Monday, October 05, 2009

On Our Way To Scardom

—Salvatore Buttaci, Princeton, WVa

if flowers fought color wars
like man-unkind
what would become
of springtime gardens
battling petals
stems entwined
to the death
a desolate place
where grass would mourn
and those gentle breezes
what of them
what could they whisper
into the flower cups
about seeds unborn
who lie waiting
to grow tall and straight
beneath a peaceful sun
a rain empty of malice


Thanks, Sal! Long-time (since the beginning) SnakePal Salvatore Buttaci recently had his poems and stories published in Full of Crow Quarterly, Blink-Ink, New Mystics, A Twist of Noir, Dragons Composed, Writing Raw,, and Rattlesnake Review. To learn more about him, including a photo, go to May 1, 2007 in Medusa's archives (click on May, 2007 in the column at the right of this and scroll down to May 1.)

To order a copy of Salvatore’s newest chapbook, Boy on a Swing and other poems, please visit Or order yourself a copy of his A Family of Sicilians at Buttaci Publishing.

This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Monday (10/5), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents John Amen and Scott Weiss. HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. [See last Friday's post for bios.]
John Amen will also be presenting a workshop and reading in Modesto this Friday; see below.

Coming next week to SPC:

•••Mon. (10/12): Frank Andrick and friends: a multi-media night of poetry, music, film featuring Chris Fairman, David Houston, and more! At California Stage.

•••Tues. (10/6), 4-5 PM: CSUS creative writing students read their work in "The Collective Reading Series" in the Library Gallery. Info: Host Joe Montalbo at

Save the following dates for other readings by these students:

Thurs. (10/22), 4-5pm: Library Gallery

Thurs. (11/5), 4-5pm: Library Gallery

Tues. (11/17), 4-5pm: Multicultural Center (across from the Library entrance)

Tues. (12/1), 4-5pm: Multicultural Center (across from the Library entrance)

•••Tuesdays, 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center Workshop at the Hart Center, 27th & J Sts., Sacramento. Free; bring 13 copies of your one-page poem to be read/critiqued. Info: Danyen Powell at 530-756-6228.

•••Wed. (10/7), 6-8 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents a reading by the winning poets from the 2009 SPC Poetry Contest. Sacramento Room, Sacramento Public Library, 828 I St., Sacramento.

•••Wed. (10/7 and every 1st and 3rd Weds.), 9 PM: Featured reader plus open mic at 10 PM at Bistro 33, 3rd and F Sts. in Davis. Free. Hosted by Andy Jones and Brad Henderson. Info: or 530-756-4556 or; schedule at

•••Wednesdays, 9 PM: Mahogany Urban Poetry Series at Queen Sheba's Restaurant, 1704 Broadway (17th and Broadway), Sacramento. $5 cover, all ages.

•••Wednesdays, 5 PM: Dr. Andy’s Technology and Poetry Hour, KDVS radio station (90.3 FM) or http://www/

•••Thursdays, 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Featured readers, with open mic before and after.

•••Thursdays, 7 PM: “Life Sentence” reading at The Coffee Garden, 2904 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento. Open mic.

•••Thursdays, 10-11 AM (replayed Sundays 10-11 AM): Mountain Mama’s Earth Music with Nancy Bodily on 95.7 FM. Music/poetry woven around a central theme deeply tied to mountains/earth.

•••Friday (10/9): John Amen of North Carolina will present a workshop and a reading in Modesto. He founded and continues to edit The Pedestal Magazine ( These events will take place at the Horizon Room, Homewood Village Mobile Home Park, 2000 Mable Ave., Modesto. (209) 522-1412.

The workshop is limited to 20 participants. The cost is $20 and includes a copy of his new collection, At the Threshold of Alchemy [see Medusa’s Thursday, Sept. 24 post for a review by B.L. Kennedy]. For a registration form, call Cleo Griffith at 209-543-1776 or write to her at


SOCIAL TIME: 8:00-8:30 PM, followed by an open mike session as time permits. Light refreshments will be served and Mr. Amen’s book will be available for purchase and signing.

•••Sat. (10/10), 2 PM: Citrus Heights Area Poets Open Mic at Citrus Heights Barnes & Noble, Sunrise Blvd., Citrus Heights.

•••Sat. (10/10 and every 2nd and 4th Sat.), 10-11:30 AM: Sacramento Poetry Center 2nd and 4th Sat. workshop with Emmanuel Sigauke and Frank Dixon Graham. South Natomas Community Center (next door to S. Natomas Library), 2921 Truxel Rd., Sacramento. Bring ten copies of your one-page poem to read/critique. Info:


—Salvatore Buttaci

he hangs suspended from a giant clock
his hands cut bloody raw as they grip
the minute hand sharp as a sword
as it jolts in its upward climb towards
twelve and another revolution

he has had enough of time's cruelties
the pompous way it waves its seconds
against the uncommon occurrences of joy
the sadistic manner in which its seconds
drag through the dark plodding sorrows

finally true love has found within him a place
where it mends a heart shattered like glass
where it brings the sweet scent of flowers
where it plucks its eyes to death and decay
where it pleads to live eternity

he will die trying to stop the hands of time
from inching towards the graveyard of history
he will climb higher and higher like a hanged man
but the fragments time brushes in its path
will store in silent silos lost forever


—Salvatore Buttaci

sharp slivers of wood
driven under my fingernails

you will talk
you will give us
what we need to know

boiling beads of water
burn holes in my forehead

don't be a fool
why suffer this pain
tell us everything

electric currents buzz
neon pain inside me

we can stop this
we can put away our toys
just say the word

a rifle butt knocks out
the rest of my bloody teeth

what shame
what humiliation
what's wrong with you

if only I could shut my eyes
drift off to painless death

I have nothing to say
no secrets to tell
no one to save with my words


—Salvatore Buttaci

keeping the soul unadulterated
is a sure-fire away
to insure demons
don't dive into your mouth
and tear you inside out

you can't see your soul
no one's ever described
what it looks like
if it has color or weight
or even a voice

I like to think of the soul
as a priceless gem in a box
something that dazzles us
we marvel at its worth
we throw the box away

I imagine the soul
the timeless part of us
the true-blue of who
we really are
beyond bone and blood

we who show the world
shells that grow old
must show God souls
that deserve
to dazzle forever


—Salvatore Buttaci

hiding in the wine cellar
she presses her grapes against
the clear glass that offers proof
it can help her forget the toasts
of years so distant in the past
she hardly remembers anymore

when the darkness settles in
she gratefully accepts it
takes it in her upturned palms
like a gift she wants to deserve
clasps her hands as if in prayer

so the darkness cannot escape
but again dawn slithers
another new sun
between her closed fingers
pries them openhandedly

while she pretends
the wine is a red knight
who will save her
a calm red sea
to sail her free

a last red wound
on its way to scardom


Today's LittleNip:

If writers were good businessmen, they'd have too much sense to be writers.

—Irvin S. Cobb



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

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. 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 (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.