Thursday, December 03, 2009

Seagulls Who Dream...

Richard Zimmer

—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Music casts its strong and subtle spell
reaching back and forth in time as well
to bring back those past events
buried in our subconscious sense.

Fred heard a song he had a liking for
coming from out of a barroom door.
Inside the piano-man pounded the keys
of an old upright…Fred was pleased.

Fred paused to listen to his favorite song...
it brought back his childhood, long gone,
making him weep for things of the past.
The old piano spewed the music out fast.

Music gives meaning to life,
Fred thought.
He smiled because of the happiness it brought.
Something in the melody stuck in his mind,
sending eerie sensations right up his spine.


Thanks, Richard! Richard Zimmer writes: I attended Joyce Odam’s poetry class [at the Hart Center] for many years, learning iambs and such. Her poetry workshop, with the interaction of other poets, helped my writing. My poems have appeared in Rattlesnake Review, Poet’s Forum Magazine, and on Medusa’s Kitchen. I am a senior citizen, now retired. I used to travel a lot as a salesman, which has made me a good storyteller.

Still looking for a few good men and women to read a seasonal poem—yours or somebody else's—at the reading at The Book Collector 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...)

And thanks to Pat Pashby for a Seed of the Week poem (In my dreambook...)!

—Patricia Pashby, Sacramento

I float slowly
down through
the frothy fountain
to the darkness below,
settling among the coins
that are buried in the
algae-covered layers
of fragmented fantasies.


—Richard Zimmer

A poem should be wordless
as the flight of birds.
—Archibald MacLeish

A poet spends dark, comfortless night
in the room of a wayside inn. An owl,
by his window, hooted and screeched
all night, denying him his needful sleep.

After the weary overnight’s stay
the poet starts to write a poem
unfettered by any rhyme or form,
and thought impossible to make.

He creates a wordless poem…not
trusted to the tongue, but conveyed
only by a nod, a shrug, and a look,
punctuated with a wink or frown.


(A Fantasy)
—Richard Zimmer

The movie, Casablanca, was on TV.
I decided to step right into the film.
The actors were ignoring me, as if I
wasn’t there, so I ordered a martini
at Rick’s bar. I told them to use vodka,
not gin…my usual. I tapped Sam on
the shoulder, telling him to play, As
Time Goes By. He frowned and said,
Rick doesn’t like that song. I shrugged
and said that the Hunchback, in that
other old film, rang the bells of Notre
Dame for me, but Sam wasn’t buying it.


—Richard Zimmer

Which came first?
It was the chicken, I say.
By some strange quirk,
It happened this way…

The chicken came first,
from out of pure matter,
appearing on earth,
and this much I gather…

Out of pure matter a chicken had come.
A wise Creator made an egg-bearing one,
that went forth and multiplied,
and led to the beginning of Kentucky Fried.


—Richard Zimmer

The makers of the Atomic Bomb
were unsure of what its test results
could bring…perhaps even a chain
reaction that would destroy the earth.

They code-named the first A-test
Trinity, after John Donne’s poem,
"Holy Sonnet XIV"…

Batter my heart, three-personed
God…break, blow, burn, and
make me new.


(and the Seagull who dreams)
—Richard Zimmer

Patty Pigeon, head bobbing up and
down, walks with a sure-footed strut.
She’s a practical pigeon, and no one
can ever put anything over on her.

Sammy Seagull sleepily pecks the
ground for food. He’s a dreamer…
not prone to worry about things…
lets the chips fall where they may.

Charlie, the caustic crow, always
likes to stir things up. He says,
A gull and a pigeon—both words
mean someone who’s an easy mark.

The crow then hops over to Sammy
Seagull, and says, You, my pal, have
the right idea. It takes a dreamer, like
you to get by in this impractical world.


Today's LittleNip:

Those who do not stop asking silly questions become scientists. [or poets...]

—Leon Lederman



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.