Friday, October 31, 2008

Tightening Orion's Belt


Photo by Ann Privateer


LA DIA DE LOS MUERTOS
—Ann Privateer, Davis

I tighten Orion’s belt,
stroke the hair on the head of sorcery
enlivening my breath felt
in every pore of discovery.

This is the moment to ally
with ghouls and ghosts, to remember
the dead who awaken us asking, why
can’t I be with you in November?

Do not fret as you set the cemetery
table with flowers and food sedentary,
la día de los muertos candles flame,
flicker, burn, blow out as smoke takes each name.

___________________

This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Friday (10/31), 7:30 PM: Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol / Writers of the New Sun present their annual Annual Día De Los Muertos Poetry Reading honoring Those Who Have Gone Before, a tribute to Los Antepasados with poems, stories and songs featuring Francisco X. Alarcón, who will read from an upcoming collection of poems. La Raza Galería Posada in midtown Sacramento (1022-1024 22nd Street, (916) 446-5133; www.larazagaleriaposada.org/. Come and read your own poems to los muertos!

La Raza Galería Posada, a historic institution of local civil rights movements, was established on the belief that art and culture uplift, enlighten and build communities, education, and awareness about people and society. For information about Los Escritores, call 916-456-5323.

•••Friday (10/31), 7 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center Halloween Poetry Bash, HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Wear a costume!

•••Saturday (11/1), 12-4 PM: The annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival celebrates writers, nature and community at Civic Center Park in Berkeley with Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, Brenda Hillman, Al Young w/bassist Dan Robbins, Joseph Lease, Camille Dungy Avotcia, Mike Tuggle, Chirs Olander, Grace Fae & Grace Tea. Open reading, environmental updates, art activities; River Village: literary & environmental exhibitors. Info: www.poetryflash.org or 510-526-9105. Watershed is a collaboration of Robert Hass (US Poet Laureate, 1995-97), Poetry Flash, Ecology Center/Berkeley Farmers’ Market and EcoCity Builders.

Also: a Pre-Festival Strawberry Creek Walk (poetry & creek restoration update) on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 10 AM (meet at Oxford & Center Sts. in Berkeley).

•••Monday (11/3), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Jan Beatty at HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Open mic after. Jan Beatty directs the Madwomen in the Attic Writing Workshop at Carlow University. Along with Ellen Wadey, she produces Prosody, a weekly radio program featuring the work of national writers. She is the author of three collections of poetry, including Mad River (Univ. Of Pittsburgh Press, 1995), winner of the Agnes Lynch Starret poetry Prize, Boneshaker (Univ. Of Pittsburgh, 2002), and Red Sugar (Univ. Of Pittsburgh Press, 2008). She has won fellowships from the Ucross foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Yaddo, the Heinz Foundation, and the Pablo Neruda Prize from the Tulsa Arts and Humanities. She currently resides in Pittsburgh with her husband, musician Don Holloway, and dons one of the funkiest pairs of glasses in all of the poetry world.

__________________

B.L.'s Drive-by: A Micro-Review by B.L. Kennedy:

Slaves of New York
By Tama Janowitz
Washington Square Press
278 pp, Trade-Paper, $6.95
ISBN 0-671-63678-2

Praise the local Used Bookstore for its hidden treasures of literature past! I was at Beer’s Books a few weeks ago when I just happened to stumble on some words from my past. Tama Janowitz’ Slaves of New York is, simply put, one of those rare short story collections that you cannot get enough of in this or any other life. This book was published way before Sex in the City, and is filled with laughs and sadness. So, if you happen to be in dire need of something to read that will lift you up with cool ease, go to your local Used Bookstore or your local library and get a copy of Slaves of New York. Then kick back some afternoon and just enjoy the trip.

___________________

MY CRAVINGS ROOM
—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

This room holds the casts off of my cravings
Earliest known:
The question WHY?
Beginning as a toddler until I went to school
Suffering punishment for who I was
Next was wanting to be invisible
If I am invisible
I am impervious to harm
I then craved normalcy
Alas a vain hope
In high school, a Catholic girls' high
I found acceptance
Began to look at my oddities
In the form of an asset

A young adult I wished for security
Found instead the lessons of
A fragile existence
With children
I wanted peace and quiet
Hah!
Now that I am older
And have it all
I ask Why not!

__________________

Thanks, Mitz, for the response to this week's SOW: the museum of my life. And thanks to Ann Privateer and Don Anderson and Marie Ross for the timely poems!

