Monday, July 16, 2007

Ever At Home

(Humboldt County, 1999)
—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

rosy nimbus
cradles pale yellow sun

overnight, wind shifted
smoke pours from due northeast
the sequoia burn unchecked
like a dragon clearing its throat,
the forest grooms itself,
heedless of man

who shivers,
naked downwind,
and clutches his valuables,
fleeing alongside deer
and praying for rain


Medusa is still having a give-away: send in your poems about fire, whichever side of her you choose—horrifying, capricious, passionate, humbling, cleansing—and I'll send you a free copy of Tom Miner's new rattlechap, North of Everything. Email your poems to or snail them to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 by midnight next Weds., July 25.

Not all fire poems have to be about forest fires, of course. Below are a couple that are strictly metaphors. And don't forget that Medusa posts previously-published poems; just cite your previous publication.

—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

slipping through my fingers
silken strands catch fire
in blazing autumn sun



with the blood-red flame
of Advent. Carmine leaves

blaze up in December
sun, then surrender

into still water; fingers
of fire reach out

to catch the eye, catch
the breath—brave red

candles of the Coming.

—Kathy Kieth, Pollock Pines


This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Monday (7/16), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents the Cache Creek Nature Preserve Writers, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Open mic after. Info: or [See last Friday's post for bios of these wonderful readers.]

•••Tuesday (7/17), 8 PM: Comedy and Poetry Open Mic at Butch-N-Nellie's, corner of 19th & I Sts., Downtown Sacramento. The hue & cry for more open mic opportunities for poets has been answered! Butch-N-Nellie's now hosts a weekly poetry and comedy feature with open mic. Support the businesses that support the literary arts. Info: 916-548-8391.

•••Thursday (7/19), 8pm: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Care, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. An evening with Bob Stanley, students and friends. Poet, Poetry Host, event promoter, educator and past editor of Poetry Now, Bob Stanley has put together a feature evening mini-hosting a collection of his students and some drop-by poetic visits by literary friends—curated a talking one-night-only exhibition of spoken word, you might say. The night begins with the famed Luna’s Open Mic and ends with another open mic following the feature presentation. Hosted by frank andrick. Info: Art Luna at (916-441-3931) or frank andrick at 209-727-5179 (

•••Friday (7/20), 7:30 PM: Our House Poetry Reading features Steve Talbert and Mary Field. An open mic follows. Our House Gallery & Framing is located at 4510 Post St. in El Dorado Hills Town Center. There is no charge.

•••Be sure to register by Saturday (7/21) for the CSU, Sacramento Writers Conference on Aug. 10-12, 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, though some of the evening readings will be free to the public. Register at 916-278-4433 or Info: Amy Ruddell at

•••Saturday (7/21), 7:30 PM: Unheimlich Theater presents A Baudelaire Evening at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St. (between J & K Streets), Sacramento. We invite you to the first performance of Antonin Artaud and His Dopplegangers! Unheimlich unfolds as a weekly presentation of poetry such as you've never seen or heard before, featuring Artaud & His Doppleganger and a rotating roster of special guests. Unheimlich Theater re-emerges from the Bardo state at The Book Collector to inseminate a new myth of Chaos, Anarchy, and Lucid Unreason. Unheimlich is here not to raise consciousness, but to release the tide of the Uncanny, to break out the underside of Pandora's hoary box and release the likes of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Poe, Hoffmann, Holderline, Michaux—and especially Antonin Artaud, in order to undermine a society that has allowed psychology & technology to be on a first-name basis with the creation of its imperious culture. Info: (916) 442-9295 or

•••And don’t forget the 6th Annual Sacramento French Film Festival, which runs July 20-22 and July 28-29 at the Crest Theatre. Info:

—Ann Wehrman, Sacramento

wander home in twilight
from work, salmon smoking,
feet reach to root
beyond worn boots
tred asphalt, gravel,
cross concrete
step over leaf-filled drains

trees bend and wave
on either side
twisted dwarf heaves apples
litters the grass
with bruised, spoiled fruit

from the rear, ravens
dive-bomb my head
I trudge on—
giant blackbirds
almost shave my skull,
scold and hurry me
away from nests in the tall trees
from pleasures I might have found
berry-skirted hillside falls away
black dirt cliff yawns over the road

six months in Seattle and no rain
tomorrow, I must leave
no matter—
my soul, alive in that moment, place
where the unseen, unheard
crosses worlds seen and heard
In the center,
traveler ever at home



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 should have received theirs by now. If you're none of those, and can't get down to The Book Collector, send two bux (for postage) to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 and I'll mail you a copy. If you want more than one, please send $2 for the first one and $1 for copies after that. 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 Oct. 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).