Monday, June 22, 2009

Staying In The Flow

Summer's here!

—Joseph Zaccardi, Fairfax

The hull of a ship.
The half-shell of a walnut.
Fingers doing something to the body of a lover.
Displacement, the ancient Greek said, is when one thing fills another
and they both become less.
Because a postcard has no envelope the message is to the point.


—Joseph Zaccardi

There is one language
and there are many languages.
And the hands and the deeds
of hands are translations.
There are questions
in everyone’s eyes,
and answers are the lines
between day and night,
something to put a word on,
to put many words on.
The ocean extinguishers the sun
and the other way around.
If there were no longer a universe
would the last word be No.
One word, all words.
The hand and the deed.
Many hopes, many hopes.
Belief in nothing
means it is impossible to know.
Belief means to know nothing
does not exist.


This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Monday (6/22) 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Julia Levine and Nancy Bodily at HQ for the Arts,1719 25th St., Sacramento. [See last Friday's post for bios.]

•••Tues. (6/23), 12-1:30 PM: California Lawyers for the Arts presents Getting Your Book Published, Avid Reader, 1600 Broadway, Sacramento. Spend your lunch hour with San Francisco attorney and publishing expert Robert Pimm while he discusses legal and business aspects related to publishing, including relevant agreements, copyright protection, product distribution, publishing strategies and many other concerns. California Lawyers for the Arts is pleased to bring this popular Literary Workshop to the Sacramento area for its second annual summer workshop. Cost: $5 students/seniors, $10 members of CLA, $20 others. Members of sponsoring organizations may attend for CLA admission fee. Info: Lisa Camhi, Program Coordinator for Education, PR and Outreach, California Lawyers for the Arts, 916-442-6210,

•••Weds. (6/24), 6-7 PM: Upstairs Poetry Reading at The Upstairs Art Gallery, 420 Main St (2nd floor), Placerville. It's a poetry open-mike read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen. No charge.

•••Thurs. (6/25), 6-8:30 PM: Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol invites you to a reception for Charlie Mariano, author of The Whole Enchilada: Recipes, Photos & Stories from Merced, CA. Come hear these anecdotes presented by Juan Carrillo, Laura Llano, and Armando Botello. It will foster memory sharing and storytelling in your own family and community. La Raza Galeria Posada, 1024 22nd St., Sacramento. Books for sale at the reception.

•••Thurs. (6/25), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Open mic and features.

•••Friday (6/26), 8 PM: The BlackOut Poetry Series 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). Nikki Brock, Bene' Bailey and comedian Corey Crenshaw, plus open mic. Info: Terry Moore, 916-208-POET.

•••Friday (6/26), 7 PM: Spanish Poetry translators John Oliver Simon and William O'Daly read in the Poetry in the Arboretum series, UC Davis Campus, Wyatt Deck.

•••Sat. (6/27), 8-11 PM: The Archives Group & The Sacramento Poetry Center present The Best Minds of My Generation: A Birthday Tribute to Allen Ginsberg hosted by B.L. Kennedy and featuring the reading of Allen Ginsberg's poetry by D.R. Wagner, Will Staple, Patrick Grizzell, Charlene Ungstad, Genelle Chaconas, Robert Grossklaus, Lytton Bell, David Gay. Music by the Downtrodden Saints. California Stage, HQ for the Arts, 2509 R St., Sacramento. Admission: $5.

•••Sat. (6/27), 7-9 PM: The Show Poetry Series, Wo’se Community Center, 2863 35th St. (off 35th & Broadway). $5. Features poets, singers, comedians and open mic. Info: 916-208-POET.

•••Sunday (6/28), 11 AM-12:45 PM: El Camino Poets will be holding its tea and workshop. Please bring 8 copies of your poem for critique. Ethel Hart Sr. Center, 27th and J Sts., Sacramento.

Also this weekend: In The Flow Festival!

•••Fri.-Sun. (6/26-28): The In The Flow Festival is a Sacramento celebration of jazz and creative music, art and local businesses. This will be a 3-day event along Broadway in Sacramento. Participating venues are: Beatnik Studios, Java Lounge, The Comedy Spot and R5 Records. Wristbands are $20 for 3 days of music, although there are some free events (see the schedule at Wristbands will be available at R5 records and at the required venues the day(s) of the festival. This year, the In the Flow Festival will feature music by Harley White Jr. Orchestra, Tony Passarell's Thin Air Orchestra, RACE!!!, Vinny Golia, Byron Blackburn Trio, Lovely Builders, Darren Johnston and Devin Hoff, Alex Jenkins' Sound Immersion, V Neck, Nagual, and The Alegria Quartet as well as many other groups from the Sacramento and Bay Area.

On Sunday at The Comedy Spot (Jazz and Poetry Series), 1-3 PM, join us for a collaborative experimental session featuring poets Josh Fernandez, Monica Storss, Jackson Griffith, frank andrick, Lob ov Instagon, Jimmy Zealous, Mike Farrell and more.

The 2009 In the Flow Festival is brought to you by SMF Presents and Swell Productions and is happy to receive support from the Sacramento Metro Arts Commission, R5 Records and the Greater Broadway Partnership. Info: Other sources of info: Sacramento News & Review issue on Thursday, June 25 ( or your local Sacramento News & Review box locations); also please read the article on In The Flow Festival & Ross Hammond in the June issue of Midtown Monthly, written by Guphy Gustafson and available for free at box locations or at


—Joseph Zaccardi

Su Tung-Po is sitting in the belly of his skiff.
He makes an entry in his journal: Windless,
the hanging trees along the banks motionless,
a subtle current moves me farther south.
Last night there were little green lights
in the shacks I passed on my journey, today nothing.
I think of the great poets who have come before
and those who will follow.


—Joseph Zaccardi

A friend calls. It is from a great distance. A satellite
connection. His voice comes from within his body.
Perhaps that is the soul showing itself. He tells me
things about the dailiness of his life, what his plans
are for the future. About the things that didn’t work out.
His voice fills with questions. It is a good thing
the world is round, he says, (drawing in and holding
his breath) for even if we lose our way, chances are,
we’ll return to the same place over time. Yes,
the voice is the soul. And what an answer he gave me.
I tell him tomorrow I’ll buy a saw, a hammer, some nails
and build something.


Today's LittleNip:

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

~Thomas Mann



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.