Snow Monkey Online 2008-2015

Welcome to the archive for Snow Monkey Online, the literary journal from Ravenna Press.

We published Snow Monkey as a print version starting in 1999. We moved online from 2008-2015.

Now Snow Monkey is taking a well-earned break. We'll be on hiatus until further notice.

Thanks to all the snow monkeys we've published over the years. Please enjoy the tracks they've left behind.


John Yohe

Blue Nude

I always wanted to paint you blue
not with a brush
but my hands—
scooping paint in fingers
and smearing it over your body

I say always
but another boy had already done it
which is how I got the idea:
from you
when you wrote about it in the present tense
twenty-five years ago
so it would be nothing new
nothing original
it wouldn't be the first time

though I would do it better

Ramesh Dohan


I remember us wrangling
over what, I don’t recall
but I can still see
the silhouette
of the rubber plant
against the wall
and thinking that a shadow
was not a presence at all
but merely the absence
of light;
the shapes
where it fails to fall.

William C. Blome


Muriel conveyed to Miriam that her weapon of choice was a boning knife, though the particular one she herself wanted to use seemed a tad too long, so she had a butcher take an inch or so off, and then she was satisfied she was all set to face Miriam. But Miriam had second thoughts about dueling and slicing by moonlight, and when Muriel arrived at the park near twelve o’clock, Miriam was nowhere to be found. There was, however, a heavy white index card propped against the pedestal of the life-size statue of Tom Thumb. On the card Miriam had printed: “What say we duke it out tomorrow at noon with welding mitts rather than hack it up tonight with sharp blades. If you agree, you’ll find a pair of mitts in a Michael Kors bag in the trash can next to Tom Thumb. If you don’t agree, then my only other suggestion would be for us to claw it out a month from now with jagged fingernails.”

Muriel was crestfallen and very disgusted when she read Miriam’s card, but she certainly wasn’t going to quit, and she didn’t want any kind of prolonged wait, so she pulled the mitts out of the bag and slipped them on. They dwarfed Muriel’s hands, but she gradually got the hang of flexing the gloves open and closed, and of practicing the footwork she knew she’d have to have to be able to advance, step back, or circle her opponent, while all the while she punched ahead or scooped straight up with force, or looped and closed a vicious semi-circle, or used her forehead alone to launch forward and butt her enemy, and pretty soon, sure enough, there was genuine and discernible progress: Muriel began to identify holes and traces clearly visible in the nighttime air wherever her outsized and moving fists or brow had been just a second earlier.

Jackie Maugh Robinson


Plink. Plink. Plink. The little plastic buttons dropped into the dish and rolled around until they fell through the hole in the bottom. Maury knew there couldn't be a more boring job in the world than taking buttons and letting the seamstresses through the turn style. Suddenly a big gold button PLUNKED into the dish. It was too big to go through the hole. Maury looked up to see a large white albatross staring at him with regular sized button eyes, one ebony black and one emerald green. He handed the button back to the bird who took it in its beak and flew over the turn style. Maury took off his button that said "Button Collector", transformed into an eagle and flew over to the Zipper Cafe for lunch.

Ron Singer

El Greco’s Portrait of The Cardinal-Inquisitor (detail)

Who can forget those glasses, black, anachronistic, of Cardinal de Guevara, the Grand Inquisitor, like Clark Kent’s, but for peering into x-rated souls? Or his hat, a berretta? (The gun is “Beretta.”)

But what about the paper bearing El Greco’s name, crumpled, ignored, on the floor?

One critic speculates that this was a petition for patronage to Sandoval y Rojas, Guevara’s successor, and that Rojas was the real subject of the portrait, with its great bravura, striking tessitura.

Let me step up to the plate with a different idea, fancy, melodramatic: Intending to burn The Greek, de Guevara’s mind wandered, to who knows what—dinner? a more urgent heresy?

But, if The Greek lucked out, why call the priest’s attention to the dropped death warrant?

Like a good historian, I’ll fall back on known fact: Doménikos always signed his work.

Information from;

Fall: 2014. After Bruegel’s “Fall of Icarus”

“Dear Margaret, Check received, much appreciated.”

Is it still fall, when all the leaves have fallen? It starts to seem like winter, as in “nuclear ...” or “... of our discontents.”

“The timing could not have been better. I happen to need a new hat.”

That’s a fact. Just today, I noticed that the felt on the crown of my hat (a Kangol cap) had worn away, from black to a powdery white.

