Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Promising Oysters

—William S. Gainer, Grass Valley

the first warm days of spring are here.
Four days off
and I've been practicing retirement.
Took a nap on the couch,
one on the deck,
one on the back lawn
and one on the front porch.
It was working out
I even tried the garage,
the big door was half open,
the breeze nice
and the floor cool,
so laid down,
the dog did too.
I woke to a strange lady,
(apparently a nosy jogger)
screaming into the telephone,
"He's dead
and his dog is too.
It's a murder-suicide!"
The hysteria didn't reach its peek
until I asked, "Who's dead?"
she spun around,
started pounding me on the chest
and ran screaming from the garage.
I tried to explain
to the young lady on the phone
that I was just napping,
but it was too late,
the fire department,
police and rescue squad
had arrived.
I was politely scolded
and reminded of the impression
that the impressionable might get
at the sight of an older gentleman
laying motionless on the garage floor.
My wife called the daughters,
informed them, that once again,
their father had embarrassed
the entire family.
I prefer to think of the event
in a more positive light:
it's good thing to have
the emergency folks know
where the house is
and it's a good thing to know
that the neighborhood-watch people,
even the nosy jogger lady,
will call for help
when they think
you've murdered your dog.


Thanks, Bill! Not that retired people are slugs; most of us are so busy that we have no idea how we ever had time for a 9-to-5'er.

It's appropriate to hear from Bill today, because tonight the lively Nevada County poets will come trailing down Interstate 80 to hear two of their own: Ron Tranquilla and Julie Valin.
Rattlesnake Press will present Grass Valley Poet Ron Tranquilla at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, TONIGHT, Wednesday, May 9, from 7:30-9 PM to celebrate the release of Ron's new chapbook, Playing Favorites: Selected Poems, 1971-2006. Also released that night will be a littlesnake broadside from Julie Valin, Still Life With Sun, and #2 in the new Rattlesnake Interview Series by B.L. Kennedy, this one featuring Sacramento Poetry Promoter and Poet, Malik. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's. More info:

Twenty-eighth most literary?

An article in The Sacramento Bee last Sunday listed Sacramento as No. 28 on some Central Connecticut State University professor's list of Most Literary Cities, based on our bookstores, libraries, magazines, education, Internet sites, and newspaper circulation. (???) Who gets to make up these lists and have them broadcast around the world? Let's make up our own! Lest your head swell, though, another list, from Blue Rhino, said we were #1 in grilling on the BBQ. (!!!) Well, at least we're #1 in something...

Foothill Writers' Conference:

July 6-10th is the 31st Annual Foothill Writers’ Conference, which resumes this year with a roster of new and returning award-winning participants. The conference provides Foothill students and emerging writers in the Bay Area with the unique opportunity to work with established writers. This year's speakers include Kathleen de Azevedo, Ellen Bass, Denny Berthiaume, Andrea Hollander Budy, Alan Cheuse, Michelle Cliff, James Cushing, Sharon Doubiago, Michael C. Ford, James D. Houston, Jeanne W. Houston, Linda Janakos, Phyllis Koestenbaum, Carol Lem, Leo Litwak, Morton Marcus, Joseph Millar, Tom Trebitsch Parker, Adrienne Rich, Doren Robbins, Floyd Salas, Catherine Seidel, John Solt, Marianne Villanueva, Cecila Woloch, Kim Wolterbeek. All Conference events are only $53.50 for California residents. Info: email Doren Robbins: [The announcement doesn't say, but I believe the conference is held at Foothill College.]


—Russell Edson

Two roly-poly men are pretending to be bowling balls.

Get off my property, says someone on whose property the roly-poly men are pretending to be bowling balls on.

We're too big to be golf balls.

Get off my property, you goof balls.

We were thinking about cannon balls, but bowling balls are more social.


Oh yes, we're social types.

But you're too roly-poly for social lives.

That's why we thought to debut the social world as bowling balls. We're really rather good. We even have the holes...


And a little something for Mother's Day...

—Russell Edson

An old woman had given birth to a litter of mice. They were all over the bed.

In the morning when she awakened she saw that she was mistaken, and had given birth to a litter of rats.

Rats. mice, what's the difference? cried her husband, our bed's infested with baby rodents.

Because when I give birth to mice I like them to be mice. Not all of a sudden discover they're rats. Rats are okay, it's just that when I give birth I like to know what I'm giving birth to...

What about all these clams? cried her husband.

That was another night, the restaurant was dark, but the waiter had promised oysters...



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 (free publications): Rattlesnake Review #13 is available at The Book Collector; next deadline is May 15. The new VYPER #6 (for youth 13-19) is in The Book Collector; next deadline is Nov. 1. Snakelets 9 (for kids 0-12) is available; Snakelets #10 will be out this month.

Books/broadsides: April’s releases are 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. Rattlesnake Interview Series #1 with Ann Menebroker and B.L. Kennedy is also available (free) at The Book Collector (or contact Kathy Kieth).

Next rattle-read: May's releases will be Ron Tranquilla’s Playing Favorites: Selected Poems, 1971-2006, plus a littlesnake broadside by Julie Valin (Still Life With Sun) and a Rattlesnake Interview Broadside (#2) featuring Khiry Malik Moore and B.L. Kennedy. Come check all these out TONIGHT at 7:30 PM at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else’s.