Friday, June 10, 2011

Spring Sings (Finally!)

The spring sings
as it drips

Upon the beach
And the journey

Nears its end

—Photo and poem by Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax


—Kevin Jones, Fair Oaks

They warn you, big sign:
Road Under Construction.
What they don’t tell you
Is that it also ends
At just that point.

We found out—
Buried both axles
Of the Bel Air
In the mud.

My friend noticed
The big yellow
Earthmover beside
The almost,
But not quite
Hopped aboard
And started it up.
Saved, almost.

A woman came
Out of nowhere,
Or maybe just a
Grant Wood painting,
Gingham dress,
Apron, wire rims,
Began beating
My friend with
Her stick,
Screaming she
Didn’t care
Where we came
From, but nobody
Treated govament
Property like that
In Sauk County,

And he never did it


Thanks to today's contributors; we're mostly talking about Detours now, our Seed of the Week, but don't think you have to "stick to the beaten path" in that respect. Poems of any ilk are always welcome in the Kitchen! And my special thanks to all those folks who wrote to say they will mourn the printed chapbook/broadside department of Rattlesnake Press, including Be Davison Herrera, who sent me Today's LittleNip. But The Snake is NOT DEAD, just morphing, so keep your ears and eyes open for where we slither next, and please keep reading Medusa's Kitchen—and sending poems! And, if you're "on" Facebook, keep checking the Medusa's Kitchen page for new photos, not only of Rattlesnake events, but of other NorCal happenings, too.

This Sunday, C. Michael Curtis, Fiction Editor of The Atlantic Monthly since 1963, will give a publishing talk at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 25th and R Sts., Sacramento, at 6PM. Curtis has edited the work of Tobias Wolff, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, Richard Ford, and many other writing luminaries. Cover charge is $5. Info: 916-452-1601. For more about C. Michael Curtis, go to

Monika ("Manzanita") Rose sent several announcements about goings-on at Manzanita Press ( and elsewise in their neck of the hills, including the Tuolumne Meadows Poetry Festival in August (for info about that, download a pdf at   You can also go to the Snake on a Rod section of our b-board (in the skinny green box) and click on some of the pages there for more deadlines and workshops. Remember: time marches on; new offerings get posted often. For example, Indigo Moore will be teaching a UCD Extension poetry workshop this summer; go to for more info.

In case you've just tuned in, Taylor Graham, D.R. Wagner and Katy Brown are having a poetic conversation. Katy's offering above is her sonnet in response to Taylor's sonnet yesterday (bravo, you two!), and Taylor sends us two more poems, saying: It feels so good to be back in the conversation! Am I addicted or something? Pieces of several Katy's and DR's poems here.

—Katy Brown, Davis

We’ve sworn we’d not go down this road again:
too many detours and distractions, here.
You and I have seen too many years
to take the risky way—the road that veers
too near the canyon edge: too near the fall.
Yet we are driven by some need to test
what we accept as making good progress
toward some abstract locale at journey’s end.
We’ve seen the winter’s owl and summer’s fox
and counted little towns along the way.
We’ve left a trail of words beside the road
to mark our route in case we don’t return;
though, I don’t recall a ferry here before
waiting by the shadowed sycamore.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

Cooper's, solitary stealth-hawk
at home between wooded valley
and a slouch-hat mountain.

Up there, Red-tail buteos
spiral into upper air, screaming
their hawkhood.

I catch a glimpse of Cooper
needling her deft wing
through the fabric of oak.

Feathers of rapid acceleration.
Accipiter. It's a nervous vigilance,
living with hawk. Note

disappearances: a woodpecker
left nothing but his crimson crown;
a robin's gone. Passerine

who, just this morning, made song.


—Taylor Graham

The really ancient ones
we still allow to stand, however
weary their arches.

Do they wish to lie down
like the bodies of trees, to return
to sand or rubble of tor?

From their remnant
corners and cornices, voices
of ghosts on the wind.

When a not-so-ancient building
dies, it's an eyesore,
a hazard. We haul it in pieces

to the dump. With it, we think
we haul away its ghosts.


—Michael Cluff, Highland, CA

I left the road
near the Salton Sea
the tire-track sandals
just a foregone conclusion
my feet could not avoid

At the top
of a slight bluff
just east
I saw an abandoned
1950s mobile home
blue and silver badly bolted steel
no floor to the bathroom
a gaping vulture-controlled hole
in the front room
a cracked maple syrup bottle
in a faux bamboo closet

but a picture
of Tab Hunter
was smack square
in the sooty hall
to the back bedroom.

His picture
was pristine in contrast
just like the day
it was hung
and a crusty pink kiss
was in its lower right corner
just covering the dimple
in his,
from I could make out,
black knit tie.

No trail but my newly
sand cratered

the baby blue water
rolls ever onward
as I see
under a battered red awning
just outside
a deal dresser door.


—Michael Cluff

Here I am
dressed like
a preppy
gone to extreme,
blue/white saddle shoes
blue blazer and light blue dress shirt
beige pleated slacks,
navy blue socks

just to avoid
the supervisor's eye
of cold comfort
and disapproval.

The real me
is atop
the hill with jacarandas
pepper trees
and old WW II era bunkers
where illicity
occurs quite naturally.

An ercued crane
sails by
having a whopping
grand time.

The yellow and blue
subtle-patterned tie
holds me down
a gravity of both earth
and fabric
unflinchingly evokes
to all
goes on inside
in spite of Newton.


Today's LittleNip: 

for Kathy
—Be Davison Herrera, Corvallis, OR

     what's to say
to illuminate the light bringers
     those of vision

     gladsome chuckles work
so much knuckle-crunching focus
     wisely shared around

     we sense delicious
dreams inspirations yet
     to follow on



 Beach Whiskers
—Photo by Ronald Edwin Lane