Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We Live It For Them

HubbleSite Picture Album
Massive Star VY Canis Majoris, Polarized Light

Credit: NASA, ESA, and R. Humphreys

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

And what of the Gold Rush park,
the old smithy with bellows and forge,
the treadle grindstone, where iron turned
tools for working a future?

I read in the paper, the park is closing.
No money to keep it open.

And the school kids who came to see
the Chinese general store, the smith in his
wreath of coal-smoke; millrace dreams
of panning gravel to a fortune?

Is there still color in these dry hills
beyond belief in gold rush?

(on the proposed closing of the
State Park at Coloma)


Thanks to TG and our other poets today for their comments on What Remains, our Seed of the Week. It's never too late for SOWs; send them to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.

Katy Brown writes: I noticed that Medusa was down for a few days, so I wrote this note to her (and added my photo of a brooch from the British Museum):


snakes all in a tangle,
wings askew.
Your stony eyes look pinched and troubled;
are you having trouble sleeping?

It's hard to be the mortal one
among the Gorgon sisters:
You'e the one they'll come to kill
when only blood will pay the price.

You really are quite beautiful—
except the snakes, which are alarming—
and the tiniest of flaws:
your gaze that turns strong men to stone.

But you simply are not looking well, dear;
you seem a little pale and troubled.
My advice is not to bother
checking lipstick in a shiny shield.

—Katy Brown, Davis

Thanks, KB!—I seem to have
my snakes in a tangle a lot, lately!


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

What remains
When the roadblocks are gone
When the battles are fought and won
When I can see clearly
My path ahead
Random thoughts no longer
Running through my mind
When I don’t have to make up stories
About what should be happening in my life
When I don’t have to care
About what others think
What remains
Is just me


—William Bronk

For a few, otherwise unknown, we have
their names cut in a stone slab, we have
someone's reminiscence, questionable,
or we have a page-thin transcript of a voice,
sometimes the look of a face on paper, in paints.
For the rest, the uncounted rest, we don't have
for many, even anonymous bones except
as we are the rest so that they need never have lived:
we live it for them. What little they knew
we know for them as they knew once for us,
knowing their own names, unthinking what names
we could have were we ever to be. I acquiesce
in forgetting, am the forgotten though I have a name,
a place. It is such as names and places are.
They are always such. What do they signify?
Nothing of themselves, the forgettable,
the soon forgotten. As we are, that is not what we are.
They signify an arbitrariness
of themselves and we are the nameless ones who have
no place; and we are known and we are there.


Today's LittleNip:

—Donald R. Anderson, Stockton

Shorelines formed of coral—
hollowed remains of life.
The beauty
makes me not alone.



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.