Thursday, November 19, 2009

Where Is The Keeper...

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Jeanine Stevens, Sacramento

Monotone satin
some doves cooing
a docile song, the obedient ones.

Rarely do they scatter
when I walk
the gravel path,
but lift like velvet ribbons,
gentle whirly-gigs.

Last spring—they attached
a flimsy nest to peeling
eaves, over the BBQ.

We moved it to another limb,
still they came
dropping twigs and string,

loosening almond white eggs
mid-air, breaking all yellow below.

Now, I see gray tear-shapes
tiny feet mincing
amid lilacs, the same two—

fussing and clacking thin sticks
taking up a new residence

in black scented junipers
under the metal satellite dish.


Thanks to Katy Brown for our photo today. Be sure to pick up your Rattlesnake Press 2010 calendar (Katy's Wind in the Yarrow) at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Only $5!

And thanks to Jeanine Stevens for today's poetry. Watch for more of Jeanine and Katy's work in Rattlesnake Review #24, due out December 9 at our Book Collector reading which will feature a new chapbook, The Thread of Dreams, by Carol Frith.

Tonight the new issue of WTF will be unveiled at Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, 8 PM. Editor frank andrick has lots of fun and frolic lined up for the evening, which includes open mic, so be there!

And Medusa's Seed of the Week is the fib. Check out yesterday or Tuesday's post for guidelines to the form and some tasty samples, and roll up your sleeves. No deadline on SOW's: send them to


—Jeanine Stevens

Abandoned, it watches
oncoming clouds,
a darkened lens,
soot splashing night.
The staircase is rung less,
remaining boards splintered.
Where is the keeper
drawn close to the pellet stove
warming worn hands?
I think of Venice,
where I spent yellow days
looking for Gepetto
and Jessica, the dreamy
Adriatic splashing
mauve and emerald marble.
But, this is Oregon,
where I hope that
in between storms,
the air clears just enough
for a glimpse of the
lime green flash at sunset.


—Jeanine Stevens

The man in the mask said
“Get out of the car.”
You gunned the engine,
rose up, a wild steed
foaming and green-eyed,
leaping toward the splintered,
dock. I guess you planned
to crash, but we dreamed
past the beach and the bright
safety buoys. Instead of death,
we hovered over miraculous
shallows and sun-bright algae.
Small boys played with metal
airplanes: green, yellow, and blue,
with noticeable decals
that looked rare. These boys
hissed at us, threw rocks.
We had no place to go.


—Jeanine Stevens

After her experience at grandma's
she met others just like him.

One got upset if she went to the mall
alone, skulked after her, another, because
she didn’t run her fingers through his hair

on command, and one, because she held
her head the wrong way while he lectured.

One refused to eat Thanksgiving dinner,
because she only made one kind of potato dish.

One flipped out because she voted
a different political ticket (Democrat, I think).

Another guy exploded in a spitting rage
when she made him a sandwich, got red
in the face if the lettuce stuck out

from the edges. Then, there were those
that pilfered her discarded trash looking

for evidence, and those, who didn’t like
yard work, so barred their teeth and cut

her roses to the ground. These guys
might bring you flowers or take you

to a favorite movie (his), but
they had a strange habit of sniffing
a lot—a smell of animal about them.

On the other hand, all those eggs
make his coat glisten
and keep the other varmints away.


Today's LittleNip:

I write, I look, I erase
And in the end
A poppy of erasure.

—Tachibana Hokushi



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

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 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 (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


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 (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.