Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rumorous Rain

—Steve Williams, Portland, OR

The day we lose an hour, I find octaves
of spinal chimes midst four seasons of shrouds,
my vertebrae petrified in garden
granite. Koi sleep-swim, hug the pond’s bottom.
Blood water pools, steeps in cirrus and sweetgum—
my mother’s face peers up from the liquid.
Behind the upslope, peal of a great bell;
the wavering tone ebbs from audible,
harrows the silence; submerges the humid
air with pressured presence on my ear drums.
As a parent hears a child’s cries blossom,
koi swim deep, keep from the cold as ardent
rains struggle to reach past the current clouds.
Mother loves it here—her age, I forgive.


Ex-Sacramentan Steve Williams sent us his mirror rhymed sonnet (it's all about reflection) to help us celebrate our mirror-fest which took place this week. Thanks, Steve! The author of littlesnake broadside #1, Steve has a book coming out from Rattlesnake Press next spring, and he also hosts Check it out!

A new local voice heard from! David Anderson of Lincoln sent us some poems:

—David Anderson, Lincoln

Now shrouded in a plastic envelope
the flag with fifty stars once covered his coffin,
covered the boy, the man who did not return.

His mother and his fiancee, like this flag,
hang upon a peg in time.
They wait for grief to rise, to knot, and to unravel.

The flag waits, the decision pends
whether it will unfurl in the wind
or be closeted—a momento mori.


Thanks, David! More about the Lincoln poetry scene later.

Tonight, Three Choices (or go to all three!—well, two at least):

•••Thursday (7/27), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged features Mario Ellis Hill, Terrill & Eric. Open mic before/after. Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sac. Info: 441-3931 or

•••Tonight, 8 PM: Vibe Sessions Neo-Soul Lounge with Flo-Real, guests and open mic. The Cobbler Soul Food Restaurant, 3520 Stockton, Blvd., Sac. $5. 916-613-0776.

•••Also tonight: If you missed the SF reading by Robert Hass, Harryette Mullen, Sharon Olds, C.D. Wright, and Dean Young last Friday, they will read together again, this time at Olympic Village Lodge in Squaw Valley (1901 Chamonix Place), 8:15 PM. $5, $10. Info: 530-581-5200.

And Tomorrow, The Marathon Begins!

Here is some last-minute buzz about this weekend’s Java City Poetry Marathon (18th & Capitol, Sacramento), which begins at noon on Friday (well, actually there's the opening ceremony at 11 AM) and ends at noon on Monday:

1. The 18th St. side of Java City will be closed off to traffic from the corner to the alley/parking lot for the entire Marathon.

2. Opening ceremonies will start at 11 AM Friday, with Ann Marie Gold, BL Kennedy, Tom Weborg, Jan Jacobs, and others. Special opening poet: D.R. Wagner, who has a book coming out from Rattlesnake Press next spring.

3. Streaming 24-hour web cast available on Access Sacramento website.

4. 2006 Commemorative Coffee Event Cups and Limited Edition Event T-shirts will be available, and a PA system has been obtained to expand the experience. Java City will remain open, serving refreshments during the entire Marathon.

This promises to be quite an event, and BL says it's the last of its kind. Be there!

Molly's August Boot Camp and Utah Workshop:

Molly Fisk writes: I hope you can squint through the heat waves rising off your desk to read this e-mail. I invite you to join us for the August Boot Camp August 20-25: write six poems in six days, something you can do while up to your neck in a swimming pool (pond/lake/creek/lagoon)—as long as you don't get the laptop wet. You will feel so cool afterward you won't need air conditioning. Info:

We also have two remaining spots in the Utah workshop, Writing in Place (August 28-September 2), in case you want to join us. For more on that, go to and click on "Teaching."

Poetry Workshop With Dorianne Laux & Joe Millar:

August 18, 1-5 PM at The Frank Bette Center for the Arts, 1601 Paru St., Alameda, CA. Info: 510-523-6957 (the Center) or Patricia Edith (510-521-2655). To register, send a check for $45 to The Frank Bette Center for the Arts. (Class limited to 15 students.) Dorianne and Joe will give a reading in the evening at 7:30 PM to benefit the literary arts programs at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts. (Suggested Donation, $2)

DORIANNE LAUX's fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon, was published by W.W. Norton in 2005. She is also author of three collections of poetry from BOA Editions and co-author, with Kim Addonizio, of The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton, 1997). Her work has appeared in the Best of the American Poetry Review, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, and has been twice included in Best American Poetry. She has been awarded with a Pushcart Prize for poetry, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Laux is a Professor in the University of Oregon’s Creative Writing Program. She lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband, poet Joseph Millar.

JOSEPH MILLAR is the author of Overtime from Eastern Washington University press. His second collection, Fortune, is due out from EWU this fall. Millar grew up in Pennsylvania, attended Johns Hopkins University and spent 25 years in the San Francisco Bay area, working at a variety of jobs, from telephone repairman to commercial fisherman. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines including TriQuarterly Review, Ploughshares, New Letters, Manoa, and River Styx, and he has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in Poetry, the Moncalvo Center for the Arts, and from Oregon Literary Arts.


Two from Delmore about summer rain. (We can dream, can't we....?)

—Delmore Schwartz

The rain was full of the freshness
and the fresh fragrance of darkening grapes,
The rain was as the dark falling of hidden
And fabulous grapes ripening, great blue thunderheads moving slowly,
slowly blooming.
The dark air was possessed by the fragrance of freshness,
By a scattered and confused profusion until
After the tattering began, the pouring down came
And plenitude descended, multitudinous:
Everywhere was full of the pulsing of the loud and fallen dark.


—Delmore Schwartz


A tattering of rain and then the reign
Of pour and pouring-down and down,
Where in the westward gathered the filming gown
Of grey and clouding weakness, and, in the mane
Of the light's glory and the day's splendor, gold and vain,
Vivid, more and more vivid, scarlet, lucid and more luminous,
Then came a splatter, a prattle, a blowing rain!
And soon the hour was musical and rumorous:
A softness of a dripping lipped the isolated houses,
A gaunt grey somber softness licked the glass of hours.


Again, after a catbird squeaked in the special silence,
And clouding vagueness fogged the windowpane
And gathered blackness and overcast, the mane
Of light's story and light's glory surrendered and ended
—A pebble—a ring—a ringing on the pane,
A blowing and a blowing in: tides of the blue and cold
Moods of the great blue bay, and slates of grey
Came down upon the land's great sea, the body of this day
—Hardly an atom of silence amid the roar
Allowed the voice to form appeal—to call:
By kindled light we thought we saw the bronze of fall.


Rumorous rain? How cool is that....!


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.)