Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Final Question


Photo by SPC Leith Edgar


HABITUDE
—Yousif al-Sa'igh

Every day when I returned home
I used to ring this bell,
now mute.
Although I know there is no one at home
still I ring it just because
for many years nobody has rung it, this poor miserable bell.

_____________________

INTERMITTENT
—Yousif al-Sa'igh

Tonight
the nightmare was very condensed:
A dining tale
A bottle of wine
Three glasses
And three headless men.

_____________________

SUPPER
—Yousif al-Sa'igh

Every evening when I come home
my sadness comes out of his room
wearing his winter overcoat
and walks behind me.
I walk, he walks with me,
I sit, he sits next to me,
I cry, he cries for my cry,
until midnight
when we get tired.
At that point
I see my sadness go into the kitchen
open the refrigerator,
take a black piece of meat
and prepare my supper.

____________________

THE FINAL QUESTION
—Yousif al-Sa'igh

Love begins with a question
It ends and the question remains (without an answer).
We keep searching among words,
between fingers and memories
and between queries in our conscience
and other quandaries that share our beds.
Our suffering keeps growing
until the final question.


(Today's Iraqi poetry was translated by Saadi A Simawe, Ralph Savarese and Chuck Miller.)

______________________

—Medusa

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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. 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).

Monday, July 30, 2007

Like Ghosts (And a Birthday)


Happy Birthday, Katy Brown!


LOVE IS A DEEP AND A DARK AND A LONELY
—Carl Sandburg

love is a deep and a dark and a lonely
and you take it deep take it dark
and take it with a lonely winding
and when the winding gets too lonely
then may come the windflowers
and the breath of wind over many flowers
winding its way out of many lonely flowers
waiting in rainleaf whispers
waiting in dry stalks of noon
wanting iin a music of windbreaths
so you can take love as it comes keening
as it comes with a voice and a face
and you make a talk of it
talking to yourself a talk worth keeping
and you put it away for a keep keeping
and you find it to be a hoarding
and you give it away and yet it stays hoarded

like a book read over and over again
like one book being a long row of books
like leaves of windflowers bending low
and bending to be never broken

_____________________

Happy birthday to Marketeer-in-Residence Katy Brown of Davis! See the latest issue of Rattlesnake Review (and all the others, too), as well as peeking into Medusa's Kitchen, for some of Katy's fine poetry and photography, not to mention her column in RR. And pick up a copy of her SnakeRing SpiralChap, The Quality of Light, at The Book Collector, too!


Cleo in The Bee:

Cleo Fellers Kocol is now writing a monthly poetry column for the Roseville section of The Sacramento Bee. It first appeared last Thursday; for the online version, check out http://www.sacbee.com/placer/story/290159.html/. The Bee has drastically cut the amount of notices they publish for poetry events, so at least they're doing this much. For a copy of Cleo's littlesnake broadside, by the way, send me an SASE and I'll mail you one.


This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Monday (7/30), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Brandon Cesmat at HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Please come out to see this dynamic poet at the end of his summer Valley tour. Cesmat mixes music (gourd rattles and guitars) and poetry and has a broad range of styles and topics which should make for a tour de force performance. Brandon Cesmat's Driven into the Shade (Poetic Matrix Press) received a San Diego Book Award. He teaches at Cal State University San Marcos, serves as president of California Poets in the Schools (CPITS). He has received a Pushcart Prize nomination and first prize in The Music of Poetry Anthology (Palabra Productions). His work has appeared in Homestead Review, Red River Review, Pemmican, Weber Studies, California Quarterly and Pacific Review. He and his wife survive gracefully on the edge of a mesa above the San Luis Rey River Valley in Southern California. Once he and Brenden Constantine read at the Ugly Mug Cafe in Orange, California, where they hoped to make clear that no matter how the name is spelled, it means "from the fiery hill." Visit Brandon on the web at: www.csusm.edu/profe/.

•••Thursday (8/2), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Open mic before and after featured readers. Info: Art Luna at www.lunascafe.com (916-441-3931).

_____________________

OFFERING AND REBUFF
—Carl Sandburg

I could love you
as dry roots love rain.
I could hold you
as branches in the wind
brandish petals.
Forgive me for speaking
so soon.

::

Let your heart look
on white sea spray
and be lonely.

Love is a fool star.

You and a ring of stars
may mention my name
and then forget me.

Love is a fool star.

::

____________________

KISSES, CAN YOU COME BACK LIKE GHOSTS?
—Carl Sandburg

If we ask you to gleam through the tears,
Kisses, can you come back like ghosts?

Today, tomorrow, the gateways take them.
"Always some door eats my shadow."

Love is a clock and the works wear out.
Love is a violin and the wood rots.
Love is a day with night at the end.
Love is a summer with falltime after.
Love dies always and when it dies it is dead
And when it is dead there is nothing more to it
And when there is nothing more to it then we say
This is the end, it comes always, it came to us.
And now we will bury it and put it away
Beautifully and decently, like a clock or a violin,
Like a summer day near falltime,
Like any lovely thing brought to the expected end.

Yes, let it go at that.
The clock rang and we answered.
The moon swept an old valley.
And we counted all of its rings.
The water-birds flipped in the river
And flicked their wing-points in summer gold.
To the moon and the river water-birds,
To these we answered as the high calls rang.
And now? Now we take the clock and put it away.
Now we count again the rings of the valley moon
and put them away as keepsakes.
Now we count the river-birds once more and let
them slip loose and slip up the valley curve.
This is the end, there is always an end.

