Monday, July 27, 2009

A Single Lucid Drop

Photo by Bob Dreizler, Sacramento

—Carol Louise Moon, Sacramento

The many rocks laid

out on a curved pathway;

gems of varying symmetry.

English walnuts fallen

on a sidewalk. A mud

river winding northward.

A broken tree trunk

in a sandy creek bed;

a woman asleep on her side.


HandyStuff Quickies:

Katy Brown sends us this link to The Guardian and its way-cool poetry site: Check it out!

And Steve Williams writes: I don't know if you've heard of this, but Lana Ayers sponsors a postcard project every year in which you send out a poem a day on a postcard to someone else on the list who is also sending out poems on postcards. Not only do you get to write thirty-one poems, you also get to receive the same. Here is the info:

For more fun sites, including hosted by Steve and his s.o., go to SnakeFaves on


This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Tonight, Monday (7/27), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Shawn Pittard and LaVerne Frith at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. [See last Friday's post for bios.]

Coming Up AT SPC:

August 3: Noah "Supanova" Hayes and Stuart Livingston

•••Tues. (7/28), 7-8:30 PM: Join California Lawyers for the Arts and attorney Grace Bergen at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., Sacramento, as she presents an overview of Copyright Law. Topics include What is Copyright, International Copyright, How to Copyright your work, What does Copyright Protect, Pictorial, Graphic, and Sculptural works, Sound Recordings, What rights are secured for copyright owners, Co-ownership, Collective Work and much more. There will also be a Q&A, so you are welcome to take advantage of Grace’s knowledge and bring your own questions. Grace Bergen is Former General Counsel for Tower Records and a current Attorney with Greenberg Traurig LLP. Fee: $20 general, $10 members of C.L.A., $5 student/senior members. Membership: Join C.L.A. (1 yr.): $40 general individual, $25 working artist, $20 student/senior. Info: (916) 442-6210 ext. 102 or email to register/.

California Lawyers for the Arts is a non-profit service organization that provides lawyer referrals, dispute resolution services, educational programs, publications and resource library to artists of all disciplines and arts organizations.

•••Thurs. (7/30), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged @ Luna’s Café (1414 16th St., Sacramento) presents SLiC and Sage. Open mic before and after. No cover and all ages. Info: Art Luna at or 916-441-3931 or frank andrick at SLiC is a poet who's broken into the Sacramento poetry scene with his unique blend of distinctly American styles reminiscent of the work of Walt Whitman, Bob Dylan, Charles Bukowski, and Tom Waits. Deeply human, lyrical, and moving, his poetry has landed him page time in Rattlesnake Review, Poetry Now, Medusa's Kitchen, Brevities, and WTF. Weekly performances at Luna's Cafe have helped to make him a force in the poetry scene. Pick up SLiC's chaps and broadsides at The Book Collector, Luna's Cafe, and local coffeehouses.

Alexandra Sage Reagan was born and partly raised in Sacramento, and partly in the foothills to the northeast. She is currently a student at Sacramento State University and has been an appreciative participant of Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s since the age of fourteen. Sage, as she is known, has come to learn that the best things in life cost a one-drink minimum... She has been most recently published in WTF!

•••Friday (7/31), 8-10:30 PM: TheBlackOutPoetrySeries presents Open Mic Love Jones Poetry Night: Neketia Brown (special presentation), plus singers Chris J. and Zionista. Hosted by Jean Hooks. Bring your BEST love poems and share them. That’s inside the Upper Level VIP Lounge, located inside of Fitness Systems Heathclub, by Cal State Skating Rink at 26 Massie Ct., Sacramento. (Exit Mack Road East to Stockton Blvd and then make a left on Massie right past Motel 6.) $5.00. Info: (916) 208-POET.

•••Sat. (8/1): Deadline for The Poets Club of Lincoln poetry contest for 2009, sponsored by The Lincoln Library and Friends of the Lincoln Library. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners selected in each contest category! Five categories include: "Lincoln in 2025," "Love and Life," "Heroes," "Memories" and "Science and Technology." Each poet may submit 3 poems, no more than one in three of the five contest categories. Poems may be rhyme, free verse, Haiku or other accepted poetry forms and of any length, up to a maximum of 30 lines. Young Poets, 18-years of age or under, are encouraged to submit poems and will compete in a special “Young Poets” category. The top three winners in each category will be contacted by phone. Entry Forms and Contest Rules are available at the Lincoln Carnegie Library Check-Out Desk, the Twelve Bridges Library Check-Out Desk and can be downloaded from the following websites: and Winners will be asked to submit their poems electronically (by e-mail attachment, using “poem name.doc” format) to Winners will read their poems on October 11, 2009 at the Voices of Lincoln event to be held from 3-5 PM, Twelve Bridges Library (Willow Room), 485 Twelve Bridges Drive, Lincoln, CA. Winners also will be presented with a commemorative chapbook of the winning poems.


