Saturday, June 04, 2011

Trees & Leftover Turkey

Michelle Kunert
—Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

In Bejing, China a seventeen-year-old boy decided to sell his kidney
for money to buy a mini-computer pad and cell phone
What was this kid thinking? the world wants to know
Are his health and life worth the risk for mere gadgets?
(likely of course entirely manufactured in his country, too)
Apparently he was confused
considering the so-called "progressive" Communist nation
now worships capitalism to even outrageously brutal harm
such as to even traffic their humans and their body parts
So therefore what he did wasn't outlawed in China until 2007
under pressure from human rights activists such as Harry Wu
(as well as being watched for hosting the Olympic games)
His mom put him on the news
not only to attempt to find the criminals who cut him up
but perhaps to warn all moms with sons
to not ever let them do something this dumb

—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento


Readers of Medusa's Kitchen will recognize Michelle Kunert, both from her cheeky poems (the one above is her take on "Keepsakes") and from her fine photographs. All of these poems first appeared on Medusa's Kitchen, and Michelle is a regular at readings around Sacramento. She has a B.A. in English and has been involved with Sacramento Poetry Center, as well as being published in The Sacramento Bee and Sacramento News & Review. Michelle has also helped produce Access Sacramento shows such as "Toastmasters" and "Good Work Now" for TV.

This coming Wednesday, June 8, Rattlesnake Press will release a littlesnake broadside of Michelle's poems, entitled If Trees Could Talk... That's at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30pm. As we posted on Medusa's Kitchen yesterday, this will be the final reading of the Rattlesnake Press Reading Series, so be there!

Some other items of note:

•••The Sacramento Poetry Center presents the 2011 Quinton Duval Chapbook Contest in memory of Quinton Duval (1948-2010), open to all writers west of the Mississippi. Deadline is August 15. 20-24 pp. of poetry, any theme; winners receive publication and 50 copies. $10 entry fee, check payable to SPC; send checks and manuscripts to SPC, 1719 25th St., Sac., Attn: Duval Chapbook Contest. No name on manuscripts, but attach separate page w/contact info and title of collection. Or submit by email to put “chapbook submission” in subject line and attach manuscript as a doc, docx or pdf, w/contact info in body of mail. Simul. subs. ok, but please notify SPC if your chapbook is accepted elsewhere.

•••SPC/Poetry Now have a new email account for Young Voices submissions; use   The old PN submissions email,, has an auto-reply to redirect youth to the new submissions account (above) and to direct grown-ups to the SPC website and blogspot, as well as Tule Review and other local publications.

•••Dang—I almost missed posting the next Convergence deadline, which is June 5—tomorrow! It’s not too late, though; get ‘em your stuff NOW. Go to for info.

•••Poems are wanted for an anthology on the subject of 9-11. Contact Ed Bearden, Modesto's Poet Laureate, at or call 522-9600. Deadline: July 1, 2011.

•••PRIMAL URGE: A Journal For Diverse Humans (see Medusa’s bulletin board for a link), in conjunction with Shine Café, 14th & E Sts., Sacramento, will be presenting a reading series for the remainder of 2011 titled “Poetry With Legs”, with readings on the 2nd and 4th Thursday evenings each month from 7-9pm. The series will begin on June 9th and will run through the end of November. The first reading (6/9), will feature Marilyn Souza, Bill Gainer, and Dave Boles. Other readings scheduled so far include:

June 23rd: Crawdad Nelson and Richard Hansen (the other one)
July 14th: John Dorsey and Bill Pieper
July 28th: Patrick Grizzell and D.R. Wagner
August 11th: Trina Drotar and Sandy Thomas
Aug. 25th: Julie Valin and Josh Fernandez

Primal Urge—A Journal For Diverse Humans, publishes six times a year and is distributed globally through print and electronic media. Based in the foothills above Sacramento, the magazine was founded in 1982 as a visual literary magazine with little if any boundaries and continues that theme today. Featuring art, photography, poetry and prose, the magazine is also known for its in-depth interviews with artists, writers, poets and other illuminated beings. Begun as an experiment in Jungian Synchronicity and Causality, the magazine continues this path nearly 30 years later with little direction, except that for which the zeitgeist of the times direct. Primal Urge publisher, Dave Boles, continues to use the magazine and his publishing company, Cold River Press, to illustrate his theory of synchronistic alternative publishing and the causal effects it has upon society. Submissions are through the web site at

For more information contact Dave Boles at


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


What if The Nutcracker were done instead as an opera?
Clara wouldn't be such an innocent adolescent;
she'd be crying and wailing on about her isolation
being kept protected from the world in the Stahlbaum house
as if to keep her from growing up,
not allowed to read Romanic-era authors such as Goethe
as well as her unfulfilled dreams
and fantasies of men, candy, and fairies,
fearing the day she will be forced to marry
a man approved by her controlling godfather
rather than the one with whom she is in love
And a rat king after being hit by Clara's slipper
would then, like, take forever to die
moaning an aria that a girl caused his demise
And then Clara in her way would both lose yet still win
after perhaps the feisty boy Fritz decides to take her away
and realizes why he broke the nutcracker—
to show his act of defiance,
that he's a political revolutionary just like the French
and they get lost together in woods of snow

—Michelle Kunert


Sometimes I feel like leftover turkey
cold dried-up meat and bones
Lesser desired pieces
to be used up or else thrown away
wedged between pieces of bread,
the taste hidden with condiments
and beginning smells of decay

—Michelle Kunert


—Michelle Kunert

Not just Shel Silverstein can tell you so—
about how trees can give and inspire,
trees being earth's greatest creations,
cycling photosynthesis for air to breathe.

Trees throughout cultures symbolize life
retold in the leaves of pages trees make,
such as the legend of the first people
eating the fruit of a "tree of knowledge".
Their choice awakened them to new reality,
creating a fall from their dreamish existence
(for a whole different beginning).

Other things trees are about
include love, wisdom,
rebirth, strength, redemption,
friendship, bounty and encouragement,
branching out for the heavens of "Father Sky",
their roots linking into "Mother Earth"
and connecting as if all are one.

If trees could talk
each would have its own story
in songs with poetry.


Today's LittleNip: 

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

—Old saying



Michelle in last year's Halloween costume