Saturday, December 27, 2008
—Sandor Weores (1913-1989)
Oh for far-off monkeyland,
ripe monkeybread on baobabs,
and the wind strums out monkeytunes
from monkeywindow monkeybars.
Monkeyheroes rise and fight
in monkeyfield and monkeysquare,
have monkeypatients crying there.
evil monkey pounds his thrawn
feet in monkeyprison yet.
Monkeymill is nearly made,
miles of monkeymayonnaise,
winning monkeymind wins praise.
Monkeyking on monkeypole
harangues the crowd in monkeytongue,
monkeyheaven comes to some,
monkeyhell for those undone.
Macaque, gorilla, chimpanzee,
baboon, orangutan, each beast
reads his monkeynewssheet at
the end of each twilight repast.
With monkeysupper memories
the monkeyouthouse rumbles, hums,
monkeyswaddies start to march,
right turn, left turn, shoulder arms—
reflected in each monkeyface,
with monkeygun in monkeyfist
the monkeys' world the world we face.
(translated from the Hungarian by Elwin Morgan)
Start the new year with some submissions:
•••January 5 is the deadline for the Spring 2009 issue of Convergence, an onliine journal of poetry and art that has been revived by some Sacramento poets. Send five poems (or less) or fiction (1000 words or less) to Cynthia Linville (email@example.com) with “Convergence” in the subject line. No simultaneous submissions, please. Photographers and artists should send up to six jpegs of your work (no larger than 4 megabytes each). HINT: work from a series or with a common theme has a greater chance of being accepted.
•••Modoc Forum’s Surprise Valley Poetry Prize: Deadline for entries is the 15th of each month. Entries received after the 15th of the month will be considered for the next month’s contest. You may enter each month, but there are no repeat winners from month to month. The winning poem and one honorable mention winner will be published each month in the Modoc Independent News Book Page (Poetry Now Department) and on www.modocforum.org. The 12 monthly finalists are eligible for the annual prize of $500 for first place, $300 for second and $150 for runner-up. Monthly judges are editors of Modoc Independent News newspaper; final judge for annual winner is Sacramento Poet Laureate Julia Connor. No previously published or award-winning poems accepted. Mail submissions to: Modoc Forum, P.O. Box 126, Cedarville, CA 96104. Please include a SASE if you would like your poetry returned to you, otherwise it will be recycled. We do not accept electronic submissions. Entry fee is $12 per maximum of three poems, one page each; check or money order only. Payable to Modoc Forum, P.O. Box 126, Cedarville, Ca 96104. (FYI: The Modoc Independent News is a monthly newspaper with a readership of 4,000 in northeastern California and northern Nevada.)
•••Our October road trips inspired a new Rattlesnake publication, WTF, to be edited by frank andrick. This 30-page, chapbook-style (free) quarterly will primarily showcase the talents of readers at Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, but anyone over 18 is welcome to submit. Deadline is Jan. 15 for a Feb. 19 premiere at Luna’s. Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but please send three poems (each one page or less in length), photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to firstname.lastname@example.org (attachments preferred) or, if you’re snailing, to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. And be forewarned: this publication will be for adults only! so you must be over 18 years of age to submit.
Thanks to Marie Ross and Don Anderson for the following poems of New Year musing, which were both responses to Seeds of the Week. (Marie's was Waiting, and Don's was Light.)
ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MOON
—Marie J. Ross, Stockton
We walked under a bright yellow moon,
hand in hand gazing at the romantic glow.
After a night of bowling we would stop for
a glass of beer, laughing as we critiqued our
Our dates were meaningful as respect grew
and we fell in love, kisses tender but urgent.
It was at McArthur park that your embrace
told of a need to join, but we held back, until
one night under the half moon you asked me
to marry you.
June 1, a day like no other, we felt like teenagers
floating on cloud nine in orbit of earth.
Sixteen years of love, joy, excitement; there were
days when rain fell on our parade in a cloud burst
of words loud like thunder, and nights making love
as desire forgot and forgave.
Then heartbreak knocked on my door: I in a waiting
room, the surgery to fix you taking hours and hours
as metallic machines rolled in ticking and clicking.
Now my darling you wait, wait for me to meet you on
the other side of the moon, as I await for eternity to set
me on the moon beside you.
THE CHRISTMAS OF HOLY LIGHTS
—Donald R. Anderson, Stockton
The time is right
for me to turn out the light
and in the Christmas lights bask,
warmly glowing against the cool background,
I huddle and stare from a distance.
