Monday, December 21, 2009

Say Hi To Winter

—Louis Jenkins

Unlike the Eskimos we only have one word for snow but we have a lot of modifiers for that word. There is too much snow, which, unlike rain, does not immediately run off. It falls and stays for months. Someone wished for this snow. Someone got a deal, five cents on the dollar, and spent the entire family fortune. It's the simple solution, it covers everything. We are never satisfied with the arrangement of the snow so we spend hours moving the snow from one place to another. Too much snow. I box it up and send it to family and friends. I send a big box to my cousin in California. I send a small box to my mother. She writes "Don't send so much. I'm all alone now. I'll never be able to use so much." To you I send a single snowflake, beautiful, complex and delicate; different from all the others.


Welcome, winter! The actual solstice was yesterday, but welcome anyway. And good news about the current issue of Rattlesnake Review; it has been handily retrieved from my dead computer. I won't be tossing any copies into the torrent of Christmas mail this week, but I should be able to get them all out by the first of January. Whew!

This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Sacramento Poetry Center will not have any readings on Dec. 21 or 28.

•••Weds. (12/23), 6-7 PM: Upstairs Poetry reading at The Upstairs Art Gallery, 420 Main St (2nd floor), Placerville. It's a poetry open-mike read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen. No charge.

As for the rest of the week, who knows? Better check them out before you leave the house...


—Melville Cane

Suddenly the sky turned gray,
The day,
Which had been bitter and chill,
Grew soft and still.
From some invisible blossoming tree
Millions of petals cool and white
Drifted and blew,
Lifted and flew,
Fell with the falling night.


—Steve Crow

Snow is a mind
falling, a continuous breath
of climbs, loops, spirals,
dips into the earth
like white fireflies
wanting to land, finding
a wind between houses,
diving like moths
into their own light
so that one wonders
if snow is a wing's
long memory across winter.


—Elizabeth Coatsworth

Cat, if you go outdoors you must walk in the snow.
You will come back with little white shoes on your feet,
Little white slippers of snow that have heels of sleet.
Stay by the fire, my Cat. Lie still, do not go.
See how the flames are leaping and hissing low.
I will bring you a saucer of milk like a marguerite,
So white and so smooth, so spherical and so sweet.
Stay with me, Cat. Outdoors the wild winds blow.

Outdoors the wild winds blow, Mistress, and dark is the night.
Strange voices cry in the trees, intoning strange lore,
And more than cats move, lit by our eyes' green light,
On silent feet where the meadow grasses hang hoar—
Mistress, there are portents abroad of magic and might,
And things that are yet to be done. Open the door!


Today's LittleNip:

They call this the first day of winter, but actually it is the beginning of winter's death. From this day on, we can look forward to warming and brightening.

—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 as soon as I'm able
(computer troubles).
Contributor and subscription copies
will most likely be mailed by January 1.

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.