Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Mermaid Syndrome
Painting by George Grie

(click/pic for larger version)


are singing in the wind, preening
the rainbows on their bellies, combing

serpents of seaweed out of their long,
silky hair. They sun themselves on

velvet beaches: haul up to gossip: lay
long lean bodies into cradles of kelp

for warm, slow afternoons of humming
and dreaming of the sea. They wave

to passing ships: wheedle and whine
and flip their tails because today

no one will come near enough to kiss
their crimson: those sweet, pouty rose-

lips: those bouquets of perfume, musky
incense from the East. Watch out, though,

for all that red—for the dark passion
that stalks you, spread out so seductively

along that sandy shore. . .

—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines


I watched Spencer Tracy struggle through Old Man and the Sea on TV last night. We all go back to the sea, eventually. One way or another. Last summer we wrote SOWs about mermaids; last week we wrote about the beat-up old boat photo. Let's keep dreaming of the sea for this week's Seed of the Week: Sea-Dreaming—whatever it is you dream about, sea-wise. The women (sirens and mermaids and even a gorgon or two)? The traffic (boats and porpoises and pirates and—yes—oil rigs)? Or even the salt water of the womb... Sea-Dreaming.

Peggy Hill writes that Judy Halebsky not only won a book award, but one of her poems was presented as a poem of the day from the American Academy of Poetry (yesterday, Monday 5/24). See the b-board to read Judy's poem.

Art Beck (Dennis Dybeck) sends us a link to a review he wrote of Neeli Cherkovski's latest book, From the Canyon Outward, from R.L. Crow: www.bigbridge.org/BB14/2010_Reviews/REV_2010_Cherkovski_review.htm

Bob Stanley came across Poetry Map on poets.org (www.poets.org/state.php/varState/CA) and realized, to his outrage and dismay, that Sacramento is sorely under-represented! He plans to rectify that oversight, toot-sweet.

Speaking of Bob, Sacramento Poetry Center's 2010 Poetry Contest is open for submissions: Deadline is July 15. 1st place: $100, 2nd place: $50; 3rd place: $25, plus ten honorable mentions ($10 gift certificates from The Book Collector). Winners and honorable mention recipients will be invited to read their pieces at SPC this fall. Also, winners will be published in Poetry Now. Enter by sending two copies of your poem(s), one without your name, and a second with your name, address, phone number and e-mail address to SPC, 1719 25th St., Sacramento, CA 95816. Entry fee is $3.00/poem. Coordinator of Contest is Sandra Senne, e-mail: sennesk@yahoo.com

And speaking of deadlines, don't forget to send your submissions to The Ophidian by June 9. Scroll down on the b-board for info.


—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

rusting hull
peeling paint
frayed ropes
broken traps
but still afloat
will she meet the boatman on her way down


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

This old boat
Has been a friend for long
We two are one
In thought and action
An old boat true
Slow but sure
Together we travel
This river of life
Through gray days
Of fog and uncertainties
Into joyous days
Of sun and smooth going


—Kathy Kieth

My kitchen counter is a cluttered beach
strewn with dried seaplants: potions

from the ocean in mismatched jars: kelp,
kombu, arame: nursing me along like

the seaweed soup of the Irish. Starved
by the British, they gathered plants

from the slippery rocks, gleaned slimy
ropes on rainy days while gulls slapped

around them on flat orange feet, nosey
seals bobbed and peered—brown-eyed

buoys in the freezing water of the grey
North Sea. . . Soup simmering over

a peat fire fed them, kept them alive,
buoys me along as I bob between

counters and this clutter of dark green, this
flotsam of jars, this magic vegetation

gleaned from the sea. . .


Today's LittleNip:

Above the boat
of wild geese.




(with thanks to Pat Pashby for today's LittleNip)

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis