Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gratitude Or Dyspepsia?

Juan Pistola
(Charles Mariano)

—Charles Mariano, Sacramento

the day of
like any other

fifty-seven years
before me

a man
don’t know
never met him
had sex with mama

a drunken one-nighter
back of the car
on the floor,

that swimming
pollywog-looking seed
up her pipes

then that man
did his
“slip away”
probably back
to mexico

if he stuck around
to at least
hold me

what did he care
few beers, couple shots,
then me

stupid little


Thanks, Charles, for today's feature. Charles Mariano says he was born in Merced and lives a cavelike existence in Sacramento, a writer on the side.

Taylor Graham writes that The unexpected has struck. With regret, we've had to cancel this month's Upstairs Poetry Reading in Placerville Weds. night. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and we hope to see you next time. [No, it's not a tragedy, just a logistics problem. They'll be back next month.]

Tuesday is Seed of the Week Day. Let's go for the obvious: Thanksgiving. What does T-Giving mean to you? Long drives in traffic and family squabbles? Eating yourself into a tryptophan coma? Just getting through the day until you can shop 'til you drop on Friday? Or have you made it your own, meditating on gratitude? Tell us about it, and send your poetic tellings to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs—or giving thanks...

And thanks for today's fibs, too—our SOW from last week. Chrys Mollett even has a Thanksgiving fib for us!


—Charles Mariano

for the first hour
the door
wide open

before the intrusion
of light
and noise

i look over my shoulder
where the sun
usually comes,

and it’s still dark

i stand
stretch my tired bones
gaze outside

dark clouds
a sprinkling of rain
when i wasn’t looking

september 12th
the end
of my latest summer

first rain
after months
of baking heat

imagine winter

the smell of wet dust
then torrential pours,
bone-chilling freeze,
drizzled fog,
undressed trees

unskilled, unseasoned,
fresh paint


—Charles Mariano

a chance to sit down

difficult days
and weeks

no time
to write it out

piles of notes
words, sentences
on the run

can’t remember
can’t even read

“was this important?”
“is that word death,
or dear?”

too many lows
can’t identify
faces, victims

scribbled dangerously
while driving
by shock
and tears

this one
about cancer
no, not my sister
this time
my mother…

and this one,
about suicide
a young cousin,
then a friend
take a number

in the early morning hour
before the cars start
before the dew

unfolding, unraveling

“who are you,
and why are you dying today?”


—Charles Mariano

was told recently,
“you have an amazingly
fertile mind”

“really,” i said,
“you mean like
growing squash
or corn?”

a farmer
prepares the ground
long, even
nurturing seeds
to sprouts

at sunrise
long under
a blazing, blistering sun
inserts small plants
six inches apart
into the moist soil

“yes, my mind seems fertile,
through the dirt
sweat and sun,
spread over
a vast, rich earth,

but in reality
it’s the fertilizer
bountiful and plenty,

that i’m full of”


—Katy Brown, Davis

when we
have to sit
through meetings that drone
endlessly on about things we
have less than no interest in and need to be elsewhere.

for us
patient as
a spaniel waiting
for a walk in the autumn park.
Too bad we can't take our work outside to exercise.


—Chrys Mollett, Angels Camp

And the Bird
Dad does the carving.
The table's bright with our faces.
We'll have sandwiches all week, then soup from the carcass,


—Chrys Mollett

I live in two worlds.
Wakening, I can still taste them.
Over and over, I sip from these deep wells of sleep.


—Chrys Mollett

Feel the dreams.
Time to follow them.
For deepest desire is a gift.
True joy is a ladder—and each ladder step's a joy.


Today's LittleNip:

If a man were deprived of sexual fulfillment and the nobler enjoyments arising therefrom, all poetry, and probably all moral tendency, would be eliminated from his life.

—Baron Richard Von Krafft-Ebing



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 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 likelihoodof 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!


A new chapbook from Dawn DiBartolo
(Secrets of a Violet Sky)
Rattlesnake Reprint #2 from frank andrick
(PariScope: A Triptyche)
plus our 2010 calendar from Katy Brown
(Wind in the Yarrow)!

Now available from SPC or at The Book Collector:
Our new 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 30-year history.

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 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/.)


The Thread of Dreams,
a new chapbook from
Carol Frith,
will be premiered at
The Book Collector on
December 9, 7:30 PM,
along with the new issue of
Rattlesnake Review.
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.