__________________

TROPICAL MANSION
—Donald R. Anderson and Marie J. Ross, Stockton

On pillars of off-white, gilded with serpentine floral pictographs,
stands the statue of Venus, reaching up with one palm to the sky.
Green netting drifts like veils in the breeze over the loggia’s roof.
On the staircase a thick-veined Iguana flicks its tongue watching
the furry-robed man make his way to the phone. It was a brisk
night, the howl of spooky Halloween ghosts from voodoo crypts
blew into his ears. The nutmeg tainted embers of a long-stemmed
cigarette smoldered in an unseen chamber. She’s watching!
She’s watching, always hating the cigarette smoke; from her headstone
she sent a bat flying in his direction, fang-toothed and drooling.
A quick prickle from the wind, and he starts to transform into a blurry skeleton.
She is laughing hysterically and is wishing this could have happened when she
was alive. Deep animal noises come from the surrounding jungle, and the man,
now a skeleton, begins to dance in seduction, around and around under the
howling moon he kneels at the altar of the voodoo queen. forgetting his wife
and her nagging ways.

__________________

AN OLD MINER'S GHOST
AND THE TOURIST
—Donald R. Anderson and Marie J. Ross

Pine needles sometimes turn brown,
when ravaged by dry weather in this ghost town.
The roof rusts like fossilized blood,
as leaves ride off its dampened crud.
A glowing mist condenses and disappears,
in the room where he used to drink many beers.
A lofty shadow creeps slowly across his mind
in an image so hideous and undefined.
Stone cold eyes peer through glass yellowed with dust,
a poor unfortunate, unsuspecting tourist from the upper
upper crust.
She witnessed a head of wax detached
by a guillotine with a sharp blade unmatched.
She inhaled so fast she fell over back,
on the railing of old wood, and the railing cracked.
In fear she thought the ghost would catch,
and touch her shoulder in bony scratch.
She ran and ran to her luxury sedan,
while sounds of the wind would forever haunt her like that
man.

__________________

Today's LittleNip:

RELIEVED BY HALLOWEEN

and its merchandising, retailers
pound stakes into the heart
of Labor Day: black cats and pumpkin-
grins at every checkstand: rows of candy
to sweeten the coming darkness. . .

Scraggly finches, relieved
by cool nights and the egress
of demanding chicks, leave cobwebby
tombs where noisy nests used to be,
take time to focus on fattening
themselves enough to slip past
the graveyard of winter. . .


—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines

__________________

—Medusa


SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


Next deadline for Rattlesnake Review is November 15! Send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems, please) to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.

Also coming in November: On November 12, Rattlesnake Press will release a new rattlechap from Red Fox Underground Poet Wendy Patrice Williams (Some New Forgetting); a littlesnake broadside from South Lake Tahoe Poet Ray Hadley (Children's Games); our 2009 calendar from Katy Brown (Beyond the Hill: A Poet’s Calendar) as well as Conversations, Vol. 4 of B.L. Kennedy’s Rattlesnake Interview Series. That’s Weds., November 12, 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.


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 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.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Godzilla Always Returns













frank andrick and Art Luna







B.L. Kennedy









LUNA’S CAFÉ
—B.L. Kennedy, Sacramento

Thursday night at Luna’s Café
I stand out front
The acoustics are better out front

I shoot the shit
With poet Frank Andrick

We talk serious art
The Cure
Patti Smith
Philip Lamantia
Artaud
Sonic Youth

Some local tries to catch
Our drift and disappears

When he catches the eye
Of some chick seated with Felicia McGee

Our discourse continues
As Kimi Julian takes to stage to read

We talk Arthur Rimbaud, Kenneth Anger
Frank has just given me some bootlegged
Copy of Lucifer Rising

Crawdad Nelson steps outside
He listens and hasn’t any idea
As to what we are talking about?

There is not that much difference between
Picasso and Godzilla

Yeah, says some dip shit seated by
The planter smoking an American Spirit

Godzilla always returns

______________________

Join us tonight for La Luna at La Luna!!

October is Sacramento Poetry Month!
Be sure to join us tonight (Thursday, Oct. 30) at 8 PM, when Rattlesnake Press will release not one, but two SpiralChaps to honor and celebrate Art Luna and Luna’s Café in Sacramento, 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??


Born in the Bronx, educated at Naropa Institute on scholarship (MFA) and at California State University, Sacramento (BA and two MA’s), and honored in the current Who’s Who in America, Bari Kennedy has an extensive list of credits, including numerous scholarships, grants, and awards (including the Danae Poetry Award, Texture Literary Award, SPC Lifetime Achievement Award, and Community Service Award from Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Council, 1989). For the past thirty years, Kennedy has served the Sacramento community by spearheading many poetry readings, fundraisers, and major poetry events in Colorado, Oregon, and Northern California, including the now-famous “World’s Longest Outdoor Poetry Reading” (1986, 1996, 2006), the annual “October in the Railroad Earth: An Annual Tribute to Jack Kerouac” (1980-2004) and the establishment of a special collection of books and other collectibles from Sacramento writers at the University of California at Davis Shields Library Special Collections Department. In 2005, he and Linda Thorell received a grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission to establish The Archives Group, dedicated to preserving the history of Sacramento’s poetry scene on videotape. The results of this collaboration were the documentary film, I Began to Speak.

