Saturday, December 20, 2008

Waiting With The Angels

Alabaster Wings
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis

—dawn m. dibartolo, citrus heights

…she scribbles her spine’s
continuation into immaterial et cetera…
—"The Angel" by Galway Kinnell

tying her heart
into ribbons, into bows,
trying to make material,
the gift of Christ.

love for profit?
yet, wallets weave
inconsequentially empty
through the garland pines
and bulbs of colorless cheer.

she knows the soul
inclined to give, and
of nothing, entwines her gratitude,
wrapping her inadequacies
and signing her name
“et cetera…et cetera…et cetera…”


—dawn m. dibartolo

autumn rust,
alluring browns to fall,
litter my joy ~ all that’s left of heat,
leave me for the cooling
of winter.


wooing despair
—dawn m. dibartolo

i all but
stumbled upon autumn breeze,
grey-blue chill like iced veins ~
seasonal stagger;
this harvest moon
woos despair.


my own book of answers
—dawn m. dibartolo
(after Neruda’s The Book of Questions: III)

tell me, is the rose naked
or is that her only dress?

unlaced bodice, each layer of her gown
a petal, opened, inviting exploration
of essence…scent, lust, or romance…
the only, in many colors of desire.

why do trees conceal
the splendor of their roots?

life from the distinction of seed,
interwoven fingers thru soil,
mother earth holds firm.
yet, not all need see the glory of
where i came from to accept
what i’ve now chosen to be.

who hears the regrets
of the thieving automobile?

though “thou shalt not steal,”
i have been of many sins;
covetous eyes…and hands…and
tongue; in secret, have i wept
over bounty. loam, drink my tears,
and moon, balm my wounds,
stars to delineate my penance,
and a tire-worn road leading
to all forgiveness, cracked
in the rhythm of my prayers.

is there anything in the world sadder
than a train standing in the rain?

a child, lost, not caring to be found;
cold bedsheets, accepting of one body;
a lone joshua tree sprouting from a
desolate field, reaching
desperately for the sun; a poem
caught on the tongue without sound;
a blank sheet of paper.


Today's LittleNip:

everything that was
has vanished from my aged heart
leaving not a trace

—Iio Sogi



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 next 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.