Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Measure Me For Verbs

Carol Frith

—Carol Frith, Sacramento

We predict each other’s words, and then
again, perhaps we don’t. It’s possible
you’ll read to me: something abstract, full
of words I’ll truly wish were mine. When
you’re finished, close your eyes. I’ll count to ten.
Your words are more or less binomial—
divisions and subtractions. Contextual,
you try to tell me, handing me your pen.
I take it and begin to write myself
across the margin, an emendation while
you wait—something you might want restored.
You put a word or two back on the shelf.
I count the wide-eyed nouns; they make me smile.
You measure me for verbs because you’re bored.


Thanks, Carol! With her husband, Laverne, Carol Frith co-edits Ekphrasis [click on the link to the right of this column to see what that's about]. She has a “Special Mention” in the 2003 Pushcart Anthology; previous chapbooks from Medicinal Purposes, Bacchae, Palanquin, & Finishing Line; and a full-length collection, two for a journey, from David Robert Books, due out in 2010. Her poems have appeared in Seattle Review, POEM, MacGuffin, Measure, etc.

Rattlesnake Press is proud to announce the release of a chapbook from Carol, The Thread of Dreams, next Wednesday, December 9 at The Book Collector at 7:30 PM. Be there!

By the way, if you'd like to read a seasonal poem—yours or somebody else's—at the reading on Dec. 9, let me know. We don't normally have open mics at rattle-reads, but heck—it's the holidays! By seasonal I mean anything appropriate to the season, from Thanksgiving through New Year's and all the holidays (including solstice) and weather (snow? rain? sleet?) in between. (I'm ONLY announcing this on Medusa, by the way, so if you're reading this, you have a leg up on the rest of the world...)

Don't forget: Tonight (Weds., 12/2, in case you're lost), 6-8 PM is the Sacramento Poetry Center annual fundraiser at the home of Mimi & Burnett Miller, 1224 40th St., Sacramento. Poetry by Theresa Vinciguerra and Danyen Powell, music by the American River College Vocal Jazz Quartet. Hors d’oeuvres and libations. Your $30 donation benefits SPC. RSVP 916-979-9706 or, or just pay at the door.

And thanks to Taylor Graham and Richard Zimmer for these responses to our Seed of the Week: In My Dreambook... About her poems, Taylor Graham says: ...these are pretty weird. But that's what you get when you mess with dreams...

—Taylor Graham, Placerville

In the shadow of the avenger god, sandstone
pillars and sole-polished carmine floor, stained
by centuries—a temple-sanctum, mutant
of the warrior planet.

Above our heads Mars himself—polar
ice caps and red storms of dust-lightning—
plunged closer. Slash and burn. By dawn,
the morning news. Is peace a day-

dream? In night-dreams, streets twist down
to the harbor where women behead a catch
of shrimp, throwing each pale crescent
on the fire to sizzle incarnadine.


—Taylor Graham

The cat sleeps curled on the bed in a purr,
no matter what wild inhabits
the outside night—Barn Owl
owling for gophers that plundered the garden—
our fruitless troweling. Or is that wolves

howling out of dream, sounding deep inside
embedded like seed-awn in soil.
The mind’s trap-door left ajar
in sleep. I heard them and I didn’t, tongues
licking an old scar, tribal memory from ages

far gone. Don’t we keep the dark fenced
and guarded, safe for newborn lamb? No wolves.
Clutch the blankets
tight. No need to shiver at evening’s
touch, and then the night,

those dream-expanses that speak
of tooth on bone,
of vowels unbound
as moonlight. I heard it, or dreamed
the sound. A voice like lost family found.


(A travel guide)
—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Nights filled with dreams,
unbelievable scenes,
what can they mean?

Like Dali creations,
creating sensations,
strangely unreal.

In other dimensions…
subconscious extensions
of life that we know.

Could wise discerning
give us some learning
of the symbols they show?

Dreams are swift races
to mind-changing places
never seen while awake.

When our Dreambook’s unclosed,
are there deep-truths exposed
by these sleep-journeys we take?


Today's LittleNip:

The poet Robert Creeley tells of a poet friend of his who was once asked, "Is that a real poem, or did you just make it up yourself?"

—Lewis Richmond,
A Whole Life's Work



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


Deadline was November 15 for RR24; join us
for its unveiling and get your free copy at
The Book Collector on
Wednesday, December 9.
After this issue, Rattlesnake Review will be taking
a few months off for remodeling—
watch this spot for further developments!

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!


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 newest 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 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.

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.