Press product of your choosing, free! That's right—rattlechaps, spiralchaps, HandyStuff, Conversations—your choice, just for the elbow grease of putting together a scent poem and sending it to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. Here are a couple to get your nose in gear:

—István Örkény

The janitor was the first to notice the smell. He broke down the door. He spotted the farewell note on the stone floor of the kitchen. It was tucked under a small ceramic ashtray with the butt of the victim's last cigarette. IT IS MY FIFTY-FIRST BIRTHDAY, it said. THE TENANTS DO NOT LIKE ME. THE LANDLORD REFUSES TO FIX MY LEAKY TAP. I WANT TO DIE. (Signed: Mrs. Mihaly Berger. The cigarette bore traces of fresh lipstick.)


—Russell Edson

Here I am with my mother, hanging under the molt of years, in a garden of umbrellas and rubber boots, together always in the vague perfume of her coat.

See how the fedoras along the shelf are the several skulls of my father, in this catacomb of my family.


Today's LittleNip:

With his five senses he asserts the world's solidity, with language he makes it real.

—Stephen Dobyns



SnakeWatch: What's Up With Rattlesnake Press

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; #2 in Katy Brown's series of blank journals (Musings Two: Vices, Virtues and Obsessions); 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.