Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ondelay With Rondelets

And yet still, despite the snow,
they have all they need...

—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

Now exhaling
I prepare to leave your war zone
where a squad of soldiers, nine of them,
and their leader, the staff sergeant,
whom I once saw resolute, immovable,
with effective rearguard action
in the wake of breastplates shot off—

I now see wasted, radiated by nuclear attack
silenced amid the residue
of their uniformed body parts
leaving a gallant shadow at the front
that official policy cannot explain away…

their valiant action and the embattled response
of the past year
have left you cratered, half blind, disarmed
unable to stand at attention
salute numbers

only now
after all this time
have they succeeded in defeating you.


Thanks, Pat. NorCal poets will be saddened to hear that Patricia Hickerson has lost her daughter. Pat writes: My daughter Rachel died yesterday (Tuesday) of cancer after a two-year battle. She, too, was a poet. We self-published a book 30 years ago (Daughter and Mother), which is now for sale on Amazon and Alibris. Our thoughts are with you, Pat.

Thanks also to all of you who were able to attend our reading and holiday party last night, and who contributed to the only open mic Rattlesnake Press has ever had. It was an evening of good poetry and good community and good cheer, a wonderful kick-off to the 2009 holiday season.

If you weren't able to be there last night, be sure to drop by to pick up one of Carol Frith's new chapbooks and a free issue of the latest Rattlesnake Review, which will help elucidate the coming Snake-brake/break that I'll be taking for the first part of 2010. Yes, most of the Snake's print projects will be going on sabbatical—but NOT Medusa's Kitchen! We'll keep cookin' here in cyberspace every day as usual, so keep feeding the moody Medusa's always-hungry snakes with poetry, poetry, and more poetry. (Photos and art, too!)
I suspect, in fact, that the break will engender lots of activity of its own, including calls for submissions to some exciting new projects—so stay tuned.

Oh—and pick up one of Katy Brown's 2009 calendars while you're at The Book Collector—a steal at just $5! Blank journals, too. Great stocking-stuffers.

And thanks to Taylor Graham and Carol Louise Moon for today's rondelets, our Seed of the Week.
Send your rondelets to; no deadlines on SOWs. The rondelet is seven lines: lines 1, 3, and 7 are the same (4 sylllables). The other lines are 8 syllables: lines 2, 5, 6 rhyme with each other, and line 4 rhymes with the refrain. C'mon, it's easy: look at all the repeated lines! (And it's French: say rhonda-lay...)

1. xxxA
2. xxxxxxxb
3. xxxA
4. xxxxxxxa
5. xxxxxxxb
6. xxxxxxxb
7. xxxA


—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

Stone upon stone
this one builds herself a fortress.
Stone upon stone
she builds up walls where shrubs had grown
and fills her room with emptiness,
and builds her heart with nothing less—
stone upon stone.


—Carol Louise Moon

She loves this pond,
the quack of ducks this time of day.
She loves this pond
echoing rocks, wispy green fronds,
the great white fount—its misty spray,
rippling dance of noon's sunrays
upon this pond.


—Taylor Graham

Are you drowning?
Shopping dazzle, just three days more.
Are you drowning
in the orgy that’s downtowning?
Compound-apparatus galore.
Don’t miss the mall, each tinsel-store.
Are you drowning?


—Taylor Graham

This stunning snow.
The power’s out, the phone as well.
This stunning snow—
our dark house, icicles aglow.
We’ll shovel out a shiver-cell
as light’s transformed by winter’s spell,
this stunning snow.

NoTail Kieth (age 21)
and her own personal snow-repellent device


Today's LittleNip:

Newton's passage from a falling apple to a falling moon was an act of the prepared imagination.

—John Tyndall

[The same could be said of working with forms and other structured challenges in poetry. The prepared imagination...]



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—
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 (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


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.