Thursday, October 01, 2009

When He Sings, He Sings Blue

Photo by Stephani Schaefer, Los Molinos

—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

A shudder of blue through wavering wet light;
insinuating beings who murmur around you.
You listen but you are distracted by a beetle

in the glass, going after the dregs.
The curve of the glass
prevents its return up the sides. You watch

in deep, slow-motioned concern
to analyze your vision. What is real:
None of it! None of it!

And orange glow dissolves through the glass
where naked figures embrace and dance,
a slow dance

of tragedy or love.
You watch them through the glass distortion.
The dregs hold the muddling light.

There is no beetle.
The blue exaggerates for your eyes.
You are crying.


—Joyce Odam

In your sister’s brand new
coloring book you color the horse blue
and ruin the book forever.

(Previously published in Poets’ Forum Magazine)


—Joyce Odam

(based on Francis Bacon, ‘Man in Blue’)

When he sings, he sings blue,
sings to the black piano,

sings to the hushed audience
of his memory.

Soft smoky light swirls through him
and away—

diffuses into
the surrounding darkness.

Beyond the aura of his tragic face,
the stale dark listens—

leaning forward with admiration.
He braces for the applause.

(First published in Red Owl)


New local writers' blog:

Check out Kate Asche’s new blog chronicling creative writing opportunities and events in the greater Sacramento and Central Valley area at

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

Specious Species, Vol. 1, Number 3
ed. by Joe Donohoe
Last Grasp
3345 20th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
130 pp, $5

Once again I have to praise Joe Donohoe for putting together this ambitious and fine magazine. Those of you who have read my reviews of Joe in the past know that he is a true artist, writer, publisher, editor and San Francisco taxi driver. Those of you who have seen Joe’s many readings at Luna’s café know that he is a talent to be reckoned with. But his biggest achievement to date is the inception of this anthology, Specious Species, and its focused display of edgy writing, top-of-the-line prose, poetry and artwork—whether it’s Street Poet Charlie Getter or San Francisco tour guide and historian Don Herron or even Michelle Tea or Jennifer Fox Bennett, or even Ed Bowers, one of my personal favorites. You can’t go wrong by investing in a copy of this anthology, so if you have a chance to secure a copy, either from Joe Donohoe or can talk one of your local bookstores into carrying it, I promise you will not go wrong.

—B.L. Kennedy, Reviewer-in-Residence


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

Has been
A blue sky
Fall, at least so
Far, light changing now
More fall than the weather
Today clouds cover the blue
But only cloudy for today
Tomorrow, back to our blue sky fall
Is it global warming now, I wonder


—Marie J. Ross, Stockton

Pastel hue will bathe colorless waters
in dawn's early hours, sun slowly rising
as mist unfolds.
September will shift the breeze, in motion
of trance, as autumn awakens it with timely
From leaning branches, colorful leaves will
flitter like clusters of fireflies and fall from
summer's closet.
A gathering
awaiting the undressing: thickets those slaves in mocha,
lifting for earth's seasonal dip, the heavens a dull grey.
First the whisper, breeze to wind, the voice of thunder
not yet chiding.
November enters, marching in leather boots
like a master sergeant, uniform made of icy buttons
and stiff fabric.
Pastel hue transparent glass, sun rising pale,
days of light dimmer—winter's face a powdery white.


Today's LittleNip:

The light can come through you; not that you
matter. But the light does. Why should you
twist, then, and turn, hiding it?

—William Bronk



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.