Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Write Your Own Lines

Wordsworth's Window
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—William Bronk

Watch it. That's the body: what goes on
next door. Here, you can see it. Turn out the light;
their luminousness will show more in our dark.
What are they doing? We seldom know for sure,
but what a pleasure it is to watch. Look now!
I think he hit her, did he? We can't hear
what they say. Sometimes in summer a little. Then,
when the windows are open. But most of the time we guess.
It's like a play: he said...; she said... Write
your own lines as you will. Or leave them blank.
Blank as they are. Or are they? You look at a back
sometimes and know it's talking. There are even times
it's almost all we want to do, to go
right over and move right in; but after all,
we live here, not there, and have, as you know,
for a long time. These people, they come and go.
But it's fascinating. There's always something new.


Thanks to today's poets, and to Katy Brown for her photos of William Wordsworth's home and church in England. Windows: windshields, picture windows, portholes, peep-holes, penthouse, basement, hospital, plane/train/taxi, whorehouse/crack house/jailhouse... Write about windows this week for our Seed of the Week. Remember Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window? Are the eyes truly windows to the soul? What have you seen through windows? Send your windows on windows to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726.

—Eamon Grennan

Perhaps if she stood for an hour like that
and I could stand to stand in the dark
just looking, I might get it right, every
fine line in place: the veins of the hand
reaching up to the blind-cord, etch
of the neck in profile, the white
and violet shell of the ear
in its whorl of light, that neatly
circled strain against a black
cotton sweater. For a few seconds

she is staring through me
where I stand wondering what I'll do
if she starts
on that stage of light
taking her clothes off. But she only
frowns out at nothing or herself
in the glass, and I think I could
if we stood for an hour like this,
get some of the real details down. But
already, even as she lowers the blind,
she's turning away, leaving a blank
ivory square of brightness
to float alone in the dark, the faint
grey outline of the house
around it. Newly risen, the half moon casts
my shadow on the path
skinned with grainy radiance
as I make my way back
to my own place
among the trees, a host of fireflies
in fragrant silence and native ease
pricking the dark around me
with their pulse of light.

Another Wordsworth Window
Photo by Katy Brown


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

If we’re descended from the apes,
as Darwin had maintained—
not put here by a Creationist thing—
there’s a lot to be explained…

Beware of people with orangey eyes.
spending their time, swatting flies.
Monkey people acting like children at play,
first misusing, then tossing their toys away.

These animal antics show a definite sign,
they’re throwbacks in a bestial-human line.
Upon their faces there’s a universal grin,
they see a poppy field, and stumble in.

Sleepy, like Dorothy, on her way to OZ—
but headed where, there are no laws—
on the beaten pathway to wicked times—
the road to heaven, in monkey’s minds.

But it’s certain, after considerable thought,
that these hairy apes are a troublesome lot.


—Patricia Hickerson, Davis

cruising at an altitude of 3,000 mesicordiae
toward Dilithium Pethagoram
we encounter dragoons of dubious quantity
their life quality as extinct Woolnos
yet to be redetermined
in compact committees 4-to-none
heads balanced toward Tropicosta #1

this is turning out to be quite a voyage
#3 in charge of controls
has become disoriented
she keeps asking where are we?
I hesitate to say who cares!
for fear of disabling her polyneutrons

it doesn’t matter where we are going
as long as we get there intact
brains still working
fingers still tracing what’s on the wall
poems still getting scribbled and sent out

Wordsworth's Church
Photo by Katy Brown


Today's LittleNip:

Writing is a dog's life, but the only life worth living.

—Gustave Flaubert



SnakeWatch: A New Year with Rattlesnake Press:


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. 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 kathykieth@hotmail.com/.


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.
Deadline for Issue #5 was Jan. 15 (the issue will be released at Luna's Cafe on February 18 at 8 PM); the deadline for #6 will be April 15. Send 3 poems, photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to fandrickfabpub@hotmail.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/.)


During our hiatus from most print publications (except WTF), Medusa will keep cooking in the Kitchen every day. 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, but please cite publication and be sure you own the rights. No bios or cover letters are required; just mark it for Medusa. Send it all to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. (No simultaneous submissions, though, please.)

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 rattlesnakepress.com 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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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.