Kisses, can you
come back
like ghosts?

_____________________

—Medusa

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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. 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).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Standing Up


UPRISING
—Stephen Dobyns

Straitjacket, straitjacket, straitjacket:
we are tired of this quiet life, tired of climbing
this mountain of pleases and thank yous.
It's time to kick a nun in the butt,
time to buy our prick a goddamned big car
and let the world frazzle our ears.
It's time to stop this tiptoeing around,
to stop being the property of our property.
Who lives in this holy temple anyhow?
Let's get the formaldehyde out of our veins.
Let's strip this lampshade off of our head.
It's time to stand at the door, shouting, Come back!
And here comes Envy sliding along on greased feet,
and gray-suited Lechery with his little cane,
and twin-headed Vanity winking into his own eyes,
and Anger going Grum, Grum on his little red scooter,
and chubby Appetite panting along behind the rest.
The beer's cold, the insults are hot. We'll dance
all night to the complaints of our neighbors.
We've got to get moving! Somewhere that shovel
stands propped against a wall, the patch of grass
is freshly cut where that final hole will be dug.
Let's march toward our grave scratching and farting,
our own raucous music of shouted good-byes.
Let's make sure they bury us standing up.

______________________

—Medusa (all moved, and back in the juice)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's Enough to Make Any Gorgon Cranky!

Andromeda Chained to the Rock by the Nereids
Painting by Theodore Chasseriau


ANDROMEDA
—Gerard Manley Hopkins

Now time’s Andromeda on this rock rude
With not her either beauty’s equal or
Her injury’s, looks off by both horns of shore,
Her flower, her piece of being, doomed dragon’s food.
Time past she has been attempted and pursued
By many blows and banes; but now hears roar
A wilder beast from West than all were, more
Rife in her wrongs, more lawless, and more lewd.

Her Perseus linger and leave her to her extremes?—
Pillowy air he treads a time and hangs
His thoughts on her, forsaken that she seems,
All while her patience, morselled into pangs,
Mounts; then to alight disarming, no one dreams,
With Gorgon’s gear and barebill, thongs, and fangs.

_____________________

Today, G.M. Hopkins would’ve been 162 years old. It was Perseus, of course, who finally got the best of the cranky Medusa, and then had to come home after a long day and get Andromeda out of trouble. Here are some tidbits I lifted from Wikipedia:

In Greek mythology, Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, king and queen of the Phoenician kingdom Ethiopia. Cassiopeia, having boasted herself equal in beauty to the Nereids, drew down the vengeance of Poseidon, who sent an inundation on the land and a sea-monster, which destroyed man and beast. The oracle of Ammon announced that no relief would be found until the king exposed his daughter Andromeda to the monster, so she was fastened to a rock on the shore.


Andromeda
Painting by Edward Poynter


Perseus, returning from having slain the Gorgon [and probably pooped from that], found Andromeda, slew the monster, set her free, and married her in spite of Phineus, to whom she had before been promised. At the wedding a quarrel took place between the rivals, and Phineus was turned to stone by the sight of the Gorgon's head (Ovid, Metamorphoses, v. 1).

Andromeda followed her husband to Tiryns in Argos, and they became the ancestors of the family of the Perseidae through Perseus' and Andromeda's son, Perses. Perseus and Andromeda had six sons (Perseides): Perses, Alcaeus, Heleus, Mestor, Sthenelus, and Electryon, and one daughter, Gorgophone [interesting name, from a father who slew the Gorgon]. Their descendants ruled Mycenae from Electryon down to Eurystheus, after whom Atreus got the kingdom, and included the great hero Heracles. According to this mythology, Perses is the ancestor of the Persians. After her death, she was placed by Athena amongst the constellations in the northern sky, near Perseus and Cassiopeia.

In a nutshell, Perseus slew Medusa, the mother of Pegasus, and rescued Andromeda, the daughter of Cepheus and Cassiopeia, from the sea monster Cetus. Pegasus, by the way, was born from Medusa’s blood, which fell into the sea.



Andromeda
Painting by Paul Gustave Doré


Coincidentally, Susan Kelly-DeWitt will be releasing her rattlechap, Cassiopeia over the Banyan Tree, in September. Wow! All these connections! More Medusa musings:

_____________________

MEDUSA
—Sylvia Plath

Off that landspit of stony mouth-plugs,
Eyes rolled by white sticks,
Ears cupping the sea's incoherences,
You house your unnerving head—God-ball,
Lens of mercies,
Your stooges
Plying their wild cells in my keel's shadow,
Pushing by like hearts,
Red stigmata at the very center,
Riding the rip tide to the nearest point of
departure,

Dragging their Jesus hair.
Did I escape, I wonder?
My mind winds to you
Old barnacled umbilicus, Atlantic cable,
Keeping itself, it seems, in a state of miraculous
repair.

