Friday, December 21, 2007

Cartridge in a Pear Tree?

—David Humphreys, Stockton

Sunday, you take your walk in thick fog
before light so you will have enough time
to make it to the soccer tournament. Fog
keeps all sound close as a whisper in your ear
like a down comforter against December cold.
You have wondered recently if there was any-
thing more you might have to say before you
pass through to the next level, whatever that
might be, perhaps manifesting as some dusty
saguaro thorn rimmed arroyo border crossing
through which no one has ever passed to return
in any familiar form, next intoxicating world
of innumerable Gila venom studded apparition
possibilities. Perhaps instead, you will awaken
on the once frozen lava glowing shore of a mercury
liquid slippery sea alone and thoughtless as an
empty husk of walnut shell. Your walk progresses
into another day and you see that the fog has
turned to sizzling rain.


Thanks, David!

This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Friday (12/21), 7 PM: Our House Poetry Reading features Gene Altshuler and Wendy Patrice Williams. Note: new, temporary (December only) location: Event Center at Raley's in El Dorado Hills, 3935 Park Dr. An open mike follows. There is no charge.

•••Sat. (12/22), 7-9 PM: "The Show" poetry series features R&B vocalist Marcia Lewis plus slam champion He Spit Fire, plus NY poet Tantra ( $5, Open mic. The Guild Theater, 2828 35th St., Sacramento. Info: 916-208-POET.

•••There will be no Sacramento Poetry Center reading this coming Monday, Dec. 24.

More seasonal poems; keep 'em coming:

—Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Tehama

The cats eye the Christmas decorations
bat at glass icicles on the tree
sniff with suspicious noses the red-ribboned
cedar spray on the door
They paw the poinsettia on the Welsh dresser
knock down for the hundredth time
your sly 'cartridge in a bare tree'
They gobble the dry kibble they've eaten for years
don't expect presents


—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

Around Christmas a tree delivers to my family
its fruit that tastes like a Spring sun
that we all long for in short, cold days
like the season-defying daffodils growing nearby
A balance between tartness and sweet
reminding both of struggles and pleasure
coming together in a ball to peel or slice
If there was such a thing as a "giving tree"
it has gifted with these little delights


—David Humphreys, Stockton

Storm clouds move off to the east as
the sky clears to the west. Doves are
the first birds you see and hear with
their distinctive flight and call. Finches
shake the night’s showers from beaded
feathers, all things new and clean to start
a sun-shining day’s bright light. This has
been the place you have occasionally had
time to consider unresolved issues, past
and present, such as Kierkegaard’s Fear
and Loathing or Tolstoy’s analysis of
Napoleon. The arguments of political
candidates have also occupied this early
respite. Now however, you face the very
real elemental, essential and primal God
dialogue centering on the angelic and entirely
perfect lovely softness of her body, thighs to
drive a man entirely insane to father these
eventually seething raucous horrible yet
somehow lovely teenage children.



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as announcements of Northern California poetry events, to (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.) Medusa cannot vouch for the moral fiber of other publications, contests, etc. that she lists, however, so submit to them at your own risk. For more info about the Snake Empire, including guidelines for submitting to or obtaining our publications, click on the link to the right of this column: Rattlesnake Press (

SnakeWatch: Up-to-the-minute Snake news:

Rattlesnake Review: The new issue of Rattlesnake Review (Sweet 16) is available for free at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or send $2 to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 and I'll mail you one. The last of contributors' and subscribers' copies went into the mail this week. Next deadline (for Issue #17, due out in mid-March) is February 15. (Sooner than you think!)

New in December! Rattlesnake Press is proud to announce the release of Metamorphic Intervals From The Insanity Of Time, a SnakeRings SpiralChap from Patricia D'Alessandro, and Notes From The Ivory Tower, a littlesnake broadside from Sacramento's Ann Wehrman. And while you're down at The Book Collector, pick up a few poetic Christmas presents, including any of a number of wonderful books and chapbooks, Rattlesnake and otherwise—not to mention A Poet's Book of Days, our first perpetual calendar, featuring the poetry and photography of Katy Brown.

Coming in February: The Snake has crawled into winter hibernation for the rest of December and for all of January: no readings, no books, no broadsides. (Medusa is always awake, however, and will keep posting through most of that time. Send stuff.) Then, on February 13, Rattlesnake Press will roar to life again with a new SnakeRings SpiralChap from Don and Elsie Feliz (To Berlin With Love), plus a new littlesnake broadside from Carlena Wike (Going the Distance), as well as Volume Two of Conversations, B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series.