Saturday, August 08, 2009

Dueling Pizzas

Arthur and Kit Knight

—Arthur Winfield Knight, Yerington, NV

They stand on opposite
corners of the street.
A petite blonde
is wearing a green blouse.
She's barely big enough
to hold the sign
she's waving at passersby.
A heavyset guy
with hair the color of ashes
is wearing a black sweater.
He's waving a sign, too.
Both are advertising
lunch specials,
the former for $6.49,
the latter for $5.99.
Both are sweating,
jumping up and down.
They look ready
to shoot it out any minute.
Dueling pizzas.


Born in San Francisco, Arthur Winfield Knight has had more than 3,000 poems, short stories and film reviews published in magazines and anthologies. Representative publications include College English, The New York Quarterly, Poet Lore, Cat Crimes III, New Trails (edited by John Jakes) and Westward. He has written six novels, an imaginary autobiography, a real autobiography, and co-edited several anthologies (with Kit Knight). Poetry collections include Outlaws, Lawmen & Bad Women and Basically Tender. Poems and stories have been translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish and Turkish. He is listed in Who’s Who in America, Contemporary Authors and Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series (volume 27). He has taught in several universities, including University of San Francisco, and is a columnist for Senior Spectrum in Sacramento.

Arthur says: I escaped from the suburbs of Sacramento (Citrus Heights) to rural northern Nevada (I got tired of getting on the freeway to go to the Safeway), along with my wife and our retired racing greyhound. Most mornings Kit and I take Nikkie for a walk and most evenings we probably drink more cheap wine than we should, but life in the high plains is good.


—Arthur Winfield Knight

I tell our greyhound,
"Never mind the rain,"
and she doesn't.
I tell Nikkie,
"Never miind the thunder,"
but she whimpers, curled,
at the foot of the bed.
It almost never thunders
in the high plains,
so she's not used to it.
When the sky breaks again,
I sit beside her, saying,
"You're a good dog,
it will be all right,"
stroking her head, gently,
but she still whimpers.


—Arthur Winfield Knight

Bonnie and Clyde may have been
killers, but they didn't deserve to die
the way they did, shot to pieces
on a back road in Louisiana.

Buck told me he and Clyde
loved to go to the movies
when they were kids. They'd steal
the money they needed. Maybe
that was where it all began.

When he was a teenager,
Buck was sent to jail for stealing
a few turkeys from a neighbor
the week before Christmas, 1926,
and Clyde robbed a drugstore
in Dallas to buy some presents
for his parents and younger sister.

Clyde imagined he was Jesse James,
but he never imagined
one of his gang would betray him,
the way Jesse was betrayed
by that dirty little coward.

The cops told Henry Methvin
he'd be pardoned
for setting Clyde and Bonnie up,
that he'd never go to prison
in Louisiana, but no one said
anything about Oklahoma.
Henry was sentenced to die
for his crimes there, but his mother
pleaded his sentence down.

When Henry was released
he got a job managing a restaurant,
but he failed at that, the way
he'd failed at everything. He became
an alcoholic addicted to cheap wine,
became a hobo, living in jungles.

They found his chopped up body
scattered along the railroad tracks
near Lake Charles, Louisiana.
He died the way he lived,
a coward and a loser.

No one mourned him.


Today's LittleNip:

—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks

“Damn,” spluttered Jack,
“That tastes,

Tastes like water!”

“Goes well
With canned tuna,”

Smiles Neal.



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


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 at Luna's Cafe on
Thursday, August 20
) 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 (include snail address) and I'll send you one. Free!


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.