Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lines That Are Poems That Are Lines...

Mike McQuay

—Mike McQuay, Carson City, NV

It’s dawn.
The light passes through you
As you pass before the window
On my side of the bed.

I ask you to pause
If you will
And lean to kiss me
Before you leave
(my eyes).

You know the cause
And smile
And look out
To see the sunrise.

You faux stretch.
You faux yawn.
Your nighty faux rises
Beyond your panties.

Then you kiss me.
Then you’re gone.

It’s dawn.


Thanks, Mike! Mike G. McQuay has been writing poems (and stories, and little plays) for 40+ years. He's been published here, on the old, and on a Creative Writing workshop site in 2002. After the 2002 workshop, he helped start the Boot writers group of Borders in Folsom, California which later became Quill. Sonnets, villanelles, haiku, and limericks tickle his old-fashioned fancy now and again. A little structure can be inspirational. Perhaps his degrees in Philosophy and Organizational Management have affected his writing more than his career: he's a power system operator in Reno, commuting from Carson City, home of his new wife/inspiration and family.


—Mike McQuay

She wakes, she rises,
She bathes, puts on a face.
He falls out of bed
And lands right in his place.
They walk in the park,
Not together,
But at the same time.
They never meet,
But their story rhymes.


—Mike McQuay

It's raining like crazy
And the sun is setting
It makes me feel lazy
Like going to bed
And laying around

I can hear the sound
of the gutters spilling
I can feel the pounding
of the thunder
I can smell the dampness
of the rain
I can taste
your sweet flesh

And I haven't left
My desk

I wonder
What's for Dinner

Whatever I stop at the store for
And get
I bet.

I better get.


—Mike McQuay

If I were a girl
of moderate means,
I’d get me a flower every day.

And I would make it a point to appreciate
each flower’s singular beauty.

I would inhale innocent Daisy’s breath
and dust her pollen upon my slender neck.

I would touch my own to velvet Rose’s lips
to make them blush as red.

Subtle Tulip’s purple hue would enhance my own blue eyes
from tucked behind my delicate ear so pink.

And crispened Lilac’s almost-black petals
would sweeten my soft queen sheets.

Yes, if I were a girl of moderate means,
I’d give myself a flower every day.

And then I would luxuriate
in its precious gift to me,

‘cause chicks
really dig
that shit.


—Mike McQuay

A leaf
aloof aloft,
a far way away from a home,
adrift on the breezes
of seasonal changes,
up high in the sky

on his way back home.

Does he know what just happened

Ah, I hope so.

(First appeared in Rattlesnake Review)


Today's LittleNip:

Every poem must be made up of lines that are poems.

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Courtesy of Claire J. Baker)



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 or (soon) on

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. Contributor and subscription copies will go into the mail next week. 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 include 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 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 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. 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.