Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Continuously, Continually, All The Time

Photo by Bob Dreizler, Sacramento

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

The mummied tiler lies still where he lay,
under the spired roof from which he fell,
miraculous proof of death with minimal decay.

In 1450 when he smashed his mortal clay
on the market square, they bore him to this cell.
The mummied tiler lies still where he lay.

His lidless eyes are open to the meager ray
a candle issues over his diminished shell,
miraculous proof of death with minimal decay.

But if he watches, in the vaulted stony day
under Sankt Petri, visions of heaven or hell,
the mummied tiler lies still where he lay.

Composed forever under hands that pray,
he lies expressionless, a broken bell;
miraculous proof of death with minimal decay.

The Lord preserves here in an unearthly way.
As centuries expire with solemn knell,
the mummied tiler lies still where he lay,
miraculous proof of death with minimal decay.


—Taylor Graham

Pilgrims to the shrine of this famous domicile are liable
to much disappointment at finding so little remaining.
—Elihu Burritt, A Walk from London to John O’Groats

At journey’s end you find a barren shore.
By staff, seven hundred miles and more—
and here’s no living trace, no monument.
No legendary table, eight chairs meant
to quell a family squabble. Those who swore

to peace are gone—to graves, if not to war.
What words of peace withstand the ocean’s bore?
The sea racks up on rock, its tidings spent.
At journey’s end

you fill your pockets—what? with shells? a store
of spiraled hope some living creature wore.
It’s dead—the sea-snail, not the hope. Content
you are, still, at this northernmost extent
of possibility: a rope, an oar
at journey’s end.


Thanks to Taylor Graham and today's other poets for taking a stab at our Seed of the Week: Repetition (lines, words, sounds—your pick). Send your repeated musings to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 94726. No deadline on SOWs.

And thanks to Bob Dreizler, as always: Financial Planner and Photographer. For info and more photos, go to (And take a look at the bottom of today's post for pix of The Bobster, World Traveler, Himself!) Some of you may remember Bob's wife, Stacey, from the Hart Center Tuesday Night Workshop a few years ago.

Poetry Reading Tonight Features
Sacramento Poet Laureate-Elect
Bob Stanley at Poetry Night at Bistro 33:

Poetry Night at Bistro 33 welcomes Bob Stanley, acclaimed teacher and poet laureate-elect for the city of Sacramento. Stanley will be performing his reading this evening, Wednesday, July 1 at 9 P.M., at 226 F Street in the City of Davis.

Bob Stanley has written poetry and volunteered in poetry organizations for over three decades. President of the Sacramento Poetry Center since 2006, Mr. Stanley also served on the board of Alameda Poets, and has led workshops and readings all over Northern California. In 2008, Bob organized a gathering of poets laureate for the California Arts Council, and in 2009 he edited Sometimes in the Open, an anthology of poems by sixty-five laureates. His poems have won a number of awards, including the California Focus on Writers prize in 2006, and they have been published in numerous journals and anthologies. Bob got his BA in English at UCLA (1974) and an MA in Creative Writing from Sacramento State (2005). He teaches Creative Writing and English at Sacramento State University, Sacramento City College, and UC Davis Extension. His first chapbook, Walt Whitman Orders a Cheeseburger, was just released last month by Rattlesnake Press. Bob has been selected to be the poet laureate of Sacramento for a two-year term, beginning in July 2009.

We encourage you to arrive early to secure a table, and to sign up for a spot on the Open Mic list. Poetry Night at Bistro 33, hosted by Andy Jones and produced by Brad Henderson, occurs on the first and third Wednesday of every month at 9 P.M. with an open microphone segment at 10 P.M.

HandyStuff from Ellen Bass: A List of Opportunities:

Deadline: July 15 with a $15 entry fee
Prize: $1500

A prize and publication in Narrative Magazine will be given annually for a poem or group of poems. All entries will be considered for publication. Submit up to five poems with an SASE. Narrative Magazine, Poetry Contest, P.O. Box 29272, San Francisco, CA 94129. Tom Jenks, Editor. Please check the Website for complete guidelines:


Deadline: August 31, 2009
Honorarium $500

One poet and one fiction writer from California will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, where they will meet with agents, editors, and prominent writers, and give a public reading of their work in Spring 2010. The winners will be selected by Karen Tei Yamashita (fiction) and Juan Felipe Herrera (poetry).