B.L. is currently both Reviewer-in-Residence and Interviewer-in-Residence for Rattlesnake Review, where his poetry and picture-poems have also appeared, plus two previous poetry/art collections and the on-going series of collected interviews of NorCal poets, Conversations. He continues to co-host Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café in Sacramento, as well as his annual “Tribute to d.a. levy”. For further information and poems, see his page on rattlesnakepress.com (under “SnakeRings SpiralChaps”). And watch for “B.L.’s Drive-Bys”, his weekly micro-reviews on the Rattlesnake Press blog, “Medusa’s Kitchen” (medusaskitchen.blogspot.com).

This latest collection of Bari's is all about Luna's. It's a very personal take that consists of poetry and art pieces about his long experience there as a host, reader and listener. Together with frank's broader anthology (La Luna), B.L.'s Luna's House of Words will give you an insightful, irreverent view of what goes on at 1414 16th St. in Sacramento every Thursday night.

frank andrick: A Sac-Franciscan experimental mythologist whose work spans poetry, prose, story writing and telling. A Poet who loves mixing it up w/ music and movies while still holding the solo voice high. frank is the producer and host of “The Pomo Literati”, a two-hour spoken word program broadcast on KUSF San Francisco which features live reading performances, contemporary recordings, and archival rarities from pre-beat to post-modern. He also co-hosts Poetry Unplugged @ Luna's, an open mic, featured-reader series, which was Sacramento News & Reviews’ People’s Choice for Best Open Mic Venue. frank creates word-driven, multi-media events and poetry/performance tours. He is the author of Soluna, a collection of his poems and prose, and two littlesnake broadside from Rattlesnake Press: AOL (Aurelia Occultica Lamantia) and Home is Where You Hang Your Wings. He is preparing his next manuscript for publication, entitled Mandorla. Google him ...he loves it!!

For the past nine years, frank (and others) have been collecting poems and art work from readers at Luna's Cafe, the site of the long-running Poetry Unplugged series which was begun 13 years ago by Joe Montoya. Finally, the fruits of all their labors will see print (thanks to frank's fine editing) in the form of La Luna: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe (including some poetry and photography from Innkeep Art Luna, who did the cover shot!)—a dual-tribute to Art Luna, Luna's Cafe, and all the readers there, past, present and future.

Both La Luna and Luna's House of Words will be available tonight ($8 each) at Luna's, starting tomorrow at The Book Collector, and (soon) at rattlesnakepress.com/. Or, heck, send me $10 and I'll mail ya one (P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726). [Note "Sarah Palinism" (heck)...]

___________________

LAVA FLOW
(inspired by Mono Lake
and
the eastern Sierras)
—Art Luna, Sacramento


We walk the rim of fire and ice

Lava slathered land

Glacier carved Earth Mother

I watch the flow hot and wet

I taste you


__________________



B.L. Kennedy

__________________

Today's LittleNip:

pass the thesaurus
lord im hungry
little puddles of
Rogets
on my Webster salad

—d.a. levy

__________________

—Medusa


SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


Next deadline for Rattlesnake Review is November 15! Send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems, please) to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.

Also coming in November: On November 12, Rattlesnake Press will release a new rattlechap from Red Fox Underground Poet Wendy Patrice Williams (Some New Forgetting); a littlesnake broadside from South Lake Tahoe Poet Ray Hadley (Children's Games); our 2009 calendar from Katy Brown (Beyond the Hill: A Poet’s Calendar) as well as Conversations, Vol. 4 of B.L. Kennedy’s Rattlesnake Interview Series. That’s Weds., November 12, 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.


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 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.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wandering Every Room



QUIET AUTUMN
—d.a. levy

the sky changes its clothes
from pale blues to azure dragon
sometimes halloween oranges
and today its sabbath best
mother of pearl sky.
the sun red above grey-purple water
bronze sands littered with copper leaves
and driftwood sienna—dark brown
autumn crisp sweet smell
of burning leaves.
few green leaves hang onto life
clinging to their tree homes.
it's a sad autumn—silent season
a few snow white clouds hover
overhead to predict winter

in winter it's miles of
dangerous ice that covers the lake from cold
who will protect me
in winter lovers sweat under blankets
in warm passionate embraces
who will keep me warm
in winter all paths
lie buried in white snow
where will i walk

__________________

levy birthday bash tonight!

