—Sibilla Hershey, Davis
You hound me with your lost childhood
like a beggar exposing his sores.
So what if the planes fought overhead
and dropped bombs among the potatoes?
You lived to see your city burn
on the Horizon like a stage set.
So what if the incandescent moons of target flares
ignited your nights with a red glow
and soldiers trampled your grandmother’s wheat?
You lived to hear the stories of the dead
from the old women who gathered like crows
to gossip at sundown on your grandmother’s farm
and spoke of the Jew who fought back alone
naked from the edge of his grave
while others accepted bullets like lambs
mothers holding their children.
So what if he struggles on in your mind
nameless from beyond the grave?
You lived to carry his rage in your heart
and question the sign of the cross.
(previously appeared on writersagainstwar.com)
By the way, last week we mentioned CSUS's Calaveras Station Lit. Journal. It's available at the Book Collector for $10, according to Trina Drotar, Editor-in-Chief.
This week in NorCal poetry:
•••Monday (5/11), 7:30 PM: Brad Buchanan performs his “Brief History of British Poetry from John Milton to Dylan Thomas" and Farrah Field reads. You'll get to watch and listen to Brad perform poems by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, P.B. Shelley, W. B. Yeats, Wilfred Owen, Dylan Thomas and more. Sacramento Poetry Center, HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. [See last Friday's post for bios.]
•••Monday (5/11), 6:30 PM: Writers Meeting at the Arts Council Gallery in San Andreas. Let Monika Rose know (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are bringing something to read and review.
Coming Up at SPC:
Monday, May 18: Kirk Parker, Cameron Parker, and Joseph Pratt
•••Tues. (5/12), 6:30 PM: New! S.O.S. Open Mic Night (2nd Tuesdays of every month) at Empresso Coffeehouse, 1825 Pacific Ave, Stockton. Info: Donald R. Anderson, 209-405-4041.
•••Weds. (5/13), 7:30 PM: Rattlesnake Press is proud to present a new rattlechap, Sinfonietta, from Tom Goff; Vol. 5 of Conversations, the Rattlesnake Interview Series by B.L. Kennedy; and the inauguration of a new series, Rattlesnake LittleBooks, with Shorts: Quatrains and Epigrams by Iven Lourie. That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Free!
•••Friday (5/15): Deadline for Issue #22 of Rattlesnake Review. Send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to email@example.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. E-mail attachments are preferred, but be sure to include all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of Medusa are always hungry; let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one, and please—only one submission per issue.
•••Friday (5/15), 7:30 PM: The Other Voice (sponsored by the UU Church of Davis) proudly presents two local poets: Danyen Powell and Dr. Andy Jones. Dr. Andy teaches writing and literature classes at UC Davis, and in 2006 the Associated Students of UCD presented him with the Educator of the Year Award. Also in 2006 his book of poetry, Split Stock, was published by Natsoulas Press. His co-author was Brad Henderson. His poems have appeared in Epicenter, Sacramento News & Review and other publications. He hosts "Dr. Andy's Poetry and Technology Hour" on KDVS (Wednesday afternoons at 5pm) and co-hosts (with Brad Henderson) Poetry Night at Bistro 33 every first and third Wednesday at 9 PM.
Danyen Powell was born and raised in Sacramento and now lives in Davis. He has been the facilitator for the Sacramento Poetry Center's weekly poetry workshop for the past ten years. Two chapbooks, Anvil (2004) and Blue Sky Flies Out (2009) have been published by Rattlesnake Press. His work has has won many prizes and has been published in several anthologies, including The Sacramento Anthology: 100 Poems, and in journals such as Pudding Magazine (featured poet, 1998), Brevities, Chrysanthemum, The Poets’ Guild and Rattlesnake Review. The Other Voice meets in the library of the Church located at 27074 Patwin Road. Open Mike and refreshments follow the reading, so bring along a poem or two to share. This will be the last reading in this series until September.
•••Friday (5/15): Please note, there will be no Poetry at Raven's Tale this month. The next scheduled reading is Aug. 21, featuring Susan and Joe Finkleman.
•••Sat. (5/16): Multicultural Children's Literary Arts Festival at Fremont Park. Joe and Susan Finkleman will have a booth there, where you can find lovely cards and 8x10's of Joe's images suitable for framing, as well as our poetry CDs. Four of Joe's latest pieces will also be on display for the ArtisTree Silent Auction at Central Park in Davis on May 28th from 6-9 PM.
•••Sat. (5/16), 1 PM: Gillian Wegener and Lee Herrick will present a free poetry reading at the McHenry Museum, 1402 “I” St., Modesto. Light refreshments will be served. Gillian Wegener is the author of The Opposite of Clairvoyance, published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2008. She’s had poems published in numerous journals, including Runes, americas review, Quercus Review, and In the Grove. A chapbook, Lifting One Foot, Lifting the Other was published by In the Grove Press in 2001, and she was awarded top prizes by the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation for 2006 and 2007. Wegener works as a junior high English teacher in California’s Central Valley. She lives with her husband and daughter in Modesto.
