Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On The Road

Photo by Frank Dixon Graham, Sacramento

—Anonymous, date unknown


see the great vultures,

wheeling above our caravans

may god forgive them, they are

harbingers of the great curse

where is my woman, where is her man

we must hitch up our horses & hit the road


moon shines on valley

grass sleeps by river

now why don't you come

sit down with me

& love me a little

as i love you


it's you puts the green sprig in my hatband

if you should ever leave me

my hat would be a dirty old thing

my heart empty, eyes full of tears

i'd look for green leaves in the woods

but they are the wilting kind

they wouldn't stay green on my hat

where could i find as good a woman

a wife as beautiful

i'd burn my caravan, cut off my hair

& trot off to the darkest part of the woods

to sleep there in my black sorrow

weep & sleep, until the white dog comes

to take me back to you

translated from the Romani by Anselm Hollo

after Katarina Taikon and Leo Tiainen)


This fine, anonymous Romani poet (and Frank Graham's photo) sets the stage for our Seed of the Week: On the Road. Send us your Road poems; no deadline for SOWs. And check out the rest of today's poems, all of which are based on previous SOWs.

Two additions to this week's poetry calendar:

•••Sunday (1/18), 6:30 PM: Time Tested Books opens its new reading series by featuring B.L. Kennedy and Patrick Grizzell. That’s at 1114 21st St., Sacramento. Info: 916-447-5696. [For more info on Kennedy and Grizzell, go to their rattlechaps pages on rattlesnakepress.com/.]

•••Sunday (1/18), 6-8 PM: The Pomo Literati on KUSF 90.3 FM in San Francisco, hosted by frank andrick. Live, in-studio poetry performances and short interviews with/by Bill Gainer, Todd Cirillo and DJ Fari. Pre-recorded works and rarities from Frank O’Hara, Joey Ramone, Michelle Tea, Chi Cheng (Deftones), Kayden Kross, Edie Lambert, Patti Smith, Lee Ranaldo, frank andrick, Jack Foley, Steven Gray, Jim ‘the germ’ Smith, and some “real” Surrealist readings by real DaDa/Surrealist poets Tristan Tzara, Kurt Schwitters, & Antonin Artaud. Bill Gainer and Todd Cirillo are poets who publish other poets via their respective imprints and will present their own works and submit to questioning from the listening audience. Farinaz Agharabi (aka DJ Fari) is well known to KUSF listeners; she writes, does wonderful production work, creates sound collages for spoken works and reads/writes poetry in at least 3 languages. Jim 'the germ' Smith likewise creates amazing sounds as an alt. composer and sound engineer.

PLEASE NOTE: The KUSF Spotlight Series, hence The Pomo Literati, now airs at a new time: 6-8 PM.


—dawn di bartolo, citrus heights

forgive me, father
for i am weak;
it’s been a month
since my last…

may my penance be—

hot hands
and greedy kisses,
lips swollen with—

breeds a
compromised temple,
my child.


quote me
—dawn di bartolo

Here you are—alive.
Would you
like to make a comment?
—Mary Oliver

dust on old bones
chisels like sand,

sculpting skeletal remains
of what i thought i’d be;

measure is a mystery,
even to the dead…

puzzle together
pieces of our lives,

hoping to elicit
meaning from moments;

time takes the shape
of insects ~

blink…and it’s gone…
left only with excrement ~

the unseen ass
thanks you.


—dawn di bartolo

[The dog] that all its life walks leashed
and obedient down the sidewalk…
can remind us of nothing large or noble
or mysterious or lost.

—Mary Oliver, "Long Life"

harbors a love
that will not be bound.
as a puppy,
no gate could hold her,
strong legs to propel her
beyond caution’s restraint.
and now, even a fence
tall as all the sky
has soft soil underneath;
she digs with abandon
for her freedom,
completely oblivious
to how love
can sometimes hurt.
scars will heal, but
the capacity of the heart
is eternal.


maya, in the dark
—dawn di bartolo

the neighbor’s dog
barks at the darkness

taking gulps of night
to throw back into the wind.

and i understand.
night was my friend…once.

stars are deceptive
when they shine

yet cast no light.
no moon, either,
and maya yelps

her own frustration
with what lurks
but does not manifest.

her insistence
fuels my own
neuroticism ~ it’s an
empty noise

that has become our bond ~
a palpable blackness
feeding our fears.


—Marie J. Ross, Stockton

A knock on the door:
do I open it, do I fear
who lurks behind the
wood if I turn the knob?
Is there a peep hole, do I
see a pair of blue eyes, a
smile that could melt my
Dare I look?
Time ticks, lamp lit dimly,
blinds closed tight, my mind
like an hourglass falling off
the bedside table, its sands of
mis-trust flowing backward
on frightful memories.
Open the door, open the door;
there is music playing down the
hall, uplifting rhythmic lyrics.
I hear them, feel them, sing them.
A knock on the door: I twist the
knob, no fear, just a pair of blue


—Nowelle Sinclair

When I walk through a door,
I leave it behind,
There’s no going back,
In the halls of time.

When I walk through the door,
I can look back and see,
Continue to wallow,
Continue in self-pity.

When I’ve walked through that door,
And enter the room,
I’m there for a reason,
And I stand there and look,
And the first thing I think,
Where is the door,
Either behind or before,
My choice usually leads,
To another choice made,
No resting to be had,
In this life being sad.

Of all the choices of doors to make,
I guess I should choose,
The door of good attitude,
Life is too short to be running around,
Thinking happiness is to be found,
In what’s behind the door.

The door I must choose,
Has action involved,
I must swing it wide open,
And poor out my love.

If they run over my foot,
If they give me bad vibes,
I have the greatest armor,
I have God’s love inside.

Doors will be opened,
Doors will be closed,
Doors may even be slammed on my nose,
I make the choice,
To smile or to gripe,

And now I conclude and bid you goodnight.


Today's LittleNip:

One of the joys
of travel—rare
talk about an iris.




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 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 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 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.

Also available now (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 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

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.