Tonight at 8 PM (doors open at 7:30), join us for the Annual d.a. levy Birthday Bash at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, featuring the reading of d.a. levy poems by D.R. Wagner, frank andrick, Gene Bloom, Patrick Grizzell, Robert Grossklaus, Kathy Kieth, Noel Kroeplin, Robert Lozano, Miles Miniaci, Crawdad Nelson, Charlene Ungstad, Terryl Wheat and Todd Cirillo. Music by the Downtrodden Saints. Hosted by B.L. Kennedy. $5.00 at the door. 916-441-3931.

__________________

ROOMS OF HER LIFE
—Taylor Graham, Placerville

In the room of trips and holidays, an album
full of ticket stubs. Diaries of everywhere she went
and what it cost, tips from travelogues on what to see.
Another room for music—childhood tunes
and must-have records, echoes of water flowing
in oxbow eddies, Beethoven’s Pastoral, or
rushing down rapids, Rachmaninoff
familiar as if memorized. The library
with family Bibles, first grade primers, college texts
forgotten, once-read novels along with dog-
eared verse recited word for word....

After the fire, flood, the windstorm,
she had the shards and timbers hauled away.
Now she stands
in empty twilight staring at vast spaces
of her life. Not empty, nor quite
silent. So much room
waiting to be filled.

__________________

MUSEUM
—Taylor Graham

The Rotunda of Failures, arranged around a blind bust—
hollow eyes of a dreamer with his bottom line gone.

Staircase of Ancestral Portraits, grandfathers with their
faith and unspeakable ambitions, all of them dead.

The Hall of Pets—reverse silhouettes on the wall, ghost-
shapes of two horses, ten dogs, a nanny goat, three cats.

The Portico of Lost Landscapes in a haze of years: green
valley before condos, the San Gabriels without smog.

Of course one keeps the doors locked. But at night
in dreams they escape, wandering every room.

___________________

Thanks to Taylor Graham for two poems in response to our Seed of the Week: The Museum of Our Lives (see yesterday's post for more information). Some other poems from other local wonder-poets:


POX
—Pearl Stein Selinsky, Sacramento

Shall I—
Must I—
accept
my fate
without
complaint—
knuckle
under
to whatever
those three
harridans
decide?

Snatch from
the middle ages
the very worst &
send to them:

a pox upon thee

but
their childhood
vaccination is
a guarantee:

no pox,
no curse,
no way
to set me free.

__________________

I HEAR YOUR STORY
—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

When you whisper your story
I hear the shame
That speaks volumes
Despite your whispers
Know that the shame is not yours
You were the victim
Of someone else’s wrongdoing
They have long forgotten
But you remember
Remember
The pain, the shame
Let it go
The shame is not yours

________________


“EXIT, PURSUED…”
—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Thanks be to Nora, partner in life
and guide through wildernesses real
and metaphoric.
How euphoric
am I, when, spurred by a wife
to probe for trails idyllic, even ideal,
we find ourselves in that losing-finding process
of stepping a gentle incline
along an alpine
ridge giving onto each access
of ravine and purple distance.
Up near Graeagle, high in the Sierras,
we aim to make
Smith Lake
and make the lake we do, without serious errors:
the lake small, a virtual pond,
but of water-diamond, the sheer surface
aspen-quivering silver mirror all its reed-pierced
length. Best of all, forty yards ahead
as we approach the shimmering quiet,
we see a small black bear we’ve startled;
he scampers away on all fours, from some surfeit
of feasting, pure creek water to drink,
and manzanita berries at every brink
or trailside cranny, like tiny burnt peanuts;
tasty and winter-vital to the bear.
And as we stare
at the hole in the forest atmosphere
Ursa has left, I remember Shakespeare’s
Bohemian play, with the direction Exit, pursued by a bear.
Long may Nora and I follow this pursuit
eternal, so that we have for our final cue,
Exit, chasing a bear, or,
Enter, pursuing wildness without fear,
the love we perceive as strange, not merely dear.

__________________

Today's LittleNip:

HIMEROS (The Muse Disappears)
—d.a. levy

she left a whisper
without a trace

yet i remember
a last hungry kiss

her golden face

__________________

—Medusa


SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


October is Sacramento Poetry Month! Be sure to join us this Thursday, Oct. 30, 8 PM, when Rattlesnake Press will release not one, but 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??

And check out B.L. Kennedy’s interview with Art Luna in the latest Rattlesnake Review (#19)! Free copies are available at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I’ll mail you one (address below). Next deadline, by the way, is November 15.

Coming in November: On November 12, Rattlesnake Press will release a new rattlechap from Red Fox Underground Poet Wendy Patrice Williams (Some New Forgetting); a littlesnake broadside from South Lake Tahoe Poet Ray Hadley (Children's Games); our 2009 calendar from Katy Brown (Beyond the Hill: A Poet’s Calendar) as well as Conversations, Vol. 4 of B.L. Kennedy’s Rattlesnake Interview Series. That’s Weds., November 12, 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.


