Thursday, October 22, 2009

Good Is In The Wingspan

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Dawn DiBartolo, Citrus Heights

say something pretty
about autumn?

amber, golden leaf-fall,
mahogany mixed…

adds spice.
hallowed pumpkins, and

ghoulish solicitations;
poetry written

to the steady drone
of rain. saying

goodbye to heat,
the blatant taunting

of the sun, as if
shine were all that mattered.


flip flops in the rain

—Dawn DiBartolo

changes everything.

sitting in my car,
at a stop light, window
streaked with tears from the sky,
the radio played some dance rhythm
outdone by the beat
of my windshield wipers
and the angry wind rocked
my car with the weight of
a large beast hell-bent
on destruction. gray
bore the burden of
Christmas, Thanksgiving
and Halloween just ahead,
looming in the thrash
of each tree branch.
the long-silent heater hissed
malcontent, stealing breath
from my lungs even as
cold from my limbs,
and i thought…

sleeves and winter boots hold
a lesser sexy confidence than
painted toes, sun dresses,
flesh and flip flops.

the light turned green,
and i drove on.


—Dawn DiBartolo

she plays piano.

and she’s good at it.
many have told her so;
and she believes them,
because she tries to do it well;
because she enjoys it;

believes in herself, and
WANTS to believe.

she also sings;
sometimes even dances…
beautifully, rhythmically;
to watch and hear
is to feel her.

passionately strokes
each piano key; sensually,
in pleasure and intent.
tho no one takes the time
for her beyond melody,
she sings anyway,
cuz her voice is steady,
strong even…

she can’t help it;
soul is in the song,
as a whole. and when
she moves, the sky grays,
not for rain, but
the very sweat of it all.

and then it’s somehow ok
if no one hears her whole song;
because the song
was meant for her.


scars and the grass
—Dawn DiBartolo

born in blackness,
some follow the moon.

others may choose
the warmth of a star

rather than reflection. regardless,

the grass will blame you…
for waves, for night,

for drought, for everything,
despite steady rotation.

choice is as prevalent as dirt;
nurturing, fundamental…

necessary, yet
we grow as we choose…


uncertain sorrow
—Dawn DiBartolo

they said it was suicide.
i say a man of heavy fist
likely strikes outward
prior to introspection.
in my memory,
the blood that flowed
was always someone else’s ~
i suppose that’s why a hanging ~
no blood, only tears shed
from those left behind.
speak no ill of the dead,
i know ~ not my intent, but
i am changed
for having known him.
he was there when my own father
was not; he taught me fear ~
a lesson father had begun,
then disappeared ~ broken bones,
split lips and blood on the lamp shade ~
no, never mine, but mother loved him anyway,
which crippled my faith
in the sovereignty of parenthood.
yes, he also taught me to drive,
bought my class ring,
and took us on road trips ~
i remember him
in more than fists, i’ll admit,
but the tears i can’t cry
are for the parts of me that died
over and over as a child
in his shadow of violence.
and as he dies, i weep inside
for all that was lost with him.


and so it goes
—Dawn DiBartolo

and so it goes

lost on moment’s edge,
and toppling toward bliss,

history is irrelevant
to the insanity of repetition.

let go and you know
bottom will find you;

scratch, cling at the cliff
and always wonder
what you missed.

iron forges iron,
and adversity shapes
the soul.

no worries in playing safe,
but you’ll never experience flight…

the unfathomable middle
reeks of self-defeat.

take the crow, for example:
all of evil connotation

with silken black feathers
and cavernous, blank eyes;

but it flies…
it flies.

alight upon what matters
for survival; good
is in the wingspan.


Today's LittleNip:

A poet never takes notes. You never take notes in a love affair.

—Robert Frost


Thanks to Katy Brown and Dawn DiBartolo for today's post. Be sure to watch for Dawn's new chapbook, Secrets of a Violet Sky, and Katy's 2010 calendar, Wind in the Yarrow, both coming November 11 to The Book Collector.


SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


RR23 is now available free at The Book Collector,
and contributor and subscription copies
have gone into the mail—you should've received yours;
let me know if you haven't.
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!


Now available at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento:
A new chapbook from Brad Buchanan (The War Groom)
and a new Rattlesnake LittleBook from
William S. Gainer: Joining the Demented.

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 was Oct. 15;
it'll be released at Luna's on Thursday, Nov. 19.
Next deadline (for Issue #5) is Jan. 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!


Join us on Wednesday, November 11
for a new chapbook from Dawn DiBartolo (Secrets of a Violet Sky);
Rattlesnake Reprint #2, this one from frank andrick (Triptych);
plus our 2010 calendar from Katy Brown (Wind in the Yarrow)!
That's 7:30 PM at The Book Collector. 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.