Monday, December 22, 2008

Shoo, Shoe!

Shoo, ticks!
Shoo, mosquitos!
Shoo, too, bare arms and feet
For now's the colder time.
Now is thick socks, silk underwear
I wear like an extra skin all winter.
It's Shoo to bare anything, except the trees.

My old store had a poured concrete floor.
Seventeen years I ached and plodded
on its cold, too-hard surface/pounding.
Sometimes I'd come home weeping
from the pain of the hardness & cold
driven up my spine through my shoes
into kidneys and back.

When I heard Maya Angelou talking about
how she used to practice ballet on a concrete floor—I looked into it.
Maya walks with a cane now
And tells how much damage was done
in those concrete floor ballet leaping years.
I've heard too that everyone has
'just so many' concrete hours
in their lifetime to use up.
After that, it's simply damage.

But I couldn't just leave the old place.
"Too much Charm" rent.
and strangely located at the edge
of an up-and-coming town.

Now I'm 3 years working on an old wood floor—
Polished from decades of shoes' treading.
So old, you can see the light through it
when the sun gets lower on the west side.

It's a new kind of charm here.
Less pain. Better business.
Compared to the old town,
It's kinda like Mr. Roger's neighborhood

And my shoes can be pretty
and keep the toes warm—
Cushioning & support don't have to be
the absolute only factors in their choosing.

Now, it's Shoo, Pain!
A grateful Shoo to the old concrete floor.
Shoo, the economic downturn
Shoo, my heart from excess worry.
Shoo, beloved old store.
Shoo, no indoor plumbing.
So Shoo, the old outhouse, for now.
I have a bathroom.
It's uptown now.

(Inspired by last week's "No Business Like Shoe Business" post)
—Chrys Mollett
, Aeolian Harp, Angels Camp


Thanks to Chrys Mollett for her shoe musings in response to our talk of shoes last week. And thanks to Margaret Ellis Hill for her poems in response to last week's Seed of the Week: Waiting. Never too late for seeds of the week...

This week in NorCal poetry:

•••NO READING at Sacramento Poetry Center this week. Next Monday (12/19) will feature Indigo Moor and Jeanne Wagner.

•••NO READING at Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe.

•••Saturday (12/27), 10-11/30 AM: 2nd and 4th Saturday Morning Sacramento Poetry Center Workshop at the South Natomas Community Center. Format: presentation of style, technique or poet, then critiques and a prompt for in-session writing. FREE/no registration required. Facilitated by Frank Graham and Emmanuel Sigauke.


(for Jim)
—Margaret Ellis Hill, Wilton

Dust has claimed the air
Spiders cling to silence
Instructions, neatly filed by you

Pistons and tubing line shelves
Colored fittings fill coffee cans
Fiberglass shells stand at attention

Your stool and rolling jack stay in place
Marking pencil lies ready for your hand
The old lift holds a block; rebuilding must

The door is locked, key in the house
Inside lights in the off position
A collection of auto parts and dreams

Your sons know the reasons
They keep your lifeblood together
A whole of you locked inside to

(idea from Joyce Sutpen’s poem, "The Shop")


—Margaret Ellis Hill

The flight across country delayed,
weather blamed although many passengers
claim lack of help and unconcerned airlines.
All the seats filled with bodies, some asleep,
some awake drinking coffee, reading
the Wall Street Journal, noting sports scores.
Half-asleep, most passengers stare into space.
Across from me, a man lies prone—
his red suitcase an ottoman.
A teenager with orange ringlets
whispers into a tape recorder.
People walk back and forth, from chair to window.
Musak tries hard to soothe, but only
adds to the cacophony of sounds and snatches
of words like: convict, hold, purpose,
no, reason, coffee, thank you and bye.


—Margaret Ellis Hill

An infernal ticking keeps me from sleep
like Captain Hook approaching,
sneering, as if I won't hear the alarm.
His metronome 440 becomes part
of nighttime racket: screech of tree frogs,
crickets, the whine of wheels,
and that damned peacock,
deep in heat, not sleep,
yelling ‘help’ from a neighbor’s tree.


Today's LittleNip:

Literature is news that STAYS news.

—Ezra Pound



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

Rattlesnake Review: The latest issue (#20) is currently available at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one. The last of contributors' copies will go into the mail this week. Deadline for RR21 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!

NEW for December: A second chapbook from Danyen Powell (Blue Sky Flies Out); a free littlesnake broadside from Kevin Jones (Low-Rent Dojo), and a brand-new (free) issue of Rattlesnake Review (#20)! Stop by The Book Collector and pick up Christmas gifts such as Katy Brown's calendars and blank journals and all our other books—give the gift of poetry! We even have two books that are appropriate for kids: Poems in a Seashell by Kathy Kieth (a children's approach to writing poetry), and SpiralChap #1: The Heart of a Poet, poetry and art by Ashley Redfield and her brother when they were wee ones. While you're there, of course, you'll want to pick up a book or two for your own Christmas tree. And hey—TBC is even open on Sundays!

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. Pick up a copy at TBC or write to me and I'll send you one. Free!

Coming in January: Other than the ever-restless Medusa, 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 (free) quarterly will primarily showcase the talents of readers at Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, but anyone over 18 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 please 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.

Coming February 11: A new rattlechap from Sacramento's Poet Laureate, Julia Connor (Oar); a littlesnake broadside from Josh Fernandez (In The End, It’s A Worthless Machine); and the premiere of our new Rattlesnake Reprints, featuring The Dimensions of the Morning by D.R. Wagner, which was first published by Black Rabbit Press in 1969. That’s February 11 at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else’s.

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.