In any case, you are always there,
Tremulous breath at the end of my line,
Curve of water upleaping
To my water rod, dazzling and grateful,
Touching and sucking.
I didn't call you.
I didn't call you at all.
Nevertheless, nevertheless
You steamed to me over the sea,
Fat and red, a placenta

Paralyzing the kicking lovers.
Cobra light
Squeezing the breath from the blood bells
Of the fuchsia. I could draw no breath,
Dead and moneyless,

Overexposed, like an X-ray.
Who do you think you are?
A Communion wafer? Blubbery Mary?
I shall take no bite of your body,
Bottle in which I live,

Ghastly Vatican.
I am sick to death of hot salt.
Green as eunuchs, your wishes
Hiss at my sins.
Off, off, eely tentacle!
There is nothing between us.

______________________

MEDUSA
—Louise Bogan

I had come to the house, in a cave of trees,
Facing a sheer sky.
Everything moved—a bell hung ready to strike,
Sun and reflection wheeled by.

When the bare eyes were before me
And the hissing hair,
Held up at a window, seen through a door.
The stiff bald eyes, the serpents on the forehead
Formed in the air.

This is a dead scene forever now.
Nothing will ever stir.
The end will never brighten it more than this,
Nor the rain blur.

The water will always fall, and will not fall,
And the tipped bell make no sound.
The grass will always be growing for hay
Deep on the ground.

And I shall stand here like a shadow
Under the great balanced day,
My eyes on the yellow dust, that was lifting in the wind,
And does not drift away.

_____________________

Enough with the testy Gorgon! Save us, G.M.H., from her stony stare, and happy birthday to you!

GOD’S GRANDEUR
—Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell; the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

_____________________

Now I’m going to unplug my computer. Today is Moving Day around here; we will be moving the Snake-digs from downstairs to up. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to post tomorrow, but I’m never quite sure about technology. So if I never come back, well, it’s been nice…

—Poor Medusa (who's sick of being the bad guy—why don't they pick on somebody who doesn't have to move today?...It's enough to have to keep these wriggly snakes in line...
blah blah blah...)

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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. 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).

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Going's Hard


Lantern seed pods
Photo by Katy Brown, Davis


THE BIRDS HAVE VANISHED
—Li Po

The birds have vanished into the sky,
and now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

_______________________

NOCTURNE
—Li Po

A white mooon
Floating
On sea-green waves;
A snowy heron
Flying
In the night;
Girls
Walking home
From water-chesnut picking
And singing
In the moonlight.

____________________


This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Thursday, July 26 through Sunday, July 29 is the weekend of the San Francisco International Poetry Festival, starting with the Kick-off Celebration Thursday in Jack Kerouac Alley in North Beach (6:30 PM), hosted by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The Main Reading at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater on Friday (7 PM) will feature Ferlinghetti, Bei Dao, and lots of other readers from around the world. Saturday is Branch Library Day, with readings at various SF Library branches beginning at 2:30 PM; then at 7 PM, another reading at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater featuring Jack Hirschman and more international artists. Sunday’s North Beach Poetry Crawl, beginning at noon at the Beat Museum, 540 Broadway, will feature readings at several venues (one after the other), including Purple Onion, Caffe Trieste, City Lights, and Live Worms Gallery. Info: www.sfinternationalpoetryfestival.org/.

•••Also this weekend, attend the Sixth Annual Sacramento French Film Festival on Saturday and Sunday at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento. Info: 916-442-7378 or http://sacramentofrenchfilmfestival.org/.

•••Saturday (7/28), 7:30 PM: Unheimlich Theater presents The Poetry of Charles Baudelaire at The Book Collector, 1008 24th Street, between J & K Sts., Sacramento. Info: (916) 442-9295 or www.poems-for-all.com/. This month, Unheimlich Theatre will be presenting the works of Charles Baudelaire, featuring frank andrick, Todd Mann & Leslie Kramer, Sheri Adee and Gilberto Rodiguez in a combination of essay performance, poetry reading and uncanny theatrics.

The evening begins with a reading/performance of Baudelaire Poetry presented by Todd Mann and Leslie Kramer, working from various translations of the poet's poems and prose. Todd and Leslie are the poets and publishers who publish the poetry art journal Lit. Jar. A new fall issue of Lit. Jar will be available in September.

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.


frank andrick (aka francois drouin) will present a performance/essay on the life, times, and works of the French poet Charles Baudelaire. It will conclude with an exposition of Baudelaire’s influence from his contemporaries, thru his influence upon modem art, both literary and visual, including Symbolism, Dada, Surrealism, the Beat Writers, Philip Lamantia, and now contemporary Sacramemto poets. The presentation will interpolate statement, poems and prose of Baudelaire and his 'echoes' of influence as it segues into sheer unadulterated performance Unheimlich style of works by Baudelaire, Antonin Artaud, frank andrick, Henri Michaux, by Gilberto Rodriguez, the man who has reintroduced the concept of Doppelganger into the life of Sacramento.

•••Sunday (7/29), 1 PM: Poetry and Pie: Call it a Gala or just a healthy time out — an open forum for reading a favorite poem. Or getting supportive feedback on your own creation. Or simply for voicing it for applause only. Tim will provide some poets’ tips and poetry starters for all (briefly!) Upbeat and informal, they meet for coffee or lunch or pie (Mmmm) at Marie Calendar’s on Sunrise (just north of Madison in Citrus Heights). The room holds 12 max, at one big table. Perfect! But please RSVP to Tim Bellows, so they can reserve their space: tpb45@sbcglobal.net/.
Hosted by the power of the Muse (and Tim Bellows / Sierra College / Liberal Arts).

