Thursday, June 25, 2009

What's Left Is What Is Left

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Galway Kinnell

On these cold days

they stand over
our dead, who will

erupt into flower as soon

as memory and human shape

rot out of them, each bent

forward and with wings
partly opened as though

warming itself at a fire.


—Galway Kinnell

Lifted by its tuft

of angel hairs, a milkweed

seed dips-and-soars
across a meadow, chalking

in outline the rhythm
that waits in air all along,
like the bottom hem of nowhere.

Spinus tristis, who spends
his days turning gold

back into sod, rise-and-falls

along the same line the seed

just waved through the sunlight.
What sheet or shroud large enough

to hold the whole earth
are these seamstresses' chalks
and golden needles

stitching at so restlessly?

When will it ever be finished?


MHSOAC Expressions!

The Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) is pleased to announce our newest publication, MHSOAC Expressions, which will exclusively feature artwork and writing from consumers in recovery, family members, and the mental health stakeholders community.
All submissions are to be submitted electronically in the format of a Word document, PDF or JPEG via email to or via postal mail to the MHSOAC no later than June 30th, 2009. Please be sure to also sign and attach the submission form with your work; this document can be accessed on our website at


1300 17th St., Suite 1000

Sacramento, CA 95811

Attention: Yee Xiong

Subject: Arts & Writing Submission

Telephone: (916)445-8780

Fax: (916) 445-4927



Chelsea Cecelia Hunt

Arts Education Training and Partnerships Associate

Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission

2030 Del Paso Blvd.

Sacramento, CA 95815-3022

Ph. (916) 566-3979

Fax (916) 566-3996


B.L.'s Drive-Bys: A Micro-Review by B.L. Kennedy:

(Fourth Revised Version, Coded for Videos/Lasers
by John Stanley

Creatures At Large Press
454 pp, $60.00
ISBN: 0 940064 10 3

For those of you who grew up in Sacramento before the era of VHS recorders, DVDs, TiVo and a whole shitload of other things, there was Bob Wilkins and his wonderful TV show, “Creature Features”, which ran from 1969 to 1984, give or take a year. Wilkins was replaced by John Stanley, who continued hosting the show that specialized in rare, obscure, really bad, sometimes terrible horror movies. (Attack of the Mushroom People comes to mind.) Now John Stanley is at it again, releasing the fourth revised edition of the Creature Features Movie Guide. Here we have capsulated reviews of 5614 genre movies of science fiction, horror, and fantasy, with vivid descriptions and body counts. Included are 232 photos of popular monsters, actors, and historical scenes; 24 new sketches from various sources; and 1709 cross-references to secondary titles and tricky re-titles by schlock producers trying to con you. We have all seen movie guides before, by critics such as Roger Ebert, but Stanley specializes in strict genre films. So if you’re a fan of schlock and you really need to know what the origin story was for movies such as Black Sunday, or how Mario Bava got his first job, or what inspired Dario Argento, then purchase this fine movie guide. You won’t go wrong.

—B.L. Kennedy, Reviewer-in-Residence


—Galway Kinnell

When the little sow piglet squirmed free,
Gus and I ran her all the way down to the swamp
and lunged and floundered and fell full-length
on our bellies stretching for her—and got her!—
and lay there, all three shining with swamp slime—
she yelping, I laughing, Gus—it was then I knew
he would die soon—gasping and gasping.
She made her second escape on the one day
when she was just big enough to dig an escape hole
and still small enough to squeeze through it.
Every day for the next week I took a bucket of meal
to her plot of rooted-up ground in the woods,
until one day there she was, waiting for me,
the wild beast evidently all mealed out of her.
She trotted over and let me stroke her back
and, dribbling corn down her chin, put up her little worried face
as if to remind me not to forget to recapture her—
though, really, a pig's special alertness to death
ought to have told her: in Sheffield the dolce vita
leads to the Lyndonville butcher. But when I seized her
she wriggled hard and cried, wee wee wee, all the way home.


—Galway Kinnell

The waves collapsed into themselves
with heavy rumbles in the darkness
and the soprano shingle whistled
gravely its way back into the sea.
When the moon came from behind clouds
its white full-moon's light
lightly oiled the little beach stones
back into silence. We stood
among shatterings, glitterings,
the brilliance. For some reason
to love does not seem ever
to hurt any less. Now it happens
another lifetime is up for us,
another life is upon us.
What's left is what is left
of the whole absolutely love-time.


Today's LittleNip:

Poetry is the harnessing of the paradox of earth cradling life and then entombing it.

—Carl Sandburg



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 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. Or you can order copies of current or past issues through 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 add 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 packet 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 through, 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 (clearly marked for WTF). 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.