Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Flag Yourself

Photo by Marcel Dapino

(after Vladimir Vitkovsky, oil on wood)
—Taylor Graham, Placerville

It’s morning. Earth’s old uncertainties rise between
buildings. People dazed with sleep walk out on balconies
and gaze over the street, still dreaming; or stand
amazed, making shadows like rain held too long in cisterns,
dark as coffee-stain. No one has had time to grind the black
bitters, pour scalding water through a filter. But
everything’s strained as if through old parchment rubbed
almost clean, and written again, generations of stories
in faint traces, ancestors showing through translucent living
skin: the workings of pumps, gears and cables, muscle
and pulse, nerve and memory distilling a haze that rises
as if from the lap of Earth. Everyone’s eyes filmed over
as he steps out to a new day; opening his shutters
onto pitched roof or parapet. Each morning-waker advances
as on a plank suspended over a golden nothingness
of fog that rises from what everyone thought was solid
Earth, illuminated new-parchment-pale with the Sun’s
faint rays.


—Taylor Graham

Tonight I can see the air I breathe—
atmosphere being more than ambience.
Porch-light inspirits it, silver-gray-uncertain.
No moon, no stars.
Just those scattered halos on the heights,
neighbors I’ve yet to meet.
I’ll call them Mr. Regulus, Bea Bellatrix,
Alfonse Ursa Major.
I expect they’re at dinner or watching
TV, drapes drawn against weather,
grateful to be home.

We’re cozy as fog here,
while somewhere above our earth-obscurity,
a heavenly convergence of planets
(according to the evening news)
is happening, an event to lead wise men
to wandering. But we can’t see it.
Here I am between
compost pile and gate, breathing-in
the gray, admiring how it fills
the hollows with a question,
a possibility.


Thanks to Taylor Graham for the responses to our Seed of the Week: When the Fog Lifts. Fog or not, be sure to join us tonight
for the release of a new chapbook from Danyen Powell (Blue Sky Flies Out); a littlesnake broadside from Kevin Jones (Low-Rent Dojo), and a brand-new issue of Rattlesnake Review (#20)! That's at 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.

As you can see below, Tom Goff etheree'd for his SOW response, and we also heard from Be Davison Herrera, ex-Sacramentan who moved to Corvallis a few years ago. Remember, it's never too late for SOW poems, from this week or from weeks past. And Today's LittleNip brings to life my worst fears whenever I release books.......

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

you do
dislike fog,
flag yourself, now!
Turn geranium,
be the pot with red rag,
stick: in gray murk, turn Woodward,
signal Deep Throat, Meet me tonight,
gray garage, cigarette, fluorescents.
What then? Let miasma fight miasma!


1.if an alligator
covers its eyes
high on the
china cabinet in
our dining room
are there things
delicate or dainty
to be observed
in that room
named for food
rather grandiosely?
2. names call out
truth of purpose
or confide hopes
3. names may be
an annual celebration
a torch memory
reminder of pasts
possible or not

—Be Davison Herrera, Corvallis


Today's LittleNip:

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

~Author Unknown



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

Rattlesnake Review: Deadline for the current issue (#20) has passed (it was Nov. 15); that issue is currently rattling around in the SnakePit and will be released at The Book Collector reading on December 10, then mailed to contributors and subscribers in mid-December. Next deadline is February 15: send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. E-mail attachments are preferred, but be sure to include all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of Medusa are always hungry!

Coming in December: Join us at The Book Collector on Wednesday, December 10, for the release of a new chapbook from Danyen Powell (Blue Sky Flies Out); a littlesnake broadside from Kevin Jones (Low-Rent Dojo), and a brand-new issue of Rattlesnake Review (#20)! That's at 7:30 PM,
1008 24th St., Sacramento. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's.

Also available (free): littlesnake broadside #46: Snake Secrets: Getting Your Poetry Published in Rattlesnake Press (and lots of other places, besides!): A compendium of ideas for brushing up on your submissions process so as to make editors everywhere more happy, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting your poetry published. Write to me and I'll send you one. Free!

Coming in January: The Snake will be snoozing during January; no releases or readings. But our October road trips inspired a new Rattlesnake publication, WTF, to be edited by frank andrick. This 30-page, chapbook-style quarterly journal will primarily showcase the talents of readers at Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, but anyone is welcome to submit. Deadline is Jan. 15 for a Feb. 19 premiere at Luna’s. Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but send three poems (each one page or less in length), photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to (attachments preferred) or, if you’re snailing, to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. And be forewarned: this publication will be for adults only! so you must be over 18 years of age to submit.

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 SOWs; 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.