Friday, June 26, 2009

Ah, Love.......

—Frank O'Hara

Just as I leave the theatre
you come in the door. Or I

receive a letter saying you
are a policeman. My day retches

amidst its studies and you
are rigid with hauteur for

months. But then by expert
montage, a mountain growing

out of a diamond, the same
principle, you appear before me.

I spill your whiskey: you are
beautiful! When my back is

turned you still love me.
Mirrors go blind in our flame.


Ah, love! The lusty lure of a voluptuous Argentinian e-mail paramour! Quel scandale!—though yesterday the death of Michael Jackson trumped the Carolina Governor's indiscretion as of the late news...

But who better to carry us away from any love-logic whatsoever than Frank O'Hara? Fasten your seatbelts for Love (and O'Hara): always a bumpy ride; poetry with fangs. (And thanks to Annie Menebroker for the picture of the lovely seductress—with fangs of her own—in today's photo.)


—Frank O'Hara

Blows descend upon the rock
ricocheting into ears like a piano
and there are tears and jobations

Between each blast of the bazookas
we fall into a valley of silence

where the blood audibly drips
from ventricle to vial
under the red cross of our society.

Some read novels about Hyacinth
or Hamilcar, and others, equally cagy,
watch the sky flood with germs.

If we cry before the UN Building's
enigmatic mirror, brave sentiments
crush us in their orchestra arms—

but on this wailing cliff, love,
you are only my burrowing instrument,
and I am a fox in a hole.


—Frank O'Hara

The tough newspaper boy will wear
a stripe and a scar on his ass
for this kiss I give you tonight
is tomorrow's your bun and beard.

Are you aware tha snow's flying
from the heat of my eyes about
your touchy feet? You may tremble
but not shake clear, poor fir,

and if I could be compassionate
as a horse you'd hate my whinny,
try to trap me in blue meadows
like the stallion across the street

who's a sucker for clover. Pearl
of the Indian floor and black H
above my heart, why do you always
whine and drunkenly sob, telephone,

catch me in your cloud as if
we were high on a hill? Over there
the sun is burning up, and you
wonder what land this is, what love.


This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Friday (6/26), 8 PM: The BlackOut Poetry Series inside the Upper Level VIP Lounge (located inside of Fitness Systems Heathclub, by Cal State Skating Rink, 26 Massie Ct., Sacramento; exit Mack Road East to Stockton Blvd and then make a left on Massie right past Motel 6). Nikki Brock, Bene' Bailey and comedian Corey Crenshaw, plus open mic. Info: Terry Moore, 916-208-POET.

•••Friday (6/26), 7 PM: Spanish Poetry translators John Oliver Simon and William O'Daly read in the Poetry in the Arboretum series, UC Davis Campus, Wyatt Deck.

•••Sat. (6/27), 8-11 PM: The Archives Group & The Sacramento Poetry Center present The Best Minds of My Generation: A Birthday Tribute to Allen Ginsberg hosted by B.L. Kennedy and featuring the reading of Allen Ginsberg's poetry by D.R. Wagner, Will Staple, Patrick Grizzell, Charlene Ungstad, Genelle Chaconas, Robert Grossklaus, Lytton Bell, David Gay. Music by the Downtrodden Saints. California Stage, HQ for the Arts, 2509 R St., Sacramento. Admission: $5.

•••Sat. (6/27), 7-9 PM: The Show Poetry Series, Wo’se Community Center, 2863 35th St. (off 35th & Broadway). $5. Features poets, singers, comedians and open mic. Info: 916-208-POET.

•••Sunday (6/28), 11 AM-12:45 PM: El Camino Poets will be holding its tea and workshop. Please bring 8 copies of your poem for critique. Ethel Hart Sr. Center, 27th and J Sts., Sacramento. Free.

•••Monday (6/29), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Dorine Jennette and Valerie Fioravanti at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Dorine Jennette has poems, essays, and reviews that have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as the Journal, Ninth Letter, Coconut, Court Green, Memorious, Puerto del Sol, and the Georgia Review. She earned her PhD at the University of Georgia, and now earns her keep as a copyeditor for university presses. She live in Davis with her husband, psychologist Dorje Jennette. Her forthcoming poetry collection from National Poetry Review Press, entitled Grace by Degrees, will be available in 2010.

Valerie Fioravanti writes fiction, essays, and prose poems. Her story collection, The Brooklyn Shuffle, was recently a finalist for the Tartt First Book Award. Her stories have appeared in North American Review, Cimarron Review, Hunger Mountain, and Green Mountains Review, among others, and her stories and prose poems have earned four Pushcart Prize nominations, and special mention in Pushcart Prize XXVIII. She received a Fulbright Fellowship (Italy) to research her novel, Bel Casino, which is one of two novels currently in the works. She teaches short story and multi-genre classes online for the UCLA Writers' Extension and private workshops from her home in midtown Sacramento. She has also taught writing for New Mexico State University and National University's MFA Program.