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 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.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Only Truth


Lowell Jaeger


REAL LIFE
—Lowell Jaeger, Bigfork, Montana

His mom buys him a truck
for his sweet sixteenth b-day.
And a tattoo
on his right ankle.

He's a whole head
taller than his ol' man.
Shaggy hair dyed
jet black, blue highlights.

It's an attitude
he laces on with his hightop
sneakers. Short pants
to spotlight the tattoo.

An attitude...
if you look him in the eye
he'll let you see right through.

Girlfriends. New wheels. Summers
to pal around. Cruise
up and down Main.
That much should never end.

But there's more.
Another funeral today. For another friend.
And my son rises
in church. Delivers a little speech
about good times past.

Tells me later
he cries now inside
like a man. He'd shouldered
the dead comrade. Feels

he says, it's a dream.
No, he says.

Real life.

__________________

Thanks, Lowell! Lowell Jaeger teaches creative writing at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana. He has published two collections of poems and several chapbooks. Recently he compiled and edited an anthology of Montana poets, Poems Across the Big Sky, which sold more than a thousand copies in five weeks after publication. Several of his poems are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, Atlanta Review, The Coe Review, Poetry Flash, Georgetown Review, Big Muddy, Antioch Review, Louisiana Review, Pacific Review, Hawaii Review, Poetry East, and The California Quarterly. His third collection of poems, Suddenly Out of a Long Sleep, was published by Arctos Press in 2008. Currently Lowell Jaeger serves as Editor of Many Voices Press and is busy compiling New Poets of the American West, an anthology of poets from western states. Watch for more of Lowell's work in Rattlesnake Review, past and future.

__________________

Speaking of submissions:

January 5 is the deadline for the Spring 2009 issue of Convergence, an online 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 (clinville@csus.edu) 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 with a common theme has a greater chance of being accepted.

And Poetry Now is always seeking submissions. Send poems and a brief bio to clinville@csus.edu with “Poetry Now” in the subject line, or snail to 1719 25th St., Sacramento, 95816 w/SASE. See also sacramentopoetrycenter.org/.

__________________

STORIES WE TELL
—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

All stories are true stories
Even if the facts
Don't line up
With what others choose
To call reality
That does not mean
The story is not true
All of us see truth
Through a different glass
Filtered by the lens
Of our experience
Of our beliefs
Of our expectations
Stories are our only truth

__________________


Thanks, Michelle, for the poem and for the idea for our Seed of the Week: The Museum of My Life. The other day I said something to Sam about how a museum dedicated to my life would have the Snake room, the pig room (my collection/obsession), the

things-I-don't-want-to-remember-so-we-keep-the-door-locked room...

What kind of rooms would your museum have? A whole display devoted to Worries? Kids? Failed affairs? Anger? Which of your experiences and other parts of you do you "stuff" and put on display, pay homage to, or—conversely—lock up and run away from? If you don't want to use the first person, use the generic "he" or "she". I've included a poem of my own about a "monument" to anger, and Lowell Jaeger's below that one has elements of this idea, too.

Anyway, tell us a story, or at least write us a picture. As Michelle says, "stories are our only truth..."


HOUSE OF ANGER
—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines

red walls—
glass shards
carpeting
the floor

airless—
no windows
tight fist
of a chest

glass shards
in the soles
of your feet—
dark, red walls…

___________________

POSTCARDS
—Lowell Jaeger

His back turned on the world
where through the glass
on the streets outside
cars go by, go by.
His paper raised to hide
his eyes inside the headlines.

Not two feet away she knits
her fingers around a coffee cup, stares
through him as if mesmerized
by traffic lights—yellow, red, green.

The waitress keeps a level eye
on each water glass, and slides
a breakfast platter beside them.
Head bowed
as if she were tending a memorial.

I send you this snapshot, reader,
of distance between us
even when we're sitting nearby.

We can't fix those two.
At the same table a third party
scribbles postcards.

Look closely:
Is it me?
Is it you?

___________________

REAL STARS
—Lowell Jaeger

Constellations
of recognizable names,
book-jacketed good looks,
gather in the stone mansion
on the hill

to converse
and clink wine glasses.
I've made myself useful
uncorking champagne.
From the servants' kitchen,

I keep an ear cocked
to the clamor. In the parlor,
words squeezed from the language
like gulps of sweet juice.

Some nights I tire easily.
Can't read consecutive paragraphs
without staring into the dark
through the window

toward the embers. The camp
behind the stables,
where the gypsy singers
laugh and swap lies.

Till there's nothing but smoke.
And the windows of the mansion go black.
I lie awake on my blankets,
feel the earth lurch through space.

The insignificance of all fictions.
Beneath the mute indifference
of real stars.

__________________

Today's LittleNip:

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth, after all those conflicting nutritional studies!

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.

CONCLUSION:

Eat and drink what you like—speaking English is apparently what kills you!


