RE-GIFTING THE FAMILY TREASURE
—Katy Brown, Davis
Granny gave it first to Mom,
who gave it next to Uncle Tom,
back when Ike was then our Prez
(that's what my old Granddad says).
From hand to hand it passed around,
it didn't glow or make a sound.
Someone gave it a shot of brandy
which made it smell pretty dandy,
if you didn't know how old it was
or notice that it grew green fuzz.
Every year it got re-wrapped
and dumped in someone else's lap.
We've all had it—every one—
but its travels are not done.
It's time to go around once more:
to give the gift we all adore.
The family prize, the family gift:
what gives our members all a lift?
What is this thing, for heaven's sake?
our brick-hard, ancient, family fruitcake.
—Tom Goff, Carmichael
With what must have been great expense
(heart or guilt?) if not ultimate sense
Mom and Dad bought for all us three boys
the latest in technical toys:
a big walking robot apiece!
I remember our turning big keys
in back that cranked orange and blue gears;
and thanks to clear plastic veneers
you could see the tooth-spins of each cog!
With the whirring and clicking agog
we listened, cocked heads Victor dogs,
to the keenest boy-soul-stirring strains:
we had robot-part-songs for brains.
They strode onward, with lurches and staggers,
in our eyes quite grandiloquent swaggers.
Then robotically, each froze up still;
faint last gear-grindings boded foul ill.
We wailed: The robots are dead!
We want something better instead!
The gearheads junk-dunked in the trash,
now there came a Saint Nicholas flash!
Mom or Dad, I forget who it was,
urged us into each bot-box because,
we were given to know, we could be
the robots ourselves, but more free!
So that afternoon, armholes hacked through
the tough cardboard, we were the few,
the proud twenty-ton automatons
strutting crush-worthy neighboring lawns.
Do such wacky-benevolent cons
gift most children to shift into gear?
The robotics involved, still unclear…
—Taylor Graham, Placerville
We woke to a fall of angels
all over the lawn, roof weighted down
with white; tendrils of ivy laced
and everything waiting for light,
for sun to spark icicles bright with cold.
Who will leave his bunk, bundle
to build up the fire and set out mugs
of coffee and frosted cookies?
Who will shovel the drive
and clear a path through
the snowplow-berm? Where
would we want to go? What gift
could we wish?
Dreams of a winter night,
this snowfall of angels.
GIFT OF CROWS
Eleven crows—a dozen, 15
crows in shifting
numbers animate the parking
lot. Black-feather shine
on asphalt with cars sleeping
in rows. The air is full
of complex patterns, dance-
flight figures I can’t keep
track of. Crows shimmering
in this piece of sun,
that spot of pavement,
a parking lot alive
ALWAYS CHECK THE SKY
for weather. Sunrise blinding off Stone
Mountain; blue filtered through valley oak.
No planes, smoke, or funnel clouds,
asteroids, space debris—not here, not yet.
No rainbows, kites, or UFOs. Birthday balloons
long gone, sailing their brief silver bubbles.
Acorn woodpecker, blue heron luxuriously
flapping overhead; red-shafted flicker.
Bolt out of the blue? angels? Who knows.
No rain, no snow. Scent of distant mountains,
words on the wind.
Always check the sky for gifts.
Love alone is capable of uniting living beings in such a way as to complete and fulfill them, for it alone takes them and joins them by what is deepest in themselves.
—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Thanks to D.R. Wagner for today's photo of angels (one can never have too much evidence of angels!), and to our poets for chiming in on the Seed of the Week: Gifts, Giving and Re-Gifting. Send your SOWs to firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.
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 rattlesnakepress.com—
or send me 4 bux and I'll mail you one as soon as I'm able
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:
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 email@example.com (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 rattlesnakepress.com/.)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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 (rattlesnakepress.com). And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.