Friday, August 22, 2008

The Gauger of All Things

Ghost ship off the coast of Maine
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—Marie J. Ross and Donald R. Anderson, Stockton

White sails in the wind sweeping the atmosphere like a newborn,
a fin emerges, sliding across calm ripples, a spouting spray of wet air, blue whale.
He flips to eat the tide, lifts high too reach the movement of sky.
Sails turn to follow, cameras ready, excited new passenger an experienced
Visions sculpt the shore line, beach umbrellas, bouncing balls, and luxurious
hotels, Monte Carlo Style, warm on blankets sipping salty drinks. Song transcends
the moment in dance of the night—so soon that a newborne’s tiny feet shuffle on manuscripts of timely notes.


Thanks, Don and Marie! Donald Anderson and Marie Ross teamed up again for another poem. See more of their poems in Snake 19, due out in mid-September.

Thanks also to Katy Brown for this photo taken on her recent moose-hunting trip (with camera) to Maine. Watch for more of Katy's photos and prompts in September, with the release of another of her blank journals, Musings2: Vices, Virtues and Obsessions. I understand chocolate will be prominent...

This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Sunday (8/24), Noon to 4 PM: Poetry in the Trees in San Francisco. Picnic and poetry reading at the Jerry Garcia amphitheater. For detailed information and a photo of the amphitheater, go to or contact Clara Hsu, 301 Gambier St., San Francisco, CA 94134-1341, tel: 415-244-1317, This year they will be featuring four Bay Area Poet Laureates: Albert Flynn DeSilver of Marin, Penelope La Montagne of Healdsburg, Martha Meltzer of Pleasanton, and Connie Post of Livermore, as well as open mic before and after the featured readers.

•••Monday (8/25), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Ann Keniston and June Saraceno at HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Refreshments; free; open mic to follow. Ann Keniston’s first poetry collection, The Caution of Human Gestures, was published in 2005 by David Robert Books; recent poems have appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Interim, Southwest Review, North American Review, and elsewhere. Twice a recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize, she has received grants from the Somerville (MA) Arts Council, the Sierra Arts Foundation (NV), and the Nevada Arts Council; she is also a scholar of contemporary American poetry. A past resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, she now lives in Reno, Nevada, where she is assistant professor of English at the University of Nevada-Reno.

June Sylvester Saraceno is originally from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. She received a BA from East Carolina University and an MFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Her work has appeared in various journals including California Quarterly, Ginosko, The Pedestal, Poetry Motel, The Rebel, Silk Road, Smartish Pace, Sunspinner, Tar River Poetry and The Village Rambler; as well as two anthologies: Intimate Kisses: the poetry of sexual pleasure and Passionate Hearts: the poetry of sexual love, now in a second printing. Her chapbook, Mean Girl Trips, was published fall 2006 by Pudding House Press. Her first full length collection of poetry, Altars of Ordinary Light, was released by Plain View Press in 2007. She is currently English Program Chair at Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe and founding editor of the Sierra Nevada College Review. She lives with her husband, Anthony Saraceno, and son, Dylan Victor, in Truckee, California.


—William Everson

A storm at low tide is like the dark night of the soul.
All the surface surge comes shattering in,
Impelled by a sixty-mile-an-hour gale
And something violent far out to sea
Menacing more. But the outgoing suck
Is relentless, and will not yield.
Caught between wind and moon
The water stands up to the beach going every which way
But perpendicularly contained in the inexorable tension,
A quivering wall poised to plunge,
And frighteningly twitching its skin like a demented horse,
Only to topple and collapse as if something utterly trivial
had tripped it,
Scattering its myriad particles and fragments
In the ultimate exasperation of purposeless dispersion.
I walk along the tortured ribbon of foam that traces the violent nadir,
Reflecting how I too was torn so, knowing this rage of resistance,
This exasperate, desperate madness, this inexpressible
Chaotic lust.


—William Everson

To covet and resist for years, and then
To succumb, is a fearsome thing. All you craved and denied
At last possesses you. You give yourself
Wholly to its power; and its presence,
Invading your soul, stupefies
With its solace and its terror.

There is nothing so humbling as acceptance.

I sense the mushrooms in the night,
Tearing their way up through loose soil,
Brutal as all birth.

And I bend my head,
And cup my mouth on the gash of everything I craved,
And am ravaged with joy.


—William Everson

Time is the gauger of all things,
And the solver of all things.

Wrapped in its breast
The nature of consequence
Peaks and divulges.

Only in consequence
Is implication verified.

Only in time
Is implication, consequence,

In my span of existence
I touch with new hands
Its wake of passage.

Out of its belly,
Time's opulent womb,
The nature of the actual
Quickens, is born.

Susanna, I hear your body
Turn in the dusk; the great
Languor of life
Broods on the shadowy lids of your eyes,
Where you sigh,
Where you sleep.

Howler of gulfs and sunken undredgable deeps,
Time flows, curls over your body, as a wave
Cups stone on the bench of this sea,
And restores me, the God-blunted man,
To my measure.


—William Everson

Some seed in me,
Some troublous birth,
Like an awkward awakening,
Stirs into life.

Terrible and instinctive
It touches my guts.

I fear and resist it,
Crouch down on my norms, a man's
Patent assurances.

I do not know its nature.
I have no term for it.
I cannot see its shape.

But there, inscrutable,
Just underground,
Is the long-avoided latency.

Like the mushrooms in the oakwood,
Where the high-sloped mountain
Benches the sea,

When the faint rains of November
Damp down the duff,
Wakening their spores—

Like them,
Gross, thick and compelling,
What I fear and desire
Pokes up its head.


Today's LittleNip:

All my major works have been written in prison... I would recommend prison not only to aspiring writers but to aspiring politicians, too.

—Jawaharlal Nehru



SnakeWatch: What's Up With Rattlesnake Press

The Snake will be snoozing through July and August, leaving Medusa to carry on alone. Then on September 10, we shall burst back onto the scene with Thirteen Poems, a new chapbook from Patrick Grizzell; #2 in Katy Brown's series of blank journals (Musings2: Vices, Virtues and Obsessions); a littlesnake broadside (Wind Physics) from Jordan Reynolds; plus Issue #19 of Rattlesnake Review (deadline is August 15). Meanwhile, look in on Medusa every day, and, for heaven's sake, keep sending stuff! The snakes of Medusa are always hungry...

Medusa's Weekly Menu:

(Contributors are welcome to cook up something 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 (sometimes): 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 future issues of 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 ravenous poetic souls.

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


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.