Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Knotty Problem of Squid

Our Seed of the Week:
Have at it and send your
knotty poems to

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Let’s you and me scrape up some das kapital
and remake Doctor No. But this time we’ll do it like

the novel, do it right. Cast a real Eurasian bad guy,
not some made-up white movie doofus. The evil

doctor in the novel runs a Caribbean guano factory?
Okay, guano, lots of guano. After a bazillion gross-out

comedies with bowl and plunger as virtual characters,
viewers can handle what Bond finally does

with all that bird poop. Remember, Craig does
torture way better than Connery, so tuck it to him

first, just a tad. Above all, we must have the Giant
Squid. Find one, tank one, feed it what it eats, film it

actually swimming somewhere. You know, bathysphere,
diving bell, whatever? Then cook up a full-scale model,

some CGI, okay, but make the rubber (squid)
meet the road (Craig). Remember that no animals

were harmed in the making of this picture. I looked up
Giant Squid on Wikipedia. There’s an old book illustration:

head with curved cruel beak, graceful mantle, a couple
tentacles, good for sucking flesh wounds. Those are

long suckers, like arms dragging knuckles
on a gorilla. Then, all kinds of little legs,

this way that, neatened up in the lithograph
so the legs curlicue just so,

like deep-sea calligraphy. Remember,
without the squid, no new Doctor No.

The squid stays in the picture.


Our thanks to Tom Goff for correcting a cosmic deficit noted yesterday by Medusa: not enough squid poems in the universe—not even one by Ogden Nash! (And no, octopi poems don't count.) Jane Blue also wrote to say she's working on the squid problem, though she suspects they are really aliens. Meanwhile, she sends us this bookend to the autobiographical poem she sent last week:

—Jane Blue, Sacramento

The Monterey pines are dying, infected
with a virus, rusty. Across the road
seedlings grow spaced apart on the dune,
inoculated, staked and mulched
on the slope to the long beach, clean salt air
and the crash of the sea.

Ideally they will replace the ill,
make a healthy new forest in fifteen years.

Will I be here in fifteen years? Inoculated,
cloned? A quiet watching crow sits above me
winking its eye among the cones.
A class on the deck erupts
into a polyglot argument, exploding
off the picnic benches, standing
in clumps with their arms across their chests.

Then the class is over. The discourse goes on,
theoretical, a sudden bouquet of laughter.
The crow laughs,
sniffs the wind and flies away.

I return to our room to find you
stretched out on your back in the big bed, lie down
next to you, your mouth a rictus, your jaw
dropped as if in rigor mortis, your vampire incisors
backlit from the glare of a sliding glass door
opening out to the pines and the dunes, the room
smelling of them, a prick of nostalgia.

You are dead to the world.


Bob Stanley writes:

As my first endeavor as Sacramento City and County Poet Laureate, I am posting a weekly article on the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission website (www.sacmetroarts.org/poet-laureate.html) which will feature a local poet and his or her work. I’m calling it “County Lines: The poetry of Sacramento” (http://www.sacmetroarts.org/PLcountylines.html). Over time, using this weekly format, I’m hoping to increase visibility for local writers. SacramentoPress.com has also agreed to carry it, and I’ve had a discussion with the Sacramento Bee as well. At this point, I’m looking for submissions (I’ll probably start with those who live in the city or county), and hope this online presence can be an inexpensive way you can share your fine work with a wider local audience. Two years: 100 poems, a hundred poets. Can Poetry Matter? I’m sure going to try and find out.

Any questions, let me know. Feel free to email or call anytime!

Bob Stanley, Sacramento Poet Laureate


—Claire J. Baker, Pinole

In autumn they leave a Naples flat
for their cottage in Tuscany where
ripe vines color windowpanes.

Breakfast: purple grapes, country
rolls, sweet butter, soft cheese,
coffee in white porcelain cups.

They gather easel, palette, pigments,
ride a horse cart into outskirts
of Florence, walk to the Uffizi.

Cosimo and Bianca are copying
one work, It will take each autumn
for the rest of their lives.


—Claire J. Baker

She retreats to a park where
only trees know her name. They
never ask more than she can give,
don't need her clever, young,
beautiful, rich, trim.

Here she rehearses
gratitude for life,
apologies for slights. Birds
carry off tidbits of meditation,
sing their lungs out.

Roots nurture whole villages
of heartwood;
wind stirs a meadow
into a library of grass
with its unique vocabulary.


—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

This is a road.
It was once a field.
We were not allowed
To see the change.

Time was much too short,
Had other things to do.
Battles took place here,
Their outcomes were
Precipitous at best.
Nothing could come of them.

This is a field.
It was once a road.
There are many ways
To see how these things
Happened. We will not
Know what they were.

I am telling you this
So that you can see this place.
We are the body.
This is the song.
Here, I will walk with you.


Today's LittleNip:

Individually, we are one drop. Together we are an ocean.

—Ryunosuke Satoro



(Thanks to Claire Baker for Today's LittleNip.)

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 rattlesnakepress.com, 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 fandrickfabpub@hotmail.com (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 rattlesnakepress.com/.)

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 rattlesnakepress.com/. 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 kathykieth@hotmail.com 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 rattlesnakepress.com/.)

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 kathykieth@hotmail.com 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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 (rattlesnakepress.com). And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.