—Philip Larkin

I work all day, and get half drunk at night.

Waking at four to soundless dark, I stare.

In time the curtain-edges will grow light.

Till then I see what's really always there:

Unresting death, a whole day nearer now,

Making all thought impossible but how

And where and when I shall myself die.

Arid interrogation: yet the dread

Of dying, and being dead,

Flashes afresh to hold and horrify.

The mind blanks at the glare. Not in remorse

—The good not done, the love not given, time

Torn off unused—nor wretchedly because

An only life can take so long to climb

Clear of its wrong beginnings, and may never;

But at the total emptiness for ever,

The sure extinction that we travel to

And shall be lost in always. Not to be here,

Not to be anywhere,

And soon; nothing more terrible, nothing more true.

This is a special way of being afraid

No trick dispels. Religion used to try.
That vast moth-eaten musical brocade

Created to pretend we never die,

And specious stuff that says No rational being

Can fear a thing it will not feel, not seeing

That this is what we fear—no sight, no sound,

No touch or taste or smell, nothing to think with,

Nothing to love or link with,

The anaesthetic from which none come round.

And so it stays just on the edge of vision,

A small unfocused blur, a standing chill

That slows each impulse down to indecision.

Most things may never happen: this one will,

And realization of it rages out

In furnace-fear when we are caught without

People or drink. Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others. Being brave

Lets no one off the grave.
Death is no different whined at than withstood.

Slowly light strengthens, and the room takes shape.

It stands plain as a wardrobe, what we know,

Have always known, know that we can't escape,

Yet can't accept. One side will have to go.

Meanwhile telephones crouch, getting ready to ring

In locked-up offices, and all the uncaring

Intricate rented world begins to rouse.

The sky is white as clay, with no sun.
Work has to be done.

Postmen like doctors go from house to house.



—Gibbons Ruark

Holding the arm of his helper, the blind

Piano tuner comes to our piano.

He hesitates at first, but once he finds

The keyboard, his hands glide over the slow

Keys, ringing changes finer than the eye

Can see. The dusty wires he touches, row

On row, quiver like bowstrings as he

Twists them one notch tighter. He runs his

Finger along a wire, touches the dry

Rust to his tongue, breaks into a pure bliss

And tells us, "One year more of damp weather

Would have done you in, but I've saved it this

Time. Would one of you play now, please? I hear

It better at a distance." My wife plays
Stardust. The blind man stands and smiles in her

Direction, then disappears into the blaze

Of new October. Now the afternoon,

The long afternoon that blurs in a haze

Of music...Chopin nocturnes, Clair de Lune,

All the old familiar, unfamiliar

Music-lesson pieces, Papa Haydn's

Dead and gone, gently down the stream...Hours later,

After the latest car has doused its beams,

Has cooled down and stopped its ticking, I hear

Our cat, with the grace of animals free

To move in darkness, strike one key only,

And a single lucid drop of water stars my dream.


Today's LittleNip:

When you're a writer, you no longer see things with the freshness of the normal person. There are always two figures that work inside you, and if you are at all intelligent you realize that you have lost something. But I think there has always been this dichotomy in a real writer. He wants to be terribly human, and he responds emotionally, and at the same time there's this cold observer who cannot cry.

—Brian Moore



P.S. Be sure to check out the article about Bob Stanley and local poetry in the "Living Here" section of today's Sacramento Bee.

SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

There will be no rattle-read 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: Peripherals: Prose Poems by Joyce Odam (illustrated by Charlotte Vincent) and Rattlesnake LittleBook #2 (Noir Love).
That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. 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 through, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.
Deadline for Issue #3 (which will be available August 21) was July 15; next deadline will be Oct. 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 (clearly marked for WTF).
And be forewarned: this publication is for adults only, so you must be
over 18 years of age to submit. (More info at

RATTLESNAKE REVIEW: Issue #22 is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Or you can order copies of current or past issues through 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 add 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 packet 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!


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.