Monday, June 26, 2006

Shiver Me Timbers—Please!

—Joy Harold Helsing, Magalia

already black
seems blacker still
in silhouette
on a winter-bare branch
against a winter-pale sky

even its call
sounds cold

(Published 2001 in
The Aurorean. Reprinted 2004 in her chapbook,
Waiting for Winter, Poet's Corner Press)


—Joy Harold Helsing, Magalia

white snow canvas
bare gray trees
brushed with fog

(Published 2006 in


—Joy Harold Helsing, Magalia

dark pines
bend to gather
armloads of snow

(Published 2005 in


Send me your poems about winter before midnight Tuesday, 6/27—that's tomorrow!—and I'll send you a surprise., or (postmarked by midnight) P.O. Box 1647, Orangevale, CA 95662. Remember: previously-published poems are A-OK for Medusa.

This Week's Poetry Events:

•••Monday (6/26), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents A Night of Translation: James Den Boer will read works translated from Latin, Arturo Mantecon from Spanish, and Nguyen Do from Vietnamese. Host: Tim Kahl. SPC/HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sac. Info: 451-5569. Free.

•••Weds. (6/28), 6-7 PM is the Hidden Passage Poetry Reading at Hidden Passage Books, 352 Main St., Placerville. It's an open-mic read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen.

•••Also Wed. (6/28), 9 PM: The Mahogany Urban Poetry Series is hosted by Khiry Malik and Rock Bottom at Sweet Fingers Jamaican Restaurant, 1704 Broadway, Sac., $5. Info: 916-492-9336.

•••Thursday (6/29), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged presents Joshua Fernandez & Darrell Glenn. Open mic before/after. Hosted by frank andrick. Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sac. Info: 441-3931 or Free.

•••Opening Friday (6/30) at Sacramento Poetry Center's neighbor, California Stage: Fastened to a Dying Animal: Eros, revelation & the life of the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats, a world premiere written and performed by local dramaturgist Rick Foster. California Stage is a non-profit professional theatre company dedicated to supporting and encouraging arts created by local artists for local audiences; it’s located right across the parking lot from SPC, at 1723 25th St. (25th & R), Sac. Opens Friday, June 30, runs through Sunday, July 23. Fridays and Sat. at 8 PM, Sunday at 2 PM. Reservations: 916-451-5822. For more info on Cal. Stage and on Rick Foster, check out

•••Saturday (7/1), 8PM: After Hours Poetry (for mature audiences only)! A once-in-a lifetime evening featuring the foremost purveyors of "After-Hours Poetry", together for one night only! The rumors are thick with blackouts, blowouts, piracy, depravity, kick-ass poetry, break-ups and get-togethers—an all-around filthy poetry love fest amongst friends and highly desirables. Features Rattlechappers Todd Cirillo, Song Kowbell, and Bill Gainer, along with Julie Valin, Will Staple, Robyn Martin and Matt Amott. Wine provided by the Wentz Foundation Artistic Grant for thirsty poets. Located at the North Columbia Schoolhouse in Nevada City (on the San Juan Ridge). $7. Info/directions: Song, 530-432-8676.

A Fair Assessment:

In the mood for a day trip? The Alameda County Fair runs from June 23-July 9 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA. Drive over and see the FINE ARTS & POETRY Exhibits in a beautiful outdoor area surrounded by sycamores and flowers. Poetry winners include Cynthia Bryant, Alice Kight, Connie Post, Cheryl Carzoli, Leo Dos Remdio, Tamara Grippi, Martha Meltzer, Sherry Smith and Richard Weingart. Hours are 11 AM-10 PM Monday-Thursday; 10 AM-10 PM Friday-Sunday and July 3; and 10 AM-9 PM July 4.

Net-zines of Note:

Eskimo Pie Girl Rebecca Morrison will be reading with Will Staple at Our House Defines Art in El Dorado Hills on July 21; more about that later. You'll find a link to her Eskimo Pie webzine to the right of this column; but if you go to, you'll also find a listing of more 'zines and other cool stuff, including the Medusa listing where she calls the Mighty Medusa the "electrified fang" of Rattlesnake Press. Love it! (Not so sure about being called "Queen Kathy Kieth", though...?)

Also crossing my computer this weekend was the e-journal, Ginosko, edited by Robert Paul Cesaretti of Fairfax. His website is under construction, but if you e-mail him at, he'll send you a copy of the latest issue of Ginosko, he says. This third issue includes Rattlechapper/Davisite Allegra Jostad Silberstein, along with Michael Hettich, who is one of my favorite poets, and many others. Robert is also accepting submissions for the next issue, I believe.


—Joy Harold Helsing, Magalia

My mother used to bundle me
in long underwear
woolen socks wool sweater
warm snowsuit high rubber boots
thick scarf around my neck
mittens held on by
string through my sleeves
knit cap over my ears
jacket hood tied tight with a drawstring

All you could see of me
was my little round face
pink from the cold

When I finished playing outside
she brushed me off
and peeled me like an onion

(First published in 2004 in her chapbook,

Waiting for Winter, Poet's Corner Press)


—Joy Harold Helsing, Magalia

The beach is mine,
except for one lone jogger
and a big black Lab.

Choppy gray water
mirrors a leaden sky.

I shiver.
Today I will build
no castles in the sand
or air.

(Published 2004 in her chapbook,

Waiting for Winter, Poet's Corner Press)


Thanks for the poems, Joy! Response to this give-away has been excellent; keep 'em coming! Joy is from the upper part of our state, where temperatures are running 115° and more. Good time to hide in poetry about the shivers...!


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.)