Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Remnants of the past
—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Dry grass hills, old wooden barns,
white cattle skulls, dusty dirt roads.

All have secrets hidden in the dust,
of people and things out of the past.

An old buckboard stands all alone.
Who had its last trip, and walked away?

An old Dodge truck, ran off the road,
lies stuck in a gully, on dry river rocks.

Years passed by, the driver long gone, to
never come back for his old Dodge truck.

It lies hidden in the dust, rusting away,
left by its driver, abandoned one day.

Remnants of the past, when left behind,
are history’s secrets, shipwrecks of time.


Thanks, Richard, for the reminiscence. We all have old vehicles in the back of our memories. The website where I got the photo ( says this truck was: built in Detroit 1940, and shipped over to Mulliners in England. They bodied it as a RAF crewbus coach, and was used on wartime airfields in the UK. Post WW2 it was sold off at a dispersal auction and lightly modified for a new civilian life as a racing car transporter, until being laid up in 1955.

Don’t forget! 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.
Email is preferred; send 3 poems to Editor Frank Andrick at by Friday, but you can also snail them to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 (marked for WTF). No cover letter, bios, previously-published or simultaneous submissions, please. Send photos and artwork, too! There are still copies of #4 in The Book Collector, by the way.

This week we're talking about the sun. Send your Seeds of the Week about that elusive friend of ours to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. Our two TG's have sent us sun-struck poems, plus Tom is riffing on last week's SOW: I Burned My Life. (How many times have you seen Piccolo Petes used in a sonnet??) No deadline on SOWs; print 'em out and come back to 'em later. Or sooner...


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

There’s a sun
inside this raindrop
just as every river unravels in flows
and eddies, silken rapids
of light.
See how everything spins
around this raindrop,
its door opening
an umbrella, a child
in galoshes splashing puddles
into scatters of sun.


—Taylor Graham

These are the eyes that mesmerized
Aunt Ethel 93 years ago; sun-burned
eyes she painted in oils:
knowing eyes, deep wells of desert.
Two dark suns that shine behind
the pupils. Eyes appraising
a spark of hoof against flint, sand-
fleet horses. Eyes that traveled
through Customs. Framed
portrait eyes that shift with light
on pigment mixed with linseed oil.
Foreign eyes that won’t stop
moving, that wouldn’t pass
through Security these days.
For decades on my wall, eyes
that follow me. Two suns
my shadow.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

The time isn’t out of joint,
but it’s limp. Limp and stiff
at the same damn time—how
can that be? Geeky-gray sky
wrings, rinses, and reeks rain,
cold mud pack slapped on thick:
and, we ask, is there a face beneath?
We seek outer space heat, z-rays,
hair-of-the-comet, or simple space heaters,
patio dining metal fake tiki lamp,
but something: we need flame,
we want sunshine and spleen,
we’ve got bags of phlegm.
Turn the world on a spit, train
that heat so’s it bites our backside.

Give us hornets and Hormel ham,
give us a hot buttered slab of Simon
Cowell: but oh the smile acerbic Simon
saves for when out from cloud clomps
Susan Boyle and everybody sing,
everyone got sun! Come out,
fair sun, like Sarah Vowell,
uncape, Crusader, come
doff your cowl and your mask,
get stuck naked,
but bask!


—Tom Goff

New York needn’t be my Ground Zero:
I have it here. Some of home is already
that aluminum-swirling space where the flame hit
and so many high floors flowered backwards.
Down came Tower Records, Watt Avenue; down
came nearby Aunt Zelda, so many years lived through
on St. Mathew’s Drive, house and rose garden
familiar as my own, but prettier of wallpaper
with its chinaware blue-and-white floral.
Churchwoman, liberal activist, she was herself
a landmark, and when she fell to her own grand
old age, I felt my own years clumsy my hands
and age-spot my smile. What’s to be made
of the remains of Tower, where insurgent youth
ran trawling for jazz or grand classical sound,
where the stripped building lies with its walleye
still staring “Thanks Sacramento for the Memories”:
that’s rigor mortis leering out, pennyweight the lid.
The dark blue flowerets on Zelda’s lost wallpaper
blur and run in my memory; toss the old me
with old vinyl records and vinegar recollections
on the discard pile, gasoline it, toss in a lit match,
and let it flame. Let the warm air give rise
to a different me, risen in fire on the newness
of the New.


—Tom Goff

To witness the fire inside the world-soul,
just fasten on the grayest mound of mud.
Doesn’t it instantly glisten, oily food
under a lamp? Not only the horse in foal
summons dilation: so does the great quarrel
groundswell under perchings of the birds
now bickering over a shot tree’s last few seeds.
Crumbling bark, but the nap of the gnarl holds;
branches keep sparse largesse. A goldfinch song?
Your thick ears hearken, but do they scan wrong?
Mourning doves pluck mire below that ruined choir:
should they conjecture the world-soul? conjure the fire?
They’ll scream flame into more skies than Piccolo Petes
—just light a quick startle under their tufty seats.


Today's LittleNip:

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

—Galileo Galilei



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.