Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Memory Of Light

Photo by Katy Brown

—Katy Brown, Davis

Not plans for monuments;

not the prayers of the men

who raise the stones;

not fires nor the smoke of fires;

not the stones, however big:

in graveyards, in marble halls,

in pyramids, in circles—

not the men themselves.

Not moons or planets or suns.

At the edge of time,

nothing solid remains:

only dust,

the spirit of dust

and the memory of light.


—Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Tehama

Wind shadows spill
across high desert valley
where surges of habitation
deposit their spoor.

Circles of stones, knapped
flint mark the first ones.
Then came the pioneers' path—
rotted wood, spent bullets,
graves unnoted for decades.
Miners stripped land, left
rusted metal, decayed streams.

Clapboard skeletons,
steeple, bell
towers show
when women came and stayed.

Near springs and willows
windmills, broken corrals
around today's aluminum, boxes
filled with the next
wave of hope.

(First published in Tule Review, 1999)


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

the last cylinder as blood and flush are falling
through my father’s face,
gauzy sheet of death
folding over.
I know that I have lost him:
his sorrow...his joy
his fire gone out,
leaving but one cylinder
on the Victrola.


We're still contemplating What Remains; never too late for a Seed of the Week poem. Katy Brown has sent us several, in fact, from this week's SOW and weeks before, and of course a wonderful photo of Stonehenge (which has, so far, remained...). Join us on Wednesday, Sept. 9 at The Book Collector for the release of Katy's most recent blank journal: A Capital Affair. That's 7:30 PM, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. The reading is free!

RD (Raindog) Armstrong writes: Bill Chinaski is looking for a few good men/women for his website. Here's his info:"Poets Corner at is finally moving forward with the poets’ section. I set up a test page for Ben Smith at just to give you an idea of the elements we're going to need for each poet. Basically, just a headshot, brief bio, link of your choice and four to five representative poems. I'm going to launch when I have about five pages ready and then recruit other poets to participate..." Contact him, if you'd like, and just for the helluvit, mention RD's name! And check for new Lummox Press titles at

And while you’re 'Netting, don’t forget to look at Sacramento Poet Laureate Bob Stanley’s featuring of local poets. You can see them listed at SMAC: At the bottom of the SMAC entry, there is a link to the archives to see the previous five Sacramento poets, most recent of which were JoAnn Anglin and Josh Fernandez.

B.L.'s Drive-Bys: A Micro-Review by B.L. Kennedy:

The Trials of Lenny Bruce: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon
Performances, Interviews and Commentary on Audio CD (Narration Nat Hentoff)
Authored by Ronald K.L. Collins and David M. Skover
Sourcebooks Inc
557 pgs and 1 audio CD
ISBN: 1-57071-986-1

Words, words, words, and more words: that was what Lenny Bruce was all about…words—words that we use in common, everyday life; words that describe our daily experiences. Lenny Bruce committed his life to telling the truth and paid dearly for it. At a time when society so took for granted language and the secret meanings behind language, Bruce put his balls on the line. Think of it: the First Amendment pretty much tells us that we have the right to say our say, and the battle has been fought many times through the words of such luminaries as William S. Burroughs, Henry Miller, James Joyce, Hubert Selby Jr. and countless others. The Trials of Lenny Bruce tells the story of this subversive comic genius, the battles he fought and the price he paid for being a unique American voice. Do I think you should buy this book? Yeah, I think it’s an important book. I think it’s a book that should be read again and again and again because one never knows, even in a country like the United States of America, when the shadows will appear to steal your voice.

—B.L. Kennedy, Reviewer-in-Residence


—Katy Brown

A recurring dream—
innocent as a kitten's purr,
pervasive as a silent meow;
a sour snake coiling
through my intestines,
working its acidic way
back toward my heart:
how many days
can it live unexpressed?

Nine pounds of fur and bone
filling my house
with her absence.


—Katy Brown

Two pewter squirrels weave
a chattering love-knot
around the gnarled trunk

of an old walnut.
They ascend
into leafy branches,

emphatically declaring
their mutual intent.
If only all love

were so straightforward:
one running,
the other chasing,

each noisily stating
obvious delight
of chase and catch.

Later, when pairing
is complete, the game
shifts to hide and seek.

No more chatter;
only silence in the

Only furtive glances
and the danger
of a sudden drop.


—Katy Brown

We are born into the world, connected,
then severed from our source.
Our mothers teach us words
for important things:

one of the first one-hundred:
mine declares our infant world.
Soon, we learn the fact of others and
add the less self-centered yours.

The more compromising ours
comes much later. But somewhere
in our deep remembering, we recall
our blood mingling,

our hearts beating together.
We come full circle in this
lexicon of development:
ours, mine, yours, ours...


Today's LittleNip:

A writer's problem does not change. He himself changes and the world he lives in changes, but his problem remains the same. It is always how to write truly and, having found out what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes a part of the experience of the person who reads it.

—Ernest Hemingway


Thanks to Katy Brown for finding us this photo!


SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


Now available: two new chapbooks from Joyce Odam:
Peripherals: Prose Poems
(illustrated by Charlotte Vincent)
and Rattlesnake LittleBook #2 (Noir Love).

That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.

WTF!!: The third 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 send me two bux and I'll mail you one.

Deadline for Issue #4 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
Issue #23 will be available at The Book Collector the night of Sept. 9.
Deadline is November 15 for RR24: 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!


Join us at The Book Collector Wednesday, September 9 at 7:30 PM
for the release of a new chapbook by
Susan Finkleman
(Mirror, Mirror: Poems Of The Mother-Daughter Relationship, illustrated by Joseph Finkleman);
plus a new HandyStuff blank journal from Katy Brown (A Capital Affair);
a littlesnake broadside from Marie Reynolds (Late Harvest);
and a brand new issue of Rattlesnake Review (#23)!


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.