Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Loneliness: spring has already passed.
Silence: I close the gate.
From heaven, darkness; the wisteria arbor is no longer visible.
The stairway is overgrown with herbs
And the rice bag hangs from the fence.
Deep stillness, long isolated from the world.
All night the hototogisu cries.

(The hototogisu is the so-called Japanese cuckoo.)


Light sleep, the bane of old age:
Dozing off, evening dreams, waking again.
The fire in the hearth flickers; all night a steady rain
Pours off the banana tree.
Now is the time I wish to share my feelings—
But there is no one.



The vicissitudes of this world are like the movements of the clouds.
Fifty years of life are nothing but one long dream.
Sparse rain: in my desolate hermitage at night,
Quietly I clutch my robe and lean against the empty window.



Alone, wandering through the mountains,
I come across an abandoned hermitage.
The walls have crumbled, and there is only a path for foxes and rabbits.
The well, next to an ancient bamboo grove, is dry.
Spider webs cover a forgotten book of poems that lies beneath a window.
Dust is piled on the floor,
The stairway is completely hidden by the wild fall grasses.
Crickets, disturbed by my unexpected visit, shriek.
Looking up, I see the setting sun—unbearable loneliness.



Time for another Seed of the Week: Lonely. Send your musings on the state of loneliness to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline. And thanks to our poets today for various SOWs from the past few weeks!

UCD Tomales Bay Workshop Discount Available for SPC Members

To better serve students and the community, UC Davis Extension is working to form strong collaborative relationships with local writers' organizations. Sacramento Poetry Center members are now eligible to save $100 on UC Davis Extension's Tomales Bay Workshop. Apply now to take advantage of this one-time special offer. Or bring at least two friends and each group member will save 10 percent!

Join nationally known poets and writers, as well as respected editors and agents, in an intensive conversation about craft during the Tomales Bay Workshops Oct. 21-25. Work closely with an established author, receive constructive feedback from a group of peers and generate new material. Workshops are held at the Marconi Conference Center in Marshall, California, on the eastern shore of the pristine Tomales Bay, just north of San Francisco. The Center sits on a wooded hillside overlooking serene water and the mountains beyond and offers comfortable rooms, excellent food and inviting hiking trails. Robert Hass, former U.S. Poet Laureate, will be the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation Keynote Speaker.

Applications are reviewed as they are received and this popular program is expected to fill. Apply by July 15 to take advantage of these special discounts. Final filing date is August 1. Applications received after this deadline will be accepted on a space-available basis. Please indicate on your application that you are claiming the Sacramento Poetry Center discount. If you are applying as a group, please indicate the names of the three or more group members on your application materials.

Info: http://extension.ucdavis.edu/unit/arts_and_humanities/course/description/?type=A&unit=ARTS&SectionID=146249&prglist=WRT&utm_campaign=Arts_and_Humanities&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Other&utm_content=092606_Tomales_Bay_SacPoetryCtr

Visit the UC Davis Extension: http://extension.ucdavis.edu/unit/arts_and_humanities/course/description/?type=A&unit=ARTS&SectionID=146249&course_title=The%20Tomales%20Bay%20Workshops&prgList=WRT&AreaName=Writing

Download a brochure: http://extension.ucdavis.edu/unit/arts_and_humanities/pdf/092_108_tomales.pdf


Or call UC Davis Extension Student Services at (800) 752-0881 or email info@ucde.ucdavis.edu


—SLiC (Stuart Livingston Canton), Sacramento

When the sun's switched off
and the stars flicker on,
glowing like neon,
forming the great
“open late” sign
in the sky,

the doors swing open
to those ready to start their day:
night travellers,
ordering fried reminders of the sun,
gypsies peddling to waitresses,
has been's
and wanna be's
swapping tales over burnt coffee,
dancers, singers, rock stars
winding up or down,
mad einsteins,
chicken littles,
raging bulls,
murmuring voyagers
from an alternate consciousness,
banished napoleons,
and wilted carnations,
last known survivors,
and wanderers who have seen more than
anyone anywhere
except for the guy in the third booth
on the left
who's waiting for a chicken fried steak.

There's a whole city getting ready
to put the kids to bed,
and there's a whole world
getting ready
to go bump in the night.


At the café where I work
a customer shocked me with
"Hey honey my neck's a wreck,
could you rub it for me?"
I just said "no" and couldn't believe it
and wondered too: if I were a black man
would he ask something like,
"Hey boy could you also shine my shoes?"
He'd undoubtedly be told to leave
Perhaps the pornography store nearby
is what infected his brain into such sexism
But I wish instead some hot-looking guy would come in
promoting his professional body work along with his smoothie
But of course, for a gal like me, that's only a dream

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


At least for now our dreams are commercial-free
But how long before those are beamed into your brain
just like they want to advertise on the moon
without the use of even any iPod ear buds or phone headsets
that people use without recreational drugs to distort reality

—Michelle Kunert


—Marie J. Ross, Stockton

He had the serpent's eye directed straight at me,
each blink a controlling confusion.
In liquid of his eyes, I saw tepid water, never
delightful, always an intermittent shallow lake.
The tongue would fling cutting words at me, the target
under the influence.
I became a vagabond in search of inner self, retreating
to higher ground where he couldn’t reach me, to an apex
where I found safety.
I, alone with myself in clouds of self-realizations.
No more the serpents’s eye, I, swimming the lakes with
reeds and calm waters. I, Queen Cobra’s Eye.


—Marie J. Ross

Wheat is the target of soft breezes
moving it to dance with a whisper.
Wheat is honey grass growing
into strong stems, and withstands
wind; target of silence loose on
the prairie.
The siren of spring blows craft on
the weave, separates them like yarn
on spinning wheels, threads them to
the slightest breeze, until thirst of summer
and cold of winter target them to reside in
the valley of oven and frost.


Today's LittleNip:

We see only a straw hat and raincoat,
but still the scarecrow
does his job.




(Today's poetry by Ryokan was translated from the Japanese by John Stevens.)

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 rattleread 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 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 kathykieth@hotmail.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 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 rattlesnakepress.com/.)

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 fandrickfabpub@hotmail.com (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 rattlesnakepress.com/.)

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 kathykieth@hotmail.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 kathykieth@hotmail.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.