Admission price: a poem to share. Or a tip for poets in the craft dept.
Attitude: To celebrate greatness in language, to contribute, to enjoy!
Prevailing koan: “Ideas are water soluble.”

•••Monday (7/30), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Brandon Cesmat at HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Please come out to see this dynamic poet at the end of his summer Valley tour. Cesmat mixes music (gourd rattles and guitars) and poetry and has a broad range of styles and topics which should make for a tour de force performance. Brandon Cesmat's Driven into the Shade (Poetic Matrix Press) received a San Diego Book Award. He teaches at Cal State University San Marcos, serves as president of California Poets in the Schools (CPITS). He has received a Pushcart Prize nomination and first prize in The Music of Poetry Anthology (Palabra Productions). His work has appeared in Homestead Review, Red River Review, Pemmican, Weber Studies, California Quarterly and Pacific Review. He and his wife survive gracefully on the edge of a mesa above the San Luis Rey River Valley in Southern California. Once he and Brenden Constantine read at the Ugly Mug Cafe in Orange, California, where they hoped to make clear that no matter how the name is spelled, it means "from the fiery hill." Visit Brandon on the web here: www.csusm.edu/profe/.

_____________________

A SUMMER DAY IN THE MOUNTAINS
—Li Po

I pull off my cap
And fling it
On the rocks.
I stretch myself
Naked
Under the green trees.
Lazily waving my fan
Of white feathers,
Bareheaded,
A wine-cup in my hand,
I listen to the whisper
Of the wind
Among the pines.

____________________

THE FIREFLY
—Li Po

The rain
Tries without avail
To quench your lamp,
And the rushing wind
But makes it glow
The more.

I believe
That if you flew
Up to the sky
You would twinkle
As a star
Beside the moon.

_____________________

ANCIENT AIR
—Li Po

Climbed high, to gaze upon the sea,
Heaven and Earth, so vast, so vast.
Frost clothes all things in Autumn.
Winds waft, the broad wastes cold.
Glory, splendor; eastward flowing stream,
This world's affairs, just waves.
White sun covered, its dying rays,
The floating clouds, no resting place.
In lofty Wu-t'ung trees nest lowly finches.
Down among the thorny brush the Phoenix perches.
All that's left, to go home again,
Hand on my sword I sing, "The Going's Hard."

_____________________

—Medusa

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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. 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).

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Tipping Earth


Faerie Daughter's Wings


SIGNATURE OF ALL THINGS
Part 1
—Kenneth Rexroth

My head and shoulders, and my book
In the cool shade, and my body
Stretched bathing in the sun, I lie
Reading beside the waterfall—
Boehme's "Signature of All Things."
Through the deep July day the leaves
Of the laurel, all the colors
Of gold, spin down through the moving
Deep laurel shade all day. They float
On the mirrored sky and forest
For a while, and then, still slowly
Spinning, sink through the crystal deep
Of the pool to its leaf gold floor.
The saint saw the world as streaming
In the electrolysis of love.
I put him by and gaze through shade
Folded into shade of slender
Laurel trunks and leaves filled with sun.
The wren broods in her moss domed nest,
A newt struggles with a white moth
Drowning in the pool.
The hawks scream,
Playing together on the ceiling
Of heaven. The long hours go by.
I think of those who have loved me,
Of all the mountains I have climbed,
Of all the seas I have swum in.
The evil of the world sinks.
My own sin and trouble fall away
Like Christian's bundle, and I watch
My forty summers fall like falling
Leaves and falling water held
Eternally in summer air.

_____________________

Thanks to Rexroth, of course, and to Rattlechapper Colette Jonopulos for her photo from the faerieworlds festival in Oregon. Her publishing company, Tiger's Eye, is now offering literary assistance for writers, including help with writing, editing, career planning, marketing, and chapbooks. She says: As active writers, we know the disappointment of receiving rejections and the elation of having books, articles, and poems accepted for publication. Our experience and knowledge of the publishing industry will work for you. Instead of putting that manuscript back into your desk drawer, send it to Tiger's Eye Editing. Writing is a solitary profession. Getting your work ready for submission does not have to be. Check them out at
help tigerseyeediting@yahoo.com/ or Tiger's Eye Editing, P.O. Box 2935, Eugene, OR 97402.



Wired:

I don’t normally post Bay Area readings, especially as far away as Santa Cruz, but this one might be worth the trip for those of us who remember Chiron Review. Tomorrow (Friday, 7/27), the Wired Wash Café (135 Laurel St. at Pacific, Santa Cruz) will present Michael Hathaway. Michael Hathaway started Chiron Review literary magazine a year out of high school. He edited and published this magazine until it folded in Dec. 2005, after 24 years and 81 issues. When asked if he will start it back up again, he replies, "Not in Kansas." He's published 10 books of poetry and one book of prose. He's had more than 300 poems appear in literary journals and anthologies including Pearl, Gypsy, Nerve Cowboy, The James White Review, Nothing Sinister, Blank Gun Silencer, New Sins, Raw Bone, Cat Fancy, and many more. He's been a vegerarian since 1981 and is working hard on becoming vegan. He works as Keeper of History for Stafford County, Kansas. He lives in St. John, Kansas with his 30 cats where they are surrounded by Republicans and Christians and Cowboys (oh my!). He patiently awaits rescue. See the flyer on the Wired Poets website: http://www.wiredpoets.com/ or http://groups.myspace.com/wiredpoets/. Open mic sign-up 7 PM, start 7:30 PM.