Also this weekend: In The Flow Festival!

•••Fri.-Sun. (6/26-28): The In The Flow Festival is a Sacramento celebration of jazz and creative music, art and local businesses. This will be a 3-day event along Broadway in Sacramento. Participating venues are: Beatnik Studios, Java Lounge, The Comedy Spot and R5 Records. Wristbands are $20 for 3 days of music, although there are some free events (see the schedule at Wristbands will be available at R5 records and at the required venues the day(s) of the festival. This year, the In the Flow Festival will feature music by Harley White Jr. Orchestra, Tony Passarell's Thin Air Orchestra, RACE!!!, Vinny Golia, Byron Blackburn Trio, Lovely Builders, Darren Johnston and Devin Hoff, Alex Jenkins' Sound Immersion, V Neck, Nagual, and The Alegria Quartet as well as many other groups from the Sacramento and Bay Area.

On Sunday at The Comedy Spot (Jazz and Poetry Series), 1-3 PM, join us for a collaborative experimental session featuring poets Josh Fernandez, Monica Storss, Jackson Griffith, frank andrick, Lob ov Instagon, Jimmy Zealous, Mike Farrell and more.

The 2009 In the Flow Festival is brought to you by SMF Presents and Swell Productions and is happy to receive support from the Sacramento Metro Arts Commission, R5 Records and the Greater Broadway Partnership. Info: Other sources of info: Sacramento News & Review issue on Thursday, June 25 ( or your local Sacramento News & Review box locations); also please read the article on In The Flow Festival & Ross Hammond in the June issue of Midtown Monthly, written by Guphy Gustafson and available for free at box locations or at


—Frank O'Hara

How will I be able to keep you
if you don't disgust me a little?
Why do you wear lipstick with trousers
that are stained and stain?

At the end of the raspberry patch
I found my own darling telephone
hiding away like a little reservist.
Why do you disgust me?

I can't see the bridge any more.
"You look like a Dutch interior."
"Then I guess I do know how pretty I am."
But it is not dark, it is very sunny.

I wish that you would await me
without your horse near the windbells
on the path to the left of the jonquils.
If you just jangle your spurs I'll know,

but who else would it be, anyway?
and if something tinkles it'll be
one of your threaded silver bracelets
that you cover with your cuff before cops.

I want you to stop making me sick.
I want you to go away and not stay away.
Could you bring me razor blades when you come back?
and a sandwich of begonias and glass?


O resplendent green sea! I slowly pierce
you like a minnow, and my strength seems narrow,
like the muscle in the arm of a child that
twitches, then is still. Your smile! so yes
infinitely cold, I am like a wire vibrating,
and like a smile thrashing across the face
of a sufferer, gasping for breath as he
reads. My immense jubilation, divine singularity!
scream thrust earthward on the glacial face
with sandsharks and stingrays in its frozen
glance! And I, my leaf in the century-long breakers,
toss, toss up my little O of foam, and sink.

—Frank O'Hara


Today's LittleNip:

Poetry is the establishment of a metaphorical link between white butterfly-wings and the scraps of torn-up love-letters.

—Carl Sandburg



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

NEW FOR JUNE: Walt Whitman Orders a Cheeseburger, a rattlechap by Bob Stanley; Mandorla: A Prelude; a littlesnake broadside from frank andrick; and a brand-new issue of Rattlesnake Review! All at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.

COMING FOR SUMMER: There will be no rattle-read in July, while the Snake enjoys a little summer hibernation. (Stay current on Sacramento poetry, though, by way of Medusa's Kitchen.) Then join us Weds., August 12 to celebrate Joyce Odam’s birthday month with two new books from her: a collection of prose poems (illustrated by Charlotte Vincent) and Rattlesnake LittleBook #2 (Noir Love). That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Free!

RATTLESNAKE REVIEW: Issue #22 is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Or you can order copies of current or past issues through Contributor and subscription copies will go into the mail this week and next. Deadline is August 15 for RR23: 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 add all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of the on-going Medusa are always hungry; keep that poetry comin', rain or shine! Just let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one, and please—only one submission packet per issue of the quarterly Review. (More info at

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!: The second issue of WTF, the free quarterly journal from Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe that is edited by frank andrick, is now available at The Book Collector or through, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one. 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 (clearly marked for WTF). And be forewarned: this publication is for adults only, so you must be over 18 years of age to submit. (More info at

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 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.