Painting by Thomas Ralph Spence
To be a writer and write things
You must have experiences you can write about.
Just living won't do. I have a theory
About masterpieces, how to make them
At very little expense, and they're every
Bit as good as the others. You can
Use the same materials of the dream, at last.
It's a kind of game with no losers and only one
Winner—you. First, pain gets
Flashed back through the story and the story
Comes out backwards and woof-side up. This is
No one's story! At least they think that
For a time and the story is architecture
Now, and then history of a diversified kind.
A vacant episode during which the bricks got
Repinted and browner. And it ends up
Nobody's, there is nothing for any of us
Except that fretful vacillating around the central
Question that brings us closer,
For better and worse, for all this time.
•••Saturday (9/1), 7 PM: Kick-off Reading for the new First-Saturday Poetry Series at Cody's Books at 1730 4th Street, Berkeley will feature David Alpaugh and Lynne Knight. Info: (510) 559-9500. David Alpaugh will also be reading with Jeff Knorr at The Sacramento Poetry Center on Monday, Sept. 24. See last Wednesday's post for bios of Alpaugh and Knight.
•••Sat. (9/1), 11 AM: Monthly writing meeting and potluck of Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol at at La Raza Galeria Posada, 1024 22nd St., Midtown Sacramento. Info: Graciela Ramirez (916-456-5323) or website: www.escritoresdelnuevosol.com/
•••Deadline is Sept. 1 for the Sonnet Contest from Poets Corner Press. Please see guidelines on poetscornerpress.com; send formal or free-form sonnets with $10 reading fee for each entry to Poets Corner Press, 8049 Thornton Rd., Stockton, CA 95209. Winner will be announced Nov. 1; judge will be Susan Kelly-DeWitt. First Place Award is $500!
•••No Sacramento Poetry Center reading this Monday, due to Labor Day.
One died, and the soul was wrenched out
Of the other in life, who, walking the streets
Wrapped in an identity like a coat, sees on and on
The same corners, volumetrics, shadows
Under trees. Farther than anyone was ever
Called, through increasingly suburban airs
And ways, with autumn falling over everything:
The plush leaves the chattels in barrels
Of an obscure family being evicted
Into the way it was, and is. The other beached
Glimpses of what the other was up to:
Revelations at last. So they grew to hate and forget each other.
So I cradle this average violin that knows
Only forgotten showtunes, but argues
The possibility of free declamation anchored
To a dull refrain, the year turning over on itself
In November, with the spaces among the days
More literal, the meat more visible on the bone.
Our question of a place of origin hangs
Like smoke: how we picnicked in pine forests,
In coves with the water always seeping up, and left
Our trash, sperm and excrement everywhere, smeared
On the landscape, to make of us what we could.
The secret life of commas:
Patricia Wellingham-Jones points out a Yahoo-Pick: Strunk and White—The Movie! Check it out at http://picks.yahoo.com/picks/i/20070829.html. (Now's there's a weekend...!) Watch for PWJ's article on poets in isolation in the next Rattlesnake Review, due out in mid-September.
PARADOXES AND OXYMORONS
This poem is concerned with language on a very plain level.
Look at it talking to you. You look out a window
Or pretend to fidget. You have it but you don't have it.
You miss it, it misses you. You miss each other.
The poem is sad because it wants to be yours, and cannot.
What's a plain level? It is that and other things,
Bringing a system of them into play. Play?
Well, actually, yes, but I consider play to be
A deeper outside thing, a dreamed role-pattern,
As in the division of grace these long August days
Without proof. Open-ended. And before you know
It gets lost in the steam and chatter of typewriters.
It has been played once more. I think you exist only
To tease me into doing it, on your level, and then you aren't there
Or have adopted a different attitude. And the poem
Has set me softly down beside you. The poem is you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org (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.) For more info about the Snake Empire, including guidelines for submitting to or obtaining our publications, click on the link to the right of this column: Rattlesnake Press (rattlesnakepress.com).
SnakeWatch: Up-to-the-minute Snake news:
ZZZZZZZ: Shh! The Snake is still sleeping! There will be no readings/releases in 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 http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. And read more about Susan at her nifty new website, http://www.susankelly-dewitt.com/. Click on "Chapbooks" for a sneak preview of Cassiopeia's cover.
Also coming in mid-September: The new issue of Rattlesnake Review (15), plus a littlesnake broadside from dawn dibartolo (Blush), and a continuation of B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series—including #4 (frank andrick) and an anthology of interviews to be released for Sacramento Poetry Month (October). Next deadline for Rattlesnake Review (16) is November 15.