Friday, August 10, 2007

Even the Sky...

Mary Zeppa

for Joyce and The Mox
—Mary Zeppa, Sacramento

In another life, she ran beside the dog,
inhaling baba ganhoosh. Ah,
the sweetness that rose up

between them. Two four-legged
sisters at play: nose to nose,
they would stand

on their hind legs, bark their quick,
giddy yip! yip! yip! They
remember those days

as they sleep now in the girl’s
vast and deep feather bed.
In their veins,

thrum the oud and the dumbeg
(ah, red kerchiefs
ah, red, swaying skirts).

Once, two dogs raced a Caspian meadow
working 8 legs for all
they were worth.


Thanks, Mary! Mary Zeppa's first chapbook, Little Ship of Blessing (Poets Corner Press), came out in 2002, and her second, The Battered Bride Overture, came out from Rattlesnake Press in 2005. Zeppa is also a literary journalist (a founding editor of The Tule Review), a fledgling puppeteer (a founding member of Puppets and Peanut Butter) and one-fifth of Cherry Fizz, a quintet specializing in loose and unlabeled a cappella music.

This weekend in poetry: fire up the flivver

•••Saturday, August 11, 2 PM: Poets from Northern and Central California will read their own works from the Summer 2007 issue of Song of the San Joaquin at the McHenry Museum, 1402 "I" Street, Modesto. Free. Light refreshments will be served. Info: (209) 543-1776

•••Sunday (8/12), 2:30-4:30 PM: Open mic at Juice & Java, 7067 Skyway, Paradise. Info: 530-872-9633.

•••Monday (8/13), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Stan Zumbiel and John Allen Cann at the Carmichael Library, 5605 Marconi Ave., Carmichael. Stan Zumbiel was born in the Midwest, but very early in his life was transplanted to the central valley of California, spending time in Auburn and Lincoln before ending up for good in suburban Sacramento. He started writing poems in 1967 while serving in the Navy. He raised four children, taught both middle school and high school, and became involved with the Sacramento Poetry Center about 1985. He lives with his wife, Lynn, in Fair Oaks, and continues to write. John Allen Cann is the author of Lemurian Rhapsodies [Mudborn Press, 1976] and Accompaniments for a Dozen Roses [Aetheric Press, 1980]. He is also leader of many poetry workshops for school-aged children in the Sacramento area and at The University of the Pacific.

Writing workshops, also needing a flivver (or more!):

Donna Hanelin writes: My Fall Class schedule for Nevada City is now posted on the web site at; click on Classes. Here’s a quick look:

•••Light of Day Writers Groups begin Tuesday, September 25 for Non-fiction and Autobiography and Thursday, September 27 for Fiction. Light of Day gives feedback, editorial help and group response to manuscripts-in-progress. Let me know soon if you’re interested, groups are limited to six.

•••Tuesday afternoons, I am going to offer again the Open Door Writing Practice for those who would like to try writing with prompts, on the spot, without elaborate instruction.

•••Stories from Life and Autobiography will begin mid-October. We’ll write in-class, discuss story writing, memory, and of course, life itself!

•••You’ll also see on the website, descriptions for three Saturday Workshops — Travel Stories, Personal Writing, and Another Draft. You’re welcome to bring walking shoes and enjoy a lunchbreak stroll in the woods with Sierra views.

•••Last but not not least, a click on Retreats at the web site will bring you information on: Deep as the Sea, Wide as the Sky—Creative Writing on the Big Island of Hawaii, February 16–22, 2008; early bird registration ends November 1. This retreat is already filling up, please tell me as soon as possible if you’d like to join.

•••Also, Creative Writing in Oaxaca will continue into its 11th year, July 12–26, 2008 with two sections, a Course on Story Writing and a Retreat (private consultation only) with a weekend break for touring and/or writing. Participants can attend one or both parts. Details will be posted on the web site by September 1st. I’m very excited about this new retreat arrangement—it offers more focus and flexibility, as well as time to tour. Once again, the retreat will be at Casa Sagrada, a guest house in the highland town of weavers, Teotitlan del Valle (summer is temperate at 5,000 ft.).



a lever. For nights that won’t end:
a scream. For deep-in-the-heart-break where-

no-one-can-follow: a miner’s torch,
steady beam. For old wounds:

an implacable needle. Tie that binds
with its raggedy thread. And

your old eagle eye for as long
as it takes. You’re

the rescue squad:
bend your sweet head.

—Mary Zeppa


—Mary Zeppa

To the child on the bed
with her blonde, tidy braids, to the uncle
and aunt at her side, to the grandmother

weeping out under a maple
with the best friend
who’s 7 years old.

What death has in mind when she takes the young
is to even the odds, to remind
that the glow of young skin has no power,

that 10 freckles across a small nose
are not a true constellation,
that even the sky loses stars.



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/free 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).