Monday, September 29, 2008

Writing & Other Flagellations

Photo by Stephani Schaefer, Los Molinos

—Bobbi Sinha-Morey, Colusa

Silver tears drop from
the heavens when star-
light appears casting
their shine on the green
laurels the pale mist
waning a low wind
stirring in the leaves on
a warm October evening.
At the edge of a lawn is
a red maple tree its still
limbs above the forsythia
in the first hours of dark-
ness. Unseen larks cry
at the moon, the hushed
motion of their wings
soft as black pearls.
Farther away the voice
of an owl quietly speaks
saying its name before
it sleeps and the thread
of a moonbow arcs
over the river glittering
under the sky till shadows
come with the beginning
of dawn.


Thanks, Bobbi, for the Fall poem and for two more, just for good measure. Refreshing to hear from two poets up north: Bobbi Sinha-Morey and Stephani Schaefer, as well as Sacramento's Cynthia Linville, who is hosting the new reading series at The Vox Gallery and Cafe (19th & X Sts., Sacramento). More about that next week.

This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Monday (9/29), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Alan Williamson and Andrena Zawinski at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Alan Williamson has been a professor at the University of California, Davis since 1983, where he has taught British and American literature, creative writing, poetry, and literature of the American West. He has received a Guggenheim fellowship, a Massachusetts Arts Council Individual Grant, and an National Endowment for the Arts grant. He is also the author of three poetry collections from the Phoenix Poets series from the University of Chicago, and has also authored several volumes of criticism.

Andrena Zawinski lives and teaches writing in Oakland, CA and was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Her work has appeared in Quarterly West, Gulf Coast, Slipstream, Rattle, Many Mountains Moving, The Progressive Magazine and many other publications. Her full collection of poems, Traveling in Reflected Light, was released in 1995 by Pig Iron Press as a Kenneth Patchen competition winner. Her chapbook, Greatest Hits 1991-2001, is part of Pudding House's archival and invitational series. An online chapbook, Elegies for My Mother, is at The Pittsburgh Quarterly. She has a chapbook and DVD of poems, music, and photographs forthcoming. Zawinski has been Features Editor at since 2000.

Next week (Monday, 10/6), SPC will feature Susan Kelly-DeWitt reading from her new book, The Fortunate Islands.

•••Weds. (10/1), 9 PM: The third season of Poetry Night at Bistro 33 begins by featuring Terry Moore. The author of 15 books of poetry and eight spoken word CDs, Terry Moore has earned a significant base of fans in California and beyond. The “Sounds of Soul” Black Music Awards named him Poet of the Year in 2001 and Best Male Spoken Word Performer in 2005. He was recognized as the “Best Poet in Sacramento” at the 2007 Hub Choice Awards. A twelve-time poetry slam champion, Moore has opened for the Temptations, Maya Angelou, and Dr. Cornel West. Called a slam poet by some and a love poet by others (Moore recently won the 2008 Sacramento Super Love Poem Slam Competition), Terry Moore offers listeners an intense and stirring performance. For more on Moore, see Info: Bistro 33 at (530) 756-4556 or Andy Jones at No cover; open mic afterward.

•••Thursday (10/2), 5:30-6:30 PM: Cosumnes River College presents Albert Garcia reading poetry at the CRC Bookstore. This event is free and open to the public. Albert Garcia is the author of two books of poems, Rainshadow (Copper Beech Press) and Skunk Talk (Bear Star Press), and of Digging In: Literature for Developing Writers (Prentice Hall). His poems have appeared in numerous national literary journals and have been featured in Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. A former Sacramento City College English Instructor, Albert is now Dean of the Language and Literature Division at SCC.

•••Thursday (10/2), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Featured readers with open mic before and after.