A Warm Invitation to "Poetry and Pie" this Sunday (7/28), 1 PM:

•••Discover something new about your poem — or a favorite poet.
•••Take a poetry break!

Hosted by the power of the Muse (and Tim Bellows / Sierra College / Liberal Arts)

Call it a Gala or just a healthy time out — an open forum for reading a favorite poem. Or getting supportive feedback on your own creation. Or simply for voicing it for applause only. Tim will provide some poets’ tips and poetry starters for all (briefly!) Upbeat and informal, they meet for coffee or lunch or pie (Mmmm) at Marie Calendar’s on Sunrise (just north of Madison). The room holds 12 max, at one big table. Perfect! But please RSVP to Tim Bellows, so they can reserve their space: tpb45@sbcglobal.net/

Area: Eastern Sacramento
Date: This Sunday
Time: 1 PM to about 3 PM
Admission price: a poem to share. Or a tip for poets in the craft dept.
Attitude: To celebrate greatness in language, to contribute, to enjoy!
Prevailing koan: “Ideas are water soluble.”


Tonight in NorCal poetry:

•••Thursday (7/26), 7 PM: The reading at Colored Horse Studio, 780 Waugh Lane, Ukiah, is all open-mic this month. Six-minute limit per round. Refreshments available. Donation requested. Info: (707)463-6989, (707)462-4557, coloredhorse.com/, poetryflash.org/.

•••Thursday (7/26), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Care, 1414 16th St., Sacramento features Tana, Tessa, Kristin Lucas, Linsey King. Info: Art Luna at www.lunascafe.com (916-441-3931). Hosted by B.L. Kennedy.

______________________

THE HEART OF HERAKLES
—Kenneth Rexroth

Lying under the stars,
In the summer night,
Late, while the autumn
Constellations climb the sky,
As the Cluster of Hercules
Falls down the west
I put the telescope by
And watch Deneb
Move towards the zenith.
My body is asleep. Only
My eyes and brain are awake.
The stars stand around me
Like gold eyes. I can no longer
Tell where I begin and leave off.
The faint breeze in the dark pines,
And the invisible grass,
The tipping earth, swarming stars
Have an eye that sees itself.

______________________

A LONG LIFETIME
—Kenneth Rexroth

A long lifetime
Peoples and places
And the crisis of mankind—
What survives is the crystal—
Infinitely small—
Infinitely large—

____________________

—Medusa

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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. 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).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

These Last Moments on Earth


Gail Entrekin, Nevada City


FEAR
—Gail Entrekin

Fear tastes like pennies, sounds like
that shush when you clasp your hands
over your ears, floats below the surface of the pool
where there are voices on TV, birds, cars arriving,
but you can’t make any of it out.
The brain’s red alert shuts out all interference;
they could be behind your back now
revoking your right to speak, poisoning your water,
torturing your neighbor, and it would come to you
as a faint annoyance because the thing,
the thing that might happen, has sucked
all the air from the room and you are
focusing the high beam of your mind
on survival.
If you fall into snakes
in the dark there is horror, which is separate
from fear, and if you need a doctor but you can’t pay
there is panic, also a separate thing. They know
fear is the thing you can’t see,
and they use it,
the thing waiting
around the next bend in the road,
when the brain’s messages are
stacking up behind each other,
running into each other like cars
in a freeway pile-up, and they keep you
on Yellow Alert so you’ll focus,
ignore the man behind the curtain,
the one manipulating the life of your son
with strings and mirrors. What is it?
What should we watch for?
It might be a terrorist bomb
ticking in a shoe,
an unusually hot autumn,
the disappearance of frogs.
It might be nothing
at all.

______________________

Thanks, Gail! Gail Entrekin is poetry editor of Hip Pocket Press and editor of the Women's Writing Salon web site at www.nevadacountyartscouncil.org/. She is the organizer, as well, of the Women's Writing Salon seasonal live Salons at Jason's in Grass Valley. She teaches creative writing at Sierra College in Grass Valley and lives partly in Nevada City, partly in Berkeley, with her husband, writer Charles Entrekin. Check out her website at www.entrekin.net/.

______________________

Watershed 8/18

Saturday, August 18 is the date of the 12th annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, to be held from Noon to 4 PM at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, Berkeley. Since 1996, thousands have gathered together with environmental and literary groups to celebrate writers, nature, and community at the annual Watershed Festival. For an update on the "State of the Planet," join National Book Critics Circle Award-winning poet Robert Hass reading at Watershed from his poem of the same name. This year's event also features famed Beat poet Michael McClure with saxophonist George Brooks, Montana Poet Laureate Sandra Alcosser, author/cultural historian Rebecca Solnit, Poetry Flash editor/poet Richard Silberg, poet/naturalist Maya Khosla, student and youth poets from River of Words and California Poets in the Schools. Voices of the Watershed poets, curated by Nevada City poet Chris Olander presents Guarionex Delgado, Grace Grafton, Indigo Moor, Margo Pepper, Chad Sweeney, and Jennifer K. Sweeney. Smooth Toad, country blues music with G.P. Skratz, Hal Hughes, and Jean Robertson, will play throughout the afternoon. We Are Nature open reading (sign up on site). Environmental updates provided by Kirstin Miller of Ecocity Builders and Kirk Lumpkin from the Ecology Center.

