Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Promising More Frottage

—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

Mrs. Biddle really loves her pet cat, Murray. She wants him
to be happy. When she hears of a lady who can read cat’s
minds, Mrs. Biddle hires her to find out if Murray is a happy
cat. Miss Terry, the mind reader, charges fifty dollars to read
Murray’s mind. Miss Terry says that Murray is happy but he
would like some changes made. First, he says that he’d like
Mrs. Biddle’s chair for his cat bed, and says Mrs. Biddle should
sit on the sofa instead. Murray would also like to use that plaid
blanket on his new cat bed, and he’s getting tired of the food
she’s been feeding him. Mrs. Biddle is very upset by this and
tells Miss Terry that she doubts her mind reading abilities.
Miss Terry shrugs her shoulders and walks off, with Murray
following her out the door.


Thanks, Richard! Today is the last day to participate in Medusa's Cat-a-Thon.
Send me a cat poem of yours before midnight tonight, previously published or not, and I’ll send you a free copy of Song Kowbell’s new rattlechap, Lick Your Wounds and Want Again. Or, if you have that one, I’ll send you something else. E-mail your poems to

Speaking of -A-Thons, it’s time again for Sacramento's Poetry Marathon! Java City
Café (at 18th St. and Capitol Avenue in Sacramento) is proud to once again host the two-decade poetry marathon tradition, this year at its newly renovated café. The original marathon in 1986 lasted 173 hours straight and attracted hundreds of poets to the then-fledgling coffee house. To celebrate the 10th anniversary in 1996, B.L. Kennedy and Java City once again joined alliances and set an unparalleled 10-day poetry marathon with nearly 1,000 people participating. This year’s marathon, once again hosted by B.L. Kennedy and Java City Café, will start Friday, July 28 at noon and end Monday, July 31 at 1 pm. Among the 150 Sacramento area poets and writers scheduled to read/perform around the clock for three days are Sacramento Poet Laureate Julia Conner, D.R.Wagner, Jane Blue, Dennis Schmitz, and Jose Montoya. Each poet will read for approximately 30 minutes, with 15-minute open-mike readings from community members who sign up in advance. Those who want to participate in the open-mic readings can sign up by calling 916-452-5493 before July 15, or until all spots are filled. The final line-up will be announced in early July. Info: B.L. Kennedy (916-452-5493/ or frank andrick (209-727-5179/ or Julie Ficker Fleishman-Hillard (916-492-5339).

In the cyberspace department, Pleasanton Poet Laureate Cynthia Bryant of Poet’s Lane ( or writes: Poets/Writers all—If you have not checked out Poet’s Lane lately, you are in for a real treat: new format, new poems, new poets and all the same information and opportunities you count on:

1. There are new Themed Poems under June/Summer, Father and Flag; send me one of yours even if it only loosely fits the theme. If you have none with this theme, how about Getting it Off Your Chest/Mental Health Poems; rant on.

2. Please send me information about your publication/organization that relates to writing and/or poetry and your contact/website; I will add it to the links page.

3. Please send me information about your event/venue for poetry and I will forward it to The Literary List for you. If you know someone who would like to be added to this broad Bay Area-and-beyond list of events and opportunities, have them e-mail me, Cynthia, at, with their name, phone number with area code and e-mail. This list is confidential and never sold or shared without your expressed permission.

4. Book Fairs and Poetry Festivals now have their own page on Poet’s Lane, so if you have one coming up in your community, send the flyer/info my way.

5. Got any good literary quotes you would like to add to the home page of Poet’s Lane? Send them with the name of the famous writer who said it.

6. Pleasanton has some great programs for poetry lovers coming up; check out the On Going Events on Poet’s Lane at

7. Have any ideas you would like to see implemented? Please send them to me at (or questions or complaints).

8. The Poets’ Laureate Post page is filling in nicely; if you have a laureate in your community that you would like to see included, send me their name/PL of what city, county or state and contact information.

Thanks for all of your support, comments and information, you the poets/writers make Poet’s Lane work for the community of poets and writers.


—Tim Kahl, Sacramento

The sky rubs against the sea. The sea rubs against
the shore, the sun rubbing its personal heat on
the trees’ tall leaves and on the neck of a man
who dreams of a perfect balance
between exchange and release. When ideals are
put into practice, they reveal their flaws,
and so it is with gato who follows Señor Barajas
wherever he goes. Gato promises more frottage.
Señor Barajas shuffles down the street to rearrange
the trash cans and gato believes in rubbing,
really, truly believes the static in fur can change
opinions if it could just arc across the human synapse.
But Señor Barajas changes his mind only when
his garden tells him to. He puts a dish out for
gato in his shed that the ants intrude on.
If only magic gato could let them all know
the trappings of their constant praxis.
They advance like warm chills through the bones of
Señor Barajas who walks up and down the block
in a retired gardener’s clothes, and gato follows.
Gato follows like a perfect shadow that neither
whips around or begins flashing. It never opposes.
This shadow rubs along the ground as if
massaging a signal to the speechless earth.
Gato splays on the sidewalk, squirming,
hopes brushing against the surface
then floating skyward. Gato hopes for
Señor Barajas to live forever,
but he is already pointing at the stop sign
at the end of the street and calling Vamanos.


Thanks, Tim!

And finally, a big thank-you goes to Rhony Bhopla, Bob Stanley and the rest of the Sacramento Poetry Center Board for resurrecting Poetry Now, the monthly poetry journal which is the lifeblood of our local communication network. They have put together an abbreviated version (with a complete calendar) in time for June; you should be receiving it soon. In it, you will note that the Annual General Meeting of the SPC Board will be happening on Monday, June 12 at HQ (25th & R Sts., Sac.) from 5:45-7:45 pm; please plan to attend this important meeting in order to elect our new Board and to provide much-needed feedback about the year ahead. Ya know, flakes like Medusa come and go in our community, but SPC is a constant presence that can be as active (or senile!) as WE, the NorCal poetry community, make it. The Board is all-volunteer and they (or whoever the new Board members may be) need every bit of moral support and physical help we can give them. Be there!


Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their poetry and announcements of Northern California poetry events to 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.)