Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Verse Remains, No More

Pigeon Mooning

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

The world above our heads, a sky
where roof and rafters rise and set;
a loft of moonshine from the west;
a canopy of hammered beams,

of shakes and shingles, nightly dreams.
A loft of moonshine from the west
where roof and rafters rise and set
the world above our heads. A sky.


—Taylor Graham

No more aeons mine? Season me
or save. A verse remains, no more.
Morn, noon, eve consume our cosmos.
Universe’s music runs on,

cursive as summer's arrow-awn.
Morn, noon, eve consume our cosmos
or save. A verse remains. No more,
no more aeons? Mine season me.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Ancient words remain radical:
take “punctuate”: mark or divide,
brought straight from the Latin for “point.”
Romans flattened word-dough in scrolls,
even their poems lengths of drone
only the vocal could end-stop;
yet scribes might point phrases—like us,
give them dogs’ feet (“Pawses”: Hitchcock)…


Thanks to today's poets for their "definition" poems for our Seed of the Week: pick a word, any word, and give us your take on it. Tom Goff and Taylor Graham took the additional, "extra-credit" challenge of making their poems octos (eight lines, eight syllables each). Mitz Sackman? Well, she just went a little nuts... :-)

And thanks to Katy Brown for finding us the photo of what birds REALLY think about cats!

You may or may not like poetic forms. Some people find them too constricting; others find them liberating; most of us are somewhere in the middle. To me, they're like scales. I don't generally "perform them onstage", but I do find that working with them now and then gets me to think in new ways about my structure and sound. Especially sound: poetry is all about sound, but sometimes that gets lost in our groping around for meaning, yes?

By the way, Joyce Odam, Rattlesnake Press's Formalist-in-Residence, has a wonderful set of bookmarks available, each of which lists a poetry form and an example of that form. Email her at, or catch her at her reading/release party at The Book Collector at 7:30 PM on Weds., August 12, when Rattlesnake Press will be premiering not one, but TWO new Joycean chapbooks: Peripherals, a book of prose poems illustrated by Charlotte Vincent, and Noir Love, #2 in our Rattlesnake LittleBooks series. Joyce will also be reading with Annie Menebroker at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., Sacramento, 7 PM on Sunday, August 16. Save both dates for these leading lights of poetry!

Today's the deadline to send your poem into the Bee!

Carlos Alcalá of the Sacramento Bee is asking for poetry about garden pests or other garden inconveniences: weeds, snails, squirrels, etc. He wants short poems (75 words or less) by today, Wednesday, July 8. Send ‘em to and watch for his “favorites” to appear in the Bee’s Home & Garden section on July 18. Include your name, town and a phone number where you can be reached.

Also tonight: Bone Folders!

Yes, I know it's second Weds., but there's no rattle-read, since the Snake is snoozing for July. Instead, Poems-for-All will be holding a folding party tonight: come help fold and build little books for free distribution at the San Francisco International Poetry Festival (on July 23). Learn how to become a bone folder—it's easy! That's at 1008 24th St., Sacramento, tonight from 6-9 PM. Be there!


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

Sea gem
Beauty radiant
Round or rough
Sand on your teeth
Detritus made dramatic
Gift of growing
Gorgeous sea skin


—Mitz Sackman

Temperature sensitive
Living metal
Whirling near the sun
Bright god
Clever, tricksy
Watch out for this one
Smallest planet


—Mitz Sackman

You tell her
I tell her
We don’t talk directly
You confide
I complain
She listens to us both
She tells you, she tells me
You and I don’t know
What the other really thinks


—Mitz Sackman

Lush, green
Butterfly haven
Fruitful, delicious
Growing rampant
Stretching verdant arms
Dinner makings, floral pleasures
Summer garden


—Mitz Sackman

Island dreams
Carried in canoes
Long ago
Here now in the volcano forest
Beautiful bowl
Cool shade
Kukui tree


—Mitz Sackman

Sweet scent
Stirs in the breeze
Drifting needles fall
Strong wood
Sturdy fence posts
Lawn furniture
Forest home
Eyes delight


Today's LittleNip:

—A.R. Ammons

May happiness
pursue you,

catch you
often, and,

should it
lose you,

be waiting
ahead, making

a clearing
for you.



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 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.