Monday, October 22, 2007

Sky Dragons

—Margaret Ellis Hill, Wilton

I watch
a sky dragon
crawl across the twilight
twisting his head from side to side

an eye
above a world
that waits for the coming
clouds that follow his fiery breath
See him

change hues
from pink to orange
then purple and crimson
feet stretching as he slides a path

the blue evening
where he tries to disguise
himself between the slanted hills
and sleep

(Previously published in Amaze Journal, Feb 2006)


Upstairs Poetry!

The Hidden Passage poetry readings have moved to The Upstairs Art Gallery, 420 Main St (2nd floor), Placerville; same time, 6-7 PM, on the 4th Wednesday of the month. The first Upstairs reading will be this Wednesday, Oct. 24th. 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. No charge.


This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Tonight (Monday, 10/22), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Phoebe Wayne and Francisco Reinking at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Light food and beverages will be available, plus open mic. Phoebe Wayne received an MA in creative writing from UC Davis. She currently lives and writes in San Rafael, California. Some of her poems appear in West Wind Review, Gumball Poetry, and Greenbelt Review. She is working on a manuscript that might still be titled Into Scale, and enjoys experimenting with poetry and visual media. Francisco Reinking was born in Mexico City and raised in Santa Monica. In 2005 he graduated with an MA in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from UC Davis. He currently lives and works in Berkeley. He is the winner of the Barratt-Brown Memorial Prize for critical writing, and his work has appeared in Greenbelt Review, West Wind Review, and Zyzzyva. He has worked as a masonry worker, laborer, archivist, and photographer for the National Park Service. Next week at SPC (10/29), Frank Graham hosts a Halloween reading with the Ghastly Ghouls of SPC's Tuesday Night Workshop.

•••Today (Monday, 10/22), 11 AM: Mark Doty will be speaking at Stanford University in Palo Alto at a colloquium in the Terrace Rm. of Margaret Jacks Hall (Bldg. 460). Then, tomorrow (Tuesday, 10/23), 8 PM, he will be reading in Cubberley Auditorium on the campus.

•••Weds. (10/24), 6 PM: "Upstairs" reading in Placerville (see above).

•••Thursday (10/25), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Free. Open mic before and after.

•••Thursday (10/25), 7:30 PM: On the Creek Lecture Series at CSU Chico presents Brenda Hillman & Forrest Gander at Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall/PAC 132. This Performance is free, but a ticket is required for admission. Tickets are available at the University Box Office. Hillman will be speaking with poet, essayist, and translator Forrest Gander in this free On The Creek Lecture presentation. Brenda Hillman is known for her seven volumes of poetry and has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. Forrest Gander, author of more than a dozen books, including collaborations with notable artists and photographers, loves to find "new discoveries of language" and is the owner of, as he puts it, "an unflinchingly curious mind." Info:

•••Friday (Oct. 26), 7:30 pm: Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead. Escritores del Nuevo Sol/Writers of the New Sun offer poetry and music for this annual Mexican-originated celebration. Brought to the US by the Chicano movement, this has become a meaningful time of remembrance for people of many backgrounds to honor with joy those who have passed from their earthly life. One of a week’s full of related activities coordinated by La Raza Galeria Posada. $5 or free-will donation as you can afford. 1024 22nd St., Midtown Sacramento. Info: Graciela Ramirez (916-456-5323) or website:

•••Saturday (10/27), 7-9 PM: Michael Andrews & Wealth Bridge Financial Network present "The Show" poetry series, featuring International Slam Champion and world-renowned poet Talaam Acey from Baltimore (, as well as house band LSB and house vocalist Chris Bush. This event will be held at the Guild Theater, across the street from the Wo’Se Community Center, 2828 35th St., off 35th and Broadway. $5. All ages are welcome and the open mic list will be open, so come get on stage! Info: Terry Moore at 916-208-POET.

