Friday, January 15, 2010

Pear, Anyone?

Oils by Jen (Jennifer Pantoja Daneman, 2006)

—Janet Pantoja, Woodinville, WA

Why not?
The pear is there—undisturbed, untouched.
It’s the last one in the hand-turned wooden bowl.
It looks deliciously inviting.
It beckons you with its stillness.
It tempts you with its aloneness.
The pear is still there—undisturbed, untouched.
Reach out your hand.
Touch it.
Take it.
It’s yours.
Why not?


—Janet Pantoja

A-lone pear
sits there
still life
going nowhere


—Janet Pantoja

freshly picked summer pear
nestled in purple-flower cluster
awaits consumption
at noon hour


—Janet Pantoja

luscious strawberries five on a plate
best summer pick to date!
palate salivates . . .
owner’s discretion awaits—
to dip or not to dip that is the debate—
in cool whipped cream or . . . ? chocolate!


This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Today (Friday, 1/15) is the deadline for WTF #5, the free quarterly journal from Rattlesnake Press that celebrates Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café—but everyone over the age of 18 is invited to submit. Send 3 poems to Editor Frank Andrick at by Friday; no cover letter, bios, previously-published or simultaneous submissions, please. Email is preferred. Send photos and artwork, too!

•••Friday (1/15), 7:30-9 PM: The Other Voice, sponsored by the UU Church of Davis, proudly presents two award-winning poets, Danyen Powell and Shawn Pittard, in the library of the church located at 27074 Patwin Road in Davis. Refreshments and open mike follow the reading, so bring along a poem or two to share. Danyen Powell was born and raised in Sacramento but now lives in Davis. In 1977 he began a construction business with his father and in 1992 formed a carpet cleaning business that serves Yolo County. He also finds time to write poems and lead the Sacramento Poetry Center Workshop that meets on Tuesday evenings at the Hart Senior Center in Sacramento. His poems have been published in The Poet’s Guild, Poetry Depth Quarterly, Chrysanthemum, Brevities, Rattlesnake Review, and others. He was the featured poet in Pudding Magazine #38 in 1998. Rattlesnake Press has published two of his chapbooks: Anvil in 2004 (an expanded version came out in 2005) and Blue Sky Flies Out in 2008.

Shawn Pittard also has a chapbook, These Rivers, published by Rattlesnake Press. He divides his time between his home in Sacramento and his family's cabin outside Flagstaff Arizona. His poems, essays, and book reviews have appeared in The Chrysallis Reader, Confrontation, North American Review, Runes, Spillway, Web Del Sol Review of Books, and elsewhere. He writes a quarterly column for Rattlesnake Review and blogs about his back-country ramblings at These Rivers ( Recently, he co-wrote a screenplay, Junk Sick, with his brother, Trent.

•••Friday (1/15), 6:30-9 PM: Through a generous grant and funding from the City of Sacramento, New Dimension Learning Academy, the Sacramento Poetry Center and Terry Moore have come together to present a night of Spoken Word, Poetry, Dance, Live Music and Art at the Guild Theater (2828 35th St.) in Oak Park Sacramento. [See yesterday’s post for more details.] Tickets only $5. Student group discounts; please inquire. Advance ticket sales call 916-739-0511 or email

•••Sat. (and every 3rd Sat.), 10 AM: Writers of the New Sun/Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol potluck meetings at La Raza Galeria Posada, 1024 22nd St., Sacramento. Members of all levels support each other via readings, exercises, critiques and info, plus open mic; writing in Spanish, English or both. Call ahead to confirm: 916-456-5323.

•••Sat. (and every 3rd Sat.), 7 PM: Celebration of Word, Sound and Paint at Carol’s Books, 1913 Del Paso, Sacramento.