A cherishing distance.
This Christmas is like many others,
and yet it is unique.
So many things time teaches us,
sadness mixed with bliss,
a bittersweet cocoa to our hot chocolate.
And I remember us,
in the good times,
from a distance,
your little tree you gifted,
your open heart,
and mine, too open to be safe,
no longer willing to rough our warm bodies together,
no longer willing to be what I have outgrown.
I do not long for the past,
but it has gotten me where I am,
and for the moment's sake of what was,
I cherish the good and the bad,
and I cherish, in like kindred respect,
that holy present... the present that I live in.
That light, warmly glowing, that I know
will warm me forever,
but that I appreciate more,
from this distance.
THE BLACK HUNTSMAN
Before ever I knew men were hunting me
I knew delight as water in a glass in a pool;
The childish heart then
Was ears nose eyes twiceten fingers,
And the torpid slum street, in summer,
A cut vein of the sun
That shed goldmotes by the million
Against a boy's bare toe foot ankle knee.
Then when the old year fell out of the window
To break into snowflakes on the cold stones of City Hall
I discovered Tennyson in a secondhand bookstore;
He put his bugle for me to his bearded mouth,
And down his Aquitaine nose a diminutive King Arthur
Rode out of our grocery shop bowing to left and right,
Bearing my mother's sheitel with him;
And for a whole week after that
I called my cat Launcelot.
Now I look out for the evil retinue
Making their sortie out of a forest of gold—
Afterwards their dames shall weave my tzitzith
Into a tapestry,
Though for myself I had preferred
A death by water or sky.
On this dark cold morning
After the ice storm
A male pheasant
Steps precisely across the snow.
His red and gold,
The warmth and shine of him
In the white freeze,
A firecracker pheasant
Opens the new year.
—from "A Winter Notebook" by May Sarton
SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:
Rattlesnake Review: The latest issue (#20) is currently available at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one. The last of contributors' copies has gone into the mail. Deadline for RR21 is February 15: send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to email@example.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. E-mail attachments are preferred, but be sure to include all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!
NEW for December: A second chapbook from Danyen Powell (Blue Sky Flies Out); a free littlesnake broadside from Kevin Jones (Low-Rent Dojo), and a brand-new (free) issue of Rattlesnake Review (#20)! Stop by The Book Collector and pick up Christmas gifts such as Katy Brown's calendars and blank journals and all our other books—give the gift of poetry! We even have two books that are appropriate for kids: Poems in a Seashell by Kathy Kieth (a children's approach to writing poetry), and SpiralChap #1: The Heart of a Poet, poetry and art by Ashley Redfield and her brother when they were wee ones. While you're there, of course, you'll want to pick up a book or two for your own Christmas tree. And hey—TBC is even open on Sundays!
Also available (free): littlesnake broadside #46: Snake Secrets: Getting Your Poetry Published in Rattlesnake Press (and lots of other places, besides!): A compendium of ideas for brushing up on your submissions process so as to make editors everywhere more happy, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting your poetry published. Pick up a copy at TBC or write to me and I'll send you one. Free!
Coming in January: Other than the ever-restless Medusa, the Snake will be snoozing during January; no releases or readings. But our October road trips inspired a new Rattlesnake publication, WTF, to be edited by frank andrick. This 30-page, chapbook-style (free) quarterly will primarily showcase the talents of readers at Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, but anyone over 18 is welcome to submit. Deadline is Jan. 15 for a Feb. 19 premiere at Luna’s. Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but please send three poems (each one page or less in length), photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to firstname.lastname@example.org (attachments preferred) or, if you’re snailing, to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. And be forewarned: this publication will be for adults only! so you must be over 18 years of age to submit.
Coming February 11: A new rattlechap from Sacramento's Poet Laureate, Julia Connor (Oar); a littlesnake broadside from Josh Fernandez (In The End, It’s A Worthless Machine); and the premiere of our new Rattlesnake Reprints, featuring The Dimensions of the Morning by D.R. Wagner, which was first published by Black Rabbit Press in 1969. That’s February 11 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.
Medusa's Weekly Menu:
(Contributors are welcome to cook up something for any and all of these!)
Monday: Weekly NorCal poetry calendar
Tuesday: 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 email@example.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline for SOWs; 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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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 (rattlesnakepress.com). And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.