Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Wee Bit Of Flesh

Photo by Ann Privateer, Davis

—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks

“Draw a magic circle,
Color it with purple,
And dot it with a great big
Dot!” They’d chant before
Sending me off into
The yard. Then I’d run
Like mad to get out
Of range before they
Started throwing things.

The reports said I didn’t
Play well with others.
But sometimes
There were reasons.


—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

sally mae goes to summer camp
signs up for archery
grabs arrows, bow, makes her stand
bags counselor’s cat for lunch, today

bad sally mae!
but I hit it square on, she cries
what’s so different
when it’s your pet that dies?

sally’s in the cabin
parents driving up the hill
sally plays with a bobby pin
zaps ants on the sill

parents look for sally’s heart
sally hides inside
and it goes on, this world of war
innocents who die


—Ann Wehrman

tie my heart to a slender shaft
sail through violet haze
over the ocean’s skip, froth, waves
around the globe still flying

if it could speak, my heart would cry
as it circles, dying,
seeks the lock it’s meant to fit,
my love, why are you hiding?


Ouch! Poetry With Fangs! All of these poems have slings and arrows and a bit of a sting, befitting our Seed of the Week, which is yesterday's photo of a target. 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? 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 or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. Thanks to Kevin Jones, Ann Wehrman and Taylor Graham for the "target" poems, and to Pat Hickerson for her prose poem based on last week's SOW: Curious Travels (a curious travel, indeed, Pat!), and to Ann Privateer who continues to send us photos of Snake-fixtures while she dallies in Paris...

Snake Pal Ray Hadley in South Lake Tahoe sent me a copy of the third edition of Edge, the annual anthology of poetry, fiction, photography, art and nonfiction that is produced by Tahoe Writers Works up in Tahoe. This is a very classy, glossy-paper, perfect-bound publication that features many writers from Up the Hill, down here in the Valley, and everywhere else. Order a copy ($12) or a subscription from Their submission period is June-October; find guidelines at or send submissions to Congrats, friends! A gorgeous work, this is!


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Getting the right word, the perfect phrase
is like – he says – hitting the bulls-eye,
the way the arrow tingles in air, the energy
of flight accomplished.

But how – she asks – do I know if
Die Vögelein schweigen im Walde means,
The woodbird's asleep on the bough
or, The little birds are hushed in the wood?

It’s all context – he explains – the rings
around that little black spot in the center
of the target. How many points?
Who cares, anyway, about sleeping birds?


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

Their reflective 1974 ramble down runneled roads viewed ragged Hotel Intercontinental stared down regimental green grass soldiers rifles readied for raging rabble riot rolling across the city square the Butcher's radiant rumbling black limo military parting of the blood-red sea ran under a sullen summer sky retreat to the raddled park its refuse-rimmed waters and rusted rowboat rutted the river rearwards then reeled back to the risible riddle of rotted rooms Hotel Union with an aphrodisiac bottle of Romanian red rapture on rumpled reverberating sheets 8th day of a curious American radical (wife-in-tow) who peeked behind Ceaucescu's Curtain saw reincarnated un-reformed un-repentant fourteenth century Vlad the Impaler who sucked souls in his bloody rubbled fortress facing Russia...


Today's LittleNip:

One ought only to write when one leaves a piece of one's own flesh in the inkpot, each time one dips one's pen.

~Leo Tolstoy



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 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.