Tuesday, June 16, 2009

On Your Mark, Get Set...


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

When Barry heard that Spanish poets have
duende—a kind of dark mysterious quality—
Barry said he wanted it for his own poetry.

He started his search for duende at a bar called
The Sombrero. Barry drank three beers and bought
one for a blonde next to him. When he told her he
was a poet, she said, “Rhyme something for me.”

Barry politely replied, “My poems don’t rhyme.
I write about the human spirit.” The blonde looked
back at him, and said, If it doesn’t rhyme, it ain't no
poetry—roses are red, violets are blue—that’s how
it should go.” Then she slid her empty glass to him.

Barry decided to leave before the blonde mortally
wounded his poetry. He went to another bar that had
a piano man. Barry was still searching for duende.


Thanks to Richard Zimmer and Claire Baker for today's poems! The rest of you: take aim at the picture above today and see if you can stir up a little duende of your own for the picture that is our Seed of the Week. Hit the bull's eye with a poem about—what?—being a target? Feeling like you're on the spot? Good/poor "marksmanship" of one type or another? Cupid's arrows? Let's sweeten the pot: Send me a Seed of the Week poem and I'll send you a free copy of Bob Stanley's new rattlechap, Walt Whitman Orders a Cheeseburger. There's a deadline for this one, though: Midnight on Sunday, June 21. Send 'em to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.


—Claire J. Baker, Pinole

now I wonder
if new friend Simin,
a proud Persian Muslim, is
praying in her lovely Farsi
to Mohammed and God...

Because of her daily
spiritual observance, I
a 100% religious liberal,
am now more mindful
(thank you, Simin)

of sunrise and sunset.



you see through
that person
as through
a cloud
brightly. When

their expressiveness
turns suddenly mute
you can still hear
their elegant words
in the silence.

—Claire J. Baker



drives me
crazy to
see two
to pry

—Claire J. Baker


(with help from Google)
—Claire J. Baker

She chose cupped hands:
four deep,
larger to smaller,
darker to lighter—
a child's hands at center
protected by all races
all over the world,
an everyone-getting-along
feeling, as if we always had
and always will.


—Claire J. Baker

Minnows nibble floating insects.
The feasting nearly shatters
the large Buddha
reflected in jade green.
Soon the shaken pond
reverts to watery glass.

Easing out from under
her own thumb, dwarfed
from letting go all ego
she vaults a leafy limb,
lands on a water lily pad.
The stone Buddha smiles.



the envelope
with you—
even wanting
to seal you,
affix a stamp,
send you
somewhere exotic
with an SASE
enclosed for
whatever reply
you might
care to make.

—Claire J. Baker


—Claire J. Baker

This is not an exhibition...
it's a life. —Stanley Kunitz

Miss Pretentious, you demand
the lead, fancy costumes,
a spotlight on all your lines.
Rehearsing, you role-play "yourself,"
urge an elaborate production,

crave mirrored walls which
reflect your look-at-me look
of angelic preciousness.

If we pelted you with eggs,
milk, flour, sugar, vanilla,
you'd think we were making
you a cake. And you'd provide
the frosting!


Today's LittleNip:

The coroner will find ink in my veins and blood on my typewriter keys.

~C. Astrid Weber



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.