Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's All Just A House of Cards...

—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Fred sent for a self-help tape,
A Dummy's Guide to Criminal Law,
he knew should be easy to take...
he'd be a lawyer just like his Pa.

But a postal mistake occurred...
Fred got a wrong tape and was misled.
The law career being deferred...
he became a dental assistant instead.


It's all just a house of cards, after all: pull one out and the whole thing goes blooey. And that's our Seed of the Week: House of Cards. Send your poems about the shaky frame we all live under to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.


Sounds from the past
—Richard Zimmer

I huddle by my radio...
The Lone Ranger rides again!
Return to the thrilling days of yesteryear...
from out of the past:
Thundering hoof beats
of the great white horse Silver...
The Lone Ranger rides again!

That frenetic program is on the air...
Marching feet...Machine guns...Sirens!
Calling all police!
Calling all Americans! War of the police!
Gangbusters presents: War on the underworld!
Marching feet...Machine guns...Sirens!

We listen to the radio...
The true-to-life story of mother love.
Stella Dallas sees Laurel, her daughter, marry.
Her beloved daughter marries into wealth.
Stella finds they live in different social worlds.
The true-to-life story of mother love.


—Harvey Shapiro

In the midst of words your wordless image
Marches through the precincts of my night
And all the structures of my language lie undone:
The bright cathedrals clatter, and the moon-
Topped spires break their stalks.
Sprawled before that raid, I watch the towns
Go under. And in the waiting dark, I loose
Like marbles spinning from a child
The crazed and hooded creatures of the heart.


—Harvey Rago

The island that had flowered at the sun
Folded the night into its dark hills. Slow
Gestures of wind signed over it with sleep.
A dust of silver weighed upon the leaves
And touched the village roofs half into air.

Soft, soft, the air insisted: all things now
Be muted to the night, be drugged, be dumb,
Like that brown girl and boy who gravely move,
Sleepwalking, toward each other; like these leaves,
Huge in a dream, luxurious with fatigue.

And darkness, subtle as an undersea,
Became the secret touch upon the ferns,
Smothered the burning poinciana, quenched
All but the deepest red. All that could live
Lived only in one swollen influence.

O from the sea of jasmine, where no word
Could find its breath, and tambours from the hills
Spoke to the night, the helpless mind turned still
Its pale look upward, so the heart, that last
Bloom of conspiracy, would not be lost!


—Tom Kryss

Carolyn receives gifts from the Indian school

Prayer cards to the Great Spirit

Lakota Angel Pins resembling those painted
by Fra Angelico, only smaller

In May a dream catcher when, perhaps,
dreams are at their most vulnerable

A day planner with space for every day of the year,
in which I learn the Sioux word for thank you

"The Lakota girls and boys say pilamaya —
thank you — for your help!"

Gift wrap and ribbons, presentation labels
saying "May my gift make your wishes come true"

I have to pinch myself that they have come
into her life, mine by inference

I don’t know how to say this

There is no "too small" or "too little"

To make someone happy is an honor

It works both ways


Today's LittleNip:

What is most mysterious is not what is absent, but what surrounds you.

—Stephen Dobyns



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

The Thread of Dreams,
a new chapbook from Sacramento's
Carol Frith, is now available at The Book Collector,
1008 24th St., Sacramento.


Issue #24 is now available (free) at The Book Collector
or may be ordered through rattlesnakepress.com—
or send me 4 bux and I'll mail you one.
Contributor and subscription copies
will go into the mail this week and next.

After this issue, Rattlesnake Review and most of our
other print projects will be taking
a few months off for remodeling—but not Medusa's Kitchen,
WTF (see below) or the 2nd Weds. reading series (except for January).
Watch this spot for further developments!—I suspect that the break
will be short-lived and will engender lots of activity,
including calls for submissions
to some exciting new projects.
Don't miss 'em!

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!


The fourth 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.

Next deadline (for Issue #5) is Jan. 15.

Send 3 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).
No simultaneous submissions, previously published work,
bios or cover letters.
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/.)


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.