Thursday, December 06, 2007

Shooting the Curl


become ghostly as if
a pastel dream of themselves

mist camouflages
source and destination

I hear that scientists have
developed a cloaking device

the morning fog and spray
have beaten them to it here

The vague day is pulling me in
I have a desire for definition

an outline of shore
one plain tree on a mountaintop

an edge of lip within
the devouring kiss of sea.

—Karen Baker, Modesto


Thanks, Karen! Surfing is great right now; meet you at Mavericks! Karen Baker is a Modesto poet. She was born on Staten Island, grew up in Rockford, Illinois, and has lived in California’s Central Valley for many years. She says she is fascinated by the possibilities and limitations of language and by the synergy experienced in writing groups. She also enjoys studying dreams, and she
was also one of the editors of Hardpan. For more about Karen, including poems and how to order her rattlechap, Vocal Exercises in Stone (which was a Pick of the Issue on Small Press Review when it came out in 2005), click on her name on the rattlechaps page on And watch for her work in the new Rattlesnake Review, due out next week!

Danyen Powell is a "retired" (for now) surfer who'll be reading tomorrow night with Uptown Katy Brown at the Davis Unitarian Church, 27074 Patwin Road, Davis, 7:30 PM. Open mic will follow. Danyen and Katy will have their Snake chapbooks for sale, plus Katy's new perpetual calendar of art and photography, A Poet's Book of Days, from Rattlesnake Press. Watch for their work in the new Snake, too.

Judy Halebsky writes: Finishing Line Press is publishing my chapbook. It's on sale now at Orders in the next few weeks get free shipping within the U.S. (And if you'd like a copy of Judy's littlesnake broadside, Almost Turning Over, let me know and I'll mail you one.)


—Karen Baker

some of us scrounge
but they hatch in her
normally, like questions
answering themselves

a simple fox of clay
some might say a deer
or a bear in profile
unglazed in terra cotta

creature of the clever night
chews cud
into new digestion
sideways in the borderlands

substance of reevaluation
due bright and early
ready for the table
—read between the lines


—Karen Baker

white linen sheath
sleeveless, jewel neckline
your hair spun gold
like the transformed grasses
of that miller’s daughter

how have you happened here
where I sew to improve
to lengthen, to enhance

perfection falls about you
like those few October leaves
we save in dictionaries
to admire in trenchant January

your voice, timid here
(not your own)
asks me to embroider roses
when this plain white dress
exudes the perfume
of the essential oil


—Karen Baker

I know how to listen
to the red-winged blackbird’s herald
when driving 70 miles per hour
on the freeway towards Sacramento
cut off by pickups
submerged by merging traffic
my ears, with their peripheral vision,
gaze on clear notes
callings posted on willow
over damp ditches

I know how to spot egrets in the rice fields
on 80 near Davis
along the causeway
their composure and singularity
tease our bumper to bumper
show us in confidence their folded wings,
insurance of transcendence

I know how rare the meadowlark
who sings on the edge of small vineyards
so that in passing I look twice to be sure
and package the song
downloaded into ephemeral file

Yuba City, California,


—Medusa (Cowabunga!)

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 latest issue of Rattlesnake Review (#15) is available for free at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or send $2 to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. Issue #16 will be out in mid-December; its deadline of Nov. 15 has passed. Next deadline (for Issue #17, due out in mid-March) is February 15. (Sooner than you think!)

Coming December 12!
The Snake is proud to announce the release of Metamorphic Intervals From The Insanity Of Time, a SnakeRings SpiralChap from Patricia D'Alessandro; Notes From An Ivory Tower, a littlesnake broadside from Sacramento's Ann Wehrman; and a brand new issue of Rattlesnake Review (#16). Come celebrate all of these on Wednesday, December 12, 7:30 PM at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's. And use the opportunity to pick up a few poetic Christmas presents there, including any of a number of wonderful books and chapbooks—not to mention A Poet's Book of Days, Rattlesnake Press's first perpetual calendar, featuring the poetry and photography of Katy Brown.