Monday, July 20, 2009

Giant Squid Comes To San Diego

Today's post is dedicated to our friends from the deep,
the giant squid, who have left Davey Jones' locker
to visit San Diego. Unfortunately,
I could find no poems about squid/calamari.
Any ideas?


—Erica Jong

Nights we spend apart
I am at the bottom of a lake
with my loneliness.
Even a fishhook
would taste good.
I throw myself a line.
I write.

Night terrors come back.
I am four.
There is a man under the bed
who holds his breath
so I will think he's dead.
I know he's cheating
& I hold mine too.
We wait each other out.

Last gasp.
The water fills my lungs.

At the bottom of the world
where books dissolve,
when pencils turn to salt,
where Venice sinks
under the weight
of stolen gold,
the blind fish bump me
& I turn to them.

I speak their silent thoughts
before I sleep.


This week in Norcal poetry:

•••Monday (7/20), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents MC Sho’Nuff and Jenilynn with Litany. See last Friday's post for bios. NOTE NEW LOCATION: HQ for the Arts at 1719 25th St., Sacramento. [Due to a new policy about using the electrical outlets at Fremont Park, this event has been moved to HQ for the Arts.] Admission: FREE (though donations are encouraged). Rebecca Morrison will be on hand to host, as well as share stories from her recent trip to France.

•••Tues. (7/21), 6:30 PM: Third Tuesday Poetry Series at The Barkin’ Dog Grill, 940 11th St., Modesto presents MeterMaids, followed by an open mic. Info: Gillian Wegener at Come early to eat dinner!

•••Weds. (7/22), 6-7 PM: Upstairs Poetry Reading at The Upstairs Art Gallery, 420 Main St (2nd floor), Placerville. It's a poetry open-mike read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen. No charge.

•••Thurs. (7/23), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe (1414 16th St., Sacramento) presents Phillip T. Nails, Robert Grossklaus, Julie Valin. Open mic before and after.

•••Sat. (7/25), 7-9 PM: TheShowPoetrySeries with live band LSB, vocalist Zionista plus poets Nate Hall, Alphonso Flowers, Nikki Brock and open mic. Wo'se Community Center, 2863 35th St., Sacramento (off 35th & Broadway). $5.00. Info: 916 208-POET or


—Erica Jong

The best lovers
think constantly of death.
It keeps them honest.
It causes them to make love all night,
avoiding sleep.

We made love all night—
we three.
You & me
& that death's head
which slept between us.
The third impression on our pillow
was death itself—
& I smoothed back your mustache
in the direction from which
it had grown.

All night you drank from me.
The light was bone white,
moon white, white as gravestones.
The sheets were limestone,
the blankets marble shrouds
& in the morning
we lay there quite as numb
as a sarcophagus king
& queen.

What a loving corpse you were!
I have known living men
to be much, much colder.
Being dead,
we needed so much heat—
that we rubbed each other's flints
& made blue sparks.

I think how valiantly we fought off sleep,
& of your skin
like worn-down marble.

I think especially of your gentleness.
Death also can be thanked
for that.


—Erica Jong

(seven years old, just beginning):

After we had torn out
each other's ribs
& put them back—

after we had juggled thigh bones
& knee caps,
& tossed each other's skulls at friends,

after we had sucked
each other's blood
& spat it out,

after we had sucked
each other's blood
& swallowed it
licking our lips‚

after the betrayals
& imagined betrayals—

after you left me in the snow
& I left you in the rain
& we both came back—

after staying together
out of lust
& out of fear
& out of laziness—

we find ourselves
entangled in each other's arms,
grown into each other
like Siamese twins,
embedded in each other
like ingrown toenails,

& for the first time
wanting each other


Today's LittleNip:

This world has its pants on backwards. Most carry their values and knowledge in a jug that has a big hole in it.

—Kabir (translated by Daniel Ladinsky)



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

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.
Deadline for Issue #3 (which will be available August 21) was July 15; next deadline will be Oct. 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 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.