Saturday, July 18, 2009


Monday (7/20): 40th Anniversary
of the First Walk on the Moon
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

midnight window
toxic plastic blinds shut tightly—
cool outside—
inside, sweltering,
too poor for air conditioning,
but safe—

outside midnight, cool
moon lovely, white,
yet outside holds
violence, pain, death
unsafe to open windows to the breeze
unsafe to walk in the moonlight
unsafe to sleep outside in the Garden

lock myself inside
radio plays Tchaikovsky
type poems no one reads
radio blares emergency warning
then nothing—
is there no emergency?
will nights come when we sleep
unafraid in the Garden?
back to Tchaikovsky
and outside, the moon


—Ann Wehrman

I don’t want to wake up with you
I don’t want to breathe the perfume of your kiss
I don’t want to be the one you leave to go to work
I don’t want to be the one you call at noon
I don’t want to follow you outside
when you need to breathe the stars’ expanse

I don’t want to slip my arm around your waist under your jacket
I don’t want to stir when you slide carefully into bed
I don’t want to wake in the middle of the night and make love with you
I don’t want to scrimp, save, starve with you
I don’t want you to wait to die last,
so as not to leave me alone


—Ann Wehrman

you stalk through the house
arthritic and tired
curl up under the rocker’s runner
find a safe place hidden in a corner
box of blankets, open drawer,
or if C. is home, attach
yourself to her shoulder, her arm, her side
a besotted lover, a one-woman cat

when you wake up you look
still asleep, like a groggy old man
you take more than a moment
to come to your senses,
blinking, winking
your way across the room
tail down, fur dull and dry

all you need is a half-chewed cigar and
rolled-up sports section to be
someone’s widowed grandfather

want to play checkers, Mr. Charlie?
you acknowledge the request, but
decline to pass the time
You’re just a cat
and you’d be the first to admit it


—Ann Wehrman

Patrolling the perimeter, you call it?
I’m just waking up, and if you don’t mind,
need to use the cat box;
there, that’s better.
Well, what’re you looking at?
At least there’s food, meow!


Thanks to Katy Brown for today's photo, and to Ann Wehrman for the poems, which have been written to various prompts from Medusa and otherwise. Ann, a busy music major at CSUS, was featured on Medusa's Kitchen December 10, 2007, and she is a regular contributor to Rattlesnake Review—plus she has a littlesnake broadside, Notes from the Ivory Tower, which was released in 2005. She writes that "Charlie" and "Old Charlie Wakes at Dawn" are companion poems which she wrote in response to two of the prompts in "15 poems you can write now" on PoetryExpress: Check it out!

And be sure to check out the Sacramento Bee Home & Garden section today for poems about gardening, especially from SnakePals Pat Pashby and Sacramento's first Co-Poet Laureate, Viola Weinberg!


Today's LittleNip:

—May Swenson

Only on the anvil's edge
where the blue fire flashes
will my lead love turn to gold
The rest is dreams and ashes

Only in sleep or solitude
where fancy's fountain plashes
will my dead love rise to swim
The rest is dreams and ashes

Only on the unmarked page
wherever the bold mind dashes
will my fled love follow me
The rest is dreams and ashes



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.