Friday, October 27, 2006

It Rains... (Well, Soon...)

—Taylor Graham, Somerset

The old folks in their wheelchairs all complain
that lunch is late, and cold, the day is drear,
the weatherman predicts eternal rain.

There's surely some among them who are sane,
but they've been deaf an age in either ear.
The old folks in their wheelchairs all complain.

They're not past noticing the pricks and pain,
but that can't make their boredom disappear.
The weatherman predicts eternal rain

that falls like tedium, a dead refrain
repeating with a casual stab of fear.
The old folks in their wheelchairs all complain

while looking out the window, past the stain
of fingerprints the cleaning ladies smear.
The weatherman predicts eternal rain,

but not a one of them would still maintain
a storm could ever wash their prospects clear.
The old folks in their wheelchairs all complain,
the weatherman predicts eternal rain.


Thanks, TG! Taylor Graham writes that [this villanelle]
first appeared way-way-back in Tucumcari Literary Review, now alas defunct. (I hope there isn't actually a Whispering Hills Manor...)

Departed Women Heroes Honored

•••Tonight (Friday, 10/27), 7:30-10:30 PM: Tonight’s annual Poetry Reading of the Writers of the New Sun / Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol is dedicated to the memories and works of Jennie Baca and Gloria Rangel. This annual fundraising event is tied in to the Day of the Dead / El Día de los Muertos. It is always about celebrating those who have departed their earthly lives, and all of their spirit that remains—a tribute by the living to those who have gone before, and to the reality of death. This traditional time takes place over many days with a series of activities focused with humor and beauty on the joy of lives fully lived, not only on regret or mourning of those who are missed. The holiday is increasingly meaningful to people from all cultures. The reading will be set among the mini-altares, los nichos, created by local artists. Featured readers: Felicia Martinez and Luz Maria Gama and others; music by Franco. Open mic for those who have a commemorative poem to read.

Note New Location: La Raza Galería Posada [LRGP] is located at 1024-22nd St., on 22nd St. between K & J Streets in midtown Sacramento. Cost: $5 or as you can afford for the general public; $3 for students and members.

Also this weekend:

•••Saturday (10/28), 7-9 PM: "The Show" Poetry Series features Neo-Soul Vocalist Kevin Sandbloom from LA, plus extended open mic time. Also Born 2B Poets with special guest Bloom Beloved. Wo'se Community Center (Off 35th & Broadway), 2863 35th St., Sac. $5. 916-455-POET.

•••This Saturday, Poetry Flash sponsors the eleventh annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival at the Berkeley City COllege Atrium and Auditorium. Featured will be poets and writers concerned about the environment, including Al Young, Lewis MacAdams, Susan Griffin, Maya Knosla, Chris Olander, Albert Flynn DeSilver, GP Skratz, and John Oliver Simon. Also featured will be young voices from River of Words, California Poets in the Schools, and Poetry Inside Out. A Pre-Festival Creek Walk and Poetry Workshop begins at 10 AM, starting on the UC Berkeley Campus (Oxford and Center Sts.). The day will also feature literary and environmental panels, workshops and exhibits; see for more details. The event is free, but a $25 donation will get you a letterpress broadside of Al Young's poem, "Geography of the Near Past".

•••Monday (10/30), there will be no reading at the Sacramento Poetry Center.

Deadlines coming up:

The first of November is just around the corner; here are a few deadlines that fall on or near same:

•••THE GIFT OF WORDS: Poetry for the Iraqi People: Cynthia Bryant, Pleasanton Poet Laureate, challenges poets everywhere to write a poem for the Iraqi people, something that you want to express to their citizens. Send it to Pleasanton Poet Laureate, P. O. Box 520, Pleasanton, CA 94566 or e-mail it to Please include your full name, area code and phone number, along with your e-mail address, if you have one. Anyone of any age can write a poem and submit it to be included in The Gift of Words: Poetry for the Iraqi People. Deadline: November 1, 2006. Poems will be translated in Arabic, put into a booklet and sent to Iraq. In addition, a celebration will be held December 3, 2006 at the Century House, Pleasanton, CA from 1pm-5pm, at which poems will be read, followed by a festive pot luck.

