Thursday, September 18, 2008

We Did Laugh

nila northSun

—nila northSun, Fallon, Nevada

grandson is getting close
to the terrible twos
when i arrived
he just had on diapers
and he immediately wanted
to get dressed cause
he thought i was there
to pick him up
to see his great-grandparents
i know this 'cause
he said 'poppa'
i said no we're just going to
sit here and visit
he scowled and started to
pinch himself!!
he ís just a little baby
he ís still just saying moo when
i ask what the cow says
and meow when i ask
what the cat says
when i sing the itsy bitsy spider
his little fingers mimic mine
as they wiggle into the air
and now this devious twist
for his baby digits
the little bugger is
a budding self mutilator
his tiny little fingers taking
teensy little bits of arm flesh
and pinching
oh so sad to see
my little guy hurt himself
need to teach him
other ways of coping
i won't mention
gramma's suicide fantasies.


Thanks, nila! This Thursday (9/18), at 7:30 PM, The Nevada County Poetry Series features nila northSun and Sacramento's Terryl Wheat in the Off Center Stage (the Black Box theater, enter from Richardson Street) at the Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St., Grass Valley. Info: (530) 432-8196 or (530) 274-8384. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $5 general, seniors and students, and $1 for those under 18. Refreshments and open-mic included. [See last Tuesday's post for bios.]

Then Friday (9/19) at 7:30 PM, The Other Voice presents James Lee Jobe at The Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Road, Davis. Allegra Silberstein will host. There will be an open reading following the featured reader. This is a free event. Info: 530-750-3514. [See last Monday's post for a bio.] James Lee sent us this prose poem as a response to Medusa's Seed of the Week, which he (rightly) interpreted as being about letting go:

1st Wife
—James Lee Jobe

Dear Laura,

Hi. I saw a woman this morning that looked a lot like you, or rather, she looked as I would imagine you might look today. It is more than 30 years since my passion for you was as a young man's passion should be. I wrote you many poems, wrecked a relationship to be with you, went down in flames when you walked out on me. Let's just say it was you. You looked good, baby. Your eyes were darker than I remember, that might be the wear of years and other divorces, other late night clutchings that went south on you. You were standing in a line for cinnamon buns at a stand when I saw you, this fine spring morning, the air was as cool as a dream, and the sun draped across my skin like warm velvet, and I fell into line behind you, took a chance and smelled your hair, clean and fresh, new, just like before. The line was slow, way too slow for you, the way married life was. You grew bored, made little snuffling sounds of protest, and finally just wandered off, leaving me there on my own. This time I didn't crash, dear Laura, first wife, I stayed, waited it all out, smiled at other people who were waiting too, had a delightful breakfast on a shady bench, found a quarter on the ground, and pulled out my notebook one more time for you. Goodbye, goodbye.




—nila northSun

A co-worker of a couple months
said let’s do lunch
She figured to be
A team player
Slipped into the
Passenger seat
Beside him
He shifted gears smoothly
Flipped a cd in
And drove onto
The freeway
Where are we going?
She asked as buildings
Turned to trees
He purred I know a special place
It’ll be at the next exit
As he slipped his hand
Toward her knee
Bared from a too-short skirt
Damn it she thought
I should have worn pants
He took the exit
More rural
Trees and narrow roads
I think I made a mistake
I better get back
To the office
I don’t have time for lunch after all
She said looking at his face
For some tell tale signs

it was the last thing
she ever said

it’s about power
not about sex.


—nila northSun

you always hear how their eyes
were black holes
as they committed some
like the man
who just stomped his
2 year old to death
killing him way past dead
last weekend in california
or the woman who
drove a knife repeatedly into
her aging father's back
or even my cousin
as he held his young wife's
shot gurgling body down
so it could bleed out
while family and cops
stood in horror
and we saw black holes
dead eyes in his face
he didn't even look like my cousin
some zombie stranger instead
just like the father killing his
baby son
people holler
people grab at them
they don't hear
their black eyes don't see
they just do what they do
as if possessed

where is the chemistry in this?
somebody tell me
there is an explaination
and don't tell me about the devil
tell me how
the 'normal' person
suddenly does these things?
the good neighbor
the good co-worker
the good child
don't tell me about the devil
but i do believe
their soul is gone
how did that happen?
what ate it up?
and can we make it stop doing that?


—nila northSun

these lips
will not know
earthly pleasures
like the sip of wine
or your kiss
they will not whisper
what i have learned
about who i am
into your patient ear
that you might pass
my legacy onto
future generations
but for the time
i was here
we did laugh
we did tease
we did tell stories
remember that each day

and on some nites
you will feel
my lips brush your
sleeping cheek
and kiss the dried tears.


Today's LittleNip

Just get it down on paper, and then we'll see what to do with it.

—Maxwell Perkins



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

Now available at The Book Collector in Sacramento, and (soon) from
Thirteen Poems, a new chapbook from Patrick Grizzell; #2 in Katy Brown's series of blank journals (Musings2: Vices, Virtues and Obsessions); a free littlesnake broadside (Wind Physics) from Jordan Reynolds; plus Issue #19 of Rattlesnake Review (also free!). Contributor and subscription copies of RR19 will be going into the mail this week and next. Next deadline for submissions is November 15.

Coming in October: October’s release at The Book Collector on Weds., Oct. 8, will feature a new rattlechap from Moira Magneson (He Drank Because) and a littlesnake broadside from Hatch Graham (Circling of the Pack). That's at the Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else’s.

Then, on Thursday, Oct. 30, 8 PM, Rattlesnake Press will release two SpiralChaps to honor and celebrate Luna’s Café, including a new collection of art and poetry from B.L. Kennedy (Luna’s House of Words) and an anthology of Luna’s poets, artists and photographs (La Luna: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café) edited by Frank Andrick. Come travel with our Away Team as we leave the Home of the Snake for a brief road trip/time travel to Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento to celebrate Art Luna and the 13 years of Luna's long-running poetry series. Who knows what auspicious adventures await us there?

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 (sometimes): 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 and in-between! 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.