the lotus leaves sway—
a tortoise in the pond.
ON SLOW LEARNING
If you've ever owned
a tortoise, you know
how terribly difficult
paper training can be
for some pets.
Even if you get so far
as to instill in your tortoise
the value of achieving the paper,
there remains one obstacle—
your tortoise's intrinsic sloth.
Even a well-intentioned tortoise
may find himself in his journeys
to be painfully far from the mark.
Failing, your tortoise may shy away
for weeks within his shell, utterly ashamed,
or, looking up with tiny, wet eyes, might offer
an honest shrug. Forgive him.
This week in NorCal poetry:
•••Tonight (Mon., 2/2), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Richard “Bo” Lopez, Crawdad Nelson, and Miles Miniaci, with Litany (Miles Miniaci, Chéne Watson, and Bob Wilson) at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. [See last Friday's post for bios.] Next Monday (2/9): Hannah Stein and Katherine Hastings.
•••Tues. (2/3), 12 noon: Sacramento City College presents Gary Short in A-6 (the Little Theater).
•••Thurs. (2/5), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Featured readers with open mic before and after.
•••Sat. (2/7), 2-6 PM: Southern Hospitality : Professional Caterers present the Fourth Annual African-American Spoken Word Festival at Third Baptist Church, 1399 McAllister St. (at Scott), San Francisco, 2nd Floor Social Hall. Info: Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd 415-425-6711.
—dawn di bartolo, citrus heights
as an artist shapes
canvas into self-portrait,
i’d found poetry to be…
spilled sweet like honey
as i look everywhere
for the sun.
a box of crying paper;
to yellowing pages;
love kept elsewhere…
a legacy of the soul,
come back to tug below
expressionless skins of time.
the resemblance to yellow…
aged and dirty ~
traversing the in-betweens,
shower of thoughts;
i’d found poetry to be…
the power of omni –
an appetite semi-fed,
still harbor hunger;
flavored in every
fingers of forever
unfurling the silences.
AND THE PAPER
—dawn di bartolo
a poetic moment
caught me by the tongue,
and i spit it with no venom.
sets of ears fluttered by
with nowhere in
particular to land,
and my pen was
snagged in the
blue ink sky ~
much too high
for my reach.
so, like drool,
trickled down my chin;
and now, notion in hand,
i’ve not a lick of paper left
within the moment’s breadth.
breaks from the blue-black
skin of the water, dragging her shell
with its mossy scutes
across the shallows and through the rushes
and over the mudflats, to the uprise,
to the yellow sand,
to dig with her ungainly feet
a nest, and hunker there spewing
her white eggs down
into the darkness, and you think
of her patience, her fortitude,
her determination to complete
what she was born to do—
and then you realize a greater thing—
she doesn't consider
what she was born to do.
She's only filled
with an old blind wish.
It isn't even hers but came to her
in the rain or the soft wind,
which is a gate through which her life keeps walking.
She can't see
herself apart from the rest of the world
or the world from what she must do
Crawling up the high hill,
luminous under the sand that has packed against her skin,
she doesn't dream
she is a part of the pond she lives in,
the tall trees are her children,
the birds that swim above her
are tied to her by an unbreakable string.
Who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles...
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread
with the same;
Every spear of grass—the frames, limbs, organs of men
and women and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles.
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. 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; let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one.
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 The Book Collector or write to me and I'll send you one. Free!
Coming in February: On Weds., February 11, Rattlesnake Press will be releasing 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.
And on February 19, the premiere of our new, free Poetry Unplugged quarterly, WTF, edited by frank andrick, will be celebrated at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, 8 PM. (For those of you just tuning in, Poetry Unplugged is the long-running reading series at Luna's Cafe.)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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, or any other day!): 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 email@example.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.