Lee Herrick is the author of This Many Miles from Desire (WordTech Editions, 2007). He was born in Daejeon, Korea and adopted at ten months. His poems have been published in ZYZZYVA, Berkeley Poetry Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, MiPoesias, and The Bloomsbury Review, among others, and in anthologies such as Seeds from a Silent Tree: An Anthology of Korean Adoptees; Hurricane Blues: Poems About Katrina and Rita; and Highway 99: A Literary Journey through California’s Great Central Valley, 2nd Edition. He is the founding editor of the poetry journal, In the Grove, and teaches at Fresno City College.
Info: Gillian Wegener (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Cleo Griffith, (209) 543-1776.
•••Saturday (5/16), 7-9 PM: The Underground Poetry Series features Supanova, The Saint and Miles Miniaci, plus open mic. Underground Books, 2814 35th St. (35th & Broadway), Sac. $3. Info: Terry Moore at 916-455-POET.
•••Sat. (5/16), 9 AM-Noon: Poetry Publishing Workshop with CB ('Lyn) Follett, Rebecca Foust, and Susan Terris at Falkirk Cultural Center in Marin County. This workshop will give tips and strategies for getting your poems published in journals and magazines; handling submissions without wasting writing time; the value (or not) of poetry contests; the do's and don'ts of cover letters; tracking submissions; choosing the right places to submit; and dealing with rejections. Bring your current cover letters for advice. If time permits, the workshop will close with a brief discussion about how to position yourself for the next challenge—publishing your book or chapbook of poems. Info: Susan Terris: SDT11@aol.com/ or Rebecca Foust, PO Box 399, Ross, CA 94957 (www.rebeccafoust.com).
•••Sunday (5/17), 3-5 PM: Poets Club of Lincoln presents poet/photographer Katy Brown and an Open Mic at Twelve Bridges Library in Lincoln.
The Amtrak drops me off at Portland
at the Latvian Folk Festival
for a visit with my people
among the ashes of Mt. Saint Helens.
Words of a language
I no longer speak fluently
dart and dive like birds before rain
in a volcanic landscape
of uprooted trees.
My brother walks through the ashes
toward the clearing
where I stand among
purple and white foxgloves.
Fearing digitalis in their leaves
will disturb our hearts
I signal him to stop.
He halts near the mud-filled basin
of what used to be Spirit Lake
and stands motionless
until I realize, as if called from a dream,
what I mistook for my brother
is only a scorched tree.
In a scarred landscape
like fireweed and foxgloves
I thrive on volcanic ash
fed by the smoky waters
of Toutle river.
(previously appeared in Poetry Now, 2005)
The streets of Paris are wet
crowds mingle with cars
your face, features are blurred
water accumulates everywhere
dead leaves clog the drains
water fills the room
a bright luminous fish
touching glass night after night.
I write you a letter
on damp paper with diluted ink
stars fade in flooded gutters
we failed to spend.
I remember the morning
when the cop rang the doorbell
and handed me a message
from the cops in New York
it said... it said...
I remember your name was misspelled
it said you were...you were
in the King’s County morgue
“for further info, call...”
I remember the weakness
at the bottom of the stairs
and asking the cop to please stay
I remember dialing the wrong number.
Like children finger painting
we streaked words and sentences
in the dew collected
from iced drinks.
We practiced straight-talk
but became enmeshed
in crabgrass with runners
that had spread in the room.
You showed me only your profile
and kept your ear tuned
to the nightingale
singing from the phone booth,
and I took snapshots
of us conversing
to play solitaire with
later that week.
We got high on iced tea
Faust and Gretchen passed by
and you extracted
a false confession from me
while at our table
a thorny cactus bloomed
Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:
Rattlesnake Review: The latest Snake (RR21) is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Next deadline is May 15 for RR22: send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to email@example.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. E-mail attachments are preferred, but be sure to include all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of Medusa are always hungry; let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one, and please—only one submission per issue.
Also available (free): littlesnake broadside #46: Snake Secrets: Getting Your Poetry Published in Rattlesnake Press (and lots of other places, besides!): A compendium of ideas for brushing up on your submissions process so as to make editors everywhere more happy, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting your poetry published. Pick up a copy at The Book Collector or write to me and I'll send you one. Free!
WTF!: Join us on Thursday, May 21 at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento for the unveiling of the second issue of WTF, the free quarterly journal from Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe that is edited by frank andrick. Next deadline, for issue #3, is July 15. Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but send your poems, photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to firstname.lastname@example.org (attachments preferred) or, if you’re snailing, to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. And be forewarned: this publication is for adults only, so you must be over 18 years of age to submit. Copies of the first issue are at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.
ALSO COMING IN MAY: Join us Weds., May 13 for a new rattlechap, Sinfonietta, from Tom Goff; Vol. 5 of Conversations, the Rattlesnake Interview Series by B.L. Kennedy; and the inauguration of a new series, Rattlesnake LittleBooks, with Shorts: Quatrains and Epigrams by Iven Lourie. That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Free!
Medusa's Weekly Menu:
(Contributors are welcome to cook up something for any and all of these!)
Monday: Weekly NorCal poetry calendar
Tuesday: 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 email@example.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline for SOWs; 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, or any other day!): 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 firstname.lastname@example.org (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.) 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 (rattlesnakepress.com). And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.