Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pantomime In Warm Sake

Crystal Anderson and Tonks

—Crystal Anderson, Davis

When I bring out the dictionary I am serious.
“If ever there was a Bible,”
I say and then it opens its flyleaf to know me
better and better with pages that I’ve not yet said.
Eventually I will have read its concordance
and the many entities become a cynosure
of something I’ve yet to create.

The salmon aren’t coming to Sacramento
this year or the next. They’ve sniffed out the Recession
and detoured to Japan. There are people who stuff
money under their mattresses. The salmon
are happy to become their sushi. It takes
a harajuku girl to turn the pages.

In New York, there are prostitutes unlike those girls. When I am
serious this sounds like a clot emitted from my lips.
In New York, the whores work; even with rich men. When I am
serious, “whore” lives in my stomach and I pay her
with tortilla chips and ideas in salmon.

My pillow angel smiles and I tell myself it’s for me.
I take her breasts but leave her salmon nipples in fresh water.
I fill her uterus with words like paroxysm, epididymis,
and Adrienne Rich. An angel’s bed is above suspicion.

In Japan, people are blameless. Even when it comes to fish,
their inheritance of gadgets lasts eternal. Their toys
emigrate. People in Sacramento will buy them and forget about salmon.

I knew a woman who ate salmon. I was her angel and bore new words
in my small chest. She cannot understand my milk.

Salmon language is luminous pantomime in warm sake.

*Song title by the Chemical Brothers


Thanks, Crystal (and Tonks!). Crystal Anderson is a writer and educator. She holds a BA in English/Professional Writing from Baylor University and an MA in English/Creative Writing (poetry) from the University of California at Davis. She currently teaches writing at The University of Phoenix. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Rattlesnake Review, The Suisun Valley Review, and Convergence.

It's Seed of the Week Day, and Allegra Silberstein sends us fibs! She says, The fib is a form invented by Gregory K. Pincus of L.A., which uses the Fibonacci sequence of numbers to govern the number of syllables in a line: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13— and that's about as far as you can go, because of line length.

Give it a shot. Send your fibs to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726; no deadline on SOWs. Meanwhile, Allegra sends us these examples.

And don't forget that Allegra will be hosting The Other Voice this Friday
(11/20) at 7:30 PM, sponsored by the UU Church of Davis and presenting Deborah Thomas and Ron Lane who will read their poems in the library of the church located at 27074 Patwin Rd., Davis. Free, with great refreshments!

—Allegra Silberstein, Davis


say never
you must not forget
denial lasts not forever
it doesn’t matter how clever how strong you may be.


who thinks you smell great
because of your human odor
may give you a love-bite that brings West Nile Virus.


you fly
to rainbows
and silver linings
just outside of reality
and I’m thinking you will never say never, my friend.


Before we get back to Crystal, here are two poems by Ann Wehrman about walls, last week's SOW.

—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

between us, I place
a wall
invisible, unreal
stubbornly staying put
until I love you
enough to tear it down


—Ann Wehrman

Sarah walks to school
holds her face forward
enters the building
can’t look side to side
classmates chatter and laugh
her mother’s words echo,
We don’t talk about the family at school
keep her facing forward
surrounded by an invisible wall


—Crystal Anderson

The milk, solid in its bottle
after x amount
of weeks, had slipped in
beside six aged sandwiches. A fence
of books concealed their whereabouts,
while panties blotted with red,
pencil declarations,
and tagged clothes spattered
most everything else.

This leaving of aged things,
of neglected things,
was a statement—
one of many school girl notes
with assaulting.
These little bombs
are too stale
to tuck back in
where You were—
just days ago
not singing.


—Crystal Anderson

Eat chocolate cherries in ice
cream under an ash tree
on the cusp of summer
while the sun weighs
down upon Spanish shingles.
Eat chocolate cherry ice cream,
a plasma screen television displays
Gremlins, Short Circuit,
Blade Trinity, Mirrormask,
drink lemonade.
Our mothers said we swim
in a big pond with many fish.

100% flannel sheets drawn, down
comforter set, suede body
pillow. Burrow. The oak ceiling
fuzzes over when the trees outside
become silhouettes. JC Penney’s house
socks and slinky cat-nip mice.
Pouncing ensues. Grease while hugging pillows.
Kill Bill both volumes sinking along with
salt into your cheeks. Keep the Samsung
phone turned off. Clench a Puffs Plus
in your right hand.
or left. “Wiggle your big toe.”
Peach sparkling water and popcorn
bed with you. Butter and carbonation
serve as consolation.

Kia makes cars with reliable
brakes, but perhaps a walk will do
instead. Waist high field grass,
Vitamin Water, sunglasses. A
gelid wind knells from the northwest,
a tissue in the pocket of skinny
jeans, if this is the season
for dandelion weeds, then blow.
A key will open
the door, don’t eat the cake.
Dave Matthews Band
and Type O Negative songs,
stop for strawberry
cheesecake ice cream.
Just stop for now,
suspended in water
that pushes between one bubble
and its neighbor.


—Crystal Anderson

Neither of us are believers.
I’m the only one who doesn’t appreciate
her skin. I tell you this and the first time
you cry. The second time, you lean away
not stroking your blondewhite beard,
not biting my light bandying. I think
“Harden up on my lines, they’ll be there long after
you find your forever.”

I’ve bitten your shoulder. It hurt
me badly. I’ve come to dream
of the bear that would take me instead.
Back away over the limen
and run. I’m left there. With the bear.
We two killers, she and I, sniffnudgepet,
fact passes that we’d previously kept
within the confines of our canines. Your bites
strike me soft. The bear and I wished for more.

I was there in the green bevy,
pretending as always. Rewinding
and pressing play as I hiked Muir Woods.
The bear, her cubs, two sets of prints
when there were really only redwoods,
prehistoric ferns, and me. I carried
the guilt like a quiet old woman, built lines
you can’t understand. Check me for them,
they will be there in the roar I share
with myself, with my skin.

The woods smothered my breath.
I did not come out the same. Our
tickles bring me back, slicing away
unbandaged trails. The bear
wanders off and I’m there
with another non-believer that bends
brooding, barrier up. Facts pass between
us, brick like and even then, chunks
are lost. Measure me in lumens
as I am still here, shining in
degrees of waiting, bareness.


Today's LittleNip:

Writing every day is a way of keeping the engine running, and then something good may come out of it.

—T.S. Eliot



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.