In addition to main stage readings and performances, the Festival encourages activism and involvement via River Village, an exhibit area for environmental and literary organizations. There will be interactive nature and art activities, including a fifty-foot poetry rubbing panel carved in the form of a river from storm-salvaged trees. In addition to environmental groups, literary presses, organizations, or magazines representing any aspect of the creative writing community or any literary subject matter are warmly welcome! To exhibit, download a registration form: http://poetryflash.org/WS07.html/.


They also need Watershed Volunteers! If your organization provides two (or more) volunteers to help set up, take down, and everything in between, your registration fee will be waived. You're also invited to attend the post-festival reception to meet the poets and writers. Coming on your own and still want to volunteer? You'll receive a free Watershed T-shirt and refreshments at the Green Room backstage. You're also invited to attend the post-festival reception to meet the poets and writers. Plus, you'll be an essential participant in a truly inspirational event! To volunteer at this year's festival: http://poetryflash.org/volunteer_form.html/.


Today in NorCal poetry:

•••Wednesday (7/25), 6-7 PM: Hidden Passage Poetry Reading at Hidden Passage Books, 352 Main St. in Placerville. It's an open-mic read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen.

______________________

MEXICO
—Gail Entrekin

There is not exactly anything to fear.
—Lucy Brock-Broido

In Mexico, the stomach rebels in small ways
unrelated to Montezuma or fish washed in well water.
It happens long before any specific event
or figment can trigger it, sometimes even
on the plane over those black deserted
crags, vistas of brush and dirt heaped in pointed
cones of desolation finally yielding to the luminous green
patches like mirages, a landscape dotted with false hopes,
resorts and charming villages painted by an optimistic
child in one corner of this ugly canvas
where you could perish in dust,
never be found.

It’s the total unfamiliarity,
the unwelcome, the wall of heat you can barely permeate
as you descend the metal stairway to the tarmac,
clutching your straw hat, the sun unleashed by the thin
indifferent atmosphere — the veiled or imagined hostility
in the eyes of the dark-skinned worker,
his dirty blue jumpsuit like a prison uniform,
a third world bandana tied around his head.

You have come to play and you are willing
to pay for your fun, will slide those 20-peso
notes into the brown hands of drivers,
bellmen, waiters, and tell yourself
this is their job. But when you ask
the driver tells you he never takes vacations,
never goes away. They never stop doing
what they do for you, whenever you
wish to spend.

That brown worm
curled at the bottom of the Cuervo
has entered your belly like a dark night
and the first pain is telling you
there will be hell to pay.

_____________________

SOMETHING COMING
—Gail Entrekin

We are beginning to understand something
of what is coming, to go beyond sensing a shadow
in the woods watching us, and to see it take shape,
see it coming toward us across a field, zigzagging
as it does, now standing idle and watching the sky,
now heading directly for us at a trot, and realizing
that we are seen, that it will find us no matter
what we do; we are slowing down.

We are
standing very still hoping to blend with the waving
greens of this raw springtime, to stay upwind
of it as warmer breezes pick up and buffet the leaves,
the grasses, tossing everything in a moving salad
of life, we sway on our legs, trying to move with
the air around us, and we stop thinking of what is around
the next bend in the path, stop planning our next
escape route, and begin to merge with the moment;
we have slipped into a painting by Van Gogh;
something is coming again across the fields and we
are open as sun flowers in full bloom
to these last moments on the earth.

_____________________

PREPARE TO STOP

thinking about hurts and slights,
taking them out of their black box
as you drift near sleep,
crooning over them,
caressing their long pain,
their years and years of sorrow
jerking you awake again
just as you begin to drift,
forcing you to look at them again,
clear your head:
prepare to stop this practice.

Prepare to stop
formulating letters and speeches
in which you have a bone to pick
but express yourself with restraint,
candor, eloquence: magnanimous & kind.
Be magnanimous and kind.
Let it all go.

Let the computer sit brewing its tiny messages,
mumbling to itself in the sunlight on the desk.
Press Off. Walk away.
Let the message machine sit gasping
with its burden of unspoken requests,
its frantic red signal unheeded.
Go, unperturbed, from the command center
into the kitchen.

Pass the stack of letters,
catalogs and bills jockeying for position
on top of the pile, pushing and shoving
each other when your back is turned,
frozen momentarily into a precarious balance
when you glance their way.

Walk out
to the garden. Let the dog come too
(and the cat pass carefully in). Take
your cup of tea and the piece of chocolate
in the pocket of your shirt. Stop
to press your face, avoiding the bee,
into the wet lace of the lilac bloom
beside the door. Prepare to stop
getting ready. This is not preparation
for life. This is life.
This is life.

—Gail Entrekin

_____________________

—Medusa

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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. 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).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Finding True North


Peahen and chicks, including white one
Photo by Marie Riepenhoff-Talty



SHE WAS FAST
—Marie Riepenhoff-Talty, Longboat Key, FL

They pecked at her—
little albino mutation;
maybe not true albino, but
different; inferior.