(Thanks to Bay Area Poet Richard Angilly for passing this on to us.)

__________________

—Medusa


SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


October is Sacramento Poetry Month! Be sure to join us this Thursday, Oct. 30, 8 PM, when Rattlesnake Press will release not one, but 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??

And check out B.L. Kennedy’s interview with Art Luna in the latest Rattlesnake Review (#19)! Free copies are available at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I’ll mail you one (address below). Next deadline, by the way, is November 15.

Coming in November: November will feature a new rattlechap from Red Fox Underground Poet Wendy Patrice Williams (Some New Forgetting); a littlesnake broadside from South Lake Tahoe Poet Ray Hadley (Children's Games); our 2009 calendar from Katy Brown (Beyond the Hill: A Poet’s Calendar) as well as Conversations, Vol. 4 of B.L. Kennedy’s Rattlesnake Interview Series. That’s Weds., November 12, 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.


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 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.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hope of Light


Luna's Café, Sacramento
photo by frank andrick



GHOST PIGMENTS
—Taylor Graham, Placerville

They say, through the Depression he worked
with brush and finger, mallet, chisel, earning pennies
for an applewood saint or a collage of scraps
of newsprint, ticket stubs and racing forms,
veined with streaks of chalk or crayon—whatever
he might glean from crevices and gutter;
colors he distilled from bark and flower petals,
lichen, sumac, goldenseal. When no one wanted
pictures, he roamed the woods gathering
roots and leaves to dry for herbal tea. They say
he starved on art and water. His eye lengthened
like a shadow, but not to trouble the living
stream of men who still had jobs, hurrying down-
headed past him on the street. And still
he painted, carved, and whittled, buyers
or no. Here’s what passed down to us,
self-portrait of a stranger, brittle now, but
transfused with backlight like a family ghost.

__________________

Thanks to Taylor Graham and Phil Weidman for today's poems
(Phil's poem below is in celebration of the "Plink" group that cleans up the forest in our area), and to frank andrick for the photo of La Luna. Be sure to join us there this Thursday (10/30), 8 PM, when Rattlesnake Press’s “Away Team” will travel to 16th St. in Sacramento for a Double Feature—a release of, not one, but TWO SpiralChaps in celebration of Luna’s Café: a new collection of art and poetry about Luna’s and about writing from B.L. Kennedy (Luna’s House of Words) and an anthology of over 100 Luna’s poets, artists and photographs (La Luna: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café) edited by frank andrick. Featured will be readings by B.L. Kennedy and by other Luna's hosts over the years. That’s Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, 8 PM. Open mic before and after.


Also in NorCal poetry this week:

•••Tonight (Monday, 10/27), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Meg Withers and Tom Goff at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Open mic after. [See last Friday's post for bios.]

•••Weds. (10/29), 8 PM (doors open at 7:30): d.a. levy Birthday Bash at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, featuring the reading of d.a. levy poems by D.R. Wagner, frank andrick, Gene Bloom, Patrick Grizzell, Robert Grossklaus, Kathy Kieth, Noel Kroeplin, Robert Lozano, Miles Miniaci, Crawdad Nelson, Charlene Ungstad, Terryl Wheat and Todd Cirillo. Music by the Downtrodden Saints. Hosted by B.L. Kennedy. $5.00 at the door. Info: 916-441-3931.

•••Friday (10/31), 7:30 PM: Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol / Writers of the New Sun present their annual Día De Los Muertos Poetry Reading honoring Those Who Have Gone Before, a tribute to Los Antepasados with poems, stories and songs featuring Francisco X. Alarcón, who will read from an upcoming collection of poems. La Raza Galería Posada in midtown Sacramento (1022-1024 22nd St.), (916) 446-5133; www.larazagaleriaposada.org/. Come and read your own poems to los muertos!

La Raza Galería Posada, a historic institution of local civil rights movements, was established on the belief that art and culture uplift, enlighten and build communities, education, and awareness about people and society. And for information about Los Escritores, call 916-456-5323.

•••Friday (10/31), 7 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center Halloween Poetry Bash, HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento.

•••Saturday (11/1), 12-4 PM: The annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival celebrates writers, nature and community at Civic Center Park in Berkeley with Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, Brenda Hillman, Al Young w/bassist Dan Robbins, Joseph Lease, Camille Dungy Avotcia, Mike Tuggle, Chris Olander, Grace Fae & Grace Tea. Open reading, environmental updates, art activities; River Village: literary & environmental exhibitors. Info: www.poetryflash.org or 510-526-9105. Watershed is a collaboration of Robert Hass (US Poet Laureate, 1995-97), Poetry Flash, Ecology Center/Berkeley Farmers’ Market and EcoCity Builders.

