Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Big Bites and LittleNips

Barbara Noble

—Barbara Noble, Sacramento

In a brief spill of sunlight
puddled on my living room floor,
I curl in an impossible position—
like a cat bathing its hip
or a trombone
with slide reaching bell.

I am an optimistic woman
painting my toenails red in February—
for who shall see…but me?
Who indeed.

The world has been sunny
for fifteen minutes,
and my heart is opening in this spot of sun—
hopeful as a crocus in the snow.
I wiggle ten romantic toes.
Who knows?


Barbara Noble will be reading at Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, 8pm this Thursday, Jan. 13. Xavier will be backing her on guitar as the featured performance, and Host Geoff Neill says they’ll be using “Poems-For-All’s little blank books to write new poems, in the return of a very popular experiment we performed a year or so ago. Fun for most ages!”

What can we say about Barbara Noble?

- Former host of Joe Montoya’s Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café and long-time Luna-tic.
- Accomplished visual artist.
- a.k.a. Robusta Bustier (Boo-stee-ay).
- Square by day, artiste by night.

Thanks, Barbara, for today’s poetry! And speaking of Luna’s, don’t forget that this Sat., Jan. 15, is the deadline for the next issue of Rattlesnake Press’s WTF, edited by Frank Andrick. Feel free to send poems, art, and photos, whether you’re a Luna-tic or not! Go to rattlesnakepress.com/wtf.html for info.

And speaking of Rattlesnake Press, save this Wednesday night for our reading at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30pm, where we will help celebrate the release of Jeanine Stevens’ new chapbook, Caught in Clouds, from Finishing Line Press, and Trina Drotar’s new littlesnake broadside, Cormorant in the Desert, from Rattlesnake Press. Free! Be there!


—John Ciardi

My sweet, let me tell you about the Shark,
Though his eyes are bright, his thought is dark.
He’s quiet—that speaks well of him.
So does the fact that he can swim.
But though he swims without a sound,
Wherever he swims he looks around
With those two bright eyes and that one dark thought.
He has only one but he thinks it a lot.
And the thought he thinks but can never complete
Is his long dark thought of something to eat.
Most anything does. And I have to add
That when he eats, his manners are bad.
He’s a gulper, a ripper, a snatcher, a grabber.
Yes, his manners are drab. But his thought is drabber.
That one dark thought he can never complete
Of something—anything—somehow to eat.

Be careful where you swim, my sweet.


Watch Where You Swim!

That’s our Seed of the Week: Watch Where You Swim. Send poetic thoughts, art and pix about same to kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. By the way, last week’s SOW, In My Dreams, hit a chord with Medusa readers, and dreamy poems are still coming in. No deadline on SOWs, of course—so don’t be dismayed if you haven’t seen yours yet; it’s still simmering on a back burner and will be served up soon! (Medusa herself is tickled pink to have so many fine poems coming in!) Also coming in are poems for Elsie Whitlow Feliz, who passed away Jan. 8; thanks, Taylor Graham, for today’s offering. And thanks, Arthur Knight, for checking in just in time for today's littlenip.

Wild Edges Reading at Clark’s Corner Jan. 22:

Sat. (1/22), 2-5pm: Manzanita Writers Press and Clark’s Corner presents a free public literary reading featuring Manzanita Writers and friends. Anyone who has been published in any Manzanita volume is welcome to be a part of the regular reading program, but must contact the editors to reserve a time to read; Manzanita Writers must sign up in advance, as well. There will be Wild Edges volumes available for sale and writers will be reading from their new books just hot off the press. Featured writers will be Ted Laskin, with his new book, George A. Custer, Please Come to the White Courtesy Phone (a short story collection), and Glenn Wasson’s expanded Tales Mark Twain Would Have Loved to Steal, Revised Edition. Writers Unlimited members, a large group of writers from Calaveras County, will also have books available from their new releases. Amador Writers Fiction Critique Group members are invited as featured guests. In addition, Open mic signups will be taken at the event for the public.

Clark’s Corner is a coffeehouse in Ione: see clarkscornerione.com/pages/home.cgi for directions and other info. To read, contact Monika Rose, Editor at mrosemanza@jps.net or (209) 754-0577, or Linda Field, Events Coordinator, 209-736-0222. Visit their website, too, at manzapress.com

By the way, Monika Rose has a new website at www.monikarosewriter.com. Do you have a website or blog about yourself that you’d like to permanently post on Medusa’s Kitchen? Send it to kathykieth@hotmail.com for listing on our Poet-to-Poet section on Medusa’s bulletin board.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

(For Elsie)

What comes at the end of a book?

In later times, at night, you turned pages
opening on a garden blue with morning glory
and tremolo of rain, the water-sounds
of silkworms wrapping you

in a garment that wasn’t sleep,
but comfort of words. Now
night has shut the pages
of the book. Or, out of sleep

did you walk open-eyed
into that garden, morning glory
twining without fences,
silkworms spinning

wings from old cocoons?


—Barbara Noble

I slip from a troubled sleep in Sacramento
to the ease of a dream in Venice,
where a regal saturation of light
somnambulates on canal currents
through the open window
of my subconscious
lifting rich color to tint air, touch, scent, sound…
especially sound.

An aural sweetness greets me
from some unseen somewhere…
a mysterious maestro sings,
“Una furtiva lagrima…”
a secret tear…
does he see mine…?
For he looks to soothe,
as vocal kisses in tenor tongue
lick my inner ear
with aria
as foreplay.

I am seduced by a single note, tenderly held,
a thread of melody
laced through my morning sleep
gathering my longings
into a plump, desirous purse-
full-blooded red velvet gripped in my fist—
a handhold for an anxious crescendo—
the rising sun
in my bursting climax.


—Barbara Noble

Hair has fallen from pates and settles in ear crannies.
The ground rises to meet sad, thin breasts and paunches reach
for knees
as the sun casts long shadows on sagging silhouettes
that hunch in curmudgeon parade toward an uncertain horizon.

Questions concerning time and circumstance
flicker ‘round our electric brains in cerebral Saint Elmo’s fire,
spitting and fizzling down crumbling spinal stairways
to fester in gut pockets like rancid lamb chops.

Peeking through grizzled fingers at the future,
but tenderly caressing the past,
we ponder with longing the delicious insanity of our youthful
when we had a thirst that wouldn’t quench
and over-the-top amorous exploits
made men miserable in their hard-ons.

At such wet memoirs,
we begin to wonder which things we may have done for the last
Reflecting on out-of-our-mind moments
that at the time seemed like the only sanity...
when we traveled naked in overcoats
100 M.P.H. on midnight highways just for love…
or slept stoned with strangers…on our backs in the grass…
drunk with music better than any wine.

Knowing hindsight highly overrates the excesses,
it still sucks being on the whisker side of the razor’s edge.
After all that warm, young cum,
how cruel waking to a cold, wet bed sheet.

We may still feel the need
to go balls out and hell bent for something—
but do we still have the strength?
For all the glib aphorisms bandied about like,
“Age is wisdom.” or “Age is just a number.”
We ask, “What wisdom in losing your grip?”
And age is not just a number…
it’s the number that holds your place in line.
Small solace.
The deadline for dream fulfillment is fast approaching.
Hop to it!
The future gets closer all the time.


Today's LittleNip:

—Arthur Knight, Yerington, NV

There are three
Mexican waitresses
at China Chef.
All of them speak
English and Spanish.
The owner is Vietnamese,
a refugee from war.
No one speaks Chinese.
This is life
in the high plains.