Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Rainbow Sleeps

Fairy Display, Natomas Library
Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

A doe deer wandered off the American River Parkway
and onto Rancho Cordova High campus
They called animal control
who yellow-taped off the entire area
and evacuated students for their "protection"
as if they were saying,
"Hey deer you're not supposed to be here,"
as if she were to be placed under arrest for a crime
The deer looked at news cameras, puzzled
then defiantly continued to graze on a patch of grass
perhaps thought she'd stand up for her species
at the start of hunting season, saying
that deer aren't to be shot at as "game"
they just want to roam free
and be allowed to cross and walk on our streets
and co-exist with humans in peace...

—Michelle Kunert


Poets everywhere will be saddened to know that Alan Horvath, poet, publisher and d.a. levy bibliographer, passed away during a dialysis treatment yesterday. Alan was very supportive of the small press community, including Rattlesnake Press. Here is a link to help you learn more about him:

Thanks, Michelle, for the photos and poem, and thanks to today's other contributors. Good to hear from Be Davison Herrera—and Tom Goff, Richard Zimmer and Taylor Graham are talking about our Seed of the Week: Broken Promises. Ironically, two of today's poems mention yellow police tape. Is this a sign of the times??

I don’t know about you, but Medusa’s whole bulletin board system which has evolved is working well for me. Ideally, here’s how it works: I hear about a reading a couple of weeks in advance and post it in the “More Than a Week Away” section. When the event becomes less than a week away, I post it directly on the b-board, along with some kind of pic or graphic to catch the eye. Instead of posting bios, I can link you to a blog or some other place where there are often poetry excerpts, maps, and other fun facts or pix in addition to the regular bio info. Plus, some of these sites (like La Bloga which has the interview with Michael Luis Medrano who is reading at La Raza this week) are great finds in themselves, and this is another way I can pass them on to you. Not to mention that I don’t have to worry that I’ve screwed up the info somehow!—you can go right to the source.

I sure do like the flexibility of all this, and it also leaves room for book announcements such as the recent ones from Swan Scythe Press and R.H. Peat’s new book, Abyss of the Moon, from Xlibris. But the system does depend, ultimately, on you. I lurk, listen, peek and beg to be included on people’s mailing lists in order to keep up with events, but I still might miss your happening. So send “stuff” (readings, workshops, book announcements—poet-phernalia, in other words) directly to me if you’re in doubt: that’s And, fer criminentlies, if you see an error in an announcement, lemme know! Infallible, I ain’t…

Rise of the Blue Moon:

Ron Lane sends us an announcement: the public is invited to attend a release party to celebrate the new issue of the Blue Moon Literary & Art Review ( on Friday, Sept. 17, from 7-9pm at the John Natsoulas Art Gallery, 521 First St., Davis. Blue Moon is not a new publication, but it's been on hiatus, and it's great to hear about its resurrection! The new issue features the winners of the Will Albrecht Young Writers Contest, as well as short stories and poems by frequently published authors from around the country. Guests will hear short, dramatic readings and have a chance to chat with local authors, including SnakePal/poet/photographer Ron Lane. Wine, soft drinks and appetizers will be served. For more information, call Scott Evans, Editor, at (530)902-0026.

A Starry Night Teen Showcase Oct. 24:

A Starry Night Poetry Series features Brad Henderson this Sunday. Then, in October, the series will present its First Annual Teen Poets of San Joaquin & Sacramento Counties Showcase (2010), with guest host David Voytek, on Sunday, Oct. 24 from 2-4:30pm at the Lodi Public Library, 201 W. Locust St., Lodi. Eighteen readers (ages 13-18) will be pre-selected to read 1-2 poems, five minutes per poet. To participate, see


don't know much
about real lunacy
time is passing without my history
politics (like economy)

is pounding spaces classically
so where's there
from here now
guess clocks ticking
will stop nowhere

—Be Davison Herrera, Corvallis, OR


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Ophelia—her promised romance
turns to a bitter cup of dismay.

Her mind troubled—clouds take
demon shapes—the rainbow sleeps.

Her lover’s once honeyed words—
now like bells jangled out of tune.

She wears a garland of lilies and
daisies—flowers of pain and desire.

Nearing the glassy waters of a brook
she stumbles and falls into the water.

Dry clothes holding her up—strangely
she looks like a pretty mermaid.
Chanting old tunes, garments heavy with
water—she’s pulled to a muddy death.

Happiness no—hope neither—once like
a fleck of fire—now like withering grass.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

International Peace Congress, 1848

How far you traveled, Elihu, to see all these
ruddy British faces from across the Channel.

You know them from little upper rooms
and overcrowded halls in London, Liskeard,
Aberdeen—rowdy gatherings
as if farmers had driven their herds inside
to hear you; air so close you could hardly
catch breath to speak.

Here you recognize Friends in sober garb,
men who took you into their homes
and talked peace long into the evening.
Here they all are, in Brussels,
stepping off the train within cannon-range
of some battle or another,

such a press of greetings and arranging
for carriages. Opening-speeches
just hours away. English and Scots, French
and German, Dutch—so many languages
hoping to be understood.

How far you traveled to bring them
all together here, as the afternoon lingers
on its promises of peace,

and the shades pass over Ypres
and Waterloo.

(from Walking With Elihu)


—Taylor Graham

In a rental kitchen
with cracked linoleum,
there’s no guarantee that scalding
water will give coffee beans
the zing of espresso, no promise
that a smear of peach preserves
will sweeten a roast
to remind you of brighter days.
Pacing from oven to sink,
you stop

to stare out the window,
where a robin—
should a robin even be here
this time of year?—feasts
on fat red pyracantha berries.
A migrant
perfectly at home.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

A right turn, and a right
turn, and a right turn from
my front door, and my
me-figure will make a U figure,
reach the shabby duplex
where a wanted-in-Louisiana
child molester holes up,

rifle in hand, rifle with power
to dismember a full-grown elk,
fell a mature sycamore.
Sheriff SWAT teams
park armored vans
across the street from us,
on the asphalt poured
hottop for school buses.

The cops extract long thin
countercharms meant
to nullify the bad warlock’s
steel-jacket magic. They
tape yellow crime scene

across our taken-for-granted
tall fir tree. I’ve walked my dogs
every square foot of sidewalk
this deranged man has trod.
He occupies my block as with
iron grappling hooks, he won’t be
dislodged from the garage.

Night. Now the sheriff-wizards,
the lookie-lous gone,
fling canisters stuffed with
magic herbs that smoke
(all right, tear gas) through
stoutly shut panes. Shatters
clatter, shards in sprinkles.

Nora and I, stepping out
onto our back patio, and little
Tippy, sniff the gas and scurry
back inside, a five-second exposure
choking, stinging, flooding
the holes in our faces with the caustic.

Now I know what Civil War
soldiers meant when first
“seeing the elephant”: they’d
scent “a whiff of the grape,” making
no reference whatsoever to fruit,

unless, when the poor teary-eyed
bastard, fleeing the intolerable
garage, triggered the rifle
into his own throat, he tasted
a swallow of something—grape,
maybe, but surely one cluster,

the fruit hybrid, tasting
neither sweet nor bitter,
knowing no decay, giving no
nourishment, the offspring
of shame grafted upon erasure
fallen bough and all
in one windshear…


Today's LittleNip:

—Hayden Carruth

Would I write it if I could?
Bet your glitzy ass I would.



Photo by Michelle Kunert