Also: Two pre-festival events: (1) A symposium entitled Creativity in the Face of Climate Change: The Role of the Humanities in Awakening Societal Change on Thursday, Oct. 30, 2-4:30 PM, free at the Maude Fife Room in Wheeler Hall, UC Berkeley (presented by the Berkeley Institute of the Environment; RSVP at bie.berkeley.edu/ccc); and (2) a Pre-Festival Strawberry Creek Walk (poetry & creek restoration update) on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 10 AM (meet at Oxford & Center Sts. in Berkeley).


A Poet’s Stamp!

The U.S. Postal Service announced last Thursday that Edgar Allan Poe will be featured on a 42-cent U.S. postage stamp on Jan. 16, 2009, marking the 200th anniversary of his birth. I did a little research (well, looked at the list on Wikipedia) and discovered that the first poets to be so honored were in 1940, which was a big year for poet-stamps (Longfellow, Js. Lowell, Js. Whitcomb Riley and John Greenleaf Whittier). Nobody got a stamp in the ‘50’s (too tame an era for wild poets, I guess), and only Dante got one in the ‘60’s (1965). Then apparently they tried to make up for lost time in the flower-child ‘70’s, with Dickinson, Dunbar, Frost, Jeffers, Lanier, Masters, and Sandburg. Millay and Eliot represented the ‘80’s, but then it dwindled again to just two since 1986: Marianne Moore in 1990 and Ogden Nash in 2002. Hopefully the next decade will do better by U.S. poets…!

__________________

FOREST FRIENDS
—Phil Weidman, Pollock Pines

You toss it, they retrieve it,
You dump it, they haul it.
You leave it burning,
they douse it until cold.

Name it (a mattress, refrigerator,
battered TV) they find it
and heave it on board
Doug’s trusty old truck.

Nothing is too big, nothing is too small.
Bullet-riddled cars are
pulled out of the brush
so they can be towed.

Beer cans, bottles and
shotgun hulls are tossed
into garbage bags
and loaded when full.

Steve, their Pied Piper
who scours back roads,
rewards his volunteers with
cold drinks and grub.

__________________

THE DAY PAST TENSE
—Taylor Graham

It’s dark. Turn off the monitor,
turn on the news. Still the image burns
his retina. That graph of fortune
on the brink of ruin, the not-so-divine
grape of ripeness on its vine, gone
to rot in rain. Act of God or Man?
His fingers tense on the control.

Turn off the news, forget the dying
green lines across the screen.

Turn on some music. Listen
for divine harmonies from thin
air rising and falling ancient-timeless
as Gregorian chant, so many voices
imploring, praising
in the only words they know,
a language he can’t quite understand.

__________________

LATE YEAR PARADIGM
—Taylor Graham

What became of him?
A bird flew out the window.

How could you forget?
The keys do a circle dance
choosing a partner, a lock.

Our old deaf dog sleeps
like stone, wakes up at midnight,
barks to hear a sound.
Our deep imaginings and,
in the night sky, stars.
The dark’s a fertile garden.

She kept her memories
in an album, leather bound.
A young girl writes down
dreams she knows she’ll remember.
Our Harvest Moon is waning.

Wild geese overhead,
one less than last year, one more
than a future spring.
The vixen howls from her den,
the old man’s at solitaire.

A blackbird’s shadow
on the pond makes ripples
but the bird is gone.

__________________

FLYING FOX
—Taylor Graham

(after Vincent Van Gogh)

Stained-glass wings illuminated
by no moon at midnight—
they glow of themselves,
with the heat of leaves loosed
in October’s dying light.

By morning, littered streets
and gutters. But tonight, held
aloft by leaded arms and fingers,
these wings extend, a hope
of light.

__________________

Today's LittleNip:

LEAVE THEM ALONE
—Patrick Kavanagh

There's nothing happening that you hate
That's really worthwhile slamming;
Be patient. If you only wait
You'll see time gently damning

Newspaper bedlamites who raised
Each day the devil's howl
Versifiers who had seized
The poet's begging bowl

The whole hysterical passing show
The hour apotheosised
Into a cul-de-sac will go
And be not even despised.

__________________


—Medusa


SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


October is Sacramento Poetry Month! Be sure to join us on Thursday, Oct. 30, 8 PM, when Rattlesnake Press will release not one, but 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??

And check out B.L. Kennedy’s interview with Art Luna in the latest Rattlesnake Review (#19)! Free copies are available at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I’ll mail you one (address below). Next deadline, by the way, is November 15.

Coming in November: November will feature a new rattlechap from Red Fox Underground Poet Wendy Patrice Williams (Some New Forgetting); a littlesnake broadside from South Lake Tahoe Poet Ray Hadley (Children's Games); our 2009 calendar from Katy Brown (Beyond the Hill: A Poet’s Calendar) as well as Conversations, Vol. 4 of B.L. Kennedy’s Rattlesnake Interview Series. That’s Weds., November 12, 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.