•••Sun. (and every 3rd Sun.): 3rd Sunday Poetry Workshop. Info: Rebecca Morrison or Nancy W. at


—Janet Pantoja

Fog is a curious thing.
You can find fog in valleys, at the ocean, at lakes and rivers.
Fog is wet.
Sometimes it can be very drippy.
Fog is thick—like pea soup
Or thin, like wispy smoke.
Fog is cold and damp and grey.
Fog is quiet—like a muted violin playing pianissimo.
From an airplane, fog looks like whipped cream
or cotton covering the ground.
Sometimes you can see the sun through the fog.
Sometimes there is a hole in it and the sun shines through—
or the moon.
Sometimes fog stays for a little while, all day, for days
or even a week.
Fog can seem creepy.
Sometimes you can see ahead in fog—sometimes
not at all.
If you walk in the woods in thick fog,
it is very quiet . . . except . . .
the a-rhythmic drip, drip drip, drip
of fog from the trees on fallen leaves below.
Fog is a curious thing.
There is high fog, low fog and in-between fog.
There is fog or mist over the ground
and there is ground fog.
You can fly above the fog in an airplane,
or you can drive up into the hills or mountains
to get above the fog.
As soon as you get above the fog, you’ll see the sun
shining as brightly as ever.
The fog can’t touch the sun.
Fog is a curious thing.
At night, it’s very hard to see in fog.
There are light houses that shine in the fog for boats,
and fog horns that sound—eeeeh ooooh, eeeeh ooooh—
to warn boats that the coast is near.
There are fog lamps on cars that shine on the road
to light the way in the fog.
Fog is a curious thing.


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys


Winter solstice passed
Dark mornings, dark evenings
Dark days reign
Rain and snow mark the winter days
Yet the year is turning
In our northern climes
Time to celebrate
The sun’s return
The growing sky light



Golden light
Source of life
Warmer of the primal ooze
Warmer of human flesh
Bringer of joy
Bringer of food
Sun is life
Sun is light


Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


Today's LittleNip:

Life is a pure flame, and we live by an invisible Sun within us.

—Sir Thomas Browne



SnakeWatch: A New Year with Rattlesnake Press:


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 have gone out; let me know if you didn't get yours.

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 our 2nd Weds. reading series (except for no reading in January). Watch Medusa's Kitchen for further developments, and sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, Snakebytes, by writing to me at


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.
WTF is the only Rattlesnake print publication that will keep going during our break; 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


During our hiatus from most print publications (except WTF), Medusa will keep cooking in the Kitchen every day. (Check out our updated format! Did you know that, if you click on the pictures we post, they'll enlarge for you?) Only a few of our poets have picked up on the fact, though, that Medusa's Kitchen is a great way to get your work out there on a very frequent basis; the snakes of Medusa are always hungry, especially for NorCal poetry. Plus, we accept previously-published work—such a deal!—(please cite publication and be sure you own the rights)
and, like our other journals, no bios or cover letters are required; just mark it for Medusa. Send it all to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. (No simultaneous submissions, though, please.)

I'm convinced that the 'Net is the future of poetry; print may continue, and of course has its benefits, but where else can your work be seen by an almost unlimited number of people (including your relatives) with this kind of speed and frequency?? Where else can you connect with Duluth or Greece or Zimbabwe for free, day by day, liberated from the vicissitudes of the postal service???

So keep sending poetry, photos, art, cartoons, events, mini-reviews of poetry and books about poetry (100 words or less), and other handy resources such as books, websites and submissions opportunities—whatever poetry goings-on that can be posted. Watch line lengths on poetry, though; they are limited on the blog. Blogspot does refuse to indent, too; work must be justified left.

Need to find a poet who posted in the past, including yourself? Go to the search bar at the upper left of the blog and type in the name. Voila! Or, if you know the date, go to the archives column at the right, click on the year and scroll down to the month, then the day.
Plus, be sure to check out the links in the right-hand column for more poetry and poetry news, local and otherwise. You can also become a "follower", or click on the pix of the followers to see what's going on with them (D.R. Wagner and Donald Anderson, e.g.) or send Medusa to somebody else.

So watch for an expansion of offerings and opportunities as the Kitchen gets remodeled along with everything else ophidian— 2010 is going to be a
Big Year for the Snake!

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 in print and otherwise. Pick up a copy at The Book Collector or write to me (include snail address) and I'll send you one. Free! See for a complete listing of all our other publications, free and otherwise.


Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as REVIEWS, RESOURCES and 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.