Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Politics Of Relationships, Cont.

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Tehama

My neighbor comes complete
with stroked mustache,
pearl-studded shirt, worn jeans,
swagger and, face it, a sneer.

I loathe what he thinks he stands for.
He loathes what he thinks I believe.

We’ve been neighbors
for a long time, endured deaths
of friends and parents and pets.

We share a fence line
but each is careful
not to take an inch of dirt
that belongs to the other.

I let his terriers crap in my yard.
He lets me prune his Chinese pistache.

We have a bourbon every now and then,
avoid talk of who’s running for election.
Smiling at each other every day
counts higher than casting ballots
once a year.


—Patricia Wellingham-Jones

to the side panels
of his battered green pickup,
quarter-inch plywood
cut with a jigsaw
then painted
(slight wobble in hand),
the campaign sign
for the newest candidate
in this country county
rides wherever he goes.
The proud bald eagle
of our flag
bears unhappy resemblance
to a chicken—
but the candidate
does get noticed.


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

Watching Faux News at our café
We watch and wonder
Whether Obama is being set up
By the Republican, is there any other kind, media
To be like Jimmy a one-term
Democratic wonder
Don’t say it can’t happen the sheeple of good ole USA
Have done this pattern before

About Dubya’s stealing the election
That was not new and unique
In 1876, our centennial year
Republicans sent troops to the South
To ensure, a safe, Republican White House
Don’t say it can’t happen the sheeple of good ole USA
Have done this pattern before


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

(for President Obama)

The muscleman of Oyster Bay
brought Russia and Japan to terms,

grasping the Peace Prize for his tact.

Gunboats harrumphing no delay,
all sharp machete, utter calm,

he bent a new state into sway;

gouged out lock and waterway;
he took the ground and called it fact.

Such inner peace. Such lack of qualm.

And are we never not to squirm
when “Blessed are the peacemakers,”

like now, proves verbal unguent ladled
over a mortal head ennobled?

Must presidencies consist of Quakers?

Consensus: isn’t it disenthrallment?

Proclaim this prize earned, on installment.
Bring peace—love, money, spell, or trance.

Let this peace warrior take his chance.


Today's LittleNip:

—Russell Edson

A chair has waited such a long time to be with its person. Through shadow and fly buzz and the floating dust it has waited such a long time to be with its person.

What it remembers of the forest it forgets, and dreams of a room where it waits—Of the cup and the ceiling—Of the Animate One.


Thanks, kids! We're talking politics this week (send 'em to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726). Meanwhile, I keep thinking of Edson...


SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


RR23 is now available free 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!


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 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!


Join us on Wednesday, November 11
for a new chapbook from dawn di bartolo (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.