They already had a small
royal blue tuft of peacock feathers;
she was pale, colorless; so they
pecked at her.

Even the mother pecked her
out of the way. Why do we
dislike difference so much
when each of us is different?

But she was fast—she was
never the last in the brood
when they ran across the street.

______________________

Thanks, Marie! Today's poetry is all about birds. Check out Rattlesnake Review 14 for lots more of ex-Sacramentan Marie Riepenhoff-Talty's poetry and photos. Free at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.


California Lecture Series

Subscriptions are on sale now ($150) for the next six lectures in the California Lecture Series. Info or subscribe at (916) 737-1300 or www.californialectures.org/. The series is held at the Crest Theatre, Sacramento, 7:30 PM, and features the following speakers:

YANN MARTEL: Wednesday, October 24, 2007
HA JIN: Thursday, November 15, 2007
SUE MILLER: Thursday, January 10, 2008
GERALDINE BROOKS: Wednesday, February 6, 2008
RICHARD POWERS: Monday, March 3, 2008
TOBIAS WOLFF: Thursday, May 8, 2008
WANGARI MAATHAI*: Friday, September 21, 2007
(*SPECIAL EVENT: not included in the Six-Lecture Subscription
Series)


September Book Fairs

Richard Hansen sends a heads-up of two book fairs in this area in September. First there is the Art Book Fair at the Crocker Art Museum (216 O St., Sac., 916-264-5423) on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10:30-4 PM, which will feature publishers from around the country bringing in their newest special art books, plus their art classics. Children’s readings, lectures for the whole family.

Then on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 AM-5 PM, there will be the Fourteenth Central Valley Antiquarian Book Fair at the Scottish Rite Temple, 6151 H St., Sacramento, 916-849-9248. Come browse books of all kinds and all price ranges from dozens of dealers. $5 entry.


Tonight in NorCal poetry:

•••Tuesday (7/24), 8 PM: Comedy and Poetry Open Mic at Butch-N-Nellie's, corner of 19th & I Streets, Downtown Sacramento. The hue & cry for more open mic opportunities for poets has been answered. Butch-N-Nellie's now host a weekly poetry and comedy feature with open mic. Support the businesses that support the literary arts. Info: 916-548-8391.

______________________

EAGLE
—Raymond Carver

It was a sixteen-inch ling cod that the eagle
dropped near our feet
at the top of Bagley Creek canyon,
at the edge of the green woods.
Puncture marks in the sides of the fish
where the bird gripped with its talons!
That and a piece torn out of the fish's back.
Like an old painting recalled,
or an ancient memory coming back,
that eagle flew with the fish from the Strait
of Juan de Fuca up the canyon to where
the woods begin, and we stood watching.
It lost the fish above our heads,
dropped for it, missed it, and soared on
over the valley where wind beats all day.
We watched it keep going until it was
a speck, then gone. I picked up
the fish. That miraculous ling cod.
Came home from the walk and‚
why the hell not?—cooked it
lightly in oil and ate it
with boiled potatoes and peas and biscuits.
Over dinner, talking about eagles
and an older, fiercer order of things.

____________________

AWAY
—Raymond Carver

I had forgotten about the quail that live
on the hillside over behind Art and Marilyn's
place. I opened up the house, made a fire,
and afterwards slept like a dead man.
The next morning there were quail in the drive
and in the bushes outside the front window.
I talked to you on the phone.
Tried to joke. Don't worry
about me, I said, I have the quail
for company. Well, they took flight
when I opened the door. A week later
and they still haven't come back. When I look
at the silent telephone I think of quail.
When I think of the quail and how they
went away, I remember talking to you that morning
and how the receiver lay in my hand. My heart—
the blurred things it was doing at the time.

_____________________

THE CRANES
—Raymond Carver

Cranes lifting up out of the marshland...
My brother brings his fingers to his temples
and then drops his hands.

Like that, he was dead.
The satin lining of autumn.
O my brother! I miss you now, and I'd like to have you back.

Hug you like a grown man
who knows the worth of things.
The mist of events drifts away.

Not in this life, I told you once.
I was given a different set of marching orders.
I planned to go mule-packing across the Isthmus.

Begone, though, if this is your idea of things!
But I'll think of you out there
when I look at those stars we saw as children.

The cranes wallop their wings.
In a moment, they'll find true north.
Then turn in the opposite direction.

___________________

—Medusa

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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. 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).

Monday, July 23, 2007

Neglecting the Night


Tyler Swinney, Sacramento


NIGHT-HAWKS AT DAYBREAK
Part I


Every door slams shut,
mini-blinds slowly descend
to neglect the night.

Artificial light
reflects on half-empty glass,
begs for attention.

Caramel bottle,
tipped, cuts gently through ice.
Sweat bleeds through pale skin.

We scream and kick, drunk,
like we own every street.
The moon howls my name.

Fist-fights in alleys,
rain falls on school uniforms.
We were meant for this.

Streetlamps hum and pulse,
keeping tempo, while water
sings down gutter drains.

Midnight car rides through
Existential bliss, dreaming
Of science and love.

Pitch black park benches
Smoked out, whispering secrets
All is understood.

Trees sway in the wind,
lean and whisper rumors that
morning quickly nears.

Sun threatens daybreak,
the moon refuses defeat.
We all neglect sleep.

