Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rabbit Up Our Sleeves

Patricia A. Pashby

—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

It hangs huge,
taking in the sun, bending the branch
of the dwarf tree
to the ground.

She frees it one day,
cutting through the tough skin,
drinking the red, tangy juice,
eating the tart seeds
and getting super-antioxidized.

She mixes several cocktails,
using the juice of the pulp
to make grenadine syrup
and before long...

is that Solomon singing
in the orchard of pomegranates?


Thanks to "Pash" for today's feature. Pat Pashby began writing poetry in 1999 when she joined the Wednesday workshop at the Hart Senior Center in Sacramento. She has recently been published in Midweek Musings Anthology, Straws into Gold, Poets' Forum Magazine, Rattlesnake Review, and Brevities. Her poetry was also published in a littlesnake broadside called Potpourri from Rattlesnake Press, and she frequently contributes to Medusa's Kitchen. Her roots remain in New England, but her five children and three grandchildren reside on the West Coast, so here she is. She spent many years with AT&T working within the operator services management team.

Rae Gouirand is starting another workshop series in Davis called Creative Nonfiction. She writes:

The tradition that ties together Annie Dillard and “Eat, Pray, Love” has room in it for all meditations on the ties between personal and universal experience. The contemporary essay is a literary force unto itself connecting fiction’s storytelling impulse with the music of poetry and journalism’s concern with the truth. Its lyric potential, its investigative spirit, and its structural innovation provide an enormously fruitful and exciting ground for writers to explore their own potentials and interests as artists. As a group, we read the most awesome texts that are written today, confront exercises that stretch us constantly, and take hugely supported risks into our own projects, whether they are book-length memoirs or one-at-a-time pieces. We embrace a workshop philosophy that empowers writers to ask their own questions, and supports all projects-in-progress as worthy—and as a result, are a genuinely bonded and intimate group of artists who help one another actualize our own best writing. This workshop—which has been operating continuously since 2004—is expanding this winter to include a second section for new members*, and remains the only intensive, year-round, community-based workshop for serious nonfiction writers in the area (though we enjoy exploring poetry, fiction, and other projects produced by members of the circle, and regularly question our own genre distinctions). Snacks happen. Meets in Davis.

About the instructor: Rae Gouirand received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2002, and has taught writing in Davis, Sacramento, and Woodland for the last six years. Her work has appeared most recently in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, The Kenyon Review, and the anthology, Best New Poets 2009. The winner of recent fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Santa Fe Art Institute and a 2009 award from the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation for outstanding work by emerging poets, she serves as Writer-in-Residence for the Cache Creek Conservancy, and is currently at work starting a literary press devoted to the spirit of stolen moments.

Section I: Sundays, January 10 – April 18, 2010, 4-6 PM (new section)
Section II: Sundays, January 10 – April 18, 2010, 7-9 PM

Course fee: $250. (*New members pay a reduced course fee of $225 if they submit their registrations by 12/20/09.) To register: Email Rae at to indicate your interest, and she’ll forward you the official registration form and answer any questions you might have.


—Patricia A. Pashby

In early April the swallows come north to build their
mud shelters high in the rafters of the old barn and
comb the farm for nesting matter. All year she gathers
snow-white feathers from her guinea hen.

On a breezy day she heads to the high meadow with
her wicker basket overflowing with feathers and flings
them skyward to catch a puff of air. The swallows see
the white plumage floating in the wind and snatch
them as they drift, pluck them from each other.

They dash to the barn with their spoils, then swiftly
rejoin the feather frenzy, By dusk every feather has
disappeared, the ground brushed clean.

High in the shadowy rafters among the cobwebs—
Mud nests, vibrant with whiteness.


—Patricia A. Pashby

A gift from Japan, this fruit from Honshu;
Asian grace when served
with a dash of cream—sake too;
now with soft underbellies, an hors d'oeuvre

for squirrels and birds—a buffet
of red-orange wrinkled balloons
dangles on bare branches, in disarray,
cling by wintergreen collars—marooned.

Blushing, pumpkin-shaped
persimmons hang like lanterns
awaiting moonlight.


—Patricia A. Pashby

And would it have been worth it, after all,
after the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
among the porcelain, among some talk
of you and me...
—T.S. Eliot

High Tea on the veranda
of the Railway Hotel—
steaming brew and warm scones
served on delicate Asian china.

Sinking into oversized wicker,
silk pillows at our backs—
mother and daughter, lingering
until the tea is cold.


—Patricia A. Pashby

She went to a urologist
who sent her to a proctologist
who sent her to a gastro-enterologist

who sent her to hypnosis
for a deep-seated psychosis
caused by actinic keratosis.


—Patricia A. Pashby

I wait to cross the boulevard then walk—
walk with the light and enter Disneyland
where shattered dreams repair themselves. I mock

the tears that penetrate my heart—hold hands
with Sleeping Beauty as the Prince's kiss
awakens her from sleep at his command.

No sullen streets to spoil my days of bliss—
no fears that stop my playful make-believe.
Is it too late to be the child I miss?

I trace those baby steps, don't want to leave
so choose to stay—sip consommé
with Hatter, Cheshire, Rabbit up my sleeve.

For just awhile I catch my child at play;
then heave a sigh and lay my dreams away.


Today's LittleNip:

Use a mirror in difficult times.
You will see both cause and resolution.

—Deng Ming-Dao



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.