Friday, April 13, 2007

That Medusa-Like Lady, Luck

—William S. Gainer, Grass Valley

It wasn’t that good —
the night,
and it isn’t any better —
the morning.
So, here you are,
gagging on your toothbrush,
hoping the coffee stays down.
It and that last shot of bourbon
are all that’s left
in the house.
And the guy in the mirror
seems to be asking,
“How much worse can it get?”
It doesn’t matter,
it’s already
bad enough.
But like the rest of the gamblers,
you believe in luck,
bet on chance
and know
there’s always
So you scrape your change
from the nightstand,
drop both coins into your pocket,
put the other face on,
the one without pain,
step to the door,
into the day,
another bet.


Thanks, Bill! "Believing in Luck" can also be found in Bill's ratttlechap, To Run With The Savages, available at The Book Collector in Sacramento or through Bill, or through our website, Or, treat of treats, go up the hill and hear Bill read this Monday night (4/16) at 7 PM, along with Gail Entrekin and California Poet Laureate Al Young, at the Madelyn Helling Library, 980 Helling Way (just outside downtown Nevada City). Admission is free. For more information, please call (530) 265-7050. Funding for these local poets is provided by the California Office of Poets and Writers, a national service organization. Young's selection of poetry will be derived from past and current works: Heaven; The Sound of Dreams Remembered; and Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons. He will also be reading from brand-new works, including some poetry from his new book, Something About the Blues, which will be released in October 2007.

And of course Bill's poem is about today. Have you noticed? It's Friday the 13th!! Today only: send me a poem about luck—good, bad or indifferent (the luck, that is, not the poem)—and I'll send you a poetry surprise. Offer ends at midnight.

National Poetry Month seems to be coming to a head next weekend, the 20th-21st, with the Sacramento Poetry Center Writers' Conference on both days, plus, on Friday, Tim Bellows reads Rumi at East-West Books in Sacramento at 7 PM, and Our House Gallery in El Dorado Hills features Tom Goff and Nora Staklis, also at 7, Or you might want to travel over to Copperfield's Books in Santa Rosa to hear Robert Hass and Brenda Hillman, also at 7. Saturday includes a reading by Jane Blue at the McClatchy Library on 22nd St. in Sacramento at 2 PM, another Manzanita reading in San Andreas, and a day-long "creative retreat" and Earth Day Celebration at Cache Creek Nature Preserve. I'll post more details about all of these later; for now I'm just giving a head's up—it's gonna be quite a weekend!


More about luck:

—Czeslaw Milosz

His old age fell on years of abundant harvest.
There were no earthquakes, droughts or floods.
It seemed as if the turning of the seasons gained in constancy,
Stars waxed strong and the sun increased its might.
Even in remote provinces no war was waged.
Generations grew up friendly to fellow men.
The rational nature of man was not a subject of derision.

It was bitter to say farewell to the earth so renewed.
He was envious and ashamed of his doubt,
Content that his lacerated memory would vanish with him.

Two days after his death a hurricane razed the coasts.
Smoke came from volanoes inactive for a hundred years.
Lava sprawled over forests, vineyards, and townsl
And war began with a battle on the islands.


—charles bukowski

what's bad about all
is watching people
drinking coffee and
waiting. I would
douse them all
with luck. they need
it. they need it
worse than I do.

I sit in cafes
and catch them
waiting. I suppose
there's not much
else to do. the
flies walk up and
down the windows
and we drink our
coffee and pretend
not to look at
each other. I
wait with them.
between the move-
ment of the flies
people walk by.


—Czeslaw Milosz

I thought: all this is only preparation
For learning, at last, how to die.
Mornings and dusks, in the grass under a maple
Laura sleeping without pants, on a headrest of raspberries,
While Filon, happy, washes himself in the stream.
Mornings and years. Every glass of wine,
Laura, and the sea, land, and archipelago
Bring us nearer, I believed, to one aim
And should be used with a thought to that aim.

But a paraplegic in my street
Whom they move together with his chair
From shade into sunlight, sunlight into shade,
Looks at a cat, a leaf, the chrome steel on an auto,
And mumbles to himself, "Beau temps, beau temps."

It is true. We have a beautiful time
As long as time is time at all.



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as announcements of Northern California poetry events to (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) 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.)

SnakeWatch: Up-to-the-minute Snake news:

Journals: Rattlesnake Review #13 is available at The Book Collector; next deadline is May 15. The new VYPER #6 (for youth 13-19) will be out the week of April 16; next deadline is Nov. 1. Snakelets #10 (for kids 0-12) is available; next deadline is May 1.

Books/broadsides: April’s release is SnakeRings SpiralChap #7 from D.R. Wagner: Where The Stars Are Kept, and littlesnake broadside #33: Swallowed By This Whale Of Time by Ann Menebroker. Both are now available at The Book Collector. SpiralChaps are $8; broadsides are free. Or contact for ordering information. Coming in May: Playing Favorites by Ron Tranquilla; littlesnake broadside by Julie Valin; Rattlesnake Interview Series #2 by B.L. Kennedy: Malik.

Something new: Rattlesnake Interview Series with B.L. Kennedy is now available (free) at The Book Collector (or contact Kathy Kieth). #1 is Ann Menebroker.

check out the Rattlechaps Chapbook Series page on the website! We've started generating separate pages for each rattlechapper/spiralchapper; scroll down through the list of books we've published and click on the names that are in red. That should lead you to a separate page for each of them, including photos, bios, poems, contact info—and more to come, once we get them all up and running. Sweet!