•••Sun. (10/5), 6 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents a special event: A Memorial Reading For Mahmoud Darwish. Mahmoud Darwish was one of the pre-eminent Arab poets and was recognized and revered by cab drivers and college professors from Cairo to Damascus. Readings anywhere in the Arab world would find thousands in attendance. Upon Darwish’s death last month, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of Palestine, declared three days of mourning, and Darwish was granted a state funeral in the West Bank, the first since Yasir Arafat’s in 2004—and more attended Darwish’s funeral. Much of Darwish’s work has the theme of Palestinian exile at its heart. Early in his life, he and his family were forced to flee to Lebanon to escape the Israeli Army as it occupied Palestine. Upon returning to his homeland, he was given the status of “present-absent alien,” which plagued his sense of identity and his relationship to his homeland. He was the winner of countless international awards, and his work has been translated into more than twenty languages, more than any other contemporary Arab poet.

Please help us commemorate the life and work of Mahmoud Darwish by bringing a piece or two of his (or any other suitably appropriate work) to read for the reading, which is being organized in coordination with Ulrich Schreiber of Berlin and Sam Hamill (Director of Poets-Against-War) as part of an international effort to pay tribute to the spirit of Darwish on October 5, 2008. Some food and refreshments will be served and you are welcome to bring other consumables, as well. HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento.


—Bobbi Sinha-Morey

In the leaning shadows
of my small bedroom
you are like dust on
the mirror always there
to remind me of you
knowing that your
silent wish is like a
prayer you can't
disguise. I can see it
in your face every
day and when daylight
begins your energy
shines, a glimpse of
the red sunrise in
your eyes. Yet you
grow so distant like
a tiny star slowly
losing its brightness
in the sky. Whisper
to me of the love
you once gave and
I'll be dazzled with
the breath of life
just like you.


—Bobbi Sinha-Morey

You were like
the January wind
brushing the sweet grass
before the edge of dawn
came rushing in and
you caressed the earth
with your soft hand
nestling your gentle
touch in a bed of
yellow musk hoping
its petals will scent
your skin and you
will sleep like a
young maiden, but
inside you are woken
by the smoke in your
mirror and you see only
an empty space where
your face should've
appeared. The tips
of your fingers draw
in the eyes, yet they
see a grey sky and
black pines below
rising but not touching
the stars in the heavens.


—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

The dryer hums
The wind rocks the house
The surf sings to me
The golf commentators whisper on TV
and I slip into sleep on the sofa


—Cynthia Linville

Your feet purple and swollen
poke out from under the hospital blanket

reminding me how much you loved to wear dainty shoes:
shoes with square heels, wedges, or buckles

shoes in white vinyl, black patent or red polka dots
but always shoes with heels.

You even wore heels with polyester pedal pushers
as in this 1974 Mother’s Day photo.

When I show you this picture you tell me
high heels always make you feel pretty.


Today's LittleNip:

I don't enjoy writing, and I certainly would not do it for a living. Some people do, but some people enjoy flagellation.

—Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

Now available at The Book Collector in Sacramento and also from
Thirteen Poems, a new chapbook from Patrick Grizzell; #2 in Katy Brown's series of blank journals (Musings2: Vices, Virtues and Obsessions); a free littlesnake broadside (Wind Physics) from Jordan Reynolds; plus Issue #19 of Rattlesnake Review (also free!). If you can't get to The Book Collector for your free copy, send me two bux and I'll mail you one. Next deadline for submissions, by the way, is November 15.

Coming in October: October’s release at The Book Collector on Weds., Oct. 8, will feature a new rattlechap from Moira Magneson (He Drank Because) and a littlesnake broadside from Hatch Graham (Circling of the Pack). That's at the Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else’s.

Then, on Thursday, Oct. 30, 8 PM, Rattlesnake Press will release two SpiralChaps to honor and celebrate Luna’s Café, including a new collection of art and poetry from B.L. Kennedy (Luna’s House of Words) and an anthology of Luna’s poets, artists and photographs (La Luna: Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café) edited by Frank Andrick. Come travel with our Away Team as we leave the Home of the Snake for a brief road trip/time travel to Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento to celebrate Art Luna and the 13 years of Luna's long-running poetry series. Who knows what auspicious adventures await us there??

Medusa's Weekly Menu:

(Contributors are welcome to cook up something 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 (sometimes): 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 future issues of 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 ravenous poetic souls.

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


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.