Monday, May 12, 2008

Looking Into The Eyes Of Time

Kestrel up close
Photo by Stephani Schaefer

—Stephani Schaefer, Los Molinos

out there
in the green half-light
beyond the window
where you've been standing so long

just there
in rain-beaded brambles
under the wet trees
is a loss you need to remember

in a minute it will come to you
the slow music of its hands
on your shoulders


Thanks, Steph! Come hear Stephani Schaefer read this Wednesday night to celebrate the release of her littlesnake broadside, Before Naming. 7:30 PM at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.

Also this week in NorCal poetry:

•••Monday (5/12), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center and presents Rebecca Foust and Elizabeth Krause at HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Rebecca Foust was born and raised in Altoona, formerly one of the country’s great railroad towns, located in the Allegheny Mountains in western Pennsylvania. She attended Smith College and Stanford Law School on scholarships and practiced law for ten years and now lives with her husband and three teenagers in Northern California. She has published work in Atlanta Review, Dos Passos Review, Margie, Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Nimrod International Journal, North American Review, and Taproot Literary Review and is currently in the low residency M.F.A. Writing Program at Warren Wilson College. Elizabeth Krause, who had been attending American River College, will be attending the University of Iowa in the fall. She is the current layout and design manager for Poetry Now and is the master of all that is Finno-Ugrian. Did we mention she makes a mean potato salad?

•••Wednesday (5/14), 7:30 PM: Rattlesnake Press is proud to announce the release of Among Summer Pines by Quinton Duval; a littlesnake broadside, Before Naming, by Stephani Schaefer; and Volume Three of Conversations, our third book of interviews by B.L. Kennedy, featuring Art Beck, Olivia Costellano, Quinton Duval, William S. Gainer, Mario Ellis Hill, Kathryn Hohlwein, James Jee Jobe, Andy Jones, Rebecca Morrison and Phillip T. Nails. That's at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Free. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's.

•••Wednesday (5/14), 7 PM, at the Peace Center, 909 12th St., Sacramento: A poetry reading for peace: Poets Against War featuring Francisco Alarcon, Susan Kelly-Dewitt, Joshua McKinney and V.S. Chochezi.

•••Thursday (5/15), 7 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Café presents Beth Lisick & Kayden Kross. 1414 16th. St., midtown Sacramento. $5 cover charge; book signing afterwards. Luna’s is proud to present Beth Lisick in support of her new book, Helping Me Help Myself. Beth’s last book, Ok Everybody Into The Pool, was a smash success, making the New York Times Best Seller List and quickly becoming a beyond-cult favorite. Beth will have copies of her new book available for purchase and signing. Also that night we feature and debut former Sacramento and now San Diego-based poet and performer Kayden Kross. Luna’s open mic will, as always, be prior and post to the features.

•••Friday (5/16), 7 PM: Poetry at Wild Mountain features Allegra Jostad Silberstein and Theresa McCourt. An open mike follows. Wild Mountain Books and More is located at 352 Main St., Placerville. There is no charge.

•••Friday (5/16), 7:30 PM: Writers of the New Sun / Escritores del Nuevo Sol present The Second Annual Story Night. Enjoy brief items (about 5 minutes each) in the form of essay, short story, memoir, play scene, novel excerpt, or narrative poem. We will sit around our [figurative] campfire and share our tales. MC Sam Rios, our genial, articulate host, will have great stories of his own. La Raza Galeria Posada, 1022 – 22nd Street, midtown Sacramento. This evening is dedicated to Rudy Cuellar, a man who gave so much of his life to the stories of the Chicano community.

•••Saturday (5/17), 7-9 PM: Underground Books presents Queen Sheba from Atlanta, Rodzilla (home from Denver), ImmoBme, Yoke Breaker, Random Abiladeze, La-Rue' and Supanova. 2814 35th St. (off 35th and Broadway), Sacramento. $3.00

•••Saturday (5/17), Noon to 4 PM: Poetry Picnic: California Poets in the Schools Reading with spoken word stylings of Verso Al Fresco and poetry workshops for kids of all ages. Robin Sweeny Park (corner of Litho and Caledonia Streets), Sausalito. FREE!

