Monday, May 21, 2007

Whale Watching

—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines

There we are, thirty closely-counted sheep
loaded in the wee pink morning onto a tippy
trimaran all primed for adventure, Maui-
style, with plenty free cinnamon rolls
and coffee: well, not exactly free: big price-tag
here: but convenience of Mastercard. . . Whale-

watching: big business, Island-kine: me trying
to be cynical about politically incorrect
commercialization of Paradise and all the other
big words: but ever since toddler days, just try
to keep me out of the water—just try—so

here we are, Sam and I, him bleary but good-
sporting it, and thirty closely-counted tourists
nattering away with silly-joke crew: hum
of hundreds of dollars of video stuff: heads
jerking around with oh’s and ah’s every time
somebody spots a spout off starboard or where-
ever. . . Now it’s Sam

who’s cynical, cranky about pushy overweight
guys in fake Hawaiian shirts elbowing chain-
smoking Japanese honeymooners. Meanwhile,
everyone’s looking left but I look right
just as a baby humpback leaps off port—almost
touchable— Thar she blows! Big ohhhhh’s
and ah’s. . . But then comes sliding up

the hugest hump you can ever imagine: the hugest
curve of dark wet flesh arching along the silver
surface, slick and sleek and endless: I mean endless:
her massive back alone longer than the trimaran.
And suddenly

we all shut up—all completely, absolutely shut up
out there on the water—not one word—the whale
sounds just
take over. No more

stupid jokes or video stuff or even oh’s
and ah’s. We all just plain shut up

out there on the water. . .


I did not hie me out to see the whales in the deep-water channel this weekend. As you can see from the above poem, I've seen them much closer up, and I cannot even begin to describe the experience. And I've swam/swum/swimmed in the channel between Maui and Lanai and heard their songs under the water—another life-changing event. Now the two wayward humpbacks have thought better of our icky channel and have had the good sense to head back out to sea. So far, so good. (Bari Kennedy says they came up here because they heard about our poetry!)

Give-away! Send me a poem about whales by midnight on Friday, May 25 (e-mailed or postmarked) and I'll send you a copy of Ron Tranquilla's new chapbook, Playing Favorites (or any other rattlechap of your choosing). That's or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. And think good thoughts about our recent visitors and their travels.

This week in NorCal poetry (maybe the whales better stay!):

•••Tonight (Monday, 5/21), Sacramento Poetry Center presents The Third Sunday Writers Group (in its 13th year) at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Readers will include Nancy Walker (Wallace), Rebecca Morrison, Joseph and Susan Finkleman, Theresa McCourt, Jeanine Stevens, Jennifer Jean O'Neill Pickering, Mike Pickering and others. (There will be no SPC reading next Monday, May 28, due to Memorial Day.)

•••Tuesday (5/22), 8:30 PM: The Bistro 33 Literature Night Series presents Francisco Alarcón and open mic. 226 F St. (3rd and F Streets), Davis.

•••Wednesday (5/23), 6-7 PM: Hidden Passage Poetry Reading at Hidden Passage Books, 352 Main St., Placerville. It's an open-mike read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen.

•••Thursday (5/24), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged @ Luna's presents frank andrick and Terry Moore at Luna's Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Info: (916) 441-3931. Free. Open mic precedes and follows this classic double feature, packed with more images than your usual drive-in movie could ever contain. Terry Moore has hosted a number of poetry series at various venues throughout the Sacramento area and is one of the most visible and vocal exporters of poetry/spoken word known in the area. He has performed at the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem. He is a man of many styles and voicings, inhabiting and sliding from one to the other, making them all his own.
Hear snippets from Terry's new CD, Validated, at [See also Rattlesnake Review #12 for an interview with Terry, and watch for a review of his new CD in Rattlesnake Review #14, coming in mid-June.]

frank andrick has been called alternatively "the best Surrealist Poet in Sacramento", the "Godzilla of Poetry", and "the guy with a million diseases." He fervently wishes that the poetic line by Charles Baudelaire (Delacroix, Lac du Sang Hante's des Mauvais Anges) (Delacroix, Lake of Blood Haunted by Malignant Angels) which Baudelaire had written about his friend, the painter Eugene Delacroix, had been written about him. frank writes poetry, prose, tells stories, creates events, loves getting lost in thought, reading, enjoys great conversations with friends, and is published in print and on line; plus he books Luna's poetry events in Sacramento and arranges poetry tours. Poetry Unplugged @ Luna’s, an open-mic/featured reader series, has received the People's Choice for Best Open Mic Venue in Sacramento News & Review. He hosts a literary radio program, The Pomo Literati, on KUSF in San Francisco. He is also editing a collection of works by women authors, entitled La Musee de Muse (The Museum of Muses). Frank creates word-driven multi-medium events and tours, and prefers an all-inclusive world where art rules! He is inspired by fire, images, dreams, tarot cards, the Knights Templar & the unknown. Google/Yahoo him; he loves it!! [frank is also the author of littlesnake broadside #20, Aurelia Occultica Lamantia (AOL). Order a free one from]

New from Poet's Lane:

A new page has been added to Poet’s Lane ( or called Picture Prompted Poetry. It has a picture and you are to write a poem about it and send it to, where it will be posted. Poet’s Lane also has a new question for its That Would Be Telling page: What do feel is the difference between Poetry and Prose writing? (Or answer any of the other previous questions, if you wish.) Send your answers to Poet's Lane Mistress Cynthia Bryant will end her tenure as Pleasanton Poet Laureate in June; watch the news for who will succeed her.


Today, Robert Creeley would've been 81 years old.

—Robert Creeley

I think I grow tensions
like flowers
in a wood where
nobody goes.

Each wound is perfect,
encloses itself in a tiny
imperceptible blossom,
making pain.

Pain is a flower like that one,
like this one,
like that one,
like this one.


—Robert Creeley

All night the sound had
come back again,
and again falls
this quiet, persistent rain.

What am I to myself
that must be remembered,
insisted upon
so often? Is it

that never the ease,
even the hardness,
of rain failing
will have for me

something other than this,
something not so insistent—
am I to be locked in this
final uneasiness.

Love, if you love me,
lie next to me.
Be for me, like rain,
the getting out

of the tiredness, the fatuousness, the semi-
lust of intentional indifference.
be wet
with a decent happiness.



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; RR #14 will be out in mid-June. (Next deadline, for RR #15, is August 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. Next deadline is Oct. 1.

Books/broadsides: May's releases are Grass Valley Poet 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. All are now available at The Book Collector. Rattlechaps are $5; broadsides are free. Or contact or for ordering information.

Next rattle-read: Rattlesnake Press will present Sacramento Poet Tom Miner at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, on Wednesday, June 20 from 7:30-9 PM to celebrate the release of his new chapbook, North of Everything. Also featured that night will be a new littlesnake broadside (Cominciare Adagio) from Stockton Poet/Publisher David Humphreys, plus #3 in the Rattlesnake Interview Series by B.L. Kennedy, this one featuring Sacramento Poet Jane Blue. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's. More info: NOTE: For June, and for June only, our monthly Rattlesnake reading will be on the THIRD Weds. instead of the second one. There will be no Snake readings/releases in July or August.