Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thought-Foxes & Bikini Undies

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Michael S. Harper

My woman has picked
all the leaves,
rolled her hands into locks,
gone into the woods
where I have taught her
the language of these wood leaves,
and the red sand plum trees.
It is a digest
of my taking these leaves with hunger;
it is love she understands.
From my own wooden smell
she has shed her raisin skin
and come back
sweetened into brilliant music:
Her song is our new season.


—Ted Hughes

I imagine this midnight moment's forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock's loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.

Through the window I see no star:
Something more near
Though deeper within darkness
Is entering the loneliness:

Cold, delicately as the dark snow,
A fox's nose touches twig, leaf;
Two eyes serve a movement, that now
And again now, and now, and now

Sets neat prints into the snow
Between trees, and warily a lame
Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
Of a body that is bold to come

Across clearings, an eye,
A widening deepening greenness,
Brilliantly, concentratedly,
Coming about its own business

Till, with a sudden sharp hot stink of fox
It enters the dark hole of the head.
The window is starless still; the clock ticks,
The page is printed.


The page is printed. Rattlesnake Review #23 is in The Book Collector. Thanks for your patience.


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

Lost Horses
by Lyn Lifshin
Presa Press
PO Box 792
Rockford, MI 49341
36 pp, $6

This is yet another case of an advance copy: Lost Horses by Lyn Lifshin, who is considered by many to be the queen of the small press, will not be released until October 2009. But think of it this way: it’s a goddamn book by Lyn Lifshin and therefore it is worth the wait. I love Lifshin’s work, and I have loved it for many years; I think that this is her 45th or 46th chapbook. She is just one of those poets who tends to draw you in to make you feel the moment. Some people have mistakenly referred to her as the female Bukowski—a false title, since there was only one Bukowski, and last I recall, he sure in hell wasn’t a smokin’ hot chick. Lifshin is one of those rare talents that you come by once in a lifetime, and she should be a starting poet for many young woman writers. She is the quintessential personal poet, a poet whose lifetime commitment to poetry as a way of life is unmatched by many. Her writing is studied around the world, and she is the subject of an award winning documentary film, Lyn Lifshin: Not Made of Glass. So come October 1st, do whatever you have to do—go to your local neighborhood bookstore, go to your local big box bookstore, or write Presa Press and secure a copy of lost horses.

—B.L. Kennedy, Reviewer-in-Residence


—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks

It wasn’t so much that
He’d plowed his
‘Vette into
A light pole out on
Icy I-55, or that
He broke pretty
Much everything
He had, both internally
And orthopedically
In doing it,
Or that he coded
In ER throughout
Our shift and
Most of the one
After; it was
The day-glow, tie-dye
Bikini undies
We had to cut off him
That told us
He wouldn’t be getting
A second chance.


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

What did Whistler’s Mother wish for
as she sat rocking
lonely and sad
frail and pale in a long cotton gown,
staring at the far wall?

A second chance, Lord, to:
glue on false eyelashes
heavy with gooey black mascara
dab on expensive perfume
pull on a short tight skirt &
satin shirt showing
lots of plump cleavage
wear stiletto heels
excellent for stalking men

go to a bar
swill down Stoly straight
pick up a bad boy
go home with him for the night and—

dawn is breaking
keep staring at the far wall, Mother
this is where we discreetly
draw the curtain…


Today's LittleNip:

—William Bronk

Why do I have to do this? I've got
a poem I'd rather write than this one.



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


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
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!


On Wednesday, Oct. 7, 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 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 (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

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 (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.