—Tyler Swinney

_____________________

Thanks, Tyler! Tyler Swinney says: I was born in Lodi, Ca, and grew up in that area. I am 19 years old, and I am a student at Sacramento City College. I am a creative writing major. I am somewhat new to poetry, and I have just had a poem published in Poetry Now, due out in the October issue.

WE HIDE OUR HORNS
—Tyler Swinney


The disc jockey talks quickly
through the car radio, tells me
there’s a show soon and
he wants me to go.

I lean back into the seat and
wait for the light to turn green.
Her dress gently teases her ankles
as she steps off the curb into
the dusty city streets,

a matador’s cape
dancing in the wind.

____________________

This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Tonight (7/23), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents A French Poetry Night, featuring Monique Heusner, Marie-Cémence Mayssonnier, Ellénore Bienick, Marc Feldman & Béatrice Hildebrand. HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Sponsored jointly by The Sacramento Poetry Center [http://www.sacramentopoetrycenter.org] and Alliance Française [http://www.afdesacramento.org]. Next week at SPC: Brandon Cesmat.

Ellenore Bienick was born in Paris to a French mother and an American father. She studied British and American literature at the Sorbonne and counseling at Sacramento State. But she admits her true passion is the literature and theater of her native France. She feels that, in order to enjoy fully other literary cultures, you must first know your own! Ellenore and her husband David moved to Sacramento in December 2005. David is a news reporter for KCRA and performed in the 2005 Sacramento Stage production of Moliere’s The Marriage Trap. Ellenore taught language and literature at the the Alliance Francaise for five years. Then, last December she became a full-time mother of twin boys. She now looks forward to teaching Daniel and Philippe to read... French poetry, of course!

Monique Heusner was born in France, but has lived in the U.S. for the last 40 years, where she studied to become a high school teacher in French and Art, while being a wife and mother. She is a part-time teacher at the Alliance Française. She states that, “Above all I cherish my family and friends. My personal interests are varied, ranging from spiritual development to music, to reading, to dabbling in paint or clay, to puzzle solving, ballroom dancing, movie or play watching, or traveling... and last but not least to laughing... In short, juggling with time while it lasts!”

Béatrice Hildebrand is originally from Brussels, Belgium. She is co-founder and director of the Alliance Française de Sacramento. She teaches conversational French in the community and reads French literature when not working or gardening.

•••Tuesday (7/24), 8 PM: Comedy and Poetry Open Mic at Butch-N-Nellie's, corner of 19th & I Streets, Downtown Sacramento. The hue & cry for more open mic opportunities for poets has been answered. Butch-N-Nellie's now host a weekly poetry and comedy feature with open mic. Support the businesses that support the literary arts. Info: 916-548-8391.

•••Wednesday (7/25), 6-7 PM: Hidden Passage Poetry Reading at Hidden Passage Books, 352 Main St. in Placerville. It's an open-mic read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen.

•••Thursday (7/26), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Care, 1414 16th St., Sacramento features Tana, Tessa, Kristin Lucas, Linsey King. Info: Art Luna at www.lunascafe.com (916-441-3931). Hosted by B.L. Kennedy.

•••Saturday (7/28), 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 www.poems-for-all.com/.

•••Thursday, July 26 through Sunday, July 29 is the weekend of the San Francisco International Poetry Festival, starting with the Kick-off Celebration Thursday in Jack Kerouac Alley in North Beach (6:30 PM), hosted by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The Main Reading at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater on Friday (7 PM) will feature Ferlinghetti, Bei Dao, and lots of other readers from around the world. Saturday is Branch Library Day, with readings at various SF Library branches beginning at 2:30 PM; then at 7 PM, another reading at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater featuring Jack Hirschman and more international artists. Sunday’s North Beach Poetry Crawl, beginning at noon at the Beat Museum, 540 Broadway, will feature readings at several venues (one after the other), including Purple Onion, Caffe Trieste, City Lights, and Live Worms Gallery. Info: www.sfinternationalpoetryfestival.org/.

•••Also this weekend, attend the Sixth Annual Sacramento French Film Festival on Saturday and Sunday at the Crest Theatre, 1013 K St., Sacramento. Info: 916-442-7378 or http://sacramentofrenchfilmfestival.org/.

______________________


Tyler Swinney, Again


SUMMER WORK 2004
—Tyler Swinney, Sacramento

The sun beats at the black top, who,
beating back at us, turns our pale winter foreheads to vinegar sweat.
The children smell of life, a blend of dirt and hot cement,
the way roads smell after the seasons’ first rain, saturated by the day,
rich and deep, they scream, in fear, in hate, in love, with everything,
with nothing,
with everything.

They laugh, without reserve, without inhibition;
they laugh if only to hear the sound.

_____________________

DISCARDED
—Tyler Swinney

The metal pipe rings hollow against his mouth.
The dirt is cold against his swollen cheek.
A few teeth lie in front of him, discarded.
He hears an engine start, they drive away.
Uncertain of his ability to stand,
he lays limp in the fetal position in which he fell.
The shade of the trees moves slowly over his face
while the sun abandons him for the West.
Two jays sing to each other from the lowest branch of
an oak tree as the creek whispers him to sleep.

______________________

—Medusa

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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 http://www.unf.edu/mudlark/. 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).