Saturday, December 09, 2006

They Call Him the Wrapper...

Kandinsky's Dance, by Joseph Finkleman

—Susan Hennies Finkleman, Sacramento

For months, the small clicks of the tumblers aligning,
parallel universes drawing close as jam on toast.
Time is molasses but the light has such clarity
that I am dancing in the choreography of each shining mote of dust.
And then the convergence –
for one luminous instant I can choose to step into an alternate world
or not
and then it’s all rushing away at 186,000 miles per second,
setting its new course.


Thanks, Susan and Joe! The Finklemans will be premiering their new SnakeRings SpiralChap, Poems in Two Voices, a collection of their two-voice poems and Joe's art this coming Wednesday (12/13) at 7:30 PM at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. The readers will also be accompanied by flute and percussion! Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's and join us for our holiday extravaganza.

Also premiering that evening will be Grace Notes, a littlesnake broadside by Bob Stanley, and Bob will be on hand to read from that, too.

—Bob Stanley, Sacramento

Sure, Mr. G’s a friend of mine, great friend
of mine, he has this big company, everybody
goes to him for what they make. I’m not quite
sure – electronics, you know – but they love him.
He’s leading edge, top of his game.

Always was a little left of center, anyway,
he gets involved with this artist crowd, a theater
fund-raiser, a walk on the bridge, too many drinks,
then we hear there’s a girl in the picture, she gets
hold of him, problems with the wife, that sort of thing.

Before you know it he’s lost it completely – the kids,
boat at the lake, divorce is final, and he’s playing
violin for Christ’s sake at a bluegrass bar in the tenderloin
and they give him beers and he walks home loaded
till even the girl gives up on him and he’s got nowhere to go.

Long story short he gets the prostate deal, fast like
fire in the wind, two months and he’s gone, big
strong guy withered away to nothing in a heartbeat.
I didn’t go, but everybody’s at the funeral – junkies,
banjo players, the whole industry, the goddamn
Governor was there I tell you, yeah, he’s my pal, great friend of mine.


—Bob Stanley, Sacramento

When the Mongolian cellist astounded Charlie Parker in ’55,
it was shot glasses of rice-liquor all around; the singer
began singing in two voices at once, and lamb
arrived at the table, its roasted ribs splayed like a
Bach fugue, going both directions at the same time.

Ghengis Khan was there, and the first emperor of the Qin.
“Not Ching,” he laughed loudly, food in his mouth, but “Chin,
Like on your face,” then, “Smile when you say that,”
He looked nervously around the joint with all its cats,
wishing he was safely in his tomb with eight thousand men.

All the music rolled into one that night, Lionel Hampton
rang them bronze bells, and Chairman Mao, (his musical career
having been cut short by the cultural revolution) really aired it out
on a flugelhorn solo. If you’ve never heard the Dalai Lama scat
over rhythm changes, you’ve really missed something.

After midnight when eunuchs tore down the sound system,
Reporters and agents waited by the Great Wall
smoking camels, expecting some good to come of it,
but all we had was memories of drumbeats - perforations on maps
and the sweet fire that sometimes blows from one man’s horn.


Thanks, Bob! Also premiering that night will be Rattlesnake Review #12 (an even dozen!) and Issue #5 of VYPER, the journal of poetry from youngsters 13-19. Be there!

By the way, Bob Stanley, President of Sacramento Poetry Center, writes: Friday, December 15 is our day to wrap presents for customers and garner donations at Barnes and Noble (Sunrise), 9 AM-11 PM. We are looking for volunteers to spend a few hours wrapping. (This is different from “rapping,” which used to mean talking intently with others, but now has a more rhythmic connotation.) Brad Buchanan is keeping track of who will be there when—probably afternoon and evening will be the busiest times—so please let him know what you can do. If you have questions, you can contact Brad Please help if you can, and bring a friend!



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.)