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 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.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An Empty Bucket Rattled



BEYOND THE HEADLINES
—Patrick Kavanagh

Then I saw the wild geese flying
In fair formation to their bases in Inchicore
And I knew that these wings would outwear the wings of war
And a man's simple thoughts outlive the day's loud lying.
Don't fear, don't fear, I said to my soul.
The Bedlam of Time is an empty bucket rattled,
'Tis you who will say in the end who best battles.
Only they who fly home to God have flown at all.

___________________

—Medusa

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Abyss


Patricia Hickerson


THE YEAR OF BEING THIRTEEN
—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

August without soul,
nothing moves
sap not rising
dusty branch
crackling leaf
soon to fall...

bristle of chin
thread of hair
thin of lip
corner bubbling...

He comes toward me
Hold still he says
wet kiss—
bristles scorch my face
Don't tell he says
nothing moves
but Grandpa

__________________

Thanks to Patricia Hickerson for today's sharp poems on a difficult subject. Born in New York, Pat Hickerson danced in Warner Bros. "kiddie" [movie] shorts, is a former Bay Area journalist and Penthouse contributor, and presently lives in Davis, California.


ROMANCE
—Patricia Hickerson

Rape, I want you to get the feel of it,
said the Green-Eyed Knight to his lady-in-arms
and she obeyed at 3 a.m.
bedded down at Grail Castle Hotel,
once the inn of gold-seekers,
storied of old, waters edge,
Port Camelot.

He held her
rammed against the bedstead's iron bars
head twisted round.
Hustled into her
deep, wide
too deep, too wide—

Hers was a small space skin space
soft place
linked to rose petals and nerve tendrils
trickled down the backs of her legs
locked in currents of pain
the rest of her life...

In too deep.
Was it only a 3-second nap
from all the fire pumped into her? or
from passion perverted,
its saturnine face darkly smiling
into hers?

She-who-must-be-punished
—she began to wonder,
floated a cautionary sailboat
out across Reason's lake.

__________________

ABYSS
—Patricia Hickerson

the hole kept getting bigger

she staggered out of her bedroom
down the hall to the dining room
and there, by one of the chairs,
she was stopped by the sight of the hole
spreading from where she stood
she was about to fall into it

she didn't care about her husband, only
her children
(who knew nothing about the nightmare man
at her heels)
though she could no longer see her children while
standing over their bodies in bed

to the hospital for pills
Have you been assaulted?
no...yes...I wanted it

she trembled—
Mother was reading Bluebeard
wives hung on hooks in the locked closet
blood pooled at their dangled feet
Mother's thready voice called up to the lookout tower:
Sister Anne, Sister Anne, do you see my brothers coming?

the pills kicked in,
she fell asleep hiding the tell-tale key
(Fatima waiting for rescue)

pills
hypo
breathless she slid down a no-holds brick wall
the abyss waited below

she pretended to be alive
ghost living in a foreign land...

___________________

SOFTLY PURRING HE RAPES HER PURSE
—Patricia Hickerson

King of Cats—
denizen of dark alleys
muscled, sleek and smiling
whiskers angled
ears on edge
slides over the back fence
six pack under his arm
out of Lisa's yard
into Megan's

Surprise!

scratches at the door
purrs her name whatever it is—confusion
after a day at the track
lost a bundle
but what of it?
he knows where to pounce...

Claws retracted
his velvet paws
massage her fur
into oblivion—
she'll forget she ever had a purse
Mmmmmmeow!

__________________

Today's LittleNip:

Twilight—the only conversation
on this hill
Is the wind blowing through the pines.

—Ryokan (translated by John Stevens)

__________________


—Medusa


SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


October is Sacramento Poetry Month! October’s releases from Rattlesnake Press include a new rattlechap from Moira Magneson (He Drank Because) and a free littlesnake broadside from Hatch Graham (Circling of the Pack). Both are available at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or from me (kathykieth@hotmail.com), or from rattlesnakepress.com/. Rattlechaps are $6 by mail, $5 at The Book Collector.

Be sure to join us on Thursday, Oct. 30, 8 PM, when Rattlesnake Press will release not one, but 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??

And check out B.L. Kennedy’s interview with Art Luna in the latest Rattlesnake Review (#19)! Free copies are available at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I’ll mail you one (address below). Next deadline, by the way, is November 15.

Coming in November: November will feature a new rattlechap from Red Fox Underground Poet Wendy Patrice Williams (Some New Forgetting); a littlesnake broadside from South Lake Tahoe Poet Ray Hadley; our 2009 calendar from Katy Brown (Beyond the Hill: A Poet’s Calendar) as well as Conversations, Vol. 4 of B.L. Kennedy’s Rattlesnake Interview Series. That’s Weds., November 12, 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.


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 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.......!

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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.