Wednesday, June 20, 2007

If You Are Rash Enough...

—Ad al-Rahim Salih al-Rahim, Iraq

Like a spooky shadow
under a disc of moon,
a cat crouches on a wall.
Then he sneaks with terrifying silence into a distant hiding place,
leaving behind him
in the darkness
an uncanny moan.

Nobody knows
his secrets
nor the intention of his steps.
He alone understands that darkness is the way into what he wants.


Tonight in NorCal poetry:

•••Wednesday (6/20), 7:30 PM: Rattlesnake Press is proud to present a new chapbook by Sacramento Poet Tom Miner, entitled North of Everything. Also featured that night will be a brand-new littlesnake broadside from Stockton Poet/Publisher David Humphreys, entitled Cominciare Adagio, and #3 in B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series, this one a conversation with Sacramento Poet Jane Blue. Not to mention the hefty Rattlesnake Review #14! Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's.

•••Also Wed. (6/20), 7 PM: Writers of the New Sun / Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol presents Rosa Martha Villarreal introducing The Stillness of Love & Exile (Tertulia Press), her contemporary novel of a spirited Mexican woman’s escape from entrapment in a loveless and abusive marriage. The author, a local teacher and writer, follows Lilia’s escape from a wrathful Mexican drug lord to a rural Mexican town where a series of events that started in Medieval Spain come to fruition, leading Lilia to her final journey of love and magic. Rose is the co-founder of Tertulia Press, an online magazine dedicated to the tradition of independent, non-ideological discourse through art and written word. La Raza Galeria Posada, 1022-1024 22nd St., Midtown Sacramento, 916-446-5133. Rosa will answer questions about her writing and publication process. Her novel is available for sale. No charge for this event. You may contact her at: (916) 543-9364 or (916) 367-1167. For more information about Los Escritores call Graciela Ramirez at 916- 456-5323; website is


—Ad al-Rahim Salih al-Rahim, Iraq

Who wants to claw my heart
so the tears flow?
My trees have withered in this trackless wilderness
and my stars lost their way.
Who claws my heart?
In the valley of the soul I scream: Wake!
But I am even more hopelessly lost.
I search for the pure fountain that once glittered there.
My mirror is smashed
And I see only a monstrous desert that gnaws my trees.
Who claws at my heart?
Water is my element
but desert surrounds me.
The sky of the sand is covered with a litter of foliage.
Who in the trackless wilderness can see
the pure fountain that once glittered there?


—Ad al-Rahim Salih al-Rahim, Iraq

He walked beside me smiling
winking at me
and joking endlessly.

He told me our journey was over
and the appointed hour for return had come.

I asked: who are you?
He answered: Death.
My blood ran cold
and my sight clouded over.

Trying to reassure me, he said:
"If you are rash enough
to want to stay on in this vale of tears,
be my guest!"
With that he vanished.

(Today's poetry is from Iraqi Poetry Today, Ed. by Saadi Simawe for Modern Poetry in Translation)



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 Review13 is available at The Book Collector; RR14 will be out tonight, June 20. Next deadline, for RR15, is August 15. VYPER6 (for youth 13-19) is in The Book Collector; next deadline is Nov. 1. Snakelets10 (for kids 0-12) is now available at The Book Collector; next deadline is 10/1.

Books/broadsides: Rattlesnake Press presents 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 with 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. And there will be no Snake readings/releases in July or August.