Thursday, May 22, 2008

When Black Noses Forage

Karen Terrey

—Karen Terrey, Truckee

Fences that divide us
are negotiated by bears blacker than the night,
dogs crawling beneath,
dark knots of children’s faces
spying between broken pine slats,
mariachi music everywhere,
tented tops of cowboy hats bobbing along,

and morning greetings at driveway edges
by neighbors cleaning up

laundry lint, broken wine bottles, old notes,
oatmeal, coffee grounds, what
ever we throw out of our lives,
on the street the next morning
between neighbors.

Black noses forage in the night,
garbage lids clatter off porches.


Thanks, Karen! Great to hear from voices in Truckee! Watch for more of Karen's work in Rattlesnake Review #18, due out in mid-June. Karen Terrey holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is the poetry editor for Quay, a literary arts journal. She balances her time between teaching creative writing and teaching skiing in N. Lake Tahoe. Her poems can be read in Moonshine Ink, Poet’s Espresso, Sierra Nevada Review, Autumn Sky Poetry, Concelebratory Shoehorn Review, and elsewhere. For info on her creative writing workshops in Truckee, go to:

Next submissions period for Quay, by the way, is July 1-August 31. Check it out at

By the way, I must confess that today's LittleNip was lifted from their website...


B.L.'s Drive-By: This week's micro-review by B.L. Kennedy

197 pages, $13.95
ISBN 13: 978-1-933368—53-5

I was really excited when I first read about A Woman Alone at Night by the very talented Tamara Faith Berger who, in a very linear way, reminds me of tame Kathy Acker. But I will throw that thought to the wayside, because A Woman Alone at Night is indeed a very entertaining and surreal read. Loosely based on the story of St. Mary of Egypt, A Woman Alone at Night is insightful without being dull, it is sexually explicit but not shocking, and it is, simply put, a decent novel with a fine storyline and delightful narrative. I recommend the book to any reader who drifts toward the erotic side of art.


—Karen Terry

We did not know each other well enough
to do the things we did to each other. —Sharon Olds

A snowy crowd of pines
against the glass pane
murmur before the show.

I play my role, invite
him in, let his tongue
run down my valley.

A brief strength our bodies braid;
from afar I watch,
squirm beneath his weight.

A bare moon
outside the window
nods her appreciation.


—Karen Terrey

Her arms did not flap: she was so thin.
Her cupped palms rose from the bed:
the oxygen mask fell sideways.
She could not feed herself:
her walk-in closet, her emerald rings, nothing
outside the hospital room mattered anymore.
From below the shadow of death she murmured
“my cup runneth over, my cup runneth over”
recording us in her gaze.
I kissed her cheek:
the skin looked dry, felt damp on my lips.
Her prayer book was gold-edged, and if her hands were strong enough,
her fingers could make the pages of worship flutter like waves on a beach.

“I want communion Saturday and the funeral
on Sunday. Call…”
She recited phone numbers to us from memory.
The priest was late:
he dipped his finger in the wine, touched it to her still mouth.
I watched a burgundy drop build on her pale lip:
I did not wipe it away.


Today's LittleNip:

I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing.

—John Cage




(Contributors are welcome to cook something up for any and all of these!)

Monday: Weekly NorCal poetry calendar

Seed of the Week: Tuesday is Medusa's day to post poetry triggers such as quotes, forms, photos, memories, jokes—whatever might tickle somebody's muse. Pick up the gauntlet and send in your poetic results; and don't be shy about sending in your own triggers, too! All poems will be posted and a few of them will go into Medusa's Corner of each Rattlesnake Review. Send your work to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline for SOW; respond today, tomorrow, or whenever the muse arrives. (Print 'em out, maybe, save 'em for a dry spell?) When you send us work, though, just let us know which "seed" it was that inspired you.

Wednesday: HandyStuff Quickies: Resources for the poet, including whatever helps ease the pain of writing and/or publishing. Favorite journals to read and/or submit to; books, etc., about writing; organizational tools—you know—HandyStuff! Tell us about your favorite tools.

Thursday: B.L.'s Drive-Bys: Micro-reviews by our irreverent Reviewer-in-Residence, B.L. Kennedy.
Send books, CDs, DVDs, etc. to him for possible review (either as a Drive-By or in Rattlesnake Review) at P.O. Box 160664, Sacramento, CA 95816.

Friday: NorCal weekend poetry calendar

Daily (except Sunday): LittleNips: SnakeFood for the Poetic Soul: Daily munchables for poetic thought, including short paragraphs, quotes, wonky words, silliness, little-known poetry/poet facts, and other inspiration—yet another way to feed our ever-hungry poetic souls.

And poetry! Every day, poetry from writers near and far! The Snakes of Medusa are always hungry.......!



New for May: Rattlesnake Press is proud to announce the release of Among Summer Pines by Quinton Duval and a littlesnake broadside, Before Naming, by Stephani Schaefer. Both of these are now available at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, and will soon be available at

Coming June 11: Two Moons in June: Join us at The Book Collector for the premiere of Day Moon, a new chapbook by James DenBoer, and Mindfully Moon, a littlesnake broadside by Carol Louise Moon, as well as
Volume Three of Conversations, our third book of interviews by B.L. Kennedy, featuring Art Beck, Olivia Costellano, Quinton Duval, William S. Gainer, Mario Ellis Hill, Kathryn Hohlwein, James Jee Jobe, Andy Jones, Rebecca Morrison, Viola Weinberg and Phillip T. Nails. All this PLUS a brand-new edition of Rattlesnake Review! That's at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM, June 11.

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 ( And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.