“We don’t have many tall friends,” suggested my wife. “But, if you’re worried, why not try some masking tape?”

I did try, by winding tape around all the fingers of my right hand, except the thumb. It did not work. The felt is worn, not powdery, so the whiteness would not lift.

Is the wagon driver in “The Fountain of Youth” by Lucas Cranach the Elder wearing a cap like mine? And did you notice how the old women, young again and absorbed in courtly pleasures, ignore the beggar at the far right of the painting? (Did it --the painting, the fountain-- turn Cranach into the Younger?)

Then there’s the Bruegel, the famous one of the splashdown, only Icarus’ legs still showing, in the bottom-right corner with the bird, sheep, and fisherman, equally indifferent.

Not to be smart, but this fall, there have been at least three splashdowns in my own life. These may be glimpsed in the corners of a large painting called “Vignettes of Encroaching Age,” including receipt of the envelope with the check (an event, now that I’m retired), and the attempt to clean my cap with masking tape (the first of my hats to have worn out).

Three splashdowns: Ferguson, Cleveland, Staten Island. (And come to think of it, others, too.) To those concerned –the families, lovers, and friends of the victims, plus police, politicians, and a significant portion of the citizenry -- my hat, the check, even my worrisome age (seventy-three) would be barely noticeable splashes in the corners of their lives.

But never mind. Life (as Bruegel, then Auden, famously understood) goes on. So...

“I plan to cash your check first thing tomorrow, Margaret, and use some of the money to buy myself that new hat. Thanks again, Ron.”

Stefanie Bennett


At the source, tamarillo
Dollops stilled -

But the crabgrass

Since it had seen

The blue-bitten

Of summer’s ceiling
Splayed out

Beside the chortling
Red mail-box

Down on its
Maggie’s Farm


Jeffrey Zable


“Where’s the gold?” I asked a man wearing Levi overalls
with a pick in one hand, but all he did was spit to the side
and say, “I don’t know where you came from, but if I were
you, I’d get on the next stage to anywhere out of here cause
even if you found any you wouldn’t live long enough to buy
another egg, a spot of milk, or 10 cents worth of candy!”

Thanking him for his advice, I reached out my hand,
but his didn’t move an inch. He just spit again to the side,
turned, and walked away. . .

The Wild West

We were singing “Oh Susanna, don’t you cry for me” when the bullets
started flying. Ramsey ran left and knocked over Jim’s favorite spittoon 
which made Jim go for the spittoon instead of running for cover like the
rest of us. First he was hit in the left buttock, which made him do a sort
of dance that everyone watched from his hiding place. Then he was hit
in the same hand he used to wipe the sweat from his brow when he was
working behind the bar. It was strange to watch him continue to dance
while blowing on his hand at the same time. After the shooting stopped
we called for the only doctor in town, an old guy everyone called Doc.
He removed the bullet from Jim’s buttock and said it would eventually
heal, but that the spittoon was cracked in too many places to be of any
use. The shooters, it turned out, were the town pygmies who had originally
taken a wrong turn in a forest of Africa and wound up on the only ship heading 
to America. Once here, they worked hard to save money for guns
which they were told were the only weapons that would protect them
in the wild west. Because they thought their camp was being raided—
when it was really just the medicine that Doc had prescribed for indigestion
making them hallucinate—they all started running and shooting at imaginary
assailants. Later they apologized, and everyone forgave them except for Jim,
who never recovered from the loss of his beloved spittoon, and Doc was
never held responsible for the medicine that caused the whole thing in the
first place. . .

Mark Danowsky

A Thank You Poem

for the dude driving a white
Grand Marquis with a black
drop top and New York tags
wearing shades at dusk
just after Labor Day
but before 9/11
who left his windows down
so I could hear some up-
lifting Motown as the sun
fell, stave off my mood shift
as the air cools by degrees
of eagerness for that first beer

John McKernan

I have Slept in Beds & in Gutters

On trains & cars & buses
In planes & cranes & bridges

On golf courses
Once in a sand trap
Twice on the ninth green

In front of a class
In the back of a class room & on many roofs
In libraries
In study halls

In caves & jails
In cars & bars & barns & parks
In chairs & on stairs & at parties & weddings
On rocks & docks & dorms & beaches
In my mother’s womb for nine months

Watching movies plays opera ballet tennis baseball golf chess
While driving walking talking
While riding a horse or a power mower
In lectures churches stadiums courts offices stores
On a bale of hay & in a pile of rags
At many rock concerts

And one night
In Omaha
After a bet
On blue silk cushions
On a white pillow
With the lid closed
In a bronze coffin     Drunk

Simon Perchik


Not from some savannah the sky
took root half in ice, half in sorrow
half where its warm fruit

still falls against your cheeks
the way rain would spread out
before you learned to weep

though the grass still covers you
ripens as the mornings one arm
still hears before the other

–you take with nothing to give
and sunlight too has hardened
has forgotten how yet just the same

you gather its mist and one by one
from between these stones
a little distance is lifted

empties, clasped in the open
weightless, lost among your fingers
reaching for pieces and each other.

