Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who DOES Shuffle Those Cards?

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

In the house of cards
we carded the wool
we pulled over the eye
that saw to eye
both seen by four eyes
that said yea or nay
as they watched the pot
that refused to boil
except when steeping
the potboilers
that made the day
of the paperback writer
who kissed Eleanor Rigby
of Rigby, Thigby, and Higby
who ran the firm
that advised the realtor
of three little piggies
who told them to build
as there was a great future
in sticks or straw
which the wolf blew down
so they settled as one
not in dingy red bricks
but our house of cards
that Jack knocked over
slipping not so nimble
but quick on a slick
if bright green patch
of four-leaf clover
bringing the wolf
to our no longer door...


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Roof and ceiling muffle the sound
of weather, of rain changing
overnight to snow,
a woosh like owl wings in the dark.

Roof and ceiling a scant
canopy between home and what hangs
overhead, the great oaks bowing
under a dark weight of snow.

Roof and walls are playing-
cards the weather shuffles, as we lie
imagining the sound of ceiling
opening to the dark of sky.


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

This house of cards
It's falling down
But I built it with such care
This myth of my life

A myth soft-pedaling my mistakes
Inevitable as they are
Surely I can soft toe
My way through
This new minefield once again

This house of cars
It's falling down
But I built it with such care
This myth of my life

Change is the nature of life
But some days it catches me by surprise
I race to catch the tumbling cards
Guess I will just have to wait
Until life finishes with this deal

This house of cards
It's falling down
But I built it with such care
This myth of my life

See if my luck will change
With a new draw
This house of cards
I'll build carefully again


—Richard Zimmer

Their life is a movie...
two actors playing a part...
he...the King...
she the Queen of Hearts.

At times, lives got entangled,
like in a web...
but webs can be broken...
they'd find a way out.

Love grew with laughter...
sometimes with tears...
for things sought after,
they struggled for years.

How does this end...
this life of pretend?
It's like a long-lasting drama...
played over and over again.


Thanks to Tom Goff and our other poets today for riffing on our Seed of the Week: House of Cards. Send yours to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline on SOWs.

The deadline for Manzanita: Poetry and Prose of the Mother Lode and Sierra (Vol. 6) has been extended to Dec. 31. See guidelines for submission at Manzanita is a literary collection containing poetry, fiction and nonfiction work; electronic submissions only. Manzanita Writers Press and Writers Unlimited, a writers groups that meets at the Calaveras Arts Council Gallery every 2nd and 4th Monday, are affiliates of the Calaveras County Arts Council. Manzanita Writers Press welcomes individuals who would like to help with the press in any capacity, and they also welcome new members who are working toward publication. Contact Editor Monika Rose at for information.


Today's LittleNip:

but for their voices
the herons would disappear—
this morning's snow




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.