Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Maybe An Octo About Tender Bars?

Dog Rock
Photo by Bob Dreizler, Sacramento

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

We've been together, boy and goddess, man
and goddess; now, decrepit with goddess. Think
lothario buzzard and his trophy wife.
But it's the wife who's meant to be babe and gleaming
foxy in the gloaming, luncheon in the grass,
in the picnic hampeer the one cheese, nude skin.
But I was her man-toy-trophy; gold plate chipped,
I'm lead, exposed in lady-babe's beam of orb.
Kill me, mince my being to silver light
speeding toward, along with, and away from my self,
anything fast, but not this pumice face.
Just look at me—I'm acne, pitting the moon!

Thanks, Tom, for the poem that our Historian-in-Residence, Tom Goff, calls a counter to W.S. di Piero's "New Endymion"...

Last week I had occasion to see a poem by Elsie Whitlow Feliz in the form of an “octo”, so I thought, What the hey? Let’s give it a shot for our Seed of the Week, even though I can’t seem to find any mention of it in the standard resources. (But I didn’t ask Joyce Odam, our Formalist-in-Residence, who of course does know this form.) The octo form is eight lines, eight syllables each; rhyme lines 4 and 5; then lines 6, 7, 8 repeat the first three lines, only in reverse order. I’d show you Elsie’s, but she’s in Japan and I can’t ask her permission because I don’t know how often she’s online, so I whipped out an example myself—such as it is:

—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines

Listen to the dying U-Haul!
Grinding gears on this poor machine—
I have no skill at backing up.
Driving is truly most perverse
With only mirrors for reverse.
I have no skill at backing up—
Grinding gears on this poor machine.
Listen to the dying U-Haul!


I know; I know—it’s a terrible poem. But I think it fits the form—unless you discover otherwise (and let me know, if you do). So send me a better one, already! (This actually happened to me, by the way. I discovered that backing up a 26-foot U-Haul is no picnic. Well, I didn’t actually kill it…) Send your octos on any subject to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.

In fact, let's make this a give-away. Send me an octo and I'll send you a copy of Susan Finkleman's new rattlechap, Mirror, Mirror. For give-aways, though, there's a deadline: get this one to me by midnight on Sunday, Octo(ber) 11.

While I was looking for octos online, I came across this site that might tickle the fancy of form fans:
http://www.funtrivia.com/en/subtopics/Forms-of-Poetry-94120.html/. It’s kind of a trivia site, like, Can You Name This?


—Frank O'Hara

I can't wait for spring!
this year—dare I say it?
I'm ready, I'll grab and
hold, roll over and over
in the sweet bulbs, smell
of dirt and musk and
nectar and air, and then
I'll leap erect as any
adolescent reading sweet
Petronius into that
ravishing! raving! that
blue blue sky.


In the street of children the sun is cold
and the winter accepts leaves for prizes,
autos roar into the plate-glass praises
which the meanest faces muster and hold,
loving themselves most.
The little girl's doll
farts into a heady wind and steam shrieks
to get out, and of the cracks and the creaks
and the dark stares of the cop in the hall.

Yellowing into an orient's lapse
of life they fiddle with each other, no
fooling and no fun, while the sun gallops

into another street to start trouble
which no child can die fast enough to know:
love dies in the bright praise of its double.

—Frank O'Hara


—Frank O'Hara

Do you know what the phiz really
looks like? the anchovy eye
unrolled and without blemish
without a handkerchief at parties

Or is it that our hearts don't
really listen to Dietrich? the mirror
has a streak across its face as
if a cake of soap had slipped

And the candles tremble perhaps
with lust perhaps simply because
they are cold anyhow they know
everyone we've been to bed with

Open the ventilator open the door
the sky is peering through the
Venetian blinds Kenny you're having
a wonderful party but I am dying

In the middle of a martini in
the middle of a dance oh don't
ask me to clean up the place no
tomorrow no airplanes just flies


Today's LittleNip:

Two termites walk into a bar. One asks, "Is the bar tender here?"



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


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 kathykieth@hotmail.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!


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 fandrickfabpub@hotmail.com (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 kathykieth@hotmail.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.