Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Snake Whisperer

—David Humphreys, Stockton

They perch June on forest green
as you come around the corner,
steam engine pistons breathing
down a morning combustion
concussion so far ahead
of yourself
arriving with details
streaming in the background
of this sudden flowering bloom.
Two or three weeks from now
they will all be gone, long fallen ears
of white, petals like curled
tongues lifted in a song exultation,
eagles heads white against
dark Ketchikan,
sea gulls circling Monterey
dark cypress, wind twisted bonsai,
cherry blossoms showering early
summer Bear Tooth Pass snow flurries.


Thanks, David! You may've heard, and it's all true! This Weds., 7:30 PM at The Book Collector (1008 24th St., Sacramento), 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, rolling off the presses as we speak! Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's.

Today there is an article in The Sacramento Bee about the "demand for snake wranglers" and Snake Whisperers, due to the drought in Southern California. Clearly there are plenty of jobs waiting for me down there...!

Here's another poem by David, in celebration of our ever-waning June:

—David Humphreys, Stockton

shimmering in breeze blown
new lime leaves,
day’s lights flashing
on water. Jupiter rules
nesting near a sickle sliced moon.
Magnolias are heavy as musk,
a visual scent perfume of summer lust.
Sheets are hot and electric with wanting.
Satellites circle. Investiture perfects
various avenues.


Coming this Thursday:

•••Thursday (6/21), 7:30 PM, Poetry Unplugged presents another Six Ft. Swells Book Release Party at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, wherein Six Ft. Swells Press presents the release of the third chapbook in their Cheap Shots Poetry Series: Cocktails & Confessions: A Collection of Poetry Inspired by Lust and Libations. Free. Special guests include Ann Menebroker, B.L. Kennedy, Matt Amott, Todd Cirillo, Luke Warm Water, Gene Bloom, Barbara Noble and, bringing up the/her rear, Kathy Kieth—plus others too numerous to mention! Info: (530) 271-0662.

THIS JUST IN: Todd Cirillo informs me that B.L. Kennedy has been inadvertently left off some of the earlier publicity for the 6FSwells release party, and that he will definitely be reading. Todd says: "Todd Cirillo would not read if BL Kennedy was unavailable to read; it is important to observe mastery of the poet on stage."

CSUS Writers Conference:

Registration is now open for the CSU, Sacramento Writers Conference on Aug. 10-12, which will feature three days of lectures, workshops, critiques, panel discussions and reading events. Through July 21, the registration fee is $245; after that it's $285. Some of the evening readings will be free to the public. Register at 916-278-4433 or www.cce.csus.edu/conferences/writers/Conf07/index/htm/. Info: Amy Ruddell at aruddell@csus.edu/.


You can't even imagine what my house looks like right now, due to the serious neglect that goes with putting together four publications in two days. Yes, I know—plan ahead. Hopefully I'll get a better system put together this summer. Meanwhile, I've called in the calvary: Pat Weidman has taken mercy on me and will be over to help fold and staple this afternoon. (Bless her!) In light of this Kiethian chaos, this poem seems appropriate (and not a little unsettling):

—Edward Field

The floor is dirty:
Not only the soot from the city air
But a surprising amount of hair litters the room.
It is hard to keep up with. Even before
The room is all swept up it is dirty again.

We are shedding more than we realize.
The amount of hair I've shed so far
Could make sixty of those great rugs
The Duke of China killed his weavers for,
And strangle half the sons of Islam.

Time doesn't stop even while I scrub the floor
Though it seems that the mind empties like a bathtub,
That all the minds of the world go down the drain
Into the sewer; but hair keeps falling
And not for a moment can the floor be totally clean.

What is left of us after years of shitting and shedding?
Are we whom our mothers bore or some stranger now
With the name of son, but nameless,
Continually relearning the same words
That mean, with each retelling, less.

He whom you knew is a trail of leavings round the world.
Renewal is a lie: Who I was has no more kisses.
Barbara's fierce eyes were long ago swept up from her floor.
A stranger goes by the name of Marianne; it is not she,
Nor for that matter was the Marianne I knew.

The floor having accumulated particles of myself
I call it dirty; dirty, the streets thick with the dead;
Dirty, the thick air I am used to breathing.
I am alive at least. Quick, who said that?
Give me the broom. The leftovers sweep the leavings away.



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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 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: 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 kathykieth@hotmail.com or rattlesnakepress.com 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: kathykieth@hotmail.com/ 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.