Monday, June 25, 2007

Those LIghts We Call Stars

Downtown Sacramento
Photo by Jane Blue, Sacramento

—Raymond Carver

Yesterday I dressed in a dead man's
woolen underwear. Then drove to the end
of an icy road where I passed
some time with Indian fishermen.
I stepped into water over my boots.
Saw four pintails spring from the creek.
Never mind that my thoughts were elsewhere
and I missed the perfect shot.
Or that my socks froze. I lost track
of everything and didn't make it back
for lunch. You could say
it wasn't my day. But it was!
And to prove it I have this little bite
she gave me last night. A bruise
coloring my lip today, to remind me.


Thanks, Jane Blue, for the fun photograph! Pick up a free copy of B.L. Kennedy's interview of Jane Blue at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, and find out more about her on (Rattlechaps page). Her chapbook, Turf Daisies and Dandelions, is also available at The Book Collector and from the website.

NorCal poetry this week:

•••Tonight (Monday, 6/25), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center features the editors of the Modesto journal, Hardpan, including, among others, debee loyd, Gordon Preston, and Karen Baker. Tim Kahl writes: Please come out and provide a warm Sacramento welcome to our out-of-town guests and show moral support for Modesto’s newest literary magazine, Hardpan. Recent contributors include Brad Buchanan, Taylor Graham, Robert Roden, Patricia Wellingham-Jones, A. D. Winans and William O’ Daly. Hardpan has also begun to sponsor Coyote Caffeine, a semi-quarterly event that is geared to pairing poetry with fine dining [their next event features Sacramento’s own Susan Kelly-Dewitt]. Come and see what it’s all about. [See last Friday's post for bios of two of the readers.]

•••Wednesday (6/27), 6-7 PM: Hidden Passage poetry reading at Hidden Passage Books, 352 Main St. in 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. Medusa will be there, by the way, passing out new Snakes...

•••Thursday (6/28), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged presents Gene Bloom, Leslie Bally, Julie Valin at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Open mic before and after.

•••Also Thursday (6/28), 7 PM: Connie Post, the current Poet Laureate of Livermore, will be this month's featured reader in the Writers Read series at Colored Horse Studio in Ukiah. Post has been a published poet for over 20 years, and her work has appeared in many anthologies and journals. She has published five books of poetry, has presented at many Bay Area readings, and received numerous awards. Her most recent book is titled Waking State. In May 2005, she presented her poetry on the nationally syndicated radio program, “West Coast Live”. She also presents poetry and discussion on the subject of parenting, poetry and autism to local colleges and affiliated groups. In March 2007, she was the keynote speaker at a state conference in Sacramento for special education. The featured reading starts at 7 PM and will be followed by an open mike session. Refreshments available. Donation requested. Colored Horse Studio is locate at 780 Waugh Lane in Ukiah. For more information call: (707)275-9010, (707)468-9488 or check online at


—Raymond Carver

A few minutes ago, I stepped onto the deck
of the house. From there I could see and hear the water,
and everything that's happened to me all these years.
It was hot and still. The tide was out.
No birds sang. As I leaned against the railing
a cobweb touched my forehead.
It caught in my hair. No one can blame me that I turned
and went inside. There was no wind. The sea
was dead calm. I hung the cobweb from the lampshade.
Where I watch it shudder now and then when my breath
touches it. A fine thread. Intricate.
Before long, before anyone realizes,
I'll be gone from here.


—Raymond Carver

Cigarette smoke hanging on
in the living room. The ship's lights
out on the water, dimming. The stars
burning holes in the sky. Becoming ash, yes.
But it's all right, they're supposed to do that.
Those lights we call stars.
Burn for a time and then die.
Me hell-bent. Wishing
it were tomorrow already.
I remember my mother, God love her,
saying, Don't wish for tomorrrow.
You're wishing your life away. Nevertheless, I wish
for tomorrow. In all its finery.
I want sleep to come and go, smoothly.
Like passing out of the door of one car
into another. And then to wake up!
Find tomorrow in my bedroom.
I'm more tired now than I can say.
My bowl is empty. But it's my bowl, you see,
and I love it.



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 Review14 is now available at The Book Collector; contributors and subscribers will receive theirs in the next couple of weeks. If you're none of those, and can't get down to The Book Collector, send two bux to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 and I'll mail you a copy. 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 also at The Book Collector; next deadline is October 1.

Books/broadsides: June's releases include Tom Miner's chapbook, North of Everything; David Humphreys' littlesnake broadside, Cominciare Adagio; and #3 in B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series, this one featuring Jane Blue.

ZZZZZZZ: Shh! The Snake is sleeping! There will be no Snake readings/releases in July or August. Then we return with a bang on September 12, presenting Susan Kelly-DeWitt's new chapbook, Cassiopeia Above the Banyan Tree. See the online journal, Mudlark, for a hefty sample of poems from her book; that’s Also coming in the Fall: new issues of the Review, Snakelets and VYPER [see the above deadlines], plus more littlesnake broadsides from NorCal poets near and far, and a continuation of B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series—including an anthology of interviews to be released for Sacramento Poetry Month (October).