•••Saturday (10/27), 7:30 PM: Chaos, Anarchy, and Lucid Unreason: Unheimlich Theater: Antonin Artaud & His Dopplegangers at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Gilberto Rodriguez is the man who has reintroduced the concept of Doppelganger into the life of Sacramento. Along with Rob Lozano, they give flesh to Antonin Artaud and His Dopplegangers. Maybe you'll laugh, perhaps you will cry and hopefully you will leave forever haunted by the unholy Doppelgangers of the Poetic Muses. Sheri Adee, a master of atmospheres and soundscapes via Tibetan bowls, gongs, and multi-cuiti percussion instruments, will be adding her unique interpretations of merging musics to the evening's performance as Unheimlich Theater re-emerges from the Bardo state at The Book Collector to inseminate a new myth of Chaos, Anarchy, and Lucid Unreason.


Also in Chico this weekend:

Kathleen Partland of Chico writes: Are you afraid of your own literary possibility? Traumatized by writing at an early age? Are you a reluctant writer with potential potential? Now is the time to act! Take charge of your pen and paper and join us for an intensive workshop with a panel of local published poets and fiction writers. Sessions to be held on the next two Saturdays: Oct. 27 and Nov. 3, at the 1078 Gallery, 820 Broadway, Chico, 11 AM-1 PM, $12.50. Info: Heather Altfeld, (530) 321-2476 or or

And while you're in Chico this month (there seems to be lots going on there!), be sure to go downtown and enjoy the Window Art Project. In conjunction with the city-wide, month-long Artoberfest, artists display their work in business-place windows. Skyway Poets (Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Joy Harold Helsing, Sally Allen McNall, Audrey C. Small, Renee Goularte, Lara Gularte, Stephani Schaefer, Gloria Conly, Zora Maksente and Ann Doro) have the 'Poetry Window' at the Chamber of Commerce, 300 W. Salem St. across from the parking garage, where poems are posted for the public to read.


—Margaret Ellis Hill

Preceded by white capes and feathers,
a queen, robed in pink tulle, sits
on her throne, carried across the sky
by invisible wind-men.

Her entourage follows:
a fluffy poodle, a cat with a curled tail,
a rabbit with tall ears, a dragon,
whose smoky puffs dot the sky.

Large dishes of strawberry ice cream
and raspberry sherbet like banners
of pink and gold float on either side.

A large box of yellow doubloons,
with pearl-like beads scattered in between
are carried on gray pillows as if
they are gifts to a distant king.

When I focus on Her Majesty again
I find the parade curves right over
distant hills, her escort a bit misshapen
and gathering closely as a storm.


—Margaret Ellis Hill

Every fall, I love to listen to the calls
of wild geese high in the sky.

The gray Vees are heading home again,
winging south toward their winter sanctuary.

I’ve watched flocks land in nearby fields
to forage for leftovers and rest, and then

seen them rise, circle until the last
stragglers become part of victory signs.

As the wedges form and reform as they fly,
I hear their trumpeting change volume,

become absorbed by distance and time
before I realize I’m left behind.


Thanks, Peggy! Margaret Ellis Hill was inspired by yesterday's Medusa photo.


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.) 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 (

SnakeWatch: Up-to-the-minute Snake news:

Journals: The latest issue of Rattlesnake Review (#15) is available for free at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or send $2 to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. Next deadline is November 15. The two journals for youngsters, Snakelets and Vyper, are on hiatus; no deadlines this Fall.

New in October: Rattlesnake Press celebrated Sacramento Poetry Month on Wednesday, October 10 with the release of Spiral, a rattlechap by Kate Wells; Autumn on My Mind, a free littlesnake broadside by Mary Field; and #5 in the free Rattlesnake Interview Series by B.L. Kennedy, this one featuring Sacramento Poet Laureate Julia Connor. Also released that night was Conversations, Volume One of the Rattlesnake Interview Anthology Series (a collection of B.L.'s conversations with eleven Sacramento poets), as well as a free broadside tribute to poet/publisher Ben L. Hiatt, commissioned by Rattlesnake Press and designed by Richard Hansen from poetry by B.L. Kennedy and artwork by Patrick Grizzell. All of these are available at The Book Collector, 100 24th St., Sacramento, or from, or write to

Coming in November: The Snake is proud to announce the release of Among Neighbors, a rattlechap from Taylor Graham; Home is Where You Hang Your Wings, a littlesnake broadside from frank andrick; and A Poet's Book of Days, a perpetual calendar featuring the poetry and photography of Katy Brown. Come celebrate the release of all of these on Wednesday, November 14, 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.