Robin Dunn

Following the mapmaker

I don't know,
The deeds make their own logic,
We've trucked our own wizardry in, with our boots.
He's moving,
Come, I'm only five years behind him:

Looking again

No one where else
As we mark the minutes,
Into sleep:
It was where we knew we'd find it,
I can't remember now.


If I were you,
No but if I were you,
And where:
No where else.
When I were you,
The you on you,
Where you,
On me,
Rolled under the storm,
On my boots.

Michael Estabrook

Beautiful Woman

My Poetry Teacher
has determined
I have written more
than enough poems
about my wife
about her inestimable beauty
poise, grace and femininity.
“There are so many other
incredible things in the world
to write about,” he insists.

Scott Tucker

Grocery and Gifts

They figured they’d be farther along in life by now than two young skirts selling gasoline and cigarettes on Elger Bay. The problem wasn’t these men coming in to buy bait, they figured. Someone had to be the customers. Or us, opening at six.

They saw Katterman’s dog had gotten loose again along the highway and they watched it cross over to the other side.

It was more about luck, they figured.

A Poet on the Salvage Team

In these collapses, there is always one small object, it seems, thrown clear of the rubble farther than any other. Alvie couldn’t help thinking that must mean something to someone.

John Szabo

Big Green Moon In North Laguna

Dodging shiny tank-sized SUV’s
and their texting, latte-sipping,
GPS-distracted, cell-phone chatting
high on prescription drug driving,
foie gras arterie clogged
utterly miserable, corporate
pencil pushes and peons,
of which I was once one,
I maneuver across a highway of road kill,
through wooden skeletons
of track housing,
under rusted, barbed wire
that once kept back the cattle,
but now just cut through my jeans.

I continue through cool chaparral
foggy ravines with cottontails
frozen like statues,
black stink bugs,
vines with dried hollow gourds;
once drinking cups for Indians,
the bones of whom lay far beneath
this Pelican Hill Golf Resort,
too green and manicured,
from which fertilizers seep down,
eroding sand cliffs,
poisoning the tide pools below.

I breathe in deeply;
earth peppermint coolness,
salty sea mist,
and dance along the cliff,
arms spread wide like a
yellow-beaked, red-clawed hawk,
over a narrow, rocky beach
vast darkness of ocean
and beyond that;
a big green Laguna moon,
I can almost touch.

Richard Dinges


Forgiveness lies not
in blank slate skies
cracked by dying
trees that tremble
when winter whispers
a chilled message
no one hears,
staring skyward,
faces frozen in dismay.
Only a single star
can be seen by day,
so many at night
uncounted. We long
to know what lies beneath
our soles, too timid
to disobey and shift
our steady gaze down.

Erren Geraud Kelly

Street car, Southwest Tenth Avenue, Portland, Oregon

A six foot brunette
Gets on, wearing cut off shorts
And cowboy boots
Rock and roll screamed on various
Parts of her body
As if her milky white skin was too pure
To be defaced
Her legs were as long as the route
We were travelling on
It’s as if Johnny Cash had an affair
With a Goth chick
And this woman was his love child
She’s a train wreck, you can’t take
Your eyes off of, in a good

Lynn Townsend


haunted by past
moments pile upon moments
old patterns embedded
deep in marrow and sinew
body reacts even before
thoughts contradict
wanting to express differently
long past messages
I no longer want to believe
new experiences
bring new information
yet that triggered story
still exists
still rages through my blood
gut churning
heart in turmoil
fear sneaks in the melee
am I mucking up
one of the best things
that has ever happened to me
love so deep and real
honest and passionate
desire of delving deeper in
seen for who I am
sharing vulnerable belly flesh
as I trudge through
my fragile emotions
willing to risk
yet again
to speak my truth
feel the darkness
exposing my chinks
then seeing in your eyes
the love
tears of wonder
cascade down
soothing my wobbly soul