Saturday, September 05, 2009

Thickets And Day Stars

Photo by Stephani Schaefer, Los Molinos

—B.Z. Niditch, Brookline, MA

By voiceless fields
six orange butterflies
circle shadows of reeds,
crossroads of thickets,
infinite saw grasses
by cicadas and myrtle
now out of eye reach
sink into a woolen sky
full of day stars.

Under greensward
watered by silted shores,
the six traverse
the spray over dunes,
devouring our sight
beneath a light wind
over a river way
drowned with seaweed.

Picture the dark water
of ongoing beds
trembling with turtles,
tuft obscured fauna
by charcoal stone quarries
effaced by runaways
wandering at dusk,
with crystalline memories
the six on thorn bushed
wave by roadside ditches.


—B.Z. Niditch

Unlocking eyes
circle the earth's stone
near tall reeds
a cat gingerly walks
over other footsteps
in a ripening light
by the countryside pond
mingling at the shore
by ditch water's edge
early sparrows tremble
on anemic saw grass
by abandoned dark wind
bird song pierces
the green liquid silence
through a border forest
full of elm and pine
the feral cat leaves
the cold waterway
the daring sky blushes
by jigsaw sunshine
at a hazy distance
for the landscape painter
drowning in foliage.


—B.Z. Niditch

Half out of sunlight
you awake by a labyrinth
of ivy covered abandonment
overlooking geranium walls,
among fireflies and cicadas
playing on cedar grove green;
behind sunflowers
and beehive circles,
a child nurses undisturbed
in a totally unknown hour
amid an air of apple trees,
unaware of heedless honey
or the sting of violent yellow.


Thanks, B.Z. and Steph! B.Z. Niditch is a SnakePal who contributes to every issue of Rattlesnake Review, as is Photographer/Poet Steph Schaefer. Watch for more of their work in RR23, coming Wednesday, September 9 to a Book Collector store near you!


Today's LittleNip:

And a cicada's husk

falls like a tear.




SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


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 Idea);
a littlesnake broadside from Marie Reynolds (Late Harvest);
and a brand new issue of Rattlesnake Review (#23)!

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!


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.