The contest is open to poets and fiction writers who have never published a book, or have published no more than one full-length book in the genre in which they are applying and have resided in California for at least two consecutive years prior to the date they submit their manuscripts. An application must accompany all manuscripts and be postmarked no later than August 31, 2009. For complete guidelines and an application, please visit

Cheryl Klein
Director, California Office and Readings/Workshops (West) or


Deadline: Collecting work during July, possibly August 2009.
For Fall Publication.

Short fiction, poetry, essays and critical efforts about female artists (visual artists, writers, musicians, etc) or their struggles are welcome. Work should be consistent, tight and titled, edgy, original and female. No content is too raw or offensive as long as it has a point and purpose. Excerpts from novels that can stand on their own will be quite effective. Photos/self-portraits and bios with biting turns of phrase are needed, as well. Art could include glossy, color, etc., but for now we can only count on print, so sketches, photos and cartoons are especially useful to us. Illustrated fiction like Lynda Barry does would be refreshing and useful to the purpose of the book. Artists retain all rights to work they contribute. Start with 3 pieces of art, poetry, short fiction, essays, criticism. Include brief, well-written bio, image of self. Published work welcome; artists keep rights to work. Please send attachments to I promise to be timely in responses.



The focus of the journal is Jewish scholarly essays, but there is also a long history of publishing poetry that in some ways relates to Judaism. Submissions can be sent to Rabbi Susan Laemmle at, who says I am actively trying to make sure that we become a place where great Jewish-related poetry gets published!

Rabbi Hara Person
Publisher and Director, CCAR Press
Central Conference of American Rabbis


Starting November 2009-November 2010
Application Period: July 1-August 1

Application forms can be downloaded from our web site:

622 SE 29th Avenue
Portland, OR 97214


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

The birds! the birds! We see Bodega Bay,
but not the late gold-green sinister light
that touches the switchback roads and baywater curves,
accenting Tippi Hedren’s seagreen suit
and frost-gold hair that helmets her through swerves
and yearnings after bachelor Rod Taylor;
not that exact gold-green sinister light
that perfectly offsets grim squads of crows
lighting with ranks of gulls in impassive rows
on telephone wires or schoolyard jungle gyms;
the birds! the birds! We see Bodega Bay:
we want more crows and ravens, gulls and terns,
Erinyes venting inexplicable hymns,
sheer atavistic scree and cry and outrage,
bills and beaks woodpeckering bloody stripes
across the foreheads of women, children, men
in strafing runs, capricious and savage swipes
over the small bay back to the sea or farm
to recoop and rebrood. Instead, what harm,
we bum around the souvenir shops
and mudflat beach (Drake’s anchorage?) Campbell Cove;
there floats the seeming-innocent Western Grebe
paddling the tide alongside a dusty glebe;
we have a good dinner; barely time to rove,
rave and unfeather ourselves of heat and fumes:
we want to sprout black plumes
and pluck out eyes. Then, at The Tides,
a notice: Tippi Hedren’s coming back to town,
returning on Independence Day!
Tippi Hedren’s coming back, a bit older;
the birds! the birds! again at Bodega Bay;
who knows what silhouettes roost shoulder to shoulder,
what spectral flocks in that precise late light
await the inaudible signal to swoop and ruin?


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

I am the forest queen
Throat open
Singing green to life

I am the whirling dance
Heart open
Laughing in the rain

I am nature singing
Arms wide
Rising through the sky

I am the shy flower
Petals wide
Embracing the light

I am the green treasure
Heart open
Holding all of life


—Mitz Sackman

I am the ocean voice
Subtle speaking
Sharing my dreams

I am the blue depths
Rumbling waves
Living down below

I am the rocky shoreline
Shallow pools
Filling with saltwater

I am the river silence
Shadowed quiet
Turning sand to gleam

I am love given
Love received
Hearts forever joined


—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

Promise me that you will tell
No one about this poem.
That only you and I will know
Of it and hear its sounding.
Promise me that you will read
It everyday, no matter what.
No one must know how huge
The stars are
Or how bright their light
Is as it falls across the
Trees along the edge of the dark
Water. No one, repeat, no one
Must find their way through
These hallways or discover
The beautiful rooms breathing
With exquisite music
And the changing of the tides.
Here we shall know each
Other, the taste of our
Dreams, the reeds of our
Hearts before the wind.
Promise me we can always
Find our way here, through
These words and images
To where there is only
This poem, promise me.


Bob Dreizler

Bob, Living the High Life...


Today's LittleNip:

—A.R. Ammons

Continually is continuously
from time to time

and continuously is
continually all the time.



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

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: Peripherals: Prose Poems by Joyce Odam (illustrated by Charlotte Vincent) and Rattlesnake LittleBook #2 (Noir Love). That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. 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

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. 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!

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.