Saturday, November 13, 2010

Blow Death to Was

Fall Chrysanthemums at the Mum Show
Photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


step up to the house of words
tired poetry seeks your potent swing
yearns to celebrate new hits

Lily the tiger poet
not in baseball sweats
but in camouflage pants
khaki jacket
tight black hair
striped socks
phenom poet ready to swing
lily budding in a dried up season
sprouted through cracks of a chilled diamond

take position at home plate, Lily,
knock fresh poems out of the ball park

(inspired by the poetry of Sandy Thomas and
Genelle Chaconas)
—Patricia Hickerson, Davis


Thanks to our contributors today! Unfortunately, one of our frequent contributors, Richard Zimmer is in the hospital; hopefully he’s feeling better by now. And the poem of another Snake Pal, Carl Bernard Schwartz, was inadvertently left out of the new Ophidian. These things happen, but they’re always disappointing, on all sides. Sorry, Carl!—but thanks for today's contributions, including the LittleNip.

I confess it: I have a weakness for cowboy poetry. Sharp images, rockin’ rhythms, killer storytelling, enthusiastic audiences—what’s not to like? Or check out cow girl poetry for freer verse and a more modern slant on women in ranching. We do have a few “gatherings” (as they call them) in California, including in Wilton and Loomis, but the gran-daddy of ‘em all is the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV, run by the Western Folklife Center. This year (their 27th) they’ll be meeting January 24-29, with special guests from all over the nation—plus some Hungarian horsemen (cowboys) from the Hungarian puszta (grasslands) who will be sharing their culture, including music and poetry. See the beautiful website for more info, including how to apply to read! That’s

Meanwhile, in Minden, NV, the 23rd annual Rhymers Rodeer will take place in the Carson Valley Inn on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19-20. Big names Jim King and Jerry Bell will be part of the show, plus other stars, open mics, music, etc. See for info, tickets and hotel reservations.


—Carl Bernard Schwartz

Right after kids stop nursing
on real mother’s milk
they are encouraged by
parents and marketing agents
to drink milk that comes from

Cows get really, really big.
Is it any wonder that some
of our kids follow that
pattern?  What might
happen if we gave them
milk from smaller animals…


—e.e. cummings

What if a much of a which of a wind
gives the truth to summer's lie;
bloodies with dizzying leaves the sun
and yanks immortal stars awry?
Blow king to beggar and queen to seem
(blow firend to fiend:blow space to time)
—when skies are hanged and oceans drowned,
the single secret will still be man

what if a keen of a lean wind flays
screaming hills with sleet and snow:
strangles valleys by ropes of thing
and stifles forests in white ago?
Blow hope to terror;blow seeing to blind
(blow pity to envy and soul to mind)
—whose hearts are mountains,roots are trees,
it's they shall cry hello to the spring

what if a dawn of a doom of a dream
bites this universe in two,
peels forever out of his grave
and sprinkles nowhere with me and you?
Blow soon to never and never to twice
(blow life to isn't:blow death to was)
—all nothing's only our hugest home;
the most who die,the more we live


Today's LittleNip:

Will the 7 Lucky Gods of Japan find their way to America?

Ebisu:            Honest Labor — Candor, fair Dealing
Kaikokuten:        The Kitchen — Fortune       
Benzaiten:        Literature – Amiability
Hotei:            Contentment – Magnanimity
Fukurokuju:        Longevity – Popularity
Jurojin:        Wisdom – Longevity
Bishamonten:        Defender of Nation, Healer – Dignity



Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz