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how to catch a rattlesnake

August 25, 2008

Th Aug 30 2007 315am Nevada someplace
on the way to Burning Man

To catch a Mojave rattle snake
you grab its tail
send it circling about your head with one hand
you take your second hand
slide it down the snake’s body
until you reach its head
where you grab on & you don’t let go
you can hold it there
behind the fangs
with one hand
your hand on the body
with the other
until you know what
you want to do next

she swims in the ocean every day
takes off her clothes
plunges in
then climbs on the roof
to meditate

she’s in the room
that’s at the top
her roof is very slanted
she’s learned how to balance
she’s made herself a board to sit on
& meditate
outside her window
is the roof of the bedroom below
it’s flat, decklike
she likes being on top

I like to know them
I like the smell
by which it
makes them ugly

The readwritepoem prompt for this week is a collaborative one, but I didn’t get a chance to participate, so I decided to post this 315 experiment poem from last summer and dedicate it to the rattlesnake my son almost stepped on the trail yesterday up in Sequoia National Forest! And no,  I didn’t try catching the rattler using this method (or any other!)  BTW, the “she” in the poem is not me (the author); she’s just someone who wandered  into my 3:15am mind.

Photo by Ken-Ichi

6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 25, 2008 9:18 pm

    I like these 3:15 am poems. There is deep movement in the imagery in them. This one is sinuous and sensual and hints at many associations in the backbrain. Very cool.

  2. August 25, 2008 10:12 pm

    It’s frustrating when people assume that the characters in our poems are the poets themselves, but I understand why you clarify, because many reader do assume.

    This is a great poem, how the action begins right away, instructing the reader how to catch not only a rattlesnake, but a Mojave rattlesnake. For me right away I’m drawn into an exotic world, a world that instructs in the ways of nature. (I’m a city person, though I do love the outdoors)

    The meditation and the slant roof bring in an element of shamanism. I do like what comes out of you at 3:15.

  3. August 26, 2008 3:35 am

    “Until you know what you want to do next” — a perfect introduction to the turn. There’s a thread of this sense of the threatening running through the whole poem that I like very much. Great work

  4. August 26, 2008 7:04 am

    Yes, “what to do next”, isn’t that so often the question that comes to mind a few seconds too late? :-)

    Thanks for the introduction to 315 poems, I had not heard about them before. I love the idea of “raw stuff” from the 315 mind. Have fun at Burning Man!

  5. August 26, 2008 12:00 pm

    I so like your 3:15 am poems. I think I should try a few!

  6. August 26, 2008 8:11 pm

    yes, the various parts do somehow connect, don’t they? that’s the mystery of writing at 315am!

    I’m glad, Christinr, that it draws you in right away even though you are not a city person. I like the idea of shamanism!

    I hasn’t noticed that threatening thread, Nathan–but it’s there! even meditating–on a roof??

    you should all definintely explore the experience of writing at 315! I have come down with a nasty cold and wasn’t sleeping well…but somehow i did it even last night! there’s a few nights left!

    thanks for your comments, everyone!

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