Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Now Is The Season Of Hungry Mice

Fog gotcha cranky?

—Lizette Woodworth Reese

What grave has cracked and let this frail thing out,
To press its poor face to the window-pane;
Or, head hid in frayed cloak, to drift about
The mallow bush, then out to the wet lane?
Long-closeted scents across the drippings break
Of violet petunias blowing there,
A shred of mint, mixed with whatever ache
Old springs have left behind wedged tight in air.
Small, aged things peer in, ready to slip
Into the chairs, and watch and stare apace;
The house has loosened from its grasp of yore
Dark-horded tales. Were I, finger on lip,
To climb the stair, might I not fiind the place
Turned all to huddled shape, white on the floor?


Fog? What fog? Those of us who live at 4000' and beyond are above it all, but I well-remember 60 years of grinding tule fog, how it can get on your nerves, make you mad with dreams of sunnier days. Today's Seed of the Week is When The Fog Lifts. No deadline; send me your poems about wandering around in the (a) fog.

Meanwhile, come join us tomorrow night at The Book Collector for our Christmas bash, which will include a hot, sunny new issue of Rattlesnake Review! But first, a cheery photo from Frank Graham to brighten your weather:

Photo by Frank Dixon Graham, Sacramento

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

In the winter burdocks
birds fade out of view
each nascent sky is grey
only the beige snow is new.

And all beliefs, visions
childhood dreams, prophecies
fall on the meadow
the stars to my knees.


—B.Z. Niditch

It was a brown moment
when the earth rained
and all the floods of stories
children's tales, dream
overlooked me.
I had wished like Pan
to adore my early days
and on unmade beds
house planted
by blue ink notes,
turning out proverbs
which will remember me.

Then came December's ice
when sculptures I had planned
turned out
to be the vapor
left for right now,
and all the sorrow of exile
daily nightmares, demons
promises aged to myself
reign over
the twin seasoned refugee.


—Mary Oliver

The terror of the country
Is not the easy death,
The fall of hawks out hunting
Across the musical earth,

Nor yet the useless borning
In every leafy den.
The terror is that nothing
Laments the narrow span.

Beasts of all marvelous feature,
Of vibrant hoof and wing,
Watch the white hands of winter
Undoing everything,

And do not cry or argue.
The starvlings of the day
Never dreamt of better.
Nibbling, they fall away.

The terror of the country
Is prey and hawk together,
Still flying, both exhausted,
In the blue sack of weather.


—Mary Oliver

Now is the season
of hungry mice,
cold rabbits,
lean owls
hunkering with their lamp-eyes
in the leafless lanes
in the needled dark;
now is the season
when the kittle fox
comes to town
in the blue valley
of early morning;
now is the season
of iron rivers,
bloody crossings,
flaring winds,
birds frozen
in their tents of weeds,
their music spent
and blown like smoke
to the stone of the sky;
now is the season
of the hunter Death;
with his belt of knives,
his black snowshoes,
he means to cleanse
the earth of fat;
his gray shadows
are out and running—under
the moon, the pines,
down snow-filled trails they carry
the red whips of their music,
their footfalls quick as hammers,
from cabin to cabin
from bed to bed,
from dreamer to dreamer.

The fox that visits us every night
Photo by Sam the Snake Man


Today's LittleNip:

Returning to my hermitage after a journey
to distant mountain villages;
Along the fence, the last chrysanthemums linger.

(translated by John Stevens)



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

Rattlesnake Review: Deadline for the current issue (#20) has passed (it was Nov. 15); that issue is currently rattling around in the SnakePit and will be released at The Book Collector reading on December 10, then mailed to contributors and subscribers in mid-December. Next deadline 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 kathykieth@hotmail.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!

Coming in December: Join us at The Book Collector on Wednesday, December 10, for the release of a new chapbook from Danyen Powell (Blue Sky Flies Out); a littlesnake broadside from Kevin Jones (Low-Rent Dojo), and a brand-new issue of Rattlesnake Review (#20)! That's at 7:30 PM,
1008 24th St., Sacramento. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's.

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. Write to me and I'll send you one. Free!

Coming in January: 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 quarterly journal will primarily showcase the talents of readers at Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, but anyone 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 send three poems (each one page or less in length), photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to fandrickfabpub@hotmail.com (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.

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 kathykieth@hotmail.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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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.