(Squirrel on Bird Feeder)
Photo by Sam The Snake Man, Pollock Pines
—Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Tehama
The key glints silver
against the gray gravel road.
I stoop to pick it up,
leave it alone.
I picture the small boy
trudging home from the bus stop,
drooping from school
and the heavy pack on his back.
Hope his eye catches
that gleam on the road
before he gets to the house.
Finds his pocket empty,
crouches on the step,
I lost a shoe
don’t know where I left it
can’t remember what I was doing
I stand one-legged in my Birkenstock
survey the dancing-cat sock on the other foot
Wonder why I didn’t feel pebbles
and sticks when I walked to the car
Some picnic I think to myself
bundling bread crusts and peach stones
into a paper bag
Wonder if someone will stumble across
the perfect match for her unclad foot
Plastic straw in a crystal glass
of water tinged with bourbon.
Hamburger patties with bottle BBQ sauce
where once was prime rib rare.
Top denture fallen from slack mouth
where the tight one traveled the world.
Padded briefs instead of
turquoise silk bikinis.
Hands fluttering in sleep-blasted night
that once stroked joy into both bodies.
Keys, friends, loves, favorite foods
disappear—or come back in weird forms.
The most beloved person in the universe.
Who are you?
Thanks to Patricia Wellingham-Jones for her "lost" poems, and to Taylor Graham for tackling the clerihew (our Seed of the Week—see yesterday's post).
Issue #8 of the online journal, Ginosko, is available now at www.GinoskoLiteraryJournal.com/.
The Sacramento Poetry Center is now taking entries for its annual contest. Click on the Sacramento Poetry Center link in the column to the right of this for details.
Join us tonight, Weds., May 13 for a new rattlechap, Sinfonietta, from Tom Goff; Vol. 5 of Conversations, the Rattlesnake Interview Series by B.L. Kennedy; and the inauguration of a new series, Rattlesnake LittleBooks, with Shorts: Quatrains and Epigrams by Iven Lourie. That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Free!
And the next deadline is this Friday, May 15 for RR22: send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to firstname.lastname@example.org 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, and please—only one submission per issue.
Wellspring Summer 2009 Writers' Residency
Philo, CA, May 31‐June 7
Come to Mendocino County’s Anderson Valley and bring your pen and paper. Both beginning and practiced writers are welcome. Cost is very reasonable, and includes food and lodging. Choose among four workshops: fiction (Charlotte Gullick), nonfiction (Bob Stanley), playwriting (Todd Evans), poetry (Maya Khosla) or a combination.
Bring a draft if you are seeking feedback from one or more of the workshop leaders. Evening talks will invite you to be inspired, explore your natural surroundings and to take as many risks as you can on the page. Wellspring fosters a relaxed atmosphere and the property fronts the Navarro River and Hendy Woods State Park, which provides you with chances to hike, wade and swim. Go to www.wellspringrenewal.org for more information. Contact Todd Evans (email@example.com) for details.
Multicultural Children's Literary Arts Festival this Saturday:
Together with Friends of Fremont Park, CADA, and city councilman Rob Fong, Sacramento Poetry Center is co-hosting the first annual Multicultural Children's Literary Arts Festival in Fremont Park (16th & P Sts., Sacramento) this Saturday, May 16, from 11 AM-2 PM. Come lend a hand, paint a picture, help write a poem, join in the dance...! Info: 916-606-4303 or firstname.lastname@example.org/.
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
Inventor George C. Ballas,
had a brainstorm worth a palace.
What marvelous deeds—
his machine eats weeds!
Francis (Jim) Taylor
at JPL, a virtual star-sailor.
Hubble not doing well?
he cranks up his Excel.
This same Cousin Jim
stays at work on a whim.
No retirement clover—
can he rescue Mars rover?
My husband, Hatch Graham,
lambasting political mayhem,
just scared off the muse
A fallen blossom
returning to the bough, I thought—
But no, a butterfly.
SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:
Rattlesnake Review: The latest Snake (RR21) is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Next deadline is May 15 for RR22: 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, and please—only one submission per issue.
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!
WTF!: Join us on Thursday, May 21 at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento for the unveiling of the second issue of WTF, the free quarterly journal from Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe that is edited by frank andrick. Next deadline, for issue #3, is July 15. Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but send your poems, 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 is for adults only, so you must be over 18 years of age to submit. Copies of the first issue are at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.
ALSO COMING IN MAY: Join us Weds., May 13 for a new rattlechap, Sinfonietta, from Tom Goff; Vol. 5 of Conversations, the Rattlesnake Interview Series by B.L. Kennedy; and the inauguration of a new series, Rattlesnake LittleBooks, with Shorts: Quatrains and Epigrams by Iven Lourie. That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Free!
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, 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 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.