Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Voyages

Photo by Bob Dreizler, Sacramento

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

“Down yonder green valley,” an old song
I learned at summer camp, June to September, that summer
I turned seven. Postcard from my parents
with the shiny picture of a ship named for a queen.
I picked fallen feathers, willow twigs and Indian paintbrush,
called it fairy-garden; walked alone
along the boulder-creek “where streamlets meander”
and counselors warned of rattlesnakes.
At lights-out in my kapok sleeping bag “when twilight is fading
I pensively roamed” the night sky for spirits,
shooting stars, parents sending postcards from Oslo,
Rotterdam, Paris, Rome, “where the blackbird is cheerfully
singing.” Every Saturday my camp-mates went back
home; new campers took their place. “‘Tis then
little think I of sorrow or sadness.”
I tried to remember my mother’s face.


Talking about autobiographies, we were, our Seed of the Week, and thanks to Taylor Graham for her poem on the subject. And thanks to Bob Dreizler for today's photos!

Today, July 15, is the deadline for WTF, Rattlesnake Press's quarterly journal from Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe.
Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but send your poems, photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to Editor Frank Andrick at (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


—Frank O'Hara

Your breath wakes me like a bolt from the blue:
the gingko tree is suddenly cautious
its rising leaves become unanimous
and I, dear, am setting my sail for you.

Although our waves may beat the children, Pooh
and Alice, into little scrofulous
stones and lichen, interesting dolls to us
(I never pat them slap them nor do you)

and the wake of our loving riptide, fun!
drowns out the clatter of leaves on windows
quenches our eyes (the gingko reminder)

sings to the kids that are happy willows
weeps and loves both of them like a dead son,
I lose nothing: not a leaf! and find you.


—Frank O'Hara

"Green oboes!" the parrot cries,
and why wouldn't he? hasn't the Master
linked them to perfumes?

A sudden rush of recorded music
makes the child on the rusting fire escape
back towards the fire

screaming, though a million fingers
glitter at his fatty throat rapturously.
Turned down, we whine,

Schumann and I. The pitch of autumn
is too high, the trees tear off arpeggios
as if they were cuff links.

Must we summer voyages and hear festivals,
sun looming always larger and over the sill?


—Frank O'Hara

Here is the edge of the water where
the delicate crabs drift like shells;
stick in your purple toe "I've been swimming
for hours, it's freezing!" and is it,
with all the salt falling like
a fountain across your mottled flesh,
each curling hair unguently draped by
the shivering sun, pushed by short breezes
into a molding for your hot heart, a wire
basket. And where the sands sting you
they gleam like matchsticks in the noon.
You are standing in the doorway on the
green threshhold while it licks feet
that are burning to spread and flutter.


Today's LittleNip:

I know that you try even harder than I
to hold off the darkness and it seems
that the poets that embrace it don't even
feel it at all, it's like taking a shower
to them or their therapy-tears or the
vitally informative sensitivity pill
that makes even Aldous Huxley see color.

—Frank O'Hara

Photo by Bob Dreizler


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.
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
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.