Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Road More Curvy

Photo by Steph Schaefer, Los Molinos

—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines

Today the straight road can’t take us
anywhere we want to be, so we stay off

the freeway, follow the curving asphalt seams
that mark off quilt squares of chartreuse,

camel, saffron. . . But today the stuffing
is in the sky, not the quilt: piles and

piles of grey and white clouds blow around in
the blue like feathers after a pillow fight. . .

Back on earth, potholes and bright yellow
signs slow us down: Caution, Yield,

Rough Road: then a stubborn pheasant
stands his ground mid-road—we see his point,

go around him, slow down even more. . . Finally,
far back into countryside, where the seams

have pulled us into some very center of this quilt,
a pure white llama stands, regal among scattered

sheep—more white fluff: maybe from another
country, or maybe from the sky—from some-

place, anyway, where straight roads can’t always
take us where we want to be. . .


—Claire J. Baker, Pinole

For a different viewpoint
when tricked by stupidity
(your own or another's)
sketch for at least 5 minutes
with the opposite hand.
Keep eyes on subject.
Never check drawing until
time's up. Then add an egg,
cup of milk, a dash of whiskey,
5 tbsp. sugar, mix well,
shove in oven & forget it!


Curving hills. Look close—
at least seven shades of green,
now three shades of blue.

—Claire J. Baker


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

He’s long hated Bicycles, especially Those
who wobble the front wheel. Third day

on puppy Prozac, his light gray eyes
just widen a bit from pupil-slit toward

dark mellow, alive to the Snausage
training nibbles: Come, Sit, and even

a little Stay, though
his feathery butt’s springbok-

quick to unseat. Neat is it, when,
last night, a teenage Maria

von Trapp cycles past us, brunette mop
short, short brown peasanty skirt,

and a ukelele knee-jouncing. Off
handlebar, left fingers pluck strange

fourths and fifths as she pedals by,
Billy nary a savage leap

as he leash-stands (good
dog!) agog.


—Tom Goff

The trio’s listening violinist, counting rests,
bow-frog in soft right-hand clasp.
Her forehead’s touched to the instrument’s scroll;
volute ribs press lightly her thigh. Immaculate
wood vibrates through her as the Delphic omphalos
nourishes the oracle: she’s breathing in orange
and blue-violet vapors of Ravel,
ready to prophesy, ululate rough chant,
rave sweet lines we follow intoning to our fates.


Today's LittleNip:


we balance com-
plicated energies
in a sky of worlds, we flicker
like stars.

—Claire J. Baker


Photo by Steph Schaefer, Los Molinos

—Medusa (see the pure white llama?)

SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

COMING JUNE 10: 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, 7:30, on Wednesday, June 10. Free!

Rattlesnake Review: Snake (RR21) is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. RR22 will be available next Wednesday, June 10, at The Book Collector. Deadline is July 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 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!: 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.

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.