•••Sunday (5/18), 7:30 PM: Marin Poetry Festival presents Robert Bly, Eavan Boland & Jane Hirshfield with music of Middle East. Angelico Hall of Dominican University, 50 Acacia Ave., San Rafael. $25 general, $20 students and seniors. Sponsored by Book Passage, Dominican University and Poetry Flash. For tickets call 415.927.0960, ext. 239
or visit or email


—Virginia Hamilton Adair

bent body
rotting inside

driven dry
parts hanging down
eroded &


turned over once
rattled &


—Virginia Hamilton Adair

On the beaches of the world
Scarlatti still walks reinventing
the race of notes under his fingers
while the waves spilling over themselves shoreward
read his miind when the wind blows a certain way
writing his name in flourishes of foam
racing in time to his rhythms
telling the sand to be firm
under the master's feet.


—Virginia Hamilton Adair

The ants rush about importantly,
their city flourishes under the hot sand.
A horned toad licks them up with its long tongue.

A man kneels in the sand.
He chips at a red rock with his little pick and hammer.
The emerging fossil was once a hunger, food, and motion.

The man eats a ham sandwich and meditates.
Something has gone very wrong with his species.
They multiply without mercy or meaning.
They are killing each other, but not fast enough.

He contemplates the next billion years
while the sun moves his shadow imperceptibly.
His teeth close on the pig that died for his appetite.
Staring at the fossil, he chews slowly.
He has looked into the eyes of time, and they are hostile.


—Virginia Hamilton Adair

Now on the brink of afternoon, the wind
out of the far west is due to arrive
from the crash of waves bringing a taste of salt,
a hint of wet sea sand.

Leaving the coast, this welcome wind
careens over the shoreline cities
heading for the hills and canyons,
turning the cottonwood leaves inside out,
puzzling the rare cloud on its way to the sunset.

All this, a prelude, an evening canticle, the heart sings
after a hot day, to the punctual wind from the ocean,
enveloping us in its great cloak of air,
playing with the birds, teasing us into poems.


Today's LittleNip:

From the shoulder
Of the
Who becomes





(Contributors are welcome to cook something up for any and all of these!)

Monday: Weekly NorCal poetry calendar

Seed of the Week: Tuesday is Medusa's day to post poetry triggers such as quotes, forms, photos, memories, jokes—whatever might tickle somebody's muse. Pick up the gauntlet and send in your poetic results; and don't be shy about sending in your own triggers, too! All poems will be posted and a few of them will go into Medusa's Corner of each Rattlesnake Review. Send your work to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline for SOW; respond today, tomorrow, or whenever the muse arrives. (Print 'em out, maybe, save 'em for a dry spell?) When you send us work, though, just let us know which "seed" it was that inspired you.

Wednesday: HandyStuff Quickies: Resources for the poet, including whatever helps ease the pain of writing and/or publishing. Favorite journals to read and/or submit to; books, etc., about writing; organizational tools—you know—HandyStuff! Tell us about your favorite tools.

Thursday: B.L.'s Drive-Bys: Micro-reviews by our irreverent Reviewer-in-Residence, B.L. Kennedy.
Send books, CDs, DVDs, etc. to him for possible review (either as a Drive-By or in Rattlesnake Review) at P.O. Box 160664, Sacramento, CA 95816.

Friday: NorCal weekend poetry calendar

Daily (except Sunday): LittleNips: SnakeFood for the Poetic Soul: Daily munchables for poetic thought, including short paragraphs, quotes, wonky words, silliness, little-known poetry/poet facts, and other inspiration—yet another way to feed our ever-hungry poetic souls.

And poetry! Every day, poetry from writers near and far! The Snakes of Medusa are always hungry.......!



Coming May 14: Join us on Wednesday, May 14 for the release of Among Summer Pines by Quinton Duval; a littlesnake broadside, Before Naming, by Stephani Schaefer; and Volume Three of Conversations, our third book of interviews by B.L. Kennedy, featuring Art Beck, Olivia Costellano, Quinton Duval, William S. Gainer, Mario Ellis Hill, Kathryn Hohlwein, James Jee Jobe, Andy Jones, Rebecca Morrison, Viola Weinberg and Phillip T. Nails. That's at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM.

Also in May: Deadline for Issue #18 of Rattlesnake Review is May 15. Free copies of Issue #17 are available at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.

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.) Medusa cannot vouch for the moral fiber of other publications, contests, etc. that she lists, however, so submit to them at your own risk. 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 ( And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.