•••Nov. 1 is also the deadline for submissions to the Kalliope 2006 Sue Saniel Elkind Poetry Contest: 1st Prize is $1000 and publication in Kalliope, to be awarded to a woman poet. Runners-up will receive consideration for publication. Maximum length is 50 lines. Entry fee $5 per poem or 3 for $12. Send two copies, one with name, address, & phone number on upper right corner and one without identification. For more details on both contests please visit, or or send SASE to Kalliope, Florida Community College at Jacksonville, 11901 Beach Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32246.

•••Third Annual Contest deadline for the Towe Auto Museum Poetry Contest is November 10. Rules are available in their anthologies (buy one at the Museum) and on their website:

•••And I didn't check when their deadline is, but the Passager Contest for writers over 50 years of age is happening, and they want poems, too. Check it out at or go to:
Surely one or two of you out there qualify, age-wise...

Or chuck it all...

...And sign up for WRITING ABOUT OUR LIVES (And Everything Else), taught by ELLEN BASS on January 26-28, 2007 at Esalen Institute in Big Sur. Ellen writes:

"For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness." —James Baldwin

If you have been to Esalen, you know it is one of the most beautiful—and inspirational—places on the planet. If not, perhaps it's time to visit. This workshop will be an opportunity to delve deeply into your writing without distractions or interruptions. If you find that you're not getting enough time for writing in your daily life, if you have pieces you can't seem to get started on, or if you just want to keep on keeping on, this is a spectacularly beautiful and nourishing place to do it.

"There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action. And because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open." —Martha Graham

This workshop will help keep the channels open. There will be time for writing and time for sharing and feedback. From beginners to experienced, all writers are welcome. Whether you are interested in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, or journal writing, this workshop will provide an opportunity to explore your truth and expand your craft.

Esalen fees cover tuition, food and lodging and vary according to accommodations—ranging from $320 to $605. Some work-scholarship assistance is available, as well as small prepayment discounts and senior discounts. All arrangements and registration must be made directly with Esalen (831-667-3005 or, but if you have questions about the content of the workshop, feel free to email Ellen or call 831-426-8006.


—Federico Garcia Lorca

It rains in Santiago,
my sweet love.
White camellia of the air,
shadowy shines the sun.

It rains in Santiago
in the dark night.
Grasses of silver and of sleep
cover the empty moon.

See the rain in the street,
lament of stone and crystal.
See in the vanishing wind
shadow and ash of your sea.

Shadow and ash of your sea,
Santiago, far from the sun.
Water of ancient morning
trembles in my heart.

(Translated from the Spanish by Norman di Giovanni)


—Sylvia Plath

The hills step off into whiteness.
People or stars
Regard me sadly, I disappoint them.

The train leaves a line of breath.
O slow
Horse the color of rust,

Hooves, dolorous bells—
All morning the
Morning has been blackening,

A flower left out.
My bones hold a stillness, the far
Fields melt my heart.

They threaten
to let me through to a heaven
Starless and fatherless, a dark water.


Today Sylvia Plath would've been 76 years old. Dylan Thomas would've been 92.

—Dylan Thomas

Being but men, we walked into the trees
Afraid, letting our syllables be soft
For fear of waking the rooks,
For fear of coming
Noiselessly into a world of wings and cries.

If we were children we might climb,
Catch the rooks sleeping, and break no twig,
And, after the soft ascent,
Thrust our heads above the branches
To wonder at the unfailing stars.

Out of confusion, as the way is,
And the wonder that man knows,
Out of the chaos would come bliss.

That, then, is loveliness, we said,
Children in wonder watching the stars,
Is the aim and the end.

Being but men, we walked into the trees.



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their poetry, photos and art, 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.)