Monday, June 15, 2009

My Poetry Is Seed

Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Cynthia Linville, Sacramento

Looking over the furniture
with an appraising eye,
standing before the bookshelf
mentally claiming the ones that are mine.

Going through my closets
paring down my clothes,
watching you eat dinner
wondering which of us will be the one to go.

Separate bedrooms and a counselor
as an interim step,
searching for the assets
adding up the debts.

Driving around for hours
looking for a new home,
plotting out a new direction
touching the map like a worry stone.


This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Tonight (Monday, 6/15), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Clive Matson, Q.R. Hand, and H.D. Moe at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento, PLUS a poetry workshop facilitated by Clive Matson at 6 PM: "Let the Crazy Child Write". [See last Friday's Medusa for bios.

•••Tues. (6/16), 6:30 PM: A new poetry reading series is starting up this month in Modesto! The Barkin' Dog Grill in Modesto (940 11th St.) has generously agreed to provide space for poetry, so the Third Tuesday Poetry Series is up and running. Come early, if you can, to have a bite to eat! The Barkin' Dog serves delicious food and drink. This month features Bay Area poet Lynne Knight. Lynne is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Again, published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2009. She is also the recipient of many awards, including a Theodore Roethke Award from Poetry Northwest, a Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and an NEA grant. Check out some of her work at: . After Lynne's reading there will be an Open Mic. Send questions or comments to Gillian Wegener at or at Free.

•••Weds. (6/17), 6:30 PM: Julia Connor's "Straw Into Gold" poetry writing class has completed instruction and has produced an anthology. There will be a reading open to the public featuring the poets who contributed poems to the anthology at the Ethel Hart Senior Center, 27th and J Streets, Sacramento. Refreshments and book signing to follow. Free.

•••Weds. (6/17), 7-8:30 PM: Our House Gallery Poetry Series, 1004 White Rock Rd. #400, El Dorado Hills (south of Hwy 50 on Latrobe Rd. at White Rock). All open mic. Free. Info: 916-933-4278.

•••Thurs. (6/18), 7:30 PM: Nevada County Poetry Series and Center for the Arts present Monika Rose and Christine Irving in the Off Center State at The Center for the Arts, Grass Valley (enter on Richardson St.). $5 general admission; $1 for those under 18. Refreshments, open mic.

•••Friday (6/19), 8 PM: The BlackOut PoetrySeries inside the Upper Level VIP Lounge (located inside of Fitness Systems Heathclub, by Cal State Skating Rink, 26 Massie Ct., Sacramento; exit Mack Road East to Stockton Blvd and then make a left on Massie right past Motel 6). $5. Features and open mic. Marquita Ward, Phoenyx Reign and Richard Ambercrombie, plus open mic. Info: Terry Moore, 916-208-POET.

•••Friday (6/19), 7 PM: Poetry at the Vox in a new (yet again!) midtown Sacramento location: 1931 H Street at 20th. Featuring Crawdad Nelson, Bill Gainer, James Lee Jobe, and Shawn Aveningo. [And thanks to host Cynthia Linville for today's poetry. Cynthia was featured on Medusa's Kitchen on July 30, 2008.]

•••Saturday (6/20), 4-6pm. Summer Solstice celebration of the Women's Writing Salon at Coffee Town, 134 S. Auburn St., Grass Valley, featuring six local women writers for an afternoon of poetry, prose and song. Come at 3:30 to avoid the crowd at the counter, enjoy a nutritious nosh or a gourmet beverage, then you can settle in to enjoy our readers. Info: Patricia Miller, or Betsy Fasbinder, Free.

•••Sat. (6/20), 11-3 PM: Manzanita Lit Fest at the Villa Bakery in Valley Springs. Free! The newly-formed Manzanita Writers Press and Writers Unlimited is sponsoring, with The Villa Bakery and the Amador Fiction Writers Critique Group in Ione, the Manzanita Lit Fest, a sharing of regional poetry and prose by writers and the general public. Villa Bakery is located at the Terrace Plaza mall near La Contenta on the corner of Hwy 26 and Vista del Lago Rd., at the site of the Farmers Market, 1906 Vista Del Lago, Valley Springs, 530-772-1008. Manzanita contact: Monika Rose: 530-754-0577.

The sounds of poetry and prose, as well as David Sackman’s smooth bass loop sounds, will electrify the market place. David Sackman, talented bassist from upcountry fame, will provide sultry backup and solo sound, which will waft into the market place and fill the air with great rhythms. Manzanita invites all writers in our region to participate and showcase their talents. There will be a writers’ table with books and works by our local writers for sale, and scheduled writers, along with an open mic time, every hour from 11 AM until 3 PM. Antoinette May will be reading from her new biographical novel, The Sacred Well, at 11:30, as well as signing books and chatting with the public at the writers’ table. At 2:30, Sal Manna, a writer from Valley Springs, will read from his new True Crime book, The King of Sting, which is going to be made into a film. He will have books available for signing and you can also get a chance to chat with him at the writers’ table. Writers need to arrive at 11:00 to bring their books, plus they should notify Manzanita Writers Press NOW via email that they're coming, as space is limited. Slots are filling fast, so please contact Manzanita and Writers Unlimited staff at or 530-754-0577.


—Cynthia Linville

How can an hour in a waiting room
seem interminable
when the longest human lifespan
pales against 35 millennia
of human births and deaths?
Yet this hour of waiting for bad news
is interminable

I seek to be comforted by the knowledge
that all we know is terminal
that one day even our steel and concrete
will be gone,
pulled down and eaten
by plants and landslides
tides and volcanoes
and all our bones returned to dust

Yet I am not.
I am sitting next to a friend
in a hospital
waiting for the news
that will only bring
more waiting.


—Cynthia Linville

Canceling our summer vacation
Going to the movies alone
Skipping the family Christmas
Trying to make this new apartment a home

Not calling you at lunchtime
Not picking you up from work
Not buying the last book for your collection
Not being comforted when I'm sick or hurt

Trying to hook my own necklace
Zipping my zipper up
De-linting the back of my sweater
Checking for tags sticking up

Putting away dishes without you
Setting the table for one
Watching food rot in the fridge
because I forget I am living alone.


Today's LittleNip:

—May Swenson

it is autumn within me
the blossom has long since dried.
like a seed pod
i burst open
with love tempered by hatred,
not for people
but for the cruel things they do.
I am the pod
not the seed,
I am a shell given to winter,
but my poetry is seed.



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

NEW FOR JUNE: Walt Whitman Orders a Cheeseburger, a rattlechap by Bob Stanley; Mandorla: A Prelude; a littlesnake broadside from frank andrick; and a brand-new issue of Rattlesnake Review! All at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.

COMING FOR SUMMER: There will be no rattleread in July, while the Snake enjoys a little summer hibernation. (Stay current on Sacramento poetry, though, by way of Medusa's Kitchen.) Then join us Weds., August 12 to celebrate Joyce Odam’s birthday month with two new books from her: a collection of prose poems (illustrated by Charlotte Vincent) and Rattlesnake LittleBook #2 (Noir Love). That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Free!

RATTLESNAKE REVIEW: Issue #22 is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Contributor and subscription copies will go into the mail this week and next. Deadline is August 15 for RR23: send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to 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 the on-going Medusa are always hungry; keep that poetry comin', rain or shine! Just let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one, and please—only one submission per issue of the quarterly Review. (More info at

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!: The second issue of WTF, the free quarterly journal from Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe that is edited by frank andrick, is now available at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one. 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 (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. (More info at

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 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 (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.