They call all experience of the senses mystic, when the experience is considered.
So an apple becomes mystic when I taste in it
the summer and the snows, the wild welter of earth
and the insistence of the sun.
All of which things I can surely taste in a good apple.
Though some apples taste preponderantly of water, wet and sour
and some of too much sun, brackish sweet
like lagoon-water, that has been too much sunned.
If I say I taste these things in an apple, I am called mystic, which means a liar.
The only way to eat an apple is to hog it down like a pig
and taste nothing
that is real.
But if I eat an apple, I like to eat it with all my senses awake.
Hogging it down like a pig I call the feeding of corpses.
•••Thursday (8/30), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Featured Poet: Josh Fernandez. Open mic before and after.
•••Thurs. (8/30), 7 PM: Writers Read at the Colored Horse Studio in Ukiah is pleased to welcome Dan Roberts as featured reader for the opening of the Fall season. Roberts is a poet, artist, and radio producer who has lived in Mendocino County for 30 years. He was born in Oakland, went to high school in Berkeley, and graduated from UC Davis in 1970 in Creative Writing and Modern European Literature. He read poetry in Davis, Sacramento and Berkeley from the late 1960s on. He produced the Wild Sage Poetry radio program on KZYX for ten years, has taught as a California Poet in The Schools for over 20 years, and has published two chapbooks of poetry, Hunting For The Sun At Night (1989) and Heresies (1991). His paintings and photographs have been exhibited around Northern California since the 1970s. He currently produces an internationally syndicated radio program, “The Shortwave Report”, as well as music/poetry (RhythmRunningRiver) and youth programs (YouthSpeaksOut!) on KZYX. He has raised three children while developing a homestead in the mountains northwest of Willits. The featured reading will be followed by an open mic. Refreshments available. Donation requested. Colored Horse Studio is located at 780 Waugh Lane in Ukiah. Info: (707)275-9010, (707)468-9488, (707) 463-6989 or check online at www.coloredhorse.com or poetryflash.org/.
Book festivals in September:
•••Sat. (9/15), 10 AM-5 PM: The Eighth Annual Sonoma County Book Festival will take place in Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa, with more than seventy booths showcasing independent booksellers and publishers. Sonoma County presents the oldest and largest general interest book festival in Northern California. Admission is free and includes readings, panels and activities for all ages. Throughout the day, poets including Kay Ryan, California Poet Laureate Al Young and Francisco X. Alarcón will read on the main stage of Old Courthouse Square. At noon, Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, will introduce The Big Read Sonoma County and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, followed by the young winners of the bilingual essay contest reading from their “Which Book Would You Save?” essays. In addition to this full day of poetry, the Festival also offers a Teen Poetry Slam at 1:00 p.m. at the Target Young People’s Tent. The Target Young People’s Tent will host events all day, with readings, a “Let’s Talk about Writing” panel and a Fantasy Hour. The spacious white tent offers young people the chance to sit or sprawl on the grass on the Square’s east side and the chance to win free books. The Art Bus will once again join the Book Festival to help celebrate creativity and the literary arts. This fully equipped mobile art studio will park close to the tent. A unique element to the Festival’s kick-off of The Big Read Sonoma County will be a group of modern day troubadours walking around reciting passages from their most cherished books. Maxine Hong Kingston will introduce Veterans of War; Veterans of Peace, the winner of the 2007 Northern California Book Reviewers Special Award in Publishing. For a full list of authors, panels, times and locations visit www.socobookfest.org.
God is older than the sun and moon
and the eye cannot behold him
nor voice describe him.
But a naked man, a stranger, leaned on the gate
with his cloak over his arm, waiting to be asked in.
So I called him: come in, if you will!—
He came in slowly, and sat down by the hearth.
I said to him: And what is your name?—
He looked at me without answer, but such a loveliness
entered me, I smiled to myself, saying: He is God!
So he said: Hermes!
God is older than the sun and moon
and the eye cannot behold him
nor the voice describe him:
and still, this is the God Hermes, sitting by my hearth.
Butterly, the wind blows sea-ward, strong beyond the garden wall!
Butterfly, why do you settle on my shoe, and sip the dirt on my shoe,
Lifting your veined wings, lifting them? big white butterfly!
Already it is October, and the wind blows strong to the sea
from the hills where snow must have fallen, the wind is polished with snow.
Here in the garden, with red geraniums, it is warm, it is warm
but the wind blows strong to sea-ward, white butterfly, content on my shoe!
Will you go, will you go from my warm house?
Will you climb on your big soft wings, black-dotted,
as up an invisible rainbow, an arch
till the wind slides you sheer from the arch-crest
and in a strange level fluttering you go out to sea-ward, white speck!
Farewell, farewell, lost soul!
you have melted in the crystalline distance.
It is enough! I saw you vanish into air.
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.