Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Lost? How Can I Be Lost?

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Lost as the lady we were looking for—
even with map and compass
I was lost in green, the Blue Ridge blooming
over footprints, sign of passage.

Then you brightened
with a whiff of scent from dogwood-
drifting hillside through seed-head grasses
lofting like prayer on June convection,

human heat of breath and heart-
beat. From hollows in a downdraft pool
you chased thunderheads
that drew scent up, hammered it

on the sky’s anvil, aimed it
back to earth. With a lilt of nose
you caught it, followed it
to that lady lost.


—Taylor Graham

For azimuth, the eight-
point buck’s weathered antlers,
shed seasons ago, here

where hellebore and lupine
over-bloom the marsh-meanderings
of creek, with monkeyflower,

columbine. Time like snow-
melt takes the slow
way down. As if weightless,

a yellow warbler floats on willow
thicket. We’ve stripped
off packs and boots, our map

that’s useless. How long
since our ten toes rooted
in mud of a mountain meadow, fifty

miles from the evening news,
two time-zones north
of gas pumps on old Route 66,

every city limit marker, every notion
of being lost so far from


—Chrys Mollett, Angels Camp

A thirst for local adventure—
and a seething desire to practice some wild living
sends me out into the neighborhood
Thinking like a bloodthirsty cat

Crawling under bushes
Scratching my arms, tearing a sleeve—
Nipping at leaves and what berries I can find.
Wildness is down low in these parts.

I straggle home, drooling experience,
To civilized friends around the living room
Grooving to great music on the stereo
Snacking on chips and drinks.

I'm like prey blinded in their headlamps
Struck dumb in the crosshairs
I pour a bath deep enough to drown in
And take my wild needs underwater.


Thanks to our intrepid poets who braved the "lost" today for our Seed of the Week: When I Was Lost, and to Katy Brown who unearthed today's photos.

Poetry Night at Bistro 33 in Davis tonight!

Tonight, Poetry Night at Bistro 33 will feature Rick Campbell, the winner of a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and two fellowships from the Florida Arts Council. He has published a number of poetry books, including The Traveler's Companion, A Day's Work, and Setting the World in Order—a winner of the Walt McDonald Prize. He has also published his poetry and essays in The Georgia Review, The Florida Review, and The Prairie Schooner, among many others. His latest book of poetry, Dixmont, was published in November, 2007. Rick now serves as the director of Anhinga Press and the Anhinga Press Prize in Poetry, and teaches English at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. He lives with his wife and daughter in Gadsden County, Florida, so obviously this is a big trip for him.

Rick is a friend and publisher of Julia Levine, the outstanding local poet who was featured at Poetry Night last year. Join us if you can, and come early to grab a spot on the open mic list (which usually fills up by 9 PM). Poetry Night at Bistro 33, 226 F St., Davis, hosted by Andy Jones with help from Brad Henderson, occurs on the first and third Wednesday of every month at 9 PM with an open microphone segment at 10 PM.
Bob Blake from the UC Davis Department of Spanish will commence tonight's Open Mic with a guitar performance.


The first step is to lose the way.
—Galway Kinnell

—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks

Was a Geography
Minor for a while
In college.

Had to leave
The program though.
Two reasons:

Could never
Get the maps folded
Back up quite right,

And then there was
The nasty rumor—
Totally untrue—

That I had
Once stopped
To ask directions.


Today's LittleNip:

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole

Fog at cliff edge
blots out the ocean.
Blowing beside our boots
sun-bright poppies
like wet silk.

Poppies at 34th and T, Sacramento
Photo by Katy Brown



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 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 (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

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 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 (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 ( And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.