HISTORY OF BLUE
it was your eyes, Mom,
frosty as ice cubes cracking in a tray
clinking in a cold drink
your eyes the ice storm
daggers of icicles
pointing from the eaves
breaking tender branches
kill or inspire
like sky and heaven
your eyes hardly wavered
unless like sulphur
dancing under lightning
like match flame before it flares
your eyes always on me
pulsating in space
glittering in an eyeball sea
Thanks, Pat! Got the blues? Blue moon, blue booties, bluebells, blueberries, Ol' Blue Eyes? Write about blue for our Seed of the Week: Blue. Send poems about blue to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.
I know, I know—a lot of you haven't gotten your copies of Rattlesnake Review 23. Never fear; they's a-comin'.
THE ORCHID DOOR
—Anonymous, c. 750
Stilled is the lute string after hours of song.
The fountain is a shower of rainbox spray,
Lit by the moon. Upon the littered floor
Guest after guest falls into drunken sleep.
Winecups are drained. The flickering light
Glimmers above a weary dancing girl,
Shines through the amber pins that hold her hair,
Mocks at the peony bud which is her mouth,
The jasmine petals that enfold her eyes.
What are such joys to me? I turn away.
Beyond the Fountain of Ten Thousand Jewels
In fragrant shadow waits an orchid door.
(Translated from the Korean by Jean S. Grigsby)
IN THE NIGHT
—Ch'oe Ch'ung (984-1068)
Light of the silver torch that has no smoke
Recalls me from the seventh world of sleep.
A shadow pine tree grows upon my wall.
On the white paper of my window screen
A shadow hill by shadow brush is drawn.
All life is shadow in my room tonight.
I know not if I wake or if I sleep—
Music breathes through the silence; can it be
Wind in the shadow pine tree, or a song
Drawn from a hidden harp that has no string?
(Translated from the Korean by Jean S. Grigsby)
THE RED COCKATOO
—Po Chu-i (772-846)
Sent as a present from Annam—
A red cockatoo.
Coloured like the peach-tree blossom,
Speaking with the speech of men.
And they did to it what is always done
To the learned and eloquent.
They took a cage with stout bars
And shut it up inside.
(Translated from the Chinese by Arthur Waley)
MADLY SINGING IN THE MOUNTAINS
There is no one among men that has not a special failing:
And my failing consists in writing verses.
I have broken away from the thousand ties of life:
But this infirmity still remains behind.
Each time that I look at a fine landscape:
Each time that I meet a loved friend,
I raise my voice and recite a stanza of poetry
And am glad as though a God had crossed my path.
Ever since the day I was banished to Hsun-yang
Half my time I have lived among the hills.
And often, when I have finished a new poem,
Alone I climb the road to the Eastern Rock.
I lean my body on the banks of white stone:
I pull down with my hands a green cassia branch.
My mad singing startles the valleys and hills:
The apes and birds all come to peep.
Fearing to become a laughing-stock to the world,
I choose a place that is unfrequented by men.
(Translated by Arthur Waley)
When we have
the toy life
death takes it
whatever the condition.
NEW FOR SEPTEMBER:
Rattlesnake Press is proud to announce 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 Idea),
and a littlesnake broadside from Marie Reynolds (Late Harvest). All are now available at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.
RR23 is now available at The Book Collector, and contributor and subscription copies will go into the mail in the next two weeks.
You may also order a copy through rattlesnakepress.com/.
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 email@example.com 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 rattlesnakepress.com/.)
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!
COMING IN OCTOBER:
On Wednesday, Oct. 14, Rattlesnake Press will release
a new chapbook from Brad Buchanan (The War Groom)
and a new Rattlesnake LittleBook from
William S. Gainer: Joining the Demented.
That's 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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 rattlesnakepress.com/.)
Then gear up the flivver for a ROAD TRIP on Monday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 PM
as we all travel over to HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento
for Rattlesnake Press's release of the new SPC anthology,
Keepers of the Flame: The First 30 Years of the Sacramento Poetry Center.
Editor-in-Chief Mary Zeppa and her helpers have put together
many, many documents and photos
from SPC's history, and the resulting anthology (and SPC's 30th anniversary!)
will be celebrated that night. Be there!
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 email@example.com (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 (rattlesnakepress.com). And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.